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Eleanor Brae "poetoftheocean" (Glasgow)

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Dirty Dancing 2 - Havana Nights [DVD]
Dirty Dancing 2 - Havana Nights [DVD]
Dvd ~ Diego Luna
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £4.77

4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable, 13 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you take this movie simply at face value,and discard any thoughts of the original dirty dancing, then what you have is just a very enjoyable, albeit not overly complicated ,film - lets face it, we are not talking about some obscure, worthy, art-house indie film here!
Plot-wise, you have Romola Garai as American high-schooler Katey, who has moved to 1958, pre-revolutionary Cuba with her family. Katey is clever and bookish, has read Homer's The Odyssey, and is a little shy, but she can dance . In time she meets Cuban waiter Javier, played by the lovely Diego Luna, who introduces Katey to a) Havana, and b) the wonders of afro-cuban dancing, and together the two enter a latin ballroom dance competition, and get to know each other through dance.
The plot of this film may seem like its simply by numbers and run of the mill - like i say, this is not exactly an art-house indie film, but there is lots to enjoy in this film, with various references to its famous predecessor. There are some lovely performances too - including English actress Romola Garai pulling off a convincing American accent, giving her character an intelligence and feistiness that make her a very likeable lead, a fun cameo from Mr Dirty Dancing himself, Patrick Swayze, and Mexican actor Diego Luna, making his pitch for heartthrob status in one of his first non spanish-speaking roles, playing free-spirited Javier, with roguish, lighthearted charm - and god can that boy dance!
There are several set piece dance scenes, and Romola and Diego (both amateur dancers) perform them with conviction and passion, making you want to take up cuban dance lessons yourself - (preferably with an instructor that is a dead-ringer for Diego Luna! or maybe thats just me?). The film also has a fun modern r'n b soundtrack, which is enjoyable, even though the idea that you would have Christina Aguiilera, Shakira, or Black Eyed Peas music playing in pre-revolutionary Cuba does seem more than a little ridiculous.
All in all, while it might not be reinventing the wheel in any way for its genre, this is a fun film that i have enjoyed watching time and again :)

Onka's Big Moka
Onka's Big Moka
Price: £1.24

4.0 out of 5 stars nostalgic, 17 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Onka's Big Moka (Audio CD)
This came out in 99/2000, when I was about 11/12 years old. At the time it was one of my favourite CD's. Nowadays, its not played as often as it was back in the day, but when i do listen to it I still enjoy it and smile with a feeling of nostalgia. I tend to dig this album out in the autumn/winter because, for some reason, parts of the album give me a kind of autumnal feeling, and make me think of mist and coloured leaves. That's just me though!
My favourite songs from the album are Achilles heel, Higher state, High Flying bird. There are others which i also enjoy, but those three just agree with me the most. I wouldn't say this album was completely perfect; I think there were ideas in this album which were just waiting to be fully realised, but never were, and personally I think Toploader as a band had a lot of potential but never achieved all that they could have. I don't think their work after this album was really as good.
So, not a perfect album, but there are definitely some good songs here which are enjoyable, and for me at least there are a lot of memories tied up with this album, so I still have a huge soft spot for it :)

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The Hollow Crown - TV Mini Series [DVD]
The Hollow Crown - TV Mini Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Whishaw
Price: £9.99

