Sunday, 28 June 2015

Film review - Minions 3D


Took my daughter to see Minions yesterday.   The prequel to the excellent and very funny Despicable Me films it switches focus on Gru's yellow Minion friends.  
It shows their evolution from single celled yellow organisms up to how they are now.  Their main purpose in life is to serve the most evil beings in the world from T Rex to cavemen.   Unfortunately they always end up killing them off in bizarre funny accidents. 
After running out of bosses to serve they spend years living in an ice cave suffering depression and starting to die off.

One Minion Kevin sets out to find a new evil boss for them to serve.   With the help of Bob and Stewart they head to America to work for the most evil villain - Scarlett Overkill.

The film has some very funny moments and even though they talk in their own baby type language you can tell what they mean - similar to Shawn the Sheep. 
I was looking forward to watching it in 3D as Despicable Me 2 was great in 3D with the Minions blowing bubbles out but there were less moments when things came out at you which was disappointing but still good.
The voice cast was great from Michael Keaton to  Sandra Bullock who played Scarlett Overkill. 

Overall a great movie with the funny and adorable Minions in particular Bob who was very cute.  I just wonder how long the appeal will last.  There is also a cameo from Gru's which tied into later films.

Score  9/10  - slightly let down by 3D.

Bels score - 9/10 - it was very funny.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Jurassic World - Movie Review

Tonight I was took back to my younger days when I went to see Jurassic Park way back in 1993.  At the time it was one of the first to use CGI effects and I was in awe seeing dinosaurs come to life.
Tonight I had that feeling again as the park really came to life in a brilliant visual feast which I reckon was the idea for the first film but they didn't have the effects as good back then.

The characters worked well from the two lads Zach and Gray who visit their Aunt Claire on the island.   This young actors were really good and the older of the two (played by Nick Robinson)  would make a good Peter Parker in the next Spiderman Reboot.
Aunt Claire played by Bryce Dallas Howard was good too.  Bossy and business like at first but softening later in the film to look after her nephews.

All the actors played their parts well including B D Wong who returned from the original film as Dr Henry Wu who has crossed to the dark side.
Vincent D' Onofrio (from Law and Order) was really good as a cocky head of security Vic Hoskins who wanted to take the Velociraptors and turn them into military weapons.
Lastly Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) was again great as a Raptor trainer an ex military guy Owen Grady.
At first I thought the idea of a Raptor trainer was daft but he nurtured them from babies and trained them - much like people do with Wolves or Lions.  It looks quite real.

The main plot involves a new genetic breed of dinosaur which has everything in it called Indominus Rex which is big yet deadly has it has camouflage skin which helps it to escape from its compound.

From here there are some great action sequences including Pterosaurs flying and carrying people of.  The chase with the gyroshere balls visitors sit in ( I want one! ).  The giant Mosasaurus which is huge and swims in the lagoon eating a 20 foot shark is good too.  Also the climax of the film is good with SPOILERS - the T Rex coming back - the same one that was in the first film as it has the scars where the Raptors scratched him.

Overall a fantastic film and an improvement on the first three Jurassic Park films - there were some good nods  to first film too.  Near beginning Jeff Goldblums character photo on back of a book.  There is a statue of Hammond the old guy who created original park.  One character has an original Jurassic Park T-shirt on.  The two lads find the original park.  Plus more besides.
Even though the end battle was good felt bit improbable but fun all the same.
Go get your teeth into this film.

SCORE   -  10/10

Book Review - Leigh Russell - Cold Sacrifice

I bought Cold Sacrifice before the Cleckheaton Literary Festival to review and get signed by Leigh.   It isn’t the book she is signing in the photo that is her latest DI Geraldine Steel novel Killer Plan which I shall read after the others in the series.
After over a decade of hiding away from the Crime and Thriller Genre to concentrate on Fantasy and Sci-fi I thought it would be a good reintroduction to Crime to read this.  It will also benefit me as I’m writing a crime novel at the moment.
What a great start to the crime genre, as it had me hooked from the opening page and is an easy read where the pages fly by.  It is one of the fastest books I have read.  There is plenty of action and the setting and characters are well rounded and real.  Even the secondary characters have life in them which can be tricky to pull off.
The story follows DS Ian Peterson in his first adventure on his own.  These books are spin offs from the Geraldine Steel books.  He is on the trail of a killer and it looks a clear case of the husband murdering his wife to get her inheritance but soon he has a dodgy alibi and more bodies pile up.
I loved Ian Peterson and felt sorry for him being married to his wife Bev as his work are driving a wedge between them.   I won’t spoil too much but infidelity is in the air.
The only problem I had with the novel was the Husband and main suspect has the same name as my late Granddad Henry Martin!  So that was weird.
Overall a fantastic read and ☆SPOILERS☆ I hope the people really behind the murders feature in a future book and are brought to justice.   I will be getting the next DI Ian Peterson book as soon as possible and I urge any crime fan to take a look.
Score 10/10

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Update 8/6/2015

Hi guys

Just a quick update on what I'm up to at the moment.

