The Mook List – #9

THE MOOK LIST – #9

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Movie Poster, David Fincer, Stieg Larsson, Rooney Mara, Lisbeth Salander

via IMDB.com

Why it worked:  This novel was made to be a movie.  It is cut-throat, riveting, and ridiculously suspenseful with amplified characters and a great story.  Larsson was immersed in the world of his writing, which made for a great film platform for David Fincher.  Because of impeccable casting and great screen writing, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” became a box office sensation.  You can read my full mook review on “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” here.

Why you might disagree:  This movie has some obvious deviations from the heavily-detailed novel (changes I thought were appropriate, but not everyone feels this way).  Some critics felt that the film was too impersonal for the viewer to connect to the characters.  Some viewers felt the very intense and violent scenes were too much for the big screen.  Additionally, some fans of the book prefer the Swedish films, however I cannot comment on this because I have not seen them.

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Mook Review: A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange  Written by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess Book Cover

via Wikipedia.org

A Clockwork Orange is a modern English classic and a novel that has been on my to-read list for quite some time.  Burgess’ evil future England is considered the quintessential example of dystopian literature, especially with his diverse use of language which includes mostly slang and jargon.  The journey of our narrator Alex, a young teenage boy with a preference for disgusting acts of ultra-violence, is no simple walk in the park.  Burgess’ novel takes time to understand, filled with complicated argot for the reader to figure out on their own (vech, horrorshow, malchick, devotcha, ptista,  gulliver, rot, viddy, etc.)  Perhaps this aspect of the tale  is what makes it so valuable to literary history and Burgess a cherished and talented author.

I found myself surprised at how heavy handed A Clockwork Orange was in terms of violence.  At the start of the novel, before the reader truly catches on to Alex and his friends’ slang, we see cruel and unusual actions performed on innocent people. As the story continues, and the reader understands more and more, the violence and cruelty really just becomes worse and more realistic.  Also, the fact that you do not truly find out how old Alex is until halfway through the novel (fourteen years old, FYI) is astonishing.  By the middle of Part Two, A Clockwork Orange had me bewildered by the corruption of the future-England youth.  The way Burgess brings the narrator to life, he almost had me feeling sorry for Alex’s imprisonment and government experimentation on how to cure him of violence.

One thing I found particularly interesting in Burgess’ story is the idea of goodness and where it comes from.  In prison, Alex is chosen to undergo an experimental treatment named the ‘Ludovico Technique’; basically, the technique tricks the criminals’ mind into pairing violence with feeling ill in order to restrict them from continuing criminal activity.  However, this defeats the concept of goodness.  Ridding Alex the ability to feel anything but sick towards violence doesn’t cure him by choice, but by force, therefore sacrificing the idea that Alex is truly “changed.”  This resolution and change by will is something we do see at the end of the story – IF you read the restored addition of the novel.  The original publisher in the U.S. left out the last chapter where Alex realizes for himself he wants to truly grow up and become an adult with a wife and a family.  Instead, the story ends with Alex being cured of his “reclamation” and resorting back to cruelty and violence.  There is no resolution or transformation of the character in this case.

In the 1960s, it is easy to see why A Clockwork Orange would be seen as highly controversial.  Burgess brings not just incredibly crude and unusual acts of violence to the table but the idea of government control and deeply rooted internal moral code.  To have finally read this novel is an accomplishment, but I would only recommend the story to ambitious readers with time and patience to understand Burgess’ terminology and language.

“A Clockwork Orange” – Directed by Stanley Kubrick

A Clockwork Orange Stanley Kubrick Malcolm McDowell

via IMDB.com

This is an example of a mook that can stand alone as both a book and a movie while still being successful.  Obviously, there are aspects of the story where the written version succeeds the film and vice versa, but in general this was a pretty awesome mook experience and definitely moved its way to the top of my list.  Malcolm McDowell, who plays Alex, portrays this villain in the post perfect sociopathic way and [this movie] pioneered McDowell’s series of villainous roles.

