Thursday, May 15, 2014

4 Books That Would Make Great Movies

I love movies. I've been obsessed with them since I was a little girl. I was never really interested in acting or directing, but the idea of writing a script doesn't exactly suck. My greatest love, however, is watching them.

When I was a child, I was very sick. I’m fine now, but my love affair with movies started way back then. I wasn't really allowed to do much because I couldn't breathe, so my mom started a VHS collection for me. There was this little video store across the street from her office that used to sell 3 videos for $10. Once a week, we added 3 new movies to the collection.

If you've been reading The Random Review, you’re probably somewhat familiar with that story. If it doesn't ring any bells it still probably doesn't shock you. What I've failed to reveal is that we didn't only collect movies.

In our tiny one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, the walls were lined with shelves full of books. We had more books than we had silverware. By the time I was old enough to move out, we had so many books I didn't have room for all my boxes. My mother would fall asleep with her face in a book every night and, when I was a kid, long after bedtime I would be under my blankets with a flashlight and Shel Silverstein or R.L. Stine or James Clemens or Mercedes Lackey or Cherie Bennett, the list goes on and on.

I’m still a big reader. I don’t have nearly as much time as I used to, but every now and then, I’ll take a day and spend the entire time binge-reading. The seventh book of Harry Potter? I got home after the midnight release and read the entire thing.

My love affair with movies and books has a side effect. When I read a book I really enjoy, I start wondering what it would look like on screen. What parts would they cut to make the movie meet the time limits? Who would play my favorite characters?

Well, here I've outlined 4 of my favorite books that I believe should definitely see the big screen.



4. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

Brief Synopsis: The Anita Blake series is sexy and intriguing. In a world where the preternatural creatures of lore are exposed, vampires and werewolves are fighting for equal rights and necromancy is a lucrative business.

Anita is a short, tough-as-nails, necromancer and hunter. She executes out-of-control preternatural creatures when she’s not raising the dead for her not-so-day job. Along the way she crosses paths with Jean Claude, a sexy vampire (who doesn't sparkle, thank god), and Richard, a dominant werewolf, among others.

Why It Would Make A Brilliant Movie: If you've read the Anita Blake series than you know it gets NC-17 rated in later books. However, the first three would make a decent trilogy of movies with only a moderate amount of sex. There are fantastically written necromantic rituals and a thrilling crime drama aspect that weaves through each of the stories.

I believe that the gory aspects would draw a horror crowd, while the vampire/werewolf thing would draw the older teens and the mystery would draw in the fans of thrillers. It’s a well-balanced story line that already has a hardcore fan base. If you search for “Anita Blake Movie” in google, there’s a stupid amount of results, despite the fact that there’s no current talks of a movie for this high-rated series.

In 2009, IFC did show interest in creating the film, but – for unknown reasons – dropped the option.

Actors Who Would Fit The Role: The popular choices for the role of Anita are Salma Hayek and Michelle Rodriguez. I don’t particularly think Hayek would be a good fit, but I adore Rodriguez. To be honest, if I had to cast Anita myself, it would be Mila Kunis. There’d have to be some fine-tuning in make-up, but otherwise she fits the bill and she’s an amazing actress to boot.

For Jean-Claude I’d love to see a genuine French actor in the part. Someone like Louis Garrel.

Richard doesn't show up in the first book, if my memory serves correct.

Genre: Horror
Rating: R



3. Careful by Randy Anderson

Brief Synopsis: Tyler’s mother is dying, but before she does, she’s hoping to get her son to tell her all about the mysterious year he spent in Ecuador when he was 16. He’s been keeping the story secret for twenty years, but he’s unable to say no while his mother is suffering. So he delves into his memories and flashes back to what he’s been trying to block out all this time.

Why It Would Make A Brilliant Movie: The book does a lot of back and forth flashbacks that remind me of The Princess Bride. If the movie stuck exactly to the book, that’s the kind of template it would follow. However, we all know movies cut some of the story due to time restrictions. If some story needed cutting, the template could be closer to the one from The Notebook; less interruptions providing a more manageable movie time.

The movie version of Careful would have a fantastic setting with Ecuador and would be deep with cultural references and the idea of dealing with culture shock. The story line is quick to manipulate emotions and would attract the Grammy viewers without a doubt.

Actors Who Would Fit The Role: Honestly, I couldn't even begin to imagine who would play Tyler, likely it would have to a little known, or unknown, name. However, I know who would play Peter, without even thinking about it. Alex Pettyfer is almost exactly how I pegged the character as I was reading, though he’d have to grow out and lighten his hair a little. He might be a little old for the part, but he could baby his face up a little with a close shave.

Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13 or R



2. Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Brief Synopsis: Richard has just had to deal with the brutal murder of his father when a beautiful woman, Kahlan, is seen running through the forest. He aids her in escaping her pursuers. As they begin to get to know each other, he is presented with a sword that tags him as the Seeker.

