Category Archives: Reviews

About a Boy-A Review


To me, About a Boy is named completely wrong.

Strange, isn’t it? For such a spectacular movie, the only flaw they have is with the name.

In my opinion, About a Boy is singular. Hence the lack of an S in Boy. But this movie is not solely about one boy. It’s about a boy who has become a man all too fast, and a man who has stayed a boy all his life.

So, who’s the real child here? The boy who’s a man, or a man who’s a boy?

I suppose I’m puzzling you all with my rambling.

Our hero is a man named Will. He’s smart, cultured, charming, handsome, and self-proclaimed “cool.” He’s also never worked a day in his life, lives off his father’s song royalties, and is a supreme dick-wad.

He discovers that having a relationship with single mothers is far more benefectial than just a normal woman, and decides to join SPAT (Single Parents Alone Together) with a made-up son, Ned. Through this, he meets Marcus, a nerdy 12 year-old and the son of a depressed hippie. His mother tries to commit suicide on the day Marcus and Will meet.

Through various circumstances, Marcus and Will develop a relationship as brothers, friends, and father-son.

I won’t give away the ending, and I’ve done a horrible job of explaining it, but the movie, at the core, has everything that makes a trip to the cinema worth it. Brilliant acting, a solid script, a great base, good directing (some of the camera shots were spectacular) and a nice, upbeat soundtrack that isn’t mainstream, but fits the cynicsm, yet optimistic framing.

Or I might just be rambling about something I really have no idea about. But, you know, it won’t hurt to take a shot.

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Valentine’s Day


Yes, I’m referring to both the day and the movie.

Valentine’s Day, until now, has actually held no real meaning to me. Sure, we get group candy and a few rare adolscent couples pass around chocolate and tiny  candy hearts that says things like, “Will you be my valentine?”

Pathetic.

Valentine’s Day, in various areas of Korea, Japan, and perhaps China, is normally regarded as a huge day for a man’s pride. Girls dominate this day. They are the ones who decide the rise and fall of a man’s reputation in the romantic sense. Why else would you have numerous manga/drama/manhwa scenes that produce gut-wrenching scenes that show {insert good-looking male character here} opening his locker to find numerous candies and love letters fall out?

Yeah. As I said, pathetic.

So it was with great surprise that I found people regarding each other with a shyer attitude than usual. One of my best friends (yes, I have friends) decided that her hormones were fully awake and attracted to a particularily uninteresting specimen. And gave him candy.

This is actually no business of mine. But today, I was supposed to see a movie. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, if you must know. I enjoyed the book, and after watching the trailer, decided it would be worth paying nine dollars to stare up at a giant screen.

Or, so I thought.

The tickets were all sold out for my preferred time. The next showing was extremely late. So it was to my disgust that my friends, who had come along with me, asked for tickets to Valentine’s Day.

Which were not sold out.

I don’t enjoy watching people jam their lips together. Give me horror, give me thriller, give me blood and guts, but don’t drag me off to a movie that’s based on solid make-out scenes. It was enough with Taylor Swift’s horrible acting, but…

I really wish I hadn’t eaten all that popcorn.

So, my thoughts on the day and the movie?

It turned out to be unusually interesting. I don’t think I necessarily enjoyed the movie, and am still regretting paying nine dollars, but it had a good way with its humor. Thank the Lord Taylor Swift didn’t have a bigger part.

Valentine’s Day, in general, has had no influence on me, nor ever grabbed my attention. But with a pen pal in Korea who drills me on facts about “American” Valentine’s Day, it has, for once, taken up my interest.

I guess it’s not so bad, if I get my chocolate.

~Nemphy

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog: A Review


WARNING: For those of you even mildly interested in checking out this book, my review is going to provide tremendous spoilers. So, you know, just a warning.

For those of you still laughing over the title, get over it. That’s basically the only laughable thing in this book.

Yes, The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a book, written by Muriel Barbery (original language is in French). And, quite honestly, this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time (especially considering it was translated).

The story tells of a fifty four year old concierge of an upscale Parisian apartment building, 7 Rue de Grenelle, which is considered one of the most elegant streets in Paris.

Madame Michel, as the tenants refer to her, is the basic conceierge defined by society: she watches soap operas, cooks foul smelling cabbage casseroles, and owns an extremely fat cat.

Or, so they think.

Renée Michel is a discreet autodidact with literature, philosophy, and the arts. She, who has never obtained a university college, or even a proper primary school education, has read the works of Marx, Tolstoy, and Husserl. Appreciative of arts such as Vermeer, 17th century Dutch paintings, and the music of Henry Purcell and Gustav Mahler, Renée considers the wealthy tenants of the building her inferiors in every way, except for material wealth.

Thus, she lives a life of seclusion, acting unintelligent and dim for the peace of the tenants, and secretly drowns herself in Art at the back of her little room.

On the other hand, there is Paloma Josse. She is part of one of the eight family residents in 7 Rue de Granelle. A child of twelve with an extraordinary IQ, she is repulsed by her family and fellow neighbors, and decides to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday. Added to that, she’ll burn the house down. Delightful little figure, isn’t she?

So we have our two main characters, both who are disgusted at the social hierchy established by people with too much money and time. They are both underappreciated, and hide their true talents from a group of ignorant baboons who have too much arrogance shoved up in their faces that, if such talents are revealed, it’ll only be deemed useless with the unwanted attention it’ll bestow.

The door opens to welcome Kakuro Ozu, the new Japanese tenant who, unlike the other adults, seems to be capable of seeing through Madame Michel’s cover and coaxing out respect from Paloma.

