Annihilation

Hey Booklovers!

How’s your month going so far? In terms of reading it’s been terrible for me. I haven’t been able to catch up much with both the books am currently reading – Eliza and her Monsters and The woman in the Window. I find them both to be slow and dragging. Not hooking me enough. But for today am back with another movie review!

Yes. It’s a book turned into a movie. Annihilation based on the book of the same name by Jeff Vandermeer. I have reviewed the trilogy under the name Area X on my site. Do check it out here.

Coming back to the movie. I loved it. Purely on the basis of turning books to movies. Usually they fall flat on your face but this one was done tastefully. It wasn’t so much as trying to redo the whole book but taking elements of it and taking a completely different approach to it.

So this is the gist of the movie:

Lena is waiting for her husband Kale who is in the military, he has been gone for an year on a secret mission and she doesn’t know if he will ever come back but he does. Suddenly and literally out of nowhere. But his comeback is short. He suffers seizures and is admitted immediately in the same facility he was working for. This time Lena is interested in working for the facility in hopes of rescuing her husband.

This ‘facility’ is the headquarters of Area X, an unidentified phenomenon that occurred three years ago, situated in the Southern Reach. A team of five women are deployed to enter “The Shimmer” including Lena. What they uncover is the rest of the story.

For someone who has read the books it’s obvious there are a lot of changes. For one, there are no names in the first book and everything has been reinterpreted for visual purposes.

I found the camaraderie so much better between the team members which was sorely missing in the book. (On a side note they reminded me of Ghost Busters in their get up and attire!) Lena is much stronger than she is in the book. Even has military background. They all talk like normal team members are supposed to unlike in the book which is filled with small talk and suspicion.

The book invokes a feeling of dread despite nothing happening in it but the movie felt more calm yet unnerving. That’s the beauty of Area X. There is no mention of a topographic anomaly in the movie (nor the lighthouse keeper), only the lighthouse is important.

The climax was weird, the dance between Lena’s double was creepy and a bit confusing as to what’s going on – at least to me. But the ending was satisfactory, for a lack of better word. It could have been worst but it makes do with what it has.

Overall the movie can be watched even if you haven’t read the book which is awesome and the gist of the book is all in there. Strong performances from the lead Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaacs. The psychologist nailed her character (who is also the team leader) but lacked screen time I guess. I wanted to see more of her. The other three were adequate. The movie is good on its own.

Bibliogyan rating – Must watch for sci-fi fans. Watch it for something new and different.

The Alienist

Hey Booklovers! August is almost over and am wrapping up this month with my review on The Alienist. How has your month been so far?

Based on the book of the same name written by Celeb Carr and featuring an excellent screenplay, The Alienist starring Daniel Bruhl, Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans is a historical crime drama. It is one of the best pieces of work I have seen in a long time. The story is about an alienist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler by whom we mean one who studies people who are alienated from themselves (i.e, mentally unstable) played by Daniel Bruhl, the new assistant to the police commissioner Sara Howard played by Dakota and an illustrater cum friend of Dr.Kreizler John Moore played by Luke.

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The story is about a serial killer on loose who is targeting young boy whores by mutilating them in the most harsh manner I have seen in a series. Its absolutely heartless and brutal. Dr. Kreizler has a way with kids and tries to learn their minds which is his favourite part of the job so naturally when there is a child killer on loose he is more than interested to solve it especially when the police themselves aren’t interested in doing so. Barring the new police commissioner, Theodore roosevelt played to the point by Brian Geraghty, rest of the police force are corrupt including the ex chief who keeps making unnecessary appearances.

Meticulous in its detail, and lush in its recreation of 19th-century New York City, the series is nothing short of a cinematic experience. The casting is perfect and the acting is top notch, so much so they are the characters they play. Luke’s John Moore is unsure of himself having been left at the alter by his fiance recently. Both Kreizlar and Howard have their own daddy issues to resolve. The story also involves two forensic science detectives and its fun to watch them learn much of what we take for granted today specially in the area of fingerprints.

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Dakota specially is fantastic in portraying a woman in a mans world. Sure of herself but unsure in the presence of callous men. Trying to make a mark for herself despite none taking her seriously just because she is a woman. Every emotion she conveys comes across on her face, naturally. She is a born actor. Where as Daniel Bruhl commands every frame he is present in with ease. All have deeper mysteries, no doubt to be explored further in the rest of the series.

The alienist is one series I would not recommend you miss. Its crafted with such detail and atmosphere that once you start watching, you cannot stop. Thankfully season 2 is under production based on the book The Angel of Darkness by the same author.

Bibliogyan rating – Turn off the lights, forget everything else and Binge watch… The Alienist!

13 Reasons Why

Hey Booklovers! Today I ain’t reviewing a book for you guys. This time am giving my two cents on a Netflix show based on the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

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Briefly stating, the story is about a teenage girl who commits suicide and leaves thirteen tapes stating why for thirteen people and our lead is one of them.

We meet Clay Jenson in the first episode to whom the tapes are delivered at his doorsteps by someone unknown. Once he plays them we get to meet the rest of the main characters including our other protagonist Hannah Baker, the one who has committed suicide.

I don’t know what it is but I found the whole series a little ridiculous. Sure bullying is a serious problem and should be handled with the right attitude and seriousness but committing suicide? I don’t think so.

Of course, there’s the whole backstory to why she commits suicide through various characters and how they behaved and treated her which is pretty much accurate with regard to high schoolers. I hated all of them. I couldn’t imagine tolerating anyone of them in school, even the ‘nice’ ones.

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I remember some people wanted to boycott this show because it glorifies suicide by making it look pretty and personal. Millions came forward because they identified with the story and I can see why but except for the flaws in the characters none of them including Clay Jenson made any impact on me.

Maybe am been harsh having seen better series and a bunch of high schoolers and their problems seem to be silly and I confess I haven’t read the book either, so maybe the book is better? It’s a good time pass for sure but reaches nowhere near Stranger Things which has achieved cult status for me (and everyone, duh?).

Definitely the topic portrayed in the series must be discussed and teens must find a way to open up and have proper support system. In that sense the series is spot on. I have read many a reviews where it has heavily influenced them and find it easier to talk about their problems more openly. But that’s all what I find redeemable about it.

The acting is top notch. The supporting characters have done an outstanding job so much so that I seriously dislike many of them or maybe the writing is just that good?

Sometimes I felt like it was dragging on for too much. After some point I found myself annoyed at Hannah bakers character as to why if she could take so much time and thought to make those tapes then why not divulge something to your parents instead (whose sorrow is heart wrenching to watch) especially her mom whom she was clearly close to. But no. She rather make those tapes.

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I understand it’s a TV show whose purpose was to showcase teenage bullying, angst and high-school problems but it just seems more glorified for no reason. Even Clays character was weird and what the hell was up with Tony?

Clearly they have decided and at the time of writing this review released the second season but suffice to say am least interested in watching it. Maybe I will watch it some time later but not just yet.

Bibliogyan rating – Not worthy of binge watching…But watch it for the message.