October 26, 2004

Far too unkown teen flick

5 out of 5 stars

My absolute favourite film and not just because it stars Kirsten Dunst! (although that is a deciding factor)

Berke has been dating the most beautiful girl in school until she breaks up with him and starts going out with a slimy, arrogant prat from abroad. Berke will stop at nothing to get her back. And yes, of course there is another girl involved.

Though not immediatly obvious, this film is a modernisation of "A midsummer night's dream" and loosely based on it.

The great thing about this film is, that it doesn't take itsself too seriously. It's not trying to show the hardships of being a teenager, nor is it trying to make a point of any sort. It's a happy, funky, fresh and, above all, funny film.

Also the style of directing appealed to me, the way we can often experience what Berke feels. The one-shot credit scene at the beginning is to my mind a great example of that.

Other than Kirsten Dunst, this film also stars Tom Hanks's son Colin and Sisquo, before he found fame with 'the thong song'

This film may not appeal to everyone, but I think it's well worth a watch.

October 19, 2004

Great Adventure Story

4 out of 5 stars

Imagine the latest blockbuster action movie in book format. Add a dash of intelligent plot and a sprinkle of creative descriptions. Now set the whole thing in africa and have the main characters look for King Solomon's Diamond Mines, whose location is marked by a secret map.

Sound good? Then you'll love this book. Written at the end of the 19th Century it has retained its cult status with its fast-paced storytelling and vivid scenery. The story is imaginative with lovable characters, especially Allan Quatermain, the narrator. It struck me as funny and yet endearing that he, the main character (the star) is somewhat of a coward, thrust into the whole situation by the thing that drives us all: money!

The book is a very good read and very informative (you'll pick up a few Zulu words on the way). I felt though that sometimes, especially at the battle at the end, it was lacking in plot and I felt bored at times.

Verdict: Definitly worth a read and it's not too long either!

October 07, 2004

The White House we all want …

5 out of 5 stars

Saying that "The West Wing" is a series about the White House would understate the brilliance of this show by miles. When I first heard about it, I was rather dubious and thought that this show would only appeal to people interested in politics (or even just american polititcs). After watching the first episode, followed immediatly by the second episode, followed immediatly by the rest of the first season, I can in fact say, that you don't need to be interested in politics at all, this show will draw you in anyway.

The reason behind this is the fact that, whilst you won't be able to get all the references (I still don't know what OEOB stand for), you can make it out and normally, everything will be explained in the course of the episode.
What makes this show so truly outstanding is the writing. We know that Aaron Sorkin is a fantastic writer ever since "A Few Good Men". With this series, he has set the bar even higher than it has ever been before. The dialogue is fast, crisp and spiced with humour.
The issues that are discussed in "The West Wing" are relevant to today and to all kinds of people. But don't expect endless boring political discussions, that make you wish Iain Duncan Smith was there to entertain you, because "The West Wing" presents its themes in a variety of amusing and challenging ways. But that's not even all.
Imagine now, you have this incredible drama series, with its humour, its relevant themes, the lovable cast, the dynamic plot, but you also have a good slice of action in there too. And to be honest, who doesn't like seeing the Secret Service letting off a couple of rounds from their Glocks?

If you are inteding on watching this series, please start on a friday, because you absolutely can't stop after one episode. This series is well worth watching and I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation.

Not just an adult version of "Friends" !

5 out of 5 stars

You can be forgiven for thinking that "Coupling" is just the UK, more adult version of "Friends", but only if you haven't seen it yet.

I will admit that there are basic similarities, such as there being six people, two of which are going out and that there is a slightly wierd woman in the group.
But that is about where the comparison ends. "Coupling" has a quirky, adult sense of humour, which stems from some ingenious writing. But that's not all that sets "Coupling" apart from the rest of the comedy world. There is some fantastic "coincidental" storyline, which you won't find in "Friends", say.

The characters are all loveable in their own right, and there is definitly one character that will appeal to you! The episodes are superbly acted, with great flair and determination.

I've been told that the first season isn't even the best yet, but I can scarcely believe that it can get any better.

Good series, if a little short and well worth the money!

October 06, 2004

Good, but not good enough

4 out of 5 stars

So, if you know me, you will know that I have only the paperback editions of any Terry Pratchett book. This stems partly from the fact that buying them all in hardcover is expensive and partly from the fact that I like continuence.

