Feb 17, 2009

It's not Caroline

It's Coraline. This weekend (Friday the 13th in fact!) we saw "Coraline." It was wonderful. Based on a children's story by our favorite Mr. Neil Gaiman, it was a stop motion 3-D feature by the director of Nightmare Before Christmas (I thought Tim Burton was the director, but apparently not).

It was very true to the book, the largest difference I noticed was the addition of a male character that I'm not sure was necessary, but it helped explain a little bit of exposition and didn't detract from the imaginative story in any way.

Coraline is about a girl whose parents have moved into an apartment in the country. She's into exploring, and the building she's living in is hundreds of years old and very fun to explore. Her parents are a little neglectful, they're busy writing a gardening book, even though neither of them care for gardening. While exploring she finds a small door behind the wallpaper that leads her to a world very much like her own, but very different. (Think a dark Alice in Wonderland with less opium-induced influence and you'll get the idea).

The story is great, but the amazing thing was the cinematography and the visual effects. Tracie and I agree, it's one of the most beautiful and imaginative movies we have ever seen.

I'm not sure it's for very young ones, it's quite frightening in some places, but it's definitely an owner, and will eventually find itself on our movie shelf, next to "Stardust" and "Alice in Wonderland."

Feb 11, 2009

Vast Active Living Intelligence System

I finally finished reading "Valis" by Philip K. Dick. It was one of the shortest books I've taken the longest time to read. Let me say that again. I don't think I've spent over a month reading a 250 page book since I was 12.

It was one of the weirdest, most bizarre, most confusing, and most enlightening books I've ever read.

I first heard of it when watching LOST, (spoiler ahead of last season) when Locke has Ben imprisoned, he gives him a book to read. That book is Valis. In our book club, Tracie chose to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (better known as Blade Runner) also by Philip K. Dick. I enjoyed DADoES, not like it's my new favorite book, but enough to want to read something else by Dick. I remembered hearing about Valis, and chose to read it.


Half the time I think "this book is just insane." Literally. The other half I thought "this book is so brilliant." The other halves (there are 3) I thought "Philip K. Dick is on a lot of drugs," "a lot of his theories on God and revelation are similar to deeper doctrine my church teaches," and "is this book insane, or the author, or the reader?" which is kind of the point.

The book deals with one Horselover Fat, (that's the main character, at least for most of the book) who, along with his friends, begin questioning things about God, justice, and sanity. After a trip to a mental hospital, northern California, outer space, and ancient Rome, Horselover Fat, Philip K. Dick (the author, also a character in the book) friends David and Kevin come closer to God than they ever thought possible.

I still don't quite know what to make of the book, one review of it I think says it best, "you cannot enjoy this book without it altering the way you think." I think there are many people that would read it and think it's nonsensical ravings, others would think it's brilliant and inspired. I'm somewhere in between, and recommend the book to anyone who's looking for something different to read, you will not be disappointed. 5 out of 5 stars and 1 out of 1 pink lasers.