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Haley Mathiot (9 KP) rated Sanctuary in Books

Apr 27, 2018  
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
rating: 3.8/5

My Summary: Lea is a refugee who has survived for the past few months living in the wild and traveling from house to random house, just trying to stay alive. When she is found, ill, by American soldiers and taken care of and healed, she has a choice—leave the soldiers and spend the winter by herself, homeless, with no protection in the middle of a war, or trade sex for protection and safety from Major Russell. She chooses the exchange. But Lea and Russell both are not prepared for the outcome of the bargain—Love. Lea and Russell are married, and try to build a real relationship from their original bargain. Can they make it work…

Thoughts: I really hate it when a book has what I call “happy-land syndrome—” where everything works out nicely, relationships are smooth and when they’re rough their fixed quickly and painlessly, and everyone lives happily ever after. This book does have a happily ever after of some sort, but it most certainly does not have happy-land syndrome. This book was a picture of a real marriage—the ups, the downs, the arguments, the forgiveness. There were clear differences between passion, lust, and love (which is always refreshing), and there were arguments the way real arguments happen. There was pride, there was sympathy, and there was forgiveness.

There was a lot of humor in this book! Now mind you it was not a “funny” book, but there were some very good funny pieces of dialogue.

Plot: This book didn’t have a complicated plot, or any huge unexpected occurrences. It was a “simple” story line—but it was a very addicting read. That’s not to say that everything that happened was dull or boring or expected, it just means it was definitely not a sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of romance. It was more like a cuddle-up-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-a-blanket kind of romance. It flowed smoothly, and the pacing was very good—not to fast, not too slow. The only thing about the pacing was that the part where they realized that they’d fallen in love didn’t feel like any kind of climax. Which could have been the point, as it did sort of happen slowly.

Characters: I liked the fact that the characters in this book were like real people—they had their strengths and weaknesses, their qualities and their flaws. Lea was stubborn and rebellious, and not at all submissive to her husband, yet she was a sweet and kind girl, and was willing to make sacrifices for Russell. Russell was a very kind man to Lea, and his protective attitude was appealing, however his language and his anger were his downfalls.

Writing: The writing in this book was good. It wasn’t fantastically breathtaking (J.K. Rowling, Robert Frost, Paolini, Dostoyevsky etc.), it wasn’t mediocre (Stephenie Meyer, Becca Fitzpatrick) and it wasn’t atrocious (Meg Cabot.). I can’t really place it in any of those categories. It sort of fell between the first two. It was very readable, it wasn’t dull and empty of good words with barely acceptable sentence structure, but it wasn’t something that sounded like poetry read aloud either. Again, very readable.

Content: There was a lot of sex in this book. I mean, it’s a romance about a girl who trades her body in exchange for being kept alive by a horny soldier, and I expected it, so I’m not saying I was surprised. I think it could have still been a very good powerful romance without all the details. I skipped a few paragraphs here and there. There was also a lot of language. And yes, it is the military, after all. Soldiers swear. They did in the book, too. I guess some people aren’t bothered by stuff like that in books. It wasn’t so bad that I wanted to stop reading, but I thought some of the words (and again, details) could have been left out and the book would have been just as good.

Recommendation: Ages 16+ at least, and wait until you’re 18 if you are picky about content. I rate high for the wonderfully relatable and realistic characters, high-ish for my enjoyment, and medium for plot and writing.

Click here to read the first chapter of Sanctuary.
The Princess Diarist
The Princess Diarist
Carrie Fisher | 2017 | Biography
7.5 (22 Ratings)
Book Rating
Carrie Fisher's latest memoir details a behind the scenes look of the first <i>Star Wars</i> film. Motivated by the recent discovery of the journals she wrote while filming <i>Star Wars</i> in the late 1970s, Fisher discusses her naive nineteen-year-old self: not yet famous (though with famous parents) and unprepared for the juggernaut that would become the <i>Star Wars</i> franchise. She also covers her now famous co-star, Harrison Ford, and their relationship during the three months of filming. Fisher presents excerpts from her discovered journals and ponders on her life and the fame and notoriety that playing Princess Leia has brought her.

I am new to the <i>Star Wars</i> fandom, having only recently discovered the films myself in the past two years or so. My four-year-old daughters love them (and Leia), so I was intrigued by the idea of Fisher's memoir. While I like the films, I don't consider myself a fanatic by any stretch of the imagination. Still, I was interested in hearing some behind the scenes tidbits about filming. And Fisher starts out with such facts, explaining how an early scene was re-written due to the physical limitations of Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca. It's that sort of information that I find fascinating--and imagine other <i>Star Wars</i> fans would as well.

