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Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Stars: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker and Alex Esmail
Attack the Block is the directorial debut of Joe Cornish (of Adam and Joe fame) - it is billed as a fast paced urban sci fi comedy. The only recognisable actor is Nick Frost with the rest of thecast made up by unknown actors.
Aliens attack planet earth and the only ones who can save us are a group of juvenile delinquents dressed in tracksuits and hoodies. It is bonfire night in the UK and the thousands of fireworks filling the night sky do well to hide the fact that the world is being invaded by aliens. The aliens have decided to start their invasion in a generically grimy London council estate. The only people who seem to realise that the invasion has started are a group of teenage thugs who unwittingly kill a baby Alien. The aliens "friends" then converge upon the block to reap revenge on their friends murderers. But there can be only one victor in this battle who will it be?
I do not normally include spoilers in film review but feel compelled to in order to effectively convey my feelings on this film.
I have to say I really did not like this story at all. Opening with a mugging of a defenceless woman by a group of stereotypical teenage chavs, that seem to be omnipresent on Britains streets at the moment, I was hoping this would be a film whereby these wholly despicable characters were destroyed by the Aliens. How wrong I was. The film follows the teenagers as they kill a baby alien and then are pursued throughout the block by other vengeful aliens - unfortunately the humans triumph. The only pleasure I got from this film was seeing a couple of the chavs being caught between the ultraviolet glows of the aliens jaws.
From the first few minutes of the film I despised the leading characters and despite the films best attempts this opinion did not change. Whilst I thought all of the actors played the"hoodies" very well and I cannot criticise the acting I found myself cheering for the aliens. The ridiculous teenage patois that they were talking in was really grating it was all "innit" "cuz" and "blud" although I have to say that I found this funny in places but I am not sure that was the intention. Nick Frost is wholly underused being in only a few scenes and his presence normally guarantees a few laughs but there were none.
I felt the aliens were suitable creepy for what is a low budget British film without Hollywoods millions and high tech CGI. On the whole for a Brit flick the filming was rather slick.
The Message (sorry this is a bit of a rant)
I never thought I would have such strong feelings about the message of a light hearted comedy Brit flick but here we are. The film seems to be attempting to make us feel like we mis-judge all of the chavs we see hanging around street corners. How sorry I was to see these cretinous kids hailed as heroes at the end of the movie. There were a lot of clumsy instances of the writers trying to say that the reason they were out mugging people and selling drugs was because they were from a poor background, they have none existent parents, have been failed by the government etc. As someone who grew up on and still lives on one of the toughest estates in the West End of Newcastle I find it hard to accept this as an excuse for mindless thuggery. It was clear right the way through that the characters thought their behaviour was fine with no sense of the accepting responsibility for their own actions. There were 2 particular moments that really jarred with me the first being the point when the muggers handed the girl they had attacked her ring back (begrudgingly I might add) and she said thank you!!! Thanks for giving me back the thing you stole from me at knife point not 2 hours ago - I think this was meant to make us feel aww see they're not all bad but this just left me feeling more annoyed. At the end of the film the girl that had been mugged at the beginning of the film was praising her attackers as they had went on to "save" her - ridiculous she should have let the Aliens get them. The next instance that stuck out was when the lead character Moses began pontificating that the aliens had been sent in by the government because the population of theblock were not killing themselves quick enough with drugs and guns - argh.
I was galled at the way the police were portrayed in this film - being that they were shown as incompetent and "always arresting the wrong people". The wrong people! You are selling drugs and mugging people at knife point - I don't care if you have just saved the world.
I am sure many people reading this will think I have taken the film too seriously, my boyfriend certainly thought so and said he wholly enjoyed the film, but it the message and characters made it absolutely impossible to watch in anything other than frustration.
On the whole I have to say I hated this film and cannot help but think that it does nothing other than glorify the mindless thugs that prowl the streets and I really worry about the message this sends to young kids.
I would have given it 1 star but the Aliens were very good so have given it 2.
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk - this is a book for adults and contains adult themes.
