Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thumbs up for The Futurist (review roundup)

The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron by Rebecca Keegan is the type of book where you want to stop every other page and share a wild anecdote with everyone else in the room. For example, the time Cameron was stabbed in the face by a coworker after most of the staff working on the set of Titanic was poisoned by PCP. Or the time Cameron gave Guillermo del Toro money to pay the ransom on del Toro's abducted father. Or the time OJ Simpson was suggested to star in The Terminator. My only criticism, aside from the repulsive cover, is that the book is a little too-fawning, making creations like Strange Days and Dark Angel seem like triumphs. But all in all, if you're even vaguely interested in how movies get made, you should absolutely read The Futurist. It's currently 32% off at Amazon. Relatedly, /Film recently conducted a podcast interview with Keegan. (*I read a review copy.)

And a few more reviews:

1. The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: 540 pages or so and I read it in four days. Best bittersweet romance I've read since Bel Canto, but it's very, very sad. The characters felt extremely real to me (aside from the time travel) and I had a lump in my throat for days whenever I thought of them. Don't read this if you're having fertility issues, and honestly, even if you're over any fertility issues you've had, it's still pretty devastating. If you're wondering what to get your loved one for Valentine's Day, I'd suggest that you read this - - it'll make you extra appreciative of the relationship you have, which is probably the best gift you could give. 43% off at Amazon.

2. The Goon Volumes 7 and 8 by Eric Powell: After loving Volume 9, I decided to try a few more volumes. Volume 7 is excellent. Volume 8 is just ok, primarily because half of the volume is fill-in, stand-alone stories by artists other than Powell. 32% off at Amazon.

3. Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto (review copy): This is really the worst of all worlds. Most of the book is too cursory to be very interesting, with the exception being the chapters on Tippi Hedren. I'd vaguely heard that Hitchock was beastly to her, but I never realized just how beastly - - and the actors and behind the scenes people really did nothing to stop him. I don't think I'll ever be able to enjoy another Hitchcock movie, especially The Birds. So, lackluster book, and it ruined Hitchcock movies for me forever. 32% off at Amazon.

4. Conan Volume 7: Cimmeria: This is two books in one - - half is a tale of Conan drawn by Tomas Giorello, and is instantly forgettable. The other half is a tale of Conan's grandfather Connacht drawn by Richard Corben. I liked Corben's art enough to look for more work by him, but not enough to recommend the volume. 32% off at Amazon.

5. Wii Fit Plus: No improvements over Wii Fit worth mentioning and Nintendo didn't remove all of the obnoxious, intrusive advice screens. Hey Nintendo, I'm a busy adult and I want to use my time to exercise. Stop wasting my time forcing me to listen to irritating jokes told by an animated balance board. Buy EA Sports Active instead, which is 10% off at Amazon.

You can see more of my reviews here.