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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Film Review Man of Steel

Synopsis

A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extra stellar origin when Earth is invaded by members of his own race.


My Musings

I am a huge fan of Superman. Always loved the dynamic of Louis and Clark Kent and his alter ego Superman. I was initially concerned when they cast Henry Cavill as Superman in this latest edition but the good news is that he is great in it. He has sensitivity, emotion and toughness. What it lacked was proper direction. I realise they were trying to get away from the iconic original and put their own stamp on it but the film has a very fragmented feel to it. Jumping from past to present to set up Superman's back story which has a very jerky feel to it. It never allows the characters and relationship to develop. This film has no Lex. The baddy is Zod and even though it was clever to focus on his alien heritage more that the human story i felt it was an excuse for too many special effects. Russell Crowe who plays Superman's dad adds suitable gravitas and it was great seeing him in some great action scenes. Again though the action was far too frenetic. it was so fast you didn't really get to see the fight. I did enjoy but unfortunately it lost me at the end. the action  sequences at the end were over extended. There was no chemistry between Louis, played by the brilliant Amy Adams and Superman and I really missed the story of their growing relationship. It just started and that's that. I would like to see a second just for Henry but he should bee allowed more screen time for his acting rather than whizzing around like a demented fly. Superman can fly really fast and through things. we get the puncture we don't need to see it over and over.
Oh and there is no humor which has always been a part of superman. but that's ok. Now their hare bringing out Superman V Batman.
I have a sinking feeling.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Book Review Cowgirl by G R Gemin

Synopsis

Growing up on the embattled Mawr Estate in South Wales, all Gemma sees are burglaries, muggings, sadness and boredom. With a dad in prison and a mum who has given up hope, she, like everyone around her, is holding on to memories of the times when happiness wasn’t so hard to find.
When her search for the scene of a perfect childhood day takes her up into the surrounding hills, Gemma is forced into a meeting with the legendary Cowgirl. Everyone at school knows she’s a weirdo: six foot tall and angry, the only conversations she has are with the twelve cows on her dad’s farm. But with her abrupt arrival in Gemma’s life, everything starts to look different. And with her only friends in mortal danger of the abbatoir, it turns out she and Gemma have a mission on their hands. A gently funny story of a community coming together, this is a tale of happy endings in unexpected places.

My Musings

I wasn't sure what to expect from such an unusual premise, I certainly didn't love the title but after reading this charming book I totally understand!  It is definitely in the same vein as The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters. (Another lovely book) Someone at Nosy Crow obviously has a soft spot for books featuring farms, but I am not complaining!

It tackles many issues through an unlikely friendship between Gemma, who grows up on  a rough estate and who's dad is in prison, and Kate daughter of local farmer about to sell her beloved cows.
Through Gemma's grandma they form a bond over saving her small herd and it has far reaching consequences for them and the rough neighborhood. It a story about not judging people, community spirit and most importantly friendship. I really loved it . An easy read dealing with the harsher side of life with a very light touch.
Also lots of interesting information about milking cows. You will become rather attached to the herd!!
Will look forward to more by this author.


Suitable for 9+

Most memorable quote
" Your as useless as a bull's teat"

For more reviews
CowGirl on GoodReads

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Film Review Le Week-end


Synopsis

A British couple return to Paris many years after their honeymoon there in an attempt to rejuvenate their marriage.

My Musings

Oh Dear, and I was really looking forward to a pretty escapist film set in Paris with two actors I greatly admire, Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan. How wrong I was. Yes Paris looked gorgeous but the story centers on a couple going away for a weekend and their underlying problems. And boy do they have problems. It is an uncomfortable film from the start. The wife played by Duncan, is obviously bored and dissatisfied while her husband is trying to do his best but keeps getting it wrong. The film racks up the underlying tension to such an extent I felt really anxious watching it!! If this was supposed to in the Exotic Marigold Hotel mold they totally missed the point. There was no laughter, no light relief. No pretty pictures of Paris could make up for what should have been a light comedy of manners and family issues but instead was unsympathetically self indulgent. I have to say I stopped watching it after they got to the party of a friend, Jeff Goldblum. I just couldn't watch anymore so I suppose this is not a true review as I never got to the crux of the film. And I really don't care.

