Aesop Revisited [Book 1] (Ethan Russell Erway)

Aesop Revisited [Book 1] is a short story collection by Ethan Russell Erway in which he retells the various classic fables by Aesop. (He also provides us with the original stories, for easy reference.)

Somehow I think that Erway and I, we have different interpretations of what a fable his. For him it is not so much a story with moral that is a metaphor for the beliefs or general consensus of what is right (at the time), but rather a possibility to tell jokes. Unfortunately, he tries a little too hard to be funny and to surprise us with his new takes and not hard enough to actually tell us something with his stories.

After the jump, more about each story seperately.

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Apollo 18 (2011)

Apollo 18
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writer: Brian Miller
Cast: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins

In 1973 the formerly cancelled moon mission Apollo 18 is restarted by NASA but under the cover of complete secrecy. The three astronauts Nate (Lloyd Owen), John (Ryan Robbins) and Ben (Warren Christie) are sent to the moon. While John stays in orbit, Nate and Ben get down to the surface. Soon they discover an abandoned Russian space ship on the moon and things keep getting weirder and weirder.

I don’t know why I let myself get drawn into those mockumentaries again and again. I have no love for them, but I do like horror movies, so I guess that’s where I usually go wrong. Anyway, Apollo 18 was okay but it really was nothing to write home about.

[SPOILERS if you don’t know how the aliens look like]

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Beaches (1988)

Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Based on: Iris Rainer‘s novel
Starring: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, Mayim Bialik, Marcie Leeds, James Read, Grace Johnston

CC (Mayim Bialik) and Hillary (Marcie Leeds) meet when they’re 12 years old and despite the fact that their lives couldn’t be any more different, they strike up an immediate and lifelong friendship. While CC dreams of becoming a singer and star to escape her life in the Bronx, Hillary follows her family’s money to an ivy league university. 10 years of pen palness after their first meeting, CC (Bette Midler) and Hillary (Barbara Hershey) move in together and continue to face life together, with all highs and lows.

My sister was appalled when she recently found out that I had never seen this film. She immediately gave me her DVD and told me to watch it because it’s one of her favorite films. Despite that I didn’t think I would like it much (prejudices getting in the way). But it turns out that it really is a beautiful film about a wonderful friendship.

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Flanimals (Ricky Gervais)

Flanimals is a picture book written by Ricky Gervais, illustrated by Rob Steen.

The book is split in three parts. In the first one, Gervais introduces the flanimals – some weird, rather unknown creatures. In the second he details some of their behaviors and finally he provides you with a test to see how well you know the flanimals.

Flanimals is wonderfully weird and unique and funny, in a slightly mean way. I liked it.

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Batman Live

Batman Live is a show/play/circus thingummy.

Batman Live tells us the origin story of Batman and his sidekick Robin who both lose their parents in tragic events caused by the criminals that are slowly taking over Gotham City. And when Batman’s biggest foes – the Riddler, the Penguin, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy come together under the leadership of the Joker – Batman and Robin get help from surprising quarters.

Batman Live sounded so extremely promising and I was so looking forward to it, but I have to admit that I was ever so slightly disappointed. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as it could have been.

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Overqualified (Joey Comeau)

Overqualified is an epistolary novel by Joey Comeau.

Joey is looking for a job. And nothing is more boring than writing cover letters. But then there’s a car accident and Joey’s brother Adrian is hurt badly. And suddenly Joey’s cover letters turn from the usual empty phrases into memories and confessions, threats and pleas.

The book is beautiful and sad and sometimes funny and the only real flaw it has is that it’s really very short.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writer: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds

Control (John Hurt), head of the British Intelligence, suspects that there is a double agent very high up the ladder in “the Circus.” So he sends Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) to Hungary to meet a source who can reveal the identity of the mole. But things go wrong, Prideaux gets shot and Control and his right hand George Smiley (Gary Oldman) have to retire. But then the agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) also brings the info about a double agent and Smiley gets hauled out of retirement to find said agent.

I was so looking forward to this film. I mean – look at that cast! What more could you wish for? [Except for a few women.] Unfortunately the movie ended up being so incredibly boring, I don’t even have words. Also, the brown, the brown! It kinda started hurting my eyes after a while.

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Mechanique (Genevieve Valentine)

Mechanique is Genevieve Valentine‘s first novel.

The Circus Tresaulti is wandering through a world that has been wrecked by endless war. The circus is special, and not only because it managed to stay afloat for so long. Boss is not only running her circus, she’s making it – and its artists. From Ayar the Strong Man to Elena and her aerialists on the living trapezes, there’s a bit of copper and magic in all of them. But with skills like Boss has, chances are slim that they are going to be left alone.

Mechanique is a good book, though one I have more intellectual appreciation for than I emotionally connected with. But it has wonderful visuals and is engaging.

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The Descendants (2011)

The Descendants
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Based on: Kaui Hart Hemmingsnovel
Cast: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Robert Forster

Matt King (George Clooney) is a lawyer who works a lot, even though he has enough money so it wouldn’t actually be necessary. When his rather estranged wife has a boating accident and is suddenly in a coma, Matt has to re-arrange his life completely. He never was much involved with life at home. so he is quite overwhelmed with dealing with his daughters Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alex (Shailene Woodley). When he finds out that his wife had an affair he sets out together with his daughters, and Alex’ friend Sid (Nick Krause), to find the man and inform him about the situation.

I don’t quite get the excitement about this film. I mean, yes, it is nice and perfectly acted and beautifully shot and it is certainly a good film. But from the accolades it garners, I guess I expected a little more than a good film: I expected an outstanding one. And this isn’t it.

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Man on a Ledge (2012)

Man on a Ledge
Director: Asger Leth
Writer: Pablo F. Fenjves
Cast: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Genesis Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, Ed Harris, Ed Burns, William Sadler, Titus Welliver

Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) has been sentenced to quite a few years in prison for stealing a 40 million dollar diamond from David Englander (Ed Harris). But during his father’s funeral, Nick manages to escape and appears again on the ledge of a hotel, trying to prove his innocence or throwing himself off. He requests negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) who, despite a recent misgiving, tries her best to talk him down. But Nick has a secret agenda: while the attention is focused on him, his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his brother’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) try to break into Englander’s safe across the street from the hotel.

This movie was surprisingly not sucky. It is not a great film, but it is wonderfully entertaining.

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