the slate book review


Seriously though, I really enjoyed this movie, quite a lot in fact.

It’s weird, and bizarre, and has a lot of atmosphere and likability going for it. I think the characters are all great, with La Muerte and Xibalba stealing the show in every scene they are in. The set up is also pretty creative, and it knows how to use the production design to draw the viewer into its world, which also makes the story more engaging. I have never came across a movie that has such a colorful idea about Death.

It’s a really happy counterpart to all the other more depressing movies that come around this time of the year, which I find very welcoming. So I definitely recommend this one, give it a watch if you haven’t already.

And now, if you excuse me, I need to tip-toe my way out of here. I suddenly don’t feel safe at all.


Seriously though, I think this movie is confused about itself.

It looks great, and the acting is good, as well as the subject treated here (the constant battle between knowledge and beliefs used for preservation or for controlling the masses), but I think the movie wastes some of its most poignant themes and elements just to throw some more post-apocalyptic ultra violence and “cool” action scenes at us.

As it is right now this movie is just okay, but it could’ve been amazing had the directors given it more room to breathe and cut down on the needless action parts (come on, that fight in the bar when Eli arrives to the town is completely unnecessary). It’s not bad, but it’s not worth writing home about. Fair warning though, half of this movie is walking with a soundtrack that sounds like a synthesizer out of batteries. I didn’t mind this, but maybe some of you will find it grating.

Also, why do I have the feeling this will never ever happen in my world? I mean, from what I’ve seen of yours I think this could totally happen in your world, but in mine? Nah, I doubt it.


Rules For Dating My Daughter - NOW AVAILABLE from Uncivilized Books

“Nothing encourages a little healthy reflection and self-assessment like having a kid. The cartoonist Mike Dawson has two, and in recent years he’s been publishing searching, honest short comics about the doubts and worries that parenting provokes. The comics are unique in their willingness to interrogate many of the tricky issues around modern family life: How responsible can a parent be for his children’s safety? How much can a feminist father do to change the way others treat his daughter and son? How honest should we be with our children when that honesty fosters new fears? Dawson doesn’t claim to have the answers, but watching him wrestle with the questions is more satisfying anyway.” — Dan Kois, Slate Book Review

“Mike Dawson is one of the best observational cartoonists working in comics today.” — Rich Barrett, Mental Floss

“Dawson’s explication of his life is sincere, reflexive, and imbued with an admirable level of craft” — The A.V. Club

“Dawson seems to be trying something genuinely difficult in his work: to portray […] well-rounded, rational decency, a goal not often earnestly attempted in comics, much less achieved. This is straight-up sincere-and-sensitive suburban-dad stuff, but not unconsciously (or unashamedly) so.” — The Comics Journal


Seriously though, these movies are fun.

I am not entirely sure how historically accurate half of the stuff they find is, but I guess all those hidden messages, codes, cyphers and treasures don’t really exist. But they are presented so well and they are so much fun to follow that, even though I’m not a conspiracy nut, I find them really enjoyable.

Mostly is the protagonist, Nicolas Cage, who’s having so much fun in every scene. I’m not sure if he’s too aware or not aware at all, but he sure is loving it. And the action is also pretty great, it’s like a toned down version of Indiana Jones but more current, and it doesn’t abuse from CGI like other movies do (or at least it doesn’t seem like it does).

I’d review these movies separately but they are pretty much the same, one wild treasure hunt following clues through outrageous set ups, but these set ups are different enough to keep them entertaining. So, yeah, I think I can recommend these movies, give them a watch if you are in the mood for some lighthearted adventure fun.

And now, if you excuse me, I need to replace a book. I really didn’t know what I was doing.


Over at the Slate Book Review there’s an extensive interview with Philip Pullman (pegged to the 20th anniversary of The Golden Compass) that is GIVING ME LIFE, y’all.

Here he is putting the well-deserved smack on C.S. Lewis – though, he adds, he still respects Lewis more than J.R.R. Tolkein (not sure we agree there, buddy):

I just don’t like the conclusions Lewis comes to, after all that analysis, the way he shuts children out from heaven, or whatever it is, on the grounds that the one girl is interested in boys. She’s a teenager! Ah, it’s terrible: Sex—can’t have that.

And on what his own daemon would be:

I can only imagine that she is a bird of the crow or raven family. Maybe a magpie. She digs around for shiny, bright things and steals them. 

The full interview is here.

– Petra


Seriously though, I honestly couldn’t have seen that coming.

This movie has, by far, one of the absolute best written, executed and performed endings I have ever seen in my life. It’s unexpected yet it makes absolute perfect sense within the story of the movie.

I won’t deny the fact that there are quite a few silly things here and there, and there are some unintentionally silly scenes (what the hell was with that visit to the comic store anyways?), but the balance tips over the positive side thanks to a very dignified paranormal atmosphere, genuinely emotive deliveries, and a mythology that works on its own without having to rely on other superheroes.

Overall, fantastic film, and I enjoyed it a lot more than “The Sixth Sense”.

And now, if you excuse me, I need to figure out why so many people hate this M. Night Shyamalan guy. He seems to be doing fine so far! I can’t wait to see his next movie.

The easiest way to appear to be well-read is to socialize exclusively with uncultured cretins, which simply won’t do, so instead you should subscribe to the New York Review of Books and read it religiously, committing to memory one idea from each piece and praying to achieve a casual air when, at a dinner party, fobbing off this insight as your own.