art/law enforcement/Random and interesting items/travel/writing/Older women
0 Comments

The films of note – or not

Film Reviews

It’s not often that I do film reviews, but having been to the cinema quite a few times recently, plus sitting on a long haul flight, I’ve had the opportunity to see quite a few of the latest films. Some have been good and one I walked out of after 20 minutes!

Let’s start with the one I set out to see:

Interstellar

Now both my husband and I had really wanted to see this film as we have been starved of good sci-fi films (yes we are star-trek addicts – for a very long time0.

But we watched this independently in the plane at different times and both stopped at the same point in the film. So just 1 star for this film. The characters were not well formed and the story of the earth’s disaster seemed to b too long drawn out. What was the structure of the story? What was the significance of the gravity signs? And the daughter? May be explained later in the film but we couldn’t be bothered to find out…

The Rewrite was my second choice of film on the long haul flight and interestingly it proposed its own story line and explained the significance of the three act structure and outlining as the way to start your writing. Now I know from my author interviews that some authors don’t write in a structured way and thus the ideas of Davies in terms of how a story unfolds – the five part story – which the classic fairy tales follow – are not followed by all authors. As a uni lecturer who loves to teach I empathised with the final choice of the main character in this film. 3.5 stars.

The Imitation Game

This film I gave 4 stars to. Much the best of all the recent films I have seen except for Still Alice and Selma, but more of that later.

This film is about Turing and his life and work at the Bletchley Park. I have know about Turing for a very long time – since I first started learning about computers, as he devised a test for self-awareness in a computer. That is a computer that thinks for itself. As far as I am aware, no computer has yet passed the Turing test but we are certainly coming very close as our artificial Intelligence capabilities grow.

Bletchley Park still exists as a museum and you can go and see the computer that was developed – and which now works – in the original huts hat people worked for code breaking and the Enigma machine.

When I was last there, we have coffee in the original canteen area – still decorated in World War Two posters etc.

The film did play down the fact that Turing was homosexual which caused him an amount of grief and that he later committed suicide – some say because of the way in which he was treated after the war.

This was definitely a 4.- 4.5 star film.

Selma

Again a 4.5 star film about how voting rights were protested and obtained through the women of Selma and the actions of Martin Luther King and other pastors he was linked to in his movement for equality between races.

The famous march from Selma to Montgomery was the main action of this film and the characters we well portrayed in all their foibles and faults and yet sympathetically.

You cheered them on and really wished you could have been there on this march. It certainly reminded us of the marches we had been on, which were not as fraught as this one by any means and yet were actions of which we were proud to have participated in.

The Second Best Marigold Hotel

Nothing like as good as the first film. A poor follow on event though it had the sae stars plus Richard Gere. He wasn’t necessary to the story and only confused it. In fact there were too many story lines this time but the Bollywood dancing was good!

Kingsman

It’s not often we walk out of films as mentioned above, but at least we stayed longer in this one – but this hit both my husband and I at the same time. At 1.5 hours in we turned to each other and said. ‘I’m bored’. And s we both were.

This is a film that is attempting to start a James |bond franchise no doubt but failing. We have the steely upper class English gents, we have the fancy weaponry . The hidden and multi-sited facility with loyal servants and dogs no less as the faithful companions. We have the intensive training of Oxbridge students and the plucky not so Oxbridge hero and remote locations and secret and complex  deadly fighting abilities. But boring. None of that is new. Even the evil villain isn’t new.

So what was worth making a film of 2.5 hours? We failed to see.

Mr Turner

This was so good my husband actually saw it twice! But Margate really doesn’t look like that now…

We also made sure we saw the Tate collection of Turner paintings that are regularly shown as well as the special exhibition to remind us of what we love about his painting..

Timothy Spall was brilliant as Turner.

Share This:

net galley/book review/crime fiction/Fantasy/fiction
2 Comments

Skulls and Stone Circles: A Magic Connection

 Ritual Crime Unit

By EE Richardson

A  Net Galley review

Here we have a parallel but very similar earth to ours.