And, I won't lie, I was also fascinated by Fisher's reported relationship with Harrison Ford, who is about 15 years her senior (and was married while they were filming). Her portrayal of Harrison in the book seems spot on and is actually quite humorous at times. Unfortunately, her actual detail of the relationship is scant at best, and we really don't get much insight into their romance. What we do get is a lot of particulars about Fisher's own insecurities about herself, her body, her acting, etc.

She includes actual excerpts of the journals she found in the middle of the book, and I confess, I eventually started skimming them, because they were just agony to read. I can understand how they resonate from the perspective of a lovestruck teenager (because, truly, she was just that at the time), but so many years later, they just seem like a lot of bad poetry and ramblings that make no sense out of context. And beyond a few stories about Harrison, we really get nothing in the book that explains them, which is unfortunate, as Fisher seems witty and interesting (albeit insecure, but hey, so am I). I understand her angst from the journals, I really do, but I'm not honestly sure I wanted to read it in such form.

Plus, after that section of the book, we move on to Fisher discussing her fans and how "being Leia" has affected her life. And, again, I get it: we all forget how no one expected <i>Star Wars</i> to be so big. You wouldn't at nineteen realize what you were getting into, and I'm sure this character has absorbed much of her identity. And maybe it was reading this on the heel of Anna Kendrick's memoir, but I can only take so much of celebrities complaining about their fame and lives. The second half of Fisher's book, basically, is her capturing "conversations" with awestruck fans explaining how much Leia and <i>Star Wars</i> meant to them. But, really, it's mocking them and illustrating how tiresome the "lap dance" (her words) of signing autographs and appearing at various conventions can be. But, you know, as she states, it's worth it for the money. You can't help but feel a little offended on the part of these devoted, crazy fans, and a little less sorry for Fisher, even if she was not included on merchandising shares for <i>Star Wars</i>.

Sigh. Overall, I'm a bit conflicted on this one. Bits and pieces were very interesting. But I would have enjoyed hearing more about the actual set and her interactions with the other actors beyond Harrison Ford. While I also didn't mind hearing about Fisher's impressions of how Leia impacted her life, the fandom sections just rubbed me the wrong way. 2.5 stars.

Tim Booth recommended Horses by Patti Smith in Music (curated)

Horses by Patti Smith
Horses by Patti Smith
1975 | Rock
8.0 (2 Ratings)
Album Favorite

""This is by far the most important record for me. I heard it when I was 16. I was in a boarding school for boys, which was like a Victorian prison. One evening, I was told by the housemaster – who hated me – to take a phone call. It was my mum, who tells me that my dad was on the verge of dying and was having an operation that night. The operation may save him, but he is old and he might not wake up from the anaesthetic. I am told that I couldn't go home and that I just have to wait it out. At ten o'clock, the boarding school have 'lights out'. I am lying on my bed, in a state. I'm not going to be able to sleep, so I sneak through the corridors, down through the study to the one thing that redeems my life, which is the stereo system. Horses is there and I have no idea why I put it on. The first track I play ['Birdland'] is about a father dying, and a long, black funeral car and a boy standing watching. It is a nine-minute improvisational piece about Wilhelm Reich dying and his son, Peter, helping his father through the death process. This song shook me to the core, partly because it was improvised – it has no structure of verses or a chorus – and is just this rambling poem of desperation and longing. I think, from that moment on, I subconsciously knew I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be somebody who could write a song that a boy or girl 5,000 miles away could hear and be moved so much that it would change his or her life. Therefore Horses became my template, probably by chance, because something so powerful happened to me on the night I first heard it. I then bought tickets to see her play and my parents banned me from going. I had to run away from home to go and see her show, and I was quite a good boy, so it was an unusual act for me. I had a couple of amazing things happen later in my life. Lenny Kaye, who had been a guitar player in her band, became the godfather to my eldest son. He also produced James' first record [Stutter]. Then, after Patti had been retired for a while, Lenny rang me from Detroit and told me that Patti was going to do her first gig in 15 years. He said that she might play for ten minutes or two hours. It was a wake as her husband and brother had just died. I flew to Detroit and I sat in front of her with about 150 people in a church, while she sang and read poetry, whilst crying, for three hours. It was her first gig in 15 years and afterwards I carried her guitar to the car and sat next to her and we talked. After that concert, I needed nothing more from Patti Smith. It had come the full circle of the apprentice sitting with his teacher. In fact, I did get more from her. She curated the Meltdown festival. She invited me to sing one night – it was a night of singing songs about lost children. I was the only man singing on that night. I sang with Tilda Swinton, Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, Tori Amos, Sinéad O'Connor, Yoko Ono, Marianne Faithfull and Patti Smith. It was one of the most incredible musical nights of my life. I got to play with the great icons of the last 20 years – the women who have changed what it is like to be a woman in rock & roll on every level. It was a great honour and quite awe-inspiring. It completed the completion. No other album comes close to Horses. I became a singer three years later because of Horses. It is why I write songs that are naked and that wish to reach out and change people's lives, rather than any of the other million reasons people become singers."

Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
2010 | Action, Family, Sci-Fi
The characters, the plot, the artistry (0 more)
Cheshire Cat and others are cartoonish (0 more)
A is for Artful
Contains spoilers, click to show
As with another of Tim Burton’s films, Sleepy Hollow, Alice in Wonderland strays significantly from the original material. And, in a vein similar to Sleepy Hollow, decapitation is a much-discussed topic.

Alice is introduced to the audience as a child who has strange dreams. In the subsequent scenes, an older Alice is seen in a carriage with her mother. She is unwittingly on her way to her engagement party, and she is fully expected to accept the offer of marriage from someone who seems quite ill-suited for her. “Your life will be perfect. It’s already been decided,” says her sister Margaret.

Elements of the engagement party offer foreshadowing for the alternate reality Alice soon finds herself in. Instead of accepting her suitor’s proposal, Alice runs away and follows a rabbit wearing a waistcoat into an exceptionally large rabbit hole. There, she is found falling with a variety of household objects, including one particularly friendly piano.

Once in Wonderland, Alice’s world has literally turned upside-down. She falls from her perch on the ceiling to the floor. Alice solves a puzzle of many locked doors, using the expected growing and shrinking mechanisms, and then she emerges into a strange topiary. There she is greeted by the rabbit and other residents of Wonderland, who argue whether this Alice is “the right Alice.”

Many of the traditional characters are found in this Wonderland, but most of the ominous poetry associated with those characters has been omitted. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are introduced, but they don’t seem to serve much purpose. I missed the recitation of “the Walrus and the Carpenter” very much.

Alice insists that the world around her must be a dream, as she is led through oversized mushrooms to a blue caterpillar, voiced by the talented Alan Rickman. Once again, Alice’s destiny is written: the caterpillar reveals a scroll which shows an image of Alice slaying the dreaded Jabberwocky. Indeed, it is her role to become the champion of Wonderland, to rise up and defeat the Red Queen who keeps this horrible beast as a weapon.

Later, we come across a dysfunctional tea party held under the shadow of a dilapidated windmill. Johnny Depp appears as the wild and wide-eyed Mad Hatter. Alice, it seems, is late to her tea just as she was to her engagement party. We learn that there is a whole network of characters, including the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), who wish to bring down the tyrannical Red Queen.

The struggle between the Red and White Queens eventually comes to a head, and Alice bravely accepts her fate to fight the Jabberwocky. And the Jabberwocky is indeed a terrifying entity, as it seems to be part dinosaur and part dragon.

The visual effects in this film were striking. Burton paints a beautiful landscape full of dark, rich colors. Several moments in the film are surreal and disturbing, such as when Alice crosses a moat full of dismembered heads to gain access to the Red Queen’s castle. However, some of the characters, such as the Cheshire cat, had a more cartoonish quality about them that I found off-putting.

The acting and voice-overs in the film were also impressive. Actress Mia Wasikowska was enchanting as Alice. She reflected the vulnerability and the more intrepid characteristics of the young girl quite well. Depp was delightfully creepy as the Mad Hatter. Crispin Glover was effective as the Knave of Hearts, the Red Queen’s lead henchman. And Stephen Fry was a marvelous voice choice for the strange and eerie Cheshire Cat.

The Red Queen is quite the character in this film. Helena Bonham Carter perfectly captures the Queen’s cruelty and absurdity. She delivers the “off with his head” line repeatedly and with gusto. The Queen’s cranium was so large that I was surprised she didn’t fall forward from the weight of it. And I haven’t seen that much blue eyeshadow since the 80s.

The Blu-ray version of this film enhanced the quality of the computer graphic imagery quite well. The special features consisted of interviews of the cast regarding the characters. These interviews contained behind-the-scenes looks at some of the makeup and green screen work done on this film. Though these interviews were enlightening, I would have loved to see more about the production process, since the sets and some characters were entirely computer-generated.

