Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

City of Spies

Published May 7, 2010 by Molly

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With certain cultural products you can tell how much you’re going to love them based only on a few key words from their description. City of Spies is a good example of this phenomenon. Words and phrases mentioned in relationship to the graphic novel include “World War II spy tale”, “intrigue”, “espionage” and “German conspiracy”.

Written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan and illustrated by Pascal Dizin, the book combines super-precise illustration with shiver-inducing mysteries, historical atmospherics and a cast of amiable, adventure-hungry characters. To be honest, we’re fans of anything that involves the kid detective genre and/or having hunches, so this book is the answer to our most fervent prayers. It doesn’t hurt that the tale has also been likened to a Tintin book directed by Hitchcock. Dream team!

Books You Might Not Have Read Yet: An Expensive Education

Published November 20, 2009 by Molly

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Dollars to donuts this book got optioned the second it rolled off the presses. One need only list the ingredients to visualize the dollar signs popping up in movie exec eyes: a Harvard-educated preppy kid named Michael Teak performs spy business in Africa, investigates a rebel leader named Hatashil, and witnesses the bombing of an entire village under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, a Harvard professor who has won a Pulitzer Prize for a book heralding Hatashil as a renegade hero receives threats indicating that the freedom-fighter may be a terrorist. Plot threads intertwine. Kalashnikovs appear. Swahlili is spoken.

In other words, An Expensive Education is a book that combines suspense-novel hijinx with the interior world of a Holden Caulfield type (albeit a Holden who speaks Arabic and carries a handgun.) What’s not to love?

Department of Kid Heroes in Literature

Published September 9, 2009 by Molly

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Reading may be a universally beloved pastime, but good books aren’t necessarily universal. Language takes care of that. Books available only in their native French or Spanish or Czech may be amazing, but for those limited to a different tongue, they may as well exist in a parallel universe.

That’s why it’s such a pleasure to find that Italian wordsmith Stefano Benni has seen his novel Margherita Dolce Vita freshly translated into English. Benni–– a hugely famous satirist in his native country––is long overdue for American adulation, and Margherita is a perfect place to start.

The title character is a spunky young girl prone to fantasizing and wordplay; a kid whose braces clash when she smooches her boyfriend “like a duel in the Illiad”. A skewed constellation of family members and a mysterious neighbor seal the premise, with Margherita cast as resourceful and unlikely savior. Best part of all? There’s no need to splurge on an Italian-English dictionary in order to read the novel. Molto sweet-o.

The Brothers Bloom

Published May 9, 2009 by Graham

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High school noir mystery Brick propelled director Rian Johnson into cult status four years ago, but The Brothers Bloom is poised to introduce a much wider audience to the filmmaker’s anachronistic charm. Depicting the bond of brotherhood through a team of fraternal con artists played by dramaturgical heartthrobs Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo (who also appears in Where the Wild Things Are), the film is an epic adventure pastiche spanning the globe, chock full of aesthetic eye candy. In the process of pulling off “one last con” on bored millionaire mark Rachel Weisz (who actually turns out to be kind of hilarious– who knew?), the titular Blooms weave a twist-filled tale that’s just plain old-fashioned fun. If only all action-packed popcorn films were as exciting and stimulating as this! Check out the trailer, and while you’re on that page, note the weird Photoshop chop-job some marketers did on the production still posted above– who shoulders are those, really, Ruffalo?

Also check out the clip below of the opening sequence in which Max Records AKA Max from WTWA plays young Ruffalo. Mark Recommended him for the job after working together on Wild Things. We love Max!