Why It Would Make A Brilliant Movie: This book is from the Sword of Truth series, and there has already been a TV show about it. The show was absolutely atrocious. As a fan, I watched every single episode of the short-lived series, but it was rough. The show failed to pick up on the darker aspects of the story and missed a lot of opportunities to bring in more viewers because of it.

I believe a series of movies would do better than the show did, if carefully made. The show changed a great deal of the story line and, eventually, even fans began to consider it more on the obnoxious side. If the movies were to stick closer to the books and dip the direction toward the darker areas of the story, it would become a huge series. Not unlike Lord of the Rings.

Actors Who Would Fit The Role: The TV show sucked, but the actors were awesome for their parts. I’d keep the same actors, except Zedd… definitely need a new Zedd.

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Rating: PG-13



1. Wit’ch Fire by James Clemens

Brief Synopsis: The residents of the lands of Alasea have lived in fear of the mythological wit’ch for centuries. Tales depict her as a manipulative and evil being that will destroy the world. There’s another, less talked about, side to the lore. That other side says that the wit’ch could either destroy or save the world, it is her choice. When Elena finds out that she is the wit’ch, she is joined by Er’ril, an immortal bound to protect her, on a quest that will take her to her destiny.

Why It Would Make A Brilliant Movie: I first read Wit’ch Fire when I was around 14 and immediately fell in love with the series (The Banned and the Banished). Even back then I thought to myself, “this would make an awesome movie.” In fact, I thought it so strongly and so often, that half-way into the second book, I sent a letter to James Clemens.

In that letter, I asked Clemens to make it a movie. You know, he actually wrote back to me. In his response, he told me that if I wrote a script, he would think about it. I was too young then to really understand the kind of work that went into that kind of script, but if he were to tell me the same thing now, I would jump on it so quickly. I’m sure he never really expected the script to get written, and my pathetic little fan-letter has likely long-since been forgotten.

Despite that, The Banned and the Banished remains my all-time favorite series. It has the charm of Harry Potter with the raw, emotional feel of Game of Thrones. Well-made movies for this series would go down in history as some of the best fantasy creations ever.

Actors Who Would Fit The Role: I've glorified the characters in these books so much that I can’t think of any current actors that would fit the bill. I believe new talent would have to be scouted.

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Rating: PG-13


Monday, May 12, 2014

Sharknado (2013)


Number Rolled: 49
Movie Name/Year: Sharknado (2013)
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Company: The Asylum, Southward Films
Director: Anthony Ferrante
Writer: Thunder Levin
Actors: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, Cassandra Scerbo, Jaason Simmons, Alex Arleo, Neil H. Berkow, Heather Jocelyn Blair, Sumiko Braun, Diane Chambers, Julie McCullough, Marcus Choi, Israel Saez de Miguel, Tiffany Cole, Chuck Hittinger, Aubrey Peeples, Michael Teh, Conner Weil, Christopher Wolfe

LA has become the source of a raging hurricane that turns into something more as flooding and strong winds begin to pull sharks up on land. Fin, a local business owner, becomes desperate to find his family and sets out with an employee, Nova, and two friends, Baz and George, to attempt to help them.

I added this movie to my list because I simply had to see why it was trending for a while there. The concept of a “sharknado” had me rolling my eyes.

The movie turned out to be a very typical B creature feature in many ways. The acting was incredibly bad. I can’t point out a single actor that made me believe their character. Not that there was any depth to the characters anyway; it was as if they were made by cookie cutters. I’m not even going to go into the effects.

So why did I like it so much?

It wasn’t meant to be good. No one, on any level, said that Sharknado was supposed to be a real movie. It’s complete satire. Everything about it is a joke, and the movie embraces it. It’s not quite a spoof, like Spaceballs or Scary Movie, but it’s obviously not taking itself seriously and there-fore is meant to be taken for what it is.

It’s gore-filled, brainless, funny, ridiculous, terrible and highly entertaining. This is one of the few movies that I can see where the critics are coming from, despite the huge difference between their average and the audience average on RottenTomatoes.com.

If you watch Sharknado, don’t go into it expecting a brilliantly laid out plot with amazing graphics and actors. Go into it expecting what it is: a B version of Final Destination… with sharks.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 82%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 35%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.1/5
Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

P.S. On July 30, 2014, we’re expected to have a Sharknado 2: The Second One, which takes place in New York. Tara Reid and Ian Ziering are set to return. Rumored appearances include: Kari Wuhrer, Vivica A. Fox, Kelly Osbourne, Andy Dick, Billy Ray Cyrus, Matt Lauer, Mark McGrath, Judah Friedlander, Judd Hirsch, Kurt Angle, Perez Hilton, Al Roker, Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton, and Biz Markie.

Movie Trailer: