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FionaShopsalot (England UK)

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The Babushka Inheritance
The Babushka Inheritance
by C.C. Chambers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.74

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like reading a film!, 29 Jan 2008
I finished what will probably be my last Philip Pullman for a while and then rounded off the Lemony Snicket series (don't get me started on that) and needed something new to read which was preferably more grown up than LS, which isn't a criticism of the LS suite. I already knew CC Chambers from The Odessa Stone which I loved, and I was pleased to have finished my latest reading pile in time for the new one!
It's a story on a big scale which reads like watching a film, if that doesn't sound ridiculous. There's plenty of detail given here which was missing from what I was reading before without me actually realsing that until I read this. I won't even try to outline the plot because there's a lot to outline, but what lies at the heart is very simple. That's the relationship between Nick, who is a healer, and Natalie, a girl who's own gifts are fading fast. Despite all that happens, that key part is never left behind for a moment.

The heat rises rather like Odessa with everything becoming more intense, but here the stakes are higher on a personal level rather than the huge one which Linda had to deal with. You get reminded all the way through that if the two leads are murdered or have an 'accident', who would know and who would care? Problems would follow as a result and leave one or two big winners, but life is cheap in Babushka. I think of all the books I've read, this actually has the most number of deaths in it! There are thousands of them but they're only referred to of course, and Nick and Natalie, like Sarah, are always barely a step away from being just another two. It all builds and builds up to an ending which had me gripped.

I was always disappointed with some of the Harry Potter series how everything fitted into a school year and then they would all go home after sorting out Voldie again, avoid answering the obvious harry/Voldermort questions and then come back and do it all again the following year. Babushka doesn't have those timescales and goes day by day and leaves the door wide open and off its hinges for the characters to do something else next. And that's good because I'd love to spend more time with them! Worth reading.


The Whistleblowers - Series 1 [2007] [DVD]
The Whistleblowers - Series 1 [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Indira Varma
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: 2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars There's worse around, 29 Jan 2008
I found this to be mildly diverting and entertaining! Despite a few poor reviews here and in the media, it's one of those you can put on and find yourself in good company. Yes, it has flaws with some of the writing regarding the characters, but they don't overshadow a good idea and it's nicely shot. This isn't something I'd rush back to, but it can sit on my shelf for a year or so and be worth another look.
It's very much of its time and for the time being that's not a problem.


Xanadu [DVD]
Xanadu [DVD]
Dvd ~ Olivia Newton-John
Price: 5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't deserve its soundtrack, 29 Jan 2008
This review is from: Xanadu [DVD] (DVD)
This is a dreaful, dreadful film but strangely has a charm all of its own even if that charm is one of nostalgic bemusement. To see people rollerskating all over the place is odd throughout the film, the whole premise of ONJ's presence is bizarre in the first place, the dialogue could have been written by three monkeys with one typewriter and a spare ten minutes, and the characterisation is non existent. And the plot?
What on earh Gene Kelly is doing in this trainwreck is an enduring mystery, and why ONJ agreed to it after the success of Grease must have been a reflection on the pay cheque rather than having read the script (and I can't believe there are two people who took the credit for this monstrosity!) Even John Farrar, who added Hopelessly Devoted To You and You're The One That I Want to Grease can't summon up the same creative magic to offer a hit here.
The music is on another level though and the theme by ELO with ONJ is still as good as it ever was. But the five songs from ELO are too good for this nonsense. One reviewer commented on the four minutes of GK with ONJ that work, and I agree. Someone else must have filmed and planned that section, because the rest is so amateur in comparison.
This is good for late night viewing with friends who want something light, fluffy and laughable in the background. No wonder the 80s became such a fashion shocker of a decade with this to herald its start!


Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2-disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2-disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jim Carrey
Offered by Jasuli
Price: 11.95

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well made but too cramped, 29 Jan 2008
I think the look and style of this film is excellent, and the special effects are superb, and they warrant the two stars - but it loses three due to a few horrible mistakes. The first is that the producers allowed it to become the Jim Carey Show and he's so over the top that the sinister subtleties and bizarre cunning of the books are all lost. Secondly, there is just too much crammed in this film. What used to occupy a major part of a book becomes just a ten minute diversion or less, and situations come and go as quickly as certain characters - all of which overplay there parts as if the Americans have discovered panto. Billy Connolly was good, the kids were very well cast, but the remainder are either under used or over used.
This is well made enough to justify watching a couple of times, but if you love the books I would say stay away. Too much has been missed out in order to squeeze a few books into one film. It should be one film, one book! Or two at a push.


Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD]
Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Emma Watson
Price: 7.36

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by gaps and no extras, 27 Jan 2008
This review is from: Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
This is a strange one to comment on because the cast do a good job and the story holds up well but there are a few moments when two of the three leads turn way out of character and act differently in an unpleasant way. I don't know if that's down to editing or a poor script but it spoilt this and made Pauline and Posy a pair of spoilt brats with no feelings but for themselves. The supporting cast was very good but their roles were different at times to the book which again made me feel uneasy and almost cheated while watching this. Why would the writers have to change things? It didn't make it better and it didn't need doing.
No extras is unforgivable these days!
Ballet Shoes is nice enough to be worth seeing but it just doesn't work that well for me because of the self made problems. I'll go back to the book.


