Book: Fatal Distraction
by Diane Capri
I’m so glad I took a break from science fiction and fantasy to read Fatal Distraction. It’s smart, fast-paced, personal and, dare I say, thrilling. It’s the kind of “this could happen to me” thrill that really chills me to the bone if I think about it too much. I could not put this book down until I found out if everything was going to turn out okay. Does it? Well you’ll have to read it and see!
This story features two fantastic women: Jess, a reporter who is on a personal crusade for victim’s rights, and Helen, the governor of Florida. I wish all of our politicians were like Helen. She is solid in her beliefs, fair, and she stands for something. She follows the law, even if it doesn’t necessarily make her happy. I can respect that. Jess strives for the truth, even if it’s painful, and even if she doesn’t like the answer. I can respect that too. What hooked me about this story was watching these two women, both with their unique opinions and point of view, each just trying to do the right thing. I think they made quite a team. One I wouldn’t mind joining.
The other hook for me was the relationship between Helen and her husband Oliver. I don’t want to give away plot twists, but I will say poor Oliver is having one hell of a week. He’s still grieving the loss of their son, he’s had a stroke, and in general he’s not in a happy place. And then he’s…well, go read the story. Through it all, Helen stands by his side. That, more than anything, tells you what kind of person she is. I loved this couple for their strength, courage, and dedication to each other. Even in the face of politics, and loss, and crap that life throws their way. We should all be so lucky as to have a relationship like that.
I also love that in the end, both Jess and Helen are two women who can kick some ass. The world needs more ass-kickers.
If you like legal thrillers, and you like strong women, you’ll love this. It’s Grisham meets a female Jack Reacher, with a twist. Helen is the legal mind. Jess actively seeks situations where she can make a difference. She does that with a sharp mind and pen/computer, instead of lethal force, but the effect is just as devastating to the bad guy in the end.
I hope they make a movie out of this. I’m already casting it in my head. Give it a read, and let me know who you think would play Helen and Jess.
Movie: Snow White and the Huntsman
I’ve been looking forward to this for months. The trailers led me to believe it would be full of special effects and deliciously evil moments by the queen. It didn’t disappoint in that regard.
I left the theater less than thrilled, and analyzing just what went wrong. I love fantasy. I love fairy tales. I love anything that combines them with a new spin or twist. This, however, I didn’t love. It had so much potential, and fell unaccountably flat for me. I didn’t expect a Disney movie. I didn’t expect flowers and sunshine and light. I didn’t expect it to exactly follow any of the traditional fairy tale, although it did try. So why, then, was I so disappointed?
As I think back to what I did enjoy about this film, the thing that strikes me is the beauty of it. The special effects team deserves a medal. They were amazing, and the entire look of the movie was complete eye candy. I found myself watching the scenery because it was that beautiful (in a dark, forbidding sort of way).
You see the problem? I had time to notice the scenery. Why? Because the story was flat, the dialogue nearly non-existent and the characters, with the exception of the evil queen and the huntsman and one of the dwarves, stiff and unappealing. I honestly didn’t care if they lived, died, or defeated the queen. And usually I’m a sucker for all of those things. So again I have to ask, why?
It’s the writing. And the acting. The first thing I noticed was a plot hole that was never filled. When the evil queen takes over the kingdom, she leaves little Snow White alive. Why? There was no logical reason for someone that evil to leave a loose end around like that. To me, it would have made a lot more sense for Snow White to have escaped in the confusion when the Queen took over the kingdom. She could have been raised in the Dark Forest by fairies or something, ignorant of her status until later. Trapped as she was in the castle, with the Queen siphoning beauty and life from all the women around, I have to ask why she was so stupid as to not do that very thing to the one conveniently locked in a tower?
Later, much much later, they do give an explanation that would have worked. By then I’d stopped paying attention. There are also several scenes that had no reason for exiting. They did not further the story, they didn’t reveal character. At most, they let the special effects people play. But that’s not enough to waste screen time in my opinion.
The dialogue, or lack thereof, was stilted and lacked any sort of emotion. Even the passionate speech by Snow White as she tries to rally the troops is cheesy and lackluster. I felt no passion, no excitement, either from myself or from the crowd she addressed.
That might have been due to Stewart’s acting ability. She felt flat and cardboard, with the same type of line delivery that she had for Twilight. She felt all wrong for the time period, and for the character. This was a bad casting call, hands down. She’s not strong enough to save the bad writing.
The huntsman, Chris Hemsworth, did all he could with the part. I appreciated his efforts, but I have a soft spot for him. The highlight of this movie, by far, was Cherlize Theron. Excellent job. Even with the lack of material.
See it for the cinematic eye candy and the fun of watching a larger than life evil queen. But don’t expect much else.