The latest Discworl book is a sad continuation of, lately, at most mediocre books. Don't get me wrong, I love the Discworld series, but lately nothing he wrote has really thrilled me. It still makes you chuckle, but it almost seems as if Pratchett is making a point and uses the book to do it. That's fine by me, if only he wouldn't sacrifice the style and humour that has made his previous books in the series a hilarious roller coaster ride.

Some things that irritated me are the recurrence of the Watch in an otherwise independant Discworld Novel. What happened to books like Pyramids, which were completely seperate from the witches, the watch, Death or Rincewind? Why does everything have to revolve around the Watch, Vimes and Ankh-Morpork all of a sudden?
I didn't like the end either, it didn't have a nice finish, perhaps that was the poing Pratchett was trying to make, that not all stories have a happy end, but I still would have preferred one. Another thing that has disappointed me was the plot line. It seemed far-fetched at best and slightly 'assembled' from various things Pratchett wanted to tell us.

All in all it is a good book, but not a good Discworld book. I enjoyed then read, but I really hope that Going Postal will be better.

September 30, 2004

Scary, but believable view on privacy

4 out of 5 stars

Lury.Gibson isn't an author, but a collection of writers and this book is their first published work. And hopefully not the last.

Dangerous Data centres around an obscure Data Detective, who, using more or less illegal methods, can find out anything about anyone. People employ him to find information on people, such as a cheating husbands and run-away daughters.

The book is about The Dogg's latest contract: Finding out everything he can about the people living at a specific address. We then follow The Dogg as he uncovers clue after clue about these people's history, their lives and their routine. The slant on this book is the fact that this Data Detective never leaves his office and still tells the story of these three people as if he knew them intimatly.

The book is written in alternating pages. One page tells part of the story, the other contains either the information that The Dogg has found, or relevant websites to something The Dogg is talking about.

All in all, this a pretty good book. In my opinion it's ahead of its time and I think, had the authors waited for a couple of years, the book would have been more relevant then. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks that shopping online is secure and that you're safe at home.

An unbiased book about technology and religion

5 out of 5 stars

You would think that a book about religion and technology would involve a lot of science bashing or heretic thought. That's where my fascination for this book came in. I have to admit that when I bought the book, I bought it purely for its title (which is "Illuminati" in german). As I started reading though, I discovered that this book tries (and succeeds) in showing that there is a way for science and religion to co-exist.

I won't go into too much plot detail here, since you should definitly read this book anyway, but suffice to say that the plot twists and turns and keeps you guessing at ever point. I have read my fair share of twisty books, but this one actually made me guess completely wrong, until I gave up in the end and just waited for the next plot line to turn around 180 degrees.

The book is written at a nice, fast pace and visits some of rome's most interesting and well known locations, such as the St. Peter's Basilica and the Piazza Navona. You have the feeling of being taken on a thrill ride that just won't stop. I have been to Rome recently and of course, checked all the locations described in the book, which Dan Brown claims are all authentic. They are! I've been to all the churches on the Path of Illumination and they really exist and look like in the book.

All in all this an extremely well researched book, which can be read for either its entertainment value as a racy thriller or as a balanced look at the century old battle between the church and science, and it even gives us a middle way.
The only downside to this book are the characters. For my part, I found Robert Langdon slightly unbelievable and Vittoria was not developed throughout the book. Apart from that this book is a cracking read! Recommended to all!

September 29, 2004

Excellent read, even for Non Science–Fiction Fans

5 out of 5 stars

The Light of Other Days is a fantastic book about worm holes. It basically centres around this phenomenon as it goes from fresh invention to world-wide, every-day-use technology.
A worm hole, for those of you who are not science geeks, is a direct tunnel between two places. It's like the Stargate.
The book follows the development of the technology from its infancy onwards and illustrates with many interesting story lines, how this technology could change the world we live in.

In my opinion this book is fantastic, the stories are well thought out and the pace of the book is great. What fascinated me most about this book is the fact that Clarke doesn't just follow a single person, like the inventor, but rather analyses the impact such technology is likely to have on our society.
The only downside I can see to the book, is that it seems far too melodramatic at times and the end left me unconvinced, definitly.
Apart from that, I would recommend this title to anyone who is interested in a science-fiction book, without wanting to go full on. It's also a nice review of our society and where it is leading. A solid read.

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