Thursday, May 31, 2007
This is the first German film I have watched. There is something about subtitles that puts me off, my eyes are very bad and I find reading in cinemas gives me a headache. I am getting better though and I just arm myself with painkillers beforehand just in case of emergency!
Anyway getting back to the film. It followed a member of the Stasi in East Germany during the time that the Berlin Wall was still in place. They were the secret police and spied on people to check that they were supporting their governing system (much like in the famous "1984"). He is charged with observing a play-write because a minister is in love with his girlfriend. As time passes, he becomes more and more involved in their lives without their knowing. The decision comes down to him secretly helping the couple evade the Stasi, or giving them up and furthuring his career.
This was an excellent film. Beautiful, intelligent and horrifying by turns, it seemed like "1984" had been brought to life. I can see why it won an Oscar. Ulrich Muhe was brilliant as Stasi spy Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler with Martina Gedeck (Christa-Maria Sieland) and Sebastian Koch (Georg Dreyman) giving excellent performances as well.
****1/2 out of 5.
I went to see this mostly because of the two lead actors, Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter. This film follows two people who meet at a wedding reception, the sexual tension is palpable from the beginning. As the story unfolds it turns out that they have a shared past.
The most interesting aspect of this film was that the whole thing was shown in a split screen, like you had both sides of the story from the main characters. It also used the second screen to show flash backs to the past when they had known each other previosuly. It worked really well and gave the story an interesting perspective.
The actors were both excellent and you really believed them in their roles. The story was also very believable, I am sure many of us have felt similar desires when an ex has been involved.
It's not the kind of film I would suggest rushing to the cinema for, but I would definately recommend renting the DVD when it comes out. More of a chick-flick although there are enough topless shots to keep the boys entertained!
**** out of 5 for me.
Paper or plastic?
Booking Through Thursday
Do you read e-Books?
If so, how? On your computer, or a PDA?
Or are you a paper purist? Why?
I have to say I have never read an ebook. I find if I stare at a computer screen for too long gives me a headache which makes them a no-no for me. I haven't tried reading on a smaller screen like a PDA or iPod yet. I am not too bad playing games on hand-held consoles like a Nintendo DS or PSP so it might work out.
I am a bit of a paper purist anyway. I like the look, feel and smell of books. The way they feel in my hand, the rustle of the pages as I turn them which works really well with older books. I am also a bit of a hoarder and I like to accumulate books and have shelves full of them! I would be the worst Buddhist ever...
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
This was possibly the scariest book I have ever read. Where 1984 is scary as it is what we could become, this is scary because it is what we are. It shows the human boys as beasts and stresses that this nature is contained within us all just waiting for the right circumstances to come out. I associated the most with Simon and his need to be able and understand what was really happening. I also felt for Ralph and it was painful to watch his struggle to maintain his human side and not give in like the others did or were forced to. The most interesting point was that Ralph and Jack started off so similar and in the end became ruled by completely different passions.
Very well written, this is essential reading. I believe it will stand the test of time and remain a classic.
***** out of 5
Monday, May 28, 2007
The third installment in this blockbuster series. It picks up where Dead Mans Chest left off in Singapore where Elizabeth, Will and Barbossa have been charged with finding Captain Jack Sparrow by sailing over the edge of the world. All the old faces are reunited with the addition of Chow Yun-Fat as one of the Pirate Lords Captain Sao Feng.
The plot thickens when the pirate song is sung and the nine Pirate Lords are called to meet up bringing the nine Pieces of Eight. Davy Jones is under the command of Lord Cutler Beckett and he has neglected his job to ferry the souls of those who die at sea to the next life, Beckett also has command over Norrington and Governer Swan (Elizabeth's father). The Pirate Lords have to decide whether to free Sea Goddess Calypso bringing her chaos back to the seas after Davy Jones imprisoned her in a human body. Can Jack be trsuted to help them or is he (as usual) working towards his own end?
Yes the film was stupidly complicated. I gave up somewhere in the middle trying to figure out who was being a traitor to who and why and what was going on. It suffered a little from Spiderman 3 syndrome with too many villians spoiling the broth. There was still lots of cheesy moments but a couple of darker twists and turns kept it from being too sappy. They could have done more with Calypso who looked scary and then disappeared. There were some good fight scenes and some very funny bits (mixed in with very surreal...) especially with Jack "hang on I've dropped me brain".
Worth seeing in the cinema to get the full impact of the sound and screen, but take a cushion as it's very long. Better than Dead Man's Chest, but still has nothing on Black Pearl.