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy series, with some minor imperfections., 16 Oct. 2012
God how I wish we'd had shakespeare adaptions like these while I was at school (which admitedly I only left 6 years ago)!! Ive always loved shakespeare inspite of the dreary lessons we merely endured, with some truly dull and lifeless 1970s adaptions to try and fire our passions for the bard, but these new adaptions of the history plays are, in my opinion, a triumph.
Starting with Richard II, Ben Whishaw plays the titular role and brings an otherworldliness to the character, along with brilliantly portraying Richard's vanities and insecurities, and his total belief in the divine right of kings. Every emotion is on display in Bens face, evoking everyone from Michael Jackson to St Sebastian (it's amazing how much Ben looks like a pre-raphaelite painting!), and even Christ himself, and he handles the language like the pro that he is. Ben heads up what is a who's-who check list of British thespians, not least Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt, aswell as Rory Kinnear as Henry Bollingbrooke, and David Suchet, David Morrisey, and Clemence Poesy, among many many others. I have to give special mention to the deposition scene, where Richard officially, and reluctantly, hands over the crown to Bollingbrooke- Dear god the scene is riveting, and is a powerhouse of a performance from both Ben and Rory. Eyes literally glued to the screen throughout the scene. The St Sebastian imagery may have been overdone and, some might argue, unneccessary, but, for me, its a minor quibble with what is otherwise a brilliant adaption.
Next up, the Henry plays. Henry IV parts 1 and 2 see's the great Jeremy Irons take the title role, as the aged king, plagued by guilt and anxiety over the manner of his coming to the throne, and hoping to pass on the crown to his wayward son, Hal, who would rather spend time in the pub than take on affairs of state. Jeremy Irons is his usual brilliant self, magnificently portraying a troubled king who is deeply unhappy with the behaviour of his son. Cannot criticise this performance which some are claiming as his finest since Brideshead revisited. Tom Hiddleston plays the wayward Hal. Ok, yes I am a fan of Loki from the Thor/Avengers movies, but Tom is a fine actor beyond that and handles the role very well, naturally tackling the language and the transition of a young prince from petulant brat to regal king. His scenes with Jeremy Irons are brilliant, especially the verbal chastisement from the king, and where Hal assumes (a tad too early!) the crown from his father. Truly moving stuff. Simon Russell Beale speakes shakepeare like a second language, and slightly underplays the comedic role of Falstaff, yet combines all the elements of the character- the jolyness in the Pub, aswell as his scheming side. The scene where Hal rejects Falstaff in Part 2 is, I think, very well done and you really sense how hard it hits Falstaff, whatever his motivation for sticking with Hal may have been in the first place.
Lastly, but not least, Henry V. Again, I think this was a truly worthy adaption with some great moments. Lots of people have been less impressed with the Crispins Day speech, and I take their point about making the speech to the leaders and not to the common men on the ground. I think the idea of making the speech to a small group of men is a sound one, but the idea just doesnt seem to have been executed as well it might have done. Again, Tom Hiddleston seems at ease with the language, and I think his scene where the king mingles with the men in disguise the night before Agincourt is very well done- successfully getting across the fears of men who appear to be staring death and defeat in the face, questioning the very nature of war and leadership. Yes there are scenes missing which many feel was a profound mistake, but what is here is brilliant, and a bold, worthy adaption of a play which has a much celebrated history, with some of the most famous adaptions ever comitted to film. A personal highlight was watching Henry court the princess Katherine..... a genuinely charming, funny, sweet scene which had me giggling like a love-struck schoolgirl :)
All in all, while some may argue that there are imperfections to this series, kudos to the BBC for taking on the challenge in the first place! This is a brave and, in my view, stylish, classy series, with some wonderful scenes and performances, and of course the glorious words of Shakespeare. If nothing else, I think younger audiences will hopefully be turned on to shakespeare more widely as a result of these adaptions, and that surely has to be a plus in itself.


10 Things I Hate About You [DVD]
10 Things I Hate About You [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julia Stiles
Price: £4.00

5.0 out of 5 stars one of the better 90's teen comedies, 3 Oct. 2012
Aah 90's teen comedies, much mocked and derided over the years (for good reason in many cases), but one or two of them did stand out and were actually rather good. This was one of them!
So, the film is a loosely based interpretation of the Shakespeare play 'Taming of the Shrew'- Kat and Bianca are two sisters whose father has layed down a rule that Bianca (the younger 'Valley-girl' sister)cannot date until the older Kat (clever, opinionated, feminist rock chick) does, the problem being that the guys at school are put off by Kat. So a plan is hatched to get bad-ass, sexy scary boy Patrick (a play on the shakespeare character Petruchio) to date Kat so that up-himself pretty boy Joey (aswell as the timid Cameron)can date Bianca. The plan all goes relatively well until Patrick gets to know the real Kat and quickly falls for her, and she for him. The rest, well if you've seen even a few other teen comedies of a similar vein then you can probably guess what happens!
One thing that makes this film stand out from the crop, for me at any rate, is actually the two leads. Julia Stiles and a ridiculously young (and devastatingly beautiful!)Heath Ledger, in his breakthrough movie role, play Kat and Patrick. Julia ably manages to get accross her characters intelligence, has some wonderful sarcastic comebacks, and you really would like to know someone like Kat in real life. I wasnt totally convinced about her apparent fondness for riot grrrl music for some reason; I just couldnt realistically imagine her listening to Bikini Kill for some reason, not really sure why. That's just me though. Now, Patrick; I'll be honest and confess that I only watched this initially for Heath Ledger, though i enjoyed the rest of the film on its own merits. Ledger manages to be one of the better teen comedy romantic leads, if for no other reason that he manages to make Patrick a 3 dimensional character rather than just a generic pretty boy romantic lead. He is charming, funny, and utterly magnetic, and this role had signs of what was to come later in his career.
So, a half decent teen comedy from the 90's, with decent acting, two leads that are well matched and have some great moments of sweetness and bickering, not bad soundtrack and a plot based (however loosely) on shakespeare :)Oh and not forgetting Heath's amazing and hilarious rendition of Cant take my eyes off you- Andy Williams has never sounded so good!


