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A. Lalor "IloveRichardArmitage" (Ireland)

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Wuthering Heights (2009) [DVD]
Wuthering Heights (2009) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Hardy
Price: 7.94

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild, passionate, erotic...Brilliant drama!!, 4 Sep 2009
I have a somewhat strange relationship with Wuthering Heights. Upon a first reading I found it weird, obsessive, needlessly violent and far from the passionate love story it was hyped up to be. Then I reread it again in university and suddenly everything just clicked together. I could see the passion, the wildness, the supernatural forces at work, the union of two souls. Then I watched the 1992 film with Ralph Fiennes and Juliet Binoche and was bitterly disappointed. Too much was cut out, the acting seemed all over place, it all seemed a mess.

As such I did not really know what to expect with this two-part series but I am pleased to say that I absolutely loved this series. It really did capture the wild and exotic nature of the novel brilliantly, with its heart-pounding musical score, shaky camera angles, ragged costumes and wild locations. The series does excellently recreate the world of Wuthering Heights. The characters all seem isolated on the lonely moors.

For those of us not familiar with the story it goes as follows: Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff are childhood sweethearts, however when Cathy chooses wealth over love her decision impacts down throughout the years, even as far as the next generation. This of course is an over-simplification of the story but I am guessing that most people who are reading this are already familiar with it.

The danger of course of any adaptation of Wuthering Heights is that it will understandably be compared to Emily Bronte's classic novel and the numerous other adaptations before it. The challenge for every director therefore is to create an adaptation that will bring something new to the story while still staying faithful to the source. This series excellently manages this. Some of the dialogue is new, some is taken directly from the novel. But best of all, the series takes its time and never seems rushed with most of the major incidents from the novel being accounted for. True the ending does seem a little rushed and not nearly enough character development is allowed for with the second generation but by that stage you have been so blown away by the first generation that it hardly matters anyway.

There have of course been some alterations. The characters in a way have been softened down. Both Heathcliff and Cathy appear alot more likable in this series than they have in previous ones. His brutal upbringing is emphasised and as such softens the blow when he becomes a man driven entirely by revenge. Cathy is less frivolous. The killer line, "it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff" is excluded. Undoubtedly some people will complain about such character alterations but personally for me, I found they worked well with the script.

Mr Lockwood is excluded and Nelly Deen's presence is kept to a minimum, which doesn't affect the story. The second generation of characters don't fare as well as the first (most of the series focuses on the first generation, which I feel was a good idea!) due to their considerable lack of screen-time.

The acting is fantastic from all involved. Riley and Hardy as the leads have excellent chemistry. But in fairness everyone of the cast members are perfectly cast.

To conclude I would highly recommend this series. It is wild, exotic, passionate and even if there are a few alterations from the novel, it is still a really worthwhile watch. I am sure Emily Bronte would have been proud.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 13, 2009 4:44 PM BST

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days [DVD] [2003]
How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Kate Hudson
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 2.80

5.0 out of 5 stars How to make me smile in ten minutes?, 31 Aug 2009
I have watched How to lose a guy in ten days many many times and I feel it is about time I finally wrote a review on this amazing movie.

The story is alot of fun, being a battle of the sexes between Hudson and McConaughey. To keep it short for those who want it snappy: Hudson is an ambitious, high-flying magazine writer who is writing an article on how to lose a guy in ten days. McConaughey is a smooth-talking, charismatic, advertising executive who has accepted a bet to make a woman fall in love with him in ten days. Guess what happens when these two meet?

The story itself, for a romantic-comedy is surprisingly original. True you kind of have an idea what is going to happen in the end but how exactly is the question. The script is sharp, witty, sexy, funny and romantic. Even though this movie is two hours long it really doesn't feel its length.

The acting is great from all involved especially the leads who are obviously having a whole lot of fun, which makes this movie very refreshing.

Add to this a catchy soundtrack (Kiss me springs to mind), some idylic locations and of course the eye candy of McConaughey and you have the perfect romantic-comedy.

I would highly recommend this movie for anyone looking for a fun and entertaining way of spending two hours of their life including men as unlike most romantic-comedies this one is actually genuinely funny. Be grateful if this is the movie your girlfriend insists you watch. You could be watching a whole lot worse.

The Lady and the Poet
The Lady and the Poet
by Maeve Haran
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure brilliance!!!!!, 31 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Lady and the Poet (Paperback)
The Lady and the Poet is a classy, stylish and aboveall educational read that made for some thoroughly enjoyable summer reading.

