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Sherlock - Series 4 [DVD] [2016]
Sherlock - Series 4 [DVD] [2016]
Dvd ~ Benedict Cumberbatch
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Messy But Worth Watching., 5 Feb. 2017
The writers of this show clearly reached a point after series 3 where they didn't know where to go from there. Sadly this is partly down to the fans being divided as to whether it should remain light-hearted adventure like the original stories or gain some emotional depth. So far there have been a handful of effective moments where we see more of Holmes's heart. This season tries to build on that without dramatically changing the plot and generally doesn't succeed.
The first episode focuses on John because advancing his sub-plot is less likely to insight controversy. (Unless him and Sherlock end up in bed together which they don't.)
I can understand people's criticism of this series but have to say The Lying Detective is probably my favourite episode to date. I've always looked for sub-texts and hoped some overt, outrageous left-wing satirical black-comedy would break out. (Richard Littlejohn has toyed with an idea for satire in which Lord Nelson travels to the pacifist, gay-excepting modern world and finds he's no longer considered a hero) It's the only one of the three episodes that really feels like a detective story. It takes inspiration both from one of the original stories and true crime stories very effectively. Not sure how I feel about a certain secondary character being killed off but Sherlock and John grieving and the suspense of whether they will rebuild their friendship is done very well. Sherlock in emotional meltdown is effective both as drama and comedy. His psychology and place in the world is explored really well.
Then we get The Final Problem which tries to be very, very, very dramatic! It appears to take inspiration from... the Saw movies. With a backdrop of a bad CGI prison. Ask yourself: a) do you think the writers would really kill the two main characters off?, b) do you care hugely about an increasingly obnoxious Mycroft c) or another Holmes sibling you've only just found out about?. If the answers are 'no' there will be zero tension for you. The nation doesn't seem to be in immediate danger. At the point where I was just starting to find it funny a potential love-interest I route for (if you don't then this won't be interesting either) unexpectedly appeared and their relationship is put to the test in a scene the actors are more invested in than the writers. It really got to me and I was infuriated when it seemed to be forgotten at the end.

Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, 2nd Edition (Overcoming Books)
Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, 2nd Edition (Overcoming Books)
by Mark Freeston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.38

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From an Anxiety Sufferer and Psychology Graduate..., 5 Feb. 2017
As someone who's studied psychology I know most self-help books aren't written by real therapists and are hardly better than the average person's advice. So I was really glad when this series of books came out. But I read their previous book on anxiety and didn't find it helpful for generalised anxiety as it mainly focused on the more predictable patterns of OCD and panic attacks. This is a really in-depth guide to worry of various kinds, allowing you to examine your problems from different angles. I've partly recovered from my anxiety problems and found it contained both helpful new strategies and things I've found effective in the past. A must-have.

Only Ever Yours
Only Ever Yours
by Louise O'Neill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Cautionary Tale For The 21st Century, 30 Nov. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Only Ever Yours (Paperback)
In my days of being single, lacking self-esteem and wondering if I'd ever find anyone I semi consciously thought of how my Mum the feminist hippie brought me up. Other girls had the idea of you're-going-to-be-a-beauty and you're-going-to-be-somebody's-wife drilled into them from a tiny age. A was a little person with a name that meant 'wise' who was put in dungarees allowed to play with anything except Barbie dolls. Whatever lesson proudly wearing a plastic tiara teaches a 4 year-old girl I didn't learn it. And my parents hadn't willed me to grow up beautiful. Now I still feel some dismay that a man has lived with me for a couple of years despite this. I thought the set-up of this book was really sharply observed.
I shudder to think what schools are like now but this certainly reminded me of my days there when tween culture was young. Anxiety, low-self-esteem and youthful insecurities are captured well. In the story's nightmare world "Men finding me attractive is the best thing I can hope for" is absolutely true for the girls.
From the first few pages there is a pit-of-the-stomach chillingness about it. The monotony of the girls lives is conveyed well but tension is built at just the right pace too. There are a lot of grotesque, ridiculous things in it that would be funny in a light-hearted satire but I had too much sympathy for the characters to think anything but "How humiliating for them." and feel disgust.
It strikes a badly-needed blow for feminism but there's more to it's social commentary than that. The world it's set in is ruled by rich, hedonistic men, everyone else is virtually slaves, relationships are superficial. It will give people with a wide range of beliefs something to think about.
I actually think The Stepford Wives is far-fetched and silly. If O'Neill took inspiration from that it's an improvement. Like Big Brother the men in this story relish the challenge of making real people obedient like robots. It also (subtly) reminded me of Brave New World and even The Wicker Man.

Illy Stainless Steel Electric Milk Frother, 250 ml
Illy Stainless Steel Electric Milk Frother, 250 ml
Price: £49.82

5.0 out of 5 stars A great gift for considerably less than a coffee machine, 20 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Milk frothers are a really under-rated kitchen appliance. A great gift for considerably less than a coffee machine. The generous size of this one allows you to make hot chocolate and milk-shakes. Very easy to clean. Has lasted us a year and a half.

