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L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland)
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 [DVD] [2015]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Lawrence
Price: £9.99

11 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn Inducing Film, 6 Dec. 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two Hunger Games films, but Mockingjay Part 1 was a major disappointment. Nothing much of interest happens in this very dull film which struck me as a money making exercise stretching out the last book in the series into two lucrative movies. In this film the lovely Katniss has now become the Mockingjay figurehead of a well organised underground rebel army, while Peeta has been captured by the government and tortured and mind controlled into making pro regime propaganda broadcasts. The rebels launch various sabotage expeditions before embarking on a daring mission to rescue Peeta and the other tributes. As I said nothing much of interest happens and there is no real plot or any excitement generated. I really think they would have been better making one single,longer film out of the Mockingjay book rather than stretching it out into two films for commercial purposes.


The Slap
The Slap
by Christos Tsiolkas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amoral Melbourne, 30 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Slap (Paperback)
I spent most of the first two years of my life living in Melbourne after my parents emigrated there in the late sixties. However I remember nothing about it. My parents came back to live in Northern Ireland just after the outbreak of The Troubles. In an alternative universe I could have grown up in Melbourne and I often wished I had as life in Belfast is pretty grim. However after reading "The Slap" I'm not so sure. The book describes the lives,behaviour and attitudes of a group of ordinary, middling Melbourne people and it makes for harrowing reading at times. Melbourne comes across as an amoral cesspit of a place. These people commit adultery,beat their wives,have abortions,take drugs and engage in homosexual activity. They drink ,gossip and swear too much. They come from all manners of races and creeds from around the world and have no fixed moral boundaries. In short, the characters are all unlikeable and I personally wouldn't be able to get on with any of them. The book is well written and after a slow start,where the reader is introduced to a confusingly large number of characters all at once,the book becomes more entertaining once each of the characters tells their own personal story to the reader. We enter the lives of Indian vets,teenage gays and breast feeding mothers as a whole horrific picture of modern Melbourne society unfolds. Anything goes in this degenerate world. There is no real plot to the book as such,just a series of individual stories casually linked by a slap to a toddler given by an angry parent at a barbecue. This is quite a long book,but an interesting one and one which gives fascinating insights into the twenty first century Australian psyche. Not a pretty sight !


Horrible Bosses 2 [DVD] [2015]
Horrible Bosses 2 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Jason Bateman
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Sequel, 30 Nov. 2014
I'm a bit wary of sequels to successful comedy films as usually they just rehash the jokes of the original and manage to remove anything which made the original funny and charming. "Anchorman 2" and "The Hangover 2" spring to mind. "Horrible Bosses 2" thankfully is an exception to the general rule. While most of the characters from the first film make an appearance and some of their antics are similar to those of the original, there is a charm and a humour about the sequel which makes it well worth watching. The three guys go into business together but they get ripped off by a rich financier. In revenge they decide to kidnap his son and this leads to a series of entertaining and humorous events. Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx reprise their roles well and the dialogue in the movie is funny and of good quality. You never get the impression that this film was just a money making effort and that the cast was just going through the motions."Horrible Bosses 2" is probably the funniest film that I've seen in the cinema this year.


The Railway Man [DVD] [2013]
The Railway Man [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Colin Firth
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tormented Trainspotter, 23 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Railway Man [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
"The Railway Man" is an absorbing but downbeat and harrowing film ,based on a true story, about an ex soldier struggling to come to terms with the trauma that was inflicted upon him in a Japanese POW camp during the Second World War. Colin Firth plays the soldier,Lomax,while Nicole Kidman is his sympathetic and caring wife. Lomax finds out by chance that his principal torturer is still alive, so he heads off to Thailand to confront him. He is nursing many years of pent up hatred and seems hell bent on revenge, but would meeting this man face to face make him release his fury or paradoxically have a cathartic effect on him ? This film is based on a true story and it is quite gripping throughout. The viewer empathises with the characters who are haunted by their wartime past and that is in no large part due to the acting abilities of Firth and Kidman.


Mr Turner: 1 Disc Special Edition [DVD] [2014]
Mr Turner: 1 Disc Special Edition [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Timothy Spall
Offered by M & L UK
Price: £22.01

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Talented Grunter, 22 Nov. 2014
I am interested in the great artists and I have visited many art galleries in the UK and Europe. I saw a lot of JMW Turner's paintings at the National Gallery and Tate Britain in London last year and they were pretty impressive. The artist has a certain distinct style of his own and I think I could identify a Turner if I saw one. This film is a collection of often random scenes from the last twenty or so years of the painter's life. Timothy Spall puts in an excellent performance as the gruff,brusque,grunting but frequently eloquent artist and we see how he interacts with fellow artists,friends,family and a number of women in his life from whom he obtains love,admiration and loyalty. The film is an excellent character portrayal of an eccentric ,highly talented man but it doesn't really have a proper plot or narrative. It's not that sort of film.


