Category Archives: review

‘Dollhouse’ First Chapter Review: How the Kardashian Sisters Ruined My Night

These pour souls may have actually read this book after getting it signed. My thoughts and well wishes go out to them.

I never understood the so-called “need” for book burnings until now. Fanatics shouldn’t be burning copies of well-written-yet-controversial texts. They should be burning books that make you want to be illiterate. Books so bad that the first sentence makes you want to chuck it across the room just to get it as far away from you as possible. Books that can turn your great day into the worst day of your life after just three pages. Those would be nice critiques of the first chapter of Dollhouse by Kim, Khloe and that other Kardashian sister whose names escapes me and I don’t care enough about to look up at this moment. (I wanna say Lamar Kardashian? Or is it Bruce Kardashian?)

When Khloe Kardashian put a link to the first chapter on her Twitter, I knew I had to read it. I didn’t expect greatness, but I didn’t expect that they may have actually written this book themselves. After the finishing the chapter, it was apparent the last thing book they ever read was probably something like The Kardashian Sisters: Krazy Kool by the 13-year-old moderators of the IHeartKimKhloeKourtneyOMG Twitter and Tumblr. The influence of that book is seen in their writing.

I give them props for knowing their largest following is tweens and young adults, but they’re either underestimating their reader’s intelligence or overestimating their own by not enlisting a few actual writers to help turn this from a tween’s short story for basic English class into an actual book. If they did have some outside help, those people should be stripped of their writing titles and forced to wander Hollywood Boulevard barefoot for eternity as atonement for their crimes against literature.

A good writer would’ve noticed that everyone’s name starting with a “k” is confusing enough when I have visuals to help me out on their TV show, but in a book, I don’t know who is who. I think the first chapter is about Kamille Romero and her sisters are Kass and Kyle. The mom’s name is Kat. Don’t even ask me who’s the oldest or the youngest. Also, don’t ask me anyone else’s name because it took me way too long to figure out who the main characters were to focus on anyone else.

Notably bad writing decisions:

“But her destiny was out there, waiting for her, as sparkly and spectacular as the Kodak Theater on Oscar Night…” (Note: Those ellipses are actually in the book! They were not added to indicate the sentence continued past my quoting. When did that become OK to put ellipses in a novel? Also, what’s so sparkly about Oscar Night? I guess I’ve been a member of the proletariat too long.)

“David Alexander Romero had been a famous film producer. More important, he had been the most awesome dad in the world.” (As an editor, I can tell you that “had been” would be easier to read if they just said “was” and it would also flow better if it said “more importantly” because more important sounds like hillbilly talk.)

“Kat found out that he had secretly invested the family’s saving with his best friend, who was a big-deal investment banker to the rich and famous.” (The entire sentence reads like a line from Valley Girl.)

The name of the restaurant the family owns is the oh-so-original Café Romero. (Zero points for creativity.)

“What do you mean you need an emergency vagina-plasty?” (Don’t even ask.)

I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt because this is just the first chapter. In light of the fact that there’s this much wrong in just nine pages, I will not be reading the rest of the book or suggesting it to anyone. The fact that they think nine pages of introductory nonsense disguised as clever background information is actually a chapter is a bad sign for the quality of the rest of the book. But I must confess that I thought Lauren Conrad’s L.A. Candy novels would suck after the first paragraph,  but I ended up liking them. But they got better by the second page, so I didn’t have to read an entire chapter that made me cringe.

The ladies should probably just keep doing fashion collaborations and endorsements. Or read a few good books in whatever genre (it seems like this was supposed to be YA fiction) they want to use for their next book. FYI: Kardashian Konfidential does not count as a good book to use for inspiration.

After this scathing review, I’d like to apologize if I offended any of you 12-year-old “dolls” or “K-hearts” or “Krazy Kardashian stalKers” out there. Just as I have the right to like good literature, you have the right to kill your brain cells with the first chapter is this book. Just be glad I didn’t weigh in on Kim’s whirlwind marriage…yet.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1

I went to go see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 at midnight last Thursday. It was easily the best of the series. After a few days, I’m starting to wonder if it was actually good or if it was just so much better than the rest of the series that I just thought it was. Looking back, my friends and I were kind of talking the whole time.

Regardless, I spent a little over two hours of my life watching Kristen Stewart try to make her emotionless face exhibit complicated feelings and reviewed it for Feather Magazine.

Tagged ,

The Rise of Awkward Girls

The NBC sitcom Whitney is cashing in on the popularity of awkward women on TV.

