The Imitation Game – FILM REVIEW

First and foremost, I have to say – wow. I’ve just finished watching this film, and can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see it. I was dying to watch it when it first came out at the cinema, but unfortunately life got in the way and I missed the chance. All I can say is ‘good things come to those who wait!’

I’m going to start by saying I am a HUGE Benedict Cumberbatch fan, so that was an A+ from me straight away. As the storyline progressed however I realised just how incredible it was in its own right. Based on true events, The Imitation Game depicts how professor Alan Turing helped break the German’s enigma code during the second world war. Turing is shown to be extremely clever but incapably awkward when it comes to social interactions. Initially he sees his fellow-cryptanalysts as being inferior to him, and they struggle to get on. However, after meeting fellow clever-clogs Joan Clarke she is able to help Turing interact more and as a result the cryptanalysts are eventually able to break the code together and solve enigma.

The film had its emotional ups and downs. I think the most horrific part was the fact that, despite Turing saving millions of lives by creating his machine, he eventually ended up taking his own life because society would not accept him for being homosexual. I found this the hardest thing to think about as I don’t agree that anyone should be made to feel ashamed or alone just because they aren’t deemed to be ‘fitting the norms of the time’. Turing was a man who helped save millions, and yet society at the time chose not to save him.

Since watching the film I have done some research on Bletchley and Alan Turing, and I feel I should mention that critics have deemed the film to have over-exaggerated many of the key facts. This doesn’t come as a huge shock as I didn’t really expect any less from Hollywood. However, the basis of the story and the people within it are all still based on real people and I still think the film did a remarkable job of depicting them and sharing their story with the world.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed watching The Imitation Game. I think that Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed Alan Turing superbly. His acting was brilliant, and at times simply heart-breaking to watch. The history behind it all was fascinating and I found it a really interesting way to make people appreciate all that was done ‘behind-the-scenes’ during the second world war.
So many secrets that were hidden for years and years from public knowledge… it’s one of those films that really makes you think.

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‘Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.’

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Happy Easter everyone!

boys easter blog
Just a quick post to say: Hope everyone has had a fabulous Easter weekend.
(..and look how cute my piggies are – who say bunnies should get all the fun?💖)

‘Prometheus’ Review

Prometheus. Another classic, sci-fi-horror film created by the master of the genre himself, Ridley Scott, has arrived.
My initial thoughts on Prometheus are: It is full of action, full of scares, creates chilling suspense throughout and contains many enticing questions. 

Image     In a similar way to Alien the main character in Prometheus is a woman, Elizabeth Shaw. Shaw is known throughout the film as ‘the believer’ of the group. As well as being a scientist who wishes to explore and understand life she is also very religious, and wants to find out how human life was created. It is this initial intention by Shaw that sparks off the film’s entire events. Shaw wants to meet her maker and believes she has pin-pointed the position of a planet that may hold the answers. After finding cave-paintings on Earth of god-like creatures she dubs them ‘The Engineers’ and sets off to find them.
     Unlike Ripley’s character in AlienShaw has a romantic attachment in the film. This adds quite a refreshing twist on the genre as you are able to witness her emotions, and her reaction to when he is infected. It could be argued that Shaw gets her strength and determination to carry on with her mission because of the events that happen to her boyfriend.

Image     Prometheus has had quite mixed reviews overall. Some people absolutely love it, others think it lacks something. Having personally loved it I have reached a conclusion on why this mixed response may be. Although continually described by Ridley Scott as not being a prequel film, I think that the film is a lot easier to watch if you have seen the original Alien film. If you are familiar with Alien then you are already familiar with the type of genre and know what to expect from the film. Another point to make is the fact that you will not understand the short clip right at the end of the film if you have not seen Alien!
    
Watching the film I was heavily reminded of the Alien franchise. The same style of genre, the use of sleeping pods, humanoid androids that begin to develop minds of their own and of course the classic ‘There’s something growing inside you’ scene are all present in Prometheus. Even the settings brought back memories of the typical Alien style films. This made the film somewhat familiar, yet it was still new and refreshing to watch. 

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    Overall, I found that Prometheus’ base storyline idea was the idea of evolution. As oppose to the Alien films it focused more on the idea of the creation of life. This is depicted both by the creation of monsters and the increasing threat of humanity being destroyed in the film.
    To conclude I would say that Prometheus is definitely a good film to watch, and I am excited at the prospect of a sequel being made in the future. So, go watch it.

‘Pillow Talk’ Review

Pillow Talk is a 2009 novel written by Freya North. I have previously only ever read one of her books, entitled Secrets, so this was an interesting read in terms of comparing the two pieces. I remember having loved Secrets, but had leant it off a friend and therefore no longer had it to refresh myself with. When Pillow Talk was then offered to me as a good holiday book I decided it was going to be a good read.
     Needless to say I didn’t take it on holiday with me, and instead read it over the course of two nights whilst suffering from jetlag from the holiday’s return trip. Typical… ‘What keeps you up all night?’ could not be a more appropriate tagline.

