New Moon — Movie 2009

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Last night I watched New Moon, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name!

After a disastrous birthday party in which Bella is almost killed, Edward decides that it would be safer for her if he were not a part of her life.  Abandoned by her true love, Bella is swallowed by depression.  Her friend Jacob Black starts to bring a little light back into her life, though he is hiding a secret of his own.  And though Edward tried, Bella is still in danger.  Will Edward and Bella be reunited, or will Bella fall for her best friend, Jacob?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

Overall, I would say that this movie is on par with the previous one, Twilight.  It’s a must-see if you’re a fan of the series, and an okay movie if you like paranormal romance in general.

Let’s just jump right into my criticisms.  I really like the look of the Cullen family, but especially in the scenes where the whole family is interacting together, they are way too unnatural.  That is rather a disappointment because in the books you get a sense that this is a family that is warm, loving, and really watches out for each member.  For some reason that warmth and family atmosphere did not translate through in the movie.  That’s too bad.

My second criticism is over the slight changes made to the original story.  In the movie they make it seem like Carlisle doubts whether vampires have souls, when in the book he actually does have faith in an afterlife.  Also, they manufactured the scene where Victoria is hunting Charlie, and Harry Clearwater saves him by essentially sacrificing himself.  Maybe they wanted to make Harry’s death tie into the vampire theme a little more, instead of somebody dying of natural causes?  There were several other changes made to the story, most of them seemingly slight, but they add up over time to produce a story which kind of rankles if you’re a big fan of the book.  I’m not a huge fan of changing a story when translating it to film, if there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for it.

Finally, my biggest criticism is how they changed the romantic tension between Jacob and Bella.  The book is quite clear that Jacob is very interested in Bella in a romantic way, but she never seriously entertains the idea of getting involved with him romantically.  All of those almost-kisses in the movie are completely made up, and I think it complicates their relationship in a way that isn’t true to the original story.

There are also some things which I really liked!  Edward is still sultry and amazing.  I enjoy his acting style and think he really nailed the sexy vampire thing.  Jacob is amazing, too!  He is warm, intense and down-to-earth–just like Jacob is supposed to be.  Finally, the werewolves were very cool!  I pictured them a bit larger in my head, but they were still impressive.  I love the whole new mystical side which is added to the story with the wolves.  Grudgingly, I’ll add that Stewart displayed more convincing emotions in this movie than in the previous one.  Perhaps she’s just a very subdued kind of person.

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you would enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…




Confessions of Shopaholic – Movie 2009

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Last night I watched Confessions of a Shopaholic, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  I hadn’t even known that they had made it into a movie, until quite recently.

As a very quick synopsis, the story is about a young lady named Rebecca Bloomwood who absolutely loves to shop and would like nothing better than to write for the well-known fashion magazine, Alette.  She tries to climb the corporate ladder by starting at a magazine entitled Successful Saving, but runs into many hurdles brought on by her own reckless spending habits.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the book, but it’s been almost a year since I’ve read it, so many of the details have slipped away.  That’s probably a good thing when watching the film adaptation of the book, because I didn’t get caught up in comparing every little thing to the book.  I had a general gist of what was going to happen, but the story was just there for my enjoyment.

Even though it’s been a year since I read the book, I could tell that they had taken some liberties with the original story.  However, I don’t think that the changes adversely affected the story, so much as created their own alternative story.  There is still the love interest, Becky’s awful spending habits, the extremely awkward situations, and a day when she must reckon with the mess that she has made.  However, most of the heavy and serious stuff is taken out of the story.  Maybe that’s why they changed some major plot elements–so it would be more of a fluff story.

I think that I liked the movie version of Becky better than the book version.  It probably has to do with the fact that Isla Fisher is completely likeable and charm seems to ooze from her pores.  I’m not sure how I feel about the changes made to Becky and Luke’s relationship in the movie.  I suppose they wanted to simplify and condense it, instead of making it develop over a period of time, as it did in the book.

I have to say something about the animated mannequins here.  At first they kind of creeped me out, but as the film progressed they started to make sense.  Since shopping is such an integral part of who Becky is and since it is a magical experience for her, I think that the “living” mannequins were a good choice.

The film is fairly tame.  There’s one instance of the b-word, at least one instance of the a-word, lots of leg and cleavage exposure, and a drinking session with her friend while they go through credit card bills.

I recommend this movie to teens and women who want to watch a feel-good romantic comedy.  While it’s not the best I’ve ever seen, it is one that I wouldn’t hesitate to watch with friends.  If you’re hoping for it to accurately reflect the book, you will be disappointed.  Look at it as a cousin of the book.

Possible Objections:

  • a handful of bad language
  • some ladies show lots of skin
  • a drinking scene
  • a cat fight

Rated: PG

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…



The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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Title: The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Eugenia (Skeeter) Phelan is tired of the same old life in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi.  She dreams of becoming a writer, but her only contact at the publishing company challenges her to write about something she cares about and submit it, before she will be considered for a job.  Skeeter decides she wants to explore what it’s like to live as a black maid in the South, and seeks maids to help her complete the project, but it’s very risky.  Will she ever get enough women to agree to be interviewed to complete the book? (This is a very abbreviated version of what the novel is about.  I didn’t want to ruin the plot line for you!)

My thoughts:

I picked this book up at Wal-mart some time ago, and just now got to reading it.  Once I started reading though, I could hardly put it down!  The story was engrossing and I enjoyed getting to know the characters, though some were not so nice.  I also appreciated that it was set in a particular historical period (the Civil Rights era) and alluded to those events and that cultural environment.

Aibileen was my favorite character because of her sweet spirit and determination to overcome life’s obstacles.  She was wise and patient, insightful and nurturing.  Minny was really fun to read about, too.  Her spunk and blunt honesty were refreshing.  I also liked Skeeter, who decided to buck tradition and think for herself.  She stuck with her convictions, even when they made her unpopular and the going got tough.

I do wish we could have seen a little more development with some of the characters.  I feel like Celia could have undergone a metamorphosis, and Skeeter would have been better served having had a grand epiphany, but I’m not the author.  Though I had hoped for just a smidge more from the characters, I enjoyed seeing their progression in their thinking, relationships with one another, and their commitment to their mutual project.

Once criticism that I’ve heard about this book is that it’s impossible for the author to truly know what it was like to be a black maid in the South during that era.  (The author is white, relatively young, and not poor.)  I knew that going into the book, so I wasn’t expecting this to be a historically accurate novel in terms of character portrayal.  I think  the author did a fair job of imagining what it would be like to be a black maid during that time, and really, that’s the most we can ask of her.  So just take her portrayals with a grain of salt and don’t get bent out of shape if it’s not 100% accurate.  This issue didn’t really bother me at all, but I know that it’s a hang-up for others.

There is one thing about the book which did bother me, though.  There’s a scene where Minny and Celia are accosted by another character, in a very objectionable and yucky way, and to me, it felt very out of character with the rest of the book.  I understand how it helped the plot progress by putting the characters in the situation they were in, but I feel like the same plot progression could have been achieved in a less disgusting way.  Notice I’m not giving too many details, but if you’ve read the book, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s really not something I can discuss in polite company.

There’s another thing that happens in the novel which I don’t think is very realistic.  When Minny makes the pie for Miss Hilly, I don’t believe she would have done it as portrayed in the story.  It doesn’t jive with her character, plus people just don’t want to dabble with that stuff anyway.  Again, read the book and you’ll know what I’m referring to.

I recommend The Help to adults who enjoy period novels, particularly ones that take place during the Civil Rights era (with the caveat that there are two parts that you will probably dislike).  Though this is a fictitious account, the time period during which it takes place gives it an interesting cultural context, and helps us feel a little more about what it may have felt like to live in the South during that time.

A favorite quote:

“The next few weeks is real important for Mae Mobley.  You think on it, you probably don’t remember the first time you went to the bathroom in the toilet bowl stead of a diaper.  Probably don’t give no credit to who taught you, neither.  Never had a single baby I raise come up to me and say, Aibileen, why I sure do thank you for showing me how to go in the pot.”  (p. 126)

Possible Objections:

  • outdated and offensive racial language
  • some sexual stuff (one scene in particular is offensive)
  • some violence

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…


Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

Unglued - WM

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Here’s another book from my Friends & Family Top Picks Reading Challenge.  I finished this book the other day, after going through it at a pace that was a little quicker than I would have liked.  I think this kind of book is best processed when you can go through it slowly, taking time to think about and implement the practices between chapters.

Unglued is a book that aims to help women deal with their raw emotions and figure out better ways to react to trying situations.  Lysa talks about how women can come unglued when they are put under trying circumstances, but that they don’t have to react in destructive ways.  According to Lysa, there are four reaction types: stuffer that builds barriers, stuffer that collects retaliation rocks, exploder that shames herself, and exploder that blames others.  The ideal emotional reaction that she wants readers to experience is called “soul integrity”.

I definitely relate to what Lysa is talking about when it comes to raw emotional reactions.  And I can see how I react in the ways she talks about, though it can be different depending on who or what I’m reacting to.  Unglued gave me a few reminders about different ways to deal with my emotions and how I can deal with trying situations in a more healthy manner.  So that part was good.

I’ll confess though, it wasn’t the most interesting read.  The writing style was not terribly impressive and seemed a little unpolished at times.

One other thing you should know is that Lysa’s examples deal with annoyances that are rather trivial.  She doesn’t talk about more serious situations such as betrayal, assault, etc.  Those situations create more intense and prolonged feelings which need to be dealt with in more depth and treated a bit differently.  That’s just my own belief.

I would recommend this book to women who find themselves getting annoyed at the petty things in life.  Whether you stuff or explode, there are some insights here that will probably help you deal with your emotions in a more positive manner.

Rating: 2 Stars

Until next time…