Profile for secret squirrel > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by secret squirrel
Top Reviewer Ranking: 65,751
Helpful Votes: 72

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
secret squirrel

Page: 1 | 2
The 11th Victim ( The Eleventh Victim )
The 11th Victim ( The Eleventh Victim )
Dvd ~ Jennie Garth
Offered by DaaVeeDee-uk
Price: £20.69

2.0 out of 5 stars The DVD Cover's More Exciting Than the Movie, 1 Sep 2014
I've said this review contains a spoiler but really the title itself does that, given that they start with seven victims …
A film that doesn't really need to bother with stuff like realistic characters, plotting or dialogue, presuming that if we're willing to suspend disbelief enough to accept Jennie Garth (yes you know her – Kelly from 'Beverly Hills 90210') as a hotshot lawyer who seamlessly metamorphoses into a successful therapist, we'd pretty much go along with anything. And not wonder (in a physician, heal thyself, kind of way) why Jennie
(let's not bother with character names since she doesn't bother to act), intelligent psychiatrist, doesn't wean herself off the anxiety pills she's been on since her last case but instead has to continually reach for them in a panic at the slightest sound.

Sometimes I think that film as a whole would be immeasurably improved if there were a veto against flashbacks. Jennie obviously agrees with me. Forced to endure acting a series of flashbacks of being throttled, she reasons that it's not worth wasting too much effort on these, opting not to bother to change her expression when strangled. She simply looks a little peeved, like she might have to (but maybe not) miss a hair appointment. She greets most of the events in the movie with this look of mild annoyance and a hair toss. Inexplicably antagonistic to the police, she accuses them of suspecting her of the murder although they haven't shown any sign of this and appear completely bemused by her attitude.

I soon find myself wishing that the serial killer of the seven women would make Jennie his eighth victim (for crimes against acting although I have to hold the director partly responsible) granting us a merciful release from the rest of the movie – another three victims' long (we would have to alter the title to 'The Eighth Victim') and Jennie would not have to spout such lines as 'I think he's playing some sick game with me'. She tries to call the police, saying it's a matter of 'life or death'. Unfortunately, her lack of emphasis means it comes across more like a matter of 'deep pan or thin crust' so she doesn't quite get the response she wants.

With the killer eventually confessing to his crimes in detail, as they almost always do in these movies, Jennie symbolically chucks her tablets away, even though the last time he was caught and in jail, she took them all the time. Where's the logic?

Anyway, hope springs eternal that someone out there will like this garbage so be very afraid, the door has been left open for a sequel. After seeing this though, you'll want to slam it shut. Otherwise – 'The Twelfth Victim' anyone?

Part of the Spell
Part of the Spell
by Rachel Heath
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.26

3.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally evocative but also unrealistic, 12 May 2014
This review is from: Part of the Spell (Paperback)
Some of the description was evocative but this book was let down by unrealistic and unsympathetic characters and quite a few errors, surprising when the author is listed as having worked as an editor in a publishing house. The book is set in Saffron Walden in Essex, where the sour, somewhat slow-witted protagonist, Stella, resides and hales from. The author should know that the noun is ardour not ardency; not to use arc when she means arc; and that Bluewater is near the Dartford Crossing not the Dartmouth Bridge. If she really lived in Essex, she would definitely know this. But then if she really lived in Essex we could expect her to get the first two wrong.

Anyway, her mother goes missing but Stella doesn’t bother to report it even though the poor woman might be lying close to death in a ditch somewhere. She somnambulates through her life – time really is not of the essence for her. Her aunt has to explain: ‘She’s missing. She hasn’t gone to the Lake District’. The daughter replies: ‘Has she gone to the Lake District?’ No, you idiot. Later she asks ‘Do you think it was terrorists?’ Yes – terrorists are going to abduct a grandmother from a sleepy Essex town. On the one hand, she reminds me of some cerebrally challenged mothers of young children who can only latch onto the very last couple of words you’ve said to them and repeat these to you, on the other, some of the things she does are so totally implausible, you can't imagine anyone doing them.

Plus she’s both completely self-satisfied and deeply resentful – of everyone she thinks is better than her or she thinks are busy thinking they’re better than her while she’s busy thinking she’s better than them. She’s bitchy about old schoolfriends simply because they haven’t remained in the same place she has. The only character I could identify with was the mother and she wasn’t in it nearly enough.

It did make me want to visit Saffron Walden though.

