Thursday, 22 June 2017

Wonder Woman - Film Review

Hi Folks

Again long time no blog - sorry!  I really need to do more posts although not sure how many reading them - become a Follower so I have an idea.

Anyway went to see the new DC film Wonder Woman starring  Gal Gadot in the main role of Wonder Woman/ Princess Diana of the Amazon's.

The film starts with Diana growing up and learning the history of the world and the God's and the Amazon's.   This was a great scene showing the God Zeus being betrayed and having to fight his son Ares the God of War who wants to corrupt mankind.

It shows Diana training to be a warrior on the Amazonian island which is hidden from sight so Ares doesn't find them.

This changes when World War 1 pilot Steve Trevor  (Chris Pine) crash lands and she saves him.
Once she finds out the world beyond the peaceful idyllic island is at war she sets off with him to help stop the war.  She thinks it's Ares causing the conflict and to stop the war she has to kill him with a God slayer sword.

The film moves at a fast pace with plenty of humour mixed in which hits the spot more than Batman Vs Superman dark bleaker tones.

With a twist near the end as to who Ares really is this is one of the better Superhero movies I've seen in a long time.  Even better than the first Captain America film which is similar due to its war setting.

It helps that Gal Gadot is hot and nice eye candy although I thought sometimes she had a funny shape head.

Overall    -  So far the best DC film with humour, heart and a strong female lead hope Justice League film follows suit.

Score  -  9/10

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Book Review - Magician by Raymond E Feist

Hi guys

If you remember last year I mentioned I bought loads of books in the 90s from Fantasy and Sci Fi Book Club really cheap!
One set of books were the first four novels by Raymond E Feist.  At the time started reading it and got to chapter three and vowed to finish it one day.

Fast forward about twenty years and I've actually come back to it and read it all and boy am I glad I did.  Although I wish I had read it back then but was less patient then and more interested in going clubbing.

Now I've matured I've really got into Magician, the first novel in the Riftwar saga by Raymond E Feist.
It starts off in typical fashion the kitchen hand Pug realises he has powers becomes an apprentice magician to Kulgan and studys whilst playing with his friends including Tomas and Princess Carline who he falls for.

This is pretty standard fantasy fare and reminded me of David Eddings farmboy come magician Garion.

It all changes when an alien looking vessel is beached and warriors who speak a foreign tongue appear.  Things hot up when a rift to another world appears.

The novel is huge in scope as not only is there world building for the main planet of Midkemia but also the planet Kelewan where the Tsurani invaders come from.

That is double the amount of characters to most books plus histories, languages, politics and magic let alone small details like weapons.
This book must have been planned for a long time as it can be quite complex yet easy for the reader to get into.
It also has a time frame of over nine years and by the end our heroes have grown into young adults.
Some including Pug and Tomas are changed forever.

There is plenty going on from political fighting and double crossing to magic battles and dragons.

I wish I hadn't waited so long to read but glad I did.

Overall   -  a huge epic novel taking on two worlds worth of story telling.  Now to read its sequel  Silverthorn.

Score     -   10/10

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 - Film Review

Hi guys

Long time no blog hope you're all fine?

Went to see James Gunns sequel to 2014s surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy and must say it's even better than the first.  Although not as fresh and raw as the first it has bigger and better set pieces.
It also helps the main characters are already in place and we know who they are.

From the hilarious opening of the film featuring a baby version of Groot dancing away as the rest of the team fight a giant space monster to the five post credit scenes this film had it all.  Action, comedy, sadness and at its heart was a movie about family.
Peter Quill or Starlord (Chris Pratt) finding his father Ego the living planet (Kurt Russell).
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) bonding with her murderous sister Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Starlord bonding with the man who looked after him, the Ravenger Yondu (Micheal Rooker).
Also the team acted as a family also and bickered but ultimately looked out for each other.

The film had great special effects and the cast were great in particular Drax (Dave Bautista) who was hilarious and he is shaping up to being a better wrestler turned actor than The Rock.  He looks great in the new Blade Runner film trailer also.

My advice is to go see this film ASAP as there is just so much to it for Marvel and film fans with some funny scenes from Baby Groot, Drax, Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper).  It also has some traumatic scenes including people dying in the vacuum of space.

Overall   -  Great addition to the MCU and a brilliant sequel with more 80s music plus has so much to look out for including Howard the Duck amongst them and many more.

Score    -   9/10

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Boss Baby - Film Review

Hi folks

During the Easter festivities of chomping chocolate eggs I took my daughter to see the new film from Dreamworks who have been quiet in recent years.

