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The Earnest Critic "HeavenSent" (Everywhere and Nowhere)

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The Girls
The Girls
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly Over-Hyped, 5 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Girls (Kindle Edition)
I have no idea how it is possible to make a novel (essentially) about the Manson Case boring, but this writer has managed it. There's no doubt the words are often beautifully expressed (and the two stars are for those), but the lack of any invigorating plot leaves the story hanging in the breeze as if on a dry hot California day. The Manson Case is a 'state of America' / comment on US society event and to ignore the opportunity to enfold that effectively into the novel is definitely a loss for the reader.


The Ship
The Ship
Price: £5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling excellent novel, 16 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Ship (Kindle Edition)
A chilling look at what could be our near future. A feisty, chippy teen must navigate her own path whilst her shipmates blindly follow a very different path. Highly recommended coming of age meets dystopian novel for anyone who likes to think. Not for those who blindly follow...


The Arbor
The Arbor
Dvd
Price: £2.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and engaging movie, 5 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Arbor (Amazon Video)
about my favourite playwright, Andrea Dunbar, her genius work and the havoc her dysfunctional life-style and alcoholism wrought upon her children, particularly her eldest. This is a brilliantly imaginative approach to film-making and by dubbing in the real people's voices, but using actors to mouth/act their lines/experiences the result is a stunning creative achievement. You will need tissues! Its honesty will have you weeping. Fantastic performances by the two female leads and all the supporting cast.


Goodbye First Love
Goodbye First Love
Dvd
Price: £2.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle romance/coming of age movie, 5 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Goodbye First Love (Amazon Video)
The French make great movies. I can't ever imagine seeing a British movie like this so stripped down, raw and real with such an enigmatic ending. The film has stunning cinematography and three excellent leading actors. I would have preferred it if the focus had been on Lola Creton's character the entire way through instead of placing unnecessary emphasis on the boyfriend early on and for too long. I would recommend this to people who love real cinema. If you want a movie where people constantly talk for absolutely no reason then this isn't for you as it's thankfully short on dialogue. If you have teenagers I would highly recommend it to them for the honesty of its character portrayals/human emotions/sexual and emotional awakening.


A Dark Redemption (Carrigan & Miller Book 1)
A Dark Redemption (Carrigan & Miller Book 1)
Price: £1.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracker of a London-set Thriller, 25 Feb. 2014
This excellent crime novel set amongst a gritty London backdrop introduces the recently formed detective duo of Jack Carrigan and Geneva Miller. Detective Sergeant Miller has been assigned to partner Carrigan by their grumpy suspicious boss to essentially spy on the unpredictable Carrigan, her police superior.

After a prologue details Carrigan's ill fated college holiday to Uganda as an adventurous youth, keen not to join the college hordes headed for the predictable India and Ibiza, the novel returns to London where it mostly stays for the duration after Carrigan is tasked with finding the murder of a young college student, Ugandan Grace Okello, the victim of what looks like a gruesome ritualistic slaying. But as the investigation progresses Carrigan believes the victim may have stumbled on a political secret one of the London based former Ugandan warlords or their supporters might kill to keep.

Sherez is a true wordsmith whose energetic, urgent prose crackles and fizzes right off the page. And the plot is packed full of twists and turns and the finale I didn't see coming at all. As a native Londoner Sherez walks around that great city with his eyes wide open : his English and immigrant characters form the fabric of the city and his novel. I loved both Carrigan and Miller, but Sherez's female detective, Miller, is particularly insightfully written, which not many male writers accomplish, and the tension between her and Carrigan twists and turns throughout and we are left in no doubt theirs will prove a complicated, but entertaining two-some for their next investigation.
(As an addendum, I saw that some readers were wondering why the Ugandans have such great command of English...Uganda is a former British colony and English is their official language, even 60+ years after independence!)
(I listened to this via Audible which was v good. But for some reason doesn't come up as a purchase option on this page. If you have an audible account it's still on there, I just checked.)


Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 1)
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An intimate portrayal of the rise of Thomas Cromwell and his King, Henry VIII, 9 Feb. 2014
Pretty amazing epic novel charting the rise of Thomas Cromwell and the demise of English Catholicism. Mantel's writing style is magnificent as befits the myriad of vital topics that shaped Henry VIII's England and the fact I was raised Catholic and she had me empathising with Thomas Cromwell shows how persuasive that style is.

That said, in character terms, Cromwell encounters no adversary of his own calibre which makes his rise occur within turbulent, dangerous times but without real danger to himself. (That's real life for you, I guess.) That's my only criticism, that and Mantel uses 'He' too often in regards to Cromwell which might be an attempt to distance us from 'Thomas' or 'Cromwell' but just actually confuses the reader when, in the dense prose, we lose track of who is speaking and to whom.

So, probably a 4.75 really, more than a perfect 5.

But still it's the most finely crafted, not to mention meticulously researched novel, I've read this year. Although beaten out in epic and craft terms by The Luminaries. But in historical terms, pretty unbeatable.

I should add that I 'read' the audio version of the book which is narrated by Simon Slater. Slater does an fantastic, perfect job of embodying all these characters which makes it terrific, compelling listening. (I understand that the new audio book is being voiced by Dan Stevens of Downtown fame.)

Next up on my reading list is Laline Paull's The Bees.


Friends With Kids [DVD]
Friends With Kids [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Hamm
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.75

4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good, funny film for adults, 27 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Friends With Kids [DVD] (DVD)
This film was v v funny, the opening 20 minutes are particularly funny and the dilemmas are probably recognisable by most people late 20's +. It is well written, very well acted. The lead male actor, who I've not seen in anything before (Adam Scott), is particularly brilliant. And Jennifer Westfeldt directs well from her own script whilst acting. Female Woody Allen???


Damages - Complete Season 1 and 2 [DVD]
Damages - Complete Season 1 and 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Glenn Close

5.0 out of 5 stars Masterclass in How to Write a Thriller, 21 Dec. 2012
This is a superb series, everyone: the writers, the directors, and the cast are at the top of their game. The best thriller series (as distinct from police procedural) I've seen on TV since Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy back in the 1970s. Glenn Close is a force to be reckoned with and there are breakout performances from Rose Byrne and Timothy Olyphant two actors prior to this I wouldn't have noticed in most other things. But who I would now watch in anything. Ted Danson is also superb and an asbsolute revelation as a serious dramatic actor. I highly recommend this series to anyone who is a thriller fan desperate for their next fix! Or as a gift for the thriller fan in your life.


The Da Vinci Code (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
The Da Vinci Code (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many coincidences mar a potentially amazing film, 21 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first rule of writing...and police work...is there's no such thing as coincidence. Well, someone needs to tell Akiva Goldsman and Dan Brown this. This is potentially a terrific conspiracy thriller, marred by the fact that in a cast of about four principals they all end up in the same house together. I liked Tom Hanks in this. First time I think I've ever seen him play a normal person and not some sap in a romantic froth of a film. I would recommend the film to viewers, but with the health warning that it's not meant to be serious and if it were, the writers should have done a far more imaginative job with the plot!!!

The DVD extras that come with this edition were very interesting and include interviews with the screenwriter, the director and all the stars of the film including Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Audrey Tatou, Tom Hanks and Paul Bettany.


The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers
by Patrick deWitt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a talent, 19 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Sisters Brothers (Paperback)
I picked this book up as it was about to be remaindered in Waterstones...which says everything about that particular company! This is a stunning novel. Beautifully written. Sparseness and beauty on every page. Written by someone who loves language and knows how to use it without over-egging the pudding. Terrific characters. Beyond compelling duo the Brothers called Sisters which can't be said of every Western assassin. I can't imagine the majority of readers would be disappointed by this book, definitely worth a read and then pass it on to a friend: spread the joy!


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