26 iul. 2010

George RR Martin - Fevre Dream


      Abner Marsh has had his dearest wish come true - he has built the Fevre Dream, the finest steamship ever to sail the Mississippi. Abner hopes to race the boat some day, but his partner is making it hard for him to realize his ambition. Joshua York put up the money for the Fevre Dream, but now rumours have started about the company he keeps, his odd eating habits and strange hours. As the Dream sails the great river, it leaves in its wake one too many dark tales, until Abner is forced to face down the man who helped to make his dreams become reality.

       The thing that caught my attention the first time I saw Fevre Dream on the shelves was the fact that it had steamboats. I was fascinated by steamboats since I was a child so I couldn't really pass up on this opportunity, especially since the book was filed under Horror/Fantasy. 

       From the start I'll admit to the fact that this is my first George RR Martin book so I didn't know quite what to expect in terms of writing. I know he's famous for the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series but that's about it. I'll just clear this from the start: I'll buy his other books as well.
Fevre Dream is a very rich novel with an amazing cast, deep and complex characters and a superb setting (spanning from New Madrid to New Orleans). And, of course, steamboats. Lots and lots of steamboats, the majority (if not all) being actual steamboats that ran during that period (such as the Robert E. Lee, the Natchez, the Eclipse).
The book is more like an alternative history type of book which doesn't hurt it at all. It mingles vampires (it's not a spoiler, no worries) with actual events and places. And, of course, steamboats (lots and lots!).

       The characters are simply extraordinary, even the ones that are not fully fleshed out. 
Abner Marsh is especially well created and interesting, along with Joshua York (which provides the books main emotional passages) and Damon Julian (who manages to channel some sort of Cthulhu-like majesty, at least that's what RR Martin's depiction of Damon's ancient evil reminded me of).

       Also, the book is extremely well crafted in terms of plot. It never drags out, the pace is even and it keeps you hooked like a vampire to a neck (pun very much intended!). Speaking of vampires, Fevre Dream offers a fresh take on the vampire myth but I won't go into that since it kind of is a major spoiler.

       At the end of the day, I'm very pleased with the book and charmed by Abner Marsh's character and very happy with the in-depth portrayal of the steamboat era. It's a must read!

25 iul. 2010

11 iul. 2010


It's a fact: there isn't much love for Predator 2 in the movie industry. There's even less love for the Alien vs. Predator movies (one of the most outrageously insipid series around, almost as useless and cretinous as the Twilight series). While I understand why the AvP series is hated (I'm one of the people that despise it fiercely), I fail to see why Predator 2 is not considered a worthy sequel. Sure, it obviously has its fair share of flaws and problems but, compare it to Predators and you'll see that you can have it so much worse.
Predators, directed by Nimrod Antal (the director of Vacancy, Armored and Control) and produced by Robert Rodriguez (the director of the amazing Planet Terror and of the snoozefest that is Sin City, among others - i won't even go into his family movies), is such an awful bore-fest that I almost nodded off a few times (even during the action sequences!). Predators is a movie that's so devoid of any fun and soul that it makes one want to poke Robert Rodriguez' eyes out for mistreating such a simple and great concept in this way.
The plot of Predators is as simple as it can get: a group of individuals find themselves stranded on an alien planet and hunted by the Predators in the title. Sure, no one was actually thinking that the movie will have an amazingly rich plot and a lot of character depth and development (it's an action/S.F. movie and a sequel to boot - and to top it all off, the series is not known for its epic plotting or intense characters). The group of people is formed of a mercenary (a god-awful Adrien Brody, acting like a wooden puppet, as usual); a special ops woman (Alice Braga); a medic (Topher Grace, playing it like he did Venom in the horrible Spiderman 3 movie - that is like a sour, constipated asshole); an FBI most wanted killer; the mandatory black person; the other racially diverse character (an under-used Danny Trejo); a russian and a Yakuza guy. The cast is almost as diverse as High School Musical or as a christian porn movie (if there is such a thing) and almost as annoying and vomit-inducing (with, of course, the exception of Danny Trejo).
Obviously, since it's called Predators, you won't see just the average/regular/classic Predator, you'll meet a cast of Predators (one as boring as the next). Funnily enough, the big Predator boss somehow reminded me of Jason Voorhees when he was souped up in Jason X. Yes, folks, it's that bad.
Unfortunately, the movie doesn't even achieve the title of "So Bad It's Good". It's just bad, boring, it's full of cringe-worthy moments (such as the one-on-one sword fight between a Predator and the Yakuza guy), some truly shoddy and wooden acting (Adrien Brody, why won't you just go away?) and awful scripting and special effects (never thought that someone could get fire wrong in a movie nowadays and don't even get me started on how bad the invisible Predators look).
Rodriguez and Antal managed to create a movie that has no fan service (apart from the passing mention of the first movie's events) and that is so mortifyingly boring and retarded, you'll beg either for a coma or for your money back. How can someone manage to suck the fun out of an action/S.F. movie based on one of the best movies of the 80s is beyond me.
Rodriguez, get it right with Machete or I'll kick you in the nads.