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Nicky (Liverpool UK)

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Vanishing Acts
Vanishing Acts
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vanishing Acts, 12 Jun 2006
This review is from: Vanishing Acts (Paperback)
I was first introduced to Jodi Picoult's work in 'Plain Truth', which I have to say I I felt was an amazing, thought provoking story, which stayed with me long after I finished reading. There was a space of about a year before I picked up another Jodi Picoult book, and it was this one. The elements of this story are, similarly to Plain Truth, featured on parenthood and its bonds, and how far people will go to preserve those bonds and protect their children. The premise of the story itself is thought provoking, and the issues raised by the story leave a mark on the reader. That being said, I felt that this book dragged a little bit, and that I wasn't as desperate to finish it as I usually am. I can generally finish a novel in a day or so, but this took me over a week to finish because my interest kept waning a little. I did love the flawed characters, especially Eric, and the idea of telling the story from different viewpoints, often giving insights from one character that another cannot see, and explaining certain moments that would otherwise have been lost. So, I would definitely recommend this book, and although it's not her best it's still pretty good. I am going to read 'The Pact' next because that seems like a completely intriguing read!

Fifteen And Pregnant [DVD]
Fifteen And Pregnant [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kirsten Dunst
Offered by CP UK And Global LTD
Price: 5.03

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pregnant Pause, 6 Sep 2004
This review is from: Fifteen And Pregnant [DVD] (DVD)
Reading the reviews of this film, I am not surprised how many have commented on the fact that it does a great deal to deter teenagers from the idea of pregnancy at an early age.
This film does, however, have a few more layers than simply the after-school-special tone that you may begin to think is its main purpose. Yes, it is about teenage pregnancy, but it is also about relationships and choices and fear and depression. About, in fact, being a girl with a woman's mind-being a teenager. I was fifteen when I first saw this film, and it is true that it would help any young girls at the point in their lives where they would have to make such a weighty decision, but I never had any inclination to get pregnant, so for me the film had different connotations.
Fifteen and Pregnant delves into the fear and frustration that comes with being estranged from the people you love and live with, having relationships and trying to find the safest and strongest ground on which to raise them, and trying to find yourself enough to being able to justify yourself to others. The feelings that Tina experiences as a pregnant teenager can be translated, albeit diluted, into the feelings many young girls live through as teenagers. Only certain actresses could carry such a role with accomplishment, and Kirsten Dunst does her thing as usual, bringing her powerful yet subtle skill to a role that requires so much emotional input from her audience.
So, yes, it is true that this film has a strong voice on the issue of teenage pregnancy, but there are also deep and emotive sub-plots hovering behind, as it were, Tina's ever expanding belly.

Selected Poems (Penguin Classics)
Selected Poems (Penguin Classics)
by John Keats
Edition: Paperback

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and Truth, 19 Oct 2003
I was introduced to the poetry of Keats as part of my A Level studies last year, and I found his poetry to be deeply powerful and insightful. I absolutely adore Keats' poetry, and his book is ideal for both fans and those who are unfamiliar with his work. Whatever your favourite element of his poetry, from his narratives or the odes, this book has a selection of all to be enjoyed.

Although it does not include any of the letters Keats is also known to have written, the volume of poetry makes up for this, and truly there are some wonderful choices made in the verse included. The reader is able to enjoy Keats' love of the fantastical, his heavily opiumed obsession with perfection and immortality of love, and the God and Goddesses he uses to illustrate his feelings on love, life and the constant battles he had against the 'Classical' poets of the time. The struggles between Classicalism and Romanticism hover behind several of the poems, as do his feeling about women and his own introspections on life and love. But don't be thinking this is all heavy going poetry, because to just be read without analysis is also to enjoy the beauty of his poems, as they are full of powerful visions of nature and colour and love. You can't help but enjoy them. Of course, they are going to appeal to you more strongly if you are of a Romantic nature yourself...if you are a hopeless Romantic, this is the book for you!
Since I first read this book, Keats has become my favourite poet. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Shopaholic Abroad
Shopaholic Abroad
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly addictive!, 19 May 2003
This review is from: Shopaholic Abroad (Paperback)
It really annoys me that I like this book so damn much. Becky Bloomwood, financial expert and secret shopping addict is whisked off to New York by her boyfriend, where she proceeds to spend frightening amounts of money on clothes, shoes, makeup and all the things that us girls like to buy. Of course, there is a consequence for her thoughtless spending, and as a reader, I was absolutely hooked in wanting to see how it all turned out in the end, even though I found the main character, Becky Bloomwood, to be a shallow, habitual liar who did nothing but justify her own increasingly severe addiction to spending money to herself.
That sounds a bit harsh. I admit, at first, I was frustrated by the character of Rebecca, because I know that as much as everybody likes to spend money, people are very rarely as ignorant when it comes to their own finances. However, as the book progresses, you do develop an affinity with the character as things start to go belly-up. I personally, though, still found myself identifying more with the people around Becky than Becky herself.
However, this is book is, as my title suggests, surprisingly addictive. Once you pick it up, you do want to see just how everything is going to turn out, and how the 'heroine' of the book will pull through. Perhaps it's because there are elements of Rebecca Bloomwood that is in all of us, and by reading the book and letting things develop, we are entertaining that in ourselves that we usually keep restrained. Maybe.
It's a book for a wet afternoon when there's nothing on TV and you want to get sucked into a world which is half a dream and half a nightmare. And not even a bad nightmare.