All things considered, Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is a delightful departure from reality. Fans of Burton’s other films are sure to love it.

TheDefunctDiva (297 KP) rated Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) in Movies

Feb 17, 2019 (Updated Feb 17, 2019)  
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
2018 | Biography, Drama, Music
Malek. Costuming. Crowd Scenes (0 more)
The writing. The length. The late Mercury...some things should last forever (0 more)
I want it all. I want it all. I want it all. And I want it now
Contains spoilers, click to show
“I want it all. I want it all. I want it all. And I want it now.”
“I Want It All,” Queen, The Miracle, 1989

I am hating having to write this review though I feel compelled to do so. I bought this movie knowing I would like it. I didn’t have much money left in my checking account, but I thought, yes, this would be worth what little I had left to spend. I gifted it to my kiddo for Valentine’s Day knowing she would surely love it, too.

I didn’t love it. I didn’t even really like it.

I haven’t made a mistake this bad since the much-renowned Lost in Translation. Why the ire? Because Bohemian Rhapsody taught me some things, but not enough. Not what I wanted to know. I wanted to learn more than what a rudimentary Google search would have taught me about the band. Instead, I obtained only basic information about the band’s success. I think to really do the band justice you would need a series. Maybe that is my problem. The film had too much general information crammed into it, and I needed MORE, PEOPLE.

I should have liked this film because it revolved around Queen’s music. The best thing about this film is the soundtrack. I think contemplating some of Queen’s lyrics throughout would have really enhanced the film, though. They talked about the poetry but didn’t examine it. And I was disappointed.

Malek’s Mercury just didn’t do it for me though I admire his dedication to the craft. I do think he did an excellent job, but there was something missing that I can’t put my finger on. It felt very much like pretending. And I can’t even adequately explain why. I did love the costuming though. Especially the hair. The transformation of Mercury from boy to man was impressive. It made me want to grow a mustache.

The supporting characters were stereotypical. The supporting cast members might have been cardboard cutouts for all of the attachment I felt to them. The film also didn’t undertake the concept of what it meant to be LGBT in that era. Therefore, it didn’t fully explore the ramifications of the risks that Mercury was taking both professionally and personally. Conflicts just didn’t resonate with the high drama I felt they should have especially considering the in-your-face elements of Mercury’s personality. The passion just wasn’t there. And a real miracle would have been adequately examining the collaboration between the musicians.

I also felt the film was generally stilted by the writing, which seemed comprised of the most overused clichés in the English language.

Bohemian Rhapsody didn’t delve into the AIDS crisis deep enough to evoke much of an emotional response in me. I appreciate that Freddie Mercury didn’t want his life to be a “cautionary tale.” I get that. But the tragedy of his death seemed really downplayed to me for some reason. I wasn’t expecting the emotional response you would get from a film like Philadelphia. But something close would have been nice. Maybe I’ve seen too many films that focus on tragedy and expected to be weeping by the end of the film. Or the beginning of the film, or at any point during the film. But I was left feeling hollow.

The crowd scene from Live Aid and the Live Aid performance rightfully stole what remained of this show. The looks on the faces of the crowd. The expanse of the crowd. The scene reflected what it must have felt like to be a performer or a fan in such a large venue. Malek was awesome in this scene and deserves his due. It might be what earns him the Oscar.

I hate to say it, but I liked Mark Wahlberg and Rock Star (2001) better than I liked this movie. I just felt they could have done a better job with it. It didn’t live up to the hype.

And now I’ve touched upon the real issue. I could never get enough of this band, or of Mercury, and DAMNIT. The experience they provided fans around the world was just gone too soon.
And I just don’t feel the movie did the band or Mercury’s life justice.

I spent my Saturday listening to music in my car, wondering what a septuagenarian Mercury would have thought of today’s saturated music market. I imagine he would have been like my late father, fascinated by both the popular and the underground.

Ok, NOW I’m crying.

But touch my tears, with your lips
Touch my world, with your fingertips.
And we can have forever
And we can love forever
Forever is our today…

Queen, “Who Wants to Live Forever,” It’s Kind of Magic, 1986
Gods Go Begging
Gods Go Begging
Alfredo Vea | 1999 | Crime
10.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
Amazing writing (2 more)
Great storytelling
Good characters
Not many books can visit the Vietnam war so gracefully, especially fictional books that aren't political thrillers. Of course, there's a reason for that, other than drug use and the orders to kill innocent civilians, it was a war that drove soldiers to madness, but this is only the tip of the iceberg in Alfredo Vea's third novel Gods Go Begging.

