Thursday, July 22, 2010

INSPIRING STORIES OF FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS

Animals are awesome. My whole life I've been a huge animal lover; dogs, cats, horses, birds, even lizards. I adore the creatures God created for this world. Animals enrich your life in ways you can't explain. They love you with an unconditional love few humans are capable of. They trust you implicitly. They know when you're sad, and they always, always cheer you up! Statistics also show that pet owners are healthier and happier than people who live without pets.

My favorite book of a relationship between a person and animal is Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand.

Seabiscuit: The book

This is a non fiction book based on the true story of how a undersized and underestimated race horse with crooked legs became a legend, and in the process healed the heart and broken spirit of Johnny "Red" Pollard, a man once abandoned by his family in times of great poverty. Red becomes Seabiscuit's jockey when Charles Howard, Seabiscuit's owner realises that horse and man have very similar tempraments - they're both rebelious, unruly and always ready for a fight. If you haven't seen the movie version of it yet, do so! It's incredibly touching, and one of my all time favorites. Starring Tobey Maquire and Jeff Bridges.

Seabiscuit: The movie


Some other really great books about humans and their animal friends that you might consider reading:


Marley & Me: Life and love with the world's worst dog by John Grogan

Marley & Me - The Book

As I'm sure you know, there is also a movie version starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston to check out.


Marley & Me - The Movie


My friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara

My Friend Flicka

I also highly recommend the movie Flicka - based on the novel but replaces the pratagonist with a young girl instead of a boy.

Flicka

From Baghdad with love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava by Jay Kopelman with Melinda Roth

From Baghdad, with love

Animals are amazing, and they are the inspiration of so many great stories. If you're in the market for a new pet, please consider adoption! I know taking a newborn puppy home is an amazing feeling, but there are so many abandoned animals who need new homes and lots of love. PLEASE! Visit your nearest shelter and adopt a pet who will give you just as much love and joy as a newborn.


Here are links to adoption sites for South Africa's Wetnose:
Dogs:
http://www.wetnose.org.za/category/adopt-a-pet/dogs
Cats:
http://www.wetnose.org.za/category/adopt-a-pet/cats
Horses:
http://www.wetnose.org.za/category/adopt-a-pet/horses

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

THE GREATEST INVENTION OF ALL TIME

To my mind the greatest invention of all time has to be the printing press. I can live without the telephone. I can live without electricity - But I simply cannot live without books.


The original printing press - more or less



I took it upon myself to look up the greatest inventions of all time, and to my surprise not everyone agrees with me. Please bear in mind that this research was not at all extensive, but merely to get an idea. I could not find a single list which lists the printing press as the number one greatest invention of all time! The closest it got was reaching number 3 in news.softpedia.com’s list.


Toptenz.com sees the printing press in the number 5 spot.


Reality pod lists the printing press in number 9, as does listverse.com and Askmen.com! This surprised me. I didn’t figure men would even consider the printing press what with the automobile, ESPN and all…impressive guys!


About.com doesn’t even feature the printing press! It does, however, feature penicillin, which can kill me. I don't like this list.


So, what we know about the printing press is that it was invented in 1436 by this German fellow named Johannes Gutenberg and was completed by 1440 approximately.



Johannes Gutenberg


Gutenberg was the first person to make type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony - essential for producing durable type that produced high-quality printed books. He also introduced oil-based ink which was more durable than previously used water-based inks.


The first major book that was printed was, as I'm sure you know, The Gutenberg Bible which was printed in the 1450's and marked the start of the so-called Gutenberg Revolution and the subsequent era of the printed book.



A copy of the Gutenberg Bible which can be found in the New York Public Library



Today printing is a large scale industrial process which sees most books and newspapers printed using the technique of offset lithography, which looks a little something like this:


Web-fed offset lithographic press at speed


Acording to Wikipedia "across the world over 45 trillion pages are printed annually (2005 figure). In 2006 there were approximately 30,700 printing companies in the United States, accounting for $112 billion according to the 2006 U.S. Industry & Market Outlook by Barnes Reports. Print jobs that move through the Internet made up 12.5% of the total U.S. printing market last year, according to research firm InfoTrend/CAP Ventures".


Bottom line: Long live the printing press!



Happy reading xxx

Thursday, July 8, 2010

POETRY IN MOTION

As much as I love beautifully written stories, some stories are better brougth to life without using a single word. Through the movement of art great stories can be told through only the movement of one's body. I am a really big fan of contemporary dance routines, and today I wish to share with you poetry in motion - Some of my favorite contemporary routines where the art of dance is used to tell a story... more effectively and even more touching than any words could have succeeded in doing.


1. If it kills me

My all time favorite dance routine is a piece choreographed by Travis Wall, wherein Jeanine Mason and Jason Glover tell the story of two best friends who realise they have fallen in love, but are afraid to risk their friendship.



