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Ms JG "Ms JG" (Brisbane, Australia)

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The Escape Artist [DVD] [2013]
The Escape Artist [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £9.44

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars David and Sophie deserved a better vehicle for their talents., 3 April 2015
This 3-parter started well; a tense and taught beginning with the ever-reliable David Tennant in the lead. Toby Kebbell plays a convincingly awful Liam Foyle on trial and all looks set for what should be a really good thriller. Only it's not. What began so well, ends poorly and it's a real shame for something that started with so much promise. Much of the storyline of this series is unexplained and, because of this the whole thing suffers, limping to a really implausible conclusion.

Here, for example (and in no particular order), are just a few thoughts...

1. Why did we never really know more about Liam Foyle and what made him such a creep? No real background to his life, no idea of what he did for a living and not much else apart from an obvious love of birds.
2. What was the nature of Foyle's relationship with the timid Eileen Morris? He clearly had great power over her, but why? How? Why was she prepared to lie for him?
3. Why did he bother hiding size 12 boots in the lockup when he simply could have thrown them away? And what was the significance of the lockups - what was the point of having them at all?
4. Why, when she discovered that Will Burton was indeed helping the prosecution case against Foyle (against all the rules), did Lara not report matters to the head of chambers? What was the point of this plotline?
5. What was the gift that Maggie found in her flat? Who had put it there? Presumably Foyle had managed to find his way in somehow, but why didn't Maggie make a fuss and report it? What was the point of this plotline if it didn't go anywhere?
6. What was Foyle doing in the house in the country where Will finally confronts him? Did he own it? Was he working there? And how on earth did Will manage to track him down so easily?
7. The whole fight scene at the house where Will confronts Foyle and then "saves" him was completely implausible. Are we really expected to believe that any of this was credible? Will slashes Liam with a knife and Liam doesn't fight back? And when he eventually does strike Will on the head with some sort of fire iron or similar, Will manages to stay conscious and even has the presence of mind to grab the epi-pen?
8. Continuity was poor in places, too. Particularly so at the end of the trial when the jury are out. Maggie comes to see Will and, miraculously, she's managed to work it all out. What a girl! It's been snowing heavily whilst they take a walk and talk over her "theory", yet when we see them outside again after the verdict, the snow has miraculously disappeared. Even if there had been a delay of some days, snow that deep would still have been there!

Oh, the whole thing just got sillier and sillier. It was completely mad to expect us to believe that, despite being the only parent left, Will was prepared to risk being gaoled for life to prove he was right about Foyle being a killer.

David Tenant and Sophie Okonedo are both great actors, but both were let down by a badly thought through plot. Honestly, The Escape Artist should have been so-o-o-o-o much better than it was.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2016 9:24 PM GMT

Gone Again
Gone Again
Price: £0.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just embarrassingly bad!, 23 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Gone Again (Kindle Edition)
Look, it started off well....But sadly, the further I got into this completely implausible tale, the sillier it became. I felt the suspense built up nicely in the first third or so, but rapidly decline and, when Mark's flat is burgled/entered for a second time the story just spiralled off into the realms of fantasy altogether . I mean, are we really expected to believe that there can be an enormous amount of biff, a gunshot and more biff and screaming torture of some poor, unfortunate hoodie-wearing, would-be gangster - and yet not a single soul in the whole block of flats seems to have heard anything? And no one calls the police? REALLY??? Even Mark seems to believe it's odd, thinking "No one else had come round either, no police or neighbours. He wondered about that, with the gunshot noise...". Still, Mark doesn't spend too long in pondering, busying himself instead by popping Nathan's pyjamas into the wash to take his mind off things.

But all this seems perfectly normal and logical compared to what comes next. The whole mad dash down to the beach by Mark, his aged mother-in-law and his oh-so-recently traumatised son (although he's now in a fresh pair of jammies, so that must make a difference) is ludicrous. As is the scenario of the dead whales and the shoot out which ends in Ruth miraculously managing to make a shot that wouldn't have been amiss in American Sniper. What a gal! So, within the space of 30 minutes, both Mark's 6 year old son and his heaven knows how old mother-in-law - presumably neither having had any target practice ever - BOTH manage to save his life by killing the baddies with their first shots. Incredible! What are the chances,eh?

