Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Review - The Losers

The Losers are an elite Black Ops team of special forces operatives.

Led by Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), they take on difficult tasks, such as the one that kicks off the movie - a search and destroy mission of a Columbian drug lord. However, when the team discovers the compound has children there, they alter the mission to try and save the children's lives.

They think they're getting the children to safety, but the helicopter is blown up, with their superior, Max, assuming that the team is on board.

Thought dead, the Losers decide it's time to take the fight to Max ...

I watched this last Friday night and honestly I'm having trouble recalling most of it. It's fun, mostly, and the best part of the whole movie is Chris Evans' character Jensen - the team's intelligence specialist. He plays him as a happy-go-lucky nerd and is the highlight of what is otherwise a pretty average action-ish movie.

Though it DOES have Idris Elba in it, which automatically levels it up.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Sunday post 40; It's Monday! What are you reading? 26

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba here: http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ and is a chance to catch up and have a chat with other bloggers. It's Monday! What are you reading? Is now hosted over here by Kathryn: http://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

What's been going on? Well, I'm still looking for work, and it's getting ever so slightly urgent for things like, you know, rent and food and suchlike. I do have savings but it's an admin nightmare to access them, and I'm hoping I won't have to.

I've been blogging this week, and I've written reviews of White House Down, Poi E - The Story of Our Song, and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. It feels good, actually, to have content on here again.

Other than that, I've been mainlining Torchwood. I've finished Children of Earth, and isn't it great how it all finished on the third day and everything was fixed and NO ONE DIED.

What's sort of funny is that two of the actors on Torchwood are also voice actors in the Dragon Age franchise - Eve Myles voices Merrill in Dragon Age 2 and Gareth David-Lloyd voices Solas in Inquisition.

I haven't been stitching at all - I developed a cold/cough last week, so put my stitch-and-watch friend off for last Saturday night, and didn't pick it up until last night's stitch-and-watch event.

I've picked up book 3 of Stephen King's Dark Tower again, and am about half-way through that one. I'm also reading Too Many Fairy Princes by Alex Beecroft, which has a terrible title but is actually not a bad story.

What else. Just life, I guess. Which for me at the moment is spawn, applying for jobs, Netflix, reading and iPad games. Which could certainly be a lot worse.

How about you?

How's your week?

What are you reading?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Review - The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Oh, I liked this. I liked this very much of a lot.

It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was so much more and just.

It's a very quiet book in  a way; it builds quietly and you have to be patient and willing to trust the author as you take the journey with Thaniel, Keita and Grace through a slightly ... not steampunk - clockwork punk? Is that a genre? (It should be.)

Thaniel - a quiet clerk in the Home Office - comes home one day to find a mysterious time-piece on his pillow.

Six months later, that same timepiece saves his life when Scotland Yard is blown up. This leads Thaniel to Keita Mori, a quiet Japanese clockmaker, living in London.

Then Thaniel meets Grace - an Oxford physicist, and events spiral very slowly out of control.

Also, there's a clockwork octopus called Katsu. I want my own clockwork octopus.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a love story in a way, and it's also about the choices we make and how they unfold our fate.

It unfolds so quietly and deftly that you can't help but be drawn in to the story.

Probably one of my favourite books of the year.

Seriously. Someone invent a clockwork octopus.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Review: Poi E - The Story of Our Song

I was 13 in 1984 when Poi E was released.

Being 13, I was of course deeply invested in the weekly countdown on RTR, the chart show on TV2 that counted down the nation's top 20.

And, like most other 13 year old Kiwis at the time, I was OUTRAGED when that bloody dirge (sorry Foster and Allen) Maggie took a stranglehold on the No 1 spot and hung on... and hung on ... and hung on... for WEEKS.

(When you're 13 in New Zealand in 1984, the weeky countdown is Very Important.)

Then. THEN. Something Happened.

And that something was this:


The song, obviously, is Poi E, performed by the Patea Maori Club. It came out of nowhere, smashed Foster and Allen to hell and back, and order was restored on the charts.

Poi E - The Story of Our Song, is a documentary that charts Poi E's success, its enduring appeal, and its very solid and sure place in New Zealand's popular culture.

(It's also the worst earworm ever, because as Taika Waititi and Stan Walker point out in the doco, everyone knows the song, but no one knows the words. So getting it stuck in your head is like POI E ... SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING POI E ....)

ANYWAY. The doco also charts part of the life of Dalvanius Prime, a Maori singer/songwriter who co-wrote Poi E with Ngoi Pewhairangi.

The doco frames itself around Dalvanius and, with archival interview footage (Dalvanius passed away in 2002), and reminiscences from members of the Patea Maori Club, the Patea community, the Ngaruawahia Kid (the one in the video who does the breakdancing), and interviews with members of Dalvanius's family and Kiwis like Waititi, Walker and Sr Dr Pita Sharples, it places Poi E very solidly at the centre of New Zealand culture and history.

Poi E is possibly the most New Zealand/Aotearoa story that ever was.

Patea was facing potential ruin with the closure of the local freezing works, the main employer of the town, and Dalvanius and Poi E came along, as far as I can tell (please correct me if I'm wrong) to give the whole town - and indeed the country - a bit of a lift.

Poi E - The Story of Our Song is well worth seeing. Just. Be ready for the earworm ....

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Review - White House Down

You have to like a movie that pretty much starts with Channing Tatum arguing with a squirrel. I mean, I think it's a law or something.

White House Down is - you know how some action movies are growly and grumpy dobermans and some are golden retrievers and they just want you to like them? White House Down is a golden retriever action movie.

