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Monthly Archives: November 2012

 

When their father dies,  two streetwise orphans,  Bob and his sister Marie Claire (or the Rat, as he likes to call her),  leave their hometown of Winnipeg and go in search for their Uncle Jerome in New York, having no idea where he lives and no one to accompany them around the huge city.

Luckily for them, the Rat’s straightforward, dramatic and ruthless nature earns them lots of friends and keeps away potential enemies as they make their way around the city,  sleeping in parks, running from strange men and showering in local swimming pools.

Even when it seems that nothing could be more dangerous than being unprotected on the streets on New York, something always happens to make you think otherwise. The Rat’s scary fits and visions make them even more vunerable. It seems like they are magnets for trouble!

I loved this book because it’s real life- very different from the fantasy, vampire or dystopian worlds which is what a lot of people concentrate on now. It’s gritty, edgy and every sentence is unexpected. The description is so vivid that you can visualise everything that happens. It’s also dark, mysterious and often scary.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to go for books which are out of the box, or even if you’re not, I suggest you read this book. After I had finished it, I realised it had changed my view of life.

Genre: Realistic / road story

Estimated reading age: Eleven +

Price on Amazon: Paperback £5.19, £4.27 for Kindle edition.

Author: Gregory Hughes

Main characters: The Rat (Marie Clare), Bob, Ice, Joey, Tommy

Rating: ★★★★★ A beautiful moving story of a road trip and two children who will stay in your head forever.

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Georgia’s father is travelling around Europe, and she’s always excited when she gets a postcard from him, but soon she realises that something isn’t quite right. In every picture he send her, a shadowy figure looms in the background. Internet research leads her to believe that is an alp (a trickster spirit) and that it is following her father. So when he announces that he is coming home, she knows that the shadow will be with him. And there seems to be no way to stop it.

I really liked this episode, especially the twist bits, like when Georgia wakes up from a nightmare to see some freaky dolls, and then it turns out that that’s a nightmare as well. I like the scenes with Mailman Tim as well, but the red eyes that were pasted onto people’s faces were really unrealistic and the shadow wasn’t actually that scary until the last bit… when it was. Normally the Haunting Hour is a lot scarier so I was a bit disappointed, because I’m too chicken to watch The Hole or The Apparition so I have to make do with this. It is normally REALLY good, and this time I felt like the plot hadn’t been thought through too much, and the only good actor in it was Mackenzie Foy- all the rest looked like they were acting in a pantomime.

All the same I would recommend it if you want to watch something with your siblings or your family… and also this is a good episode for me to watch at sleepovers with my friends, since they are nearly all terrified of dolls and clowns so it is too scary for them. To be honest I’m scared of them too, but I enjoy the Haunting Hour so much that I don’t care!

TRAILER:

Genre: Realistic / fantasy / horror

Director: Ken Friss

Estimated watching age: Well… it does say seven and up but I was really scared so I would say nine and up.

Amazon price: Not on Amazon

Names of the people who play the main characters: Mackenzie Foy, Kurt Evans, Chris Gauthier, Johannah Newmarh

Rating: ★★★ Really good… ended at a good cliffhanger and some good ideas but not as scary as other Haunting Hours and the red eyes looked SO fake.


I went to see BDP2 on the 17th with my best friends, just one day after it came out. We’d been looking forward to it for months… actually for about a year, since we had realised that since it was the last Twilight film we would ever be able to see together in a cinema.

In BDP1, Bella nearly dies giving birth to her half human half vampire child Renesmee, daughter to vampire Edward Cullen. Just as her heart fails, Edward changes her into a vampire.

In BDP2, Bella starts her new life as a newborn vampire with two special talents- self control and a shield that she can stretch to protect other people as well as herself against vampire powers. Renesmee is growing at an accelerated rate and all the Cullens are worried that she is going to continue to. She is measured every day. There is also the problem that Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee and Bella thinks that it’s wrong.

