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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review Time!



Catalyst
After discovering that she’s really and elf from another dimension and being sent to Russia to deal with an outbreak of deadly mythical creatures, Solstice Winters is trying to settle back into her humdrum everyday life as a photojournalist for “The Spiritualist”.
The thing is, as the Echo drifts ever closer to Earth, sightings and outbreaks of paranormal activity are on the increase and Solstice’s skills are in demand. Her latest case – for instance – involves the disappearance of a mummy from the local museum. A disappearance that just so happens to coincide with a glut of dead bodies and missing persons reports.
It’s up to Solstice to find the connection.
However, her efforts are hampered by the repeated appearance of an amped-up version of the Grim Reaper, and entity that goes all out to cleave her it two with a stunning variety of devilish blades.
Are these events connected? If so, who might be behind it all?
One thing’s for sure, humdrum is a word that doesn’t appear in Solstice’s dictionary.
You have to try this series out. “Catalyst” is an action packed, fast paced read for those in dire need of a fantasy fix! Great fun.





The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
I’ve never read the Archie comic books, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” upon which the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was based. Neither did I pay attention to the TV version that came out in the late 1990s . . . though I did see enough to know that she’s a witch – spooky that – and that she lived with two five hundred year old aunts, Zelda and Hilda.
This latest Netflix series harkens more to the comic book version, but is much, much darker than anything before. Sabrina Spellman (played by Kiernan Shipka), is a half-human/half-witch who, on her sixteenth birthday, must make a choice. Renounce her powers and live among the humans – in which case she will age and die, or, she can embrace the Dark Lord and harness the full might locked away in her bloodline, and the immortality that goes with it.
The thing is, she’s a charming, friendly girl, struggling to reconcile her dual nature while contending with the evil forces threatening to claim her. And therein lies the premise of a rather entertaining show. I was reminded of the style employed by Stranger things and – to a lesser degree – Lemony Snickets – A Series of Unfortunate Events.
One minute you’re tinkering along enjoying the everyday affairs of normal teenagers in love/making friends, and all the warm-hearted good humor of life, and the next . . . POW! You get your throat ripped out with a blatantly evil and brutally gruesome scene. And there’s plenty of that to go round, ramming home the fact that THIS is the existence Sabrina has to contend with.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d take to it. Some of the characters are charmingly sweet. Sickeningly so. Others are annoyingly conceited. But as you adjust to the mood each character contributes to the overall concoction, you begin to appreciate what the producer has done. Provided something that is bewitchingly beautiful and wickedly macabre. And it really is dark... you’ll see.

Friday, February 1, 2019

It's a State of Mind
This Week's Reviews of Some Exceptional Men


Black Water
The recruiting campaigns for the Royal Marines state quite categorically that 99.9% of those considering a career in the Corps need not apply. It’s not an idle boast or a slogan designed to deter the wary. It’s a simple statement of fact regarding the resilience of character required of those willing to submit themselves to the hardest basic training in existence, as aspirants really are reaching out for something that will distinguish them as the best of the best. And in “Black Water” by Don Camsell, we see exactly why this is so. As one of the infamous “men in black’ of the SBS, he has completed countless missions on behalf of Queen and country over the years, and epitomizes the sterling standards expected of those band of brothers who are – without doubt – among the world’s most elite soldiers.
While thoroughly entertaining, Camsell’s account is also an informative, thoughtful and often provocative journey down memory lane. His candidness regarding the trials and tribulations facing Special Forces operatives also help us appreciate why enduring such rigors on a daily basis instills that unique quality known as “the state of mind.”
An outstanding read.




They Shall Not Grow Old
To mark the centenary of the ending of the First World War, award winning director Peter Jackson presents a truly outstanding portrayal of life in the trenches. To help, he restored original archive footage more than 100 years old – in some cases adding color – to bring out what life was like in Britain during the outbreak of war; the attitude of the men who responded to the call to fight for their country; and what conditions were like once they got there.
A truly amazing and moving production, you get to see and hear from those who took part; listen to them as they explain how they felt; explore their attitudes – toward one another and their enemy – and how they managed to endure.
Most striking of all? Their incredible humility in the face of great danger. If you only see one thing during the year, watch this!