Firstly I am still blogging for Cleckheaton Literary Festival blog and reviewing the events.  The blog can be found here:

I am also reading and enjoying Cold Sacrifice by Leigh Russell who attended the festival and a review will be on that blog and this one shortly.

I am about to start a short story to enter No Exit Press competition.

Plus gearing up for Camp Nano July.

Cheers guys

D Day/1940S Week end - Childs confusion of War

Hi again

With it being Brighouse 1940s Weekend and Anniversary of D Day Landings thought would re-share a poem my Dad Barry Walker wrote many years ago.

A Child's Confusion of War

Oh Daddy please don't hurt me
Or ever make me cry
As I wish to save my teardrops
For those who have to die
Then I'll cry a thousand tears
For those I do not know
As it may save a little boy
The teardrops he doesn't know
As he will never have a Daddy
To love and scald him so
As he will be an orphan boy
And he will never know
So please don't hurt
Or make me cry
As I wish to save my teardrops
For those who have to die

D Day Anniversary - Photographic Memories

Hi All

As yesterday was the 71st Anniversary of the D Day Landings and Brighouse is holding a 1940s weekend I thought it would be appropriate to share my D Day Landings story again.  Enjoy.

Photographic Memories

The man staggered to the rock, swivelled and slumped,  slowly sliding down it.  He sat there dazed and disorientated  not knowing where he was and he couldn’t hear anything except a constant loud ringing noise.  He was scared and cold.

The young man patted his breast pocket and with shaking fingers pulled out  a black and white photo.  Examining it he stared lovingly at his family in the photo.  His father was on the end standing tall and thin.  Next to him was the mans 18 month son crawling, facing the camera looking as cute as can be in a baby romper suit with his long black hair over his face.  He had a big radiant smile on his face. 
Finally in the photo was the man’s young wife with her long black hair swept to the side exposing her dark eyes and full lips. 

He missed his family dearly then realised his mother wasn’t there in the photo.  She had died when he was a boy.  This made him think back to his earliest memory of his mother.  He was about  5 year’s old.  He was sobbing holding up his knee as his mother washed a cut, smiling at him as she did so.  He remembered her plump face with her rosy red cheeks and her curly black hair.
“You’ll be fine Henry”, she reassured him, “There all better.” She said in her soothing soft voice.  She kissed his knee and he felt better immediately.  They both gave a little chuckle to each other.

Returning to his present situation,  Henry wished his mother was there with him right now reassuring him that everything would be alright in her soft soothing voice.  Henry sighed as his thoughts went back in time again.  This time to the last memory of his mother when he was 12.  He was  standing by her bed as her now pale thinner face looked up at him.  The twinkle she once had in her eyes had gone and she coughed violently.

“Love you.” She called over to him as his father ushered him out of the room. 
“Come on now Henry.  Your mother needs her rest” advised Henry’s father.  His father was tall and much broader back then and he seemed to fill most of the room.  Henry reluctantly left his mother’s side and didn’t see her alive again.  She had died of pneumonia.

Henry noticed tears splattering onto the photo he was holding.  Still shaking and with his ears still ringing  he stared at his father.  Age had not been kind to him as he was still tall but now his stout broad figure was thin and weak.  His hair had almost totally gone.  He had never been the same since mother’s death and had taken to drinking heavily.   Henry then realised he had never been close to his father.  When he was younger his father was away in the army so would only visit when he could.  He even missed a few of Henry’s birthdays and Christmases.   His father only really lived with them once he left the war.  This was due to bad shrapnel wound to the leg.  When his father was there they hardly spoke and there were quite a lot of silences.  Although Henry loved his father he never really knew him and the only memories of him he could muster were ones where he was shouting and ordering him and his mother around.  It must have been the military upbringing he had had.  Thinking about it more clearly Henry realised he had always been fearful of his father.

A sudden movement and shadow falling over Henry’s family photo awakened him to his present situation.  Henry looked up at the source of the shadow and gasped.  An English soldier from Henry’s regiment was stood in front of Henry.  He was covered in blood, mud and sand and to Henry he looked to be shouting at him but Henry could hear no words only the constant ring in his ears.  The man was as young as Henry and was pale and frightened.  He had lost his helmet and his blond hair was matted to his head with sweat and mud.   Henry noticed the soldier was holding something in his hand which was bloody and disfigured then realised it was the soldier’s foot which had been blown off by a mine.  Henry looked at the man’s injured leg and saw blood gushing from a mangled stump which was just below the knee.  The soldier limped closer to Henry with a mixture of shock and fear on his face.  Suddenly a bullet hit the soldier in the forehead.  There was just a tiny hole but the back of the soldiers head had been blown away.  The soldier fell backwards and lifeless to the sand and mud.