Irina, a friend of the Cullens turned foe because her mate was killed by the Cullen’s friends the werewolves, and sees Renesmee (or Nessie, as Jacob calls her). She mistakenly thinks that Renesmee is a human child who has been bitten and transformed into a vampire by the Cullens, which the Volturi (vampire royalty) have made illegal owing to the damage that vampire  (or immortal) children have done in the past.

Irina reports it to the Volturi, as her own mother was killed by an immortal child and she still feels the loss. The Volturi decide destroy the Cullens for breaking a vampire law. To prove Renesmee is not an immortal child, the Cullens gather foreign vampire covens to act as witnesses to her growing and other obvious things which show that she is not a vampire. A battle follows. Either the Cullens will all die, or Renesmee will carry on growing at a dangerous rate and could be in serious danger. Or neither…

 

About two thirds of me completely loved this film for tying off the saga in a more than satisfactory way, and for reuniting me with all my favourite film characters, and being to only one I’ve seen in the cinema, and being an incredibly experience with my best friends. There are a million reasons why I love it, and I think that it was incredible, nearly perfect.

Once I had just got out of the cinema I was raving about it and it felt like the most amazing film ever, but after thinking about it for a while I’ve realised that it has a few faults, which as much I would not like to write I think I should since this is a review.

My favourite Twilight film was the first one, because it felt really fresh and original. If the first one was perfect, the second was amazing and the third was very good. The last two, compared to the books, didn’t totally live up to my (admittedly very high) expectations, growing more unrealistically perfect as they went along.

I felt like, since it was the last film, which is a very important thing for a lot of people, the director and producer could have tried a bit harder with it. The second half of the book is incredible but I felt like the script left out some of the best lines and although the actors acted the characters as well as they could they might have been getting a bit tired of the role after filming the same character for years. I felt that in the first few films the actors were close to their characters in a personal way and had their own particular ways of acting them, but for some reason that stopped in this film. I enjoyed it so much in a weird nostalgic way and it put me through a total emotional rollercoaster of memories.

OK, now for the faults.

 

To start with there was no character interaction, as in previous films. Everyone stood around in twos or threes, either in their family or in their couples, looking only at each other and hardly ever at anyone else. The groups didn’t really seem to interact. SInce the covens had come from places all over the world to help them, I felt that the Cullens talked to them remarkably little, and also since Bella was a new addition to the family they seemed to ignore her a bit.

I didn’t like the way it shows an easy, privileged, rich life to all it’s fans, who will either want it or already have it and take it completely for granted. Everyone looked like a model as well, and I know that vampires are supposed to be perfect and beautiful, but why would you dress in high heels in the deep snow for what you thought was going to be a battle?

And in the book, Bella comes back from her first hunt covered in blood with her dress ripped, but in this movie her make up and hair are perfect and she only has one small slit up her dress which has obviously been hemmed. It just seems a bit fake. I don’t think she was animal enough as a newborn- I know that her power is self control, but even so. The only place where she looked enough like an animal was when she was tracking an unfortunate hiker.

When Bella met Renesmee, and also when she met Charlie for the first time since the wedding, she just looked really human. She didn’t look as though she was trying not to kill them or wanted to drink their blood- she just looked really at ease. Charlie’s reaction to Jacob turning into a werewolf and his daughter turning into a fantasy character too.. and the fact that he suddenly has a grand daughter who looks three moths old even though Bella’s only been away for one was nowhere near dramatic enough either… he acts as though it’s totally normal.

Renesmee was also a big problem. She was CGI- a younger child’s body with Mackenzie Foy’s face pasted on which looked super creepy and unlovable, up until it was all Mackenzie Foy. I was a bit disappointed when it came to that bit because Mackenzie Foy is a very talented actress but Renesmee is really shy and speaks only about four times in the whole movie. I liked the bit where it shows the height chart and Renesmee is getting bigger and bigger, but every version looked totally different and even had different colour hair. The seventeen-year-old Renesmee was a seventeen-year-old body with Mackenzie Foy’s face pasted on again, which looked SO out of place. It was literally like someone had forgotten to correct lots of mistakes. I wish there was more Mackenzie-Renesmee in the movie though.

