- "Hell-Raising Hooey": The critics are evenly divided on the new blockbuster adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller Angels & Demons.
The Ron Howard-directed, Tom Hanks-starring, kid-tested, mother-approved flick currently has a MetaCritic score of 50 — which is as "split down the middle" as split down the middle ever gets.
Some critics who listened to their angels:
"This kind of film requires us to be very forgiving, and if we are, it promises to entertain. Angels & Demons succeeds." — Roger Ebert
"Plucking the same violent, occult strings as Da Vinci while avoiding its leadenness, Angels keeps the action coming for the best part of 139 minutes." — The Hollywood Reporter
"The movie can be enjoyed for the hell-raising hooey it is." — Rolling Stone
"This movie, without being particularly good, is nonetheless far less hysterical than Da Vinci." — The New York Times
"In its last 20 minutes, Angels does attain the status of good bad movie, with a transcendently absurd climax that's great fun to rehash later over burgers." — Slate
"At half the length, and with half of Hanks' sneering pretension, this would make a pretty terrific action film." — The Onion AV Club
Something tells me Star Trek is going to boldly go kick this movie's opening weekend in the ass. Everyone agrees, however, that Tom Hanks's hair is much better than in The Da Vinci Code. So, it's got that going for it.
On a related note, NPR has a piece about the sinister appeal of the Illuminati.
- A Re-Moveable Feast: Christopher Hitchens writes about Hemingway's unfinished book A Moveable Feast, a restored edition of which is being published this summer.
A Moveable Feast serves the purpose of a double nostalgia: our own as we contemplate a Left Bank that has since become a banal tourist enclave in a Paris where the tough and plebeian districts are gone, to be replaced by seething Muslim banlieues all around the periphery; and Hemingway's at the end of his distraught days, as he saw again the "City of Light" with his remaining life still ahead of him rather than so far behind.
The restored edition — which is due in July — offers "the original manuscript as the author intended it to be published at the time of his death," along with "unfinished Paris sketches on writing and experiences," and a foreword by Hemingway's sole surviving son.
- I Like This: If you haven't visited Powell's Facebook page, now is a good time.
Jump in on some lively discussions about bacon, infidelity (it's amazing what kind of chain reaction can be set off by a simple book review about a hunky movie star), and what book our fans are currently reading.
While anyone can visit the Facebook page, you have to be signed in to actually read the comments. But they're worth it!
Book News Round-up:
- NPR's Maureen Corrigan argues that mystery author Reed Farrel Coleman is just as good, if not better, than those blockbuster guys Michael Connelly and George Pelecanos: "Reed Farrel Coleman is a terrific writer. If mysteries are your poison of choice, hunt his up. It may take you a little longer to nab them, but you'll appreciate them all the more for that."
- Michael Powell (as in that Powell) was a guest on today's Think Out Loud, the OPB call-in radio talk show, for a discussion about the future of books.
- New York Times columnist David Pogue explains the reasoning behind his book The World According to Twitter, which consists of his favorite responses to questions he posted on Twitter.
- The next issue of Granta (due in June) features an excerpt from Paul Auster's next book, Invisible (coming in October). The website has an exclusive video interview with Auster, whose novel Man in the Dark just came out in paperback.
And, once upon a time, Powell's own Jill Owens interviewed him for this very site.
- Speaking of silly-sounding names for new technologies, get ready for Cool-er — the new e-reader from UK-based Interead.
A slim, lightweight reader, it comes in a choice of eight colors and is targeted at buyers who want an inexpensive yet full-featured device.
- The passengers of flight 1549 — that's the one that made the water landing in the Hudson — are banding together to write their own book about the experience.
- Taking sex advice from a friar doesn't sound like a great idea to me. Then again, anyone who feels sex shouldn't "be sad like a traditional church hymn" probably has the right idea.
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
Books mentioned in this post