No Title Available

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Men are Back, 7 May 2003
X2- The sequel you could never have expected it to be. Personally, I felt that the first X-Men movie was absolutely great, and was a huge credit to both director Bryan Singer and the cast and crew, who all rose to the challenge of bringing the comic book saga not only to life, but to make non-comic readers care about the characters and storylines. The effects of the first X-Men were immpeccable, and that coupled with the witty and intelligent script made for one of 2000's best movies. When I heard about the second movie, although anxious to see it, I was not expecting it to surpass the brilliance of the first film. How wrong I was.
The story picks up for previous watchers with Wolverine/Logan, and his tormented search to find his place in his own past. We also are re-introduced to the past favourites, Rogue, Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops, the evil blue Mystique and of course, Professor X and Magneto. Other characters from the first film, Iceman (only before known as Bobby) and Pyro, both who had relatively miniscule roles in X-Men, are expanded and developed in X2. There are also some new mutants to contend with-the fervourously religious Nightcrawler and the severe looking Lady Deathstrike, who, I'm sure you realise from the name, isn't much of a sweetheart.

Basically, the storyline revolves less around the good mutants and the bad mutants, and more around the ignorance of non-mutant folk (is it politically correct to just call them humans?!). One particular human, Stryker, has great plans for the control of mutants, and using political allies and exploiting the mutants themselves, he works to build a tainted Cerebro in order to have ultimate control over the world's deadliest and most powerful inhabitants, who are in his opinion, the mutants. As you can imagine, the mutants don't take so kindly to this, and much battle ensues, causing both Magneto and Professor X, plus their respective followers, to join forces for the sake of the own kind.
Without a doubt, Bryan Singer and his cast have delivered once again a fine and outstanding piece of cinema. Focusing not only on the action, but also on the emotions and depth of each mutant only serves to strengthen the already strong premise of those who are different rising up to defnd themselves against those who know no better. The script is both wittier and darker than before, and played to perfection by the strong cast. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, in particular, shines in his role as the deeply troubled and haunted man searching to find out why his own body, his own gifts, have been abused in such a way that his skeleton has been grafted with indestructible metal. Jackman brings the quiet strength and cynicism of Wolverine to point where it is both believeable and heart-wrenching. You want him to find peace. Similarly, Patrick Stewart as Professor X, the world's most powerful mutant, driven only by a desire to help, takes the emotions of the viewer through his personal struggles through Cerebro and his own mind.
The effects in X2 are simply breathtaking. The opening scene is utterly well, there is no other word, brilliant. It just is. As the movie progresses, the effects get more and more stunning, and yet you do not feel patronised by the extensive use of special effects. Personally, I thought the one of the most subtle yet best use of CG effects is when we see a closeup of Wolverine retracting his adamantium claws. Just a little thing, but it is so well and cleverly done that it's hard to tell yourself that they didn't just retract some steel blades into Hugh Jackman knuckles.
Really, there are not many critiscisms of this film. However, we don't get to see much of one of X-Men's main characters, Cyclops, for a great deal of the movie, and when he does return, not much is offered by way of explaining just what has happened to him. Otherwise, the X2 is a bigger, deeper and better offspring of its predecessor, X-Men, that should become one of the classic movies of the comic book genre.

Of Mice And Men [DVD] [1992]
Of Mice And Men [DVD] [1992]
Dvd ~ John Malkovich
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 5.07

