Saturday, January 31, 2009


Nefertiti - Michelle Moran (2007)
I had read good reviews for the second book in the series, The Heretic Queen, that while on holiday and bored with my library book, I snuck into the bookshelves and liberated this one from the stack. Just finished it now, 10 minutes ago sitting in the hot late afternooon sun.

Nefertiti, a famous Egyptian queen was known for her beauty and for her rule of Egypt. This story is told by her sister, and explains her ambition and cunning that she used to first get the love of the pharoah, and then to keep him happy after giving him six daughters. I guess the age old themes of wanting to be rich and famous, have been around for a long, l0ng time.

Certainly an original and well researched historical novel, it was also easy reading and got me wanting to go to bed early to find out what had happened. So that will earn it a 4/5 from me.

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married (1999), Dvd
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, is based on the 90s novel by Marian Keyes. A rollicking novel, which made me laugh out loud on a beach in Tahiti (exotic I know), I believe it may have started a trend in chick lit, by its immense popularity.

This dvd, even with the inclusion of Gerald Butler, is not such a fun experience. I felt like I was watching a school production, where the script had been butchered by the nerdy drama teacher. I guess it is 10 years old, and spoiled by the likes of Sex and the City, it hardly seems very grown up, raunchy or funny.

So it is a sad old 1/5 for this dvd - leave it on the shelves.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Life on Mars

Life on Mars (2006)
My family despair of me, because I persist in having poor people tv (not sky or cable), and also the tv aerial got blown down in a storm several years ago. The landlord offered to get a replacement, but honestly I watch enough tv on the three channels I can get and once study is over, then I may consider dishing out more money. At the moment though I am happy that my entertainment dollar is spent at the movies and going out, rather than more tv.

That said, I managed to miss Life on Mars, when it played as it was on one of the channels I don't get. There is a special pleasure though, that comes from sitting down during the week and watching the dvd series, as you are able to follow the storyline much easier and it is a nice destraction from the drivel on the box at the moment (seriously haven't we been subjected to enough Ugly Betty, Lost, American Pie and Jerry McGuire).

So Life on Mars is about Sam Riley, a policeman injured in a car accident, who finds himself suddenly back in 1973, where he has to solve crimes without a mobile phone, computer and modern techniques. Instead he gets a bunch of lazy, smoking, drunk and the most un PC bunch of blokes, who are quick with the fists. Certainly a throw back to the Sweeney, I did enjoy this 8-episode dvd, so a 4/5. I had reserved the dvds and series 2 was sent out first, but I am glad I waited for series one, it might all make sense now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cross Country - James Patterson

Cross Country - James Patterson (2008)
After reading a couple of filler novels by James Patterson, I felt compelled to ignore those silly women in his murder club and stick to my old fave, Alex Cross. In this novel Alex becomes involved with a brutal murderer who uses a gang of young boys to help murder whole families. In discovering a connection to the Sudan and Nigeria, he travels to Africa to try and find 'The Tiger'.

I enjoyed the beginning, but the sometimes very graphic violence made me feel a bit disturbed and I felt that the author was too busy moving characters from scene to scene, and forgot to have a viable understandable logic to explain the jump from country to country. It had the feel of a badly drawn out action movie.

I sense too that James Patterson may be shutting down the Alex Cross character, if only because how many times would a cop put up with his family under threat, and is there any other way he knows of to end his novels? I think not. So Alex Cross, I have to give you a 3/5 if only for being so easily readable, especially at bedtime.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Brick Lane

Brick Lane (2007)
Brick Lane is a beautiful film to watch, and tells the story of a girl who has grown up in Bangladesh with her sister. At 17 she comes to London to be married to a much older man. Then having two daughters of her own she dreams of going home, in order to earn the money she takes a sewing job and meets a young chap who delivers her jobs to her home.

I really wish I had watched this in the cinema, it was a visual treat and I thought a sweet story showing the contrast of cultures in London, without it being too sugar coated or stereotyped. 3/5

Monday, January 05, 2009

Dispatches from the Edge - Anderson Cooper

Dispatches From the Edge - Anderson Cooper (2006)
Because I have no cable tv, I am not subjected to the many broadcasts and ongoing news programs that frequent tv. I have heard of Anderson Cooper, and seen a few news reports that he has done. Basically I knew little of him or his life, so reading this memoir felt fresh to me. Haunted by the early death of his father, and the later suicide of his brother at a young age.

