All entries for October 2004

October 28, 2004

Vivid, imaginative, thought–provoking

5 out of 5 stars

I doubt that I would ever have picked up this book in a shop. The premise of a young boy in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orang-utan and a royal bengal tiger sounds interesting, but I just couldn't imagine it being any good.

Though I don't agree with the assertion at the beginning that "this story will make you believe in god by the end", I still found it to be such a good book that I could hardly put it down.

At first, I could hardly conceive reading a book about a castaway in a lifeboat (at least Robinson Crusoe had an island to live on!) but I discovered that being shipwrecked in a lifeboat with a tiger is not necesseraily over after a couple of hours. Indeed the whole story of how Pi survives his time on the lifeboat is both tragic and breathtaking.

The themes and ideas discussed in this book are engaging and thought-provoking. Especially when you reach the end of the book you understand that the story is not all it seems. Furthermore, I have never pondered the end of a book more than this one.

The book is imaginativly written, filled with vivid descriptions which bring everything to life and immerse you in the fate of young Pi. You could never otherwise imagine just how much there is to discover when you are alone in the Pacific with a tiger.

I look forward to the next book that Yann Martel writes, since I thoroughly enjoyed this one. If you're looking for an up and coming author, Yann Martel would be an excellent choice.

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.

October 2004

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