“The Silver Linings Playbook” First Official Trailer Released

Jennifer Lawrence, the queen of mooks, and her “Serena” co-star Bradley Cooper are hitting theaters this November with another book adaptation “The Silver Linings Playbook.”  Based off the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, the story follows a mentally compromised man named Pat, who has lost virtually everything, as he moves back home with his parents and tries to reconnect with his wife.  During this process, he meets Tiffany, a disturbed woman with her own set of baggage and problems.

Having not read the novel, this brand new trailer does have me eager to pursue it.  I am not a fan of romantic comedies or any sappy love stories in general, but something about “The Silver Linings Playbook” seems utterly quirky and wonderful.  It also doesn’t hurt that the film features exceptional actors; Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro and Jennifer Lawrence are the movies main stars.  Check out the trailer below and enjoy.  “The Silver Linings Playbook” is scheduled to be released November 21, 2012.


Mook Review: Snow White Part Two – “Snow White & the Huntsman”

Since two Snow White inspired movies were released in 2012, I split this post in two parts.  Part One compares “Mirror Mirror” and Part Two compares “Snow White & the Huntsman.”  Click to read Mook Review: Snow White Part One – “Mirror Mirror” which includes a review of Little Snow-White by the Brothers Grimm.  Happy Reading!

“Snow White & the Huntsman”  Directed by Rupert Sanders

Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Rupert  Sanders, Snow White

via IMDB.com

Admittedly, this was the Snow White movie I was much more excited to see this year, as it seemed less kid-friendly and more dark and intense.  I really liked the alterations to the story; all of the elements of the original Little Snow-White were basically there with a subtle twist which made “Snow White and the Huntsman” interesting.  Specifically, Queen Ravena’s rise to power was much different from the original tale right from the beginning.  She intentionally kills the King and overtakes his Kingdom, which eventually becomes withered, poor, and helpless under her evil rule.  The Queen steals beauty from the young girls in the kingdom in order to stay youthful, but when Snow White comes of age the Queen realizes it is Snow who will break her spell.

While Kristen Stewart definitely looked gorgeous as Snow White, my problem with her character was that she barely had any lines.  I’m not a fan of Stewart’s acting at all but I think what happened in this movie isn’t her fault.  I was hoping to see Stewart portray a role that we are not used to seeing her in and potentially break out of her stereotype. I wanted to see this Snow White be strong willed, brave, and exciting but instead I found her to be meek, helpless, and relying on the help of others (ie: Bella in “Twilight”).  When she had her big ‘waking up’ moment at the end of the film, encouraging her supporters to fight for her honor, it was a little unbelievable.  Although I do think Stewart brought much more emotion at that moment than ever before, it didn’t necessarily work for me.

Despite that problem, I thought the movie was pretty fantastic.  The visuals were great, I loved the changes to the storyline (not to mention Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman was oh so lovely to look at).  The final scene was a little strange to me.  I didn’t think it accomplished much, but it wont be the last we see of Snow White since a sequel has officially been approved.  If you are into fantasy and fairy tales, I would definitely give this film a shot.

Mook Rating  ★★★ 1/2

“Catching Fire” to be Released November 22, 2013!

Catching Fire Book Cover, Catching Fire, Suzanne collins, Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer Lawrence, Peeta Mellark, Josh Hutcherson

via Wikipedia.org

Don’t fret faithful fans! Lionsgate has officially announced the theatrical release date of “Catching Fire.”  The second installment to the wildly popular HG franchise will be in theaters November 22, 2013 which is also being filmed for IMAX digital release.  “Catching Fire” will begin it’s filming the fall of this year, three weeks of which will be spent on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Rumors have been circulating like crazy about casting for new characters.  In talks are Armie Hammer and Garrett Hedlund for Finnick Odair, while Kristen Bell has openly expressed interest in taking the role of Johanna Mason.  Reportedly, the role of Plutarch Heavensbee has been offered to Philip Seymour Hoffman, a move that would greatly contribute to the franchise’s already stellar cast.  If you missed out on “The Hunger Games” be sure to catch it on DVD/Blu-Ray when it is released this fall.

