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Sue "Sue" (Cyprus)

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Falling In Love [1984] [DVD]
Falling In Love [1984] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by Rare Dvds
Price: 20.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Great production, unfortunate storyline, 16 May 2014
This review is from: Falling In Love [1984] [DVD] (DVD)
Meryl Streep, as always, is excellent in this film. And it’s nicely made, with Robert de Niro providing a good foil for her. We soon realised it’s quite old, as films go – the lack of mobile phones, and the presence of old-fashioned dials on house phones rather gave it away. It was in fact made in 1984.

However the subject-matter is all too modern. Frank and Molly bump into each other in a bookshop, while Christmas shopping. Each is happily married to someone else – and although a predictable switch of parcels happens, they might not have met again but for the coincidence of being on the same train.

A friendship starts… and escalates far too quickly, each convinced they have found their soul-mate. I didn’t like the message conveyed – that the promises of marriage can be thrown aside, even when the marriages are, basically, pretty good.

Still, it was reasonably entertaining, very well done, and even mildly amusing in places. Five stars for the production, three – or a little less - for the storyline. Four overall.

Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD]
Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Emma Watson
Offered by b68solutions
Price: 5.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done, 16 May 2014
This review is from: Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
I always loved the book ‘Ballet Shoes’ by Noel Streatfeild, so wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a made-for-TV film of less than 90 minutes . The story is about three adopted sisters who are determined to make their mark on the world: Pauline as an actress, Petrova as a pilot, and Posy as a dancer. Emma Watson (best known as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies) plays Pauline, the eldest of the Fossil children. There were other well-known faces in this film, including Victoria Wood who wasn’t entirely convincing as Nana.

Although, inevitably, a fair amount of the book was condensed or cut out, the storyline mostly stuck to what’s in the book; the three sisters were very good, with Posy outstanding as a promising ballet dancer. I wasn’t too impressed at a light romance being thrown in at the end – decidedly NOT in the book! – but that kind of thing appears to be compulsory, even in children’s films these days.

Still, worth watching for a light evening’s entertainment. The sets and atmosphere of London in the 1940s were very realistic.

The Four Gospels: The Pocket Canons Edition
The Four Gospels: The Pocket Canons Edition
by A. N. Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.54

4.0 out of 5 stars The Bible as literature, 16 May 2014
This book consists of the Authorised Version (AV) translation of the four Gospels, each introduced by a different author – not necessarily from a Christian perspective. The idea is to encourage study of the Bible as literature, and there are several volumes produced in this ‘canongate’ series.

I haven’t read AV text for many years, preferring more modern, simpler translations of the Bible. I’m not one who finds poetry in archaic language, and although the stories are those I’m familiar with – quite moving, even in 17th century language – I find the AV anachronistic, on the whole; the events described did not, after all, take place in the 17th century. Some words have completely dropped out of modern usage, and some of the sentence construction feels clumsy.

Nor did I find the introductions remotely useful – far from the promise on the back of being ‘piercing, moving’ revelations. I’m not quite sure who would find them so: they assumed basic familiarity with anecdotes from the Bible (not something that is universal by any means these days) and at the same time gave very basic facts about the writers and the intended audiences, that anyone even slightly familiar with the Bible would almost certainly know already.

Then again, the introductions were new, personal opinions by writers who are apparently respected (though I had not heard of any of them previously). They’re well-written and quite readable.

Four stars because the Bible in any form is worth reading. But anyone serious about the Bible as literature would do better to buy a full copy of the AV – or, even better, an inter-linear Greek version – and a decent commentary. And anyone curious about the Gospels would find it much easier to understand a modern version such as the Good News or New International translation.

Bo's Cafe
Bo's Cafe
by Bill Thrall
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.09

3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing, 16 May 2014
This review is from: Bo's Cafe (Paperback)
Steven bumps into an older guy called Andy, who turns out to have been a friend of his father’s. They get chatting, and while Andy seems rather odd, Steven reckons he’s worth getting to know. This seems a little unlikely given that Steven’s having marriage difficulties and is – naturally – a bit suspicious of Andy, but it’s how the book starts.

Andy takes him to an eclectic, informal gathering at a cafe, where Steven gets to know some rather unlikely people and learns about God’s grace and acceptance.

It’s not preachy, and the writing was good with some interesting characters. However I didn’t find the book as revelatory as I had expected… the people Steven meets seem quite ordinary to me. Full acceptance, warts and all, is something I expect from my fellow Christians, and I’m disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Steven appeared to be surprised by it, and the book seemed to assume that most followers of Jesus are bound up in structure and rigidity.

Worth reading, probably; particularly for anyone who doesn’t understand God’s infinite grace and love. But slightly disappointing, given the advertising I had read for it elsewhere which suggested that it would be a mindblowng experience.

Sleepless in Seattle (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1994]
Sleepless in Seattle (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Price: 3.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Almost a classic, 16 May 2014
I know this is considered a classic rom-com, but somehow I’d missed seeing it until recently.

