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All reviews - Movies (45) - TV Shows (29) - Books (35) - Music (3) - Games (4)

Good debut

Posted : 15 years, 11 months ago on 27 March 2008 08:37 (A review of No Fireworks)

I bought this book because the author is one of my friend's tutors for Scottish Lit and gave a talk for one of our societies (which I attended). He was talking about this (his first book to be published), his upcoming biography of Alasdair Gray, and briefly about his future novel.

No Fireworks is a decent enough first novel. Glass's writing style has a slight awkwardness to it still and there were a couple of small instances where the editing could have been a little better, but nothing that made a great hindrance to my overall enjoyment of the storyline, which was worked quite well.

I'm definately looking forward to his biography of Alasdair Gray, and will probably pick up his next novel if the fancy takes me in the future. Just needs a little more development of his writing and then he'll be on track.

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Only Yesterday review

Posted : 16 years, 5 months ago on 29 September 2007 07:26 (A review of Only Yesterday)

Only Yesterday (Omohide poro poro) is quite a mature anime aimed at the josei audience (females from late teenage years to later), according to Wikipedia. It has a very heartfelt story that isn't usually found in animated form, but Studio Ghibli adds its own touch of magic to it without straying from reality.

Unlike many other Ghibli films, this one isn't really for kids. It deals with more mature ideas that wouldn't necesarily be unsuitable for children, but they may not find it that interesting. Long periods of silence in the dialogue also highlight this, but for an older viewer it is a lovely piece of film.

A wonderful film from Ghibli, unlike much of their other films from both before and after. A definite watch for fans to see what the Studio is capable outside of fantasy.

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Great sewing/knitting book

Posted : 16 years, 5 months ago on 13 September 2007 12:17 (A review of Yeah, I Made it Myself: DIY Fashion for the not very domestic goddess)

From the title I knew this was a book for me (I’m turning into the granny from Goodness Gracious Me sketches who thinks she can make anything herself with a sensible list of ingredients and a smaaaaall aubergine. Watch the show then you’ll get it). I was planning on buying it for myself with birthday money but I received it from a friend who did not know that I wanted it, so all is good.

Yeah! I Made It Myself is a craft book with some basic sewing patterns for dresses, skirts and bags (though sadly no trousers), main knitting techniques and a couple of patterns, and generally a good introduction for digging in charity shops for fabric to recon. I think that it probably isn’t the best choice for an absolute beginner, some general knowledge of crafting and creating should be present already to really be able to use the book to it’s full potential. That said, it wouldn’t be much use to someone who already knows what is what in sewing and knitting.

I know what I’ll be making from the book: I have already searched out some handles for “A Lovely Old Lady Bag” and have attempted to make my own knitted collar already. It is full of fun projects graded by difficulty and I’m sure crafters out there will love this one.

It is definitely good to see a decent British craft book out and I recommend it to those of you who have a starting interest in crafting and making your own clothing and bags to show off your creativity.

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Urgh... terrible.

Posted : 16 years, 5 months ago on 13 September 2007 12:16 (A review of Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde)

**Slight spoilers**

It has been quite some time since I last watched the first Legally Blonde film, but I think I actually enjoyed it at the time. I’m not sure what I would think now, but I know that this sequel thoroughly sucked. I attempted to watch this last year but I actually turned it off half way through because it was so bad. I only decided to give it another chance because a) I don’t like watching half a film and b) it was on.

Utterly idiotic and ridiculous. The characters are terribly thought out, as is the storyline and much else about it. Does Sid the doorman actually ever mind the door? He seems to have an awful lot of time to waste helping Elle pick flowers or hunt politicians. The female judge was also just stupid with her “change” after the hair salon encounter with Elle transformed her so completely and shockingly instantly.

The only funny part of the entire film was one line uttered by a very minor character. “Your dogs are gay.” Enough said.

That was an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back..

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Better than I thought

Posted : 16 years, 5 months ago on 13 September 2007 12:13 (A review of Big Nothing)

I quite liked Big Nothing. I expected more of a straight comedy, having heard very little about it, but it was more of a black-comedy/action with elements of murder mystery thrown in. Quite a nice blend when you see it.

As for the actors, I think the casting was well done, though seeing Simon Pegg play an American was a bit weird. David Schwimmer also made a good attempt of a non-Ross role, but with an attachment lasting so long you can’t help but be reminded of it every now and then. I think that Pegg brought to the film something akin to that of Spaced or (the later) Hot Fuzz, so it is not only Schwimmer’s character association that shows at times.

The storyline generally worked quite well for me, turning more into a murder mystery into the latter half of the film. I’m not entirely sure why it has such a low mark, but each to their own I suppose.

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Self titled album from finnish cello roc

Posted : 16 years, 5 months ago on 13 September 2007 12:09 (A review of Apocalyptica)

This is the sixth, and self-titled, album from the Finnish band Apocalyptica. Made up of 11 songs and a hidden track it contains some of my favourite songs from the band. “Life Burns!” (which is a perfect album opener), “Quutamo”, and “Distraction” are three of the best in my opinion but they are all grouped together at the start which sets the listener up for a bit of a disappointment (in my opinion, anyway). Not to say that the other songs aren’t good, but they certainly lack the flair of these opening tracks. After a couple of play-throughs I have come to like the latter tracks more though and the hidden track is really something worth waiting for.

