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Mr. TC Kong (Peterborough, England)

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Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights [DVD]
Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights [DVD]
Dvd ~ Joanna Lumley
Price: £6.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical trip full of awe and wonder., 6 Feb. 2014
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When Joanna Lumley was a little girl growing up in South Africa, she once read "Ponny the Penguin" by Veronica Basser. This little children's book included an illustration of the eponymous Ponny looking up and admiring the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. Ever since reading the book and seeing this picture, Joanna has spent her life hoping to one day see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, for herself. Now, as a mother - and grandmother - she has her chance!

Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights [DVD] follows her journey northwards through Norway into the Arctic Circle, visiting exciting places and meeting fascinating people along the way. The awesome climax of the Northern Lights is truly spectacular and breathtaking. The Bonus Features include an alternative opening titles scene, a wonderful deleted scene of even more fascinating people that Joanna met along the way, and one reflective scene about what lies even further north of where Joanna witnessed the Lights, as well as a "Making of..." documentary. All are definitely worth taking the time to watch.

This is an awe-inspiring film that will leave the whole family spellbound. If you have young children, show it to them too; it might well inspire them to make their own journey to witness the Northern Lights one day!

What Maisie Knew [DVD] [2012]
What Maisie Knew [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Julianne Moore
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best film of 2013, 15 Jan. 2014
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Six year old Maisie (Onate Aprile) is caught in the middle of a fierce and acrimonious split between her parents, Susanna (Julianne Moore) and Beale (Steve Coogan). The result of the parents' in-fighting is that poor, little Maisie is shoved from pillar to post between each dysfunctional parent, their nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham), and Susanna's surprise new husband, bartender Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard).

What Maisie Knew [DVD] follows the endearing story of little Maisie's survival and search for a loving home and family life; it ends full of hope in the hands of two people one might not have expected at the beginning: the nanny and the bartender. Throughout the film, though, the viewer is kept on tenderhooks, and disbelief that despite each parent's professed love for their child, their own selfishness and narcissism is what shines through.

I was lucky enough to watch What Maisie Knew [DVD] at the Roslyn Cinema on Long Island while I was visiting my brother in June 2013, although I have yet to read the Henry James novel of the same name on which it is based. It was such a moving film, and with superb acting from all involved - especially from Onate in her debut role. I had hoped to watch it again upon its UK cinema release. Unfortunately, with a hectic work schedule, I missed it at the local cinema, but I was able to pre-order the DVD for when that was released last week.

The deleted scenes in the Bonus Features section are excellent, and the directors' commentary is both interesting and informative. All are certainly worth watching too.

Several excellent films were released last year. However, in my opinion, What Maisie Knew [DVD] is possibly the best film of 2013.

Preserve Adult Toothbrush Medium, Medium 1 pc
Preserve Adult Toothbrush Medium, Medium 1 pc
Offered by Save Plus USA
Price: £21.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Keep smiling!, 17 May 2013
Last one I bought for my travel bag has lasted me 5 years so far (equivalent to about 3 months' daily use), and it's recyclable too. Instructions for recycling on the packaging.

Safe Haven [DVD]
Safe Haven [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julianne Hough

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There's nowhere safer for you than here with me!", 10 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Safe Haven [DVD] (DVD)
On the run, apparently from the law, Katie cuts and dyes her hair and jumps on a coach bound for Atlanta. After several hours the coach stops for a short layover in the small seaside town of Southport.

Having bought a coffee at the local general store and stretched her legs, Katie decides to "miss" the bus when it pulls out to continue its journey. She spends the night sleeping under the pier; the following morning she gets a job at the local diner and rents a house just outside town. Katie then spends the next few days and weeks getting to know the locals. So begins the story of "Safe Haven" and the romance between Katie and Alex, the proprietor of the general store.

The thriller element is introduced through Katie's flashbacks to what she's running away from - and the Boston P.D. detective who's on the hunt for her. What is the nightmare she is running from, and why are the police chasing her?