Mai and Persephone are as close as sisters, one was born in America, and the other was born in Vietnam; the two met because their husbands had fought in the Vietnam war, but had never returned, sealing an unbreakable bond between the two women. While the two spent most of their time cooking together, they decided to open up a luncheonette, and share their love of food with the city - - - until one night, when two young men showed up to smash their dreams by murdering both of them in cold blood. Little did the defense attorney for one of the young men, Jesse Pasadoble, know that these women would not only leave a scar on him, but they would also cause memories from a hill in Vietnam to haunt him all over again.

While Pasadoble is working the two women's murder case, he's also working another heart-wrenching case involving a white supremacist who has possibly molested and raped his own niece. Pasadoble tries his best to distance himself from the case, especially because he has to defend the man in question, but sometimes he lets his temper get the best of him. Pasadoble comes face-to-face with his client in an angry stare-off. After putting up with racial statements from the client, Pasadoble puts him in his place. The client may be a big man who can frighten most people, but Pasadoble pacifies him with his own anger, threatening to kick his ass in front of everyone that is in the jail setting the tone of what type of person Pasadoble can be for the reader.

The readers get flashbacks of Pasadoble's time in the Vietnam war, specifically one fight that happened on a hill near the Loatian border. These flashbacks happen suddenly throughout the book, but I personally believe that they are so important to understanding the world in which Vea has created in the novel because, near the end of the book, these flashbacks make everything come full circle. One of these flashbacks introduces an important character who is the Padre in Pasadoble's platoon - - - during such flashback, the Padre has devastating things happen around him that begin to make him question his faith in God.

Although the flashbacks happen here and there, the story easily continues on with Pasadoble's double homicide case getting more complicated by the page when the second of the two suspects is suddenly found dead on a hill that the locals call 'Tourette's Hill.' One such local that lived near the hill is one of the victims' mothers, Mrs. Harp, who is a very odd character: she's an aging beauty queen whose home is covered in photographs of only her, and none of her deceased son, and even while Pasadoble questions her about her son, she seems to get lost in a reverie of what her life was like before the son existed.

Pasadoble is the key character in this story; without him, connections would not have been made and characters would not have mattered. Pasadoble, a man who has a way with words, such as speaking with an ex-girlfriend about a 'hill' : "Carolina, think about the stratifications of an open hillside, a place where earth has given way and time itself is left exposed, layer upon layer - - - silica, clay, diatoms, and ash. Down here at this level is the time of the swelling sea; here, the time of the desert when hot, rising air would have haunted our eyes; here is a jagged karst, a time when the world shook an abrasion into its own skin; and here are the fossil dead, here you will find love and war in the same shamble of strewn bone. Here and there, where the world has shifted and cracked open, one era will touch another. And once upon the rarest time, human hands and eyes from the distant past can seek out and find... search for and contact... hands and eyes of the present time... our time. " Pasadoble reveals that everyone has a 'hill' that they constantly battle, his just happens to be the one where he lost brothers on in Vietnam.

I can't go much further into the story without giving away some of the great details that made up this book, but I can say I was blown away by this story. This is by far one of the best crime fiction books I have ever read; this is one of those crazy good books that you have never heard of that will change how you view things after you read it. Vea is one of the few authors that exist today that can make a story read like poetry. I highly recommend this novel to people who like crime fiction.

365Flicks (235 KP) rated V.S. (2019) in Movies

Nov 20, 2019  
V.S. (2019)
V.S. (2019)
2019 |
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
That is the synopsis for VS. on the IMDB. I am here to tell you that this movie is so so much more than this. This is one of the most powerful, thought provoking, superbly acted, respectfully told and emotionally driven movies I personally have had the pleasure of seeing in quite some time. I will get into the plot and subject matter now in a minute, but up front I would like to admit that this movie spoke to my heart and broke through a wall I didn’t think needed broken through. Yes a low budget independent movie from a debut director about the underground battle rap scene in Britain reduced this 34 year old man to being about 10 again (and not in a Jurassic park seeing dinosaurs on screen for the first time nostalgia kind of way).

