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Ruth Ludlam "princess_zelda" (Bracknell, UK)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars CON. Copied and pasted ENTIRELY from Wikipedia, not very much about Nathan Fillion either!, 8 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very cheap con. All they have done is copied and pasted Nathan Fillion's wikipedia entry, and then copied and pasted the entries for all the films and TV series he has been in. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire book.

I'm not joking, they haven't even changed the distinctive wikipedia page layout or footnotes.

Perhaps the most insulting bit of all is that they have copied and pasted the full entries for films he has only had bit parts in, so you get these extensive essays on Saving Private Ryan, which in fact NEVER EVEN MENTION Nathan Fillion. The number of times he is actually mentioned in the entire book is pretty low!!

In a way, I'm a little grudingly impressed at the resourcefulness of this scam. After all, this a great way to try to make money from nothing - it has clearly not taken them much time at all to grab the text, which is written by other people for free, and even the cover photo is pretty grainy.

Of course I will be returning this. It's literally not even worth the paper it's printed on.


Tokyo Sonata [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] [2008]
Tokyo Sonata [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] [2008]
Dvd ~ Kiyoshi Kurosawa

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow-moving but beautiful film, 8 Aug. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am buying this because I saw it at the cinema a few months ago, and haven't been able to get it out of my head since. I've seen other films by this director, who until now specialized in suspenseful, eerie "horror" films (although they were more unsettling really). This film has some of the same atmosphere of oppression, as the main character loses his job, and with it, his hope and his semblance of a normal life. The parody of a life that he leads to try to pretend everything is ok, has moments of wonderful humour amidst the oppressive hopelessness, especially when he meets someone else in the same situation.

Slowly, Ryuhei's life and those of his family unravel and reach breaking point. And around them, others in a similar position give up and succumb to fate. But throughout the rather depressing main plot, it is the little things that offer relief - moments of humour, a tiny bit of hope, and piano lessons. Somehow, the characters carry on. And then, things take a bizarre twist, when a similarly hopeless thief turns up.

This reminds me of the director's earlier film "Kourei", which, whilst being a ghost story, somehow spends more time reflecting on the relationship of a quiet middle-aged couple, as they come to accept that the dreams of their youth will never now come true. In this film, the couple are the central figures, who must both separately go off and find themselves by undertaking a journey that takes them far beyond their normal life. And the director draws the film to a close with the youngest son playing the piano, we are finally able to hear him for ourselves, and it seems to underline the conclusion to the film.

I highly recommend this film. But it is very understated, there is very little high drama, and all the tension is under the surface, in a way that is very Japanese.


The Midnight Charter
The Midnight Charter
by David Whitley
Edition: Paperback

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 5 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Midnight Charter (Paperback)
This book is an excellent read for both older children and adults. It's set in a city where there is no money, everything has to be traded for. Even feelings can be traded, as there is a machine which can extract your emotions. (What I liked about that, was that this device points out that even negative emotions have value, and are an important part of yourself -even if you hate them and want to get rid of them, they actually make you richer).

Life in Agora can be very tough, because if you have nothing to trade, you will starve. The two main characters are children who have to struggle to get by, by making the most of whatever opportunities they have. And although they both end up seeing a very different side of the city and leading totally opposite lives, they remain connected. Partly because they keep writing each other letters, but also partly because they end up being connected through people they know and because their lives in the city create ripples that affect each other.

Although the book discusses the downsides of this ultra-capitalist system, it is not too high-brow or ideological to be fun to read. It's enjoyable, has a good sense of humour, and has great plot twists that will keep you guessing. The plot also keeps moving at a good speed, so you don't get bored or impatient with it. The other characters also bring a lot of lighter moments in, and illustrate the good in human nature despite the fact it goes against the customs of Agora. There are very strong moral points made in the book as well, without it becoming preachy.

I got hooked and couldn't stop reading it, and would recommend it very highly.


Tokyo Sonata [Masters of Cinema] [DVD]
Tokyo Sonata [Masters of Cinema] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kiyoshi Kurosawa

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, slow moving, beautiful, like the sonata, 27 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am buying this because I saw it at the cinema a few months ago, and haven't been able to get it out of my head since. I've seen other films by this director, who until now specialized in suspenseful, eerie "horror" films (although they were more unsettling really). This film has some of the same atmosphere of oppression, as the main character loses his job, and with it, his hope and his semblance of a normal life. The parody of a life that he leads to try to pretend everything is ok, has moments of wonderful humour amidst the oppressive hopelessness, especially when he meets someone else in the same situation.

Slowly, Ryuhei's life and those of his family unravel and reach breaking point. And around them, others in a similar position give up and succumb to fate. But throughout the rather depressing main plot, it is the little things that offer relief - moments of humour, a tiny bit of hope, and piano lessons. Somehow, the characters carry on. And then, things take a bizarre twist, when a similarly hopeless thief turns up.