What I hate most about TV sometimes is how together a lot of characters seem in fall shows. These are usually the ones that don’t get picked up for a full season. Thank, God.

Instead of people with only one or two minor problems being passed off as issues, networks seem to be looking to cash in on women so awkward that they make you a little uncomfortable. Two shows definitely fit that bill: Whitney (NBC) and New Girl (FOX).

Whitney (Whitney Cummings) is somehow in a three-year relationship despite her awkardness and complete disregard for social norms. Her boyfriend, Alex (Chris D’Elia), apparently a multi-millionaire after selling an Internet company, puts up with her antics and even plays along with them. After deciding they aren’t having enough sex, Whitney buys a sexy nurse’s uniform and during the sexy role play she makes him fill out paperwork and even takes his insurance card. That doesn’t really scream sexy, does it? She gets even more awkward in the second episode, insisting that they go on the first date they never had and taking their roles to the extreme. She even has an awkward meeting with him by the elevator.

As for New Girl, it’s just as quirky as the previews made it seem. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) can never do anything without adding some kind of awkwardness to it. In the pilot, she makes an entrance in a LBD and right after her roommates compliment her, she does a terrifyingly quirky little dance move. The second episode shows her driving around in circles because she’s afraid to get her belongings from her former boyfriend’s house. She’s a complete quirky disaster in the third episode, trying to help her roommate make his ex jealous by pretending to be his girlfriend. All she does is make fake pregnancy allegations and plead to wear false buck teeth. If she weren’t odd enough, Jess also frequently sings her own theme song under her breath.

A few years ago, characters like this wouldn’t have made it past two episodes, but both have been picked up for a full season. Can you imagine if Carrie Bradshaw or Mary Tyler Moore had this many quirks in the first season? I think the success comes from the fact that women in their target age group are becoming more comfortable with being a little different.

Although, I love Whitney, I remain on the fence about New Girl. Jess crosses the line between quirky and just unrelatably insane way too much. I’m also not crazy about Winston, a roommate added in the second episode. I preferred Damon Wayans Jr.’s coach character because he was awkward in all the right ways. Winston just seems lost. It’s a trait he shares with the story line.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Glance: The New Fall Season

I know it’s been a while, but you didn’t think I would really sit out the Fall 2011 TV season, did you? Not a chance.

I don’t want to judge anything before I give it at least two episodes, but I’ve seen a few pilots and these are my initial thoughts as I viewed them.

New Girl: If Zooey Deschanel tries any harder to make her character quirky and individualistic, I will throw my television out the window and thank God I won’t even have the possibility of flipping through channels and accidentally seeing a second of this. (Since I love Zooey’s music and some of her films, I’m going to give it one more chance. Pray for my TV’s well-being.)

The Playboy Club: Did she really just kill a mobster with her high heels? And now a lawyer is helping her load the body in a trunk and dump it in a river. Wait, is that Hugh Hefner narrating? Why is the narration so spaced out and awkward? It’s like a thought you keep trying to push away, but it comes up again at the most random—

There it is again! Go away, Hef!

Free Agents: There’s nothing like a grown man crying after sex in the opening scene of a show. Oh, actually, there’s nothing like a discussion about his sex life during staff meetings. Is she really listening to “Fernando” by Abba to get over her husband’s death? Isn’t that about a war? Hilarious! I can’t believe they actually cleared up the background of “Fernando.” This is going to be one of my go-to Hulu shows every week for a good chuckle.

Up All Night: They just cursed at their baby! That is something about transitioning from life without kids that I never considered. That made my day! Maya Rudolph playing a TV host? This is officially my favorite show of the new season and I don’t have any kids or a full-time grown-up job.

I’m gearing up for Charlie’s Angels, Pan Am and maybe Revenge. I’d watch the new shows on The CW, but they’re not on Hulu and I’m not available most week nights. I hate the video player on The CW site, but I will find a way to watch those shows. Maybe I’ll bum off of a friend’s DVR.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review | Saying Good-Bye to ‘The Boy Who Lived’

A movie poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

The last installment of the Harry Potter film franchise doesn’t beat around the bush. It starts right where it left off with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) stealing the elder wand from Dumbledore’s grave and casting its power into the sky. It sets off a flurry of non-stop action sequences as Harry (Danielle Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) seek out and attempt to destroy the last of the Horcruxes.

One minute they’re on the beach, the next they’re in Gringotts, then they’re in Hogsmeade, then there’s a battle at Hogwarts. Somewhere in there they ride a dragon, Prof. McGonagall (Maggie Smith) proves she won’t back down without a fight, Mrs. Weasley shows how far a mother’s love goes, Ron and Hermione get–uh–closer and Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) finally becomes the hero he was born to be.