Set during the reign of Elizabeth I, Ann More is a spirited, fiery, independent, woman who desires an extraordinary love, during a time when women are the property of their father and husbands. Brought to live with her Aunt in high society London Ann must face some tough decisions as to what direction her life shall take. Enter into the picture, the charismatic, witty, womanising poet, John Donne and Ann's life has suddenly become a whole lot more complicated. Will she be allowed follow her heart or must she conform to society's expectations of her?

This is an excellently written book that will keep you reading to the very last page with its well-drawn characters and interesting scenarios. The beginning is good, the middle great but the ending brilliant. The pace of the book is well-evened out, never allowing itself to become too overwhelmed by its passionate subject matter. Even if you are not familiar with any of Donne's stunning poetry this book will interest you and will probably create a new-found interest for you. For me, having studied the poetry of Donne, it was fascinating to discover the muse behind many of his great works. I do not know much about Donne's personal life but what little I did know seemed to be backed up by this wonderful novel.

I can find no fault with book although if I was to be extremely picky I would say it would have been nice to have had more witty dialogue between Ann and Donne but this is a minor flaw.

To conclude I would highly recommend this book to anyone (regardless of whether you are a lover of true stories or not) looking for an enjoyable, heartbreaking and passionate tale of love and loss.

Bandslam [DVD] [2009]
Bandslam [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Lisa Kudrow
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.74

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, feel-good, without the clichés!!!, 29 Aug 2009
This review is from: Bandslam [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Bandslam is a movie I desperately wanted to see but to be honest I didn't have much expectations for it. I expected it to be a cliché-driven movie, however I was wrong.

The story is simple and easy to follow, Will is a social misfit with a passion for music who is being bullied in school. A move to a new school and a new town opens up a world of opportunities for him as he takes on the management of a band preparing to enter the prestigous Bandslam Competition, falls in love and even befriends the popular kids.

So what makes this movie special? Firstly the fact that the script is genuinely funny and clever, (to entertain both children, teenagers and adults) the dialogue is realistic, the characters are real and best of all, the usual American clichés of the "geeky" kid and the popular cheerleader are not exploited, making this a somewhat refreshing portrayal of American teenagers. The music is also very catchy and the soundtrack will probably be a big hit.

The acting from the young stars is very good. It was great to see Vanessa Hudgens in a movie outside High School Musical, while former Friends star Lisa Kudrow in many ways seems almost overshadowed by the younger stars.

To conclude I would recommend people of all ages go see this movie. It's fun, cheerful, a perfect movie to end the summer and get kids in the mood for the return to school.

Divided Loyalties
Divided Loyalties
by Patricia Scanlan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What exacty happens in this book?, 28 Aug 2009
This review is from: Divided Loyalties (Paperback)
Divided Loyalties is a book I read on my holidays. It was not a book I had intended to read but since I finished my other book somewhat quickly I was forced to read the first available book I could find in our appartment, which just happened to be this novel by Irish writer, Patricia Scanlan.

The story centres around two sisters: Carrie, who is juggling family life, while trying not to become too boring, and Shauna, who searches for some desperate meaning in her relationship with her husband, Greg, who does not want anymore children. Other family members such as their estranged brother, Bobby and their controlling father, Niall, not to mention their imposing inlaws are also dealt with.

The novel is written reasonably well but there is no hiding the fact that it is incredibly dull. The story itself of two ordinary sisters family lives has great potential but it somehow all goes very wrong. It is just boring. Although it is interesting at times to see the different points-of-view of the characters in relation to each other there really is not enough plot to keep the non-existent story going. The characters spend most of the novel eating and meeting up complaining about their problems. Annoyingly at times the author even decides to inject some children's dialogue into the novel making it a tiresome read. Furthermore none of the characters are really likable. They all come across as either whingy or self-indulgent.

Standing at over six hundred pages it is far too long. The book could have half the length. Everything about it is just so plain, dull and ordinary lacking any form of life or conflict. There is nothing wrong with ordinary but if one wants to read ordinary I would suggest a true story.

To conclude I would not recommend this novel to read unless like me you are bored and desperate for something to read. Even at that one might find their mind drifting to other pool-side distractions.

The Ugly Truth [DVD] [2010]
The Ugly Truth [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Gerard Butler
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.73

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Ugly Review, 14 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Ugly Truth [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I was looking forward to seeing this movie but I must say while it all looked very well and had the usual sugar-coated scenes I fail to believe it is in any way original. It certainly is far from the best romantic-comedy one will see this summer (especially when you compare it with The Proposal).