*** out of 5
Friday, May 25, 2007
I finished this today which I will iron and frame so I can give it as a present. Alex's cousin has about another month or two until she gives birth and this will hopefully go on the babies wall. It's not gender specific as I have no idea whether she is having a girl or boy! Hopefully they will like it and the baby has sweet dreams looking at it.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I have now completed my 5 books for the Once Upon a Time Challenge (and a month early too!). They were:
1. Moon Called - Patricia Briggs
2. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
3. Night Watch - Terry Pratchett
4. Ancestors of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley & Diana L Paxson
5. The Blue Girl - Charles de Lint
This is the first challange I have completed this year and it feels good!
The last book in the Avalon series that was rewritten by Diana L Paxson after Marion Zimmer Bradley died back in 1999. It follows Micael and Tiriki who are married and live in Atlantis, the fabled island that fell beneath the sea. They are a prince and princess as well as a priest and priestess who are prophesised to survive the fall of Atlantis and build a new temple to pass down the ancient wisdom.
When Atlantis falls they become separated and leave on different ships not knowing if the other is alive or dead. Micail lands with a group of settlers to form Stonehenge and Tiriki finds times harder becoming the Morgan in Avalon in Glastonbury in the Summer Country. Destined to become enemies, the question is whether they will find each other and reunit before the Sun Wheel is finished...
This was a beautiful book which spent time focusing on the birth of Goddess worship in this country. The secondary characters were well written and it was interesting to see the birth of Merlin as well of Morgan to continue the Avalon myths. Although it was written by Paxson, I would still recommend it to fans of the series as it completes the tale nicely. It was well written and absorbing.
**** out of 5
Booking Through Thursday
Here’s an idea from Julie:
I had an idea for a BTT question when I was taking a peek at one of my bookcases yesterday and spotted my old copy of the Aeneid in Latin sitting there. Maybe this question has already been done—but if not… Do you have any foreign language books and if so can you (still) read them?
To be completely honest, no I don't. Languages are not my strong point by any stretch of the imagination. I used to have one French book (I think it was a children's copy of Heidi) back when I was learning it in school, but I gave it away when I realised my brain just can't cope with that sort of learning. I often wish I was better as I think it's a really useful skill and also it shows respect when you are visiting places and at least have a go. My mum and sister are both really good at picking up new languages and art, but I am good at science instead. The language gene must have missed me out, along with the geography and art genes sadly...
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
This is the first book I have read by Charles de Lint after having him recommended to me some time ago by an online friend. It's a modern fairy tale similar to work by Neil Gaiman and Holly Black, which follows 17 year old Imogene. She was brought up in a hippie commune before moving into more normal society where she got into a lot of trouble in school (gangs, underage sex, drink, drugs etc). She has now moved to Newford with her mother and brother and is looking to make a fresh start and leave her troubles behind.
She befriends Maxine, another girl who suffers from bullying like Imogene does from "The Doll People" (cheerleaders and jocks essentially) and they strike up a powerful friendship. Things however become complicated when local ghost Adrian falls in love with Imogene, fairies get involved and Imogene's childhood imaginary friend Pell-Mell "Pelly" show up.
I really loved this book. It covered the Otherworld really well as well as stressing the importance of friendship and that friends are the family you choose for yourself. It also looks at not judging people based on their looks, dress sense or other pre-concieved ideas. I will certainly be reading more by this author and recommend him to all lovers of fantasy and fairies.
****1/2 out of 5
This was a film following the on-going case to find the real life "Zodiac" killer who began his killing spree in America in the 1960's. It stars Jake Gyllenhal as comic strip artist Robert Greysmith who refused to give up searching for the killer, Robert Downey Jr as Paul Avery Crime Reporter for the newspaper Greysmith works for and Mark Ruffalo as Inspector David Toschi.
Most of the film was spent bringing to life old case reports and files of the events from the 60's and 70's. Downey Jr was great in his role of boozing and drug taking reporter, although I felt it wasn't really a stretch for him as I have seen him play this type of character again and again. The other two leads acted well and the film was quite good at building suspense.
Overall however I wouldn't rate it very high. It clocked in at 158mins and never really seemed to get anywhere. I know this is partly because the case is still open, but still for sitting through so long a film i wanted something at the end...
A low ** out of 5
Sunday, May 20, 2007
While all this is going on Spiderman also becomes infected with the black slime and has an image transformation to a black Spiderman suit and emo style fringe! He tries to make Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) jealous with Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) and dances around a lot. Of course MJ gets caught up in the middle of more than one superhero/super villian battle and the race is on for Spiderman to save her.
This film focuses on inner demons and battling against them. To be honest I didn't enjoy it all that much. It was too much storyline packed in to one movie. There was no need for so many villians and I felt that nothing was really looked at in detail. It was good to watch to complete the trio so far, but not one I will be making an effort to watch again.
