Saturday, February 23, 2019

My Thoughts on. . .

Time’s Convert

Our story is a cleverly woven account detailing those events taking place after the “All Souls” trilogy.

Matthew and Diana are now happily married and coming to terms with the responsibilities of bringing up two “bright born” children. Children who aren’t averse to demonstrating on numerous occasions how special they are. The Congregation aren’t too happy about that, of course, so as you can imagine, both Matthew and Diana have to field quite a bit of unwanted attention and interference.
Regardless, our story doesn’t only revolve around them. 

By far the largest part of the narrative details the trials and tribulations of Matthew’s vampire son, Marcus Whitmore, someone who became part of the extended de Clermont family in the 18th Century.
Marcus has witnessed both deprivation and bounty during his life. He’s been a normal, everyday boy; a beating post for a drunken, abusive human father; a murderer; a runaway; a soldier; a revolutionary; an aristocrat; and a doctor. Nothing has truly captured his spirit . . . until he falls in love with a human woman, Phoebe Taylor.

That’s when things get really complicated!

Marcus believes he’s found his soul mate. A person he wants to be with forever. But forever doesn’t last that long when you’re a fragile human with threescore years and ten in front of you.
Time . . . time is an ever flowing effusion that we all crave. It deserves to be venerated. Cherished. But how to do that when most humans rush through life with a vulgarity that demeans the gift they were given?

Marcus and Phoebe are about to find out.

Time’s Convert. A thoroughly charming story that is as intelligent as it is captivating, highlighting what happens when tradition clashes with change, and how much true love can endure when you’ve found “the one”.

Death Wish
Older boys like me will remember the original Death Wish film from 1974 in which Charles Bronson played Paul Kersey, a mild-mannered architect who becomes a vigilante after his wife is murdered and his daughter sexually assaulted during a home invasion by local hoods.
As nowadays, the film was attacked at the time for its portrayal of vigilantism. However, it ‘touched’ a nerve of the public in the United States who were facing soaring crime rates, and because of this, went on to spawn a number of sequels.
Cut to 2018 and the inevitable remake, this time with Bruce Willis playing the title role.
Now, Paul Kersey is a trauma surgeon in Chicago. A self-controlled and quiet man, he lives at home with his wife and their daughter, Jordan who will soon be going away to college. In this installment, a restaurant valet – and local criminal – spots how affluent the Kersey family is. He overhears their plans to go out one night in the forthcoming week and seizes on the idea of relieving them of some of their wealth in a hassle-free, risk-free endeavor. As he retrieves the family’s car, he obtains their home address from the car’s satnav. Job done?
Unfortunately not. Cue the night of the break-in. Paul is unexpectedly called in to work, leaving his wife, Lucy and their daughter at home. As in the original film, the hoods break in and Lucy is killed. Jordan is assaulted and left in a coma.
It portrays this in such a way that it gets your blood boiling, and before you know it, you’re cheering for the good guy turned bad, who becomes something of a Grim Reaper in a hoodie. Clever! Because the film also takes a stab at how easy it is to get a licensed gun if you’re willing to flout a few regulations, and how much mayhem can be caused by one man on a mission . . . law or not.
Let’s be clear. While the 2018 version isn’t as good as the original, it’s still and action packed, ball-busting, Eli Roth vengeance flick that entertains on many levels. It’s good fun. Just remember to take it as it is

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review Time!

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!