160 of 162 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of a man than a mouse, 13 April 2003
This review is from: Of Mice And Men [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
Of Mice And Men the movie had a hell of a lot to live up to, in the shadow of its novel parent. Steinbeck wrote a story intending to comment on the views of America in terms of race and prejudice at the time. In light of this, however, the film does a pretty good job. Gary Sinise, who both stars in and directs the film, is perfect for the role of George. He plays the character just as he is described in the book-a hard, bitter man, not really letting the audience or his best friend Lenny see his true colours. That said, he cannot help but stand in the shadow of John Malkovich's stunning portrayal of Lenny. Malkovich develops Lenny to a point where the audience feels the injustice of the treatment he receives. We want it all to work out in the end. We feel every inch of Lenny's emotions, from excitement to desperate fear, to his huge love and respect for George, and this is to Malkovich's credit. Both actors give a strong and powerful performance, strengthened by both the actors supporting them and the excellent story of Steinbeck's.
Although, of course, the messages and intention of Steinbeck's original story have been diluted, they are still wonderfully highlighted by the film. The plight of both Curley's wife and the black stable buck is painfully revealed to us, as is George's cold and dark attitude to those who treat Lenny with malice or fear. Personally, I thought Curley's wife was a bit 'off' in terms of how she appears in the film and how she is presented in the book. Of course, if you are not looking to compare the two (and the film stands on its own even without the novel) the portrayal of Curley's wife is strong, and we feel her struggle as she lives her life in a place she clearly hates.
The closing scenes are utterly emotive, and we get to see just how deeply the relationship between George and Lenny runs. Both Sinise and Malkovich play these scenes hauntingly well, and if the intention of the director is to be fulfilled, you will be reaching for the tissues as plenty of personal questions are raised.
I thought that this was a very good film, doing both the novelist and all of the actors tied to the story, a very great credit.
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The X Files : Season 3 Collectors Box Set [VHS] [1994]
The X Files : Season 3 Collectors Box Set [VHS] [1994]
Offered by pollyannabutterfly
Price: 8.85

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have!, 24 Mar 2003
Back in the day, I was an X Phile. The recent ending of the series was a bittersweet moment for me; I realised that the series had well peaked and that it was time for the truth, but part of me remembered the time when the X Files was a classic, creating storylines and characters and plots that were absolute genius. This season three boxset is a stroke of brilliance; Chris Carter at his best, mastering and balancing the conspiracy episodes with personal issues of our heroes, Mulder and Scully. Fans of the show will be, like me, reminscing about the days when the X Files was as undeniably brilliant as they were in the season three episodes. If you are not aquainted with the show, these episodes are ideal for you, because although the conspiracy is well established, you will learn insight into the two main characters and their situations, as well as being able to enjoy some of the finest episodes the X Files ever produced, and if you're a fan of the show, you'll know just how fantastic these episodes were, and how they preceded the (equally?) brilliant season four. Without the depth seen in the season three episodes, season four episodes such as 'Paper Hearts' and 'Elegy' would have been risky and possibly not as well done as they were with the support of episodes like 'Wetwired' and the absolutely perfect 'Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" '.

Friends: Series 9 - Episodes 9-12 [DVD]
Friends: Series 9 - Episodes 9-12 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Schwimmer
Offered by CP UK And Global LTD
Price: 1.52

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like old friends!, 11 Mar 2003
I am one of the millions who has followed 'Friends' from those early wanderings into the coffee house to the global phenomenon it became. However, as the years went by and the cast became bigger stars due to the show, the feeling often was that the writers didn't seem to be making the effort with the jokes because they knew they had a solid fanbase. Sure, it was good, but with shows along the lines of 'Will and Grace' hot on its tail, the flaws of 'Friends' seemed a little too pronounced to fix.
However, the latest season is by far the best in years. The jokes and plotlines are fresh and clever, the stories that once made Friends the hottest thing on TV. Even the actors seem to have approached their roles with fresh vigour: timing and one liners are absolutely perfect. Any problem that might have caused it to flag a little in past seasons is well and truly put to the dust in this season. It is a shame that this is apparently their last outing, because Friends is back on form, delivering the immpecable and downright classic humour that it is established for.

Magic Fire
Magic Fire
by Christopher Pike
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hmm......didn't set me alight, 5 Mar 2003
This review is from: Magic Fire (Paperback)
I am a fan of Pike's, and reading the back cover of Magic Fire, it seemed that he had done it again, with a dark twist of pyromania and psycotic elements, bringing in the fear of reality, that both things are not impossible traps for the human mind to fall into. Although it starts well, the plot suddenly changes path to a point that it seems like a hugely paranoid sci-fi novelist paired up with Pike's outstanding writing talents. If your a fan of Pike's, you will tell that this isn't one of his best, although the elements that the later plot covers are echoed in some of his other works. I wouldn't really recommend this book. It's a little weird, even for my tastes. Please, read and enjoy Pike's books, as most of them will inspire you. This one? Well, put it this'll make good firewood.

Road To Nowhere
Road To Nowhere
by Christopher Pike
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was so shocked!, 5 Mar 2003
This review is from: Road To Nowhere (Paperback)
I think this is a fantastic book, one of Pike's best. The characters, the settings, everything made up for a deeply emotional story with a twist that I didn't see! And usually, I can guess at least a little of what's to come. If you like Christopher Pike when he's reflective, this story's for you. If you like him when he injects horror into the story, not the horror of nightmares, but the desperation of knowing what has been done can only come to pass, that escape seems inevitable, then you've found your heart-stopper. This story will make you think out your every irrational action, because sometimes it turns out that you might not want everything you ask for...

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