Half of a Yellow Sun [DVD] [2013]
Half of a Yellow Sun [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Thandie Newton
Price: £5.90

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing adaptation of a great novel, 9 Nov. 2014
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I read the novel "Half of a Yellow Sun" a few years ago and I thought it was excellent ; a poignant and absorbing piece of historical fiction set against the backdrop of the Biafran War in the 1960's. However this film adaptation of the novel is a major disappointment. The film is flat,lifeless and disjointed and I didn't think the acting was much good either. The dialogue wasn't convincing and I found it hard to empathise with any of the two dimensional characters. The film concentrates more on the romantic relationships of the characters than the politics and the bloody conflict and it really struggles to cram everything in to the hour and a half running time. This is a low budget film and I can see why it wasn't seen fit to give it a cinema release. Straight to DVD then instantly forgotten. Don't let watching this poor film put you off reading the superb book though.


Interstellar [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Interstellar [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Matthew McConaughey
Price: £14.99

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Through the wormhole, 8 Nov. 2014
"Interstellar" is an epic,imaginative piece of science fiction which is based quite closely on actual knowledge of wormholes and black holes. The science in the film seemed quite credible although difficult to understand at times especially towards the end. The film is set in a future where the Earth is dying and NASA are sending manned missions through a wormhole which has mysteriously appeared in the vicinity of Saturn. Matthew McConaghy plays one of the latest pioneering astronauts to go through the wormhole to another galaxy in search of habitable planets which the human race could colonise. The film tells the tale of what he and his crew find on the other side. "Interstellar" is difficult to follow at times. The dialogue is frequently hard to make out and is often drowned out by the loud musical soundtrack. The science isn't easy to understand and I didn't understand the whole scenario about Mann and the black hole. The characters in the film were also hard to warm to and empathise with. The film was also excessively long and parts of it quite boring. However despite all this "Interstellar" was fascinating. The whole scenario was plausible and I thought that the whole premise of an inter dimensional force assisting humanity was interesting and perhaps not far from the truth. I don't think I would like to watch this film again though, but it certainly provided plenty of food for thought.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2014 3:39 PM GMT


Us
Us
by David Nicholls
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The rejection of the sensible, 6 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Us (Hardcover)
I bought "Us" purely because it was long listed for the Man Booker Prize,so I figured it must be pretty good.It certainly is a decent novel, but it isn't literature by any means. It tells the tale of a sensible ,caring middle aged man whose wife has got bored of him and for whom his teenage son has little affection for or connection with. His selfish and callous wife tells him that she wants a divorce just before the three of them head off on a tour of Europe and he then spends much of the holiday desperately trying to make her change her mind and trying to act cool to impress his rather obnoxious son. Will he succeed or has the horse already bolted ? I empathised with the narrator Douglas,who loves both his wife and son more than they love him. He gets a dose of reality into what women and teenage boys are really like. I have visited a lot of the cities and places the family went to,so the novel was interesting from that point of view. "Us" is a story about family life,written in ordinary language with no pretensions to being significantly literary. It is an interesting,easy to read ,page turning novel that captures modern day attitudes and behaviour quite well and makes one quite despair of them.


Ghostbusters [DVD] [2004]
Ghostbusters [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts, 2 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Ghostbusters [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I watched this classic 1984 film in a local cinema today with my teenage son and it was an enjoyable trip down memory lane which was impressive looking on the big screen. Some of the CGI effects are ,not surprisingly, dated now, but by and large the film has aged well with time. The characters are likeable, the script is funny and the plot is credible,imaginative and original. "Ghostbusters" still possesses an amiable,witty charm rarely found in films these days.


The Invisible Woman [DVD] [2014]
The Invisible Woman [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Felicity Jones
Price: £4.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As cold as yesterday's mashed potatoes, 26 Oct. 2014
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Unfortunately I couldn't warm to this period romantic drama about Charles Dickens affair with a much younger woman. This is a fairly vapid film which failed to engage me at all. Ralph Fiennes does a good job playing the celebrated Victorian author ,but I didn't think there was much on screen chemistry between him and the passionless,dreary Felicity Jones, which therefore rendered the whole romantic relationship rather unconvincing. The film also has a disjointed feel to it with much of it consisting of flashbacks and reminisceses. Rather than being an uplifting celebration of a joyful inter generational romance , "The Invisible Woman" was a fairly low key,chaste and downbeat film that won't live long in the memory.


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