Fallen Empires
Fallen Empires
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.35

4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting effort, 30 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Fallen Empires (Audio CD)
Ive been a huge fan of Snow Patrol for years;I have all their albums and they are a band that are very dear to me. I can accept that this album is different in style from previous works and might not be to everyone's taste, nevertheless I really like this album. Fallen Empires manages to be different in style, and yet remains uniquely and distinctly snow patrol. Like others here, Ive noticed that the critical reviews are more upset that SP are no longer this small little indie band, and that there isn't another Chasing Cars. To be honest, I don't think that snow patrol have sold out in any way on this album- they may have produced the most polished album of their career but I don't think they've lost their indie sensibilities at all, and God knows Gary Lightbody can still pen great songs that make other songwriters green with envy.
Personally, I think this album fits rather nicely into the SP canon; Life-ning is a beautiful song about the things in life that Gary holds dear (he may have just acquired a whole new army of female fans with that song!)and New York is definitely one of the relationship songs of the album. US singer Lissie makes quite an impact too as a guest vocalist on Never Let Go and Garden Rules. Called out in the dark has had mixed reviews since it came out, personally I like it and I do find myself dancing along to it :) I will accept the criticism that others have stated that the single 'Fallen Empires'is rather boring and, considering its essentially a dance track, rather tedious.
I wouldnt say that this album is perfect, nor that all of SP's experiments with the dancier side of things have been entirely successful, but when they get it right they get it very right indeed, and Gary's vocals and songwriting abilities are still a huge selling point for SP. All in all, another good album from SP, and I cannot wait to see them in Glasgow next month :)


Final Straw
Final Straw
Price: £2.84

5.0 out of 5 stars A trusty stalwart in my CD collection, 31 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Final Straw (Audio CD)
This album was my first introduction to Snow Patrol in 2004. I must admit it did take me a while, coz of the age I was at the time this album came out, to appreciate fully the songs and lyrics, but that changed and now this album is one of the stalwarts of my CD collection, along with the other snow patrol albums.
The most well known songs from this album are, of course, Run, Chocolate, and Spitting Games, and these songs are brilliant. However, there are many other gems on this album - How To Be Dead and somewhere a clock is ticking being two such examples. As with all snow patrol albums, Gary Lightbody's lyrics stand out; Final Straw, along with the other earlier snow patrol albums, helped to give the band, specifically Gary, a reputation for songs about doomed relationships and break-ups, and many of the songs during this period were about the aftermath of a particularly messy break-up for Gary. But what makes these songs so special is that Gary is brutally and beautifully honest in his lyrics here (see How to be Dead or Grazed knees), and it is this which has helped form a uniquely intimate relationship between the band and their fans over the years, because the fans feel like they know Gary and the band through the lyrics.
In terms of chronology, this album acts as a useful bridge between the snow Patrol pre-eyes open and gives a hint at the potential of what was to follow. This is arguably a more polished effort than 'when its over, we still have to clear up', but is a nice segue into the 'later' albums. A gem of an album, and has soundtracked such a significant part of my life it feels like an old friend now, and i couldnt be without it somewhere close-by.


Up to Now - The Best Of Snow Patrol
Up to Now - The Best Of Snow Patrol
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.69

5.0 out of 5 stars a history of snow patrol, 20 July 2011
So ostensibly this CD is, as Gary Lightbody himself has said, a history of Snow Patrol over the last 16/17 years. There are songs on here to suit people who've only just discovered snow patrol and for those who have been with the band since the early days, and the songs cover all the albums from songs for polar bears to a hundred million suns, plus songs from Gary's side project The Reindeer section, so there really is something for everyone. Its also interesting because it shows the progression of style SP have gone through, and its interesting if nothing else to see how the band have matured, and how Gary's songwriting has evolved too.
This is album does have some of the newer songs- like just say yes and signal fire- and there are some reworked versions of a couple of the older songs (an olive grove facing the sea being a notable example). This album therefore is probably a good investment for people who haven't yet discovered the back catalogue, and for those who have the other albums its really a judgment call whether you want the whole cd for just a couple of new songs- I personally like it and I think the song list has been well thought out; it really is the bands choices rather than just their most successful songs (though to be fair, Gary has said that he has resisted referring to this as a greatest hits because that implies they've had more than one hit! Gotta love that boy! :p).
It is a good, well thought out album, though it may be more beneficial to newcomers to SP rather than longtime fans, unless you want to have the full collection of SP albums :) xxxxxx