Kubrick’s film, released in 1971, was criticized for its exemplary violence and sadism, however these were the parts which I felt were done incredibly well.  “A Clockwork Orange” is directed so Alex’s world seem almost comical in a sick and twisted way, which is imperative to the success of the story.  Alex and his droogs (buddies) do not have an idea of what is right or wrong, good or evil.  This is the core question of both the novel and the movie, making it important to come across on screen.

The use of music in this film was perfect.  Since classical music is so important to Alex, mostly Beethoven who he refers to as Ludwig van, this is something that I felt could make or break the movie.  Kubrick used music in the exact way it should have been used – to intrigue the viewer and emphasize the obscenity of major plot points.  When Alex is being treated with the Ludovico Technique, he becomes inconsolable and distraught at the use of Ludwig van’s music to instill fear within him.  It is clear that something he loves dearly is being used against him, making “A Clockwork Orange” even more screwed up than it already is.

The film was hard to watch, just as the book was hard to read, but I loved it.  Malcolm McDowell was incredible as the lead role and I made me realize why many viewers would be easily disturbed by the production.  I don’t recommend this mook if you are truly appalled by violence and cruelty, but for anyone looking for a good story you should dive right in.

Mook Rating  ★★★★

Jennifer Lawrence to Star in ANOTHER Mook!

Jennifer Lawrence, one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses, has reached ridiculous amounts of fame after starring as lead character Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” this Spring.  The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, is a beloved text to its die-hard fans, putting severe pressure on Lawrence’s shoulders to do the book justice.  While The Hunger Games trilogy is no stranger to the best seller list, this was not the first time Lawrence has appeared in an adaptation of a highly-acclaimed book and, with “Serena” to debut in 2013, it certainly was not the last.

Lawrence’s 2010 performance in Sundance Film Festival favorite “Winter’s Bone” scored the young actress much praise and an Oscar nomination for “Best Actress.”  The film, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell (which I reviewed back in February), was an incredibly successful adaptation, and provided enough detail and depth to make for a phenomenally directed film.

Serena, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Susanne Bier, Ron Rash

via wordandfilm.com

The young actress will take on the lead character Serena, alongside Bradley Cooper, in the film of the same name.  Serena, the novel by Ron Rash, is described by the NY Times as “Stark, fierce, dramatic, and gripping from its unforgettable opening paragraph.” Set in 1930’s Great Depression, a young North Carolina couple struggle in more ways than one.  The novel was considered a New York Times notable book of the year and currently hold close to a 5-star rating on BarnesandNoble.com.  With an endless number of rave reviews, my guess is that Serena will climb the charts as the movie approaches, just as The Hunger Games did.

Jennifer Lawrence has a raw and ruthlessly emotional edge to her acting and I wouldn’t be surprised if “Serena” becomes a chart-topping film.  “Serena” is set to be released sometime in 2013.

The Mook List – #10

Whenever I come across a great article or list of successful mooks I make it a point to blog or tweet about it.  The best mooks out there deserve as much recognition as they can get and I often find that people don’t even realize some awesome movies were a book first.  My good friend Alex (@THE_ALEX_ROCHA) suggested I share a list of my own, considering my devotion to mooks and knowledge of many of them.  So, I am starting a series of posts called The Mook List which start at #10 and end with #1 (with maybe a few honorable mentions here and there).  Please share your feedback, as always!

THE MOOK LIST – #10

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Movie Poster, Books, Chris Columbus, Warner Brothers, JK Rowling

via IMDB.com

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Why it worked:  This is how my love of mooks began.  Sure, I had seen book-to-film adaptations before the Harry Potter franchise, but no movie ever had me stunned with its perfection.  To this day, I will argue that Sorcerer’s Stone is one of the best films of the series purely based on how true it stays to the book.  As always, there are minor changes, but this movie made Harry Potter what it is today.  Everythingthe set design, the costumes, the casting, the make upwas 100% on point and this movie represents all that a mook should be.

Why you might disagree:  Huge fans of Harry Potter tend to prefer the darker part of the series as opposed to the youthful, cheery first installments. That being said, I almost feel that as the movies went along they became more of a disappointment, while leaving Sorcerer’s Stone behind with its PG rating and 10 year old lead actors.  Some fans also hated Chris Columbus’ directing in Sorcerer’s Stone (as well as Chamber of Secrets) and may not find this movie as delightful as I did.