I think that Bella is very dismissive of her baby, as in the book she is completely in love with her but in the film she hardly ever seems to want to see her. I was building up lots of ideas of what scenes that were in the book would be like but most of them were cut out, and when Bella meets Nessie for the first time she doesn’t even seem very surprised- more like acceptant, but not delighted as she was in the book.

I thought that the Jacob and Bella fight scene was really good though, and Kristen Stewart’s acting was very good at that moment. I was SERIOUSLY glad that they kept one of my favourite lines in though- “You named my baby after the LOCK NESS MONSTER?!”

I really DO NOT want to give away the twist at the end because it was the suspense and having honestly no idea what was going to happen that made it good so I won’t say… You can find out for yourself! I would just like to say that most of the theatre was gasping and/or in tears!

The arm wrestle was SO good as well! They missed Renesmee’s cute little laugh at the end though :(

My other favourite scene is when Nessie is catching snowflakes with Jake and Bella and gets seen by Irina. It is a really adorable scene, and then you see Irina and you wonder why she doesn’t come over to talk to Bella, and you know that the happy families thing isn’t going to go on for much longer. I also loved when the Cullens and Jacob were trying to teach Bella to be more human. There was an extra line that was really good. Alice: Good. Jacob: For a cartoon character!

I LOVED Edward’s face when Bella is stronger than him!!!

I thought that the film started too quickly as well. The opening credits were beautiful, using photos of the reservation and the woods, as well as more abstract photos of snowflakes. They were really slow, with all the names of the actors in red or white, using the Twilight colour scheme. They were really beautiful, and I think that’s when I knew that the film was going to be amazing!

I did think that after the slow credits the film just went straight to the action, without doing a ‘Previously’ or a recap. Admittedly it’s probably only big Twilight fans who are going to see it, but if someone else does then they are going to have NO CLUE what is going on. Obviously I knew the story really well so I had no problems, but I explained it to my mum before hand and she still got confused. It is really the kind of film where you have to have at least watched Part One before. I loved the bit when Bella saw all the fibres in everything as she looked around with her new vampire eyesight, but that could have been longer too. I also liked how they did Bella’s shield, as it wasn’t like a cartoon transparent dome, just a subtle disturbance in the air.

The soundtrack was undeniably good, with one song by a cast member (Nikki Reed- Rosalie), a part two to the much loved ‘A Thousand Years’ and new songs from famous artists like Green Day and Ellie Goulding. Carter Burwell has written another beautiful score too.

I loved the recap at the end where Bella managed to push away her shield so that Edward can see her memories… it was the perfect finish.

I think that the film had too much to live up to and considering all the pressure, what came out at the end was REALLY good, despite missed favourite scenes from the book like Jake getting food in Rose’s hair and all the rubbish blonde jokes (I know that that was in the FIRST half of the book, not the second)… things like that would have brought it together.

There are many other good things about this film, which you will find out if you watch it. For Twilight fans, it is unmissable. For people who just want to see it for interest, read this review and then see what you think. Bear in mind that this is from someone who loves Twilight but has reviewed it fairly! Sorry that everything is all jumbled up and out of order… I just let the thoughts flow and was going to edit it at the end but by then it was too long!

Genre: Fantasy / romance / action

Estimated watching age: Twelve and up

Director: Bill Condon

Rating: ★★★★


Holly Berenson runs and owns a successful bakery and loves her job, and Eric Messer, who is nicknamed just plain ‘Messer’, is a technical television soccer director for Atlanta Hawks. He’s often late for his job or can’t make it to as place he’s supposed to be, whereas Holly is organised and takes pride in her job. they are both about as different as you can get. Their best friends Alison and Peter have a baby daughter, who they are both godparents to and love with all their hearts. Alison and Peter decide to set them up on a date, but as usual Messer is late and everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong. Holly makes Alison promise that she never has to see him again.