This reminds me of the director's earlier film "Kourei", which, whilst being a ghost story, somehow spends more time reflecting on the relationship of a quiet middle-aged couple, as they come to accept that the dreams of their youth will never now come true. In this film, the couple are the central figures, who must both separately go off and find themselves by undertaking a journey that takes them far beyond their normal life. And the director draws the film to a close with the youngest son playing the piano, we are finally able to hear him for ourselves, and it seems to underline the conclusion to the film.

I highly recommend this film. But it is very understated, there is very little high drama, and all the tension is under the surface, in a way that is very Japanese.


Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide
Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide
by Matt Alt
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, well-informed, folklore resource, 1 Jun. 2009
Can't recommend this enough! It's got such a lot of information, but presented in a really easy to digest format. You can just dip in and out, as each yokai is summarised in 1 or 2 pages, and presented with illustrations (some are genuine Japanese woodblock prints or eighteenth century drawings etc., and some are cartoons by the illustrator!) and a fact file. Also, the name of each yokai is written in Japanese and Romaji, and has a pronunication guide as well.

I ended up really knowledgeable about yokai after reading this book, and also really enthusiastic about learning more. The authors give great tips for further reading, and are clearly very passionate about their subject. I also want to lend it to my friends, as there are so many amusing features. One of the yokai is the Tofu-kozo, a spectral little boy who goes around trying to kill his victims with.... a block of tofu. The authors' sense of humour is evident all the way through, making this book fun as well as fascinating.

On the more serious side, it also taught me a lot about a less well-known side of Japanese culture. I am currently reading the Tale of the Heike and I have already recognised several monsters that were featured in Yokai Attack! It just goes to show that the folklore of a culture will resonate throughout its literature, and so it really pays to understand some of it.

You can't go wrong with this book - it's a great price and it's fantastically entertaining. Even if you have absolutely no interest in Japanese culture you will still hugely enjoy this book, and learn a suprising amount about yokai.


Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
by Geoff Dyer
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Witty, but without substance, 1 Jun. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The odd thing about this is that, although the writing is very often witty (it sometimes reads like a stand-up comedy sketch) and intelligent and wry, it failed to engage me at all. Some of the jokes were truly inspired, and made me laugh out loud, but they were not enough to make up for the rest of the two novels. It is possible that if I were other people I know, who often go to Venice, and are into the art scene, or maybe a perpetual traveller, I would enjoy this, but it left me cold. I really didn't enjoy the "tourist's eye view" of places that many people do go to as tourists... . I found that uninspiring. I do appreciate that, as I haven't read "Death in Venice", there are a lot of literary allusions that are going right over my head, but they should not be the only thing to enjoy about a book.

To be honest, I haven't even finished reading this book, I got bored about two thirds of the way through the second part.

If you are looking for a travel novel, what I would highly recommend instead is "The Towers of Trebizond". That is a really unusual novel featuring eccentric travellers roving far off the beaten track, and I was deeply moved by the conclusion. This book was a let-down in comparison.


Classic Knits (Erika Knight Collectables)
Classic Knits (Erika Knight Collectables)
by Erika Knight
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy classics for the sophisticated knitter, 18 Dec. 2007
This book was chosen for me by my mum-in-law, who has exceptionally good taste in clothes and is very stylish. I must say, I agree with her recommendation, as I have knitted several items from this book already and found them to be elegant and sophisticated. I have had lots of compliments about them, particularly the gloves, (which are a really nice length and keep my wrists warm as well as my hands). I've not had any technical problems with the patterns, since I have taken care to keep to the right tension. The appeal of these designs really lies in their elegant simplicity and the subtle air of quality, e.g. the postman's bag made out of string, which looks much more classy than any other string bag does. This book has really given me a lot of inspiration, and I plan to knit most of the other designs in it.


The Grudge [DVD]
The Grudge [DVD]
Dvd ~ Megumi Okina
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.67