Nora Roberts - Midnight Bayou [DVD]
Nora Roberts - Midnight Bayou [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jerry O'Connell
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beyond silly, 7 April 2014
Attempted to watch but found ourselves mostly fast-forwarding this Nora Roberts `thriller' that we videoed for our Dad. It was a Channel 5 Saturday night premiere and we'd been burned once already with Willed to Kill. Plus, we'd seen a Nora Roberts movie before so should have been more wary. This was more of the same. Jerry O'Connell, that goofy, odd-looking guy plays the lead looking perpetually surprised - perhaps by the script which has Faye Dunaway (still pretty fine) calling him `a beautiful young man' but I would say it's a fair guess that this line was not written with him in mind because he is not by a fair stretch of the imagination that beautiful or young. Young in comparison to Ms Dunaway maybe. And I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'll say no more. If you're ready to accept this though, you might also allow yourself to believe the daft storyline, which involves ghosts, reincarnation and visions of the past all muddled together randomly in a crazy, clashing potpourri. Beyond silly. There's a signposted-a-state-away love storyline that doesn't ring true for a second. A cameo from a sultry Alejandro Rose-Garcia as the intriguingly evil brother Julien is enjoyable but we see too little of him. New Orleans is the other draw - I'd never been interested in going there but this has changed my mind - it looks stunning. Unfortunately, neither is enough to warrant your wasting your time on this movie. Scarily unscary.

Price: £5.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Harmony, 21 Feb 2014
This review is from: Eagles (Audio CD)
Finally decided to complete our Eagles collection with their first album. Incredible to think that there are songs on this so enduring and beloved that the guys still play them live today. However, it's the lesser-known songs that attracted us, having heard them for the first time when BBC4 broadcast the 1973 concert - 'Train Leaves Here ...' and 'Earlybird', tracks sung and part-written by the too-little mentioned Eagle and our favourite, Bernie Leadon. The version of 'Train ...' on the record seems rather muted and laidback compared to the live one but it's a beautiful, lilting song nevertheless. But there are other jewels too - Randy's 'Take the Devil', surprisingly vehement, an example of what Glenn Frey now calls their satanic country rock period and Glenn's own melancholic and sensitive 'Most of Us Are Sad', simple and all the better for it. 'Chug All Night' admittedly is rock by numbers, a little too Status Quo for me but all in all, an excellent purchase, and it allows you to hear those songs now considered classics, 'Take It Easy', 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' and 'Witchy Woman' in their original context.

Attention. Deficit. Disorder.: A Novel
Attention. Deficit. Disorder.: A Novel
by Brad Listi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Deep down, it's shallow, 10 Feb 2014
It's easy to read but I hated it. The only good things in it were the few facts you learnt, say, about Ernest Hemingway's suicide attempts. This weak-willed, self-obsessed, easily led cipher of a protagonist wanders around, wondering "What should I feel about this?" (an ex-girlfriend's suicide) without actually showing any sign of ever feeling anything, never even having to bleat "Is it my fault?" before he's pre-empted by other one-dimensional types assuring him "It's not your fault".

The insertion of dictionary definitions here and there was pointless and unilluminating, coming across as merely gimmicky. Why define pediatrics or pain?

The letter of sympathy at the end, which the book has sort of been building up to is astoundingly trite and full of platitudes, complete with `touching, amusing' memories of the deceased, which aren't.

Otherwise, I would concur with the reader's assessment of the protagonist's draft screenplay, that as it `requires its audience to believe in and root for a hero of a decidedly wooden nature - it is of paramount importance that said character possess at least a few qualities of an endearing nature. Unfortunately this is not the case.' With the screenplay or the book.

The Professor of Poetry
The Professor of Poetry
by Grace McCleen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but ..., 5 Feb 2014
Although I enjoyed this book, a couple of flaws niggled me. I have a problem with someone who's a professor of poetry, supposedly with a feel and understanding for language and diction, continually describing vinyl records as `black spheres'. A sphere is a ball shape. A record is a disc shape. I've never heard records likened to spheres before. At first, I thought she must be talking about some outlandish, sci-fi music delivery system - then I realised.

Another thing that doesn't read right is her misuse of grammar. On a number of occasions, she writes `as if I was' instead of `as if I were' (future conditional).

Anyway, although it's hard to believe that anyone could be allergic to music or be music-phobic, McCleen's writing as a whole is convincing.

I would recommend her first novel, The Land of Decoration though. It's one of those books you wish would never end.