Based on the the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, Safe Haven has been compared by some to Sleeping With The Enemy [1990] [DVD]. Certainly, it's a similar story, but that's no bad thing. Great acting from all the principal characters, especially the children, coupled with an exciting storyline make for a great movie you'll want to watch again and again. Watch out for the twist at the end when Katie's neighbour, Jo, turns out to be not quite what she seems.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2013 10:50 PM BST

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World [DVD]
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Carell
Price: £2.95

4.0 out of 5 stars The end of the world is nigh..., 28 Sept. 2012
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The end of the world is nigh. A giant meteor is heading inexorably towards Earth, and the people of the world are preparing to meet death in their own way. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World [DVD] tells the story of just two of these people, Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley), in the final three weeks of their lives.

As a film, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World [DVD] is difficult to classify. Is it a spoof apocolypse movie, or a romantic comedy? It certainly has elements of both genres, and the combination seems to work to a certain extent.

I went to see this film at the Odeon in Leicester in July. While I would not rate it as the movie of the year, it's still quite entertaining and worth seeing again if you're at a loose end. Especially if you're a fan of either Steve Carell or Keira Knightley.

We Bought a Zoo (DVD + Digital Copy)
We Bought a Zoo (DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £3.95

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming comedy drama., 8 April 2012
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What do you do when you lose your wife, whom you have loved with all your soul for over 14 years, and your life and that of your family is falling apart as a result? That is the question that journalist Benjamin Mee has to answer. His solution: relocate and buy a zoo, of course!

Based on a true story, this film recounts the experiences of the Mee family as they struggle to come to terms with life, death, loss and discovery, while trying to breathe new life into a run down zoo at risk of closure by the local authorities. We Bought a Zoo (DVD + Digital Copy) is a heartwarming comedy with many hilarious scenes. Although not listed in the cast credits on the film's website, Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones who play Benjamin Mee's children are also worth mentioning for their fine acting - Maggie Elizabeth, who played Rosie, for instance, was adorable; by the end of the movie, I wanted to adopt her!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 29, 2012 10:55 PM BST

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD]
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Asa Butterfield
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £3.70

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming, and heartbreaking, story about the loss of innocence, 19 Mar. 2012
After seeing the trailers for this film and a discussion on Martha Kearney's Review Show on BBC1, I decided to go and see The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD] with a few younger friends when it was first released at the local cinema. I was not disappointed.

My friends, who were too young to have seen Schindler's List [DVD] [1994] when that came out, were greatly moved by The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD] (the two girls in the group were sobbing by the end!); they told me afterwards that they had not known anything about the Holocaust prior to watching this film, and had no idea of the attrocities committed by the Nazis on the Jews.

I was very moved by the film myself, though not quite to tears. I promptly bought the dvd when it was released, but think that I must have found the film's ending too disturbing to watch the dvd immediately. In fact, it wasn't until last night, over three years since the film came out at the cinema, that I finally got round to actually opening up the dvd (still in its cellophane wrapping) and sit down to watch it.

I found the story was still as moving as when I saw the film at the cinema, and the ending just as heartbreaking. The bonus features are also excellent with a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the film (including interviews with the cast, crew, director and author) and some deleted scenes (with optional director's commentary), as well as a director's audio commentary on the film too. I intend to buy the book next, and hopefully not wait another three years to read that.

Although The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD] (and the novel it is based on) is a work of fiction, it still gives a good insight into the horror of the Holocaust. And because of the sensitive approach by the author, John Boyne, and the director, Mark Herman, it is not only suitable for younger viewers, it is essential watching for them too! I wholeheartedly recommend this dvd (including the bonus features) for the whole family.

