Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (Jack et la mécanique du coeur)

tags: animation, fantasy, science fiction, tragic love story

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From Amazon
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest day in the history of the world, little Jack is born with his heart frozen solid. Wasting no time, midwife Madeleine takes action and saves his life by inserting a cuckoo-clock in place of his icy heart. And now Jack will live…as long as he observes three golden rules: 

He must never touch the hands of the clock. 

He must master his anger. 

He must never, ever fall in love. 

But fall in love he does, to a bespectacled young street performer, Miss Acacia, with a soul-stirring voice. Now begins a journey of escape and pursuit, from Edinburgh to Paris to Miss Acacia’s home in Andalusia. Based on the novel by Mathias Malzieu, Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a fantastical, wildly inventive tale of love and heartbreak, by turns poignant and funny, in which Jack finally learns the great joys, and ultimately the greater costs, of owning a fully formed heart.
I love animated movies. Toy Story 3 remains my favorite of all time. The recent Hollywood animated movies I've seen, unfortunately, only succeeded in annoying me, to name a couple: Frozen and Brave.

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, a French animated movie [original title is Jack et la mécanique du coeur], is wonderful. I really loved it and will watch it again. The animation is beautiful and the strange but fascinating story as well as the songs are great. I didn't mind the tragic ending which is done in a dream-like setting and not at all traumatic. I just wished the movie is shown in its original French audio including the songs. The English dubbing, thankfully, is done by British actors and not by American actors.

Highly recommended for adults and children over 12 years. One song and a few lines are a tad sexual and probably not appropriate for very young children.

Currently streaming on Netflix and Amazon.

The movie is directed by Mathias Malzieu and Stephane Berla, adapted from a book and music album written by Malzieu who is with the French band, Dionysos. I listened to the French soundtrack and like the songs better than the English version.

The original soundtrack. Enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Miramont's Ghost

Miramont's Ghost  tags: historical fiction, mystery

image by onidenki

Book description from Amazon
Miramont Castle, built in 1897 and mysteriously abandoned three years later, is home to many secrets. Only one person knows the truth: Adrienne Beauvier, granddaughter of the Comte de Challembelles and cousin to the man who built the castle.
Clairvoyant from the time she could talk, Adrienne’s visions show her the secrets of those around her. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries of her own aristocratic French family, Adrienne is confronted by her formidable Aunt Marie, who is determined to keep the young woman silent at any cost. Marie wrenches Adrienne from her home in France and takes her to America, to Miramont Castle, where she keeps the girl isolated and imprisoned. Surrounded by eerie premonitions, Adrienne is locked in a life-or-death struggle to learn the truth and escape her torment.
Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this hauntingly atmospheric tale is inspired by historical research into the real-life Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

It's a good thing that Amazon Prime members are given this month 2 free books on its Kindle First program. However, one of the 2 books I downloaded, Miramont's Ghost, is a complete disaster. After reading the whole thing, I refuse to give this "soap opera disguised as a thriller gothic mystery" even a one-star. The only interesting part is the Prologue. The rest is just horrid.

It's an insult to say it is reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Oh, please! The book is neither haunting nor atmospheric and nowhere near the brilliance of Rebecca. The writing style is sophomoric at best and the author seems obsessed with the word "swallow", appearing more than a dozen times throughout the book. Almost everyone does it. She also likes the phrases "hair on back of neck stood on end" and "watching through her lashes". The author is either lazy or still needs creative writing lessons.

In my honest opinion the sad crying image above best illustrates the novel which I re-titled Sad, Sadder, Saddest - The Short Life of Adrienne Beauvier

SPOILERS ahead. If you are interested in reading the novel, please stop reading here.