The Mook List – #8


The Outsiders

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton, Movie cover, Book Cover, greasers, Socs, ponyboy curtis, sodapop curtis

via IMDB.com

Why it worked: This story is one of the only things that I remember standing out to me in Middle School.  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was assigned to my seventh grade English class and I immediately fell in love with it.  I distinctly remember reading past the assigned chapters and reading intensely into the night, enamored by the world of Ponyboy Curtis.  The movie “The Outsiders” was something we watched in a grade-wide assembly, and these characters came alive on screen in a prolific and wonderful way, acting out scenes almost exact from the book.  To this day, I can still recite Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” verbatim.  

Why you might disagree:  To be honest, I don’t know.  I fell in love with The Outsider’s and everything about it, both the book and the movie.  One thing from the movie that was maybe a little hokey was the stereotypical costuming of the Greasers and the Socs.  The Greasers were VERY greasy and Soc’s were super clean-cut.  Otherwise, this film was filled with up-and-coming stars (C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, etc.) and was an important movie for it’s time.

Mook Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin  Written by Lionel Shriver

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver, Book, Mook, Mookology, Orange Prize

via Wikipedia.org

We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of the most inventive, precise, and well written novels I have ever had the pleasure to read… although the context of this story may not be so pleasureful.  Lionel Shriver proves to be a magnificent author and one hundred percent deserving of the Orange Prize she received for this novel.  We Need to Talk About Kevin chronicles the aftermath of a school massacre which was plotted and carried out by our narrator Eva’s son, Kevin Khatchadourian.  In the form of an epistolary, we read letter after letter from Eva to her husband Franklin, all of which are desperate to talk about their childs’ wrongdoing and heeding no response.  It is unclear, until the very end of the novel, whether Eva is actually sending out these letters or just using them as a tool to relieve herself of her own detrimental thoughts.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is dense in its 400+ pages. It is hard to articulate everything about this book I would love to talk about but I believe the main focus of this book is how much Eva truly understands her son while, simultaneously, misunderstanding him completely.  Eva knows that Kevin is morbid, disturbed, and highly manipulative but she also knows that she will never understand him.  This is where Eva and Franklin are at odds and why Eva is so desperate to communicate with her estranged husband; their marriage fell apart at the hands of their evil son.

This novel spans the life of Kevin, from an infant crying incessantly in his crib to a teenager locked away in jail.  As a reader, we become addicted to his twisted ways and, as disturbing as some moments in this book may be, there is no way you can stop reading.  In this aspect, this is where Shriver shines.  The ‘school massacre’ concept is unoriginal, but We Need to Talk About Kevin puts the issue in a new perspective, and the resolution of this novel is that there is no resolution.  It is real, honest, and raw.  We Need to Talk About Kevin is definitely worth your reading time.

“We Need to Talk About Kevin”  Directed by Lynne Ramsay

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver, Movie, Film, Book Adaptation, Film Adaptation, Lynne Ramsay, Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

via IMDB.com

What an incredible adaptation.  As you may have learned through Mookology, it is nearly impossible to identically replicate a novel on screen.  Changes must be made, and whether they are big or large in scale are usually left to the screen writer and director.  Since Shriver’s novel was an epistolary, I knew the movie would do either one of two things: 1) Have voice overs of Eva writing her letters or 2) abolish the letters completely.  I am very happy that they decided to eliminate the letters, which saved it from potential hokey-ness, and instead used pure movement to articulate Eva’s life.

The commendable work of Tilda Swinton is just extraordinary in this film.  She is truly captivating, and shows so much with so little to say.  The idea to have Eva trying to get rid of the red paint that has vandalized her home was pure genius; throughout the film, which is intertwined with flashbacks to her life with Kevin, she is scrubbing away at the red paint which covers her hands and body.  It represents the blood of the victims that Eva feels is on her hands.  One of the most pertinent themes of the novel was Eva’s responsibility for what happened with Kevin, even though we realize it was purely out of her control.

Obviously, there is a lot left out of the movie.  I felt like a few really evil things were missing, particularly the scene where Kevin is playing with Celia’s glass eye as a token of what he had done, but the film moved along without it.  The only thing I felt really just didn’t make sense was the title in association with the film.  In the book it is obvious that Eva’s letters represent her needs to talk about what happened but, in the film, this doesn’t come across.  There is no one that Eva is communicating with about her feelings on the matter so the title doesn’t seem as related as it should – but I guess that is just me nitpicking.

