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Lukens (Leamington Spa, UK)

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A Spot of Bother
A Spot of Bother
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot on!, 1 May 2008
This review is from: A Spot of Bother (Paperback)
After enjoying The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time so much, I was actually a little apprehensive when it came to reading Haddon's next novel for adults. It had a lot to live up to, and I was afraid it would fall short. It didn't.

I really enjoyed the pace of the book, with super-short chapters, bouncing from one character to another. Events build up fairly slowly towards the middle of the book, and then everything starts falling apart in a dramatic manner, and it had me so gripped that I couldn't put the book down until I'd finished.

I can't really say how it compares to his 'Curious Incident', as the two are quite different, and this one is definitely a book for adults. I'm not sure I enjoyed this quite as much as the first, but it was still an excellent read. It's also just the kind of book I like, with a good collection of characters, all suffering from their own problems as well as being affected by the problems of their family members. The book had a similar feeling to Jonathan Franzen's excellent The Corrections, but with something of a lighter feel to it.

What I enjoyed most about this book is how Haddon really seems to get inside people's heads, and writes things in such a simplistic manner yet conveys them so realistically. I felt this was particularly the case when writing about what people had dreamt whilst asleep; showing how nonsensical dreams can be in hindsight, whilst they seemed so real at the time.

A really lovely and enjoyable read, with some great humour, and some parts that will really make you cringe.

An Inconvenient Truth [DVD] [2006]
An Inconvenient Truth [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Al Gore
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £8.79

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fairly average documentary, 18 Mar. 2008
This documentary doesn't really tell you anything you didn't already know (unless you'd been hiding in a cave, or in denial), and doesn't repeat what you already knew in a particularly interesting manner.

It's perhaps good to watch as a reminder, if you'd started getting lazy about turning off your lights or mobile phone chargers, but I don't think it's going to persuade anybody who's not already convinced that action is needed, and is needed now; it might just help boost the actions of people who are already convinced.

I do have one major issue with the film though, and that is that far too much of it seemed to be about Al Gore, his life and childhood, and why he got involved in environmentalism, and his career as an environmentalist. It could have done without this in my opinion, as I'm not at all interested in learning more about Mr Gore. It also came across a bit like "well, you should have made me president, but you didn't, and now you're all doomed!!".

My one other problem with the film was that it offered little in the way of advice about what we can do to make a difference. It did have some suggestions during the end credits, but the fact that one suggestion was "If you believe in prayer, pray" kind of undermined the credibility of the other suggestions too.

Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan [2006] [DVD]
Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sacha Baron Cohen
Price: £3.00

6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear!, 17 Mar. 2008
It got a couple of laughs out of me, which is why it's not just getting one star; however, it really was quite uncomfortable viewing.

I'd always assumed the point of Borat was in tricking people into thinking he, and the Kazakh traditions he talks about, are real. The film, however, involved far too many scenes where there were no unknowing parties involved. I could only assume we, the audience, were supposed to be amused by his antics directly, and I, for one, was not.

The characteristics of Baron Cohens character, and the ludicrous Kazakh culture and traditions he's invented are not amusing in themselves. What is amusing is when he exposes people's ignorance by fooling them into thinking these things are real. The film did far too little of this, and was just, in my opinion, childish, silly, and uncomfortable to watch (and not in a good way).

I'd always wondered how well this format would transfer to a feature film - I never expected the result to be quite this bad.

Twenty Four Seven [DVD] [1998]
Twenty Four Seven [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Bob Hoskins
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £9.11

5.0 out of 5 stars I never knew Bob Hoskins could act!!, 3 Mar. 2008
OK, to be fair, I can't think of many films I've seen him in, and he was actually pretty good in 'Mrs Henderson Presents', but he really surprised me in this film.

I was half expecting him to make it a bit naff, despite having loved Shane Meadows' other films ('Dead Man's Shoes', 'A Room For Romeo Brass'), but no, it was right up there with the rest, and he did a really excellent job. I'd not really have imagined him playing such a dark and gritty role, but he did so excellently.

Bob aside, everyone else in the film was great too, and the filming and story were excellent.

A really great, moving, film.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2013 4:22 PM GMT

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters [2007] [DVD]
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt Maiellaro
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £4.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly stupid, yet stupidly brilliant, 3 Mar. 2008
If you take as a starting point the fact that the heroes are a packet of French fries, a wad of minced meat and a milkshake, then that should give you a rough idea of what to expect. To try and get more of an idea of what it is like, think of all the flash-backs and surreal events in Family Guy, and then imagine a whole film made up of such bizarreness yet somehow tied together with a (just about) coherent story line. If you think that sounds a good idea, then you'll love this film.

I fell in love with the ridiculous surrealism of the TV show that spawned this movie, so when I saw the movie was coming out, I just had to see it. I didn't know how well the format would hold up in a feature length film, but it was basically brilliant.

I guess you could just about consider this a super hero movie, and like many such movies it does have a kind of 'origins' theme to it. Other than that, it probably has little in common with anything else you've ever seen.

Little Norse Prince [DVD] [1968]
Little Norse Prince [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Isao Takahata
Price: £10.00

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shows its age, but still an enjoyable story, 5 Dec. 2007
Well, I say it shows its age, but I'm not really sure it does. It certainly looks a lot older than the other Ghibli films I have seen, but then it *is* a lot older than them, pre-dating Nausicaa Valley Of The Wind by a massive 16 years, and My Neighbour Totoro by *twenty years* - this film is almost 40 years old now!

When you consider that, then it really is actually amazing how little it has aged. OK, the animation is quite primitive in places, with big fight/battle scenes consisting of just panning round still images - but with the added sound effects, this still works remarkably well, and gives a good sense of the energy of the scenes.

Regardless of the animation, and how dated it does look, this is actually a very enjoyable tale. Its set in a world that is less magical than those of Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle, and very much has the feel of the worlds of Nordic legends. As ever with Ghibli Films, the world feels believable and you become captivated by it and the story.

This film tells a story in a much more traditional sense than other Ghibli films, and you can easily see this being a story that was passed down through the ages, told from parent to child, like many traditional legends. It's possibly also more suitable for younger children than some Ghibli films, as the story is less complex and easier to follow (due to the more traditional style of the story, and story telling); however, some of the scenes could frighten some children (though it's never as scary as Watership Down - it is scary in a similar way). If your children like legends or traditional fairy tales, then they would probably enjoy this film.

Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ivana Baquero
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.93

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly special film, 27 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I have to admit that I was ready to hate this film. I watched it because Mark Kermode had been so keen about it in his Film Review podcasts (he was really really keen about it), but I thought I was going to add it to my "Films Kermode was wrong about" list.

It didn't make the list.

I didn't hate it.

I loved it!!!

There's something special about this film, it has the same kind of magic that you find in Studio Ghibli films (Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, etc.), that just grabs you instantly, and doesn't let go. Even before anything has really happened you're drawn in to the magical world of this film, and you just stay there, trapped in the fantasy world it occupies.

There's then the other side of the film, the less magical, and more brutal, aspects; the real world parts, which are set in the Spanish Pyrenees towards the end of the Second World War, and which feature some incredibly brutal and graphical scenes. This is a fairy tail in many respects, but it's certainly not a film for children, and has some scenes that even some adults would find difficult to watch.

The special effects are brilliant, and just fit seamlessly into the film, with computer generated aspects being a lot less obvious than they still are in many films.

I'm always reluctant to watch fantasy films, as unless they are *really* good, I just find them annoying. This *was* really good, and I'm glad I took the risk and watched it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2008 2:35 PM GMT

Elektra [2005] [DVD]
Elektra [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Garner
Price: £3.98

0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worst of the recent Marvel movies, 23 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Elektra [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
Well, it is in my opinion (though that is just of the ones I've seen, obviously, which currently excludes the Fantastic 4 movies).

