Southbury Teen Review Blog

Books, music, movies, and more!

Zombie Fiction – Not Dead Yet October 22, 2013

Filed under: Books,Movies & TV — Heather @ 10:05 pm
Tags:

Zombies are more popular than ever.  Screen adaptations of novels like World War Z along with classic mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies have extended the life on this monster genre, perhaps outlasting the vampire craze.

In the sprit of Halloween and riding the coat-tails of Zombie pop-culture popularity, I proudly present my top  titles featuring the un-dead.

5.  Zombie Blondes by Brian James

zombie blondes

 “From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.  A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.  The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.  But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: If she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .”

4.  Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

warm bodies book

“R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.”

3.  The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

the walking dead

“The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living”

2.  Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones

zombies hate stuff

“Zombies hate clowns. They also hate hippies, not to mention zip-lines, penguins, moon penguins, nudists, weddings, sharing, and kittens. They really hate unicorns, and strangely don’t mind Canadians. Each ghoulishly colorful painting reveals a funny and unexpected scene of zombie disgruntlement, cataloging the stuff that really riles up the walking dead (astronauts, rain, bagpipes, re-gifting, and more) with wit, humor, and, of course, brains. Zombies Hate Stuff offers an unexpected and irresistible perspective on the zombie apocalypse and the pop culture phenomenon that will not die.”

1.  Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan

apocalypse cow

“If you think you’ve seen it all — WORLD WAR Z, THE WALKING DEAD– you haven’t seen anything like this. From the twisted brain of Michael Logan comes Apocalypse Cow, a story about three unlikely heroes who must save Britain . . . from a rampaging horde of ZOMBIE COWS!

Forget the cud. They want blood.

It began with a cow that just wouldn’t die. It would become an epidemic that transformed Britain’s livestock into sneezing, slavering, flesh-craving four-legged zombies.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fate of the nation seems to rest on the shoulders of three unlikely heroes: an abattoir worker whose love life is non-existent thanks to the stench of death that clings to him, a teenage vegan with eczema and a weird crush on his maths teacher, and an inept journalist who wouldn’t recognize a scoop if she tripped over one.

As the nation descends into chaos, can they pool their resources, unlock a cure, and save the world?

Three losers.

Overwhelming odds.

One outcome . . .

Yup, we’re screwed.”

Advertisements
 

The Great Gatsby June 5, 2013

PG-13, 142 minutes, Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow

gatsby movieWhat’s that saying?  Everything old is new again?  Well, that’s certainly the case with The Great Gatsby.  The Roaring Twenties are hotter than ever – the music, the fashion, hairstyles – Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan!  Baz Luhrmann, the director famous for movies like Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, has given us another visual masterpiece.

We all know the story of Jay Gatsby and his tragic rise and fall by know, right?  I’ll assume you do.  (I highly recommend you re-acquaint yourself with this classic if you don’t!)

Tobey Maguire is the perfect Nick Carraway, the fresh-faced narrator and witness to the escapades to come.  His cousin Daisy Buchanan is played by Carey Mulligan.  Her fragile beauty and breezy indifference add depth to this shallow character.  The real standout performances for me were Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan and Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson.

Fans of the 1974 Francis Ford Coppola version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and a more genteel portrayal of Fitzgerald’s novel need not despair.  The 2013 version is different enough not to diminish its importance.  Luhrmann is famous for lavish spectacles and he does not disappoint.  The party scenes are a feast for the senses.  The true depth to the decadence of the times is felt more than in any other film adaptation.  Whether you’re a die-hard Fitzgerald fan or not, this one is a must see!

 

Beautiful Creatures June 3, 2013

beautiful creatures moviePG-13, 124 minutes, Alcon Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment

The highly anticipated screen version of Beautiful Creatures, the best-selling novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, has arrived.  While I wanted to catch this one in the theater, I had to wait until the DVD was released.  Although not a box office smash, I was pleasantly surprised by this adaptation.

For those of you familiar with the book, the supernaturally star-crossed teens need no introduction.  Ethan Wate is played by the adorkably handsome Alden Ehrenreich.  The mysterious new girl in town is played by Alice Englert.  Lena Duchannes has come to stay with her uncle Macon Ravenwood, played brilliantly by the inimitable Jeremy Irons.  Lena and her family are Casters, or what we’d call witches.  On her not-so-sweet-sixteenth birthday Lena will be claimed by either the light or dark side of the family.  Dark cousin Ridley arrives to make sure Lena joins her on the dark side.  Can Lena choose light over dark?   Can Lena’s and Ethan’s love survive?  Or will a two hundred year old curse tear them apart for good?

If you’ve read the book, then you know the answers anyway!  A few changes to the plot are not a deterrent from enjoying this film.  My only complaints are the absence of Marion the librarian and Macon’s dog Boo Radley.  Other than that, this was a more than decent adaptation.  Standout performances from Eileen Atkins as Gramma, Viola Davis as Amma, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lincoln round out a fantastic cast.  A definite must-see for fans of the book.

 

It’s Kind of a Funny Story February 12, 2013

Filed under: Movies & TV — Heather @ 11:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

Its-Kind-of-a-Funny-Story-Poster

PG-13, 101 minutes, Focus Features

This 2010 adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel by the same name was written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.  Lovers of Vizzini‘s book need not be disappointed by the film version, perhaps owed to the fact that Vizzini himself was one of the screenplay writers.

Fifteen year old Craig Gilner is over-worked and anxious about his high-pressured High School, the fictitious Executive Pre-Professional, modeled after Stuyvesant High School in NYC.  His depression has spiraled out of control until one night he contemplates jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge.  Instead, Craig goes to the ER, where he soon finds himself a patient in the psychiatric unit.

Spot-on casting of Keir Gilchrist as depressed and suicidal teen Craig Gilner, Emma Roberts as self-mutilater Noelle, and Zach Galifianakis as psych ward regular Bobby round out the ensemble.  Look for notable cast members Viola Davis as Dr. Minerva and Jim Gaffigan as Craig’s dad.