Thank Goodness, the 70s are over…

I saw Mamma Mia! and, boy, am I glad that nobody dresses in silver (or violet or blue or …) one piece body suit thingies anymore.

What can I say, I don’t think I need to see it ever again. There were some funny scenes (when they sing Dancing Queen or Does Your Mother Know), I really loved the interpretation of Lay All Your Love On Me, but if I ever want to see them again, there’s youtube.

So, what was wrong?

First, most of the main actors couldn’t sing. Except for Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper, who were obviously cast for their singing abilities and not their popularity, it was awful. The best thing I can say is that I don’t really remember Stellan Skarsgard‘s singing and that Julie Walters‘ singing didn’t suck completely. Pierce Brosnan probably would have a nice rock voice, but not a good voice for singing ABBA songs, which are too high for him.

Apart from the singing, there was the acting, which had theatre written all over it, in huge, blinking, red neon letters. Theatre acting is not bad in itself, but it is different from movie acting for a reason. When you got a camera that catches every wrinkel in your face, there is no need for big gestures, they just seem weird. Which is exactly what happened here. And they managed to make Meryl Streep seem like she can’t act. Which is some kind of achievement, I guess.
Also, the way the story was structured is very theatre-like. I guess that’s due to Phyllida Lloyd, who also directed the Broadway version.
They could have done a little more adapting. Just a bit.

[SPOILER]

Colin Firth, I love him. No doubt about that. But he was completely miscasted. If there’s someone, who screams “straight” with every pore of his body, it’s him. And he seemed so completely, amazingly and unbelievably uncomfortable with hugging the young guy, who played his lover, that I actually pitied him for having to do that (I wouldn’t have minded, the guy was cute…).

[END SPOILER]

Okay, that probably sounds like I suffered the whole time, which is not true. I enjoyed Julie Walters (she’s just good in everything she does. And she’s really cool as Elvis) and Christine Baranski a lot, as well as Stellan Skarsgaard.

I laughed and I like the music (every 5 years or so, I even dig out the Best Of CD I own and listen to it), it was fun to see the young hippy versions of the guys and Meryl Streep.

I probably would have enjoyed it more, though, if I had been alone in the movie. Well, my sister could have stayed, but that’s it. People actually clapped along. Newsflash, dear audience: THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU! I understand that sometimes you might want to sing along softly, a verse or two. But clapping??? Really not happening.
[Deadra meant that I’d have to see it more like those Sing-Along Rocky Horror Picture Show showings. To which I say: You’ve gotta earn the right by dressing up first, then you can sing along and shout Weiss and throw toilet paper as much as you want (though I haven’t heard of anybody clapping along). But before I don’t see anybody in one of those one piecers and those shoes, and before I don’t get a warning that those things will happen before I buy the ticket, I stay annoyed.]

But what really killed me, was the buzz in the toilet afterwards, people screaming out “Dancing Queen, young and sweet, …” and one woman in particular, who said to a friend, “I love Colin Firth. But already since 1995, when he was in Pride and Prejudice…” [Translation: “I saw him first, he’s mine, mine, mine!”] [Well, I saw Valmont and that film is older, so he must be mine… But wait, L. saw Another Country before me, so he must be hers!]. I actually had the strength not to laugh out loud. Who’s the bigger person now?

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Lycidas Trilogy (Christoph Marzi)

Christoph Marzi (link is in German) is a German author. He writes fantatstic fiction and made his debut with Lycidas, followed by Lilith and Lumen, together forming the Lycidas trilogy.

The story revolves around Emily Laing, an orphan growing up in London. Together with her best friend Aurora Fitzrovia, she gets pulled into the going ons of the Ancient Metropole, which is very much like London Below from Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman).
Emily discovers that she has a special talent and the alchemist Mortimer Wittgenstein is assigned as Emily’s teacher. Their adventures take them to Hell, encountering rats, angels, the devil himself and other more or less mythical creatures.

The writing is a bit long winded, using phrases more complicated than necessary (and to no literary goal other than sounding sophisticated, at least that’s what it seemed like) and obviously loving outdated words and phrases. The outdated part can be justified by having Wittgenstein as the narrator, as he was born in the late 19th century. But still, it was a bit difficult to read.
Also, although Wittgenstein is the narrator, he can detail happenings that only Emily and not he experienced (which is explained toward the ending of the third book, which might be a little late for it).
Also, Marzi changes tenses more often than a model changes clothes during a show (and more quickly, too). He also jumps in time, but not congruent with the tense jumps, so I don’t really have an explanation for that.

But once you get used to his style, you can concentrate on the story. And damn, you need to concentrate on that. Because it’s complicated. Plot twist follows plot twist follows conspiracy follows betrayal. Honestly, I’m not sure that I got all the turns. I’m afraid that at some point in time I just kept going in one direction, while the plot went in another. But fear not, we met up later again.

Apart from the confusion, it’s a good story.

Marzi relies heavily on other influences, authors like Neil Gaiman, but also musicians like Irving Berlin and movies like Moulin Rouge!. He quotes a lot of works like that, but never seems to actually copy anything. He always manages to transform it into something new.

He also uses catchphrases a lot, most notably, “Don’t ask!” (Wittgenstein), “There are no coincides.” (almost all main characters) and “Come what may.” (Emily and Aurora).

What really kept me reading where the characters. Very sweet and likeable. And through the clever use of the catchphrases, you quickly feel like you know them.

I don’t know if I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Usually, when I recommend a book, it’s because I think that almost everybody who likes to read, will gain something from it, have something they like about it. With these books, I can recommend them to certain people only. People, who are able to not care about good prose that much. People, who go for characters more than for plot. People, who would recognise the references to the different influences.

I myself am not sure, if I want to read something else written by Marzi. Maybe I’ll have a look at the things, when I’m in the bookstore and see if it gets me again.

Answering Questions Asked Through Google V

Today’s question is:

“who did ashton kutcher play in 3:10 to y[uma]”

I have to admit, the question made me doubt myself a little… Did Ashton Kutcher appear in 3:10 to Yuma, and I, who prides herself in recognising most actors, when they make “surprise appearances”, didn’t recognise such a known face?

Of course, I immediately asked the imdb. And thank goodness, I was right all along.

So, honey, Ashton Kutcher was not in 3:10 to Yuma. At all.

Snuff (Chuck Palahniuk)

Chuck Palahniuk (official site and really good fan site) is one of my favourite authors ever. Snuff cemented my love for him again.

The book is about porn queen Cassie Wright, who wants to set a record by sleeping with 600 men during one shoot. It’s written from the perspective of Mr. 72, Mr. 137 and Mr. 600, and her personal assistant Sheila.
As the men wait their turn and Sheila keeps things organised, we get glimpses of their backgrounds, snipets of porn trivia, but also rarely known facts and rumours about big Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Rock Hudson.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Palahniuk without a twist nobody expected.

I loved it. It’s funny, well researched (as far as I can tell) and he manages to mention the greatest porn titles ever (although he doesn’t mention Shaving Ryan’s Privates, my personal favourite. Probably because it’s not really a porn, but a documentary).

This time I thought that I would get his twist, before he revealed it. But I was wrong, of course.

It’s a “I want to read it again”, perfect novel, with one fault: it’s short. It took me maybe 4 hours to read, and I’m a rather slow reader.

In related news: He’s got a new book scheduled for spring 2009, Pygmy.

Life’s So Unfair. So. Damn. Unfair.

I can live with house-sitting my parents’ place. Or else, I wouldn’t have agreed to do it.
I can live with not being able to go anywhere, where they are playing The Dark Knight already, because I don’t have money and I have to house-sit. 
I can live with reading online reviews that make me want to see The Dark Knight more and more and more.
I can live with having to share a car with my sister, although I’m house-sitting and the place the house is at is not in Vienna.
I can live with not really being able to go to an English cinema in the next weeks.
I can live with migraine, as long as there’s enough aspirin and aspirin-related medication to help me keep my sanity, although it feels like my eye is going to explode in the near future, because my brain is expanding to unheard of size. 

But pile it all together, and I seriously, seriously, need a holiday. Somewhere with English cinemas. And good public transportation.

[Yes, I’m aware that I’m wallowing in self-pity. I need that every once in a while. You may choose to ignore.]

Twilight (Stephenie Meyer)

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is a light read, but very good nonetheless.

The story is not so innovative, but in this case, I really don’t care. I like the characters, the prose is good and the story sweet. And it’s written with a good sense of humour.

It’s very light hearted and not so dark as the usual Vampire novels.

I really, really liked it and I’ll definitely get the other books.

This year in December (meaning in January it will be here), the movie adaptation will come out. With Robert Pattinson (aka Cedric Diggory) as Edward and Kristen Stewart as Bella.
The trailer looks like the movie is very different from the book, much darker, but you can see for yourself.

Green Action

Deadra and me went to the movies and watched The Incredible Hulk. Before I plunge into my point of view on the movie, let me say this: I’m not a Marvel girl. I don’t know much of the Marvel universe. And I’m not much of a Hulk fan, either. I watched the last Hulk because of Ang Lee, I watched this one because of Edward Norton and Tim Roth.

Deadra, on the other hand, is a Marvel girl (and doesn’t understand my obsession with Batman and Superman) and the film did for her, what it couldn’t achieve for me: One fan girl orgasm after the other. [NICK FURY!!! POSSIBLY DR. STRANGE!!! IRON MAN!!!] [Okay, I enjoyed Robert Downey Jr.‘s appearance as well.]

Apparantly, meaning imdb says, (almost) all the small hints to the Marvel universe (which were really nice as far as I got them) were Edward Norton’s idea, who worked on the script (talented bastard…).

Oh, Sweetie...

Oh, Sweetie…

Not so sweet

Not so sweet

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Good News (if it’s true…)

One of my favourite comics of all time is Blacksad. It’s about antropomorphised animals in noir detective stories. John Blacksad is the main character, a black tomcat and private investigator.

Unfortunately, there’s only three books so far (the last was published in 2005, so my hopes are rather low for it being continued).

So, imagine my surprise when I read today (although the news is older) that there’s probably a movie, directed by Louis Leterrier. I’m delighted! And after watching The Incredible Hulk yesterday, terrified! I hope, he directs that one better. If it’s being made. [Review of the Hulk follows tomorrow.]

Keep your fingers crossed for me!