**1/2 out of 5
Saturday, May 19, 2007
A film staring the guys from Peepshow Robert Webb, Karl and David Mitchell, Harry (also from the Mac and PC ads!). It follows two magicians after Harry's wife is killed in the middle of their act when a guillotine trick goes wrong and her head is cut off... Doubt is cast over whether or not it was accidental as just prior to the performance Harry had caught her in a very comprimising position with his best friend Karl.
Both stop working together and go on to lead their seperate lives until Harry decides to enter a magic competition and calls Karl to see if he will reform their act to win the prize of £20,000. Things don't go quite to plan and they end up entering seperately with new acts and new assistants.
I was expecting something a lot better to be honest. It wasn't funny enough or clever enough for my tastes. Granted there were some good lines, but most were shown on the trailer for it. Crude and little substance, I didn't fall for it's tricks.
**1/2 out of 5
They make up an imaginary world called Terabithia where they can escape the school bullies and rule the land themselves. They keep it free from the Dark Lord and his minions.
It was a beautiful film which honestly made me cry in the cinema. It was quite embarassing as it was a kids film and everyone else was either a kid or a parent! It reminded me a little of Pans Labrynth which has a similar theme running through it (a young girl escapes her reality into a fairy tale world), although a lot less violent. The focus was more on the friendship between the two children rather than the fairies. Definately one I will be getting on DVD so I can watch it again and again!
A strong **** out of 5
Friday, May 18, 2007
Tonight we went to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. I have watched his show a couple of times and was interested to see him because he is a fantastic pianist. It's fun to go to gigs sometimes when the music is a bit different from what you usually listen to.
I have to say, we both really enjoyed our evening (me more so being more musical and having played paino, violin, guitar, bass guitar and oboe when I was younger). The music was outstanding and the atmosphere was great. I got some very odd looks from the man sitting next to me though. We were younger than most people there (23 and 28) and I have a lot of piercings, it's a shame as judging someone by their outward appearence to that degree is pathetic.
He started the show with more blues inspiried numbers which focused on his piano skills with solos from the different sections of the (mostly brass) backing band/orchestra. The second part was more upbeat that you could boogie to with a couple of excellent singers. I texted my dad and Alex's dad saying they should definately go and see him another time as I think they would both really enjoy his style.
An excellent night which really highlighted my love of all different types of music. It's not the sort of show I would go to often, but I definately recommend catching him if he is near you and you like a bit of blues and swing.
**** out of 5
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Bookless May 17, 2007
It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.” What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again?
Nothing in the house? That will never happen! I have over 1400 books and have about 800 or so to read... I do have the problem though that sometimes when I finish a book I don't know what to read next. It happens more often when I have been reading a long series of books and I finish the last one. I have that "oh what now?" feeling. I scan my shelves and nothing leaps out at me.
The best cure is to have a day or two before starting something new. I can get the series out of my head and make room for something new. The other way to help jump start my reading is to read something in a completely different genre from the previous book or series. If all else fails there is the option of re-reading a book I loved in the past. This gets me enjoying what I am reading again and fires me up to try something I haven't read before.
Like everyone I sometimes go through phases where I stop reading for a while, but it never lasts too long. I have always loved reading and I derive great pleaseure from it, so ultimately it's easy enough to get the reading wheels turning again :)
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I have been looking forward to seeing this since I first heard it was going ahead. We decided to go and see it today as it was our one year wedding anniversary yesterday and it wasn't being performed on Monday's. We paid for the second price tickets as they are reduced with it being on preview for a few weeks.
It's a hard musical to review. As musicals go, it was aweful. The songs weren't memorable (being that they were Tolkien's poetry I guess it isn't surprising), I can't hum a single tune and I only got home frmo seeing it an hour ago. Gandallf was awful, he talked too fast and just didn't seem to have got into the role. Galadriels costume was terrible, she looked like Shirley Bassey or someone... They also missed out a lot of the plot like the Rohirrin, Tom Bombadil, Worntongue, Faramir and it jumped around a fair bit. The elves were laughable in general. When they spoke they did a sort of sign language which had me giggling and imitating it. Oh and the Balrog looked like a big bat...
On the plus side, the set was truely amazing and visually it was a stunning piece of theatre. The lighting likewise. The movements and dance of the ensemble and the way they danced/acted the battles was beautiful. The Orcs and Gollum were particularly impressive. A couple of the songs were really beautiful, particularly one that Sam and Frodo did by themselves. Shelob was very cool as well as the Black Riders with their steeds and the Ents with their stilts, I loved the way they were brought to life and done to such great scale.
Overall, I would recommend seeing it for yourself. It's long and the seats are uncomfortable so be warned. Try viewing it as a theatre production rather than a musical.
* out of 5 as a musical
**** out of 5 as a performance
Monday, May 14, 2007
This is another piece I started last year and then put to one side. I finished it this morning as all I had left to do was the black outline. It needed to be done in natural light as it was impossible to see otherwise! It has more French knots which I think look ok.