David Yates, the film director, never leaves any stone unturned when it comes to portraying the action as realistically as possible, which is hard considering the overwhelmingly fictional concept. But he does it well. In one scene inside Hogwarts, he even makes sure you can see flashing coming from outside where Death Eaters are wearing down the magical protection around the castle to get in. That attention to detail and the loyalty to the original text easily helps catapult this film into the top spot.

Snape (played flawlessly by Alan Rickman), in both the book and film version, turns out to be someone completely different than we all thought he was. Unfortunately, the film went the same route as the book and didn’t give him the interpretation his story deserved. His whole teen years are actually left out, which was important to realizing the depth of his past. But people who hadn’t read the books seemed to understand what was going on anyway, thanks to good editing. Somewhere inside Snape’s past is a secret concerning Dumbledore that will change Harry’s life forever and he’ll realize whether he really is fighting Voldemort for the greater good or just for vengeance.

I read the first Harry Potter book when I was 11 years old, so I literally grew up with the series along with most of the people watching the film with me last night. More than anything this film is about every student at Hogwarts going from kids to adults by risking their lives for something they believe in. That’s a legacy I hope all my fellow 20-something Harry Potter loves take with them as we all made our final foray into adulthood when the last remnant our childhood came to a close with this film.

I laughed, I cried (the whole theater was full of sniffling people), I applauded and I when the screen turned black, I said a final good-bye to “The Boy Who Lived.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

“Best Thing I Never Had” Music Video

Beyoncé’s video for “Best Thing I Never Had,” the second (third if you count “1+1,” which was her second single before she changed her mind) single from her “4” album premiered on her website and VEVO tonight.

Everybody has to do the wedding video. It’s an unwritten requirement for female artists. Think about it: Mariah Carey in “We Belong Together”; Katy Perry in “Hot N Cold”; Pink in “I Don’t Believe You”; Madonna in “Like a Virgin.” I could keep going. At least she made it down the aisle, which really isn’t the norm for wedding videos.

The video was missing all the sass everyone wanted, but she pulled off the happy vibe well. There’s just not much to it. It’s a good video, but I’m nothing really stood out. I think she set the bar really high with all the dance moves and the story line for “Who Run the World (Girls)” and going the simple route after that wasn’t expected.

With any other artist, the video would have gone unnoticed, but Beyoncé has this charm that makes it easy for her to pull off almost anything.

She pulled it off with smiles worthy of a toothpaste ad (I really need to see her dentist), white lingerie that’s somehow sexy and modest at the same time and a wedding dress that’s to die for. Ten points to anyone who can tell me who the wedding dress designer is. I have an inkling of who the designer may be, but I’m too savvy with wedding dress fashion. [UPDATE: My best friend did some research and found out the wedding dress is Baracci Beverly Hills and the reception dress is Vera Wang. Thank God for friends who love high-end wedding dresses.]

Some of my Twitter friends (tweeps, as I call them) and I want her to do the same thing she did with “B’Day” and make a music video for every song. Pretty please, King B?

Check out the video for “Best Thing I Never Had” below:

Tagged , , , , ,

Beyonce “4” Review | What Happens When A Singer is Fearless?

I bought Beyoncé’s deluxe edition of “4” from Target on Wednesday and about halfway through, I had to stop the CD. (Yes, I resorted to dinosaur technology, but I couldn’t wait until I got home and it’s now on my iPod) Not out of frustration or because I didn’t like it. I was just overwhelmed by how good it was; how different it was from anything I’ve heard in years, possibly since Lauryn Hill’s album. Just like “Miseducation” it was a fearlessly recorded album with little or no regard for things like “radio-friendly” tracks. Lauryn’s songs were played on the radio, but they were vastly different from all the crap being played before and after her singles (Have you really listened to those background vocals? That attention to composition was incredible) and it was obvious when she recorded them radio play wasn’t really on her mind–just making music. Beyoncé, a 16-time Grammy winner, brings that same veracity for the craft and catharsis of performance to her latest album, which is expected to be the #1 album in 14 countries without even getting a top 10 spot on Billboard.

I understand why critics have touted the concept, while shying away from actually saying if it’s good or not because nothing out there sounds anything like it. The sound on the previous three albums was one popularized by Beyoncé, but it had a generic quality that was beneath her talents. But that’s what people would rather hear because they’re used to it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved those albums, but I always knew she was holding back. Sometime during her year off, which can be seen in the mini-documentary “Year of 4,” she realized the same.