Ed Lilly (debut feature film)

Connor Swindells (The Vanishing, Netflixs Sex Education) Adam ‘Shotty Horroh’ Rooney
Fola Evans-Akingbola (Game of Thrones, Death in Paradise) Nicholas Pinnock (Fortitude, Marcella)
Ruth Sheen (Another Year, Vera Drake) Emily Taaffe (War & Peace)

First time Director Ed Lilly has put together an amazing group of young and fresh, up and coming stars and crafted a truly beautiful, gritty and raw tale of one mans use of the lyrical poetry that is Battle rap to simultaneously mask his pain and anger while working through his inner demons, only to discover a true family and camaraderie in the last place he expected. That’s just whats on the surface. Here is the trailer…


Adam has spent a life in the foster care system and it hasn’t been great to him, passed from home to home and never truly settling in wherever he is. His next stop is Southend and this could be the last chance saloon for Adam. Enter Makayla a young idealistic woman trying to make the best of it. Adam instantly takes a liking to Makayla as she introduces him to the underground Rap Battle scene. While Makayla sees this outlet as a way of making a better more tolerable life for herself and the colourful competitors, Adam sees a place he can truly let his hurt, pain and rage flow. While Adam proves to be a rising talent on the scene he is also dealing with the re-introduction to the woman who gave him away aged four… Both of Adams worlds are on a collision course and we are about to find out the type of man he wants to be.

Out Now
VOD 4th Feb. 2019
DVD 11th Feb. 2019
It is very easy to say that this is trying to be the Brit equivalent of 8-Mile (and people have been) but while I love that movie it can only wish to have the heart of Vs. I do love the rap battle sequences and having Shotty Horroh (legend on the UK Rap Battle scene, Youtube him for an education) in the movie really adds to the sense of them trying to portray this life properly. However this movie lives and breathes with the Outstandingly raw and real performances from the core cast.

Connor Swindells as Adam is unbelievable. A true revelation, A 10 out of 10 performance. Now I have to put it out there and be honest, I myself grew up in the system and while I didn’t exactly have the worst time of it I can absolutely relate to the portrayal put in by Connor. This is also a testament to the writing team of Director Ed Lilly and Daniel Hayes, they hit the nail on the head completely, The writing is so visceral that one scene in particular was a gut punch to this reviewer because I had legitimately lived the conversation and Connors performance in that scene is on another level (no spoilers but its the first real conversation he has with his mum). Swindells makes this movie an intense but rewarding journey to be part of.

Fola Evans-Akingbola is wonderful as Makayla and really holds the key to this movie. Most of the choices made by Adam revolve around her actions, while we are more focused on what is happening in his life Akingbola pushes her performance forward to show us she also is struggling through. Nicholas Pinnock, Ruth Sheen and Emily Taaffe round out the care system aspect of the movie as Adams care worker, foster carer and biological mum respectively. These sections of the movie are dealt with a great deal of attention and respect which was refreshing because here in the UK we tend to be very harsh on the system (especially in the media) but this movie shows both sides of the story. Then there is the scene I briefly spoke of earlier… Emily Taaffe, take a bow because damn you are incredible in this scene.

On the Rap Battle side of things we have massively talented Adam “Shotty Horroh” Rooney in his acting debut, I will admit when I first saw him I was dubious but he is essentially playing a version of himself and the moments that he gets to do something other than rap well he holds his own. The same can be said about MC Paige “Paigey Cakes” Meade as Miss Quotes to be fair though this isn’t her first time.

Okay then I guess its no surprise to anyone by now that I would hugely recommend this movie. I went in expecting to see 8-Mile or Bodied set in the UK but what followed was a story I just did not expect, performances that blew me away. Then again though I am a bit of sissy when movies hit me where I live. Is it perfect? Not at all what film is but hey its pretty damn close. See this movie soon as you can.

Hadley (565 KP) rated Frankenstein in Books

Apr 30, 2019  
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley | 2016 | Fiction & Poetry
7.7 (28 Ratings)
Book Rating
Great main character (1 more)
Beautiful writing
Over usage of some words (1 more)
Secondary characters have hardly a back story
In the horror genre, I have very few favorite female writers, but Mary Shelley is one of them. The way she weaves environments with character defining scenes is beautifully done in 'Frankenstein.' At the tender age of 18, Shelley was able to convey grief and loss through a single story. She created a relatable 'creature' that many readers will have pity for, but also an obsessive young man that can hardly be hated. Some people may be intimidated by the more diverse English language from the early 1800's, but, in my opinion, the story would not have had the same impact if it had been written today.

Not just horror readers will enjoy 'Frankenstein,' but also those who like to read philosophy. Shelley brings up life discerning questions that even society meddles with today. It's amazing to think that a two century old book discusses problems we still deal with.

The book begins with a sea captain that picks up a stranger that was stranded on a raft of ice, and this man has a fascinating story to tell. The entire book is a letter written by the sea captain to his sister, which he details every bit of Victor Frankenstein's several year tale. Readers get to follow Frankenstein's life from the moment his 'creature' is made to the end of his days, which traverses the globe. When Shelley begins to lull over her love of environments, she quickly picks up with character or story development that keeps our attention from wandering.

