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Outlander - Season 1 (Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Outlander - Season 1 (Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Caitriona Balfe
Offered by YouWantIt-WeGotIt
Price: £25.62

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like sex.., 29 Dec. 2015
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..scenes, voyeur brutality and a bit of sodomy, you are going to love this! You may think you would feel sorry for the bone headed hero being humiliated and brutalised yet again, but you don't because if he wasn't he would be boring. And you would think that you would get tired of the cold hearted, flat chested nymphomaniac heroine (wow, what a combination!) with yet another dagger at her nipple, but you don't because, hey, who can get enough attempted rape? No plot is too repetitive, no historical inaccuracy too ludicrous for this blockbuster! And it is not all mindless fantasy. It is a thoughtful and challenging commentary on the fact that we watch any gratuitous nonsense so long as it has got a costume on.

Mr. Turner [DVD] [2014]
Mr. Turner [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Timothy Spall
Price: £5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walk through one of his paintings, 29 May 2015
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This review is from: Mr. Turner [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
I note that far more people were disappointed by this film than not and that most of them were (unusually) just one dismissive sentence as if they were not even interested enough to explain why. Bored, nothing happening, too much grunting. Fuller objections were made about Turners sex life and the necessity of showing his earthy approach to womanhood. One lady was so repelled she said she couldnt look as his paintings again. I wonder if it is because we have a reverence for Turner as a British institution and find it diststeful to think he was physically or emotionally grubby?
He did have a wife and two children who were never acknowledged, the widow of a friend of his who figures in his posthumously discovered so called erotic work,(actually its just nudes) and yes there was his faithful dad who died in harness looking after his boy which seems a bit wierd to us. What I carried away from the film was the confirmation of a conviction I have always had that Turner was all heart. Yes he was monosyllabic with devoted Dad but the affection between then was shown as so strong and deep that verbal expression of it was unnecessary. I was glad the film did not go into some unnatural American style I love you Dad outpouring. They were 19th century Englishmen for heavens sake. In fact the whole film was notable for an honesty without the sentimentality that we have come to believe is emotion. All of it somehow rang truer than the posing historical drama we have become used to. Same with the ladies. His actions to them are brusque and to the point but not without kindness or understanding; even with his housekeeper you had the idea that he was giving all that he could and knew her to understand that. The film showed, accurately I hope, that those who knew Turner well were devoted to him in spite of his unpolished speech or fingernails, seeing the good, humane man beyond the eccentricity. The landscapes were extraordinary, catching the surreal quality he saw in them, swirling the colours. I felt I had been walking through one of his paintings.Really good stuff.

The Gentleman In The Parlour (Vintage Classics)
The Gentleman In The Parlour (Vintage Classics)
by W. Somerset Maugham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars On the road to Manderlay..., 31 Oct. 2013
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Maughn was one of those gentleman travellers that naturally gravitated into the secret service in the last war, suave, sophisticated, prototypes of James Bond. He witnessed this period of our history with more comprehension and a wider vision than the authors of the generation before. This is a collection of impressions received on his leisurely tour through Indonesia and what was then Burma.;a lost world of river and train transport, through clubs and hotels where the British empire is still unaware that it is dying.

Tragically beautiful and reflective this is not a book to read on the run but to dip into and savour. An excellent holiday read wherever the holiday.

H.E.Bates Autobiography: "The Vanished World", "The Blossoming World", "The World in Ripeness"
H.E.Bates Autobiography: "The Vanished World", "The Blossoming World", "The World in Ripeness"
by H. E. Bates
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly nasty taste in the mouth, 4 Aug. 2013
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Who does not love The Darling Buds of May for its jolly, earthy humanity? Imagine then my disappointment to find the man exposed in this autobiography to be...I can only call it mean spirited. Great tracts of it are about how good a writer he is and which great writers he resembles and how many famous friends he has and who he met and who, sometimes, he snubbed. Particularly worrying was his complete lack of shame that he spent the war, commissioned, scandalously I feel, into the RAF by his writer chums at the ministry, swanning around; writing articles and stories about men who were dying around him while he slipped off home or went to stay with a Countess in Paris. His patronising approach to all foreigners also grated a good deal. He is always surprised to find that an American or even a Frenchman are acceptable companions.

In his many accounts of how famous people took to him (and his often mentioned piercing blue eyes) immediately, I am left wondering why, because he comes across as a thoroughly arrogant tit. This has rather spoiled the books for me as all that joy in life and bonhomie seems false and I now notice an acid negative strain which I had not noticed before.

One good thing was the lists of other writers of the era which gave me some new avenues to explore.

Thai Style
Thai Style
by William Warren
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish you were there...,, 18 May 2013
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This review is from: Thai Style (Paperback)
Both useful guide and inspiration if you want to go Thai in your home. and nostalgic return to the exotic colours and textures of you holiday. I have looked and relooked at this book and even read the text. There is a good balance of historical and architectural detail, not too much. and enough charming homes and hotel luxe to make you dream. Good value.

Anna Karenina [DVD]
Anna Karenina [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keira Knightley
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £5.31

56 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, shame about the heroine., 6 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Anna Karenina [DVD] (DVD)
I find Keira Knightly cold. She was just right in Atonement playing a cold and beautiful young woman, and possible in Pirates of the Carribean where she played a cold and beautiful and screechy young woman. It may have something to do with her voice which seems to have no low notes and always a breathy Essex is it? accent. Wicked snow queen would be perfect for her.

Why then has she been chosen to play Elizabeth Bennet whose warmth and humour unfroze Mr.Darcy and the embodiment of passion, Anna Karenina?

Both these great novels don't make sense unless the heroine is a woman, not a girly, with a strong and complex character. Otherwise the strong and passionate men who love them would not be interested. Even Vronsky, the least cerebral of the three men tells Anna that he was put off at first thinking that she was 'just a frou frou'.
Beauty was not enough for them. They were searching for warmth. That's why all we imperfect women dream of being their object of desire; because these men look for something more.

I think she was merely smart in Pride and Prejudice and nearly the same here, a Barbie doll who only becomes convincing when she is being really nasty. Anna is a married woman, a mother, a loving sister. She has developed emotions and a passionate nature. At the end she is not simply bonkers but unable to put the passion back in the box; a real woman torn in many directions with too many conflicting loyalties. We see nothing of that in this adaptation and without that it is simply a film 'based on' Tolstoy's novel.

The acid test is that in both films we end up really sorry for the men involved that they have wasted their profound love, thrown aside what has always been important to them to end up with this pert child.

A beautiful film, brilliantly acted by all the men.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 29, 2013 11:15 AM GMT

Lost Empires [DVD]
Lost Empires [DVD]
Dvd ~ Colin Firth
Price: £10.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of Colin Firth..., 21 July 2012
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This review is from: Lost Empires [DVD] (DVD)
...and who doesnt, here he is with the down still on his cheeks. This is something more than a costume drama. It sticks unswervingly to Priestly's text and captures its sinister sense of theatre, of things hidden behind masks. It reminds me of The Blue Angel, tragedy and humiliation under the clown's greasepaint. The narrative voice, spoken by Colin Firth is more profound than the soap opera adaptations we are accustomed to. Also I was amazed at the number of extras involved, not only the theatre audiences but the seaside crowds at Blackpool, the stations, the soldiers; and what was that ferret doing in the trench?

I thought this may have dated but oddly enough it seems to date the recent costume productions. They are too clean. Everyone seems to have been to the same tailor. This really feels like loking at Britain before the Great War. There are scruffy actors and seedy tarts and too dapper young men. There are people with big teeth and fat legs. The restaurants dont look like stage sets. It looks like paintings by Degas.

I wonder if Botox and dentistry and personal trainers have now made it impossible to present an authentic period flavour on television. Our actors are too beautiful.

Colin Firth, very serious, can't help being a heart throb. Laurence Olivier is painfully convincing. All the acting seems to me on a more professional level than anything I have seen recently as if, before our cult of celebrity, they are acting the parts and not themselves playing the parts.

Amazingly good stuff, unpredictable, gritty powerful. Please watch this.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2013 3:20 PM BST

The Way of All Flesh (The Penguin English Library)
The Way of All Flesh (The Penguin English Library)
by Samuel Butler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool, 8 July 2012
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Way before his time, Samuel Butler examines the relationship between parents and children, between man and his conscience, between the young and social mores. This sounds turgid but it is not. It is a little soap opera, based around the life of a young man who makes mistakes, his loss of innocence and the formation of his own judgement in spite of all he has been taught to believe, the story of us all in fact. Butler is the young man, the story was based on his own experience, and you feel the originality, the eccentricity of the man. He is ironic, he is courageous, he is his own man formed by the interaction of character and upbringing where both are human and fautly.

I find this a joyful and hopeful book. The message to me was that there are no disasters in life except to lose our autonomy and live according to someone else's ideals.

It is a book I think should be read by every young person struggling to find their raison d'etre, hampered by the see saw between guilt and rejection which marks our independence from our parents.

Not dated at all. Great stuff for a thoughtful holiday read.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD + Digital Copy)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Judi Dench
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.72

44 of 105 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Racist. Facile. Insulting., 1 July 2012
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Even a five star reviewer makes no claim of originality for this film. All the stereotypes are there, but what disturbed me was that these stereotypes were from the sixties, in particular the racial stereotypes. The young hotel owner with his unconvincing 'dream' to make a successful hotel for old people, played this like a character from 'It aint arf ot Mum', flapping around excitable, untruthful and incompetant until hurrah the English arrive to save the day; and a grumpy old Essex racist suddenly becomes a business genius and convinces a tough businessman of her acumen, losing her accent on the way. Perlease.

All the Indian characters are ineffective and one dimensional until saved by superior English wisdom. The mother is overbearing and old fashioned until her hand is forced by English intervention. The 'modern' girlfriend takes the loss of face and boyfriend feebly lying down until all is saved by the genteel (and cheesey) advice of yup you guessed it, ageing English rose Judi Dench. Even the two successful Indian entrepreneurs respectfully seek the advice of two old Englishwomen. I found the scene where untrained housewife Judi Dench was teaching the job to an admiring, dutifully laughing roomful of young workers really ludicrous, and yes really racist.

Good acting may have made this unlikely plot credible but the acting was so half hearted, the characters so undeveloped. My rule of thumb for superlative acting is that the same actor can be unrecognisible from film to film. These actors have begun to play themselves. The High court Judge was played just like the guy in Full Monty. The henpecking wife exactly like ....well all the other parts this actress plays. Judi Dench, film after film plays that fluttering, hesitant woman in Second time Around. These household names have such familiar mannerisms now, we have seen them so often that it is almost impossible for them to be credible.

But they should try. This is where the insult comes in. There seem to be a growing number of films, mostly with Maggie Smith in them, which seem to me an excuse for a group of ageing actors to go somewhere nice on holiday, turn in a mediocre performance and know that it will be a success because they are well known. Churn out something 'heart warming' about wisdom and ageing and in rolls the cash. It insults the intelligence and clogs up the film industry.
Comment Comments (35) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2014 4:05 PM GMT

Kenneth Grahame: An Innocent in the Wild Wood
Kenneth Grahame: An Innocent in the Wild Wood
by Alison Prince
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars which one is the weasel?, 24 Jun. 2012
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I must first say that I found this book absorbing and read it late into the night. Kenneth Grahame is a hero from childhood for me because he shared and recorded my own childhood responses to the world as no other author has done. I was agog to find out about his life. What I found was not at all what I expected, at once more compelling and more disturbing. I had him down for an ivory tower intellectual and found with surprise that he was Secretary to the Bank of England and a radical aesthete, a highly complex and sometimes sinister man.

The reason for the lost star is the author's labouring of her eponymous point: it seems to me that she draws conclusions to support her view of this 'child in an adult world' far too readily. What seems evident is that this man had two personalities, one who could rise to a post of national importance, be a popular member of the eminent group of avant garde authors and thinkers of an age when sexual freedom was hot gossip and father a child, but also have a secret life of childlike simplicity.

The two are not mutually exclusive, in fact to a post Freud generation, they are obvious, but the author suggest that the only real life is the secret child. At one point she compares two photographs of Grahame's wife, before and after marriage, suggesting a change of the mouth and eyebrow denote the tragic loss of illusion this woman has suffered. I laughed out loud. No such thing was apparent to me. I was reminded of Cold Comfort Farm where Mr Mybug quotes from a letter, "'Cousin Elspeth(I forget the actual name) is well'...and what a picture we get from those few words, a raw Irish chit with clear blood in her lips..."

Fascinating stuff but sift the evidence for yourself. I would say that this man was both weasel and mole as his needs dictated. I would be delighted to know how it appears to you.

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