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Profile for L. Gutman > Reviews

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L. Gutman (Albuquerque, NM United States)

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Broadchurch [DVD] [2013]
Broadchurch [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Olivia Colman
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compassion, humanity, and mystery, 11 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Broadchurch [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
I loved this series. We watched it in a weekend, only stopping about two thirds of the way through on the first day to give our emotions a rest. The story is about a town full of people, in all their glory and shame. Every character was well drawn and well portrayed, everyone had a story and every story was in some way relevant. I read once that a really good detective story suspends the reader in a world of complete uncertainty -- everyone is dark and could be the killer, everyone could be innocent -- until the resolution, when once again we're in the world of normal perceptions, someone committed the crime and everyone else is seen without the filter of suspicion. (Or as Inspector Clouseau would say, "I suspect everyone -- and no one.") This is a formula, and like any formula it can be used well or poorly. Do we manipulate the audience's emotions for maximum shock effect? Or do we use that tension-and-release to take the readers or viewers to a place of deeper understanding? Broadchurch does the latter. The story is anything but formulaic. The detectives, the reporters, the victim's family, the vicar, the neighbors, even the crackpot psychic -- all the standard elements of a cozy little mystery are there. But they all feel like real people, not cardboard cutouts filling a role in the story. The dead boy's parents go through hell, and the portrayal is so true that we believe they're going through hell and we go there with them. We take the risk that if they don't come out the other side we will be stranded there as well. The detectives go through their own hell as DS Miller (Olivia Coleman) must learn to look at her cozy little world, her friends and family, with an outsider's dispassionate eye and DI Hardy (David Tennant) claws his way to the truth, shoving all obstacles aside like a stumbling, exhausted marathon runner who only sees the finish line and hopes he can keep going just long enough to cross it.

So ... a substantial piece of storytelling, really well done.

See Inside the Ancient World (Usborne See Inside)
See Inside the Ancient World (Usborne See Inside)
by Rob Lloyd Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful low tech, 15 Feb. 2013
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Our family loves these peek-inside books. In this age of iPads and multimedia, this sort of simple book tech may be on its way out (though I hope not). Our family's history buff uses these books again and again. This one offers a nice peek into different cultures (Mayan, Chinese, Celtic, Greek, Roman, Assyrian...). For war gamers (again, the low tech variety), the books give a great visualization aid; just pop one off the shelf, open it to the appropriate page, and pass it around the table.

Roman Mysteries - The Complete Series Two [DVD] [2008]
Roman Mysteries - The Complete Series Two [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Mark Benton

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, great adventures, and educational too!, 12 Jan. 2010
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We've watched the whole series several times already, and have re-watched Series 1. They're definitely a family favorite. Our resident historian, who is an expert on late Roman Empire and is very difficult to please, gives them the big thumbs up as well.

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