Here the magic and dark powers do exist and there are criminals who exploit these powers and thus we need a police section specially dedicated to dealing with these elements and criminals.

This was in many ways a fairly typical police procedural but with the extra element of magic. We have a lot of skulls being scattered around in various places that need to be connected by the powers that be – and then they do connect them and realise who collected the skulls, why they were collected and what is the significance of the stone circles to the skulls.

stone circle

Typical detective work but they need to ask some very unusual people to assist them.

I enjoyed this as an unusual form of police procedural and thought that overall the concept of the parallel world was well thought out. The writing style was clear and brought you into the understanding of the world that was inhabited by the characters and their life.

I would recommend this book to those who like fantasy set in a familiar situation.

Share This:

Books/fiction/Philosophy/meaning of life/writing/authors/Older women
0 Comments

How long to live? Only 15 minutes?!

PHOEF SUTTON author of Fifteen Minutes to Live published by Brash books on May 5th 2015.

http://www.brash-books.com/author/phoefsutton/

Home

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? I’ve always been interested in brain trauma and diseases, ever since I read Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat.   Once I read about Korsakoff’s Syndrome I knew there was a book in it.
  2. Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique? Most stories of amnesia deal with who can’t remember who they are.  This is different; Jesse remembers who she is, she just can’t remember the last eighteen years of her life.  And she never will.  She’s lost the ability to form new memories.  The makes much more involving, much more tragic story.
  3. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? I think about topics for a long time before I start to even plot the story.  An idea needs to gestate for a while.  If I remember it and keep thinking about it for years, it might be interesting enough to make a book.
  4. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? I do tons of research before I start a book. And I do tons of research WHILE I’m writing a book.  You never know what you have to research ‘til you get to it.
  5. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote? I did a lot research in medical text books. I also talked to people who had various brain disorders.
  6. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience? I find that most people are happy and willing to talk to writers about their work.  I just ask.
  7. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?  It’s a double-edged sword.  My first novel was accepted by a major publisher.  Unfortunately, they insisted on a lot of changes, which made it much worse.  By the time it came out, it was neither here nor there.
  8. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up? Years later, when self-publishing had taken off, I got the rights back and reprinted the book, in its original form, under a new title. It felt so good to get it out there, as I had intended it to be seen.
  9. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? I can’t really speak for anyone else.  For me, it gave me an opportunity to get my work out there, which led to other publishers and authors taking interest in my work.  I didn’t make much money in self-publishing at all.  But it did lead to bigger and better things.
  10. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened? I have written for television and movies for years.  I have made a living as a writer for almost three decades.  I have made a living as a writer of published fiction only for about a year or so.  We’ll see if it keeps up!
  11. What is the best piece of advice you were given that you could pass on to aspiring writers? Write, write and write!

Share This:

net galley/book review/Fantasy
0 Comments

And are your eyes brown? Then you are not interesting to me.

 

 

Graced

by

Amanda Pillar

Netgalley review

In this fantasy novel 3 main forms of humanoids inhabit a world that has been constructed by genetic manipulation. Not medieval thankfully – more like late 18th century customs and scientific knowledge.

But there is a secret 4th type of humanoid – humans with abilities that are more than the norm – the Graced.

The graced are trying to keep themselves secret – because it profits them to do so. But the colours of their eyes are different from the ‘normal ’humans and an observant vampire notices and wonders why and what is different about these humans. Unfortunately, he then decides to experiment on those humans with coloured eyes – those that are not the normal brown – and so the story begins.

This is a very different and in many ways a more empathetic look at vampires and werewolves. We learn that vampires can learn emotional responses, that human females can be kick-ass City Guards, and that little girls can be very good at concealing truths.

A nice writing style and promising fantasy writer publishing her first book. It feels more accomplished than first novels often are and I suspect that a good series will follow.

4 stars.

Share This:

gardens/flowers/travel/Tea and Cake
2 Comments

Somerset Delights

We came back from 5 days in Somerset and even in March and cold winds, the blue sky and the shining sun made it a very pleasant experience.

One lovely little town we visited was Ilminster.

