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A Return to Written Roots

28 Nov

It has been many years since I last dusted off this old blog. In that time, I’ve loved and lost, found love again, tried on many different job titles and landed myself a job as an editor for a local small business. (Nothing fancy, but it pays the bills.)

Some things haven’t changed though; my desire to write being the first, and foremost. Most recently, writing for my very own Dungeons and Dragons campaign has rekindled my creative passions. Often, my creative flow has taken a back seat for high pressure work situations and the exhaustion that being in my 30’s brings. I see that I actually still have a few lonely adventurers following this, and I hope I can continue to bring you the critiques and reviews you enjoy. In addition, I plan to bring my creative thinking cap to the table in the form of short stories (both fiction and nonfiction), poetry (don’t groan!) and dungeons and dragons chatter. So, my fellow nerds and adventurers–hang on tight. This story has only just begun.

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“R” you in love with Warm Bodies? A book and movie review

8 Feb

“I am dead, but it’s not so bad. I’ve learned to live with it.”

And I was hooked. This is the first line of Isaac Marion’s novel, Warm Bodies, and right away I felt that I had connected with his main character–who just so happens to be a mildly clear-thinking, witty, brain-eating zombie. If I had to sum up this story: it’s a romance–with zombies. Marion’s novel stuck with me as he narrates a story above life, love and survival from the eyes of someone who is already dead. (well…sort of. )

The lead character, who goes by only the letter R as he has forgotten the rest of his name, is a zombie. He explains right away that the living dead can’t remember their names, their past lives or what it was like to be alive anymore–they only keep going, unable to communicate, trapped within rotting bodies.

This brilliant novel struck a chord with me–and it is obvious from the movie that it struck the filmmakers in the same way–in regard to the lack of human interaction and communication in the present. R poses questions to himself and to the reader as he faces his inner self in various conflicts–like eating people, for example. Although R knows that he has to eat people to survive, he doesn’t like to hurt people. He has inner conflict about it. I suppose that is partly why he was susceptible in the first place to falling for one of the living.

After eating the brain of a boy named, Perry, R finds himself hopelessly enamored with a girl named, Julie. The only problem is that she is alive. Torn between his nature and his newly discovered feelings, R seeks to protect the terrified Julie, and after camouflaging her scent in his dead blood so the other zombies won’t smell her, he takes her back to his home in the airport. Julie is understandably terrified at first, but soon R shows that he is becoming something bigger than he once once. Speech begins to return to him in blurbs at first, hunger for flesh and brains ebbs and his attachment to Julie grows.

I have always been a fan of the unusual point of view narrations–but so far, Warm Bodies takes the cake as one of my favorites. R’s narrative is an exciting combination of poetry, philosophy and gore. I quickly grew attached to the lead character and found myself rooting for him as he fights to change and as Julie rallies with him to find a “cure” to the zombie “plague”. All the while they each face their own version of zombies, both actual and physical as the actual humans within the story begin losing what made them such and emotionally slowly decays.

The film Warm Bodies, does a pretty fair job of picking up on R’s sense of humor–though I would have liked if it retained more of his inner narrative than was given. However, it was impressive how much emotion I felt came across from the actor who played R, Nicholas Holt,despite his lack of much facial expression or vocal cues.

Perhaps it was because I read the book that I felt that the actress who played Julie, Teresa Palmer, seemed to show less emotion than Holt, who was the actual zombie. She didn’t seem nearly as charismatic or lively as she is depicted in the novel: however, the film’s version of Julie has a grittier, older feel–and for a moment or two it feels like the movie version of The Hunger Games. (Which perhaps was the point?)

What I applaud the film most for is the horrific visual of the Boneys, skeleton-like zombies who within the novel are the leaders of the Zombie “hives”. They were truly grotesque in movements and presentations. They even made me jump.

Though, I wish that the film has stuck with the ending given to Julie’s father, General Grigio. It better reflected the comparison between current humanity and zombies, and though grim, I felt was more suitable. But alas, Hollywood loves their happy endings!

I rate the novel a 7 out of 10 on the restless writer scale, and the movie a four out of five cupcakes.

All and all, both the film and novel are worthwhile time-passers for this winter. And for those who love romance and also zombies–these are to die for. (Or perhaps to live!)

A Night at the Theater–Addams Family Musical Review (Spoilers!)

9 Feb

They’re creepy and they’re spooky, mysterious and kooky–they’re all together ooky–The Addams family!

Well, creepy certainly was the word. Crammed in the tiny balcony seats of the Schubert Theater in Boston, I was trying with some difficulty not to allow the overly-nosy eight-year-old boy in front of me to look up my dress in the awkward angle and sitting beside my boyfriend who looked even more uncomfortable. There, we awaited the start of The Addams Family Musical. ( My poor boyfriend’s first words once the show ended was–“I think my shins are bruised.”) I felt lucky that we had managed to even get seats on opening night–the place was packed– and even the cramped space of the balcony weren’t under $50 dollars a ticket.

The crowd seemed restless and eager to start the show. Ages varied from young kids to so elderly they needed assistance getting up and down the narrow (and without a middle railing, which was terrifying in heels) stairs. After all, who couldn’t recall the memorably grim but laugh-inducing Addams? I knew I couldn’t resist. My childhood was riddled with memories of Saturday morning cartoons, in which The Addams Family often frequented the screen. The show was grim, and hilariously twisted, which is the main reason I enjoyed it. It is that spirit of twisted humor that was kept alive throughout the opening night of The Addams Family Musical.

The premise: The creepy cold child, Wednesday, has suddenly found herself in love and wanting to be engaged to–dramatic pause–a “normal” boy! Hiding the ring from her over-protective mother, Morticia, she confides in her father, Gomez, about the reason for a sudden dinner party with this boy and his family. She begs him to promise not to tell his beloved wife–and so hilarity ultimately ensues.

All of the characters I knew and loved made their premier on stage, portrayed with care and confidence by their respective actors and actresses. (Well–with the exception of a rather annoying little boy who played Wednesday’s brother, Pugsley. Him, I could have done without.) Even Thing and Cousin It make a few short appearances.

The show was much better than I anticipated; the music was catchy, saucy and well-composed, the scene changes were fascinating to watch–and the use of puppeteers was a pleasant and fun surprise throughout the production.I found myself bouncing in my seat to the music as performers sang and danced, grabbing your attention and ultimately keeping it.

The only issue (depending on who you are) that I found with it was the massive amounts of sexual humor that permeated the whole performance. As an adult–I have no problem with sexual humor. In fact, it’s kind of my favorite. But it does get somewhat uncomfortable when there’s an eight-year old in front of you and Gomez just made several penis jokes. All I could think was, God, I hope this goes over your head. Oh, also, the occasionally topical humor that Uncle Fester tosses into the performance–I found somewhat jarring. Funny, sometimes–but other times just unneeded.

I must admit, that I was thrilled to realize that the actor playing Uncle Fester had also played Edna in Hairspray when I went to see it with my Meme five years or so ago. All of the cast did a bang up job–particularly the actors and actresses who played, Fester, Gomez and Wednesday,  who stole the show. Even the actor playing Lurch surprised me with a suddenly solo singing performance that gave me chills in ways that only seeing The Phantom of the Opera on stage had done previously.

All and all I give The Addams Family Musical a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s only here in Boston for this month–and I would definitely recommend it to the younger generation looking for a laugh. (Or perhaps even the older. People are DYING to see this show.) Sorry, I had to. If you can afford it–skip the cheap seats. But honestly, the view from anywhere in this theater is fine. It’s only legroom that gets tricky.