It's all about the explosions and Channing Tatum Saving the Day and Jamie Foxx being president and Channing Tatum's eleven year old daughter being In Danger but also being A Badass.

Anyway. Uhm. Bad guys have taken over the White House and are pretty much shooting everyone ever on staff. Channing Tatum - who is not on staff but had come in for an interview - is also multi-tasking by taking his daughter on the White House tour. He's .. a police officer? Some kind of low-level bodyguard for an admin guy? To be honest, I'm not clear on what Channing Tatum's job is. I'm not entirely sure it matters.

What DOES matter is that he's the man on the ground in the White House who is going to save the president, his daughter, AND the day.

He has good chemistry with President Jamie Foxx, which is nice and honestly ... look, the story doesn't matter.

Bad guys. Blow stuff up/shoot things.

Good guys. Also blow things up and shoot things but only bad guys.

Badass eleven year old girl.

I watched it on Friday night, and it is the IDEAL Friday night film, because you know Channing Tatum will save the day, and you don't even really have to concentrate at all. It's completely ridiculous, but it retains a certain greatness because of that level of ridiculousness.

You go Channing Tatum. Save the day.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Sunday post 39; It's Monday, What are you reading? 26

It's been two or three weeks since I did one of these posts - I decided I needed to have content on my blog in between, rather than just one weekly post. I have ...one short reviews post, so ta-da!!

Anyway. The Sunday Post - a chance for a natter and a catch-up - is hosted by Kimba over here:
http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ and It's Monday! What are you reading? is now hosted by Kathryn over here: http://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

Let's see ... I have two weeks left on this temporary contract, and while I'll be glad to leave this job behind, I do need to find something else. If you could all put good thoughts out to the universe, tip a word to your higher power ... I need all the positive energy I can muster right now.

Other than that, I've been trying to institute a daily 30/30/300 thing - that's read 30 pages; stitch for 30 minutes, and write 300 words. I know I CAN do it, and did manage it last week for a few days, but I'm easily distractable and very lazy. But these are things that I enjoy doing as well, so it makes sense for me to make some kind of effort to make room and time for them.

What else. I've been marathoning Dr Who on Netflix while I've been working. I'm up to Eleven and Clara - neither of which are my favourites to be honest. I don't mind Eleven so much, but I think that, after 10 (DONNA!!!!!) a lot of the storylines became nothing more than nonsense, and it became far too much about Amy Pond and not  enough about saving the universe.

Anyway. I'm grinding on, and after Dr Who I'm either going to go for Torchwood, or start Stranger Things, which I've heard Good Things about.

I ticked Civil War off my reading list because I've finished reading the main arc, and there are just so many off-shoots. So. Many.

Right now I'm reading book 3 of The Dark Tower - The Waste Lands. After that I think I'll either pick up the first Shannara Chronicle book, or Black Wolves, by Kate Elliott.

Coming up this week - hopefully some stitching and writing; applying for jobs and more Dr Who.

How about you?

What's your week like?

What are you reading?

Monday, 1 August 2016

Short reviews

I caught sight of this readalong on the twitter, organised by the lovely Care from https://bkclubcare.wordpress.com/ so with my usual grace and style,  I barged in ;)

I'd had the book for a while and I'm trying this new thing, where I actually read the books I bought in a couple of book depository BUY ALL THE BOOKS sprees instead of ... not reading them,which is my usual MO.

Anyway. There's a disease spreading like wildfire (pun intended) through the population. The experts call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton which doesn't catch on really. Instead, everyone calls it Dragonscale. And it's thought to be entirely fatal (the whole spontaneous combustion thing.)

Harper is a school nurse, trying to emulate Mary Poppins and do her best, when everything starts going downhill. Dragonscale is everywhere, she finds out she's pregnant AND she has Dragonscale AND her husband is actually a giant bag of tiny dicks.

Enter the Fireman, and a kind of community of people who also have Dragonscale, but seem to be immune to the whole spontaneous combustion thing. Good news for Harper, but there are still Evildoers out there, determined to. Do Evil.

I did enjoy The Fireman, but I felt like I was waiting for The Big Thing to happen, and it just kind of never came. Harper is very derring-do and practical and she has the worst timing ever in the history of everything ever, which I found a bit annoying.

I gave it 3.5 stars on Goodreads, and I think, honestly, I enjoyed the concept more than I enjoyed the actual novel itself.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is based on one of the worst maritime disasters of World War 2 - the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff.

Four young people are trying to flee Germany in the dying days of World War 2. Their stories - told in alternating narratives - make up the novel's narrative.

It gives the overarching tragedy - which I had never heard of - that all-important personal touch. It's very readable though I found trying to follow all four narrative strands did get a little bit confusing at times.

After my two previous  and fairly heavy reads, I was on the lookout for something a bit lighter. Also, I had just watched The Unicorn and the Wasp, so was in the frame of mind for a mystery.

I could have picked up one of my many Agathas but I decided to go in a different direction.

Snow White Red-handed is the first book in a new cosy mystery series by Maia Chance. The stars of the show are former actresses Ophelia and Prue.

Having been given the boot from their show, they need new jobs, and Ophelia manages to blag them into jobs as maids for the very rich Mrs Coop, who is heading to the Black Forest with her husband to take possession of a castle.

Ophelia is plucky and clever and Prue .. well, Prue is pretty. But both girls are resourceful when they need to be. Set mid-19th century, with the story of Snow White (not the Disney version I have to say) weaving in and out of the mystery, this was just what the book doctor ordered.

Great fun.