But when Alison and Peter both die in a car crash, Holly and Messer find out something terrible. They both have to look after Sophie forever… together. But with their intense dislike for each other and almost competitive love for Sophie, it seems unlikely that it’s ever going to work…

 

I loved this film. Everything that seemed like a coincidence led up to something important. One moment I was laughing and the next I was crying. There was just the right amount of time before Alison and Peter died to get you to feel attached to them and to notice their obsession with Sophie, and that meant that it was very moving when you found out that they had died.

It was obvious from the beginning that Messer and Holly were going to get together in the end, but there are countless twists and turns along the way, some of which make you think that it’s not going to happen after all and Sophie’s going to get sent off to an orphanage and there’s going to a sad ending. All the acting is really good and Sophie is adorable.

My favourite moment was when Sophie, after countless failed efforts from Holly to get her to eat her homemade gourmet baby food instead of crisps and things from jars, finally takes a mouthful and doesn’t spit it out. I think it’s small things like that that make you think how good a film is.

I highly recommend this film for everyone in the family or for sleepovers. It’s another one of those films that I want to watch again and again, and I know that I’m not going to get tired of it. This is a film to watch!

Genre: Realistic / comedy / tragedy

Estimated watching age: Twelve and up

Price on Amazon: £4.75 for normal DVD, £6.25 for Blu-Ray

Director: Greg Berlanti

Names of the people who play the main characters: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel

Rating: ★★★★★ One minute I was crying, the next I was laughing… very strong acting and script-writing.


This is the blurb for the book, which I found on the Small Blue Thing official website:

What would you do if you were able to speak to a ghost?

And what if you found yourself drawn to him like a magnet…

After meeting Callum in St Paul’s Cathedral, Alex realises that her mysterious new bracelet can somehow help her see ghosts. She can see Callum, she can talk to him and she can fall head-over-heels in love with him…

Callum is everything the boys at school are not – kind, attentive and romantic – but he’s trapped in limbo with no hope of escape. What future does their relationship have?

And who is Catherine? What is she trying to tell Alex about Callum, and about the secrets that he is keeping from her?

And what are the other secrets he hides from her?

I know that a book trailer doesn’t reflect on the actual book in any way, but if you are undesisve about a book you might want to read and decide to watch the trailer, it needs to draw you in. I watched the trailer after reading the book and hated it. The narrator’s voice didn’t fit at all with the storyline of the book and you never saw the faces of the people chosen to be Alex and Callum (not necessarily a bad thing), but the actor’s voices were completely emotionless as well. The trailer seemed to focus on the romance element of the story and not on the bit which initially drew me in, which was the whole drowning-people ghost-story thing. I also thought that the blurb was really bad.

I thought this book could have been amazing but that too much romance completely ruined it. The writing was quite good in most places but the romantic bits completely mirrored those of Twilight in a less convincing way. I did think that the idea of the Dirges was really good, and without the supernatural romance and with some more care taken over the description of the Dirges (ghost people who drowned in the river) and where they lived it could have been a spine-chilling ghost story. I thought that the head of the Dirges could have been a lot more menacing and a lot less kind, because he was more like an indulgent father figure than a leader, and that wrecked the spooky image I had of where they lived.

I would not read the sequel, purely because I think that it would be exactly the same as the first book. I actually did read a bit of it that was at the back of the first book and it seemed quite good, but even so I would not read itl because I think that a book like Small Blue Thing should not be the first of a series that has the potential to go on and on in the same way.

If you like romance or this particular genre of young adult books then I would read this book. I know that lots of other people enjoy it so this is just my view, but I think that my age is the kind of age it is aimed at, and the book did not appeal to me.

Genre: Supernatural romance

Official website: http://www.smallbluething.com/

Estimated reading age: Eleven and up

Price on Amazon: Paperback £4.89, Kindle edition £4.65.

Author: S C Ransom

Main characters: Alex, Grace, Catherine and Callum

YouTube videos on the subject:

Rating: ★★ Good ideas and good writing, but I would never have bought the book if I’d realised that the romance that was casually mentioned in the blurb was going to take over the whole story.