You've Got Mail [DVD] [1998]
You've Got Mail [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Price: £4.14

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Charmless, 11 Dec 2013
This review is from: You've Got Mail [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
YOU'VE GOT MAIL - If you have, I advise you to go and read it. Even if it's one of those e-mail jokes you've been sent ten times before, it'll still probably be funnier than this movie. It's hard to believe that the team that made Sleepless in Seattle could go so badly wrong. Don't get me wrong - I expected clichés and contrived situations. I realised that it'd all turn out alright in the end. But I still thought there might be the occasional funny line or winning moment along the way.

Instead Meg Ryan has somehow got the words charming and imbecilic confused. She meant to play one but played the other. Tom Hanks - he does a very good impression of . . . Tom Hanks. It's obviously not written by anyone who actually uses e-mail and the plot line is as thin as a piece of thread. This is romantic comedy by numbers but in this case, they just don't add up.

Ok, the dog is good, and so is Parker Posey as Tom Hanks' s career-crazy girlfriend but both are sadly under-used. Believe me, this film has no redeeming features. Even the music is terrible. Watch at your peril.

A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard)
A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard)
by Karl Ove Knausgård
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Emperor's New Clothes?, 2 Oct 2013
I was misled by the great reviews and all the plaudits that this book (most of them reprinted in the prelims) has garnered into borrowing it from the library. I've got to say, I just don't get it. The author/protagonist (as it's a memoir) is solipsist in the extreme. He has no empathy for nor understanding of others but seems to believe he has or that he at least recognises when he hasn't. It's hard to identify with such a misogynist. The book, reasonably interesting to begin with, eventually degenerates into a version of `How Clean Is Your House' and that's not a programme I like: page after page on which bleach or detergent he's using on which part of the house and so on. Where was the editor?

Then, very occasionally, something is described adequately, ok except that it's usually completely arbitrary and sometimes rather dull so in a way kind of pointless. He goes into details about some weird fantasy he had as a child without ever really explaining what's behind it. It's like if two people came into your house and you spent three pages describing one but said nothing about the other.

I think we're supposed to have sympathy for him because his father drank but if he were my son, I think I'd drink too and this book could drive anyone to the bottle.

Not sure how to explain all the praise it's received. Can only conclude that it's a peculiarly virulent case of the emperor's new clothes.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 9, 2014 9:25 AM BST

Boy in the World
Boy in the World
by Niall Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Shows Promise, 4 July 2013
This review is from: Boy in the World (Paperback)
My problem with this book is that it has promise and could be so much better.
The back cover quote is `A Dickens for the twenty-first century'. Normally a comparison to Dickens would not be a bad thing but the things that make it similar destroy the credibility of the book as a modern novel. Certainly not one that resonates with the twenty-first century. It reads as if it were originally set in the past and halfway through the author decided to update it to the present day. First of all, the protagonists are known not by their names but as the Master and the Boy. Old-fashioned, huh? Then, the latter is supposed to be super intelligent, very clever; this is stressed throughout. But I don't have much respect for the IQ or common sense of a character who, in searching for his long lost father, travels all over the world on hunches and doesn't have recourse to an internet search engine until page 173! This stretches credibility and patience. That said, there's some good writing throughout - for instance, one character is high: `He spoke very slowly, as though he had to go and bring each word back from a great distance'. Definitely experienced that.

Her Minor Thing [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Her Minor Thing [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Estella Warren

3.0 out of 5 stars Small-town charm, 17 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This little independent film boasts a likeable and attractive cast and good intentions. Its premise is a little silly but basically sound. Jeana (the stunning-looking Estella Warren) is a virgin, and reveals this fact to current squeeze, TV presenter, Tom (Michael Weatherly, of NCIS), who accidentally broadcasts it to the nation. Disillusioned with her shallow beau and men in general, Jeana initially rejects sexy, down-to-earth photographer, Paul (Christian Kane, of Angel, Leverage). Anyway, cue much confusion during which Jeana fails to realise that Tom has split up with her, they attempt to reconcile and she starts to fall for Paul.

The cast members (Christian Kane, in particular, proves hard to resist) do an excellent job and give their all but unfortunately, the material is too slight. It's entertaining enough but there are no real laugh-out loud moments although the director, according to crew/cast interviews, Charles Matthau (Walter Matthau's son - Jeana and Paul watch a Walter Matthau film in the course of the movie) is a very witty guy. This humour doesn't fully translate to the film. It was definitely watchable and occasionally charming.

Page: 1 | 2