Profile for Jimmymanc > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Jimmymanc
Top Reviewer Ranking: 114,223
Helpful Votes: 36

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by

Page: 1 | 2 | 3
Poirot and Me
Poirot and Me
by David Suchet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential for any Poirot fan, 8 Jan 2014
This review is from: Poirot and Me (Hardcover)
A really lovely book for any Poirot fan. In it David Suchet describes his journey of playing Poirot - from the beginning of his career as an actor, to getting offered the part, and taking you from series to series, episode by episode. He explains why he plays Poirot as he does, what makes his version of Poirot tick, and why, referencing Agatha Christie's works and the episodes, what it was like filming, and finally the whole thing coming to an end.

I love it because it really shows you what went on inside Suchet's head, and most importantly for me, explains the drastic change of direction the series took after 2002, and how the character evolved with the passing of time.

It's not a "behind-the-scenes" look at the series - though there are moments briefly mentioned. It's more charting Poirot as a character and how the people who worked on the series made that happen.

The very few cons are that Suchet does tend to go overboard quoting the contemporary reviews of the series, and also inserts a few too many details about his other work as an actor, which while interesting, doesn't really bear any relevance to Poirot's story (which was all I was interested in). Also bear in mind that the book has been ghost-written (I don't know to what extent!). There are bits which go a bit melodramatic and cheesy. There are also lengthy descriptions of plots, which don't give any spoilers away, but it seems a bit silly to put them in when people reading it will already be familiar with and episodes.

You do have to be a Poirot fan and preferably have watched most if not all the stories in the canon, otherwise a lot won't make sense.

However definitely a good read if you love Poirot!

Streetwise Spanish (Book + 1CD): Speak and Understand Colloquial Spanish (Streetwise!Series)
Streetwise Spanish (Book + 1CD): Speak and Understand Colloquial Spanish (Streetwise!Series)
by Mary Mcvey Gill
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tries to cover too many things, 19 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In a lot of ways this is an excellent book, covering the slang of the Spanish speaking countries. However, it tries to do everything and unfortunately this makes it a little too comprehensive.

It gives you slang from a lot of Spanish-speaking countries - however, what is used in one won't be used in the other. So you get a little bit of slang from each place, which doesn't help you very much - they won't understand Mexican slang in Spain.

What would be far more useful would be a Spanish and a Latin American edition, or at least stick to the slang that is common throughout the majority of these countries. Otherwise you'll end up speaking a mixture of slang from all the countries and no-one will understand everything you say!

The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Price: 4.12

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This guy should have written literature books instead, 19 Sep 2013
I bought this book but didn't finish it.

There are too many literary references. I'm sure a few are helpful, but I get the feeling the guy who wrote this book is more of a literary enthusiast than anything .... I'd prefer a straightforward history book.

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike)
The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike)
by Robert Galbraith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.95

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite good, but ...., 8 Aug 2013
I confess, I hadn't heard of this book until I heard it was by JK Rowling. I was such a fan of Harry Potter that I went out and bought it.

Now, I might be somewhat biased here, because for me it's a struggle to read a book.

It was a good mystery story - I didn't really see the ending coming. I like the character of Cormoran Strike and his sidekick receptionist, all in the mysterious setting of London.

It's just that it was so drawn out. In my humble opinion, it was too wordy and the plot tended to get lost in very long-winded descriptions of things, backstories that weren't so relevant.

I think - personally - that where this book differs from something like Agatha Christie - is that you're constantly in the detective's head, which takes a lot of the mystique out of it and gets pretty repetitive. Virtually 99% of the book has Cormoran Strike in it, and whilst he is an interesting and loveable character, it doesn't allow for the rest of the characters to "breathe" and takes a bit of the mystique out of it.

Having said all that, I did finish it and thought it a pretty neat story. However, I really think it was too long and wordy.

Canoeing the Congo: First Source to Sea Descent of the Congo River
Canoeing the Congo: First Source to Sea Descent of the Congo River
by Phil Harwood
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really great book, 12 Jun 2013
I don't read much, and I read this book cover to cover in about 4 days. What Phil Harwood did is absolutely incredible - canoeing the full length of the Congo in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

I really liked his writing style - it was direct but very evocative, (unlike Bruce Parry's Amazon book, where he waxes lyrical about every plant and starts waffling).

Phil takes you on a journey, not just through the jungle and rivers of the DR Congo, but into the communities that live there, and his interactions with them, and what characters he met along the way (and he pretty much seemed to have met them all! Corrupt, threatening, generous, humble ...).

The only reason I've given it 4 stars and not 5 are two small reasons, which are probably personal only to me: Firstly, he describes the people and characters and state of affairs brilliantly, but he doesn't do the same for the landscapes and the wildlife that live there. I mean, he does do *some*, but at times it was difficult to know whether he was surrounded by jungle, or out on open flat land.
Secondly, leading on from the point above, I didn't feel too much sense of danger when I read the book, some parts are very matter-of-fact, despite the fact that he was in a dangerous situation. I mean, it's probably just due to the fact that it was written by a fearless guy, but sometimes I felt like he wasn't ever scared. Even when he accidently gets caught in a massive spiders' web (and by his own admission he has a huge fear of spiders), he describes it pretty matter-of-factly. In short, because he doesn't show much emotion at points, it makes you as a reader hard to feel it either.

All in all though, a really great read, and I'd recommend it.

Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4)
Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4)
Price: 1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars It was ok, 7 Jun 2013
It was ok. It has all the elements of a classic Brown - intrigue, art history, chases, mystery.

Lots of lovely twists - especially at the end. Not so sure I was happy with the ending itself though.

Personally I preferred Digital Fortress. He's better at thrillers.

Digital Fortress
Digital Fortress
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - couldn't stop turning the pages, 15 May 2013
This review is from: Digital Fortress (Paperback)
I don't read that much so it's a big effort for me to start let alone finish a book.

I read this in 48 hours. I absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down. To the point where it felt like I was addicted to the story, and was planning when I'd have a few moments to sneak off and read another chapter.

It does get quite technical, with the world of codes, cryptography, hackers and computers and intelligence, but I don't have any knowledge of those and I managed to understand it (although you do have to be on the ball in parts!)

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Full of suspense, intrigue, secrecy, and twists that will literally leave you exclaiming out loud!!

A well-deserved five stars.

Through the Language Glass: Why The World Looks Different In Other Languages
Through the Language Glass: Why The World Looks Different In Other Languages
by Guy Deutscher
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 15 May 2013
I love languages, and when I saw the title of this book I was really excited by its content.

I never got further than the first twenty pages. Deutscher's writing style is ridiculously flowery, grandiose, and he writes pages and pages and never really says anything at all. He goes on and on and on with words that you're unlikely to even find in a thesaurus. Which makes for an INCREDIBLY dull read, to the point where I started looking to see when the chapter would end because it was so boring. The "prologue" alone is 20 pages.

Maybe there's some good stuff in this book, maybe there isn't. But I'm not prepared to waste my time wading through a load of vocab that you'd only find buried deep in a specialist academic library. If you're an academic, then I'm sure you'll love the book. If you're a lay-person with an interest (like me), just don't bother - read something by David Crystal instead.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2014 11:49 AM BST

Hollywood Undercover: Revealing the Sordid Secrets of Tinseltown
Hollywood Undercover: Revealing the Sordid Secrets of Tinseltown
by Ian Halperin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.65

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, but frequently digresses and OTT, 21 Jan 2013
A good idea for a book - going undercover in Hollywood to see what life is really like there. However, tons of the book is given over to tangents he goes off on (Scientology descriptions go on for pages and pages - not really relevant to the Hollywood theme) and a lot of it is too many words for describing pretty straight-forward things. He also adds an element of craziness to it by taking on a zany persona (introducing himself to people as "His Highness", wearing a gold bow tie and bright green shirt everywhere). It's all a bit deliberately eccentric - making ridiculously false offers to people he meets, planning to jump on stage at the Oscars etc.

For me, a straightforward book on Hollywood would have been better, with clear-cut interviews with successes as well as failures. But the author has opted for a slightly more eccentric approach, and it feels like his adventure is more trying to be as crazy as possible and pull off pranks, rather than a decent, well balanced account of real life in Hollywood -not really my cup of tea.

Julie and Julia [DVD] [2010]
Julie and Julia [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Meryl Streep
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 3.93

3.0 out of 5 stars A great movie with a parasite movie attached ...., 3 Jan 2013
This review is from: Julie and Julia [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
On the one hand you have Meryl Streep as Julia Child in 1950s Paris with her husband and French associates, dreaming up a cookbook of French cuisine for the American market. On the flip side you have the parallel story, 40ish years later in 2001, with Julie, a downbeat thirty year old in New York, attempting to revive her humdrum life by blogging about giving herself one year to make all of Julia Child's recipes.

Why, oh WHY did they slaughter a potentially epic film (the Streep half) with a dull, boring and pointless twin piggybacking for the ride? The portrayal of Julia Child is nothing short of magnificent - Streep IS the lovable, eccentric and glowing lady dotty about fine cooking and about France. This half of the film has a golden haze, not dissimiler to "Amelie" or "Midnight in Paris", and the character is so well drawn, the setting so brilliantly portrayed, that you feel the warmth of Streep's Julia and of the enchanting setting of 1950s Paris pleasantly unfold before your eyes.

Then CUT!! This magnificent would-be biopic is shot dead by the interspersions of the drab, dull, POINTLESS story of Julie droning on about her blogging ambition in a grey and cardboard modern-day New York. After the sumptuous feast of Streep and Paris, Julie and her world are one dimensional and boring, and her side of the story truly feels like a completely different movie, chopped up and inserted roughly into Meryl's. Just when you are pleasantly entertained by Streep's Oscar-worthy performance and the tantalising storyline of a woman on a fine-food misson, the film automatically changes channel to the Julie droning. I suspect Ephron (the director) was attempting to be innovative and pull it off like in "The Hours", but it *really* doesn't work. It feels like someone messing with the transmission. It's no fault of Amy Adams (Julie) - but the story doesn't even begin to hold a candle with the other. I still can't figure out what Ephron was thinking when she mashed them together - why not just do a biopic of Julia Child? It would have allowed the story to breathe, to develop, and for the audience to embark on a truly magical and touching journey with a character we feel so much for. Instead, the parasitic film that comes along for the ride attempts to suffocate the other half - it doesn't succeed, but it does make the Streep half suffer, as we get less of Julia because of Julie.

I give this three stars, a nominal five stars though purely because of the Julia Child half - every single character, shot, scene is sublime in that half. It's funny, it's delicious, it's touching. The Julie half I give Zero - the only place for that half is the trash can.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3