Henry retreated back to his family photo now intently staring at his wife.  She was beautiful and he wondered if he would see her again.  His memory went back to the town dance where he had met her.  He was stood near the exit of the dance hall ready to leave after losing his friends.  Then out the corner of his eye he saw her on the opposite side of the hall watching him.  Henry noticed her hair first.  It shimmered in the light and was black as night and long with curls.  She reminded him of the actress Veronica Lake which he had seen on bill boards in town.  She wore a short black velvet dress and considering the rationing it was in good condition.

Henry wasn’t sure what he was wearing that night as he just remembered buying two ginger beers and walking across the floor to her.  The trip he made as reached her made him embarrassed as he had nearly spilt the drinks over her, yet soon they were embraced and dancing to the music.  They also talked about themselves long into the night.  Her name was Elizabeth, she was 17 and her father had died in the war.  Her mother was well off as she had inherited a small publishing business printing magazines and romance novels.

Henry explained about his mother’s death and that he too was 17 and worked in the local tobacco factory.  He also mentioned his father’s injury in the same war which had claimed Elizabeth’s father’s life.  They both shared a long kiss at the end of the night.

Three months later and Henry had married Elizabeth and they were living with Elizabeth’s mother.  To them both it was a whirlwind fairy tale romance and they knew they loved each other dearly.  A month after their marriage and Elizabeth fell pregnant.
Henry remembered vividly the birth of his son as though it happened only yesterday.  It was one of the best days of his live.
“What shall we call him?” asked Elizabeth.
“How about we name him after your father,” replied Henry.
Elizabeth smiled up at him “That’s perfect.  Welcome to the world Charlie.  We love you.” She kissed the baby on the head.
Henry realised just how much Charlie looked like his mother with his long black hair, strong cheek bones and rosy cheeks.  He was perfect and Henry loved looking after him and playing games.

Charlie was 11 months old when Henry was drafted into the army to join the war and was starting to walk.  He pulled himself up and stumbled along the furniture to where his daddy was sitting.  Henry had his head in his hands as he looked up at his son and smiled.  He picked him up and sat him on his lap.
“I can’t believe I will have to leave and fight in the war.  It’s not fair.  Everything in life is perfect.” He exclaimed looking up at Elizabeth.
“We don’t want you to leave either.  I’m scared for you but it’s the law.  It’s compulsory.” Replied Elizabeth.

Again tears splashed onto his family photo as Henry remembered hugging and kissing his wife and son goodbye and boarding the bus to his barracks.  He watched them and waved and blew kisses as the bus slowly pulled out and speeded up down the road.  Would he ever see them again he thought.

There was suddenly a loud popping noise in Henry’s ears and they suddenly hurt.  He felt himself coming round and shockingly was back in his present situation, sat behind a boulder on Sword beach on D Day.  He kissed his photo and put it safely back into his top pocket.

Unfortunately he could now hear everything going on around him.  Everything was so loud, and in amongst the explosions and artillery gun fire he could make out the screams of his comrades shouting out in pain and anguish.  He looked to his left to see a tank going slowly past him and could hear the ricochet of machine gun fire bouncing off the side.  Not so far away were the bodies of fallen comrades who had either been shot or blown up and the sand was covered in blood and guts.

The sight of what he saw was so powerful and disgusting it made Henry sick.  He spat on the ground and glanced up to see the second wave of landing ships arrive.  A couple of the landing ships hit mines and exploded sending bodies and metal flying out into the sea and at other soldiers.  Some of the soldiers that came off the successful landing ships were gunned down as soon as they hit the sand.  The sea had turned a dark crimson colour.

Some soldiers that made it came running up towards Henry.  A few were shouting orders and a few were firing their weapons at the German machine gunners.
“Are you alright?” asked a tall lean soldier who had somehow managed to get to Henry within seconds.
“Yes, Yes. I should be ok.” Replied Henry using the boulder to push himself up.
The soldier picked up and passed Henry his rifle and Henry looked into his dark sparkly eyes.  He looked like the sergeant who had given him his orders on the landing ship.
“To victory, for England” was his last words to him before a mine had gone off near him and sent him stumbling to the boulder.  He was lucky he hadn’t got shot.

The soldier with Henry ran past him after he had seen that Henry was fine.  Henry took in a few deep breathes as his heart pounded wildly in his chest.  “This is it.” He thought.  “I’ll go down fighting though”.

Henry gently patted at his family photo in his breast pocket then ran around the boulder to face his enemy head on.  He saw many small gun turrets and some Germans behind machine guns.  As Henry ran towards them over the sand and the dead he fired at the nearest machine gunner and somehow managed to hit him.  The German soldier fell back from his position.
“That was lucky,” thought Henry as he carried on with gun fire whistling past him and explosions going off around him on the beach.

Suddenly he was hit on his left arm and cried out in pain but he realised it was just a flesh wound and carried on.  The adrenaline of the moment made him fearless and the pain subsided.  As he got closer to his target the only thing that was in his mind were the words of his sergeant and the faces of his family.
“To Victory, for England”

“For Family.”.