Sunday, November 28, 2010

My choice

This is the third time I have read a Nicholas Sparks' novel, and I must say, the third time is not a charm. "The Choice", first published in 2007, is his 12th work. According to the novel, this fiction "ultimately confronts us with the most heart-wrenching question of all: How far should you go to keep the hope of love alive?".

I read "A Walk to Remember" back in high school, and it has been a while for "The Notebook". For these two novels, I saw the movie adaptations first before reading them, and honestly, they were nice. It's just me, but I guess there's something nostalgic about "A Walk to Remember" everytime I see it aired on the local television as their Saturday night movie feature.

Okay, I'll be even more honest. Before reading "The Notebook", I first read "True Believer", which I just scanned most of the pages and didn't really care about the characters much. All I thought about was the ending, even though I know how it already ends. So I wouldn't really call it reading, because I didn't read every page of it, for I even skimmed some of the pages just to get on with the story. 

The movie adaptations of the two former books were pretty good, I must say, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching them. Like what I said for "A Walk to Remember", even though I sometimes cringe at Mandy Moore (more on her later), this movie gives me a nostalgic feeling that I can never put my finger on. The fashion and year it was produced didn't affect me much, because I know that period in time, back when a baggy dress and knee-high socks go well together (hey, it was Jamie's character. not her fault, really) and people don't really care what you look like for some of them look a bit less better than her. Landon (played by Shane West) didn't hurt as an eye candy either, but it was his character's progression that I liked the most. Now on to Mandy Moore. I don't really like her, but I don't hate her either. Like I keep saying, I grew up in the 90's, and if you ask me to choose between her, Britney Spears (during her "Baby, hit me one more time" days) and Jessica Simpson (during her, wait, what was her song back then?), I'd choose her. And her playing Jamie didn't hurt either, because I find her believable enough to play the character.

As for "The Notebook" movie adaptation, I haven't found any flaws in it (or maybe I haven't thought about it yet), but if I have, I'll be venting it out here.

Back to the book. I won't even talk about "True Believer" because like I said, I may have 'read' the book, but I don't consider it 'reading' because it was mainly 'scanning' that I did. "The Choice" has about 22 chapters with a prologue and an epilogue which makes it 24, and divided into two parts, for the past and the present. I'm now on Chapter 19, but I have no plans in finishing this novel anymore. I'm normally the type of person who finishes something that I either watch or read. In this case, I have started on this novel, and I want to finish it, but I've been dragging myself since two or three chapters back, for I find the plot too typical and boring. Let's be honest here, shall we? There is nothing wrong with a romance-melodrama genre but I can't handle it if I read too much of it in novels. If I wanted to find my own male lead who is Darcy-esque from his tone of voice to his arrogance, I can find those characteristics in Joo won, played by Hyun Bin in Secret Garden, a Korean drama that's currently airing. Or Domyouji Tsukasa in the Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese version of Hana Yori Dango. I know that with reading, I can imagine what the male looks like, but with an Asian drama, I can actually see the characters played by the actors (whom I will later have an obssession with after watching consecutive episodes) and don't have to imagine the same plot over and over again. I feel like this novel is trying to be too "Notebook"-ish, which isn't, but is bordering there soon, if I would read page by page. 

Since I have already scanned the last part and got their happy ending (as always), I could just return it to the library on Monday and start on Garcia Marquez' "Chronicle of a Death Foretold". Now that makes more sense for me as a reader, because this would be a different type of read.

You may or may not be a Nicholas Sparks fan, but here's his website where you can check out all his works and order them too, if you want.

(I guess another reason why I haven't read the "Twilight" series is because of the romance part, which I'm not really too keen about. A sparkly vampire? Thank you very much, but I prefer my vampire who acts more like Lestat.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Million Stars Falling from the Sky

Or also known as Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi

This is not your typical, average Japanese dorama. And I wouldn't be recommending this to everyone, either. But if you're seriously bored with your life right now, and you want to watch something new, something that would make you think, gasp, and probably cry (which I highly doubt, because it never happened to me), then this drama is just right for you.

First off, this is a dark drama. There is no mushiness, no over the top acting, no sweetness. Just plain and raw human emotions.

I assure you, the eleven hours of your life won't be wasted with this drama (that is, IF you really are interested in dark dramas) if you watch this.

Released in 2002 starring Kimura Takuya (as Katase Ryo), Akashiya Sanma (as Dojima Kanzo), Fukatsu Eri (as Dojima Yuko) and other stars that made a big impact to the drama as well.

Like I keep saying again and again, I'm not good at telling stories, but I'll give it a try. It's about this detective (Kanzo) who's investigating this man (Ryo) who has been seen in a lot of crimes. Kanzo wanted to know how Ryo is related to the victims, and at the same time warn his little sister (Yuko) to stay away from this man. But we all know she'll get attached to this man, even if she doesn't want to. I mean, just look at the first episode and women will know what I'm talking about.

Before watching this drama though, you shouldn't read any (and I mean ANY) spoilers at all so that it won't ruin the ending for you. Although you'll be able to guess the revelations, you still wouldn't believe that they would happen. Let's say for example, you're watching one episode, and as it unfolds, you'll think that that's what's going to happen. This is what this character will do. And even if you did predict that it would happen, it would still shock you. And there are also some scenes that would really shock the hell out of you, that you'd want to see it again and know what happened so that way you would better understand it.

And I have to say this again, this drama isn't for everyone. Even if they're a big Kimura Takuya fan. Because some might not like his character here. Although I loved him here (he's hot, as always, and I actually envy the women. lol), I think Akashiya Sanma (Dojima Kanzo) did a great job as well. He stole some parts of the show. It was my first time seeing all the actors (except for Kimura), and they did a really good job. Fukatsu Eri (Yuko) and Shibasaki Kou (the 19-yr-old Yuki-chan) were amazing as well.

This drama also killed me. I had to watch a light-hearted movie after seeing the last episode to get it out of my system. I actually watched a Korean movie (Doremifasolasido) after it, and I found it sooo boring. No offense, really. Lots say its good, but its not. Okay, maybe it was touching. But its still a typical movie for me. And while I was watching it, my reaction was like, ''Wtf? This happened to Eun Gyu?''. So, pardon me for this kind of reaction. It's just that, my mind was still on the drama while I was watching it. That's how it affected me so much that I literally had to watch a romantic, light hearted, comedy movie.

And after watching this drama, my standards for a good drama got higher. A Million Stars Falling from the Sky. Now this is a top-notch quality Jdorama. It maybe a bit slow and boring, but you'll love the characters and how each of them unfold through each episode.