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A Street Cat Named Bob: How one man and his cat found hope on the streets
A Street Cat Named Bob: How one man and his cat found hope on the streets
by James Bowen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good on you James and Bob :), 20 Jan. 2013
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I've observed that 'A Street Cat Named Bob' has unfairly copped a great deal of criticism. Yes, the author's writing style was not as engaging as Grogan's 'Marley & Me' or Myron's 'Dewey'. That's the reason I've rated it as 4 stars rather than 5. No dis-respect to James Bowen as I realise that the authors of these biographies have worked as professional journalists and librarians. In contrast Bowen is a musician and a Big Issue retailer so clearly he would be better at expressing himself verbally than in writing.

Although it is darker than for instance, 'Marley & Me' by John Grogan (another great read) it's definitely worth reading. There were some amusing parts, especially the ones that occurred at Christmas where Bob is pampered by his many acquaintances with everything from cat food that sounds good enough to eat to his own personal wardrobe. The thing that I like best about this biography/autobiography (in essence it's about Bob but also about James Bowen) is the courage of both the author and Bob. Bowen's simplistic writing style captures his experiences as they were: the challenge of persuading medical staff to help him withdraw from addictive substances to the illness he faced in the process and his will to get through it in order to live for Bob. The author would probably say it was something he had to do for him and Bob but I think taking those steps took guts and then some. Even more so for being able to reflect honestly upon the whole ordeal experiences - good on you, James!

For the non-cat lovers it may sound strange to read but I also thought Bob showed courage. He faced a number of perilous situations from public transport to aggressive dogs (and owners) yet he stood by Bowen unconditionally. Hats off to the pair of you!

The Rescuers Down Under [DVD] [1991]
The Rescuers Down Under [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Bob Newhart
Price: £4.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Blown away, 20 Jan. 2013
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I've a vague memory of seeing 'The Rescuers Down Under' at the movies when it was first released in the good ole Down Under; yes I'm from Australia :) The vague memory part: I was only in kinder hence I only remember Bernard, Bianca, Cody and Jake in terms of character but not the plot.

The thing that blew me away hence the title of this review was the animation! If you buy this DVD the production staff in the making of documentary tout the movie for its artwork and animation; and rightfully so! Scenery was well researched and gave the film a great deal of dimension. When Cody is standing atop the cliffs with the eagle, I really felt I was in the picture. And the scenes with the golden eagle; flying, falling, gliding again gave the feeling of being Cody in the movie.

Only real criticism hence the 4 star rating: stereo types! I realise the idea of Jake's Steve Irwin/Paul Hogan like mannerisms and demeanour were to hammer the point that he's Australian and it was the outback. Even so, as an Australian I can't help but cringe at the immitation slouch hat and faux Australian accent; it just sounds so fake!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 10, 2013 2:45 PM BST

A Knight's Tale [DVD] [2006]
A Knight's Tale [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Heath Ledger
Price: £3.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Middle Ages or achieving dreams?, 21 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: A Knight's Tale [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I bought this movie after seeing it on TV in November 2012; I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the anachronisms (spelling?). For example, Queen's 'We Will Rock You' at the tournaments, audience in face paint a la an AFL match, dance styles not to mention some of Jocelyn's clothing. In hindsight I realise the movie was rather tongue in cheek and I don't think the producers were trying to be historically accurate.

I suppose that's the point I'm trying to make hence the title of this review: the movie's called 'A Knight's Tale' yet the setting isn't particularly significant. It's actually more about a young peasant man, William Thatcher, played by Heath Ledger trying to become more than what he is and reach his dream of becoming a mounted joust champion. For anyone who hasn't seen it, the movie starts with his master - an ageing knight - dying during a tournament. Being a peasant, Thatcher is forbidden to participate in jousting tournaments yet the plucky young man dons the armour and takes his master's place. The remainder of the movie centres around two sub-plots: reaching the World Championships for medieval jousting and proving his love to the Jocelyn whose personality is reflected in her stunning physical appearance.

After watching the movie again on DVD, I've come to the conclusion that the medieval setting is simply to get all the usual modern material things which people strive to own nowadays. For example, in the movie one of Thatcher's motives for becoming the jousting champion was money: after his first success, he realises that the money earned could potentially end his life of starvation and those of his two friends. In the 21st Century, however, the culture seems to be work hard + high salary = $$ to buy 'stuff' such as expensive fast cars, designer clothes, iphones and gadgets. Personally, I think the use of the medieval setting was to eliminate these items so that Ledger's character would not become caught up in becoming wealthy to buy stuff; instead to improve his lifestyle and achieve a dream.

Mulan [DVD] [2009] (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition)
Mulan [DVD] [2009] (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition)
Dvd ~ Wei Zhao
Price: £5.77

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Have my perceptions been coloured by Disney?, 19 Dec. 2012
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I definitely preferred the Disney movie, which makes me wonder: has the Disney version of Mulan coloured my perceptions of what this movie should be like?

Yes, the Disney version was targeted primarily at children so naturally it needs to be much more light hearted and with a happy ending. In some ways I found the more dark and serious nature of this movie made it seem like a more accurate portrayal of the legend of Hua Mulan and ancient China. For example, Mulan's father criticising her for engaging in Kung-Fu proclaiming it taboo for a woman. Also Mulan's constant guilt and feminine emotions toward killing the enemy and death; in the Disney movie, the soldiers seemed to have a very passive attitude toward fighting and death and apart from Captain Shang, none of them had any experience in battle.

I've observed a number of reviewers' most disliked aspects of this movie have been her constant femining emotions and obvious female appearance. Yes, it made Mulan a lot less likeable than the Disney one. The thing that I disliked most about Hua Mulan and this movie was that compared with the Disney one, Mulan seemed like a very selfish character. For example, the movie reflects her love for her father in her actions and body language. In this movie she says verbally about fighting so her father wouldn't but it also seems she impersonated a man for her own selfish reasons: being allowed to engage in Kung-Fu and escaping an arranged marriage. Unlike the Disney movie which reflected the angst Mulan faced in making this decision, this adaptation made it seem like a very easy decision. This together with the lack of apparent feelings toward her family made her a lot less likable than the Disney Mulan.

Sleeping Beauty: 50th Anniversary
Sleeping Beauty: 50th Anniversary
Offered by westworld-
Price: £18.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good points about the CD, 21 Feb. 2012
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Firstly, I'll begin by recommending this 50th anniversary CD for Sleeping Beauty fans; I loved Disney's animated feature and its music hence the reason I bought this CD. As reviews note, it's the music without the animations.

Something I particularly like about this CD is the inclusion of lyrics. While several of my Disney soundtrack CDs include lyrics (eg. Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Lion King), not ALL of them include a lyric book. Ideal for those who like singing along but can't catch the words or enjoy memorising songs as I did as a child for my favourite Disney features.

One confusing point: combination of melodies and songs. Case in point: Once Upon a Dream. I LOVED George Burns' adaptation of Tchaikovsky ballet and as I was typing an e-mail, was waiting to hear it since I was playing the songs in chronological order on the CD. At first, couldn't see it listed on Windows Media Player OR the jewel case till I looked closer and saw 8) An Unusual Prince/Once Upon a Dream.

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