2. Gravity

This next piece is a routine choreographed by Mia Michaels wherein Kayla Radomski and Kupono Aweau portray a girl's struggle with addiction.



3. Calling You


In this Mia Michaels routine Travis Wall (choreographer of "If it kills me" above) and Heidi Groskreutz come to realise that their relationship is over.




4. Lost

A couple get lost in each other in Mandy Moore's "Lost", brought to life by Courtney Galiano and Gev Manoukian:



Add Video
Words are glorious. Words can express a multitude of feelings and emotions. But sometimes, just sometimes, words are redundant, and through other forms of art a story is told just as beautifully (if not more beautifully) using no words at all.


All the routines are taken from the US edition of So You Think You Can Dance

Monday, July 5, 2010

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE

The day was very cold and cloudy… perfect Forks weather accompanying me to the cinema to watch Eclipse. It was in anticipation that I settled myself in the comfy seats of Cine Centre at Mall@Reds, very curious to see what David Slade had done with the third installment of Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga. I follow Mr Slade on Twitter and through filming Eclipse he was kind enough to keep his followers up to date with the goings on of the Cullen Clan and the Wolf Pack. From these tweets I had high hopes for the movie version of my third favorite book in the saga. In order, my favorites are Breaking Dawn, Twilight, Eclipse, New Moon. That’s right, Eclipse is my third favorite book – But thanks to David Slade, my favorite movie so far!


The Twilight Saga: Eclipse



Unlike New Moon (which really disappointed me on the first viewing) I loved every single one of the 124 minutes of Eclipse. Props to Melissa Rosenberg who did a fabulous job with the screenplay; The film is very true to the book. The film features all of the essential scenes, as well as all of my favorites. The diamond effect of vampire skin in the sun was done beautifully - much more realistically than in Twilight or New Moon. A nice touch is Edward's sparkle reflecting on Bella's skin. Other vast improvements on previous attempts are the vampire speed and the look of the wolves. Added to the great visual effects, the score and soundtrack are both very dramatic and spot on!

The acting is also getting better with each film. To my utter delight Kristen Stewart doesn't stutter in an attempt to be dramatic, and there is much less hyperventilation than I've come to expect. Bella Swan is much less tortured, and in the process of becoming the mature Bella she will be in Breaking Dawn. Robert Pattinson does a respectable job as Edward Cullen, but somehow as the films progress I find him less and less believable as Edward. He doesn't quite bring book Edward to life for me. In direct contrast I find film Jacob Black much less annoying than book Jacob Black – kudos to Taylor Lautner! The tension between Bella, Edward and Jacob is portrayed perfectly, especially in the much anticipated tent scene where ice cold Edward has to watch space heater Jacob keep Bella warm in a blizzard. Awkward…



The Jacob, Bella, Edward Triangle (Photo from Entertainment Weekly)


Xavier Samuel is perfect as Riley Biers - Exactly as I imagined Riley to be! One thing I was worried about was Bryce Dallas Howard replacing Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. If this is one of your concerns, no need to worry. Bryce delivers a wonderful performance. Very intense and a little insane, to my surprise I actually prefer Bryce to Rachelle! Boo Boo Stewart is introduced as Seth Clearwater, my favorite member of the Wolf Pack, and I’m not at all disappointed with his performance. He's young, sweet and eager to be friends with everyone... wolves, vampires and humans alike. Julia Jones is also very spot on with her portrayal of the tormented Leah Clearwater. I'm not a fan of the Wolf Pack in the novels, but Taylor, Boo Boo and Julia along with Kiowa Gordon (Embry Call), Tyson Houseman (Quil Ateara), Bronson Pelletier (Jared), Alex Meraz (Paul) and Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley) give the Wolf Pack a charm that I didn't see in the books. The Wolf Pack cast work together brilliantly and their scenes are actually quite fun to watch. I find myself wishing they had more screen time!




The Wolf Pack



Michael Welch is once again very funny as Mike Newton, as is Anna Kendrick as Jessica Stanley, even though their screen time is very limited. To my mind the only casting error ever made in The Twilight Saga (so far), was casting Dakota Fanning as Jane. I was disappointed when I heard she’d been cast, and I’m still disappointed. When I think sadistic, pain inflicting, powerful Italian vampire, I don’t think sixteen year old blonde haired, blue eyed teenybopper. Her acting doesn’t impress me one bit, and I don’t think she does the character justice at all.

What I especially love about Eclipse is that the other Cullens get more screen time. My favorite couple (except for Bella and Edward, of course) is Alice and Jasper, and especially in Eclipse the chemistry between Ashley Greene and Jackson Rathbone is very charming. Alice is as lovable as always, and Jasper is finally portrayed as the sweetheart that he is. Everyone’s favorite big brother, Emmett, is again perfectly portrayed by Kellan Lutz, and Rosalie is finally becoming more likable. Nikki Reed offers the perfect combination of sad and melancholy, but content. I also love the way Jasper and Rosalie’s back stories are introduced – again, exactly as I imagined it.


