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Profile for John Davison > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
John Davison "John Davison"

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Florence Foster Jenkins [DVD] [2016]
Florence Foster Jenkins [DVD] [2016]
Dvd ~ Meryl Streep
Price: £9.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem, 20 May 2016
I was one of many music students forty years ago who laughed till I cried at FFJ's recorded attempts to sing opera.

But this film goes way beyond just the comedy. Intensely moving, never over-sentimental, beautifully shot.

Meryl Streep is genius, as you might expect, but I hope to see Simon Helberg pick up an Oscar for his pitch-perfect, tender portrayal of her pianist, the gloriously-named Cosme McMoon.

I laughed till I was doubled up, and cried quite a bit too.

A perfect gem of a film.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia
by Peter Pomerantsev
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent stuff, 23 April 2016
A jaw-dropping account of life in contemporary Russia, but extremely well-written.

The author's style is clear and direct, without once slipping into sensationalism - he lets the facts speak for themselves.

The only tacky thing about the book is the reviews on the back cover, where someone at Faber thought it was a good idea to go overboard with the upper case letters.

Mr Norris Changes Trains
Mr Norris Changes Trains
by Christopher Isherwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 14 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I can roughly divide my life into times when I have a good book on the go and times when I am searching for the next one.

Raiding a friend's bookshelf while cat-sitting for him, I found Mr Norris, which I read many years ago.

For me there are a handful of perfect books in the world: Nancy Mitford's "Love in a Cold Climate", Evelyn Waugh's "Decline and Fall", the biographies written by Selina Hastings - and two early books by Isherwood - this one, and "Goodbye to Berlin".

Point one: the style is immaculate: there is not a jarring phrase or sentence or word anywhere in the book.

Point two: Isherwood draws us into his characters, not into the author himself.

Point three: he delineates his characters with the lightest touch imaginable.

Point four: he does not emote.

Point five: he is very, very amusing. This is not a laugh-aloud book, but the world be portrays is somehow a delight for the reader, if not for the participants.

Just wonderful.

Making History
Making History
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it, 12 April 2016
This review is from: Making History (Paperback)
I gave up on this book three times.

I am not a fully paid-up member of the Fry fan club, and "Making History" demonstrates the style issues that slightly bug me: the unrelenting intensity, as though the writer has tanked up on amphetamines, the wandering around in a fog while you try to work out who the hell he is talking about now, the endless flitting backwards and forwards in time and space, the switching from prose to film script, first person to third.

The reason for the five stars is the overwhelming catharsis I experienced in the last few pages. I wept, but with joy.

Unfortunately, you probably have to be a gay man, or one of those women who trawls youtube for gay men's wedding proposals, to fully feel the joy and the catharsis.

Damn, I can just feel you reaching for the "unhelpful review" button, but there you go, I've got it off my chest.

And btw, this is not a "gay novel" - straight guys should enjoy the larger portion of the book which deals with the protagonist's boy/girl relationship, and the sci-fi element, and the ingenuity of the plot, which, once I was clear where we going - about two-thirds in - had me hooked till the end.

Really an extraordinary achievement, imho.

Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics)
Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Patrick Hamilton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth reading, 10 April 2016
I pick up and discard novels all the time, I am so easily irritated by self-conscious writers and those who simply can't write very well.

This one I stuck with, in spite of it being endlessly about one man's obsession with one woman. At one point my bookmark dropped out, and it was difficult to work out where I had left off, since our hero is no further forward half-way through the book than he was at the beginning.

I liked above all the atmosphere of pre-war London, somehow making an interesting story out of a group of people leading narrow and miserable lives. Joseph Conrad captures the same spirit at an earlier time, but, unlike Conrad, Hamilton knows how to write clearly.

I'm astonished that the Amazon reviewer considers it a dark comedy. It's one of the saddest books I've ever read, but none the less engaging for that.

Valkyrie [DVD]
Valkyrie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by I-Deal Media
Price: £3.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was impressed, 20 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Valkyrie [DVD] (DVD)
I wasn't going to add my thoughts, since over 200 people have had a go already, but I have to run to the defence of this film, and of Tom Cruise, in the face of so many dislikes.

Just try to forget all your Tom Cruise baggage as you watch the film, i.e. pretend he's an actor you've never heard of, and you have to admit he does a sterling job, capturing the aristocratic dignity of his subject dealing with extreme events without ever hamming up the emotion.

The director's insistence on inserting a bit of Hollywood schmaltz brings it down from five stars to four. I find it hard to believe that a 1940s upper-class German couple would take time out to snog in view of the children. Kudos to Cruise and van Houten for keeping it as discreet as they could, but we could have done without the Rock Hudson and Doris Day stuff altogether.

I understand at least one reviewer was upset that the cast didn't talk in stock German accents. He is possibly unaware that the Nazis didn't talk in English with a German accent either. The English accents and Cruise's American one (toned down reasonably successfully) took some getting used to, but for me it worked. I like the way the film began in German and phased into English. Very atmospheric.

David Bamber was unusually convincing as Hitler on the edge of a nervous breakdown. The director cleverly decided to sideline the dictator, which leaves us with the impression of events running out of control of the people who initiated them.

One is left with a real sense of the horror of people caught up in those times - and by extension those living under any dictatorship.

Michael Tolliver Lives: Tales of the City 7
Michael Tolliver Lives: Tales of the City 7
by Armistead Maupin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading, 12 Feb. 2016
Four stars because I had spent the week picking up and discarding classic novels and modern prize-winning novels which weigh you down with their turgid prose, and then found this, and was reminded of the gift some authors have for writing so clearly, simply and engagingly that you are whisked along with no effort.

Very few fiction writers do this for me: Roald Dahl is the master of the direct style, but Maupin comes a close second.

Not five stars because, as an out gay man myself, I get a bit tired of Maupin's bitterness towards the straight conservative world from which he came. Hey, Armistead, so your mother never accepted you completely - well, neither did mine, and I understood why and accepted her without whingeing about it.

Almost only three stars because, whilst I found the romance touching and charming, I admire writers in inverse proportion to their need to scatter the text with swear words and descriptions of body parts and sex toys.

Not a book for you unless you have read the rest of the series, because the overtly sentimental final section will mean nothing unless you know the history.

Corsodyl Daily Interdental Toothbrush
Corsodyl Daily Interdental Toothbrush

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 25 Jan. 2016
These are awesome. I have two bridges and numerous crowns, and the gaps between teeth vary enormously.

Most interdental brushes I have used bend out of shape on the first use. These Corsodyl brushes fit into the most awkward gap and can be reused several times.

I cannot recommend too highly.

No Title Available

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damn the pocket zips, 9 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Why do manufacturers routinely put zips on the side pockets?

Side pockets are for hands, and zips are scratchy.

Once you've hacked the zips off, it's a nice jacket.

No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SIZE WARNING, 12 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I read the one-star review and thought, oh well, probably not too big, but OMG they are huge.

I ordered large and the ones that arrived could only fit Hagrid.

Much much much too large for the size description.

Apart from that they look lovely.

If you don't mind the hassle of returning them to get the right size.

Update: I tried putting them in a hot wash and a hot tumble dry - usually guaranteed to shrink trackies.

Still huge.

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