It has been a while since I have been to the theatre and I know why: there’s really nothing truly worth of value at the moment. I will not be verbose in my reviews as it is not truly necessary.
I am a sucker for short stories, with my ever-dwindling attention span, and I’m also a bigger sucker for Neil Gaiman for his wild and imaginative stories. So for me, another short story book is a perfect summer read.
Like most other short story books by any author, you get a mixed bag of good and not-so-good stories, but the positive side of things is that you can always skip the ones you do not like. With M is for Magic, unfortunately, I did skip many stories – many were already included in previous collections I have read, and others did not trigger my interest.
Having been dragged to watch The Social Network was quite an ordeal by itself. As if the world needed yet another dose of Social Media Crack, we are now presented with a film narrating the (real?) story behind one of the most successful social platforms, Facebook.
Mind you I am not against the medium. Believe it or not I actually do work in a media agency that has a strong social media function. However I do not find the need to be part of the 80% of people who claim to be a Social Media Adjective and some Legendary Entrepreneur because I retweet Mashable and think that opening an online scarf shop is the next big thing (if it really is, though, well done on becoming an entrepreneur at that stage).
A warm summer afternoon in Damascus demands no less than losing oneself to the pages of a book. I stretched out on the balcony, amidst a light breeze and under the golden glow of the sun, to read The Angel’s Game, the new masterpiece by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of Shadow of the Wind, a book that held me captive to its timeless tale a few years back.
The sound of car horns and traffic gradually faded away as I was absorbed into the world of David Martín, a writer amidst the turbulent and gothic 1920′s Barcelona, the mysterious circumstances, his house, and the sinister and playful characters around him.
I was very excited when I stumbled upon the trailer by accident on YouTube. One of my all time favourite Disney films, finally remastered into 3D, with Depp as one of the main characters.
But I was in for some surprises.
The movie is not a re-imagination of the story, and though as much as Tim claims it is not a sequel, it’s not a self-contained story either. It’s taken for granted that any human being who is likely to go watch the movie has prior knowledge of Alice and all the characters that are involved in the story, so the 2010 film does very little in re-introducing the characters and does even less in character development, except for Alice, the Red Queen, and the Hatter.
As far as the story goes, Alice this time around is older and, odd marriage theme aside, has to slay the Red Queen’s pet the Jabberwocky and return the crown to the White Queen. It’s literally as simple as that, but the journey is still entertaining though there are some questionable design elements. The gore, specifically, is an odd addition to the story. Though there is no blood, you will get to see chopped heads, chopped fingers, and pins thrust into eyeballs – several times. These elements contrast heavily with the humour derived from the former Disney’s flick as well as the humorous character designs.
The new Underland is a wasteland of its former self, but the art direction is truly fantastic. It’s quite clear that the overall tone of the film is more mature than the cartoon, especially the Red Queen’s struggle of being ugly but has the need to be loved. In all honesty I felt terribly sorry for her, and the story goes all the way of punishing her for that (but of course she was doing it in the wrong way).
The movie, however, is a bit better than the sum of its parts, and while some elements don’t really add up, it’s taken for granted that the familiarity with the characters, the nostalgia, the art direction and seeing Cheshire Cat’s grin again is what you will likely be taking with you out of the movie by the time it ends.