[MOVIE] Back To The Future.

I know I’m late to the party but I just watched Back to the Future (1-3) for the first time. I’ve always known of its existence especially since it’s basically a classic and it’s been used as a reference in a number of movies. Also, since it was a major influence in a Busted song called “Year 3000.” If you haven’t heard of it, you’re missing out. It was also remade by the Jonas Brothers but meh.

Also, the band, McFly, got their name from Marty McFly…

Anyway, this post is not about that. It’s about the movie.

It was released in 1985, way before I was born but it’s amazing to think that it has withstood time, has become a classic and a widely referenced pop culture icon. It must’ve been such a mind-blowing concept in ’85 (or so I think) considering the futuristic concepts and devices shown in the movie. Actually, even now in 2017, a lot of the gadgets and devices are still mere concepts (hoverboards & TIME MACHINE, or is it?). Being a Doctor Who fan, I can’t shake off the feeling that it’s very much like Doctor Who – Doc Brown as the Doctor (duh!) and Marty McFly as the companion.

I can’t pick a favorite among the 3 parts as they’re basically one big movie cut into parts. If I were to pick one I would watch again, I would watch the second one simply because I feel like I didn’t pay much attention the first time I watched it. I was distracted, basically. Maybe only then will I be able to really pick among the 3 for a favorite.

What irks me in time-travel shows is the fact that they seem to forget what a time machine does. It travels through TIME. If you miss something the first time, go back in time so that you don’t miss it. I mean, on Back to the Future II, when Marty and Doc see that the police found Jennifer’s unconscious body and they decide to take her to her “home” (her future self’s home), instead of attempting to beat them to it, Marty and Doc could’ve just gone back in time to prevent it from happening. RIGHT? Or am I missing something? The excuse saying that “the story would’ve been much shorter had it not happened” is just that. An excuse. It’s a plot hole. It’s not exclusive to Back to the Future. In fact, most time travel shows are guilty of this. Use the time machine as a freaking time machine, please.

Anyway, the movies were fun to watch and were actually pretty effective in making scenes suspenseful. That was impressive. There are movies that fail miserably at this where some scenes are meant to be full of suspense. You expect it. You know you’re supposed to feel it. But you don’t. In Back to the Future, you expect it, you know it’s stupid to feel nervous because it’s just a movie and let’s face it, you know what’s gonna happen, and yet you still feel nervous. Now, that’s a good movie.

All in all, Back to the Future will always remain a classic and I can’t believe it took me this long to watch it. Thank you, Netflix for giving me the chance to watch this movie. Seriously, I wouldn’t have even thought of watching it had it not been suggested to me.

NinthMelody rating: 8.5/10

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[BOOK] I Am The Messenger.

I Am The Messenger - coverI must admit. It took me longer than expected to finish this one. Not because it was boring but because the first time I tried to read it, I didn’t really grab my consciousness as much as “The Book Thief” did which was written by the same author, Markus Zusak.

Also, the cover. I’m not a fan. Let’s be real. We all look at the cover. We’re judgmental like that.

Anyway, here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

According to my Goodreads profile, I started reading this book on August 15, 2016. Yes, that’s right. 2016! I didn’t even realize that I started it almost exactly a year ago. I guess it has that “August” feel to it. Anyway, I had to start reading it from the very beginning the second time around since I already forgot the details.

As what was written in the synopsis, it circles around a cabdriver named Ed Kennedy who helps stop a bank robbery and becomes an instant celebrity for a short while since his name and photos are all over the front pages for the next few days. He then receives an Ace of Diamonds in the mail with 3 addresses written on it. It’s mysterious since the sender is unknown and even more so, the purpose. Imagine getting the same type of card in the mail. What would you do? Would you check out the addresses or just brush it off and throw the card away?

Ed Kennedy decides to check out the addresses just to figure out what he’s supposed to do with them or at least find out who sent the card in the first place. In the first house he visits, he sees a family whose head of the household is a big drunkard who forces himself on his wife every night as their daughter listens in at the front porch, crying. It’s a heavy picture especially for an ordinary stranger like Ed Kennedy. Seeing a scene like that, there are only two options: Help or Ignore. After visiting the first house, Ed realizes that the addresses on the cards are missions for him to solve. Why him? And who is behind all this? Those are the questions that will play through your mind throughout the book.

