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Joanna Crawford Steel

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Chronicles of Morgaine
Chronicles of Morgaine
by C.J. Cherryh
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terminal fantasy, 1 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Chronicles of Morgaine (Paperback)
'The Chronicles of Morgaine' is in fact a trilogy by C J Cherryh, brought together in one volume for terminal addicts: Cherryh creates an incredibly intricate, detailed and complex series of worlds and civilisations, and contrives at the same time to evoke highly realistics reactions to these civilisations from her two main characters, the enigmatic Morgaine and her honour-bound guard, Vanye.
The very human Vanye finds himself trapped in Morgaine's quest on his home world while exiled form his own clan, and reacts as anyone might to the world of nightmares and fairytales suddenly becoming real: his anguish and internal debate as he follows her as he is bound to by his oath are entirely believable and elicit understanding.
As he follows Morgaine on her ancient and legendary quest, he learns more about the foundations of his own beliefs and culture than he had imagined existed, and slowly the beliefs he held since his childhood are eroded, to his great dismay. It is only in the later stages of the book that he begins to find a new set of values and beliefs, ones perhaps more valuable than the ones that he had lost.
Set against a background of desperation and constant action, with Vanye's very understandable quandaries set against Morgaine's complete self control, this book is one that will keep the reader glued, wide-eyed, to the book until the very last page, and then you will wonder how to get hold of more. One of the few books that is just as good on the twentieth reading as the first.

The Dragon Revenant (Deverry)
The Dragon Revenant (Deverry)
by Katharine Kerr
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dragon Revenant: aka Dragonspell, the Southern Sea, 11 Jun. 2004
The Dragon Revenant (or Dragonspell, whichever edition you own) is the fourth in the Deverry Series, where Rhodry, the last heir to the vast estates of his clan, is in the hands of the Bardekian Hawks and the dark dweomer: Jill and Salamander, his lover and his brother, set out to rescue him from slavery.
This book does not show the time-interlacing typical of Katharine Kerr: it remains firmly in the present, following Jill and Salamander's hunt for Rhodry across Bardek, Rhodry's life as a slave, and Nevyn's efforts to save the kingdom and bring Jill to her destiny of studying the dweomer. However, if he manages this, is is predicted that he will finally die, and Nevyn's greatest fear is that he may not live long enough to complete his self-imposed task of killing the leader of the dark dweomer, the Old One.
This is a good wind-up to the Deverry series, although some of the storyline based around Rhodry is a little slow. Kerr classicists will also miss her typical time-changing habit, although the introduction of Salamander gives the book a nice new character to focus on.
For new readers, this is perhaps not the best book to start with, but for established Kerr fans, especially those who have read and enjoyed the rest of the Deverry series, I recommend it highly. It fills in some much-needed links to Jill's history and Rhodry's, which come in very useful in the Westlands Cycle series.

Wild Things [DVD] [1998]
Wild Things [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Kevin Bacon
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £1.99

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wild about it, 11 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Wild Things [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Wild Things is great. It has some great comedy, a nice series of sound themes, nice eye candy for the lads and a good laugh for the lasses, and best of all, the only plot I've seen which makes it past the quadruple-cross. Not highly realistic, but it's TV, right?
Denise Richards is the daughter of THE top society family in Blue Bay, Florida. Neve Campbell is a piece of white trash who lives in a broken down caravan in mangroves and looks like a Goth. Matt Dillon is the up and coming star teacher at Blue Bay High and Kevin Bacon is the dodgy cop in the Blue Bay Police Department.
On first sight, Kelly (Richards) loathes Suzie (Campbell) and is intent on seducing her cute teacher Sam (Dillon), and Suzie loathes Detective Duquette (Bacon), for reasons that we don't find out until later. It's only after it becomes apparent how very close Suzie, Kelly and Sam actually are that the plot begins to thicken - and I won't spoil the fun.
It's a thriller that is so trashy, kinky and convoluted that you watch it all the way through, go "Eh?" and have another go - let's say it's the ONLY film I know where there are so many double-crosses that they had to tack an explanatory out-take on the end! Good to watch any time, with any company except possibly your granny, and some lovely sunny scenery for those who really miss the sun through ten months of the year!