Whilst I am a bit of a Marvel comics fan, Elektra isn't a character who I know at all, and the only time I've come across her before was in Daredevil (probably the 2nd worst). As such, I can't comment on how true it is to the comics.

I did, however, find the whole concept a bit weak. It seemed a little unfair that Elektra, a hero without any real super-powers, and just with some serious martial arts training, was pitted against super-powered demons (I think they were demons, I didn't really follow the story all that well).

It also seems that Elektra likes hanging out with blind people with amazing martial arts skills, and I was rather confused for a while, thinking 'Stick' was an aged Daredevil, whereas Elektra hadn't aged at all.

I was kind of confused by the whole film really - I guess this is partly because I didn't know the comic beforehand, but the film should really cover everything it needs to for you to follow it.

There's also a lot of the plot I found rather annoying, such as her "agent" basically volunteering to die, for little reason, and even though it actually aided the "bad guys" rather than slowing them down (which should have been obvious to Elektra). Also, Stick was so annoying, it was unbelievable that anyone put up with him.

The whole concept was also similar to Batman Begins or Kill Bill, where someone sees their parent(s) killed, goes off to train in martial arts, then starts kicking butt.

Creep [DVD]
Creep [DVD]
Dvd ~ Franka Potente
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.91

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of like 'The Descent' - only rubbish!, 22 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Creep [DVD] (DVD)
I remember seeing a trailer of this, and thinking it looked a bit like a rip-off of 'The Descent' (although, looking at IMDB, it seems it may have come out first). Still, I really liked 'The Descent', and this looked pretty scary too, so I logged it in my memory as a film I'd not mind watching.

Yesterday I finally got around to watching it, and was rather disappointed. I think the most enjoyable moment in the film was recognising the voice of "that bloke from Spatz" coming along a dark tunnel.

A little way into the film, I made a comment along the lines of "I hope she isn't the main character, as she's a bit rubbish" - unfortunately she was.

As it had seemed in the trailer, the creature living in the underground tunnels was vaguely similar to those in 'The Descent', only a lot lot less scary. The audience is also shown suggestions of a back-story to how this creature has come to live there - but annoyingly never enough to really make sense of anything (although, I possibly just didn't care enough to put any thought into it).

There's a fair amount of blood and gore, but it's never really all that scary, and it's generally all a bit too obvious what is going to happen next. It does build anticipation a little, but not much. The story is generally a little silly too, as it is pretty inconceivable in this day of high surveillance levels, with CCTV everywhere that a) someone would get locked in an underground station (although, saying that, I did almost get locked in one, in Budapest), or b) that this creature would go unnoticed.

A Good Woman [DVD]
A Good Woman [DVD]
Dvd ~ Helen Hunt
Price: £4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe would have worked better as a TV series, 19 Oct. 2007
This review is from: A Good Woman [DVD] (DVD)
I found this a bit of a "meh" film. Watchable enough, but nothing to really grab you. Fairly slow moving, and that's mostly because not really much happened.

In many ways it felt a bit like a TV drama, or soap even, where different characters' lives crossed paths with each other, and I was kind of left with a felling that if you'd got to know the characters a bit more, and spent a bit more time with them, then it may have been a bit better. So I feel it could have worked better as a TV series, broken down into several episodes, and extended to give more background and depth to the characters and story.

As it was, there wasn't really much depth to the characters, so I didn't really have any feelings for any of them, and most of them didn't really seem very believable. Whether this was just because there wasn't time in the film to develop the characters, or was actually due to a poor script or bad casting, is another matter. I think certainly in the case of Helen Hunt, it was was down to bad casting. Her character, as other reviewers have said, just wasn't believable. I just didn't buy into the idea of her being a serial seductress, wooing rich and handsome men around the world.

I found it perfectly enjoyable whilst watching it, but it didn't leave any lasting impression on me, and I'd not go out of my way to watch it again.

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