Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: House of Leaves

House of LeavesHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

House of Leaves is without a doubt one of the least enjoyable books I have ever read in my entire life, but I can understand the fervor behind it. I take it that there are two camps who will read this book: those who love it (Which seems to be everyone I seem to know), and those who find it pretentious and a waste of time, which is the camp I happen to be in, unfortunately.

Let me just start this off by saying, I get it. I'm not going to complain and say, "I thought this was supposed to be scary." Upon reading the first 100 pages, I realized I wasn't going to be "kept up late at night" as one of my wife's friends said they were when read this book. The author, Mark Z. (Zampano?!?!) Danielewski wasn't going for that at all, and even that's part of the reason why people adore this book so much--it mocks the silly concept of classification that modern books have to go through today. But I can't read a book for gimmicks alone, and that's what this book is--one massive gimmick. From the blue words (Yes, I know, like a green screen is used in movies), to the pages with only ten words on them (I don't care if it's supposed to represent the journey through the endless abyss, and, in itself, be a commentary on the importance of space on a page. It's a waste of paper!), to the footnotes upon footnotes upon footnotes all just doesn't add up for me. The narrative, in the end, is nonexistent, and the characters are unlikeable. Again, I realize that this is meant to be "more than a book" with the way the story is constructed and put together and is actually criticizing criticism (groan), but I really can't stand books that I literally get nothing out of. By page 200 or so, the gimmick wears thin...and even THAT'S part of its "charm," I suppose. The needless length of books. Honestly, you really can't read into a book like this too deeply. It's actually inviting you to. But does that make it good? My answer to that is no. No it does not.

In the end, I'm giving it two stars because of its sheer audacity, but I can't stand that so many people have bought into this sort of thing, which is obtuse and intentionally meant to obfuscate. Again, please don't take me for an idiot just because I disliked this book. I get what it does, and I just don't like it. This sort of thing doesn't interest me. I much prefer plot and pacing. I much prefer engrossing characters.

I actually heard from a friend that this author's other books are even MORE gimmicky, but I refuse to read those. One book from Danielewski is enough for me. Not my cup of tea.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 19, 2014

Interstellar Trailer

You can find my thoughts on the recent Interstellar trailer here. I'm being a curmudgeon as always.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

10 Video Game Sequels that Outshine the Original

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Here's a list I wrote for about ten sequels that outshine the original game. Find the list here.

Why Godzilla 2014 Bites the Big One (Minor Spoilers)

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I wish I could say, "How could they f**k up Godzilla so badly, but the 1998 Roland Emmerich atrocity can already answer that question. But I have another question--How could they f**k up Godzilla so badly AGAIN?! I have quite a few complaints about this new movie, but I'll keep this blog post down to only six. The first one being:

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1. Why is Kick-Ass's role in this movie more important than Godzilla's?

Aaron Taylor-Johnson has a name (duh, it's Aaron Taylor-Johnson), but his name doesn't matter. As far as I'm concerned, he'll always be Kick-Ass to me, and that's both a good and a bad thing. It's good because it means that he's solidified himself as a character in my mind and I'll always remember his face for it, kind of like that racist guy, Kramer. But it's bad because it's the only role I can ever see him in as I don't think he's a good enough actor to be anything else, so his omnipresence in this film is troubling. It's mostly because his doughy face can't emote the kind of expressions it needs to when there's a giant, atomic breathing monster stomping through your city. He's a boring actor, and the more you see him, the more you just want him to go away so that there's more screen time for Godzilla. But more on that in a few.

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2. Bryan Cranston is barely even in it

When I first heard that not only would there be a new Godzilla movie, but that Bryan Cranston would also be in it, you have no idea how ecstatic I was. Breaking Bad is my favorite show of all time. But then, I saw the movie, and guess what. Bryan Cranston is barely even in it. Yeah, that's right. Even though he's in pretty much all the trailers and commercials, he's only in the actual movie for about 20 minutes and then...well, I won't spoil it for you, but the marketing team LIED their asses off by making it seem like he might have been the star of the movie. I was expecting a cerebral film with a giant monster destroying a city, but they prevaricated and we got a stupid creature feature with Kick-Ass instead. What a joke! Screw those assholes!