Romeo + Juliet [DVD] [1996]
Romeo + Juliet [DVD] [1996]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Price: £2.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bold and exciting, a fresh take on a much-adapted story, 19 July 2011
This review is from: Romeo + Juliet [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
One might be forgiven for thinking that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is so well known, and we've all seen a version of the play at some point (usually in school, with some spirited student drama company attempting to 'update' the play), that a version of the play directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leo DiCaprio would be at best pointless and at worst a bastardisation of the play altogether. How wrong they would be!
The play is transported to modern times (1996)- the city of Verona in Italy becomes 'Verona Beach', Miami. The Montague's and Capulet's are rival multinational corporation owners, and Benvolio and Tybalt are the leaders of 'the Montague boys' and 'the Capulet Boys' causing chaos around the city and burning down petrol stations. The basic story here doesn't change and, although the film is an abridged version, the dialogue is as it should be. One addition that is made here which I really like is Mercutio as a black drag queen, or at least a cross-dresser. Here one has to pay tribute to Harold Perrineau, who I personally feel does a fantastic job with this particular portrayal, and breathes life and vitality into both the character and the film as a whole; He is now my image of Mercutio.
With any Shakespeare production, one has to discuss the language and how the actors 'cope' with it. I am pleased to say that the actors all do a very good job. Leonardo DiCaprio (in his first 'major' role before Titanic super-stardom)copes very well in the lead male role and is enjoyable to watch. Claire Danes is every bit Leo's equal as Juliet and too is convincing. These two young actors are supported by an experienced cast, including John Leguizamo, Pete Postlethwaite and Miriam Margoyles, who all handle the dialogue with class and enthusiasm.
As one might expect with Baz Luhrmann this adaption is fast paced, occasionally loud, and very colourful. There is neon and bright light all over the place in this film and at times it can feel like Romeo and Juliet on acid, but its not overbearing and fits with the chaotic/raucus feel of the film. The interesting, and some might argue refreshing, thing about this film is that it places more emphasis on the 'gang wars' element of the story, rather than focusing solely on the romance side of things, thereby giving more of an understanding of the divided loyalties both the titular characters feel. In that regard, in many ways this is a more honest adaption that is closer to the play than others I have seen.
With Shakespeare there are always going to be the purists, people who object on principle to any modernised adaptions of his work, and think that adaptions like this one are an affront to Shakespeare's genius. I would recommend this to anybody because it is fun and a breath of fresh air (more like a howling gale!)for a much loved and much adapted story. xxxx

Out and About (Tales from Trotter Street)
Out and About (Tales from Trotter Street)
by Shirley Hughes
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a treasured possession after nearly 20 years!!, 4 Feb. 2011
One of the earliest poetry books i remember my parents reading to me as a child. I was 3 or 4 years old when they bought it for me, and I still own it today, at the age of 23, as a treasured possession. It's never left me; not the poems nor the illustrations which, together, beautifully depict a childs interpretation of everyday life - from the joys of mud, to water, to spring time and the moon appearing in the afternoon, to being ill in bed with the cold. All these poems are written with the intelligence, charm, warmth, humour, and sheer brilliance that we all know and love about Shirley Hughes. She is deservedly the queen of childrens literature!
These poems are timeless and deserve to be enjoyed and remembered by people of all ages :)


The Patchwork Cat
The Patchwork Cat
by Nicola Bayley
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stands the test of time, 4 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Patchwork Cat (Hardcover)
Ive had this book ever since i was 4,5 years old (im now 23)and Ive never wanted to let it go. The story itself is lovely, following the adventures of a tabby cat who loves her patchwork quilt, and is less than impressed when her family throw it out without her permission! Tabby sets off to retrieve her beloved matching patchwork quilt, ending up trapped in the bin and finding herself in the less than dignified location of the dump, all the while holding on to her quilt.
Its a charming story which stands the test of time, with beautiful illustrations which give life to Tabby and her adventures. There is humor to be found also in the accurate depictions of a cat who clearly rules the roost, which I think any cat owner will easily recognise!
A beautiful story simply told, with beautiful illustrations. A winning combination :)I shall certainly read this book to my family one day :)


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