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The Catcher in the Rye
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I had an urge the other Sunday to read this book. I don't know why as I had barely heard of it, but I did. I called up my local book shop to check it was in stock and, upon finding out that it was, ran down there like a school boy to get it. I almost finished it that same day. Like the reviewer below, I too am recently out of my teens. However, unlike him, I related to Holden perhaps more than I have related to any living human being I have ever met (says a lot about me doesn't it?!). The critical reviewer is correct: Holden does moan. Yet, the novel is anything but negative, if anything it is filled with hope and an adoration of life. Holden's moaning is his disillusionment with the limitations placed on his life and the people who fail to recognise that they exist. His moaning has its foundations in his unwavering, and thus admirable, belief that this world, his world, had so much more potential even if he didn't know or couldn't fully articulate what it was. His journey is about discovering that potential, or at least trying to. Of course, he isn't always right and he doesn't always have direct justification. But that's what makes him such a pure and attractive seventeen year old; his justification comes from the mere fact that he has a mind and spirit to know that there is more out there - and that the rest of the 'justified' world is only really justified by others' blind acceptance.
The novel develops the most complex of themes and character in a cleanly written, at times simplistic, way. And that is an art I never previously had the chance to admire. There was a point in reading when I had to put down the novel and type up an entire extract to send to a friend - it hit such a raw nerve and it was so so true and well expressed.
The novel is remarkable and something we can all enjoy. Except, perhaps, those who have already been too blinded by society to open their eyes to a richer world.
Bronco Bullfrog (With DVD) (2 Discs)
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The film, along with the lengthy short films in the extras, offers a sharp, gritty and at times hard to swallow insight into a world long gone as a whole but with remnants lingering all around the East End. As a child of the '90s, I still found numerous points of nostalgia being evoked by the simultaneous detail and simplicity of the film's composition. The plot is little more than a haphazard sketch of various, only sometimes linked events. However, that is its ugly beauty; it is through this that it conveys so pungently the life of the late 1960s East End and the style of acting is best conveyed by one of the actors: "It's not acting really, it's remembering and then jus doing what happens during the day," spoken in the thickest, most mangled cockney accent I've heard for a very long time.
Doctor Who: The Voyage Of The Damned (2007 Christmas Special) (Dr.Who)
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This episode was a great Christmas show that was worth the wait. It lacks nothing of Doctor Who's typical genious. The plot is far-fetched but once you get beyond that becomes believable within. Kylie is awesome and the episode is action-packed and filled with suspense. However, it might feel a bit odd to watch it at any time other than Christmas; it was a Christmas special and that is when it is best seen. Unless of course you feel like putting the tinsel up slightly early this year and getting yourself back in the mood...
Worth buying if you didn't see it on Christmas Day, otherwise wait for the new series to begin.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2 Discs)
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You will not wanna miss a single second of this once it starts.
The plot, as it always has been, is superb and even the predictable events are conveyed in a surprisingly unpredictable manner. The music is eerily brilliant and is combined expertly with the simultaneous events and build-ups. And the singing is spot on too - both Helena Bonham-Carter and Jonny Depp are good singers, if not world class, and the three younger actors, including the young boy, are fantastic. Everything fits with the era in which it is set - if you can get past seeing Sacha 'Borat' Baron Cohen in another tight revealing costume as Todd's rival barber. But don't worry - you won't have to put up with him for too long... The streets are spectacular visually - dark, dirty and gritty - and the costumes are equally ragged and well researched.
Depp is fantastic and Bonham Carter is even better as Mrs Lovett who owns the infamous pie shop.
There are touching moments, moments of very witty laugh-out-loud humour, incidents that get you thinking, dramatic irony, points of pulsating action (notably the beat-the-clock feel to the scene where the boy is stuck between an equally violent life and death) and events of blood-filled gore. However, it all comes together brilliantly.
You will enjoy every minute of it!
Only Fools And Horses - Strangers On The Shore
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Easily the pick of the final final trilogy. The first suffered because it spent too long explaining the brothers' progression over the past years and having to deal with the tragic losses of Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) and Kenneth MacDonald (Mike). The final one was a victim of its need to once again bring the series to a conclusion - when the original finale could not really be bettered.
This, however, suffers from none of that and is simply pure comedy gold, as per usual. The events, including the Trotters being lumbered with a very important illegal immigrant following a money-making trip to France, are typical but original. The scene involving Boycie and illegal 'Gary' sharing the Trotters' living room as a slleping venue - some of the lines by Bocie are pure class.
And, as for no more should have been made, I disagree. The three final episodes were not as good as these but were just as good as a number of earlier episodes. I just think they were always going to be criticised after they decided to come back after a long absence and an announcement that no more would be made - the expectancy level for them was beyond anyhting seen before. if you do not find the second episode, with the illegal immigrant, funny, there is something wrong with your humour - it has everything OFAH is about.
Only Fools And Horses - 1996 Christmas Trilogy Box Set (3 Discs)
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Amazing 'ending' to the greatest comedy series ever made. These three are each in their own right superb and they encapsulate every emotion you have felt watching through the previous series. John Sullivan is incredible in the way he converts his real life experiences - and boy must he have had some - into a screen-play that is visually near-faultless. The events depicted come across to the viewer as though they are being seen in real life. The acting is as superb as ever and Heroes and Villains provides some of the greatest comedy moments ever seen. When first seen, the Batman and Robin scene is televisual paradise and it takes an awful lot of repeat viewings for it to lose any of its appeal. Trigger, again, comes out with some irrevocable one-liners.
Don't buy these, buy the Complete Series box set.
Favourite Worst Nightmare
Arctic Monkeys - CD
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Top quality album! Better than the first in terms of the amount of quality songs, though there are only a couple of stand-out songs - 'Teddy Picker' and 'Fluorescent Adolescent' - just as there was in 'Whatever you Say I am...' Really good sound, excellent lyrics - you must listen to the words as they are witty, clever and meaningful; they make the song better, and passion-filled vocals. This might seem somewhat anachronistic, but the album appears timeless, the songs will never age and always be relevant. This could have been made in the Seventies or Eighties as easily as it could today.
Jack Penate - CD
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'Second, Minute or Hour' - I cannot believe hardly anyone has heard it; for me it's song of the year. It is original, fast, catchy, lyrically superb, vocally brilliant; no matter what genré of music you're into you should like this song.
The rest of the album is good too, sure to grow on you the more you listen to it.
But for that song alone it should be bought
Love Actually (2003)
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You have to love this film! It is incredible that, with so many different characters and storylines running through, the plot comes together tightly and makes for a film that is effortlessly enjoyable throughout. The various characters combine to offer just the right mix of drama, romance, comedy and intrigue and there is something there for everyone to relate to.
The ups and downs of relationship difficulties, lost love and barriers that the film depicts might make you a bit weepy. However, the most important point of this is that the ending consequently evokes a truly blissful sensation. A real feel-good film.
Obviously, the best time to watch this is at Christmas
300 (Single Disc Edition)
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This film is no more than okay. The plot is sufficient for the viewer to follow the action, with everything decently strung together. However, it is by no means scintillating, thought-provoking or encapsulating.
The action is what you would expect, plenty of blood and gore and the fight scenes do tickle your adrenalin pump. However, and this might have something to do with the failings of the plot to draw you in or make you attached, it is not pulsating or rousing. Some films have a vivid, grandstand lead-up story before the final epic confrontation takes place. 300 does not, it just throws the fighting in and seemingly hopes for the best. Thus, you do not get those same stirring feelings of anger, encouragement, enthusisam to see the outcome, or satisfaction at watching that fatal blow go in.
Certainly watchable but nothing special.