Kreativ Blogger Award

Yet again, Mookology has been honored with another award.  I hope my gratitude radiates from this computer screen and out to all my lovely readers.  Without my followers Mookology would not be a success and I am forever grateful for all of you!

Kreativ Blogger Award, Books, Films, Book Adaptations, Film Adaptations

Kreativ Blogger Award

 

My third blog award has been given to me by armchairauthor over at Ink.  Funnily enough, I had awarded Ink the Sunshine Award last week and received this fantastic reward in return :)  If you haven’t already, definitely check Ink out – it is an awesome blog with tons of great reviews and goodies.  Upon receiving this award, I am supposed to tell you guys ten things you probably didn’t know about me.  Here we go…

 

  1. I can speed read.
  2. I paint my nails 3-4 times a week.  It is a problem.
  3. My best friend has been my best friend since we were 6 months old.  We are now both 23.
  4. I love to bake cupcakes
  5. I am terrified of spiders.
  6. I’ve never been stung by a bee.
  7. I can’t burp (trust me, I have tried everything, it is impossible)
  8. Music is my escape from reality.
  9. I have 3 tattoos… and counting.
  10. Hanson has been one of my favorite bands since I was 8 years old, and I am proud of it!

Now that you know a little bit more about me, here are some of my favorite blogs which I have nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award: Stay Writing Art, Fandango Groovers, Cupcake Crusaders, Flickers of Wonder, The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say “Shhh”, Earl’s World, Cresci ReviewsLove Your Movies, Book It, and Fay Hearts! ♥.

Check ’em all out!  Thanks again for all of your support – keep reading and come back this week for some new Mook reviews :)

Mook Review: Snow White Part One – “Mirror Mirror”

Since there are two Snow White inspired movies being released in 2012, I am splitting this post in two parts.  Part One will compare “Mirror Mirror” and Part Two will compare “Snow White & the Huntsman.”  Happy reading!

Little Snow-White  Fairy Tale from the Brothers Grimm

Brothers Grimm Little Snow White Book Cover Mookology Book review

via whisperingbooks.com

Little Snow-White can be considered the beginning of fairy tales in popular culture.  The story was first adapted by Disney in 1937 with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” which also marked the first animated feature film of the Disney corporation.  Snow White as a character became the quintessential Fairy-Tale Princess, accompanied with her sweet singing voice and cute animal friends… but this concept of Snow White is very off-track with its original telling.

The Brothers Grimm debuted Little Snow-White in 1812; a story that reflects the one we have come to love, but with much deeper complications.  It begins as usual, the King and Queen have a baby named Snow White, and the Queen dies shortly after.  The King remarries to a vain woman, obsessed with her own beauty and envious of the beautiful Snow White.   When the magic mirror tells the Queen “Snow White is the fairest of them all” she sends out the Huntsman to kill Snow White in the woods and bring back her heart and lungs for proof – quite a dark twist for a children’s tale.  The Huntsman, captivated by Snow White’s pure beauty, sets her free and brings the Queen the heart and lungs of a boar instead.

In the woods, Snow White finds salvation in the home of seven little dwarves, but succumbs to the evil Queen three times, the last time ultimately leading her to death by the infamous poisonous apple.  The dwarves, distraught by her death, place her in a glass coffin so her beauty can always be seen.  Some years later, a Prince wandering through the woods finds Snow White and falls madly in love with her.  He asks the dwarves if he can have her coffin and as the Prince’s servants walk away with the coffin they trip, causing the piece of poisonous apple to dislodge from Snow White’s throat and awaken her.  The Prince and Snow White get married and the Queen, still vain and housing severe hatred for Snow White, is punished by being forced to wear slippers made of hot iron and dance until her death.

Not quite the kiddy tale we all knew and loved, huh?  Little Snow-White is a great story for a number of reasons, but none of which is its great message to children.  It has been adapted and transformed time and time again but consistently reveals the true evil that can be caused by vanity.