And the writing was just so BAD in parts. Despite Mark having only one functioning arm, despite the trauma they've just been through and despite having an altogether really bad day, Mark and Ruth decide to clean up the flat. Yes, that's right, getting stuck into more domestic chores seems to put things in a better light for them and gave rise to some deeply moving, poetic lines such as "They had the windows wide open to get rid of the smell. There had been some s*** and piss as well, the guy's body slackening as it decomposed.". Lovely. Did we REALLY need to know that?

This book had promise; it really did. But boy, did it lose the plot!

by Lynda La Plante
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Turgid plot, terrible ending., 18 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Twisted (Hardcover)
SPOILER ALERT (Although if it stops you reading this book, I've done you a favour)

Oh dear. This was the first Lynda La Plante book I had read and I couldn't wait for it to end simply so that I could throw it down on the nearest available bonfire and say "Well, I'll never do that again!". I was SO disappointed that I had wasted hours of my life, hoping against hope that this dreary tale would somehow improve. But, if other reviews are anything to go by, it appears that I was not alone in finding this plodding story a big let down.

The whole premise of Amy being able to completely disappear without a trace was just ridiculous for a start; what 15 year old girl could manage to do that? I mean, really! How completely unlikely! To find out later that she supposedly hid out in a local hostel and disguised herself with fake glasses and tying her hair up was just so silly. As was the happy coincidence of looking sufficiently like Jo's dead sister in order to be able to use her passport to travel to New Mexico. A passport which, incidentally, we're expected to believe was still current despite the sister being dead for many a long day. Just farcical! As was expecting us to believe that Lena had found time in her unbelievably hectic schedule of running numerous companies and dressing like a model to be a closet mushroom grower with a lovely crop developing nicely thankyou just a short step or two into the garden - and all without that pesky, nosey Agnes finding out!

But nothing could be so awful, so schmaltzy, so hideously, so toe-curlingly, so buttock-clenchingly DIRE as the ending of this over-lengthy tale of improbable woe. Because it was then, even as our credulity had already been stretched to not so much breaking point as to being in imminent danger of evaporating altogether, that we're expected to believe that Amy/Anna - whatever she's was called; I'd passed the point of caring aeons ago - was miraculously discovered by Vic to be lying underneath a handily available umbrella in the midst of the desolation of the Sonoran Desert, her hair silky (of course) and her "thick lashed and vibrant blue eyes" (oh puh-leese!) staring languidly up at him. Golly! What luck she was wearing that socking great diamond tiara so that it caught the light and gave the game away!

Don't waste your time reading this book. Go to the library and borrow a Denise Mina, a Frances Fyfield, or an Elizabeth George book for cracking plots and excellent writing or immerse yourself in the likes of the fantastic Lewis trilogy by Peter May (The Blackhouse, The Lewis House, The Chessmen). Life is too short to waste it on poorly written books.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2016 8:27 PM GMT

North America - Discovery Channel [DVD]
North America - Discovery Channel [DVD]
Offered by The Canny Store
Price: £8.47

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by poor editing!, 3 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is no doubt that this series has some stunning shots of amazing scenery and wildlife. But I'm not so sure about the glitzy use of camera trickery all the time, nor the soundtrack that seems to be suffering from some sort of identity crisis. It's pretty distracting and does nothing to help an episode already suffering from jumping (seemingly randomly) from one subject to another. I found myself wishing that they covered less subjects and allowed us to see a little more about each one; it just feels like they're rushing to cram everything in. Matters aren't helped by some truly cheesy narration. I don't know who wrote it, but it sounds like embarrassingly bad prose in parts. Matters aren't helped by UK version narrator Chitewel Ejiofor's pronunciation, either. It's ARCTIC, Chitewel, not ARTIC!