It's narrated by Tim the 7 year old kid with an over active imagination who plays fantasy games including space aliens invading with his toys (which as a only child I also did!).

Everything is fine and he is the centre of his parents world until a new baby arrives (by taxi).
With an instant dislike to Boss Baby who wears suits as he's taking the attention from him he discovers the Baby talking and is in fact a spy from Baby Corp whereby the baby's have grown up adult brains but live in infant bodies due to a special milk formula they drink.  If they stop drinking it they become normal babies and grow up as normal.
Boss Baby is spying on Tim's parents as they work for a Puppy factory which is develop an everlasting puppy.  If this happens no one will want babies anymore.
Tim teams up with Boss Baby to stop this and bond along the way.

With some excellent humour and set pieces it was a return to form for Dreamworks and had us chuckling along.
With great animation and voice cast including Alec Baldwin as Boss Baby and Tobey Maguire and Lisa Kudrow it is the perfect family film.

Bels Score     -   10/10

My Score       -   10/10

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Kong - Skull Island - Film Review

Hi guys

Went to see the new remake of King Kong and glad I did.

Unlike it's predecessors it doesn't follow the same story as much.
Which is - Go to Skull Island.  Meet Kong who kidnaps the girl.  Capture Kong.   Take him to New York.  Kong escapes then gets shot down from Empire States Building (Two Towers 1976 version).  Kong dies.

I never saw why they kept remaking it that way and even Peter Jacksons recent version suffered because of it.

Anyway this time scientists led by Bill Randa (John Goodman) who works for Monarch (the monster chasing Company from the last Godzilla movie) set up an excursion to an island found by satellite.

As the Vietnam war has just ended war veteran General Packard (Samuel L Jackson) jumps to the chance for one last mission for his men to escort the science team.  Randa also enlists the help of SAS mercenary James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who is the expedition photographer.

Once on Skull Island they run into Kong who wipes out most of the squad and the team are separated as Packard seeks revenge on Kong and the other group find the native village.
In this version the native villagers are friendly and been sharing their village with Hank Marlow  (John C Reilly).  A World War two pilot who landed on the island in the forties.

It turns out Kong defends the villagers from other evil monsters on the island including Skullcrawlers and is needed.

The group help Kong defeat Packard and the Skullcrawlers and eventually return home.

The set pieces are great plus Kong is now a lot bigger than previous incarnations.  This is probably because he will eventually be facing off against Godzilla in a future Monsterverse film.
There is a post credit scene highlighting this.

Overall a great reboot for Kong which is a different kind of beast from previous Kong.   The acting is spot on and the action is from the go so a great rollicking adventure.

Score   -    9/10

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Logan - Film Review - Spoilers-

Went to see what will probably be Hugh Jackmans final turn as Wolverine or as he's known to his close friends Logan.

Set in a near future a battered ill Logan is caring for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart).  With the help of fellow mutant Caliban (Steven Merchant) they are hiding over the Mexican border wanting to save enough to sail away and leave the wasted world behind.

Sadly Professor X is suffering from a neuro degenerative disease which causes him to have powerful seizes which it turns out is how the X Men were killed.

Along comes a nurse from a secret facility which has been creating new mutants from the DNA from past mutants.  She has a girl called Laura with her (or X23) and wants Logan to take her to a place called Eden.
Unfortunately the people from the facility are after them too plus the other mutant children which have escaped.

The film is a fitting swansong for Hugh Jackmans Wolverine plus also Patrick Stewarts Professor X and there is a tinge of sadness all way through.  There are also some hilarious situations involving Professor X swearing and Caliban.

There are many themes in this film including age and mortality.

It is also Hugh Jackmans best performance of Wolverine the character that made him a star.
With excellent dialogue and set pieces plus the low key situation makes it probably the best X Men film there is.  Also a bonus is the added gore.

Be warned a few tears may be shed by the end.

Score    10/10

Monday, 27 March 2017

Disney On Ice - Leeds Arena - 25/03/2017

Hi guys

Took my daughter to see Disney on Ice on Saturday and it was a great night.

I hadn't been to Leeds First Direct Arena before even though I work nearby but was impressed with the place and we had great seats and could see the whole rink.

It was introduced but Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy who wanted stories for a film they were making.
This was when they went through most of the Disney films musical set pieces.  Put to ice there were some excellent dances on ice.

From the Disney Princess's dancing then on to the films of Toy Story to Mulan.

The best dancing and skating was to Frozen complete with snow to Nemo which had a giant turtle on the ice.

