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Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (DVD) 26/11/2016

Good to watch once you read the books

Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (DVD) It has been several years since I saw this film. It is based on the three novels written by Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler: ‘The Bad Beginning’, ‘The Reptile Room’ and ‘The Wide Window’. Two and the three are one of my favourites of the entire series, so my expectations were quite high. Here’s what I think about the plot, actors’ creations and the visual effects and other things presented in the film. As in the books, the story is concerned about three children: Violet, Klaus and Violet Baudelaire who lost their parents in a fire that destroyed their entire house. The children are sent to their relative, Count Olaf, whose only wish is to take over Baudelaires’ fortune. His plans are – with some effort from children – revealed. Then the children are sent again to the other relatives, Uncle Monty and Aunt Josephine. The plot does not strictly follow the events presented in the book, but it is more or less accurate with some additional scenes. I liked the one with the car (it is not in the book, but I will say no more about it, as I don’t want to put the spoil alert in the review!). The film is less grotesque than the books. While I was reading, I felt that the characters were a little bit surreal, thus it was natural to put them in the plot full of grotesque. In the film, they seem more realistic, so while the events in the film are still exaggerated, like a deviation from natural people’s behaviour (basically, Snicker’s world distorts the reality), the character’s ...

The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket 23/11/2016

Don't read that! ... You might like it

The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket It was about 2004 when I heard about this book for the first time. It was described in a newspaper designed for Harry Potter fans. One of the section of the magazine treated about the books “that were similar to Potter”. While I can agree the books was a great read, as Potter was too, it is not similar to JK Rowling’s story at all; it is completely different. Three orphans and the villain The main characters in the book are three children, Violet, Claus and Sunny Baudelaire who lost their parents in a fire that devours their house. Nothing of their past life preserves and the children are forced to be placed in the house of their nearest relative, who is Count Olaf. He’s not a good uncle at all. In fact, Olaf’s dream is to take over Baudelaire’s fortune that was left by their parents and to achieve that dream, he’s ready to kill the children. What I like in character’s portrayal is the fact that the author left the gender stereotypes behind. Violet Baudelaire, 14, is an inventor, a girl primarily interested in machinery. She knows how to use her wits anytime and in any circumstances. What was boys’ domain in most of the children fiction before, became a domain of a brilliant girl in Snicker’s series. Claus Baudelaire is a keen reader. Just give him a library (even with most boring books), and he will read them and remember everything he might need. He’s 12, but when the logical reasoning is needed, he appears as much more useful than most of the adults in the book who are, ...

The Mennyms - Sylvia Waugh 22/11/2016

One of the best books I ever read

The Mennyms - Sylvia Waugh The first time I read the book, I was very, very impressed, because I would never think it was possible to come up with such an original story. Sylvia Vaugh wrote a novel that was highly underestimated by media, the story about a family who is nowhere else to be found and at the same time, it is just an allegory for every family. Who are the Mennyms? The Mennyms family are a bunch of amazing people, except they are not people; they are dolls. The storyline is a pure magic. Mennyms were created as the dolls of human size by the woman who they call Aunt Kate. The moment she died, the dolls started to live, as though the spirit of the Aunt entered their bodies. While they did not live before, so they didn’t (and couldn’t) grow old, they collected the memories being half Aunt Kate’s creation and half their own invention. They struggle with reality, because, as much as they can, they try to fit to it and be “normal”. There are nine Mennyms: Grandma and Grandpa, Dad and Mum, and offspring: Soobie, Appleby, twins Poopey and Wimpey and Googles. They do not live in their house alone as there is also Mrs Quigley, who lives in the wardrobe. However, it is forbidden to ever mention it and everyone in the family must believe Mrs Quigley is their neighbour rather than another doll made by Aunt Kate. The Mennyms are great pretenders (except Soobie): they do try and live the life similar to how they imagine the human beings live. They wash the dishes, even if they don’t use them; they eat, ...

Soulless - Gail Carriger 20/11/2016

Loved it from the first page

Soulless - Gail Carriger The first time I met Alexia Tarabotti, I fell in love with her At the end of a very boring day, I decided to look for a good book to read and as I’m very much into fantasy, it was natural to me to check this genre. At the beginning, “Soulless” seemed to me to be just another novel about vampires, not something I’m particularly interested in, but I decided to read the first few pages. And I really loved it! I swear, even from the first sentence, the book seemed fantastic. That was the humour I was looking for! The overview (without spoilers obviously!) Alexia Tarabotti is a strange woman and she is so especially when compared to the rest of her family: a mother who, just like Mrs Bennett from Jane Austen’s great “Pride and Prejudice” mainly thinks of the cream of society; two sisters who barely think of anything else, and the father (which is not her biological father) who speaks nothing and it might be possible he thinks of nothing, too. But Alexia had another father once and he was an adventurer. She does not remember him as he died very early, but there is something she inherited after him: his unusual gift: Alexia’s father was soulless. And it is not the metaphor (the soulless ones are even too pragmatic to use metaphors); he actually had no soul. And that soullessness became the part of Alexia’s everyday life. What is the advantage of being soulless? Well, there is at least one: the world is a dangerous place. There are vampires and werewolves (and ghosts, but they’re ...