The sounds in “4” samples heavily from the 1970s and the 1980s, but doesn’t completely rip off the time periods by taking a modern twist. The track “Party” makes you want to get in a time machine and go back to the 80s when house parties were almost on the same level as a hip club and everything seemed a little more laid back. There are showy ballads, like “1+1,” “I Was Here” and “Start Over.” As opposed to her last album, which was full of anthemic dance tracks, this one only has a couple (and they’re not really dance tracks), namely “Love on Top,” “Party” and “Schoolin’ Life” (a bonus track on the deluxe edition).

This isn’t a complete deviation from the Beyoncé we’ve seen in the past. She’s still got her gritty-southern gangster side in “Countdown” (Me and my boo in/my boo coupe riding”), her vulnerable side in “I Miss You” (“I still need you/why is that?”), her sassy side rears its head in “I Care” (“I know you don’t care too much/but I care”) and her sexy side (“I’ll give it all away/just don’t tell nobody tomorrow”). But she’s doing it without worrying so much about how others want her music to be and focusing solely on what she wants it to be.

I wouldn’t call the album perfect. Some of the lyrics don’t flow too well and a few of the beats are all over the place, but with such a great voice, she can pull it off where others would have failed.

Just like Rihanna needed “Rated R” as a way to transition into the next phase in her life, Beyoncé needed this album. But it came off way better than Rihanna’s, serving more as a beacon of light for any artist who’s been afraid to make their own musical path. It seems that Beyoncé needed this album to show the world she could really made a mark doing something other than making you dance at the club or helping you get over a break-up. Like she croons in her ballad “I Was Here”: “I just want them to know/that I gave my all, did my best.”

Tagged , , , ,

‘Marvin’s Room’ Covers | The Room is Getting Crowded

Drake released “Marvin’s Room” in the beginning of June, a somber track from his “Take Care” album that’s set to drop in October. It’s not Drake’s best work by any means, but I do love the premise of a drunken phone call to an ex-girlfriend. The random rapping that interrupts his “singing” is pretty jarring and doesn’t really fit the mood of the song. The music video is pretty low key (and low budget), but it does the job. It’s not a bad song, but any Drake fan will agree he can do way better. Nonetheless, a bunch of artists put their own spin on the song.

JoJo’s cover, subtitled “Can’t Do Better,” was the first I listened to and it’s still the best I’ve heard so far. She strayed the least from the original premise of the song and lyrically she turned it into more of an anthem for girls who find out their ex-boyfriend is dating someone else before they’ve even had a chance to really get over him. Best line: “She’s not crazy like me/I bet you like that.” She added a lot of anger and sass to the song (I’ma send a sexy picture/to remind you what you’ve given up), giving it the extra push it needed for me, and a few other Drake fans I know, to bring ourselves to admit it’s better than his version. This also gives JoJo’s image a lot of maturity, which I think she was hoping for with a new album expected soon. She really set the bar and a line from her version pretty much explains how I feel about every other cover I’ve heard: “I’m the best so you can’t do better.”

Teyana released a cover around the same time as JoJo and she also released a video today. The song is mediocre, to say the least. Teyana seems content to dance around the line of celebrity as more of a socialite than an actual artist, but she does have a beautiful voice. Lyrically, the song wasn’t up to par, mostly because it wasn’t focused. Her feelings are all over the place, which portrays the reality of someone in that situation, but in a song it’s best to stick with one or two emotions than choosing all of them. Also, I think when you sing “Wife-beater and my panties on” in a song, you’re aiming it at a male audience, but you can’t keep their attention when the song they thought was about sex turns into emotional vomit. I did like her homage to Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor” at the end of the song and I wish she’d used the song as a model for her own. The video was just as confusing emotionally and visually. It’s basically a love letter to Teyana’s abs and her hair. I’m still confused about why Omarion was even necessary.

Chris Brown was the latest superstar to put out his spin on the track. The only reason he released the song was to put out some vulgar lyrics and remind us all that we’re haters if we don’t like him. Chris, I’ll just have to keep hating because it was garbage and you could have done way better. I know I seem to dislike Chris Brown, but he really just frustrates me because I’ve been waiting to be wrong about him being a complete jerk, but he keeps proving me right.

I was hoping some unknown YouTube sensation would stand above the rest or at least be better than Teyana’s, but I haven’t found one yet.

Check out the original song by Drake and the covers I mentioned below. Are there any good covers out there besides JoJo’s I should listen to? Am I being too harsh on Teyana and Chris?

Look out for a review of Beyonce’s “4” really soon!

Tagged , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: