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P. KINCAID (Coventry United Kingdom)
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Crossroad: Angels can dance
Crossroad: Angels can dance
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A strong debut., 27 Sept. 2015
I finished Crossroads a few days ago. I liked that there’s a very tight group of characters. The central ones – Gabe, Lorri, Riikka, and Finn – are well defined and have distinctive voices. Well done on managing that with a seven year old! In fact, I believed all of them were the age they’re meant to be.
The novel moves very fluidly. I never had any problems following the plot, and felt carried along by its momentum. The last movement ... is really compelling and affecting.
I read it after finishing Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest, and I started reading Philip Hensher’s latest today. At its best, Crossroads really holds up in that company stylistically. I found it moving and convincing.


Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men
Dvd
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars My main problem with it is that the ranch seems rather nice: like somewhere city slickers might like to take ..., 12 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Of Mice and Men (Amazon Video)
A solid adaptation which follows the novel fairly faithfully, while opening things out in a way that is only logical. My main problem with it is that the ranch seems rather nice: like somewhere city slickers might like to take a vacation. Everything about it ought to be oppressive: the weather, the living conditions, the working atmosphere. Good performances throughout, though. Especially - as you'd expect - from Malkovich.


William Shakespeare: The Complete Works
William Shakespeare: The Complete Works
Price: £12.23

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More (or at least some) work needed for the Kindle edition, 20 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a review of the Kindle edition. I am mostly a fan of the Oxford editors approach to the representation of Shakespeare's plays, favouring readings which reflect performance, and of their decision to present them in chronological order. This is fine as a reading edition, but be aware that there is no critical apparatus - if you want footnotes, choose the Norton (not available on Kindle) which is basically the same text but with much more explanatory and critical material.

The big problem here is that the edition hasn't been adequately reformatted for reading on a Kindle device. Poetry seems to be something Kindle does pretty poorly, to be fair - but this is particularly badly rendered. Someone in the academy needs to team up with someone at Amazon and come up with a solution to this.


THE SEA CABINET
THE SEA CABINET
Price: £12.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful album., 13 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: THE SEA CABINET (Audio CD)
My musical discovery of 2014. I know it came out last year, but it wasn't till I heard Gwyneth Herbert perform 'Drip' on Radio 4's Alex Horne presents the Horne Section that I was aware of her at all.

This is a wonderful album. It's counted as jazz here and elsewhere, but really it's genre-defying, and as an old folky I accessed it partly through its salty lyrics and use of traditional forms (yep, there's the odd shanty here). But there's something for everyone here, so long as you like clever, incisive writing, musical daring and intelligent, feeling vocals. Stand outs? 'I Still Hear the Bells' (inspired by Dunwich, up the coast from Aldeburgh, perhaps), 'The King's Shilling',and 'Lorelei'. But I love it all.


BRIGHTON ROCK (2010)
BRIGHTON ROCK (2010)
Dvd
Price: £2.49

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Only the trailer!, 14 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Did I really just pay £3.49 to watch an old trailer...? I certainly hope not. If so, though, I expect my money back.


The Redemption of Alexander Seaton (Alexander Seaton series Book 1)
The Redemption of Alexander Seaton (Alexander Seaton series Book 1)
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Immersive, intelligent historical fiction, 7 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a well-sustained and utterly convincing recreation of life in the 17th century. MacLean understands that a hard religion can give succour to those living hard lives, as well as being another instrument by which they are oppressed, and this creates a palpable tension throughout the novel. The plot is a good one, and the screw is turned ever tighter as it proceeds, but this is one of those detective novels where the incidentals are more important: the minutiae of lives lived centuries ago; the differences and the similarities with our own lives and times; the terrible things that happen to people forced to keep their sorrows and desires secret. If you're happy to have your intelligence insulted, look elsewhere. Personally, I'm downloading the rest of the series now...


The Great God Pan
The Great God Pan
by Arthur Machen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.98

6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining for all the wrong reasons, 20 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Great God Pan (Paperback)
I think this might read a little trolly, but I swear I'm not making it up for effect. I laughed like a drain reading this. I grew up reading Victorian and Edwardian adventure and mystery stories by the likes of Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells - writers who knew how to construct a story, people it with lively characters, and tell it in pithy prose. Machen can't do any of this.

But I had tremendous fun, with a friend of mine who had to study this at University (what was the tutor thinking?), taking the rip out of Machen's hilarious formula for announcing a character's demise through incredibly forced dialogue between a couple of gentleman clubbers."You know Lord Bolivia?" "What the richest man in Europe? Used to own half of Asia and a beach house in Great Yarmouth? Climbs Everest every summer for a jape?" "That's the chap." "Intimate friend of mine. Fagged for him at Eton. What of him?" "Dead." "I say!" "By the way, guess what I saw the other night?" "What?" "The devil. Yes! Large as you like, walking down Regents Street carrying a parasol."

Sorry to be so self-indulgent, but that really was the most entertainment I got from this painfully poor piece of work. A reminder that not every book that has gone out of fashion needs to be rediscovered...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 1, 2012 10:01 AM BST


Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones [DVD] [2002]
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Hayden Christensen
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £4.98

13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear...., 26 May 2003
Well, it won't be popular with the other reviewers - but surely I'm not the only Star Wars fan to believe that this is a shoddy piece of cinema? The dialogue is cringe-making, and the exposition of character development entirely unconvincing. Do any of you really accept THIS explanation of Darth Vadar? That dreadful twerp of an actor playing that dreadful tgwerp of a character? the third film is already a no-hoper as a consequence, and I won't even bother going to see it. Remember this - the first films were much, much more than the sum of their special effects sequences. The story was properly planned out and executed over the three films, and Lawrence Kasden's script was witty and nerve-wrenching and served the characterisation perfectly. AND the visuals were better: nothing in this visually flat film begins to compare with the attack of the ATAT walkers in Empire. If you are lucky enough not to have seen this film yet, either avoid or watch as a moral lesson in how directors should avoid returning to past glories.


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy [VHS] [1979]
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy [VHS] [1979]
VHS

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterly, 11 Nov. 2000
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What is it that makes this series such compelling viewing now, a decade after the end of the Cold War? It was always about more than just the Cold War, of course - as one character says, a county's secret service is the best expression of its character. This is a story about Britian after the Second World War - and about the tragedy of those elderly men who had been brought up to run an empire and were now running a third-rate power. In this regard the direction is as brilliant as the acting - the seediness, the perpetual autumn of the setting (except for the ironically romantic interlude in Portugal). This is as good as television gets, and much, much better than most cinema. It is a great pity that they have stopped making this kind of drama in favour of trivialised 19th century classics and so-called 'gritty' contemporary dramas, which are actually no more than an excuse to indulge in 'ghetto chic' aesthetics. All of the LeCarre adaptations that the BBC made are more ambitious than anything they would dare to make now - and the best of them is Tinker Tailor.


A Perfect Spy [VHS] [1987]
A Perfect Spy [VHS] [1987]
VHS

93 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, substantial piece of TV drama, 15 Sept. 2000
I only leave off the fifth star because this is ultimately less satisfying than the previous LeCarre adaptations by the BBC. But it is still a towering achievement, especially when compared to the glossy but hollow dramas which which we must make do with nowadays. This is a powerful tale, almost Tolstoyan in its ambition: epic and intimate, specific and universal. My only qualm is over the aging of the actors: I suppose it always difficult to cast a story which follows a set of characters over several decades, but I do not feel that they solved it very well here. Some characters seem ageless, others prematurely aged. It's a small quibble, but a quibble none the less. TV is so much better a medium than film for adaptations of demanding fiction of this type that one wonders why it hasn't been exploited more often: Grahame Greene's work, for instance, would benefit from the treatment.


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