Expect the unexpected for the ending. Did not see that one coming, to be honest. If you know me, I like me some twists in my books. *thumbs up*

So if you’re wondering whether to read this book or not, I suggest just go pick it up and start reading. It’s nothing like The Book Thief so don’t even compare it. But if you’re interested to know how they differ, I Am The Messenger is more easy-going and straightforward. Ed Kennedy is the main character and he’s also the narrator – first person POV. Simple. The plot is also light and it actually evokes a warm, fuzzy feeling especially once the problems are resolved. Not only that, it also hopes to inspire readers to dream, to do something and to BE.

NinthMelody rating: 8/10

[BOOK] Daughters of the Dragon.

20925858.jpg“Daughters of the Dragon” was on sale on Amazon Books so I did the only reasonable thing: I purchased it. I actually didn’t really know what the book was about before even purchasing it. The title seemed interesting and that was it. The part where it says “A COMFORT WOMAN’S STORY” did not even stand out to me since it’s really hard to see such details on a Kindle Paperwhite.

This book surprised me because it tells the story of a comfort woman named Jae-Hee who was only 14 years old when the Japanese ordered her and her sister to be sent to a camp where young Korean girls would serve as comfort women for the Japanese soldiers during World War II. It’s disgusting to think that these Japanese soldiers abused these young women and forced them to “serve” for the sake of Japan. I was actually ignorant of the history and the events that transpired in Korea during World War II.

My country, being a former Japanese colony as well, was also a victim of the evil acts of the Japanese soldiers and government back in the day. In fact, my maternal grandmother bore a deep scar on her chest where she was struck by a harpoon-like gun when they were captured by the Japanese. It was also during that time where my grandmother’s brother was killed by the Japanese. To be honest, I’ve forgotten about these facts and I was only reminded about them when I read “Daughters of the Dragon.” Even though the stories were completely different from what my ancestors went through, the story of Jae-Hee as a comfort woman, as a lost Korean in her own land, as a single mother; similar stories are abundant throughout history but they have been forgotten, ignored. This book is a great reminder that such cruelty happened to these people and it’s hopefully a lesson that we learn from; that we don’t repeat the same mistakes and we don’t let it happen again.

 

This book was purely fictional according to the author, William Andrews, but was based on historical facts. That fact makes it all the more terrible as it is stated that the existence of the comfort women is being denied by the Japanese government which all the more makes it harder for the survivors to seek the deserved justice. What this book does is it creates awareness that hopefully someday these victims receive the justice they have been looking for.

NinthMelody rating: 8/10

[TV] 13 Reasons Why.

13-Reasons-WhyOk, done!

After reading the 13 Reasons Why, I definitely had to watch it. It’s a Netflix Original Series and all 13 episodes can be watched on NETFLIX right now.

I’m gonna say it now at the very beginning. I actually liked this better than the book. It’s quite rare for me to prefer a movie/tv adaptation over the book because normally the adaptations lose important details that are present on the books. In this series, however, they’ve actually added details that were missing on the book and it made everything more interesting and more alive.

In the book, the readers only read about Hannah’s and Clay’s perspectives. We only hear their versions of the truth. I’m not saying that Hannah was lying, only that her perception of the events is different from how another person might see it. It’s interesting to also see the reactions and consequences of Hannah’s tapes on the lives of the other people mentioned on the tapes and not just Clay’s. Also, each character mentioned by Hannah on her tape was given a backstory in the series. We get a glimpse of their lives and it helps us understand why they are the way they are. In a way, the series was able to humanize the characters and create a sense of empathy for them; no matter how bad they might have been to Hannah, their actions do not define who they are.

There are definitely changes in the story so it’s not a complete adaptation from the book.