Ever Decreasing Circles - Complete Collection [DVD]
Ever Decreasing Circles - Complete Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Briers
Price: 10.00

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and witty, 27 Jan 2008
I saw two episodes when a friend bought this set round one night and really enjoyed the easygoing scripts, the affection and rapport between the characters, and the clever undercurrents always just beneath the surface. I ordered it for myself and spent a very pleasant couple of months steadily going through the whole run and also the final special. I loved it all. It was a comedy for grown ups from the theme music onwards and was rewarding to enjoy. Subtlety is missing from much of today's tv, and this shows up so much of the comedies on offer these days. I found myself wondering how such a comedy would be done today, 20 years after it actually aired!
The extras are light and trivial but little nuggets of their time. Appearances on the Wogan show are squeezed on and although they're not too enlightening and if anything they're embarrassing in places, they're still nice to see.
There are some commentaries over a few episodes which are okay and nice to listen to but I do wish the 'interviewer' could either have done some research or found a way to kep the conversations going. There are some long pauses while the cast's main trio watch themselves and giggle away, which is alright once or twice but becomes frustrating after too many.
It's a very enjoyable set and unfairly forgotten, I feel. Treat yourself to this and you won't be disappointed.


The Simpsons Movie [DVD] [2007]
The Simpsons Movie [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Dan Castellaneta
Price: 3.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Simpsons Fundiddlyfun, 27 Jan 2008
I wasn't sure if this would be any good because so many tv hits have been made into awful films. I thought the South Park Movie started well but fizzled to nothing and feared my belived Simpsons might go the same way. But this was fine in a lot of ways and was a pleasant hour and a half or whatever it is. It did feel like two or three episodes mixed together around a theme and played with a great deal, but what's the problem there? The plot holds together well, the characters are true to their tv rpersonalities and it's all good fun and just about every Springfield resident is in there somewhere.
The animation is better than on the tv show, which is a relief because I feel the recent seasons have had a strange computer induced sterility about them. The seasons up to seven or eight were so much easier on the eye.
In terms of extras they're okay but nothing special, although the commentary is a lot of fun and the various contributors all have space to shine. One thing that does annoy me is when the creators talk about deleted scenes which sound like they would have been funny, but then don't show them as an extra. There's supposed to be a scene with Marge using all her euphemisms for pig excrement and Homer not understanding any of them. That would have been so funny, but it isn't included.
A good film and sits well alongside the tv show. Fans and nonfans alike would enjoy this!


Ocean's Twelve [DVD] [2004]
Ocean's Twelve [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.70

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst film I've ever seen!, 14 Aug 2005
This review is from: Ocean's Twelve [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I loved the first one, and sat down to this with friends. What a huge disappointment.
The plot is paper thin and I can't explain it even though we tried to figure out who did what and why, for a full hour after it finished. They tilt a house, they have a hologram of an egg, they always have someone in the background to help them out, everyone around them is stupid, everyone watching is treated as being stupid. It's absolute rubbish. There are many scenes which lead nowhere, add nothing, and seem to be contractual obligations for the alocated amount of time on screen for the big names.
The supporting characters (who make up about 8 of Ocean's 12) have nothing to do other than small quips.
It started off okay - Ocean has to pay back the 160mill he stole. And then what happened? The scene-cuts are so fast and there is so much 'convenient' and instant plane flights, cars on hand, changes of European location, hotels and people that after the first half hour we knew this whole film was goping to rely on coincidences, unseen background work, and the complete destruction of belief. In short, it was as if a dozen script writers had worked independently of each other to come up with their own part of the story.
And after a while, they have to rely on flash-backs to try and explain what's going on - but by then it's too late and it's all been such a trendy mess that I despaired and no-one cared!
And as for the moment when the character played by Julia Roberts becomes a Julia Roberts look-a-like to help with a stupid attempt to steal a Faberge egg.... my brain exploded. She even speaks on the phone to the 'real' Julia Roberts, which was beyond idiocy. Bruce Willis, playing himself, makes the most contrived cameo I've seen to help her do it.
I've never seen such a stupid film, and I hope I never do again.


Lyra's Oxford (His Dark Materials)
Lyra's Oxford (His Dark Materials)
by Philip Pullman
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All wrapping., 13 Feb 2004
I enjoyed the trilogy, although I had given up keeping track of who was doing what (and why) by the end of The Amber Spyglass one. So I thought this might be a good loose-end tidying up exercise but it isn't. It ought to be the start of another story, but it ends so quickly. Why bother with a shorty after such a long trilogy? Now I've got it, it was read in no time and just looks good on my shelf next to all my other books. I'm let down because I wanted something to really get into. All I can hope is that The Guardian Of Time (see my review!!!) is the first in a trilogy, because I liked that. I like a laugh with a story, I like characters that do care about each other and I like to either keep up with or story, or be excused for not knowing what's happening. Fans of the Dark Materials trilogy should get this extra short story to go with the other three books because it's fabulously presented and looks good, but don't expect a lot from the story. This is an extra little item, worth having if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket.


The Guardian of Time
The Guardian of Time
by C.C. Chambers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Habso the bee's, and the cat's pj's as well!!, 8 Dec 2003
This review is from: The Guardian of Time (Paperback)
I liked the look of this, kind of sinister but also fun. AND IT WAS! It's one of those stories that becomes crazier and crazier as you go along, and all the time everyone's trying really hard to know what's happening. And they never manage it!
Andie wipes the floor with Hermione. For a while I thought she was just another person in the story for most of it, but then she really turns everything around and it's all because Bob's so maddabout her. Anyone who reads this won't be able to explain it because SO MUCH happens and it gets totally out of control. Bob can't keep up with any of it, and neither can anyone else which is really weird - I haven't read a book where nobody in it can get their heads round it all, but that's why it's so good. I couldn't wait to find out what on earth was happening next, or before, or whatever.
Claudie is mad as a box of frogs and just cracked me up all the time, just like Feiya and her thing about weapons! And Aunt Agatha is spot on for how a Guardian Of Time should be. Scary and tres chic.
There's loads of expressions to pick up, and the dictionary at the back has funny mistakes in it - but they're ones by Felicity Chancer who's word was law back then.


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