The Thick of It - Series 4 [DVD]
The Thick of It - Series 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rebecca Front
Price: £7.00

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cracks Massively Widen In Overrated Comedy, 5 Nov. 2013
I like Armando Iannucci and I've always thought this was a good show (when you look at the quality of other TV especially satire you can see why it's so celebrated) but it's not brilliant and certainly can't hold a candle to Yes Minister. One of it's main flaws is that characters and storylines are loosely based on real people and events. No one has the courage to attack them directly or the creativity to make things up. The writers always claimed (in the 00s) that the characters are composites of post-1997 governments. A drunken Chris Addison tempted fate by telling an interviewer on the eve of the election that real politics was becoming almost as bizarre as the show. Now we get a new series about a coalition government secretly at each others' throats (doing things far more outrageous than anything that will ever be revealed to have been going on in real life) and an opposition leader who you'd think would have it made but who's image the great unwashed could never like. Though rather than David / Ed Miliband (Chris Addison) it's Harriet Harman. We don't even get a neurotic, oddball imagining of Miliband. Sticking with the old formula the stories centre around PR and red-tape far more than the recession with ordinary people mostly far in the background. As ever the very political and economic system isn't what's focused on. All our problems are caused by the fact that we keep electing people with personality flaws - and phobias, instead of using a sword in the stone. Then Mr Iannucci's ego has a growth spurt and something is not only mimicked but predicted. The leader of the opposition resigns....

Private Eye Annual 2011 (Annuals)
Private Eye Annual 2011 (Annuals)
by Ian Hislop
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bastion Of Free Speech, 26 Nov. 2011
Anyone who thinks TV shows with Russell Howard can even be called satire should read Private Eye. So should left-wing people who wish someone would give this goverment the lampooning it deserves. It's razor sharp and completely unafraid of being sophisticated (though at other times very silly) and attacking the right as well as the left. Some of the jokes consist simply of 'Here's a frank observation you won't find in the mainstream media'. You will either be refreshed or have your eyes opened.
But on top of that it's three times funnier and better written every fortnight (let alone in a 'best of' annual) than most gift books in the humour section.
Whatever your political views or sense of humour there will be something in it for you.

Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years
Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years
by Sue Townsend
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A sitcom in a book that used to be something deeper., 17 Jan. 2011
I love the first two Adrain Mole books. They were a huge comfort to me when I was in secondary school. But am I alone in thinking that was an inherantly terrible idea for Townsend to continue the series beyond them?
What were the originals in a nut shell? - They were a dark satire of the world of alienated, working class youth. Adrian was a bright, sensitive person starting out in life surrounded by people with low expectations of him.
These new stories not only have no real relevance to the original but ruin the emotional impact of them. Adrian HASN'T ammounted to very much so his parents and teachers were right.
The originals were slightly charicatured but mainly gritty and realistic. But now half the characters are celebrities of some sort and there are plots worthy of the daftest American soaps.
The one thing that hasn't changed is Adrian - which is another problem. He doesn't seem to have emotionally aged at all. He is now a teenage boy in a man's body with none of the sweetness and innocence that once made him likable as well as flawed. He is bitter, self-pitying and misogynist. And can an we be really expected to believe someone could still be obessed with their adolescent first love, for the rest of their life? Even in the most far-fetched comedy?
I can only stand to think of this as an acronym.

Sense & Sensibility : Complete BBC Series [2008] [DVD]
Sense & Sensibility : Complete BBC Series [2008] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Charity Wakefield
Price: £5.00

8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stick to any version but this., 17 Jan. 2011
It is, of course, very rare for an adaptation of a classic to be really bad. But this is one of those times.
The people who have commisioned and made it clearly aren't Austin fans. In fact, on reading the story they were clearly annoyed that it wasn't the Mills & Boon. Good writers create quirky, realistic, flawed characters. Edward is a shy, simple man who ends up becoming a vicar. Colnel Brandon is crippled by (what would now be called) depression. I read an article where one of the writers of this admited that he didn't think they were macho enough so decided to have Edward chop logs in the rain. That's not an exaggeration.
The dialouge is incredibly simplistic and uncreative - like a primary school reading book. This was probably done in the cynical hope that schools would buy the DVD to show to GCSE students.
In possibly the worst scene John Dashwood (played by Mark Williams) casually tells the family about Colnel Brandon's past at a dinner table, completely ruining the drama of it.
Charity Wakefield's twee, silly, curly-haired Marianne has no place in any serious film. Other characters seem to have been cast at random.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2015 3:30 PM GMT

The Madness Of King George [DVD]
The Madness Of King George [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nigel Hawthorne
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a period drama., 21 Sept. 2010
I'm glad people appreciate this film so much. But it upsets me that it's political message seems to be lost on most of them. Attitudes to mental illness and expressing emotion are hardly different now. The only reasons we don't tie up mentally ill people and try to force them to snap out of their problems now are: A) There's no evidence that it works so we won't spend tax money on it and B) A FEW people are sympathetic to them.

The Queen's Knickers
The Queen's Knickers
by Nicholas Allan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A strange example of talking down to children., 21 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Queen's Knickers (Paperback)
Think about this.
When I was about seven I saw Steve Bell's Guardian cartoons of John Major in his Y-fronts and thought. "Newspapers are allowed to have drawings of the King in his underpants in them?!"
I had been told a year or two before that the 'Queen' was just some rich old lady who didn't have any power. So this book wouldn't have shocked (or amused) me.
It is assumed that children of a similar age will look at this book and think: "The Queen's clothes come off?! She wears knickers?! Someone's allowed to write a book about it and not have their head chopped off?!"
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2012 3:22 PM BST

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