Sunday, September 14, 2008

More movies! (and a book)

With the remnants of Hurricane (now tropical depression) Ike on their way, bringing rain and wind, we spent a lot of the day inside. We got to watch more movies!

First up was Doom, which is based on the video game. It's not bad, although there are some silly fighting scenes in there. Still, it's an interesting story and there are zombie-like things in it. Who doesn't love zombies? :) We'd recorded this movie from tv and that's how I recommend you see it: for free. Unless you like action moves based on video games that star The Rock, of course, and then this movie is definitely for you.

Second was The Machine Girl, a Japanese movie about vengeance and loyalty. Our heroine loses her brother and his friend to a gang of scoundrels headed by the son of a Yakuza Ninja. She ends up with only one arm and teams up with her brother's friend's parents to give her a machine-gum arm. The two women end up seeking vengeance against the Yakuza. The movie is sort of silly and over the top in that Japanese movie sort of way. There's lots of fighting with many unusual instruments. There's lots of gore but it's made less real by the fountains (really. fountains - like something you'd see in a pool) of blood.

We actually bought The Machine Girl and I do think it was a worthwhile investment. If you get a chance, you should see it.We give it two big thumbs up.

Since I was speaking of zombies earlier, I thought I would recommend a book to you: World War Z by Max Brooks. It's written as an oral history of the war against zombies, ten years after the war was assumed to be over. Various accounts describe how things got started, how they escalated, where people finally took a stand, and what happened afterwards. The only suspension of disbelief really required to get into the book is the existence of a zombie; the bulk of the book is about the people who lived through the events.

One of the things I really liked about this book was that I thought it perfectly described government's and people's reactions to the threat (not often called zombies, more like zack or zed-heads). I felt like I was reading something that could have actually happened. The book isn't especially gory but it can be sort of scary. Not just because of the zombies - but think of what people can do to each other, especially when they're scared.

Early on, the book has hints about exactly what has transpired in various places, and later those hints are filled out in more detail. Sometimes that detail is a single line; when I ran across one of those I had to go back and re-read the earlier bit because I couldn't believe the earlier hint until it was confirmed. Some events are never explained in detail, probably because the events in which many people were killed had no survivors. By the end of the book, the reader is able to put together quite a bit of what happened.

I very much enjoyed reading this book and I can honestly say that I haven't loved a book this much since I read Blindness by Jose Saramago. I think I like World War Z for many of the reasons that I like Blindness - each assumes that a previously-unthinkable situation has occurred and then shows how people survive. It isn't always pretty, but it is real, and because of that, I'd highly recommend either of these books to you.

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