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     I thoroughly enjoyed Pillow Talk. The fact that it kept me entertained and hooked at 5am shows just how interesting and well-written it is. At no point did I ever get bored or think ‘Oh, this is a boring chapter’. It simply just didn’t happen. North has the gift of writing stories extremely well, being able to mix the right aspects of romance, humour and drama, in order to capture an entertaining yet realistic storyline.

     The story itself follows two main characters, Petra and Arlo. Over the course of the book we learn that they were once childhood sweethearts but have since lost touch with one another and now seem to live worlds apart. Petra is now living and working as a jeweller in London, and Arlo has found himself working as a music teacher in Yorkshire. That is until one day they happen to cross paths in an old sweet shop sheltering from the rain. Then the story gets a whole lot more interesting!

    As the title of the book may suggest the storyline is centred quite heavily around sleep, with Petra being a troubled sleepwalker and Arlo being a grief-stricken insomniac. As the story thickens and the character’s background stories begin to form we eventually learn the reasons behind these conditions. I quite liked this introduction of both characters having trouble with their sleeping, as it allowed for another interesting aspect of the book to focus on, other than just the romantic elements. I found it quite a clever technique for North to have used.

   Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would say that I probably enjoyed Secrets a bit more, as I preferred its storyline and set setting, as opposed to Pillow Talk’s tendency to include a lot of travel within the story. Needless to say Pillow Talk is still an absolute definite read, and I would highly recommend it. It is a lovely, well-written novel that offers everything a romance book needs.

‘Underworld: Awakening’ Review

Oh. My. Goodness. How long have I been waiting for this film to come out?!
I’m not sure whether it should be classed as the third film of the franchise, or as the fourth. Prequels make things so complicated… it’s probably the fourth….
Regardless, I loved it!

      Underworld: Awakening came out in 2012. It has been dubbed as one of the first films to be shot using Red Epic digital cameras to produce it in 3D. Kate Beckinsale reprises her role in the movie as fangtastical vampire, Selene.

Image      Twelve years since the events of Underworld: Evolution, Selene is back. After being captured for twelve years Selene awakes to a world of destruction. Humans are now aware that Vampires and Lykens exist which has led to a whole range of trouble. I found that this introduction of a new ‘bad guy species’ in the film helped put a new, refreshing spin on the storyline and added lots of new enemies to Selene’s ever-growing list.
      By far the most exciting thing in the film for me was seeing how Selene’s life has developed since the last film. Her relationship with Michael is still explored, but not in as much depths as the previous film. The main relationship explored within Underworld: Awakening is Selene’s emotional development with an unusual hybrid child called Eve. This was interesting to watch as Selene has never really had to care for another person before.
      The Underworld franchise has never had a child as a main character in the films before, and I found it another refreshing idea to bring to the storyline. Eve is played by seemingly new actress India Eisley. I found that Eisley did a wonderful job depicting her character, and as the film begins to develop you do begin to understand and sympathise with her character more.

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      Overall, I would definitely advise people to go and watch Underworld: Awakening. If you loved the previous Underworld films then I am sure you will love this new instalment. The story offers new characters, new bad guys, new dangers and new goals. I personally loved Underworld: Awakening, but then again I am a sucker when it comes to these types of films. (No pun intended.)

Go check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzRQwjlecFE

‘Melancholia’ Review

Melancholia is a 2011 film directed by Lars Von Trier.       

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This film was definitely strange. It was different to my usual preferences of a film but, after contemplating whether or not to buy it every time I went shopping, I decided in the end to give in and buy it as it did look interesting.

Melancholia has all the typical features of a film; such as an interesting plot and a range of detailed characters. However, the film tends to focus a lot more on the artistic side of things and I found that it explored a wide range of camera angles, backing music and unusual settings. A lot of scenes, especially at the beginning and end, are captured and shown in slow motion. This added to the artistic feel of the film, but I found that some of the slow motion scenes carried on for too long. This made them become somewhat tiresome after a while.
Another point to mention is the fact that a lot of the scenes have little or no dialogue in them, and only consist of steady loud backing music throughout. Although unusual I did find that this added to each scene by creating either a sense of drama or suspense for the watcher.