Underworld [DVD] [2003]
Underworld [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Kate Beckinsale|Michael Sheen|Shane Brolly
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over the moon about Underworld, 10 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Underworld [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Underworld is a great movie for an nice, exciting and not-overly-intellectual evening: there're stunningly black-PVC-ed vampire ladies, palely chic vampire blokes, rugged werewolves and a nice soundtrack.
Since the vampires live off cloned blood in neat little picnic plas-sacks, there're rather less than normal kinky 'vampire on balcony' scenes with half-naked victims (sorry guys), but the werewolves make up for it, scattering blood and guts wholesale, and to replace the normal fangs and wings scenes, there are some nice pitched gun battles with bullet-proof opponents.
The actual storyline is a nice new twist on an old idea for horror fans: the werewolves and the vampires terminally don't get on, and for thousands of years, an undercover war has raged between the two species, with humans happily unaware of the entire thing. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is a vampire warrior who hates werewolves, and the film kicks off with a gun battle on the Underground, when she and her partner run across a pair of werewolves.
The fact that the werewolves were following a non-descript medical student arouses Selene's curiosity, and she discovers a werewolf plot to end the war and forever change the game: the medical student is the keystone to the genetic alteration that will end the two species' differences.
There is a nice bit of romantic interest involving the doomed med. student, but over all the storyline isn't too challenging. In case anyone doesn't get it, they wake up one of the ancient vampires, who dissects the entire tangled web for you with his superior insight.
All in all, a lot of nice special effects, kinky costumes in the Goth/punk style, a good soundtrack, and a nice, easy plot to follow while you're admiring the fight scenes (or Kate Beckinsale's ass in black PVC). Definitely one to get for the pizza evenings.

10 Things I Hate About You [DVD] [1999]
10 Things I Hate About You [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Heath Ledger
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.19

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many more than 10 things I love about "10 things i hate...", 2 Jun. 2004
10 Things I Hate About You is a really top-class comedy. I should say, I am not a romance films person: I watch romance films, when I'm forced to, with a massive bucket by the sofa, but this one goes past that into excellent comedy, and better yet, it has things that most romance films haven't: a plot (with a nice ironic twist on Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew"), good acting, good music and fantastic dialogue with a peppering of one-liners and flawless timing.
Julia Stiles makes a great lead as the official 'Girl everyone loves to hate', Kat Stratford: she's over-intelligent, over-read, and doesn't follow the crowd - shocking!! Plus which, her little sister Bianca (Larissa Oleynik) is the school stunner, everybody's favourite princess whom everybody falls for.
Their father (Larry Miller) is an OB specialist who refuses to let either of his girls date: and so the story begins. The new boy in town falls hopelessly for Bianca, who may not date until Kat does, and Kat is a man-hater. So he and his intelligent but uncool friend hire the school bad boy, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to date Kat ... and he doesn't have everything his own way.
It's a film that still gets a laugh however many times you see it, because it has the real colour of the teenage insecurity wars we all remember so well from school, helped by the fact that both the lead stars can really act: the dialogue never falters, and even the occasional quirky Shakespeare quote thrown in the middle is treated precisely right.
A great film for all sorts of evenings in, guaranteed no cringe-scenes.

Matrix Soundtrack [CASSETTE]
Matrix Soundtrack [CASSETTE]

5.0 out of 5 stars How has no one reviewed this before????, 2 Jun. 2004
The Matrix Soundtrack is an excellent compilation of all the lovely bass bits you salivated over in the film: great to drive to, great for those moments when you realise that you really do have to clean house before the last bit of floor disappears, great for those moments when you're feeling down and want something other than a triple-strength coffee to get you moving again.
There is, of course, the Matrix theme music on there, which would be worth buying on single, some great (and weird, and kinky) audio mixes which you will recognise from the action scenes. As an extra prize there's a really good punk/heavy metal track (Du Hast)which is not only great music but has strikingly pertinent lyrics (OK, only if you speak German, but the music's good with or without the words), not to mention Wake Up and Bad Blood.
In fact, if you don't like LOTS of bass, this isn't for you, but if you do, you need to place your order now, then go down to the nearest good electrics store and buy a big new set of speakers for the car.
There're very good drum moments, satisfying electric effects, cool and kinky lyrics, nicely souped up with effects and very nicely put together. All in all, something that I can always find a reason to listen to: and I'm fussy.