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3. NONE of the characters matter!

There sure are a lot of characters in this movie. Too bad none of them are interesting (Except for Bryan Cranston, who is barely even in it like I said before). Besides Kick-Ass, this movie also features Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, and Sally Hawkins, but seriously, NONE of their characters even matter in the great scheme of things. Sally Hawkins probably only has three lines in the entire movie. Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Kick-Ass's wife, doesn't do or say anything worth mentioning. And as my good friend, Lemma, mentioned last night when we were talking about the movie, Ken Watanabe's role is pretty much just relegated to looking at things. Oh, and to say, "Godzilla" as the camera pans in on his face. I mean, good Lord, what were they thinking? Why waste such good talent? Jeez!

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4. I don't believe the world set up here

A lot of people rag on Cloverfield, but one thing that movie got very right was the world set up in that film. Putting the focus on ground-level, which this movie tries to do, but fails, we got a sense of just how horrifying and shocking it would be if giant monsters just showed up out of nowhere and started wrecking shit. But in this movie, we never truly get a sense of that. Sure, we see people screaming and we see mass destruction (Mostly AFTER the fact), but it's not as believable as it was in Cloverfield. You really got a sense of the sheer terror of something of that nature really happening in that movie. This film totally botched that, probably because it mostly focused on the military. Big mistake.

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5. MUTO sucks ASS

Godzilla's main adversary in this film is something called MUTO, which is an acronym for something, but it's so dumb that I don't feel like looking it up. There are actually two MUTO, a male and a female, but they are so bland that I could care less. One could fly (the male), and one had a glowing underbelly of offspring (the female, obviously), but they both looked like shit because they were so bland. They were basically the Cloverfield monster in a nutshell. I mean, what gives? Couldn't the design team be a bit more creative with the character designs? Also, before the film came out, a bunch of morons who studied the trailer as if they were scrutinizing their taxes, thought they saw multiple different monsters Godzilla would be facing off against, but no. There's only MUTO in the final product and MUTO sucks. Gigan they ain't.

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6. Godzilla is a f**king wimp

Okay, the biggest insult of them all is what they did to Godzilla, which is unforgivable. First, Godzilla, like Bryan Cranston, is barely even in this movie at all (He's teased constantly, but never really kicking ass until about the last 15 minutes), and then, when he's finally truly present, he sucks, getting his ass mostly handed to him by MUTO. Now, I have no problem with Godzilla getting beaten up, as he's outnumbered here. But when you basically have the characters talk up Godzilla to be the shit that he truly is, why would you have him basically get his ass stomped down when he finally gets down to business? That doesn't make any sense. It's only when Godzilla is one-on-one with a MUTO that he can actually take them down, which he does with ugly looking atomic breath that looks even worse than it did in the old Godzilla movies. It almost looks like blue fire, which it's not supposed to at all. Also, why is Godzilla a good guy in this movie? Godzilla has been a good guy in the past, but only in the silly, comical Godzilla movies. But this movie, which is very serious, has him almost being a savior for mankind. I'm surprised they didn't change his name so his initials were JC, for Jesus Christ. It didn't make any sense. What always made villain Godzilla awesome was that he had total disregard for mankind. Hell, he was meant to represent the atom bomb back in the day. But here, he avoids buildings whenever he can, lets ships sail beside him, and doesn't seem to want to step on any humans. I mean, why? Why did they make Godzilla a good guy in this picture? And why didn't they have more of him? Honestly, this was the biggest problem I had with this film, and it's why I seriously hate it SO much. Godzilla 2014 bites the big one. Don't watch it if you have any love for Godzilla whatsoever. You will just be disappointed.