Red Dog [DVD]
Red Dog [DVD]
Dvd ~ Josh Lucas
Offered by Wowudo
Price: £1.69

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very funny film, with a poignant ending!, 19 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Red Dog [DVD] (DVD)
A lonely truck driver turns on the radio while driving down a long, straight road late one evening. He finally approaches his destination of Dampier, a remote mining town in the outback of Western Australia, and pulls up at a motel just outside the town.

He goes and knocks on the door of the motel reception. When he gets no reply, he strolls over to the nearby bar; inside, he sees a group of men silhouetted through a frosted glass screen, all of them shouting and one of them apparently drawing a gun. Thinking a murder is about to take place, the truck driver rushes round the screen in a bid to intervene, only to see most of the men holding down a sick dog, and the one holding the gun is a police officer. The truck driver backs off into the bar, unsure as to what he's just witnessed. One of the men turns out to be the bar keeper, and comes round to serve the truck driver, and explain what was happening round the back.

Thus begins the story of Red Dog [DVD]. As the film progresses, a number of the locals gather round and relate their own tales of their beloved Red Dog, and how he became an integral part of their community.

The film is based on a novel by Louis de Bernieres ("Captain Corelli's Mandolin"), who in turn based it on a true story as recounted by two books of the same name, one by Nancy Gillespie, the other by Beverly Duckett. De Bernieres, himself, was inspired to write his novel while he was attending a literary function in Perth, Western Australia. According to de Bernieres, "part of the arrangement was that [he] should go to Karratha to do their first ever literary dinner." During his stay, he came across the statue of Red Dog outside Dampier, and met several of the people who had stories about Red Dog to tell.

I have just watched an advanced UK cinema screening of Red Dog [DVD]; I found it to be hilarious, while tempered with several poignant scenes along the way. In fact, this is the second movie I have EVER watched that has moved me to tears at the end. (The other was The Bucket List [DVD] [2008].) But don't worry, the film does have a happy ending. I'm sure I'll go to see it again when it comes out on general release next week. I'll certainly be buying the DVD when it finally comes out this summer!

The Switch
The Switch
by Catherine Condie
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtakingly exciting read!, 22 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: The Switch (Paperback)
Fourteen year-old Lily has arrived in Paris at the start of her French exchange. However, she barely has time to settle into the home of her exchange partner, Pascale, when she witnesses a shooting in a local bistro across the street, closely followed by Pascale's brother, Thierry, staggering back to the apartment with a serious knife wound. The subsequent few days are filled with fear and bewilderment for Lily, as she struggles to come to terms with what is happening around her, while being chased through the streets of Paris by a stranger - not knowing whom to trust... and whom not!

The Switch is a fast paced story with many twists and turns along the way - a breathtakingly exciting read! If I had come across this novel as a young teenager myself, I'm sure that I would have loved it even more.

Whirl of the Wheel
Whirl of the Wheel
by Catherine Condie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.38

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have a "Whirl" of a time with this one!, 11 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Whirl of the Wheel (Paperback)
Twelve year-old Connie and her brother, Charlie-Mouse, are desperate. School pest Malcolm Mollet's dad has applied to the local city council for permission to knock down their home and build new ones on the site. The whole family is, quite naturally, very upset about the affair, and the children decide to take matters into their own hands.

With the help of their strange neighbour, Wendy the Wendlewitch, and her magical potter's wheel, Connie and Charlie-Mouse travel back in time to 1940s Britain - first on their own, then subsequently with Malcolm - to discover the history of their home, and hopefully the secret that will save it from demolition. A problem arises, however, when Malcolm disappears on one of the trips back in time and Connie and Charlie-Mouse have to leave him behind. Strangely, nobody else in the present seems to notice that Malcolm is no longer there!

This is a gripping story, with a surprising twist in the tail. Although it was written for slightly younger, pre-teenage children, adults who grew up in the sixties, seventies and eighties on a diet of films about the second world war should also find it captivating. Whirl of the Wheel certainly brought back memories of childhood and childhood adventures (real and imaginary) for me. I can thoroughly recommend it as a read for the whole family.

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