'Frankenstein' focuses on the need to be loved and accepted to live a happy existence,as well as reaching our dreams, but Shelley shows how achieving such things can cause a crushing defeat in the latter pursuit: "Night was far advanced when I came to the halfway resting-place, and seated myself beside the fountain. The stars shone at intervals, as the clouds passed from over them; the dark pines rose before me, and every here and there a broken tree lay on the ground: it was a scene of wonderful solemnity, and stirred strange thoughts within me. I wept bitterly; and clasping my hands in agony, I exclaimed, 'Oh! stars, and clouds, and winds, ye are all about to mock me: if ye really pity me, crush sensation and memory; let me become as nought; but if not, depart, depart, and leave me in darkness.' "

There are other characters we read of, including Frankenstein's best friend, Henry, and his long time love interest, Elizabeth (both of who grew up with Frankenstein). Henry comes from a well-to-do merchant family, while Elizabeth was orphaned from a wealthy family, then adopted by the Frankensteins as a future wife for Victor. Unfortunately, we learn little about them or Victor's family, that when any of them do die, it's not felt personally by the reader. There are other characters that had major events in the story, but as with the friends, they weren't developed enough to bring up any emotion at their passing.

After Frankenstein sets out after his creation,we meet the 'creature' at the top of a mountain. He is devastated that his creator hates him, and that the other humans he has met also hated him. "I expected this reception,' said the demon. 'All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends.' "

The 'creature' gives Frankenstein an ultimatum: he either makes him a female companion or he will kill everyone Frankenstein loves and adores." 'What I ask of you is reasonable and moderate; I demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself; the gratification is small, but it is all that I can receive,and it shall content me.' " Although, by this time, the 'creature' has already murdered Frankenstein's youngest brother, Victor agrees to make him a companion, but with serious regret soon after.

The majority of the story concerns Frankenstein trying fool-hardly to protect all those he loves while the 'creature' murders them one by one. The most surprising of the murders is Henry's. After Frankenstein changes his mind on making another creation, the 'creature' quickly finds Henry and kills him, but Frankenstein is accused of the murder and spends quite some time in prison for it. "But I was doomed to live; and, in two months, found myself as awaking from a dream, in a prison, stretched on a wretched bed, surrounded by gaolers, turnkeys, bolts, and all the miserable apparatus of a dungeon. "

Frankenstein is eventually released from prison when the evidence doesn't add up, and witnesses come forward, claiming to have seen Victor elsewhere at the time of the murder. Frankenstein is, at this time, in a drowning melancholy and madness, but this doesn't stop him from marrying Elizabeth. The 'creature' foretold Frankenstein that he would be with him on his wedding night, and Victor uses this to his advantage - arming himself with pistols and knives on the honeymoon. Yet, to no avail, Frankenstein is unable to outlive or outsmart the 'creature' at any turn.

'Frankenstein' is a must-read for all readers. Although many horror stories today pertain to a creature killing it's master, none of them can reach the grief stricken peaks as Shelley has. Every passage in this book reads like poetry. Every interaction between Frankenstein and his 'creature' is fascinating to the reader. And, before Frankenstein dies, he leaves the sea captain with words of wisdom that even readers could benefit from: "Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries."

Highly recommend!
Tales from the Loop
Tales from the Loop
2020 | Sci-Fi
7.3 (3 Ratings)
TV Show Rating
Such is the competition for our attention on the major streaming services, and such is the daunting depth of choice, that sometimes something of real quality can slip through the net for a while. I like to think that eventually, everything gets the audience it deserves, because eventually enough people that appreciated it will find it and pass it on. But it is apparent that good things can go under the radar very easily for one reason or another.

Everything about the production and presentation of Amazon’s Tales From the Loop suggests they thought it might be a bigger hit, or at least they had enough faith in it to let it be different from the mass appeal conventions that apply to sci-fi shows. They have proved this many times in recent years, with shows like The Man In the High Castle and The Expanse favouring patient and mature story-telling over interminable flashbangs and whizzpops usually found in the more action based sci-fi on Netflix and others (The Handmaid’s Tale being another notable exception).

Having raised myself auto-didactically on the oldest traditions of science fiction writing in novel and short story form since my teenage years, I can say with some amateur authority that the point of using sci-fi ideas was always about the people and the parallels to social reality and politics that could be highlighted by putting them in a “what-if” situation. The lazer guns and spaceships and evil aliens were much more a product of Hollywood, and still are. Great science fiction writing can and usually does revolve around a very simple change to the world we know, an inversion or a convention or a technology that turns how we live on its head. At its best it is philosophical and moral poetry.