Advent calendars: do they still have a place in your home? 20/11/2016

The childhood memories come back

Advent calendars: do they still have a place in your home? Several years have passed since the time I was a child and I nearly forgot about Advent calendars. Only last week one of my friends reminded me about it, and then I was like: ‘Yeah, of course! I do remember them!’. I were given them each year by my parents when I was a child and truth be told I never managed to wait with eating them all. I just never counted a chocolate for a day, sometimes I ate two, sometimes all of them at once! Honestly speaking, being reminded of them, I felt nostalgia as, which is sad, I believe as we’re getting older, we tend to forget the magical time of Christmas. IT’S ABOUT HAVING FUN! It is difficult to review all Advent calendars in just one piece of writing, as obviously they are different, depending on the kind of chocolate and artwork. Being five years old, though, I wouldn’t consider these factors at all! It was just such a fun to take the chocolates from the calendar; you had to open it piece by piece. I and my sister treated it as a kind of a play and she could always wait with her last chocolate until the last day of Advent. We tended to rival over who was going to be more patient. I always lost. The artwork in which the Advent calendars were designed was absolutely essential, too! Now when I refresh my memories, I remember one particular calendar with Christmas tree on it. The chocolates were hidden behind the Christmas balls and there was snow all around. Given the fact I always loved winter, I could spend hours and hours looking at the ...

Interview with a Vampire - Anne Rice 19/11/2016

Not so much a horror

Interview with a Vampire - Anne Rice I will tell you about my experience now: I was once attending the meeting with a translator who worked with Anne Rice’s titles. I asked him what he thought about Rice’s character’s voice as the author claimed in several interviews she had to find the ‘voice’ for each of her characters. I wanted to know whether the translator checked how Rice was translated by others to find if there are any similarities, patterns he could rely on. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I don’t value stories about vampires’. ‘But it is not just about vampires!’ I said. ‘It is actually a philosophical story.’ ‘So I don’t care about the philosophy of vampires.’ But I would repeat what I told him and what I have been thinking since the first time I read the book: ‘It is not the story about vampires; it is the story about humans and you have to be a very, very human being to understand all of its complexities and values.’ Because you know ... Rice did not write horror or fantasy, she wrote an existential novel, an outstanding one. In the plot we have the old vampire, Louis, who went through the centuries and finally he met a journalist who was eager to know his story. At first, the journalist does not believe the Louis, yet he soon realises the story that is to be told is a real one. As for the readers, it can be applicable to the lives of most of us, for who never wondered why we live, what is the reason we suffer, what is the mystery of death and who, if anyone, stays behind all of creation? Louis certainly did ...

Fame Monster - Lady Gaga 19/11/2016

Eight tracks can make it better! - "The Fame Monster"

Fame Monster - Lady Gaga Lady GaGa was asked to write some more songs for the re-edition of her first album. But guys, she’s GaGa, isn’t she? Thus, she decided to write a completely different album and really I have no idea why they packed it in one with “The Fame” which is a good album too, but a different one if it comes to its main idea. And what is the main idea? GaGa has tasted the fame, she achieved her goal: to be a pop-star and very quickly realised that the fame has as many advantages, as it has flaws. “The Fame Monster” discusses the darker side of fame and being famous, each song dealing with the other monster that can appear in the artist’s life. “Bad Romance” is the song that does not have to be presented to anyone as we all know it. The amazing music video has reached millions of views on Youtube and it became one of GaGa’s greatest hits. “Alejandro” is a song written in the rhythms of Ace of Base’s music which became GaGa’s inspiration. “Monster” deals with the bad romance again as the artist is afraid of the boy who might eat her and “Speechless” is a heart-breaking ballad in which GaGa asks her father to undergo a heart surgery. Later, “Dance in the Dark” (and it’s a pity the song did not make it to be a single!) is a hymn created in memory of the artists and personas known in pop-culture. “So Happy I Could Die” is a song about loving oneself in an emotional and sexual way. “The Teeth” sounds like a surprise – listening to it might be comparable to hearing GaGa saying: “You’d think ...

Born This Way - Lady Gaga 19/11/2016

The anthem of the generation who was "Born This Way"

Born This Way - Lady Gaga Lady GaGa's third album (some call it her second, given "The Fame Monster" was an EP, not a standard album) is a mixture of genres, styles and inspiration. “Born This Way” became a child conceived by the artist’s craziest dreams and the title song, along with “Hair” has become the anthem of the generation: generation of the people who want to be freed from the normalised standards that the society puts on them. For that era in GaGa’s career, she changed her look diametrically, playing with the idea of the monsters. She, indeed, became a monster and ... boy, is she a proud one! Well, yes, I might be a little bit subjective here, as it was the first GaGa's album I was waiting for as I had become her fan just a year before its release. Here is my opinion about the tracks: “Marry the night”, being the first song on the album (and the last single to be released from it) is the child of GaGa and Fernando Garibay with whom the artist collaborated on her previous album. The song is the perfect introduction to the “Born This Way” era, in which GaGa looked to her darker persona. In the track she introduced her fans to her love of rock music that was connected to electronic tunes. The same idea stands behind “Americano”, “Hair”, “Electric Chapel”, “You and I” or “The Queen” (the track to be found on deluxe edition of the album). Having not lost her pop style, GaGa became more wild with her music on this album. However, the album is the musical journey. The feminist song “Scheisse” is ...
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