Ezra Miller is the perfect Kevin, so perfect he almost seems too close to the character.  His purely sinister portrayal of Kevin throughout the film is sublime and we truly see a difference in Kevin at the end of the movie, when he confesses his “I don’t know” to his mother.  “We Need to Talk About Kevin” was very well done for the immense material it had to work with and I truly felt this was a great adaptation of a phenomenal novel.

Mook Rating  ★★★★

Mook Review: Hick

Hick  Written by Andrea Portes

Hick, Andrea Portes, Book Cover, Luli McMullen, Eddie Kreezer, Mookology Review

via BN.com

Hick is the debut novel of Andrea Portes.  Kicking off in Palmyra, Nebraska, this story follows 13-year-old Luli McMullen, a runaway with ambitions to make her big break in Las Vegas.  Luli is raised in a household where she isn’t cared much about, having two alcoholic parents who don’t get along much.  Since Luli is our narrator, she explains how dismal and bored she is of her hometown, anxious to escape.  The first thing I noticed about Luli was her transcendence between youth and adulthood.  At points in her storytelling, it is very obvious that Luli is an inexperienced and vulnerable 13-year-old girl with an imagination that runs wild but, at other times, it is almost astonishing at how grown up she forces herself to become as she enters a very rough and scary new world.

The story really begins to unfold once Luli meets Glenda on the road, an older-sister type who takes Luli under her wing (in addition to giving her cocaine and teaching her how to steal).  Her previous encounter with Eddie seems out of place, but comes full circle once the two women run into him again.  The novel very much felt disjointed and without a traditional flow, which I liked.  It moved as an unplanned journey would.  The most problematic thing for me with this book was sometimes Luli’s voice felt muddled and not authentic.  Portes definitely could have delved deeper into the characters persona, instead of having drastically different components put into one book.

Hick isn’t a story for everyone.  Towards the end of the novel, Luli’s experiences become disturbing and quite heartbreaking, something that those who aren’t into darker stories may not want to read about.  Eddie becomes the catalyst for drama after he basically kidnaps Luli and uses her as his own sadistic possession.  When Glenda finally resurfaces and comes to Luli’s rescue, the moment of elation is soon overshadowed by violence and death.

In the end, I found myself rooting for Luli’s happiness.  She is a hick, there is no changing that, but the fact that Luli is able to recognize what she could have if she gets away from her old life is mature.  She does not have a solid family, so Luli needs to pave her own way.  Hick was a really cool book and I’d recommend it to those who want to read something slightly edgy and dark, but still easy enough to breeze through quickly.

“Hick” – Directed by Derick Martini

Hick, Movie, Movie Poster, Derick Martini, Chloe Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Andrea Portes

via IMDB.com

When I saw the preview for “Hick” I was pretty excited.  I thought it looked well-cast and had an edgy appeal to it that made me really want to see it.  Unfortunately, the film was a little bit underwhelming.  It wasn’t that the movie was necessarily bad it just wasn’t very good and I thought it was missing some major components.

They use Luli’s drawings in the movie to shed light on the fact that she is still just a kid, but I felt that the film honed in on the story of her stillborn baby brother rather than her family life or actual feelings.  The movie could have used the voice-over and art component to explain how, and when, Luli learns how to use her sexuality as a weapon.  In the novel, Luli realizes her power as a woman in the very beginning of the story when Ray tries to come on to her.  After this, Luli realizes that she can make a mans “eyes swirl” and get them to do whatever she wants just by being pretty.  This very important piece of Luli’s character is void in the film.

Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Eddie Kreezer was pretty spot on considering I don’t find Redmayne to be the most phenomenal actor.  There was something about him that was attractive and sexy yet perverse and frightening at the same time – exactly how Eddie is described in the book.  Despite the great casting for this role, I did not find the entire situation with Luli to be as dark as I wanted it to be.  In the novel, Eddie repeatedly rapes Luli and ties her up for days before being rescued, but in the movie it seems to be just a one day excursion.  Maybe it is just my affinity for making cruel situations realistic in a movie, but this entire aspect of “Hick” was really lost.  I feel that most people who see the film, without reading the book, won’t feel remotely anything for Luli’s well being.

“Hick” was not the worst movie ever made it just wasn’t as excellent as I wanted it to be.  Andrea Portes provided a really great story that could have worked wonders on the big screen, but poor directorial choices cause “Hick” to flatline.  If you have interest in it, go see the movie, but it is definitely not a must-see.

Mook Rating  ★★