Real Books vs. E-Books

With advanced technology emerging as quickly as it is, you have to wonder how long the “traditional” book is going to be around for.

In one of my classes the other day, someone mentioned that once the printing press came along, it more-or-less killed oral tradition over time. It seems that the dominant form of storytelling (from oral tradition to paperback to kindles) has in some way or another put the one before it to distinction.

Does this mean that over time, print media will soon be taken over by a new medium?  Maybe I’m just crazy in hoping that paperback books never go away. I must admit that I’ve read a few books on my iPad and to be honest, it just does not compare to the reading the print version.

There is something about the smell and the touching of the pages. It almost makes the words more tangible and eloquently part of your life as opposed to digital reading.

What do you think? Which way to you prefer to read your favorite books?


A movie that left me speechless: Cloud Atlas

This post was created after a conversation I had with a fellow movie-lover, Shane Conner. The following blog reflects both his and my own views about the film Cloud Atlas. 

If you haven’t noticed by the theme of my blog, I absolutely love movies and I love talking about them. This movie left me speechless. It was unlike anything I’ve ever watched, and honestly it is unlike anything cinema has ever produced before.

It’s about 6 different tales told simultaneously and that there is supposedly an interconnectedness between all of them (which, there totally is).  If you’re a fan of things that raise more questions then it answers, then you’ll love it. I feel like anyone could talk about any range of subjects after watching that, like:

  • how we constantly search for meaning and truth in life, even though the answers only remind us that really, we know nothing
  • how love is something more than just a feeling
  • how the every good and bad thing we do can echo across eternity
  • how rather than trying to look for little coincidences in life and understanding them we should just enjoy it for what it is: beautiful and amazing

The slight interconnectedness between the stories is just enough to draw the some form of a conclusion between the separate lives, time and space. It gives you hints to many of life’s underlying meanings. You know, the ones that everyone in the world can relate to but not possible to be explained through words alone.

No two people are going to walk out of that movie and think the same thing, or catch the same clues, and for that reason alone I would recommend it. Also, read Roger Ebert’s review of it, because he summed it up nicely.

I would say for 9 bucks, it’s at completely worth it to be a part of a the visual, story-telling experience you won’t find in any other movie in theaters right now.

If anyone has seen the movie, what did you think about it? What did you take away from it?

Catcher in the Rye: the next greatest film achievement

Photo Credit: Amazon

By: Heather Smith (@heathr_smith)

In my last blog I talked about the novel Cloud Atlas. If there was one book that was thought to be unfilmable, that would have been it. However, the movie is set to come out this Friday.

Depending on the success of the movie or complete rejection of it, I think there is a lot of potential to open up the doors to some of out most protected literature.  There are so many books that I would love to see made into movies and for some, I still can’t grasp the fact that no one has taken on the task.

There is one book in particular, that I am eagerly awaiting to be adapted into a film:

The Catcher in the Rye by: J.D. Salinger

This is known as one of the best novels of our time. With the timeless themes life-lessons the novel teaches, I’ll admit it would be difficult to tackle this one. However, I want to refer back to great books that got turned into equally as great movies such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and  “Shawshank Redemption”.

The author of Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, passed away in January of this year. Although many screenwriters, directors and producers approached him and offered to purchase his book, he never sold it.

This leaves the question if the fate of the book and its contents has changed after his death. As a timeless classic, this book would make a great movie (if it was done right).

It is viewed as the ‘holy grail’ of scripts. We have reached one milestone in filming the ‘unfilmable’ with Cloud Atlas. This brings producers one step closer to the adaption of one of the most anticipated stories of our time.

“People always clap for the wrong reasons.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Related articles:

Cloud Atlas: Why I can’t wait to see it

By: Heather Smith (@heathr_smith)

Picture Credit: Warner Bros

“A novel contains as many versions of itself as it has readers, whereas a film’s final cut vaporizes every other way it might have been made.” – David Mitchell

The novel that was once thought of by many literature and film critics as utterly ‘unfilmable’ is set to hit theaters October 26.  Yes, I’m referring to the New York Times Best-Selling Novel: Cloud Atlas.

The book was written by David Mitchell in 2004 and at the time even he thought an adapted film from this story couldn’t be done.

When I first caught wind that a movie was being adapted from the novel Cloud Atlas, I almost couldn’t believe it. Its complexity and structure alone are enough to turn any director or screenwriter the opposite way. Then when I saw the first preview all I could think was, “this is going to be b.a.d.”

To my surprise the film received a 10 minute standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival in September. The movie has oddly enough left many critics in the film industry speechless and there was not a lot of negative feedback.

Picture Credit: Warner Bros.

After reading some more reviews– it is hard not to blur the line between the creative genius of the author David Mitchell and the directors of the film: Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. It looks like both readers and movie goers are in for an intensified and unique experience with Cloud Atlas.

On Cloud Atlas the novel:

  • “Mitchell is clearly a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across the novel’s every page” – The New York Times Book Review
  • Not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and I’m grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds.” – Michael Chabon

Critics on Cloud Atlas the movie:

“A viscerally overwhelming experience, a grand meditation on human inter-connectivity, that — love it or hate it — is not quite like anything else in cinema.” – The Daily Beast

Picture Credit: Warner Bros.

I became even more excited after watching the trailer. The imaginative journey this novel allows readers to go on is unlike any other contemporary work. I can only hope the movie brings to life a world that we ourselves couldn’t have imagined.