If your looking for film that deals with issues with a light touch in beautiful places try

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel- A classic ensemble cast set against India
Ladies in Lavender- Beautifully directed by Charles Dance starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
Calender Girls- Classic bitter sweet comedy beautifully and sensitively filmed starring Julie Walters
Quartet- Set in a home for elderly musicians with Maggie Smith. Not her best but very charming.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona- One of the best of Woody Allen set in Barcelona with Xavier Bardem and Scarlett Johanseen

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Book Review Banished by Liz De Jager

Banished by Liz De Jager

Synopsis

Sworn to protect, honour and slay. Because chaos won’t banish itself…

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s encountered her unorthodox cousins and their strange lives. And her home-schooling now includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies. As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love

My Musings

This should have been addictive. It's got all the ingredients I love. Strong female heroine, romance, Machiavellian plots galore but.... I felt it needed more editing , that it needed going over again. The descriptions of the characters by Kit were bland, " good cheekbones" for eg. It just didn't have bite. and enough meat to it. I also found the dialogue , especially from Kit, really irritating, immature and consistently not right for the situations she found herself in. I venture that someone younger may like it? It has certainly had heaps of praise so feel rather out on a limb giving it this sort of a review. 
This was no Wicked Lovely or City of Bones which it has been compared to . I felt it was more like the excellent Changeling series by Steve Feasey which is targeting a younger audience. ( And by the way is BRILLIANT)  
It is a shame as Banished has great potential in the twisting plot and I loved some of the secondary characters especially the werewolf Aiden. I just felt there was no fire.
It's OK but with such seriously stiff competition out there I am very surprised it has had the positive coverage that it has had. I actually feel that I am being a real killjoy writing this but I do have to be truthful to myself. It's clearly not for everyone.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Review One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond

Synopsis


If journalist Anna had to write up the story of her own life, it wouldn’t make for a great headline: Dull Journo Has Dull Boyfriend! The only mystery in Anna’s life is that she’s never known who her dad is but with her mum refusing to tell her more she’s at a dead end. When she accidentally comes across a clue that her father is Italian, it opens up a burning curiosity in Anna. Soon she’s cooking Italian food, signing up for an Italian class and even considering dusting off her passport to go and find her dad in person…
Sophie is serving gelato to tourists in Italy when she gets the call that her father has had a serious heart attack. In a rush, she grabs her well-worn backpack and heads back to the one place she’s been avoiding for so long – home. Living with her mum again while her dad recuperates, and taking a job teaching Italian to make ends meet, Sophie has to face up to the secrets she’s kept buried in the past.
Catherine has no idea what the future holds. Her children have left for university, her husband has left her for another woman and her bank account is left empty after dedicating her life to raising her family. She needs a job and an identity all of a sudden. At an Italian evening class she makes a start in finding new friends Anna and Sophie. And she’s going to need good friends when she discovers her husband’s lies run even deeper than his infidelity…
As Anna embarks on the trip to Italy that could answer all of her questions, will the truth live up to her dreams?

My Musings


Reading one of Lucy Diamond's books is like drinking a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and this is no exception. Rich, satisfying and a bit naughty. This story has many different layers, it is not just a romance it is so much more. The three central characters, Catherine, Sophie and Anna,  all have to deal with completely different situations which will appeal across the board. Betrayal, insecurityand loss are balanced with new love and new friendships. Sophie has unresolved issues with her parents and struggles to find her place in life. Catherine is recovering for a double whammy of deception with her husband and Sophie is coming to terms with her past and needs help to forge her future. These three diverse ladies forge strong friendships in their italian language class that cannot be broken and are much needed.

 Lucy is so clever at taking an eclectic mix of complex characters and weaving them into an entertaining story that carry's you along at a rollicking pace. There is laughter,tears and romance and what I really enjoyed seeing was the transformation of the three women overcoming hurdles and keeping going.

 The motto for this book should be 

"If my ship sails from sight, it doesn't mean my journey ends, it simply means the river bends.”

A really great enjoyable read. I know this falls into the chick lit bracket but sometimes I feel the label undermines a book that has more to offer, which this definitely does.

One of her best!!



If you like this you might like

Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond and any other by Lucy Diamond!!