Tales From the Loop, inspired by the beguiling paintings of Swedish Artist Simon Stålenhag aspires to return to these principles, eschewing breakneck pace and unnecessary exposition at every turn – it is entirely content to confuse and sometimes even bore you with its patient, melancholy approach, testing almost if you are worthy to reach the prize of deeper meaning buried away in the final few episodes.

The idea of Stålenhag’s work is to juxtapose a familiar and mundane landscape with a detail of technology that does not exist in our reality. Often it is something broken, run-down or neglected, leaving a strange sadness and beauty behind that has you wondering who once made this and what was it for, and why is it no longer loved? The untold stories objects and hidden lives, secrets and desires that have been lost, is what this sensitive and delicate show is about. It is about the interconnection of lives caught in time, and the sci-fi / tech conceit is only the hanger that coat is put on. Which… I love.

The surface idea is that we are looking at the inhabitants of a small American town that once relied on farming and community, but now has been changed by the presence of an underground facility that deals with experimental physics and finding ways to make impossible things possible. They call it The Loop. It is never fully explained where it came from, or why, or what it is truly capable of – the mystery is always allowed to remain mostly a mystery – which, again, I love!

Many people in the town work at The Loop and rely on it for their livelihoods and collective economy, including Jonathon Pryce and Rebecca Hall, who are ostensibly the show’s main characters. But most folk have no idea what is really going on. Each episode focuses on one or two members of the community that interweave with one another; several important people begin as background dressing and become more prevalent as the full story of their lives and connections unfolds. But no one character is in every episode… which, you know, I love.

Their lives, that seem simple at first glance, are revealed to be complex tapestries of emotion and personal history, revolving around how The Loop has affected them and the things they love. The progression and unfolding of the detail is so deliberate and usually under-explained that very often you don’t realise the effect the full image will have. And when it does catch up with you it becomes a very moving and meaningful experience. Characters that you don’t understand or even like at first come into sharper focus as we reach the climax of the season and grow to learn why they are the way they are. The story arcs of Pryce and Hall in particular are very satisfying, tragic yet utterly beautiful to comprehend.

A lot of the criticism you will see about the show will concentrate on how slow it all is. I am totally convinced this is a deliberate artistic choice to weed out the thrill junkies. They are very welcome to go elsewhere, and it sounds as if many of them did, basing their reviews on one or two half watched episodes they couldn’t be bothered to engage with or wonder at. Which is why I think in time the respect for this as a work of art will come back around.

There is nothing to fault in the production at all. From the opening credits to the end of each episode, what you get is a very highly polished and considered look and feel, designed to evoke certain feelings over others – a wistfulness, an ennui, a bittersweet smile of knowing, perhaps. It invites you to watch patiently and relate, not to watch eagerly and expect… which, you know, I love.

The photography is crisp and well framed always; the music is subtle but effective; the dialogue is often sparing and well chosen (no detail is merely thrown away); and the direction is of a remarkably uniform vision, considering each episode is a different guest professional, including such prestigious names as Jodie Foster, Mark Romanek and Andrew Stanton.

I absolutely urge anyone that isn’t put off by a little sentiment to give this one a try. Sadness and regret in life is not something to shun and be afraid of, they are parts of human experience, and I love art that explores them as concepts. Put that art in a science fiction context and I am bound to love it even more. Like the final moments of Blade Runner, we know that one day all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. We have to take time to see the beauty while we can, even if that beauty is painful.

It may not be for you – I don’t think it is better or worse than other things, just more… me. There is every chance that if it isn’t you… you will hate it. If you do begin, however, please see it to the finish before casting judgement – the final episode directed by Jodie Foster is truly wonderful: a pay-off of such emotion after your investment of seven previous stories, tying it all together perfectly. Rarely have I felt so stupid for not understanding the point of something sooner, or been more pleased that I hadn’t. The final moment of the season is literally unforgettable, and gets richer in my imagination by the day.

Will there be a second season? There certainly could be. Was it enough of a success to justify the investment? Hmm, not sure. Either way, it either sits as a perfect self contained collection of fine, old-fashioned sci-fi stories, or I’d be happy to see it expand, as long as the temptation isn’t to listen to the negative reviews and pander to the fast-food mentality that has already rejected it without fully understanding it. Because nothing needs to change here. A thing of beauty, recommended to those who like beautiful and delicate things.