Unfortunately this is the film I see every time my parents friends come to visit with their younger children, because it’s one of the only films in our house that is a PG that every wants to watch (apart from me). Consequently I have seen it sixteen times, so I will try not to make the review biased!

Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is talented at voice acting but struggling to keep jobs because of his principles. He has three children- Lydia (Lisa Jakub), Chris (Matthew Lawrence) and Natalie (Mara Wilson) and a hard-working and successful wife, Miranda (Sally Field). They live in a huge house, which was paid for and decorated by Miranda (who is an interior designer), and seem very happy.

Miranda, however, has grown tired of having to arrive back from a hard day and clean up all the mess that Daniel was made in the house. He loves his children so much that he would give them anything, and that is what breaks the family up. On Chris’s birthday he has been banned from having a party by Miranda, owing to his bad report card. Daniel decides to throw one for him while Miranda is at work, but it gets to noisy and out of hand and a neighbour calls Miranda at work. She arrives back to find a zoo invading her house and goats eating her plants, the house full of food, noise, animals and children, a policeman outside, and Daniel dancing with Chris on the table.

Realising that she will have to clear the mess up and being furious at his irresponsibility, she arranges a divorce, and gains almost full custody of the children. Daniel is determined to get them back, and will do anything. This is when he comes up with his plan…

 

Mrs Doubtfire was one of the most funny films I have ever seen. My friends and I were laughing all the time. it is great for entertaining younger children and for family watching, and good for when you’re tired and want something easy to watch. If you like comedies it is a must-see. The bad thing about it was that with my favourite films I don’t mind watching them over and over and will always see something in them, whereas with this one there is really nothing below the surface. When I first saw it I loved it… now it’s getting old. I would really recommend it though.

Genre: Realistic / comedy

Estimated watching age: Six and up

Price on Amazon: £2.99 for normal DVD, no Blu-Ray

Director: Chris Columbus

Film certificate: PG

Names of the people who play the main characters: Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Sally Field

Other YouTube links: Hard to find, if you are interested and/or you like the movie, look them up.

Rating: ★★★★ Very funny, good for younger kids too, good sleepover material…

WARNING- DO NOT WATCH ANYMORE AFTER YOU CAN RECITE EVERY LINE!!!


I hadn’t read this book since I was nine and it was my favourite book ever, but yesterday I started to read it for some comfort reading. It was much better than I remembered, and I really enjoyed it.

Dakota, a determined young girl, lives in the ancient White Flats with her mum, her friend Treacle, and her suspicious lodger. Her life gets stranger as she befriends an ageing actress named Medusa and her jewel-encrusted turtle. When the turtle goes missing, Dakota and Treacle and her silverfish Minty must go to find it, over a black river full of mutant eels to the highly sterile fortress of recluse writer Lassiter Peach… but is that his real name? And what is the story behind the fact that Dakota’s mother never leaves her armchair. And all this is just when you thought that it couldn’t get any stranger…

I really enjoyed Dakota of the White Flats. It was surreal and strange and dark, but there were funny moments too and everything is just about believable. It is fantasy at it’s best. There were hundreds of little back stories which all fitted together in the end in a very satisfying way, and Philip Ridley wastes no time getting to the action straight away. All of the characters were well developed and about as much like real people as you can get. I liked the little touches like Minty the silverfish, and also all of the cunning plans that Dakota comes up with. The drawings are perfect for the book and really set the scene and I LOVE the front cover as well, as shown above. All in all a great book. Maybe at it’s best for someone a bit younger than me now, but pretty much perfect for all ages.

Genre: Urban / fantasy / surreal

Estimated reading age: Nine and up

Price on Amazon: Paperback £8.09, no Kindle edition.

Author: Philip Ridley

Main characters: Dakota, Dakota’s mum, Lassiter Peach, Treacle

Rating: ★★★★★ Really great book… good conclusion, good character building- good everything.