The main characters in Melancholia are two sisters; Justine (Played by Kirsten Stewart) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). The film consists of two parts, the first named ‘Justine’ and the second ‘Claire’. In ‘Justine’ we are shown her wedding reception and its aftermath. Over the course of the reception it becomes clear that Justine is quite troubled and isn’t as happy as her sister feels she should be. Justine’s unusual behaviour makes her quite an interesting character to follow.
In ‘Claire’ time has moved on and an ill Justine has come to stay with Claire and her family. It has now become world-wide news that a mysterious planet, known as ‘Melancholia’ is heading for Earth. This part of the film consists mainly of the two sisters and their different reactions to the news. The relationship between the two sisters is explored more in this section of the film.

Overall, I did find Melancholia an interesting film to watch. Although unusual I did enjoy the majority of it and would recommend people to have a go at watching it. I would however advise people to only watch it if they appreciate the artistic side of films, otherwise it won’t really be your cup of tea.

‘New European Poets’ Review

New European Works is a collection of poet’s work edited by Wayne Miller and Kevin Prufer.

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New European Poets contains poems from all over Europe; including Portugal, France, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Germany and England. The vast variety of nationalities and cultures brings lots of different and unique poems to the book and for the reader to read. I especially liked this, as I hadn’t before read any good collections that held poems from all around Europe.

A few examples of certain poems I really liked include:
[I have from you this red] by Valerio Magrelli (Italy)
Saturday in Sintra by Fabio Pusterla (Switzerland)
and
The Tale of the Hedgehog by Bernardo Atxaga (Spain)

      I liked these poems initially as they all had interesting ideas and imagery behind them. They contained beautiful amounts of detail as well. However, they did still differ in quite a lot of other ways. The overall styles varied and the subject matters were different, but they all offered a good and useful insight into the world of poetry.
      The fact that the poem styles are all different is the most interesting observation to study within the collection. I would definitely recommend the book if you are looking for a range of poems that all offer something different to their reader.

       Overall, I enjoyed reading through New European Poets quite a lot. It is easy to get through despite its size and is full with enough unique and interesting poetry to capture every reader’s tastes. I think this is a good collection book as it has a lot of work in it and offers a great range in terms of different varieties and styles. It offers a good insight into the world of poetry and should definitely be read by any poetry-enthusiasts.

Amazon Linkhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/New-European-Poets-Wayne-Miller/dp/1555974929

‘Last Evenings on Earth’ Review

Last Evenings on Earth is a collection of short stories written by Roberto Bolaño.

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Being the first collection to be published in English by Bolaño the book is an original and unique insight into his style of writing.
       One technique that I picked up on in all of Bolaño’s stories was his use of letters for names. Although unusual, the stories do still work well and the lack of character’s names means readers can add their own traits and names for them. I quite liked this technique as I have never seen it done before and I think it is a very clever idea to use. Another point to mention is that all the stories are told in first person and tend to be told in a reflecting style of voice. The fact that speech marks are never used in his stories suggests that Bolaño is trying to create the sense of a first person narrator, who is reflecting on a past event in the form of a story.
       A good example of the lettered names is the use of the character of ‘B’ in a few of the Last Evenings on Earth stories. Some people believe that this is one of the many cases in which Bolaño has decided to write himself into his own fiction, using his last initial to create more mystery.
      Whilst reading the collection I also found that all of the stories ended quiet suddenly. For me, this created the impression that the stories carry on. They do not particularly have an ending as they reflect on stories that could happen in real life, and in real life stories do not simply just end.
       Overall, I would say that I found Last Evenings on Earth an okay book to read. I am happy I have read it and picked up on new techniques and styles of writing, but I would not be over excited to read it again. The stories didn’t particularly interest me, but I would still urge people to read it.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Evenings-Earth-Roberto-Bolano/dp/0099469421

 

 

‘One Day’ (Book) Review

One Day is a novel written by David Nicholls.

Twenty Years… Two people. One Day.

I read One Day last year and think it is defiantly about time it deserves a review. Whilst on a trip to Portugal my cousin found the book in our room and proceeded to reading it at the pool side throughout our holiday. Splattered in lotion and baked by the sun it accompanied us back home. It was then my turn to read.
   One Day follows the lives of two best friends, Emma and Alex, cleverly convening on their story every year on the 15th July. I found this a clever aspect of the story as it was interesting to see how their lives had changed over the course of a year, each year. I sometimes found it a bit confusing going from a significant event and then having it cut off and a new year beginning, but I liked the idea behind it and definitely wouldn’t want it to change.
I found that over the course of the book you grow attached to the characters of Emma and Alex quite a lot, and begin to wish them well and good luck in their lives. Having followed their lives for twenty years it’s hard to put the book down, even when it ends. The style of One Day itself makes it a good read and a book that you will not find boring at any point of the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would definitely advise people to give it a read.

On another note, I think the book was portrayed quite well in the 2011 film adaptation of the novel. However, I did not enjoy it as much as the book as I think it lacked the same amount of emotion and drama. Needless to say, they both succeeded in making me cry…

So be sure to go read and watch One Day!