My daughter and I both enjoyed it alot and was a great evening doing something different.

Bels score    -   10/10
My score      -   10/10


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Writers Block and Orenda Publishing Roadshow

Hi guys

Well I'm still suffering from some sort of writers block and not done any writing.

The ideas are there but it's as if I'm scared to actually put on laptop and write like I'm not good enough.

Need to snap out of it as I want to send a short story to Cleckheaton Writers Group for the planned anthology which is drawing closer.

Any ideas guys?

Hopefully going to see Orenda publishers and authors tonight at Leeds Waterstones at 18:30 will get me into the writing mood.

Fingers crossed x

Monday, 13 February 2017

Lego Batman - Film review

Hi guys

Took my daughter to see the new Lego Batman Movie and we both agree it was great.  
Although to be honest I wanted to see it the most as I'm a comic and Batman geek.
The film starts with Batman (Will Arnett)  telling everyone including his most feared nemesis The Joker (Zach Galifiankis) that he needs nobody not even him which upsets The Joker.
We see Batman on his own in some hilarious situations at home including swimming in his pool as Alfred tells him he needs to be out more.

Meanwhile the Joker gets nearly all Batmans enemies together including Riddler, Bane and Penguin and hatches a plan to get Batman to notice and want him.  This involves getting put into the Phantom Zone and rescuing Superman's foes.  Plus a few others including King Kong and Sauren.

The film is great for Batman geeks and kids alike with witty one liners and includes nods to all the previous Batman films and the 60s TV show.  This includes Bat shark repellent .

By the end Batman with his new friends Batgirl and Robin (who won't leave him alone ) save the day - Spoilers! 

Overall the film is funny and has great visuals although near the end there seems to be so much going on in the action sequences it looks a little jumbled.  This may be improved when watching in 3D.

Bels Score     -     10/10

My Score       -      9/10

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Dry January!

Hi guys

Hope you have all had a great New Year and reading and writing as much as you can.

As the title suggests my January hasn't even very productive in both although I have drunk quite a bit of alcohol.

Reading wise started Magician by Raymond E Feist and was doing well up until last week when got flu so need to catch up again.

Writing wise I haven't done any so far except this post and the last one but as I'm on holiday this week going to rectify that and get a few posts to you all this week so hope you enjoy.

Story wise still to finish the ghost story I started last November for the CLF Anthology which Cleckheaton Writers Group hope will be out in May.  Will keep you posted on news of that.

Although may start a 2000 word short story for the Writers and Artists competition which has a deadline of 13th February.   The winner gets a place on a Arvon writing course.  The entry is free and the theme is open.
See link below for details.

Other news I've won a copy of Charles Stross new novel Empire Games which I won answering a question on Facebook.   So hope to have that soon to add to my many TBR (To be Read) pile.

Anyway will fire up the old laptop first time since November.

Chat later x

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy 2017

Happy New Year folks.

Hope 2016 wasn't the total disaster it was made out to be for you all.  OK there were a lot of celebrity deaths plus Brexit and Trump being elected President of the USA and to be honest it's too early to see what will happen.

For me 2016 wasn't too bad except where writing was concerned as I only managed to write one full short story, a chapter of my crime novel and first page of a horror story.
Also I wrote a few blog posts here and a few reviews on the Cleckheaton Literature Festival blog.

Sadly 2016 saw the early demise of the Cleckheaton Literature Festival which in its second year was still in its infancy and like the first year brought some excellent author talent including Ian C Douglas, Leigh Russell and Jason Hewitt to name a few.
Hopefully in a new format it could come back?

I didn't attend the Cleckheaton Writers Group as often as I'd liked either this year but couldn't get in to writing.

This year has been a good one for my reading as done more reading than previous years and reviews of the books I've read are on here including David Eddings Belgariad series.

I've also bought the most amount of books this year than any other, a lot of them signed as I've seen quite a few authors in Leeds this year including Joe Hill, Alastair Reynolds, Peter F Hamilton and Joe Abercrombie.

So 2017  -

This year I want to continue getting fitter as I started in 2016 but wasn't consistent so will be hitting the gym more and eating healthier.

I will also be reading even more this year as I've even more to read and have started Magician by Raymond E Feist.

Lastly there is the writing-  want to write more this year and have first draft of crime novel finished by August.
I will also blog here more and do more of last year's Cleckheaton Literature Festival reviews I never got chance to.
I will attend the Writers Group more too.

So onwards and hopefully upwards.

Have fun folks