That all said, I hate H.I.M. and Ville Valo’s singing on "Bittersweet" really ruins the song for me. I think it could be much better but I am not a fan of his and so am a tad biased. I also dislike The Rasmus, but Lauri Ylönen’s voice fits “Life Burns!” very well and I can’t help but love the song.

A decent album (though I am annoyed at HMV for putting the security tag over the CD’s sticker so that it would rip, thus there is a shiny patch where I’ve had to leave part of the tag on, but ignore my ranting…). I hope their other albums are as good as this one.

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American Pop

Posted : 16 years, 5 months ago on 13 September 2007 12:04 (A review of American Pop (1981))

This being my third venture into Bakshi's work, and the first non-fantasy film that I have watched, I have to say that his style is growing on me. There is something in his use of rotoscoping coupled with more adult themes and storylines that I find interesting. His characters are at times grotesquely real, especially in American Pop.

American Pop follows four generations of men, in succession, amongst the tumult of war and music (and other elements) in their own lives and times. Of this shaky family line we follow up to the culmination of the dream of the first - to sing professionally – and as the name suggests, the progression of American Pop and pop culture over the decades.

A great film and another wonderful work from Ralph Bakshi. It was sort of a lost cinematic classic for me and I am glad I discovered it for myself.

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Another great Sailor Moon series

Posted : 16 years, 7 months ago on 17 July 2007 07:39 (A review of Sailor Moon S)

**Contains spoilers**

Sailor Moon S is the third series of Sailor Moon, taking us up to the 127th episode in the Sailor Moon saga in total, and the Sailor Soldiers have progressed to the 9th grade. This is one reason why I prefer anime to conventional cartoons: Time passes (Usagi even has a birthday!). Instead of the old stealing of energy game, this series has more of a focus on hearts and love ("pure hearts" are being stolen this time). New characters this time around include two new Sailor Soldiers, Uranus and Neptune, and the new bad guys - evil scientists mixing magic with science.

The prominent new Sailor Warriors, Uranus and Neptune, are a wonderful addition to the Sailor Moon storyline, though I think it is a bit strange that lesbian undertones were brought into a (part) childrens series, but it is great. (It does make you wonder if this was one of the reasons the whole series was never included in the American dub too.) Chibi-Usa also returns, but thankfully there is a bit of a break from her for a good few episodes into the series. Her entrance was hilarious though. In the previous series she was a more than a little bit annoying but I think at least some of that is left behind with this series.

I found the monsters (Daimonhs) a bit more interesting this time around, though the first set of them did seem to like semi-flashing their victims. Over the first and second seasons there is a clear evolution of the opposition to the Sailor Soldiers. A big difference is the monsters ability to form actual sentences! Wooo!

One thing about the series that I am not as keen on is the new transformations and Sailor Moon's new "attack". All that spinning just makes me dizzy and puzzled at how flexible a clutz like Usagi can be... It is definitely a wee bit over the top. It is made up for though as not only are the transformation scenes cut out a bit more but I liked Haruka and Michiros ones as the music was a nice addition to the series (stings!).

It is a wonderful series, almost as good as the first, but for me I doubt anything can beat the splendor of that first series which was part of my introduction into anime. The characters and plot are much fuller than before, and this development works very well. I hope the fourth series will be as good. :)

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Daft Punk musical

Posted : 16 years, 7 months ago on 16 July 2007 07:08 (A review of Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem)

**Contains spoilers**

I'm not really a fan of Daft Punk's music, and since this was basically just one of their albums with animated illustration forming a story, this wasn't exactly something I would normally go for, but I just like to see interesting animation in general and my boyfriend likes the music, so we watched it.

One thing I can say is that the music videos finally make sense after seeing this. I had only ever seen the first and fourth songs on TV ("One More Time" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" respectively) and even though the style was interesting, I had been thoroughly confused and thus a little put-off from wanting to watch them again. Seeing this film actually gives them a link and everything fits properly, albeit with a slightly odd storyline. The plot in general is quite good but at times I couldn't help snapping back to reality and scratching my head at the sheer absurdity of some sections (such as the taking over the world/Mozart and other musicians actually alien parts).

I've always thought the animation style was quite interesting but never have I considered it real anime (though I suppose it should be considered as such). It has a flair of individuality, and a departure from the generic anime style is always nice.

Anyway, to round off: If you like the music of Daft Punk, watch it as that is what it is (this is why I gave it a 6 as I am not really a fan). If you like sci-fi animation you also might like it. Otherwise it is completely up to you and your likes/dislikes.

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Wonderful fantasy, suitable for family v

Posted : 16 years, 7 months ago on 10 July 2007 12:48 (A review of The Cat Returns)

As far as my understanding goes, The Cat Returns is a sort-of-sequel/spin-off to an earlier Studio Ghibli film called Whisper of the Heart, which I have yet to see but now want to.

It is a lovely little film which I think would sit well with another, though much earlier, Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro as they are both very much family fantasy films that have wonderful stories. I loved the characters in this and recommend the Japanese voice cast with English subtitles as even though I have not heard the English cast, the originals fit very well indeed.

A great film, recommended for anime and Ghibli fans and a good introduction for children into the genre.

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