Since I don’t really want to give away the ending, I’ll just finish here raving about the book.

This book is spectacular. With Madame Michel’s bitter humor, Paloma’s mocking of intellectuals, and just simple stories in between, you find yourself confronted with an elegance that only people like Madame Michel can define. The story is told in first person, switching for Paloma’s journal entries and “profound thoughts,” to Renée’s more novelistically told first person. Although the main characters are fascinating and appreciative, I find myself drawn to the minor characters as well. The character development is well thought out, with symbolism heavily applied through this book.

To sum it up: five stars, a must read, etc.

Oh, and if you want to read another one of Muriel Barbery’s translated works, look for Gourmet Raphsody. Another delightful read.

 

The original French version

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The Year in Review-Part 2


I suppose it’s time to shut up about world crisis, and reveal more personal affairs.

I virtually spent this year doing nothing.

Besides the constant gaining of more pounds, getting addicted and disgusted at various books, dramas, and movies, not being able to update this blog more often, and the regular stress of everyday life, I’ve become a failure.

Let’s take a look at what I did:

  • Gain 2405808602 pounds.
  • Somehow maintain a 4.0 (who knows how I managed to do that)
  • Start this blog (which might not be a good thing for the rest of the world)
  • Beat my cousin FINALLY at Super Mario Kart
  • Discovered that not all Korean dramas are useless (that is, in the most rare cases)
  • Discovered that most Korean dramas are useless (BOF, that’s a point in your face)
  • Fell in love with Tetris.
  • And, of course, ate enough food to provide for the entire African continent and make up a gigantic surplus that would last for thousands of years

Brilliant. I utterly wasted a whole year of my life. How odd.

On the brighter side, I got to make a list of New Year Resolutions. Yay! (please note this is said with an infinite dose of sarcasm that even a drunken parakeet cannot miss)

  1. Get a life (who the hell am I kidding?)
  2. Save up money for my own website.
  3. Get the money for my own website.
  4. Polish up my Korean. I can’t understand a word I’m saying.
  5. Get rid of my drama addiction. (BULL SHIT)
  6. Keep my 4.0, or else I will be shipped off to Cambodia and forced to work as a manual laborer (for those of you don’t know, I’m exaggerating)
  7. Keep my IQ.
  8. Get more people to read this blog. Get more people to comment on this blog. People I do not know. Then freak out that people are trying to stalk me.
  9. Attempt to dye my hair.
  10. Start to write. When am I going to accomplish my dream as a journalist?

There, my pathetic list of goals. Even though I finished this post on Jan. 4, (and thus have the deadline factor of a chipmunk); Happy Belated New Years.

~Nemphy

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The Year in Review-Part One


I supposed with two days left for the start of a new decade, this is a good time as any to reminisce 2009–a time of deaths, flaws, and craziness that just keeps on getting better.

So, the biggest death of the year: Michael Jackson.

I remember the first time I saw his picture. I just thought he was some overly induced celebrity with a bad makeup specialist.  The King of Pop was a vague figure for me, of no particular interest. So why was I so shocked at the news of his death?

I think it’s because all human beings have the semblance of being immortal.

A lifetime, when you think about it, seems to go on forever. Until you’re in your nineties, you feel like death is light years away. Don’t shy away and deny it; you probably think so too. The prospect of death is an unknown matter, and for some reason, it feels like the person who died is still alive.

I’m getting to philosophical. Anyways, moving on.

According to Yahoo, these were the top ten deaths of 2009:

1.) Michael Jackson (Big surprise)

2.) Farrah Fawcett (I have no idea who she is, but apparently, she’s a big “icon of the 70’s”)

3.) Patrick Swayze (Only watched him in Ghost)

4.) Natasha Richardson (This was a big shock; she died of such a little event)

5.) Jett Travolta (This was just sad.)

6.) Billy Mays (I was literally screaming, “HE’S DEAD??” when I heard the news)

7.) David Carradine (Eh…never saw his “big Bruce Lee” movie)

8.) Steve Mcnair (His death was just…disturbing.)

9.) Jade Goody (Who is she?)

10.) Ted Kennedy (Need I say more?)

I guess these people are up on that list because it’s a big shock that they died, they were big important people, or they were just too famous to be left off the list.

Anyways, moving on.

2009 was a pretty disastrous year all told. Sure, we had Obama move into the Oval Office, recieve the Peace Prize, and promise to make things better for our country. I’m only concerned to when people are going to start calling him names. Sometime in 2011?

The gloomy Mayan prediction weren’t all that great either. The Mayans probably don’t care, since they’re dead. But to go to the extents of making a blockbuster movie, write several books, and make such a big deal about it isn’t too nice to our younger generation. I mean, think about a kid born in 2012: “Oh, sorry for letting you be born, since you’re going to die anyways in December.”

That’s soooo nice.

Besides these deaths, 2012 BS, and the “OMG-OBAMA-IS-IN-THE-OVAL-OFFICE-STOPPING-TERRORISTS” news blasting around, there was also the financial crisis, North Korean bomb scares, and, of course, the fact that I gained several million pounds. But, for personal news, go check out part two.

To you Koreans-Happy Birthday! You’re one year closer to death. (For those of you who don’t know, Koreans age differently. They still have birthdays, but grow one year older every new years day. So, if you were born in 1987, you’d be 24 now. I am now (CENSORED) years old. Yippee.)

Anyways, have fun in 2010. I know that many of you wanted to leave this decade behind.

~Nemphy

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