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not at all scary, but a very very good film...., 30 Oct. 2005
This review is from: The Grudge [DVD] (DVD)
The ideas behind the scary scenes are really good, and I like the structure of the film very much - there's a sense of tragic inevitability, and like Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, you get a random throwaway line that tells you the tragic ending halfway through the film, and you have to watch helplessly as events draw inexorably to their conclusion. This is due to the deliberately non-linear chronology of the film, and gives you a true sense that once the curse has touched you, you'll never be free and one day it will get you - the curse carries across time, and years later it will catch up with you when you least expect it. One particularly poignant moment comes when two characters' timelines overlap many years apart, and despite all laws of space and time, they see each other for a seemingly eternal, speechless moment.
The acting is great, especially from the more major characters, and the disturbing old woman, but more could have been done with atmospheric stuff like lighting and music to make it really creepy. It also borrows heavily from the original made-for-TV feature Ju-On, which die-hard fans insist is better and genuinely original.
Unfortunately the horror set pieces are not usually very scary - for me, at least. They seem like the poor man's Ringu, sadly, even though the ideas behind them are truly skin-crawlingly creepy. The ghost is all too clearly a woman wearing either heavy white make-up or heavy black make-up, and unfortunately the cat is not at all scary. This means that an otherwise great scene, reminiscent of Hitchcock's The Birds, loses all its scariness for me.
There are a few really, really fantastic exceptions - one or two moments that are truly horrifying - and for them alone, the film is worth seeing. But the blue child does nothing for me. I had no problem turning the light out at night after seeing this.
But really, the greatness of this film lies in the interweaving of the characters' stories and the fact that the most innocent of chance meetings, or the most seemingly harmless and unconnected events come to have a chilling significance.
Ju-On deals with the stories of separate individuals and no one protagonist, and there's no beginning-middle-end progression. Basically the 'beginning' happens before the film, and it itself just deals with the 'ends'. Some of the ends are less important than others, and maybe seem completely random, but some give you important clues.
Ju-On is a tapestry of inter-connected plot threads, illustrating the way ordinary people's lives innocently cross-over with each other, but in the film they become bound together by the sinister and inexplicable hatred in the Ju-On curse. It's the very randomness of the victims, most of whom have entirely nothing to do with each other or the cursed house, that makes this film really scary.


A Tale Of Two Sisters [DVD] [2004]
A Tale Of Two Sisters [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Kap-su Kim
Offered by SweetBuzzards
Price: £7.89

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most beautiful 'horror' film ever, 1 April 2005
NB: This film is fabulous - and so is this DVD _apart_ from a bizarre defect in the quality of the transfer (or maybe it's just my copy) which means the background is constantly flickering. It's not very noticeable at first, but after a while it starts to get irritating.
Anyway, it's worth putting up with cos this is the best Korean film I've ever seen - forget Oldboy and see this instead. You can appreciate it on so many levels.
Level 1) It's so scary you'll be unable to sleep for a week. Because the horror is all contained within the house, ordinary domestic items become the source of the terror. The film plays with all your deep-rooted childhood fears of cupboards and the darkness under the sink and doors opening in the night. And makes them actually mind-numbingly terrifying... It's stuff that would be cheesy if Hollywood tried to do it, but done so cleverly and creepily here that you will not be able to turn the lights off at night. The only blood in this entire film is the small episode where Su-Yeon starts her period, and it's deliberate. Ji-woon Kim being unconventional and brilliant. There's also a theme about familial 'blood' and the strong ties that unite families...
Level 2) Visually, it's gorgeous. Watch the wallpaper. It seems to sum up the mood of the film, and somehow manages to be disturbing despite being very Willam Morris-esque. Like a lot of the best Asian horror films, it's got tons of absolutely brilliant atmosphere.
Level 3) It's a fabulous study of the human mind, and an extremely clever piece of film-making. The plot twists are so clever and unexpected you have to admire the director's genius (he also wrote the script).
Level 4) it's a tragedy, about guilt and grief. This is probably the most powerful aspect of it, and the most beautiful, and what makes it an international classic. It's a whole emotionally cathartic experience, watching this, and the tragedy is something everyone can relate to, despite it being an Asian, so-called 'extreme', film.
The extras on this DVD are excellent - this was a special edition in Korea and all the documentaries from it are reproduced here with subtitles, including the psychiatrist's commentary, and the easter eggs, which are particularly great.
There are loads more levels to the film, but I won't bore you with them. Just see this film. It's the most beautiful film I've ever seen.


De-Lovely
De-Lovely

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the top!, 11 Oct. 2004
This review is from: De-Lovely (Audio CD)
This is the soundtrack to the excellent film of the same name, and is pretty much the same thing as the film - a big homage to Cole Porter by today's artists. Essentially a tribute album, but with some rather unexpected stars appearing. Robbie Williams (no stranger to this style of song) clearly loves every moment of singing the title track, and does do it justice. However, the appearance of Alanis Morisette and Mick Hucknall took me more by surprise, but still their performances are superb. Morisette particuarly benefits from showing a sweeter, more quiet side of herself. Elvis Costello's performance is visually hilarious (consummate showman that he is) so it's worth seeeing the film as well.
However, it's also a good collection of songs, because it tries to encompass the very best of Porter's songs in one album (which you'd never get in one show, for instance).
I think the quality of the lyrics really sells this album though, cos Porter's song-writing is timeless - clever and sweet, and delightfully funny. This is the only man in the world who could have written a seduction song and got away with a line about educated fleas...
Genius.


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