To begin with the storyline is not very strong, which naturally was going to spell disaster for the film. Heigl plays a young, successful tv producer, somewhat unlucky in love but nevertheless optimistic about finding Mister Right. Butler is a charismatic, tell-it-as-it-is tv presenter who gives advice about relationships. When Butler is hired by Heigl's boss to work on their channel, Heigl is instantly repulsed by his straight-talking manner. However it isn't long before Butler is giving her advice on how to seduce her hot new neighbour. The script is weak and rather offensive, it is not that funny unless you're a hormonal teenage boy looking for some dirty jokes and sex toys.

Personally I am not a fan of Heigl. I do believe she could be great but for some reason she continues to choose lame romantic-comedies (27 Dresses springs to mind) to showcase her skill. She is rather annoying in this movie and at times rather foolish to be following the advice of someone she loathes. Butler fairs a bit better probably because he isn't trying to be likable. The chemistry between the two is plausible but not as sizzling as they clearly want it to be. I think the problem is that too much emphasis is placed on the physical side of their relationship, rather than some much-needed character development.

Secondary features are good: the sets are gleaming, the costumes gorgeous, the music catchy from the opening with Katy Perry's Hot and Cold to Flo Rida's Right Round to end the movie.

To conclude I would recommend going to see this movie if you are looking for some light-hearted, mindless entertainment. it will safe you the hassle of buying it because believe me it really isn't a move you would buy.

Random Hearts [DVD]
Random Hearts [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harrison Ford
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 17.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Random Movie!!, 14 Aug 2009
This review is from: Random Hearts [DVD] (DVD)
Random Hearts was very much a random movie selection for me yesterday night, finding myself with nothing to do and in need of something good to watch I decided to watch this. It was on the whole mediocre but not exactly a complete waste of time.

Firstly the story is intriguing with wonderful potential. Two complete strangers, Ford and Scott Thomas are brought together as their respective partners are killed in a plane crash, to discover the truth behind their hidden past. The story is undoubtedly dark and interesting. The script is not the strongest but it is really the direction that is at fault in this movie. It is too long and takes too long to take off with not enough development in the end. A secondary storyline involving Ford's job is incredibly tedious and takes up far too much time.

The acting of course is brilliant. Both characters are interesting and one finds themselves wanting to learn more about them as the film progresses. The chemistry between the two leads is not as sizzling as it should be (the first kiss seems a little out-of-place) but I wouldn't fault it for that.

To conclude this movie, despite a promising storyline and excellent actors turns out to underwhelm and is quite forgettable. I would recommend watching it on television but nothing else.

Hope Floats [1998] [DVD]
Hope Floats [1998] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sandra Bullock
Price: 5.90

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull Floats!, 6 Aug 2009
This review is from: Hope Floats [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
Hope Floats is an alright movie but on the whole fairly uneventful: certainly not the best Sandra Bullock movie.

The story itself has been done many many times (alot better mind you in last year's Gossip) and is extremely predictable. From the moment the movie starts no one is left in any doubt as to what direction it will take. This isn't necessarily a fault of the movie, as romantic-comedies are not known for their originality. After being humiliated on Live television by her best friend revealing she had been having an affair with her husband, Bernie (Bullock) returns to her hometown with her daughter, Bernice in the hopes of starting afresh.

The script is fairly dull and lifeless, in much need of some humour but instead all we get is an overly long, dreary movie: a bit like the dreary town it is located in and the even drearier costumes. Despite the length alot of the characters in particular Bullock's daughter, Bernice, are underdeveloped. The love story element is quite cringy. Admittedly the music is one of this movie's few positives.

Sandra Bullock does her best with what she has to work with but I have seen alot better performances from her (the more recent The Proposal springs to mind). The supporting actors are passable. I didn't like Harry Connick Jr as Bullock's love interest. I found him neither attractive or charming enough to be a love interest. The child-stars hovever are good, as is the grandmother (probably the most likable character in the entire movie.)

Overall I don't think I would really recommend this movie. Despite a promising start and Sandra Bullock, there is no denying the fact that this movie cannot compete on the romantic-comedy stakes. Watch only if on the television and there's nothing else to do.

He's Just Not That Into You [DVD]
He's Just Not That Into You [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Aniston
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.69

3.0 out of 5 stars I'm just not that into it!!!, 5 Aug 2009
He's just not that you is one of those movies released just in time for Valentine's Day, guaranteeing its success as loads of love-sick couples will flock to see it. It really is clever marketing but no amount of cute packaging can disguise the fact that this movie really is rather mediocre.