“Mirror Mirror” Directed  by Tarsem Singh

Mirror Mirror, Tarsem Singh, Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Mookology

via IMDB.com

“Mirror Mirror”, a comedic version of the traditional tale, opened to a dismal 3rd place in the box office, bringing in a low $5.9 million.  This was somewhat expected, considering “The Hunger Games” -which dominated the box office the weekend before- continued its reign throughout the week.  Although this film was received by critics with mediocre reviews, I found myself entertained by Tarsem Singh’s film.

“Mirror Mirror” had some original plot lines that deviated from the typical Snow White.  For instance, the role of Armie Hammer as Prince Alcott put him in a love triangle between the Queen and Snow White – something that has virtually never been done before.  I also loved how the seven dwarves were thieves rather than simple miners; this gave them a darker edge and brought out vigor in Snow White’s character as well.  But for all the originality it brought to the tale, it lacked in substance.  Every scene seemed to be floating on the surface of something real, too sugar coated and sweet whilst trying to maintain its deviation from the Disney version of the story.

The cinematography, costume, and set design in “Mirror Mirror” was very spectacular and dream like, which emphasized the fairy tale aspect grounded in this story.  Lily Collins was an impeccable looking Snow White, so beautiful and tenderhearted it was as if Collins were made for this part.  However, Julia Roberts’ role as the Queen was a bit unconvincing.  I just didn’t buy her genuine meanness and hatred for Snow White, and I decided halfway through the movie that this was definitely not Roberts’ best role.

In my opinion, if you are going to make a new Snow White movie in 2012, you gotta give the viewer something different.  This story has been done time and time again so, when a major production like “Mirror Mirror” comes around, you expect a movie that completely turns Snow White upside down.  With this film, it didn’t happen.  And that is exactly my problem with the film.  I was entertained, but I wasn’t floored, and “Mirror Mirror” left me wanting a little something extra.

Mook Rating  ★★★

The Sunshine Blog Award

Sunshine Blog AwardWords can hardly express how grateful I am to receive a second blog award!  It is with immense happiness that I thank Write, Wrong, and Everything InBetween Reviews for honoring Mookology with the Sunshine Award.  It is also my birthday today, which makes this blog posting extra special :)

To put it simply, the Sunshine Award goes to those special blogs out there who just make others happy with their posting.  As a writer, this is one of the best gifts I could ever receive.  To make someone smile through my writing is a wonderful accomplishment, and one of my main intentions in what I do.  Here are the rules of this lovely award:

After posting the award picture and thanking the blogger that nominated you, you must answer a few funny questions and nominate 10 more blogs for the Sunshine Award.  Here are my answers:

  • Favorite color: Yellow :)  It is bright and happy and reminds me of Spring, which is my favorite season!
  • Favorite animal:  The red panda!  This species is incredibly adorable and also very endangered :/  I also absolutely LOVE big cats, especially tigers and leopards.  This is a hard question for me since I love all animals and hope to work with them some day in my future.
  • Favorite number: 4 and 2.
  • Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Arizona Iced Tea and Coffee.
  • Facebook or Twitter: They are both great for different things.  I use Twitter more for my followers and Facebook for my friends.
  • My passion:  Writing, music, and cupcakes – in that order!
  • Prefer Giving or Getting presents:  Giving! I am the worst present giver ever because when I get something for someone I know they will truly love I get very anxious to give it to them.  Receiving presents isn’t bad either, though ;)
  • Favorite pattern: I love paisley and stripes.
  • Favorite day of the week: Wednesday aka: Humpday.  It means the week is halfway over!
  • Favorite flower: Sunflowers and Daffodils.

The following 10 blogs are my nominees for the Sunshine Award, and you should all check them out!

  1. The Reading Itch
  2. Ink
  3. Glorious Treats
  4. The Bitchin’ Kitchin’
  5. Honestly…WTF
  6. Indie Rock Cafe
  7. Sugar Derby
  8. Newdust
  9. Eat, Sleep, Television
  10. Ashley’s Homemade Adventures

Congratulations bloggers!