The Matrix [1999] [DVD]
The Matrix [1999] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matrix / Movie
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.19

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The genius in the Matrix, 2 Jun. 2004
This review is from: The Matrix [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
The Matrix is one of the best films I have seen in any category: this is not just a feast for sci-fi fans! The soundtrack is wonderful, a must have for anyone who likes lots of bass to drive to, and goes well with the fast action and kinky special effects.
The basic idea is that NEO (Keanu Reeves) is living the life he - and we - call normal, and looking frantically for something, anything, to reassure himself that there is more to life than a deadly boring 0900 to 1700 job and an antsy boss. On the side he works as a hacker, selling pirated programs, almost as an off-shoot of his searching of the Internet.
It all goes a little weird late one night when his computer starts talking back to him in a program that he never entered and can't control (no, he wasn't running Windows XP) and tells him to follow the white rabbit.
This is the start of his journey to escape from the Matrix, which he didn't know existed and never realised was only an illusion ...
This idea is really gripping, and the Matrix says it all, without needing the rest of the trilogy: you can watch it as a sci-fi movie, because it is a very good one, with excellent and ground-breaking special effects, for the action scenes (which are sheer, self-indulgent eye-candy for any martial arts enthusiasts) or read as much more into it as you care to put there: because the basic concept is intriguing. Everyone wants, first and foremost, to know who they are, and what is real ... how else to all those Internet survey sites survive? - and the Matrix, following Neo's search for just that, has something to tickle everyone right on that spot.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 [DVD] [2003]
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Uma Thurman
Price: £0.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good acting overlaid with ketchup, 2 Jun. 2004
Kill Bill Volume 1 is a very powerful film with an excellent soundtrack and some great actors. Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu are already known for their action films, and their acting, which is a rare but very nice adjunct to action and they make great opponents in this film.
The film has an odd layout for a mainline film, divided into its chapters and with quirky comic/Anime let-ins where it concerns some of the characters.
The soundtrack combines some golden oldies with some very new and good stuff, some vocal and some instrumental, and even given the wide range of styles and tastes among the viewers, there should be at least one or two tracks for everyone. I will add that some of them are better heard with their scene in the film than without!
There is also some really good martial arts in the film, and some brilliant comedy scenes - but potential watchers should be warned that there are some moderately gruesome ketchup-splattered scenes that even the Chainsaw Murderer would put on his wellies for. Being old-fashioned I found that it was a trifle over the top, and got in the way of the film, but this is a personal thing.
So, overall, I'd give it a qualified high rating: qualified only because I found some of the scenes went too far. The acting is great, and the music is great, but don't watch it before dinner.

Left of the Middle
Left of the Middle
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Left of the Middle, 21 May 2004
This review is from: Left of the Middle (Audio CD)
Natalie Imbruglia's 'Left of the Middle' is an album I bought on the off-chance, and like a lot of singers with a powerful impact, most people are clearly divided into either 'I listen to it all the time' or 'Ugh, Natalie Imbruglia'!
I personally find that her lyrics are brilliant, powerful and inspired, although I can't invariably say the same about the melodies she puts them to, which are not terribly individual and occasionally are easy to tune out, which is a shame since you then miss the lyrics as well.
Natalie Imbruglia is a singer that I have to be in the mood to listen to, although when I am in the mood for her I can listen to the album over and over again. Some of the songs on 'Left of the Middle' are undisputedly excellent, with a lot to say on many different levels, especially tracks such as 'Torn' and 'One More Addiction'.
Overall, in fact, it's an album which is more powerful lyrically than musically, although on the lyrical level it is occasionally inspired and inspiring.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [DVD] [2003]
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Price: £2.24

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film of the year, 21 May 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Pirates of the Caribbean is a great comedy film. It may look like an unusual combination of actors, with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom facing off, but in actual fact the unusual combination even helps the script. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is an idealistic young blacksmith madly in love with the Governor's beautiful daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), while Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is one of the most notorious and amoral pirate captains still unhung.
Sparrow has lost his ship, and comes sailing into Jamaica in a diddly little dinghy only hours before the legendary pirate ship the Black Pearl, reputed to be a ghost ship, manned by men that are so evil that even Hell would not accept them, comes in search of the last piece of their cursed Aztec treasure, currently in the keeping of Elizabeth. During the engagement, she is captured by the pirates, and Will is prepared to do anything and everything to rescue her, including freeing and teaming up with the jailed pirate, Sparrow, but nothing is so simple. The rescue mission turns into a chase around the Caribbean Sea, with skeletal monkeys, cursed treasure, cross-dressing pirates, and beautiful heroines - not to mention plenty of cannon smoke and good one-liners.
Definitely a watch, watch and watch again film on my personal list: there's a bit of something for everyone, and I haven't yet met anyone who didn't like it.

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