I will be posting again about the overall plot of Cloud Atlas, how well I think the actors fit the characters, costume design, scenery and special effects in a blog later this week.

Do you have any expectations or ideas about how the movie will be?

Our lives are not our own, we are bound to others past and present and by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.” from Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas Movie Trailer

Argo: what the hype is really about

Argo is the masterful vision to the unbelievable true story. Directed by Ben AffleckArgo tells the bizarre declassified story of the CIA agent Antonio Mendez and the risky operation that saved the lives of six American fugitives during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980.

It could only be done with a play so outrageous, only Hollywood could help to pull it off.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

So what is all the hype around this Oscar worthy film really about? Well, don’t expect any gun scenes, car chases and fancy gadgets because you won’t find any in this flick.  To be honest, when you’re equipped with a story like this, you don’t need them.

The craft of storytelling from Affleck is outstanding and the cinematic techniques brilliant. It is a pulse-pounding thriller with tremendous performances from the cast including: Bryan Cranston (as Jack O’Donnell); Alan Arkin (as Lester Siegel); John Goodman (as John Chambers); and Victor Garber (as Ken Taylor).

“The results are nothing less than sensational” – WSJ

“Simply put, Argo is why we go to the movies.” – Arizona Republic

The book “Argo” was released just weeks before the premiere of the movie. Written by CIA agent Antonio Mendez (yes, it’s actually him!) and journalist Matt Baglio, the book tells the story through Mendez’s eyes. Apparently, this version isn’t so bad either:

“Fresh and engaging…A solid choice for fans of thrillers and international intrigue… ” – Kirkus

In the book, you will find more insight and details that are not shown in the movie. So for those of you who are interested in American history, the Middle East, foreign policy and/or spy thrillers — this book if for you!

Now for the big question: which is better – the book or the movie? Answer: MOVIE!

Hollywood deserves some credit for this one. When it’s over, you can’t help but ask yourself if this could even be pulled off today; and I really don’t think so. My suggestion: if you haven’t seen it yet, SEE IT! You’re not going to want to miss out on this one.

For those of you who have seen the movie and/or read the book: What did you think? Did it live up to the hype? Or were you left feeling disappointed?

Top 3 upcoming movies based on books in 2012

In 2012, there have been an unbelievable amount of successful hollywood movies based off of books.  Movies such as The Hunger Games, The Woman in Black and Perks of Being a Wallflower all started out with the success and intrigue of the novel.

For myself, there are three movies in particular that I can’t wait to see unraveled on the big screen. Here is a list of my top three most highly anticipated movies based on books that have yet to hit the big screen in 2012:

3. Les Misérables

Release date: December 14, 2012

This is a case in which the movie actually brought out my desire to read the famous novel writing by Victor Hugo. With the same director of The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper), I’m holding pretty high expectations for this one. The one minute and 30 second YouTube ‘teaser trailer’ worked wonders. With a distinguished cast, drawing an audience shouldn’t be difficult for this captivating 19th-century narrative. Check out the movie trailer that got me hooked here.

2. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II

Release date: November 16, 2012

Finally the final chapter of the Twilight series!  As someone who has read all four Twilight novels, I must say that Breaking Dawn was not my favorite. However, as far as the movies go, this is the one I am most excited to see. The acting is more sophisticated and the scenes and outcome will shock most movie viewers. The overall “ending” should create the most buzz following the premiere, and I can’t wait. Check out the intense trailer here.

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Release date: December 14, 2012 (USA)

Well, need I say more? The Lord of the Rings is in my opinion, the best trilogy both on the big screen and in the novels. This is without a doubt my most highly anticipated film. Not only did the book blow me away the first time I read it, but the sheer excitement of once again seeing this magical and mystical tale come to life makes this number one on my list. The incredible director Peter Jackson aims to blow us away once again with his innovative methods of capturing the characters and scenery and his special effects that leave us speechless.   Watch the movie trailer (that I’ve watched 10 times by now) here.

After their premieres, I’ll be picking each of these apart to rate them based on how well they portray the book, among other cinematic criteria. Are there any movies based on books premiering in 2012 that you’re excited for?

Something new: movie reviews from a college girl who reads

We’ve all heard the questions before: “ok, which is better the book or the movie?”

For such a simple question, the answer is anything but.  For the avid moviegoer, some movies based on books might be described as the best work of art they have ever seen.  The dedicated reader however, may have a different idea of how well the “book world” was interpreted on the big screen.

My interest in critiquing, evaluating and analyzing films and books came straight from my writing course I took my sophomore year in college. The course was titled, “Humanity of the Film” and one major thing I took away form the course was that students love talking about movies made from books (it doesn’t hurt when we actually read the book).

As a reader, seeing the world I once imagined through the pages of a book come to life on the big screen and through the eyes of a Hollywood director is something I highly anticipate.  But for me, the best part is gathering my thoughts and debating which was better: the book or the movie.

There are those moments where you say, “wow, that was way better than I imagined it,” and “I can’t picture anyone else playing that role better.”  There are also movies based on books where you say,”they could have done a better job portraying the fantasy world,” or “that ruined the book for me.”

This blog is for the dedicated readers and moviegoers alike.  It draws out the best and worst of movies based off of today’s most popular novels. I hope to share the build-up and anticipation for the premiere, and offer a critical eye once the two hours are up.  I want to look at the #1 box office hits and rate them based on how they live up to the #1 best sellers that started it all.

So…book or movie?