P1030129

Ilminster is the first Fair Trade town in South Somerset and has lost of quirky retail outlets and local produce. The shops are still very much in the same layout as they were originally and the streets are bendy – there is a Minster of course – which is a church and the town’s name means: ‘The church on the River Isle’ . it was founded in the 8th century as a church town by the nearby Abbey.

It currently has a population just over 5000 so it is a small market town.

It has set up 15 shops in its Fairtrade map and the one we really fell in love with was The Green House. This shop sells mainly recycled / upcycled goods. For instance earrings made from tins, old tables refurbished and made into garden ‘ladders’ for plants, and lots of dresses from other dresses… one of the best ideas that I saw though were the note books. They had equipment for ring binding hardback books and used it on all the old hardbacks that no-one buys these days in second-hand shops. They then took the backs off and inserted clean paper to write on, but the special aspect was that they left in small amounts of the original text also, so you would have a chapter at the front and then clean pages and then maybe another page and then more clean and so on.  This is such an original gift and also such a brilliant way of dealing with these books and giving them a new lease of life.

We also loved the deli. And bought several pieces of local cheeses of which they had a great selection including sheep and goat and different flavourings of cheddar of course.

Somerset has been lived in for a very long time of course and many of the towns are very ancient. Andover is such a town. We ate a quick lunch there but had hoped to eat at the Angel Inn which is situated at the heart of the medieval area. it is said to be the 7th oldest public house in England and dates back to 1174. although largely destroyed by fire in 1435 along with most of the town, it was rebuilt for the princely sum of £400. it is still a timber framed inn and has been the host to many royal visitors including King John, Kings Edward I and II,, and Catherine of Aragon. as with many of these old buildings it does have ghosts – 2 farmers and a dog!

One thing we noticed as we drove through Somerset was how deep the road was compared against the road banks. In some places the road banks were the height of a 3 storey house with full grown trees on top! Of course, one way to find out the age of a hedge in England is to count the species. If the hedge has stopped being a hedge and has become a mini forest you know it is old! If the road has sunk that far too – you know the road is old! In fact we were travelling on the Fosse Way, which was a Roman road and possibly a major footway before the Romans came to the England too. One reason the road may have sunk so dramatically is that the area is largely sandstone – see Odcome Hollow – where the road is very sunk indeed and it is as though you are driving in a tunnel almost.

According to wikipedia the Fosse way may have begun as a ditch – a defensive ditch that gave the barrier of the Roman empire to the rest.. or not of course.. it  links Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) in South West England to Lincoln(Lindum Colonia) in Lincolnshire, via Ilchester (Lindinis), Bath (Aquae Sfulis), Cirencester (Corinium) and Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum). It joins Akeman Street and Ermin Way at Cirencester, crosses Watling Street at Venonis (High Cross) south of Leicester, and joins Ermine Street at Lincoln.

P1030124 P1030125 P1030126 P1030165

I also made sure I kept a short note of some of the places we stopped for tea/coffee and cake and here is the list:

Crewkerne: Market Square Deli: Coffee/pot of tea + cake £3.50. This is a great deli with lots of interesting foods and cheeses and a lovely bright clean cafe attached with interesting quotes on the walls including ones about love and chocolate and coffee and so on.

Ilminster: Coffee Shop Tea £1.60, cake £1.80 for a generous slice of Red Velvet which really looked as though it had some beetroot in it.

Lambrook Manor: [Margery Fish’s garden] Folter coffee £1.90 inc refill, Cake £2.20 in the Malthouse.

Margery Fish was a very important writer on horticultural matters especially how to create a cottage garden and her garden was full of hellebores with the snowdrops – where there were some very rare varieties – lining the ditch, but just going over. The hellebores were so tempting – they were in a great variety of colours from darkest purple to cream. Some double. Some spotted. Some cascading. And we went into their plant shop and bought 3 new ones for our front garden… we did see a lot of bees in her garden from bombus to honey.

Due the fact that the garden is built on levels and all the paths are stepping stones/ uneven flags, the garden is not suitable for wheeled vehicles from pushchairs to wheelchairs.

 

Margery Fish's garden Lambrook ManorP1030162

Share This:

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com