The story tries too hard to be the American version of Love Actually, only without the Christmas magic and the happily ever-afters. However, unlike Love Actually, He's just not than into you is neither as funny or as romantic. It follows the lives of a series of loosely connected couples. There's one couple who are feeling the strain since they still haven't married after being together for seven years, another woman is feeling exasperated with all the technology available to communicate with now-a-days, another man is being tempted by a mysterious blonde to have an affair as his wife becomes inceasingly obsessed, while another girl is trying to find Mister Right but unfortunately she can't get it into her head when he doesn't return her phone-calls that he's just not that into her. In the meantime she fails to realise that her true love could in fact be the lad she least expected.

You get the general gist of the storylines: all problems that many people face in the real world. Nothing majorly original but hey what romantic-comedy is? The problem very simply with this movie is that it is neither funny (I laughed twice) or desperately romantic (only one storyline fits into that category). The script is weak as it tries to cover too much ground. It could have done without Jennifer Aniston's storyline, which tended to drag and go nowhere especially all the wedding sequences, which seemed extremely out of place, as they did not relate back to any of the other characters. The affair storyline and Goodwin's were probably the most interesting. It would have been better to have scrapped the other stories as they didn't go anywhere.

With an all-star cast featuring Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck and Scarlet Johannson, it is true to say that the acting cannot be faulted but to be hoenst the script or the stories aren't exactly challenging. However even the big names cannot save this film. Perhaps the producer should have focused more on actually having some good raw material rather than hiring as many big stars in the hope of them carrying this movie. True it ensured good cinema ratings but hardly good reviews.

To conclude this movie is just alright: nothing special but one could see worse. Watch it if it's on television or rent it out for a girly night-in.

December Boys [DVD] [2007]
December Boys [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 5.61

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing what Daniel Radcliffe and a soppy ending can do!!!, 5 Aug 2009
This review is from: December Boys [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
December Boys: Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is probably the only reason this film is even known as to be entirely honest it is really a mediocre movie.

The story is interesting and has some great potential: four orphans (all born in December, hence the title) are sent on holidays and they compete to be the most likable orphan in the hopes of getting adopted. It really is very endearing so the question is where did it all go wrong?

The answer very simply lies in the appallingly weak script, which drags the otherwise interesting story down. The script relies far too much on lengthy silences with numerous scenes that have practically no dialogue, and where dialogue does exist it is very bitty. Only in the last half hour of the movie do we get some substantial dialogue. The script destroys the characterisation of the orphans. At the end of the movie we realise that we have learned hardly anything about the four boys. The story is told from the point of view of the youngest orphan, Misty, who is probably the most desperate to be adopted but yet we are not given any reason for this desire. The middle two have nothing to do and fall into oblivion. Radcliffe, as the eldest orphan, Maps is obviously given more to do but he still could have been given alot more. The love interest part is hastily ran through and not given much time for development. Furthermore the movie likes to emphasise the friendship between the boys. There are heaps of scenes showing the orphans hanging out together, exploring their new home but yet we are given no solid reasons as to why four boys, of different ages, have such a strong bond, weakening the strength of the final decision.

The direction also seems to be very shaky. The movie never seems to know what genre it is trying to fit in: most of the time it seems to fit into the family movie genre but then Radcliffe's love interest story kind of turns it into some form of coming-of-age drama (one scene might not be appropriate for younger children) but then Misty's hallucinations seem to almost make a mockery of the entire movie (glowing and cartwheeling nuns, I mean where did that come from?) but then there are the sentimental voice-overs and the final scene that kind of highlights this movie as being something deep and nostalgic: of a special moment in time.

Due to such faults in directing and writing it is next to impossible to judge the actors, given what they had to work with. The supporting actors don't stand out and fade into the background, I found Radcliffe's love interest incredibly annoying, the orphans themselves probably fair the best. They at least look like they are having a good time together. Radcliffe is undoubtedly the strongest actor in this movie. Not only does he look great (for all fellow fans out there) but he shows some good depth of character and even manages to master the Australian accent. Still I cannot help but wonder why he agreed to star in such a underwhelming movie. I'm sure he must have got better offers than this.

To conclude December Boys is an alright movie due to a mildly interesting story, an excellent Radcliffe, some sentimental voice-overs and a soppy, nostalgic ending, that is bound to make you teary-eyed and possibly forget everything that came before it. Would I recommend it? I think this is one best left for the tv or else at the very most rental. But do give it a chance. The second half of the movie is significantly better than the first.

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