But all this is small potatoes compared to just how bad some of the editing is. Regularly, in the middle of a description from Chitewel, the screen will quite suddenly go black for a second or two and then come back on again. Some scenes also suffer badly from the camera juddering. Episode one, Born to Be Wild, for example, shows particularly poor editing in the scenes involving caribou on migration being hunted by two wolves. The voice over stops suddenly mid sentence just as the mother realises her calf has been left behind, the screen cuts to black and then it cuts back to a scene already shown some moments before - and we're treated to a repeat of the narration we just heard! Appalling! This sort of sloppy work really detracts from the enjoyment of the DVD and is pretty inexcusable in this day and age.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2015 2:30 PM BST

No Man's Nightingale (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries (Paperback))
No Man's Nightingale (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries (Paperback))
by Ruth Rendell
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A meandering, weak tale..., 25 Oct. 2014
I tried so hard to like this book, I really did. After reading the dreadful "Tigerlily's Orchids" and suffering through the horrendous "The Vault" I swore I'd never read another of Ruth Rendell's efforts. But a soft spot for Wexford won through and so I gave this wandering, loosely woven tale a go. Well.

Many have commented in their reviews that Rendell seems hell bent on keeping attitudes and fashions very much as though it's still the 1950's, and that's true. For example, we're expected to believe that Burden has a knife edge crease in his denim trousers. Denim trousers?! Please! But it's keeping Wexford stuck in the past that really grates. I don't mind Wexford clinging to his old fashioned views so much (after all, it's not so unusual for people to do so and to believe that the olden days were somehow better), but what I do object to is the expectation that we would actually believe that Wexford had held a very senior position in the sophisticated Metropolitan Police and yet can still be a complete Neanderthal when it comes to anything to do with a computer or a mobile phone. He simply COULDN'T have survived in modern day policing without coming to grips with what have been very, very basic skills for many years now. At one point, we're told Wexford humbly (humbly!) asks Dora "You can send texts to mobile numbers, can't you? Would you show me how to send a text?". Absolutely unbelievable! Does Rendell expecting us to believe this tosh somehow reflect her own lack of ability to execute such a common, everyday type activity? I don't know, but I do wish she'd stop painting Wexford as such a complete Luddite. And of course, it goes without saying, that it's completely implausible that Wexford would be let anywhere near a crime scene, let alone interview witnesses and suspects, in this day and age. He simply wouldn't be allowed!

Also jarring was Rendell's attempt to make Clarissa sound modern by sporadic use of the word "like". Examples such as having Clarissa say "What do you think about me like going away for the weekend...?" aren't simply badly punctuated; they just don't sound remotely authentic. It's as though, by tossing a "like" in every now and again, Rendell is hoping to sound 'with it' and it just doesn't work.

Oh look, it wasn't all completely bad. The story itself ambled along in a reasonably engaging way for much of the book, and I liked the character Maxine; she at least seemed real and was written about in a way which did make her genuinely irritating. What I don't understand, however, was why there was a sub-plot about Jeremy Legg and his involvement with Maxine's family. It seemed to offer an initial interest, but then went nowhere fast. I'd far rather that Rendell had used her energy to think of a really decent plot for the main storyline and fashioned a far, far better ending than the very weak one she delivered. It really was a very nothing sort of way to finish.

All in all, 2 stars for effort but it's an effort I think Ruth Rendell should stop making now. She should let Reg and Mike, Dora and the girls just quietly be left where they are - in the rather old-fashioned Kingsmarkham we've come to know and love.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2014 8:59 AM GMT

Five Days - Complete BBC Series (2 Disc Set) [2006] [DVD]
Five Days - Complete BBC Series (2 Disc Set) [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Edward Woodward
Offered by babsbargains *** WORLDWIDE SHIPPING ***
Price: £18.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it was all part of the ratcheting up of suspense and it was great. Until, 27 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My son and I watched this together, both spell bound and wondering who could possibly have done it. We didn't mind that sometimes there wasn't much "action"; it was all part of the ratcheting up of suspense and it was great. Until...the last 15 minutes of the last episode! WTF? What a cop out of an ending! There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to who it was; no explanation as even WHY they had done it; no exploration of them as a character throughout the whole thing.

Honestly, it was so disappointing. It was almost as though the script writers just gave up, just thought "nah, can't be arsed writing anything more plausible; this'll do." I'm giving it three stars as the acting was superb. It wasn't the actors fault that they were let down by a rushed, inexplicable and implausible ending.