Tom Hanks is superb as Sam, a recently widowed young father who is still grieving the wife he loved. His young son, Jonah, expertly played by Ross Malinger, decides to phone a radio show to ask for advice about his depressed dad. The conversation is heard by Annie (Meg Ryan) who is driving at the time, en route to stay with her fiance, the rather too-good-to-be-true Walter (Bill Pullman).

There’s some humour, some pathos, and a good storyline; the ending is somewhat predictable, but satisfactory nonetheless. An enjoyable evening’s light escapism.

While You Were Sleeping [DVD] [1995]
While You Were Sleeping [DVD] [1995]
Dvd ~ Sandra Bullock
Price: 3.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable rom-com, 16 May 2014
This is a romantic comedy featuring Sandra Bullock as the lonely ticket-collector Lucy. She rather falls for one of the commuters… and, out of the blue, saves his life. While he’s in a coma there’s a misunderstanding, where his family assume she’s his fiancee, and adopt her wholeheartedly.

She so enjoys being part of a family that she goes along with this for a while, then starts to fall for his brother Peter. So when the commuter wakes up from his coma, life is far from straightforward…

Realistic main characters, amusingly caricatured minor ones, and a predictable but nicely done ending. Very enjoyable.

Serendipity [DVD]
Serendipity [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Cusack
Price: 5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant light romance, 16 May 2014
This review is from: Serendipity [DVD] (DVD)
John and Sarah meet by chance while trying to buy the last pair of black gloves shortly before Christmas. There’s an immediate chemistry, and they wonder if they might be soulmates… however, they’re both in other relationships, and decide to allow destiny to guide them.

We then race forward a few years, to find them living a long distance apart, each about to be married. Sarah’s fiance is a strange kind of guy who obviously doesn’t deserve her, but John’s fiancee, while a little characterless, seems likeable enough. Suddenly they both become obsessed with finding each other, and a chase ensues, with each of them missing the other by seconds, time and again.

It’s a quirky kind of story with more than a hint of Cinderella (each ends up with one glove, and is searching for the person with the missing one). There are some mild anachronisms – the fact that nobody seems to feel cold when it’s snowing out, for instance – and the number of coincidences seem a little overboard. But the acting is good, the chemistry between the two main actors works, there’s some light humour, and I particularly liked the scenes with John and his best friend.

All in all, a pleasant movie for a relaxing evening.

It's a Wonderful life (Collector's Edition) [1946] [Import]
It's a Wonderful life (Collector's Edition) [1946] [Import]
Dvd ~ Donna Reed
Offered by IMSSALES
Price: 6.98

4.0 out of 5 stars It's a wonderful film!, 16 May 2014
This is an American classic. I knew – vaguely – the plot: a man is in despair, then learns what his town and friends would have been like without him. But I’d never seen it.

Finally, a few days after Christmas, we sat down to watch it. It wasn’t quite as I expected: most of the film was a series of flashbacks to George’s life, briefly in childhood and as a young man, and then some glimpses of him as he grew older. It was in some ways a frustrating life, as he had to give up many of his dreams.

His guardian angel, Clarence, is a masterpiece of casting. He’s rather a bumbling angel, but by no means a young or even attractive one. He really wants the best for George, but is rather nervous about trying it, and would really love to earn his wings…

It could easily have been over-sentimental or schmaltzy, but somehow it isn’t. I found it a bit hard to get into, partly because of the 1940s American accents, but by the time we were half way through I was totally captivated.

Definitely a feel-good film, one of the few that I expect to watch again in a few years.

You've Got Mail [DVD] [1998]
You've Got Mail [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Price: 3.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A little predictable, but very enjoyable, 16 May 2014
This review is from: You've Got Mail [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan co-star in this enjoyable light romance, which features a couple who met in an Internet chat room, and communicate by email. They’ve cautiously got to know each other better, while concealing any personal details or identities from each other. Inevitably, perhaps, they meet in real life while having no idea that they are close internet friends.

It’s nicely done, well-paced, and enjoyable for a relaxing evening in with the family. No great mental effort is required, and there are no fast chases or rapid action shots. Perhaps a little dated now, but that’s fine with me!

Annie [DVD] [1982]
Annie [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Aileen Quinn
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: 12.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic and predictable, 16 May 2014
This review is from: Annie [DVD] [1982] (DVD)
OK, so it’s a classic, and I’m sure I’ve seen it in the past. I watched it a few weeks ago with a family including children down to the age of four, and was slightly shocked that it was rated “U” (“G” in the USA) given that there was some bad language (albeit minor), drunkenness (albeit humorous, or supposedly so) and even some sexual references.

Having said that, it was a likeable film on the whole. It's the well-known story of a precocious orphan who can sing, and who gets fostered for a week by a wealthy man. I don’t particularly like the music, and found Annie slightly annoying; the ending is melodramatic and predictable.

But still, I watched it to the end and might even watch it again one day.

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