  1. In the book, Clay was able to listen to the tapes in a day. In the series, however, Clay finishes listening to the tapes in several days. This is actually the mildest difference I noticed.
  2. There were additional characters in the series like Jeff Atkins (Clay’s friend whom he tutors), the parents (played a more active role in the series), and Sheri (originally Jenny in the book).
  3. A large part of the series also focuses on Hannah Baker’s parents who are also looking for answers. In the book, they were hardly mentioned but in the series, they played a much bigger role which makes a lot of sense since what kind of parents would not want to seek justice for their child’s death especially since they believe that Hannah was bullied or treated badly in school which pushed her to her decision.
  4. The sequence of the tapes are different. Clay was 11th in the series. In the book, he was 9th.
  5. Hannah’s suicide was more gory in the series where she decided to slit her wrists whilst in the bathtub. The book was more mild with Hannah overdosing on pills (which actually makes more sense since her parents own a pharmacy store).

There are other changes I’m sure but I wasn’t able to note them all down.

For entertainment value, 13 Reasons Why is a very good show. It shows the harsh reality  of life. It puts into spotlight the effects of suicide, bullying, spreading of rumors, sexual assault, emotional assault and many other topics that are difficult to discuss. The show, however, requires strict parental guidance as it does portray such topics that may be misconstrued or misunderstood by troubled audiences as a glamorization of suicide. I’m sure that is not the intent of the series but rather the opposite however, to the sensitive minds of audiences who may be playing with the idea of suicide, I worry that there might be a misinterpretation of the idea which is why STRONG PARENTAL GUIDANCE is advised. 

All in all, a good series and I wouldn’t mind getting a Season 2. It would be nice to have a definite closure for every puzzle piece. It sure did leave us hanging even more so than the book did.

NinthMelody rating: 9/10

[BOOK] 13 Reasons Why.

Reasons USThis debut novel by Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why, was first released in 2007. I only decided to read it 10 years later. Although I have known about this book for a couple of years already, I only decided to give it a go now because of the NETFLIX series of the same name, based on this book, which was produced by Selena Gomez. (I will definitely watch it!)

I found that the premise was interesting and the story was told in dual points of view simultaneously which is quite refreshing. Most of the books that I’ve read that have dual perspectives dedicate one chapter per person so although that creates more of an in depth narration of each perspective, the way Jay Asher presented the voices of the two main characters, Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen, was highly engaging that it feels more conversational and intimate.

For those who have not read the summary of this book yet, it’s about Hannah Baker, a high school student who commits suicide. Before her death, she made recordings on a cassette tape which she sent out to those people whom she believed to have pushed her to end her own life. One of the recipients of the tapes is Clay Jensen, the other protagonist of the story.

The book opens with Clay sending out the cassette package to the next person on Hannah Baker’s list. She sent out the cassette tapes to the first person on her list where she details what that person did to her that made a snowball effect on her life which eventually made her decide to commit suicide. It was her intention to make the cassettes be passed on from one person to the next until it reaches the 13th person mentioned in the tape, thus the 13 Reasons Why (she killed herself).

What I liked about this book was Jay Asher’s style which was not only easily comprehensible but also relatable. You could empathize with Hannah or her “friends” or the people mentioned in her tape. Either way, it’s something that would leave an impression on you long after you’ve finished reading it.

I don’t want to talk about details from the book as it would ruin the whole experience. However, I do have some afterthoughts after having read the book.

What happened to Hannah Baker is devastating and frustrating at the same time. The worst part about this type of death is there is always that part of you that looks for “signs” or “clues” whether you could have done something to prevent it from happening and even more so frustrating is that even if you do realize it, you realize it a little too late. Such events are filled with regrets and what-ifs which makes it that much harder to move on.

The topic of “suicide” is a very serious matter that requires attention especially since the number of suicide rates in teens and young adults are surprisingly large. From Hannah’s experience, it shows that it’s not just one reason or a singular incident that pushes one over the edge. It’s actually the small details that have a snowball effect on one’s life that if left unattended, can push one over the edge of the cliff. Realizing this makes you think of the little things you do that might have a massive effect on other people. In this regard, it reminded me of the book “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng which I read last year. It’s the things we don’t say that make the most impact on other people and that makes it terrifying. To think that how much of the unsaid things could have saved a relationship, a friendship, a life.

