May 22nd, 2016


Book Critique 2016 – 02/15/2016: True Believer

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5
Recommendation: A good book for all critics out there who look for proof for everything

True Believer was written by Nicholas Sparks and published in April 2005. This was the first book of his that I had ever read. An accidental pick up book I must say that put me on track to read some of his books (7 in total I have read so far). Initially when I had started this book I clearly remember trying to connect to the author's style, the plot, the characters and the setting; and some chapters I was bored. But as I plowed through the book, somewhere in the middle everything started falling into place. All of a sudden it just clicked to me. And there after this book and six others I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. Here is my take on this book.

Jeremy Marsh, a debunker on the supernatural, was from New York; 37-year old handsome, divorced and part of media elite, living and breathing New York. He also had his own fame on National Television. So what was he doing in Boone Creek, North Carolina? That's exactly what Lexie Darnell thought about him when had first arrived in the town. Jeremy had come to Boone Creek to investigate the ghostly lights that appear in the town cemetery but only on certain moon phases. Lexie runs the town library and was left orphan when her mother was killed in an accident. She has her grandmother Doris McClellan to take care of. Doris was the one who had invited Jeremy to investigate.

Jeremy, being a natural debunker, had his reservations on the truth about ghost lights but couldn’t resist from coming. However, meeting Lexie, spikes his interest further towards her. Lexie however stays guarded of him, even though she agrees to be his tour guide. Jeremy expected this to be a quick work and head back to New York. But Lexie had changed his plans and thoughts. Through trepidation and hesitation, both Lexie and Jeremy grow closer to each other and eventually start falling in love. But Lexie knows that Jeremy is an outsider and wouldn’t stay while her future is with Boone Creek.

Will Jeremy crack the secret behind the ghost lights? Will the media be exposed to it? Will Jeremy go back to New York or stay? Will Lexie go with him or stay in Boone Creek as she wanted to? Will they over come their skepticism about love and heart, give-in to their feelings? Well, needless to say you have to read it to know.

As I said, it started off a bit rocky for me, but once I got into it I loved the book. Hope you enjoy too.

Movie Critique 2016 – 02/16/2016: Deadpool

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 2.5 / 5
My Recommendation: A confusing character for me but a good pick for a one-time watch.

Deadpool is the eight installment in the X-Men series based on the character of the same name and released in 2016. It was portrayed by Ryan Reynolds. The movie is about a superhero who doesn’t want to be called a superhero and at the same time tries to help everyone in need as best as he can.

Despite the humungous box office success, I can say that I am not a fan of this super hero. Why you ask? Well, go on and read my take.

The basic plot revolves around a former special forces operative Wade Wilson who works as a mercenary in New York city. He helps people in his style and doesn’t like to be called as a superhero. He meets an escort Vanessa Carlysle, dates her and proposes to marry her. However he gets diagnosed with cancer and moves apart from Vanessa. When a mysterious recruiter approaches him to give him an experimental cure for his cancer, he goes for it so he could be with Vanessa forever. He meets Ajax and Angel Dust who inject him with serum supposedly to cure cancer. But he learns that they are creating super-soldiers with mutant genes and to be sold as slaves to rich customers. Wade tries to escape but he gets converted to a creatures with burnt like scars all over his body although his cancer gets cured.

What follows next is his acceptance of becoming Deadpool, his attempt to get back to Vanessa, his attempt to use his powers for the good and finally his goal to destroy the laboratory where Ajax was producing more such super-soldiers and eventually get rid of Ajax and Angel Dust.

This was the first time I had seen this character in a film and not having read about him before as well I went in with no expectations. I can say that I liked a few things about Deadpool and a few things I didn’t.

What I liked about the movie:

1) The non-superhero complex of the Wade - someone who doesn’t want to be recognized even though he has done good for others. That grabbed my attention.
2) The opening credits - Super clever by the director and cinematographer. Who would put on screen "Produced by Asshats"? Super brilliant. Not only an eye-catcher but also a conversation point.

3) The flow of the story - Its part flashback and part current. The mix tied the entire plot very well.

What I did not like about the movie:

1) The constant bickering and yapping of Wade was getting on my nerve after a certain time. He just doesn’t shut up. I wished that he could keep quiet for at least two minutes on the screen when he is shown. But no, every frame he was in he was talking. Aargh
2) The "f" bombs - Oh there were so many of them. At a point I thought that if this movie was playing in India more than half the movie would be just "beeps".
3) Connecting to the character - Normally when I watch a movie I end up connecting to the characters so I can enjoy the emotions and words much more. Here I just couldn’t connect to Deadpool. No matter how much I tried he just ended up on the outside of my border refusing to come in to connect.
4) Deadpool appeared in X-Mens Origins: Wolverine first before he had his own movie. But since I could not connect to the character I couldn't place him in that movie either until I read online.

All in all a good one-time entertainer if you can survive the "F" bombs.

Book Critique 2016 – 02/17/2016: At First Sight

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5
Recommendation: An excellent work that revolves around the basic emotion between two people - believe.

At First Sight was the sequel to True Believer published in 2005 and written by Nicholas Sparks. The story here begins a few months after where True Believer ends. Plot opens with Jeremy Marsh and Lexie Darnell getting ready to have Jeremy move from New York to Boone Creek, North Carolina. We know that in the conclusion of True Believer, Lexie tells Jeremy that she is pregnant and it would be a girl per Doris (she is the resident psychic). But they don’t share with anyone except Jeremy's friend Alvin and Lexie's grandmother Doris.

Now back in Boone Creek, Jeremy comes across a writer's block while the stress around him builds up - setting up a new house; keeping the baby a secret, planning for wedding, and above all the friendship between Lexie and Rodney. If you remember Rodney from the prequel, he is the deputy sheriff and had wanted Lexie for a long time until Jeremy came along. In this plot, Rodney is in relationship with Rachel, Lexie's longtime friend but have trouble. To add to all this, Jeremy receives an anonymous email with just a line "how do you know the baby is yours?" Already stressed Jeremy fights with Lexie over this. In the meanwhile Rachel goes away without telling anyone leaving Lexie supporting Rodney as a friend more and more. Much to the frustration of Jeremy, a follow-up email arrives a few days later that says "Hasn't she told you the truth? Read Doris's journal. You'll find the answer there."  Given the fact that Jeremy had got divorced because of his inability to have children, these emails cause more suspicion in his mind. This time around when Jeremy confronts Lexie they end up in a bitter fight and he leaves Boone Creek to New York albeit to attend his bachelor party.

Will Jeremy come back? What is the truth in Doris's book? Who is sending those emails? Will the problems between Rachel and Rodney clear or will they cause more rift between Lexie and Jeremy? What about the baby? Is she really his? What is the fate of Jeremy and Lexie? Will Jeremy get over his writer's block? Do read to know the answers.

I must say that this was a heart-wrenching book. So much grief and so much sad happens with brief glimpses of happiness that this book left me with a heavy heart than his other books. Typical of his writing style that someone has to die in the end, here also someone dies. But not necessarily I have to agree with the writer on the ending. I would have loved it to be a much more happier ending. However, his title says it all - At First Sight do you believe everything you see or have patience to believe others to give you the sight. That is the crux of the plot so it perhaps makes sense with the ending.

All in all a good book pursuing that very basic human emotion.