In this memoir, he describes being in Somalia, Iraq, Bosnia, Sri Lanka after the Tsunami, and then in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In this book he gives an insight much deeper than the 10 second soundbites given to us on news shows, and lets us know that he does care about the abandoned people of the world. He wonders how the US officials could stand and congratulate themselves on all of their hard work after Katrina, while people were homeless and starving and bodies were left to rot in the streets. Hurrah for the smart journalist, one who questions what is happening around them, although I wonder if the security of wealth allows you the luxury of not worrying about losing your job.

So it is an interesting 3/5, if only downgraded due to the fact that there seemed to be a lot that wasn't written, still hidden and unexplored.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


2008 brought me some great songs, and best of all a new ipod. So to show my nerdiness I bring you my top 5 played for the year.

  1. Shut Your Eyes - Snow Patrol
  2. This Must be the Place (Naive Melody) - Talking Heads, Lars and the Real Girl bought this song back into my fave list, and so while typing this it is playing on youtube at the same time - awesome.
  3. Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
  4. Homecoming (featuring Chris Martin) - Kanye West
  5. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (yes I am old enough to danced at the disco first time around)

One of the things I remember from either watching CrazySexyCancer, or by thumbing through the book was the advice to turn the music up loud each day, and dance to a fave tune. Good advice for a new year.

Steve and Me - Teri Irwin

Steve and Me - Teri Irwin (2007)
I have to admit for years, that if the Crocodile Hunter was on television, I switched channels as I was annoyed by his over the top prescence. Then however, as the world discovered him, more and more 'documentry' shows like 60 minutes intereviewed him, and I began to see that his over enthusiasm was just his passion showing through and that he was an honest and engaging bloke.

Teri Irwin has written this book still in the midst of grief, after Steve Irwins death in 2006, but it is a nice glimpse of the great love their family shared, and the amazing life they led. A 4/5 for me, and it made me want to go and put some khaki on - maybe though we will go to the zoo today, and think of Steve.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Yes Man

Yes Man (2008)
Seeing it was a craptastic day weather wise, I let my 12 year old niece choose the second movie of the day. Yes I was willing to spend half my salary on two movie tickets, twice in a row (only because we had a $2 bag of sweets with us).

She chose Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey. He's not my cup of tea, but the other actors rounded out the cast. Typically for a movie written by manboys, it started off funny, then tried in the last third to get serious, and missed the mark again. His character changes his perspective on the world, when he attends a YES conference, and decides to try saying yes to every opportunity offered to him. I must admit to chuckling, and even laughing in a couple of scenes, but it was not enough to save it.

I know it's number one at the box office, so I will match it with a 1/5. Truly, it was awful and highly predictable, I am sure lots of 9 year old boys will love it (you might have to cover their eyes in one early scene).

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Holy manorexia, Keanu plays an alien in this remake of a 1950s scifi classic. The spaceships arrive to remind the earth of the peril that it is in. At least Jennifer Connelly redeemed the movie by playing a believably smart girl scientist, to Keanus mannequin performance. Keanu, you may be wooden but I still love you.

So I always love a good Armageddon/end of the world is nigh movie, throw in a couple of helicopters and it is all pretty good for another grey, wet and windy summer day. 3/5

Tears of the Desert - Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis

Tears of the Desert - Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis (2008)
Halima Bashir grew up in the Sudan, and was a bright schoolgirl who was able to go to medical school, and become a doctor. During her time training, conflicts began to escalate in Dafur. Civil unrest meant she treated a group of school girls, some as young as seven years old who were brutally beaten and gang raped. Also coming to her clinic were rebels who had shotgun injuries.

This put her in danger, and she herself was taken and abused and attacked. Seeking asylum she escaped to the UK, where she met up with her husband and started her own family. Refused asylum, she took her story to the public, and upon appeal was granted residency.

A well told autobiography,this memoir brings home the horror that is occurring within the Sudan, and all the misery of what happens when countrymen turn on each other. In the epilogue she does a good job of trying to explain how and why this has happened. 3/5