I do not condone suicide. I will not justify Hannah’s actions. Were her problems too much for her to handle? Maybe. Even so, I believe that every problem has a solution. The solution may not be easy, it might even seem impossible, but there is always a solution. Suicide is never the answer. If such thoughts enter your mind, seek help. There’s no shame in admitting it. Find your solution because if suicide is your answer, you have not found it.

All in all, 13 Reasons Why is a must-read. It might be a dark-themed story but it reflects real-life. It’s close to reality as it can happen to anyone, anyone we know and if this book can make us want to be a better person just so we can help prevent other people from falling into the same fate as Hannah Baker, then this book has done its job well.

NinthMelody rating: 8.75/10

[BOOK] A Thousand Pieces of You.

9780062278968I’ll be honest. I “judged a book by its cover” and that’s how I came to read this book by Claudia Gray, the first book in the Firebird series, “A Thousand Pieces of You.” I don’t think anyone can deny the beauty of the cover but does the story live up to its cover art?

Here’s the synopsis of the book from Goodreads:

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

Right off the bat, the readers are introduced to the “Firebird,” the device that allows its wearer’s consciousness to travel to different dimensions. In fact, from the first chapter, the adventure starts right away. Marguerite and her friend, Theo, immediately put on their Firebirds to chase Paul into another dimension to avenge Marguerite’s father’s death. That’s exactly why I found it a bit overwhelming in the beginning. I felt like I was being thrown in a battlefield without being briefed on what the war was about.

Getting past the beginning though, I was able to appreciate the multi-universe travel concept more than time-travel mainly because it has less loopholes. With time travel there are problems with paradoxes and the whole thing is just messy once you think about it. With multi-universe travels, only the consciousness of the person travels, not the physical body so there is no possibility of accidentally bumping into your other self in the other dimension. This also means that you may only travel into a parallel universe where your other self exists. Sounds fun actually (unless you’re being targeted by bad guys).

Anyway, back to the story… Marguerite and Theo follow Paul across universes to supposedly “kill” him for killing Marguerite’s father. The thing about travelling to other dimensions is that you never know where and what your other self would be. Even more complicated than that, the other universes could be completely different from your original universe. So when Marguerite and Theo follow Paul into another universe, they also find out that if they take over the body of their other selves, they could also be taken over by that universe’s version of them.

Aside from the multi-universe travelling, the story also involves a love story. In some ways, it’s a love-triangle but most of the time, Marguerite keeps denying her feelings or keeps trying to hide it. She clearly feels closer to Paul over Theo before the whole “Paul-killed-my-father” incident. Obviously this is also the reason why she keeps stopping herself from loving Paul. Who in their right mind would fall in love with the person who supposedly robbed you of the chance to ever see your parent?

Since this is a 3-part series, I can’t make conclusions about the whole story just yet. The first series was alright. It was interesting enough to make me want to read the succeeding books.

NinthMelody rating: 7/10

 

[BOOK] After You.

AfterYouOkay, so months after I finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, I decided to read “After You,” the sequel. It still follows the story of Louisa Clark, years after the end of “Me Before You.”

As seen in Goodreads, here’s a brief synopsis of the book:

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

I would say that it was quite enjoyable just not as engaging as the first one except for some of the more fast-paced parts. I would not give out any spoilers but there are some pretty exciting scenes so look forward to those. However, I feel like After You did not leave as big an impression as Me Before You did. To be honest, I was fine with not knowing what Louisa Clark did with her life after Me Before You. By the end of the first book, I was convinced that Louisa would eventually find her own way with the help of Will’s loving memory pushing her to move forward no matter what. I’m not saying that’s not what happened in After You but I feel like her story was concluded right there and then.

Anyway, the book was not such a bad read. Not at all. It had a pretty solid story with the introduction of new characters that would affect Louisa’s life in big ways. For those who felt Me Before You was too short, definitely read this sequel. It might give you the closure you’re looking for.

NinthMelody rating: 7/10