The scene I most anticipated was the battle between Cullens, the Wolf Pack and the army of newborns, and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I am very impressed! Brilliantly choreographed, brilliantly delivered and brilliant to watch. It was awesome to see Carlisle and Esmé work together on the battlefield as they do in “life”. Elizabeth Reaser and Peter Facinelli work together flawlessly to bring the mother and father of the Cullen Clan to life.


The Cullens


Melissa Rosenberg's screenplay along with David Slade's talents in the Director chair provides for a powerful film that can't possibly disappoint any fan of Stephenie's book. I can’t wait to see what Bill Condon will do with Breaking Dawn. With Melissa Rosenberg again writing the screenplay, I’m not too worried. The film will be split into two parts so that nothing vital of Stephenie’s 640 page novel has to be omitted. Filming of Breaking Dawn will start somewhere in the next six months, and part one is scheduled for release on 18 November 2011.



The choice has been made. Edward and Bella are finally engaged and planning a wedding. I'd be smiling too!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS MOVIE

Have you ever fallen in love with a wonderfully written book, only to be devastated by a movie version thereof? This has happened to me more times than I care to count. Too often a literary masterpiece is completely ruined by its movie version. What’s worse, though, is that people who disliked the movie refuse to read the book… because the movie sucked! These same people then go on to talk smack about the book which they never touched, thinking they are qualified to speak on the subject because they’ve seen the disaster of a movie. This never fails to get on my nerves.

When you ask someone “Have you read this book?” and they respond by saying “No, but I’ve seen the movie”, couldn’t you just happily bash them over the head with the book in question? I certainly could have if I didn’t have such vast respect for words in print. When will some people learn that you simply cannot compare the two?!

One of my favourite books is Nicholas Sparks’ A walk to remember. I have read this book more times than any other, and it quite simply never gets old. The movie version is pretty good, but not as good as the book. Too many important details of the book (big and small) were altered in the movie version. There was one change that especially saddened me. My favourite moment in the book is when Jamie gives Landon her Bible. In the movie version she gives him her mother’s old notebook, but not before joking “Don’t worry, it’s not a Bible”. Was that really necessary?! And the best part, the irony of it all is that the movie version of A walk to remember does not even feature the walk to remember!!! It is the most remarkable moment in the book when Jamie gets up out of her wheelchair and walks down the isle towards Landon. That is the walk to remember! She is sick, weak and tired, and even though it takes quite a while, Jamie walks down the isle. In the movie, she’s perfectly fine and practically dances down the isle. A walk to remember? Not quite! (I do feel the need to mention, though, that I love Mandy Moore as Jamie and Shane West as Landon. They really brought this incredible love story to life, and I enjoyed watching him help her make all her wishes come true) All in all, the movie version is respectable, but I would still encourage you to read the book instead of watching the movie.

The book

The movie

Then there’s The Wedding Date by Elizabeth Young. The only thing the book and the movie have in common is the title. In the movie Kat hires Nick (in the book they're called Sophy and Josh), an escort, to pose as her boyfriend at her sister's wedding. In the book he was never really an escort! Why make a movie based on a book if you’re going to change every little thing? Based on the novel by Elizabeth Young? I don’t think so. I’d be insulted if I were Liz! Well, okay, to be fair the book was initially called Asking for trouble and was changed to The Wedding Date after the success of the movie, so it's not quite fair to just bash the movie for changing things.

The book originally

The book now

The movie

The only movie I have ever seen that was an excellent (and I do mean excellent) adaptation of the book is the 2004 movie version of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice starring the very talented Al Pacino as Shylock. What a performance that was! His deliverance of the celebrated "Hath not a Jew eyes" speech is one of my favourite moments in movie history. I ardently adore this adaptation. Sadly, this can’t be said of most movie adaptations of beloved literary works.

The book

The movie

If I were to start describing the differences between movies and the books they are based on, this blog entry would never end. I do believe that my three examples have made my point. The book and the movie might be similar. The book and the movie might be different as night and day. In a rare case, the movie might even do the book justice… but you will never know if you watch the movie and never read the book.

Don’t get me wrong. Even though I am usually disappointed by a movie adaptation of a book, at the end of the day I am grateful for movies inspired by books. Many a movie has made a person go into a bookstore looking for the book a particular movie is based on. Maybe they even ended up buying more than one book! J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga are recent book series that have made children rush to libraries and bookstores after the success of its movie versions. If a movie inspires only one person to pick up a book and discover the magic of reading, then that movie is alright with me… even if it does butcher the original (in my humble opinion).

My point, my friends, is this: Never judge a book by its movie.

Happy reading!

Follow by Email

Followers

Twitter

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...