I am keeping this one and will put it up once it has been framed. It took such a long time to do as it was really intricate.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
I completed this today after working on it for about a year on and off. The French Knots were a right bugger, but I was not to be defeated...! It needs ironing and framing before I can give it to my Mother-In-Law for her birthday at the beginning of July. I hope she appreciates all the work it took.
The picture isn't great as I took it on my mobile phone, but hopefully you can appreciate the detail and blending of colours.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I found this over at Marg's blog Reading Adventures. I scored Carrot Ironfounderson:
You are Captain Carrot Ironfounderson of the City Watch in the greatest city on the Disc Ankh-Morprok! A truly good natured, honest guy, who knows everyone, and is liked by all. Technically a dwarf, but only by adoption. You'd rather not be reminded that you are the true heir to the throne, but that does explain why people naturally follow your orders.
To take it go to:
Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics) created with QuizFarm.com
Friday, May 11, 2007
Today has been a pain in the foot! I was flying round the flat this morning and scared the cat. We both tried to go through the same door at the same time. I tried to not step on her (which I did anyway) and banged two of my toes really badly. This caused the door to close and my momentum carried me forward into banging the same two toes again. One was just stubbed but the other has been really sore all day (if you saw someone limping around Camden it was me!) and when I was able to take my shoe and sock off to take a look it is swollen and very badly bruised. Coupled with the fact I can't move it I have either fractured it or broken it. I am off to get some ice and then will make a splint for it later.
Luckily my lovely husband bought me the beautiful pink roses below in a gesture to say "Happy Thursday" which I am able to look at from my sulking position on the sofa...
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Ask Not Where, But Where Not?
Booking Through Thursday
So, judging by last week’s answers, apparently the question I should have been asking was:
Where DON’T you read??
This is a difficult question! I don't think there are many places I wouldn't read. I am sometimes relucant to read in the bath as I dropped a book once which wasn't pretty... I also don't read in cars (although other modes of transport are usually ok) as it makes me travel sick. It used to be a lot worse, but I am still very careful especially on longer journeys.
To be honest I can't think of anywhere else I wouldn't read. I can often be found curled up in a corner on the floor somewhere impractical with a book balanced on my knees reading. I have an ability to make myself comfortable wherever I am and am not shy about looking a bit out of place or odd squashed into weird places! I get some funny looks, but what do I care? I will never see most of those people again anyway so what does it matter what they think of me?!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
On Self Understanding:
His own illustrations are beautiful and work really well in black and white. This is definately a book I will be reading again and referring back to for inspiration.
**** out of 5
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
I have just got back from a couple of days away with mu husband. We drove to Glastonbury late Friday night to stay in a lovely little B&B just outside the town centre. On Saturay we visited Glastonbury Abbey, Chalice Well and we did lots of shopping. My aunt and uncle live in Devon and they drove down to meet us for the day and we got to show them around some of the main sites.
On Sunday we left after another delicious breakfast and decided to visit Cadbury Castle on the way home. It's more just an open bit of grassland up a big hill where an ancient Hill Fort used to be. There were beautiful views from the top and the atmosphere was magical. Afterwards we decided to extend our trip further and drive to Winchester (the other possible site of Camelot) and stopped off at Figsbury Rings which was another ancient fort. It was a grass circle wall surrounding a circular grass moat. It made for a fun pit-stop!
Winchester was a lovely town, lots of old Tudor style buildings and Medieval bits and pieces. We went to the Catheadral first which had Jane Austin's grave, lots of Green Men carved around the interior and some amazing stained glass inside. Then we went to the Great Hall and saw the Round Table with the Knights names painted on it. It doesn't date back to Camelot, but still it is about 600 years old which is pretty cool. Then of course there was more shopping (I bought so many books this weekend!) before driving the rest of the way back to dull, grey London... See photos below.
Glastonbury Tor (in the distance):
One of the Glastonbury Holy Thorn Trees around the local area, said to have grown when Joseph of Arimathea planted his staff in the ground when he arrived:
A statue in the Glastobury Abbey grounds:
A duck in the duck pond in the Abbey grounds:
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Booking Through Thursday
No, not THAT kind of R.I.P.
Reading. In. Public.
Do you do it? Why or why not?
I do it all the time, mostly on the train or when waiting for someone. Or in a restaurant. Or at the doctors. Or waiting for a film to start at the cinema. Or inbetween meetings at work. Anywhere really!
It doesn't bother me to read in front of other people, why would it? How else would I fit in time to read books like Don Quixote (still struggling through it very very slowly...) and Anna Karenina? I enjoy reading as well so of course I will do it at every available opportunity. There is no shame in reading people!!!
Don't forget they have moved sites now to here
Labels: his dark materials