The Lakes : Complete Series 1 & 2 [DVD]
The Lakes : Complete Series 1 & 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Simm
Price: £15.26

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive viewing that had me hooked!, 27 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this series simply to see the amazing John Simm. He really is a totally believable actor no matter what he's in and this series was no exception. This, of course, is now quite an old series (mobile phones and the internet are but a distant idea) but it was gripping viewing with many fine performances nonetheless.

Although it didn't ruin my viewing pleasure, I did find much of it wildly improbably, however. Particularly so in the second series, it seemed to ask the viewer to take a great leap of faith in terms of whether situations were credible. For example, despite having family secrets of monumental importance, everyone seemed to be able to shout about them to each other on the street and yet not a single neighbour in this small, tightknit community,seemed to ever overhear or even pass by at a crucial moment. We're also expected to believe that Sheila (who has lost her daughter, her only child) has come to grips with her loss amazingly quickly and returns to work at the hotel with lightning speed and almost never refers to the incident. Additionally, there is absolutely no explanation as to what has happened to her husband. Where has he gone? Why doesn't he appear at all in series 2?

But it's the huge amount of sex that goes on that really stretches credibility to breaking point. Wherever you go it seems that people are madly shagging one another, with everyone walking in on everyone else right in the middle of it all and never batting an eyelid. The managers of the hotel seem to take it so remarkably well that Room 34 may as well have a sign above the door that says it's permanently reserved for anyone who wants a bonk and they never feel the need to actually fire anyone for having sex when they should be working - not even when it involves their own daughter! Equally, we're also expected to believe that, despite some characters having it in for others in a really big way, that they all continue working alongside each other - no one ever seems to think that they'd be better off finding another way to earn a crust, even when they've been beaten to a pulp!

Still, despite it's flaws, I've given this production 5 stars. It gets you in, it keeps you gripped and it delivers a rattling good yarn. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what good entertainment is all about?

The Casual Vacancy
The Casual Vacancy
by J.K. Rowling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slow burn...that ignites!, 9 April 2014
This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Paperback)
I read no reviews of this book prior to reading it; I wanted no preconceptions just because it was written so famous an author.

I'll admit that I felt it a little slow at first, but then something rather miraculous happened. I found myself thinking of the characters more and more; I found myself wanting to have "just another 5 minutes" even when reading was making me late; I realised there was an ever-increasing ratcheting up of tension to an almost unbearable point. And wow! I am so glad that I persevered with a book that I could so easily have given up on within a chapter or two!

JK Rowling's characters are totally believable, the story gets more and more intriguing, there are some genuinely moving scenes, plot thickens and I had absolutely no idea how the whole thing would end. Do take the time to read this really good book!

These Things Hidden
These Things Hidden
by Heather Gudenkauf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 6 April 2014
This review is from: These Things Hidden (Paperback)
So let me get this straight. We're expected to believe that a young girl named Alison who is 15 or 16, who is petite and who is also a VERY fit and athletic girl - hugely into competitive soccer and whatever else - hides her pregnancy from every single person she has anything to do with. Yep, she hides it from her family (even her mother who happens to come into the room when Alison is in a very painful labour!), everyone at college, everyone she comes into contact with, even her wise old grandma. So she goes from being a super fit girl in tight gym clothes to wearing shapeless, baggy sweater-type stuff and STILL no one notices? Or even asks the question? But there's more! We're also expected to believe that her pregnancy goes full term and - drum roll here - she has twins! I mean, SERIOUSLY???!!!! Baggy clothes or not, Alison would have been the size of a house!

I kept reading this unbelievable guff because I hoped that surely - SURELY! - there'd be someone who would have a reasonable explanation as to how she got away with it; someone who would be able to have a plausible explanation as to how she could manage to pull it all off. But no. No such explanation was forthcoming. I really was expected to believe the unbelievable.

Don't waste your time on a book that has such a major stumbling block smack bang in the middle of the theory of how it could all be done.

Wrongfully Accused [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Wrongfully Accused [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by M and N Media US
Price: £43.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just loved it!, 13 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Leslie Nielsen is just SO good in this genre of movie and, to my mind, this is one of his best. We laughed and laughed and even had to stop the DVD at some points just to recover. Appalling puns, terrible sight gags, ham acting - it's all there and guaranteed to make you feel you've had a great time in the comfort of your own home. Thoroughly recommended!

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