Friday, 23 March 2012

Ooo Look someone thinks I'm worth something!

I have been nominated by Amanda of Drama, Dice and Damsons to recieve this award:

For accepting the award I must do the following:

1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Now I don't think I actually follow 15 blogs regularly enough, so feel special if your blog is here!

I am nominating:

The Foreign Travels of a Country Bumpkin
Origami Girl
The Brothers Cinemazov
Wedding Biz!
All Needles Great
One Ten Zero Seven

2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.


3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
Done. But thank you again Amanda!

4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.

Here we go:
1. I'm a terrible procrastinator. In fact I've been meaning to do this post for quite a while now...
2. I can't help but watch Jeremy Kyle. 
3. I check Postsecret every Sunday.
4. I wish I was more talented in the world of jewellery making
5. I don't know what I would do if I didn't wake up next to Tom every day.
6. I get far too emotional about pretty much anything.
7. I have always said, since I was small if I had one wish it would be for my eczema to go away. This is still 100% true.

5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
Yep they are here!

6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs. 

Am doing so now.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Next Few Books

Life is getting in the way of finding time to read right now but made a decision on the next few books...

Downloaded Bridget Jones' Diary this evening so that most likely will be the next one.

Others that will soon follow include: New Moon, Marley and Me, Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and I will at some point force myself through the drivel that is The Da Vinci Code.

I'm going to try and find time to read a book a fortnight so we shall see!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas vs The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

As the book and the film are both fairly short I've been able to get in and get through both of them with a short turnaround!

This post will contain some spoilers so if you haven't read the book or seen the film you do so at your own risk!

The book is written entirely from the 9 year old protagonist's point of view and I was interested to see how this translated into the film. I feel that it's done pretty well, there's no use of voice-overs or anything like that, the central focus is always Bruno and through filming it in this way you see the world more as he sees it.

The book contains a lot of flashbacks to explain the background story, and to give a better insight into Bruno's world. It's not something that happens in the film, events are moved around slightly at the start to allow for important dialogue that is contained in the flashbacks to take place.

Overall the film is a fairly good adaptation of the book, some bits are lost which I think is a shame but overall the main plot points are there. The most major point that I want to draw attention to is the difference between the family interaction in the book and the film. In the book the other family members don't seem to to have a very "caring family" feeling, dialogue between them tends to be more stilted, polite and Bruno's father is portrayed as someone to be afraid of. In the film there seems to be a stronger family dynamic, the father is made more approachable and the mother seems to have a greater caring for the welfare for the children. However this could just be down to the fact that the book is from Bruno's point of view but I do feel that it is the film makers trying to make the parents more likeable characters.

Other more minor differences between the two include:

  • The opening of the film includes a large party hosted by Bruno's parents in Berlin before the move. This party encompasses the majority of the dialogue from the flashbacks that happen later in the book.
  • The Mother is entirely unaware to begin with of the gassing and burning of the Jews in the concentration camp. It is revealed to her later in the film. In the book you get more of a feel that she is entirely aware of the situation that faces those living on the other side of the fence.
  • Bruno meets Schmuel earlier on in the film than in the book. This is probably more of a plot device to move the action along quicker than anything more important. 
  • Hitler, whilst mentioned a fair bit in the book is not in the film at all. The only mention of him is the sending of flowers to Bruno's Grandmother's funeral. In the book Bruno meets Hitler and Eva Braun, and he is mentioned a lot more.
  • In the book, Bruno's head is shaved after discovering he has head-lice, making him blending in more once he has climbed under the fence into the concentration camp. In the film he is given a hat to cover his hair.

The ending of the film was handled in a great way I feel. In the book the focus is entirely on Bruno and Schmuel and the searching for him is handled in an epilogue afterwards, which also makes mention of his father as a Commandant being arrested after the fall of Germany. In the film the movement of the prisoners into the Gas Chambers and their subsequent murder is interspersed with the family desperately searching for Bruno, leading them to the gap in the fence. The final shot of the gas chamber door and the silence is harrowing and had me in tears long after the film had finished. It's an excellent watch and I would highly recommend it. 

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD][2008] Directed by Mark Herman, Starring Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon and David Thewlis. Rated 12
 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas[2006] by James Boyne. Available in Paperback and Kindle Edition

Friday, 10 February 2012

Breaking Promises Everywhere...

Sorry readers of this blog. I know I promised to post last week but I didn't, at least I have finally done my 2nd post about Around the World. I also promised the next book would be The Da Vinci Code but it's not going to be. I will do it at some point I'm just not in the mood for Dan Brown right now. In our house we now have BT Vision and our subscription contains a large selection of free films. Flicking through them I saw that we have The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which I have wanted to read for a while now. My local library had it in and I've already read it so tomorrow the plan is to watch the film (amid the tears that will undoubtedly shed) and update the blog. It might be a bit few and far between post wise for a while, working through a few stressful things but doing this is a nice escape from everything so we shall see.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Around the World in Eighty Days vs Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

I have finally got around to watching the rest of this film! By the rest I mean the second half because this film is long enough to warrant having an interval half way through it. It's been a long time since I've seen one of those (I think maybe one of the Harry Potters had one when I went to see it in the cinema).

This adaptation of the novel is far better than the 2004 one, but to be fair that doesn't take much doing. This film in short is pretty epic. It has massive landscape shots, huge numbers of cast members and it's a loooong film. Just over 3 hours long in fact, I'm pretty sure I read the book in shorter time than this!

There are a few points that have been changed from the novel but nothing to the extent of the 2004, and nothing that causes major upset to the overall telling of the story. The casting of David Niven as Phileas Fogg is pretty well done. He plays the straight laced English Gentleman very well, but of course he still gives him more charisma as lets face it, in the book Phileas Fogg has about as much charisma as a plank of wood.

The casting of Passepartout and Princess Aouda I had a bit more of an issue with. Passepartout is played by Cantinflas, a very famous Mexican Comedian of the time. They try to get around this by making him Spanish and we get a nice detour to Spain where we get to see him fight (a very small) bull. The casting of Shirley McLaine would be fine apart from she's about as far from an Indian Princess as you can get in terms of looks. She must have been kept indoors all her life out of the sun!

Other points I'm briefly going to make:
  • The opening is just bizaare. I thought I was watching the wrong film for a start. There's a whole prologue which contains footage of the 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon and is then followed by an at least 5 minute long animated title sequence. It was nice to actually get to the film!
  • They go on a balloon ride as well. It's not in the book people!
  • There's a lot more drama with the capture of Passepartout by the Indians in America and the rescue of him. The actual rescue doesn't really feature in the book
  • Few minor changes to weather, no storm on any of the boats and there's no snow in America, instead of having their wind powered sled, they travel by a wind powered boat that runs on the railway rails.
It's a good film, lots of cameos from famous people of the time, one of the first films to do that. It's certainly worth a watch if you have a spare 3 hours, and you also get to see some brilliant 50's racial stereotypes!

Around The World In Eighty Days [DVD][1956] Directed by Michael Anderson, Starring David Niven, Cantinflas, Finlay Currie. Rated U
AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS (non illustrated)[1873] By Jules Verne available in Paperback and Kindle Editon

Friday, 27 January 2012

I haven't forgotten about you!

Honestly, I haven't. But between moving house, having the theatre companies first show tomorrow and everything in between I've barely had enough time to sit down and think let alone read a book or watch a film. I'm going to try and get back into it next week if I can but I can't promise to. I still have my 2nd Around the World in 80 days to compare and that will be my next post. So fingers crossed, next week!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Things are going to be slow for a while

Thank you to everyone that has been following and reading this blog. This is just a quick post to let you know that I will be less frequent in my posts over the next few weeks as I will be moving house and have intermittent internet. I've still to watch the other version of Around the World in 80 Days but I have already started reading The Da Vinci Code so in between packing and stress hopefully I will get round to posting a bit!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Around the World in Eighty Days vs Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

I had a pretty good idea of what this film was going to be like before I even sat down to watch it. Casting Steve Coogan as the main character always gives you a good idea of the type of films likely to follow.
I'm going to be honest. After 20 minutes I stopped watching this film with my full attention. I had it on in the background while I checked my Facebook and browsed the IMDB page for it because this is one of the worst films I have seen in a very long time.

So normally in this blog I would talk about the similarities of the film and the novel and then highlight any particular plot points that have been modified. There are so many changes to the original plot I'm surprised that they can even put "based on the book by Jules Verne" in the title credits. It would probably be easier in fact for me to list the things in the film that actually happened in the book: The title is the same (apart from 80 is now a number instead of written) Some of the character in the film are in the book! (Namely Fogg and Passepartout, Fix makes a small appearance) They go to about 3 of the places in the book. That's about it. Jules Verne is probably rolling in his grave.

So onto what was different in the film. I'm sticking to the major changes if I focussed on everything I'd be here for 80 days!

  • Fogg is portrayed in the book at the "proper" English Gentleman, always punctual, stiff upper lip, no emotion it is never mentioned what he does for a living though it is pondered upon. In the film he's played by Steve Coogan who is ridiculously charismatic and Fogg is portrayed as an inventor.
  • In the novel Passepartout (unsurprisingly) is French. In the film he's played by Jackie Chan. Enough said.
  • Riding on the bet is not money as it is in the book but whether Fogg will be allowed to invent again or not by the Royal Academy of Science
  • The bank robbery that Fogg is mistaken for committing in the book is committed by Passepartout in the film which leads me to the next point...
  • The ridiculous sub plot. In the film Passeportout commits the bank robbery to steal a Jade Buddha, not money. It turns out that the Budda is sacred to his village in China and he plants the idea of the trip so he is able to get back to his village as quick as he can. Of course there is the evil General Fang who is sending swarms of karate experts after them so Chan can show off his skills. It's stupid and unnecessary and it's Disney trying to make the film more exciting for it's target audience.
  • There is no character of Aouda, the female character is called Monique, they meet her in France and she tags along of her own accord. They briefly rescue her in Turkey but it's nothing like Aouda's rescue in the novel.
  • They use methods of travel that don't feature in the book. Namely they use a hot air balloon to fly out of France and a plane made from a boat to fly into England.
  • There are cameos of famous people just so random actors can make an appearance. The Wright Brothers (Owen and Luke Wilson) Queen Victoria (Kathy Bates) Kitchner (Ian McNeice) and also Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the Prince of Turkey and Richard Branon playing the man they stole the balloon off.
I'm stopping there because this is turning into a small rant. Even if you didn't know that this film was based on a novel it doesn't redeem itself because at the end of the day it's just not that good a film. According to IMDB it's one of the biggest flops in History (although probably still a pittance to Disney who own the company who made it) If you want to see something mindless and has the odd amusing moment then by all means watch it. If you in any way at all like the book, steer well clear. 

Around the World in 80 Days [DVD][2004] Directed by Frank Coraci, Staring Steve Coogan, Jackie Chan and Jim Broadbent. Rated PG
Around The World in Eighty Days (Penguin Popular Classics) [1873] By Jules Verne available in Paperback and Kindle Editon

Friday, 6 January 2012

Post 8 - In Which Beki debates her enjoyment of reading the "classics"

So as you know (if you have read this blog previously) I have been reading Around the World in 80 Days. (Points if you realised my blog post title was an imitation of the chapter titles) and it got me thinking about how I actually don't enjoy reading classical literature that much.

I can appreciate why people enjoy the classics and I don't think we would have the fiction we have today if we didn't have the likes of Austen and Dickens, and certainly the BBC would have less adaptations to put on. However I just don't enjoy reading them. It has nothing to do with the language, in fact I would like to think it would help me to improve my vocabulary, even it's going to fill it with archaic Victorian words.

 I can't really pin point what it is that doesn't make me a fan of the "classic" novels I love historical fiction it would be my first choice of genre yet books written from that era would be way down on my list, possibly just above Science Fiction... Having said that I so read them party because I feel that I should but sometimes because I just want to see what the fuss is about. One day I'm hoping I will read something that I think is amazing and it will turn my viewpoint around but so far anything written further back that about the 1930's has failed to do so...

The blog post was really a bit of me thinking out loud and realising I haven't posted in the last few days. I'm at 85% on the book so will finish it today and maybe watch one of the films if I feel up to it after work.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Next 2 Books

I've had some very nice feedback about my blog so far so thank you very much if you have followed it, commented on it or even just read it. I really do appreciate it!

I had already made the decision for the next book to be Around the World in 80 days as I wanted to go for something that was a bit more of a classic (and therefore free on my Kindle!) and also because there have been 2 film adaptations, one in 1956 and another in 2004. I think it will be interesting to do 2 comparisons on it, seeing which film has a more accurate adaptation of it. This will also be the first entry on my blog where I have neither seen films or read the books before.

 I received a comment this morning suggesting that I did the Da Vinci Code. This actually hadn't crossed my mind before now so I will make that the 2nd book in my list to write about. I honestly found the books quite poor, Dan Brown's earlier books were far better so I'm interested to see if I feel any more favourable towards the film version.

 That's it from me for now, I'm going to get on with some reading! If you would like to have me read and compare any books or films please leave me a comment and I will see what I can do!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Twilight vs The Twilight Saga:Twilight

I've always had a bit of a soft point for the Twilight books. I love books that you can spend hours reading and that get you to think but conversely I like sometimes to read something that's quick, mindless and I can just enjoy as something that is what it is. Twilight, both the films and the books, I feel falls into this category.

The film adapation needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It's aimed at the teen "twi-hards" that dream of having their very own Edward Cullen to be with and of course the film panders to that. The book is written from Bella's point of view and a lot of her thoughts have to become vocalised through dialogue in the film than her having a voice-over.

The plot as a whole is mostly intact. Some of the conversations between characters have been cut or moved to different settings but it is nothing that causes any loss in coherency. The book does have a tendency to come across as bland at points and the film does help to ramp up the excitement, spending more time on the scenes were characters are fighting or bringing out tensions, rather than the discussions of their emotions. For example, instead of Edward just telling Bella how dangerous he is as in the book, he demonstrates in the film. Scenes that could have become stale and boring have become more interesting for a film audience to watch.

Major difference between the book and the film include:
  • The "bad" vampires are introduced far earlier in the film than the book. They make killings around the Forks area and are tracked by Charlie and the Police Force. In the book they do not make an appearance until the baseball scene
  • Jacob and Billy are introduced right at the start of the film, bringing a truck for Bella to use. In the book Jacob is not introduced until Bella goes to La Push beach and he tells her about the Cullens
  • The character of Lauren does not exist in the film, she's a pretty minor character anyway.
  • In the scene where a car nearly hits Bella, Edward stops it then disappears and Bella is left standing. In the book they are both trapped between the two cars
  • A major chapter is lost from the book where blood typing in a Science class takes place and Bella faints. Although it does nothing to push the plot line along it is fairly important to the emotional development of the characters relationship.
  • In the ballet studio in the book James reveals to Bella that he knows where Alice came from and her human past, something she cannot recall, this has been cut from the film.
  • Bella is under the impression in the book she will be changed into a vampire and that is why Edward dresses her up - not for her to attend prom, in the film she is aware that it is prom she is going to.
  • The vampire Victoria makes an appearance at the end of the film watching Bella and Edward from a distance. This is just the film setting itself up for the sequels.

It's a young good looking cast, and let's face it they could have created a script completely different to the book and teens would still enjoy the franchise. You are really only going to end up watching this film if you liked the books (or get dragged along) The books give you a better understanding of the way the characters feel about each other but at the end of the day you are not missing out on much.

Twilight [DVD]  [2009] Directed by Catherine Hardwick, Starring Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Rated 12

Twilight (Twilight Saga)[2005] Written by Stephanie Meyer. Available in Paperback and Kindle Edition

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has had a fun New Year and aren't too hungover today! I for one have not got a headache - my first achievement of the year!

I'm making it one of my New Year's resolutions to keep this blog going and even if I don't have time to put a comparison up at least every few days or so get a chance to come on and update the blogosphere how I'm coming along.

According to my kindle I am 45% of the way through Twilight, so I'm hoping to have pretty much finished it by the end of today, and so tomorrow I will watch the film and put up my comparison, my 2nd overall and 1st for the New Year!