Cassie Wright is an ageing Porn Star who is determined to go out in glory by setting the world record for the "biggest Gang Bang in history" by having consecutive sex with 600 men in one day. If this was not enough Cassie Wright wants to actually die on film in the process. The story centres around this fateful day with most of the action taking place in the queue to be a part of "World Whore 3"
I am a big Chuck Palahniuk fan and yet again he is a writer that does not disappoint. Given the subject matter I did not think that Snuff would be the type of book I would enjoy and despite being a Palahniuk fan I was apprehensive that this particular foray into the grotesque would be one step too far.I was expecting to find a hardcore novella that I would put down after the first few chapters but this was not the case at all. Despite the subject matter scenes of sex are very few and far between and the grotesqueness of the piece comes more from the seediness of the situation and the men waiting their turn to be a part of the biggest gang bang in history. The novel touches on really dark themes of rape, incest, death and venereal disease which is not for the light hearted. This is in no way a sexy book in fact it may have the effect of putting you off for a while.
The narrative structure of the book is intriguing that it is told from the alternating point of view of four characters. The 3 male characters all waiting in line to be a part of the biggest gang bang in history and are referred to by the numbers they are given Number 72 (a young 20 year old), Number 137 (a washed up TV star hitting rock bottom due to a sex scandal) Number 600 (an aged porn star doing a favour for an old friend). The female protagonist Sheila is the "wrangler" who has organised the whole thing. We never hear from Cassie herself and it is only through the eyes of the other characters that her story is revealed. It was hard to decided whether the men were despicable or pathetic and for me it was confusing to remember who was who between numbers 600 and 137.
Palahniuk is an amazing writer when it comes to evoking the environment of the story - almost too good I would say given that the novel is set in a basement with 600 naked sweaty men and only 1 toilet . The repulsion of what is happening is not lost in the writing. Whilst reading I could almost smell the stench of the greasy men plastering on false tan and baby oil not to mention the over flowing toilet and cheap greasy snacks on the buffet table - YUCK! The novel is full of Palahniuks dark humour not least in the names he invents for the porn films Cassie Wright has previously starred in "To Drill a Mockingbird", "Chitty Chitty Gang Bang" and "A Midsummer Night's Ream" to name a few. I also really enjoyed the little bits of movie trivia he drops in here and there - who knew that the reason Marilyn Monroe suffered illness all her life was due to her propensity to lie in ice baths to achieve pert breasts and bottom.
This is by no way one of my favourite Chuck Palahniuk novels and unfortunately I feel that it did suffer from being a little too short (if you can stomach it you can finish it in a few hours) as plot twists were revealed too quickly and the characters could have been explored further. That said it is still far above many of the other novels I have read this year.
This book is not for the fainted hearted as there is a lot of graphic language and the whole situation is pretty seedy. The edition that I have has a cover with the word Snuff plastered across it with a suggestive picture of a blond women holding what looks like a sex aid to her mouth so this is probably not something I would read on the bus. If however like myself you are a Chuck Palahniuk fan you will know what to expect and will not be disappointed.
I have tried a few different kinds of Montagne Jeunesse Masque whenever I am in the supermarket one always seems to make its way into my basket but at 99p each they're a cheap pick me up treat. By far and away Montagne Jeunesse Sauna Masque is my favourite so far.
Montagne Jeunesse Sauna Masque promises to cleanse your skin using volcanic clay to open up your pores and draw out any impurities in your skin. The masque is a wet masque that warms up upon application clearing out excessive oils leaving your skin clear and smooth. The masque also contains aromatherapy anti stress oils to relax you as it cleanses. The masque is suitable for normal, oily and t-zone skin.
Suitable For Vegans
No Added Parabens
Before applying the masque be sure to clean your face with warm water. Apply the creamy masque direct to your skin avoiding eyes and mouth whilst it is still wet. The just sit back and relax for 15 minutes. After the time is up wash off the masque and pat dry your face.
I use Montagne Jeunesse Sauna Masque as a Sunday bath night treat and I absolutely love it. The cream itself it bright red which makes you look a bit scary but never mind. When I first tried it I was sceptical how good a 99p masque would warm but I was pleasantly surprised as it worked fine - it is a weird but pleasant sensation and just when you think it is going to get too hot it stops heating. The masque smells really nice and I do feel that the aromatherapy oils it contains are great addition to a relaxing bath - I have used warming mud masques before but non have smelled this good. After use my skin feels wonderfully clean and really soft.
Montagne Jeunesse Masques are only 99p from most supermarkets and chemists so this is a great cheap treat - you are sure to find one to suit you.
This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.
Director: Jalmari Helander
Writers: Petri Jokiranta (dramaturge), Sami Parkkinen, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Jorma Tommila, Peeter Jakobi and Onni Tommila
It is the depths of Winter in Finland and a corporation of American Archeologists are excavating deep within the Korvatunturi mountains. Unknowingly they have excavated the most closely guarded secret of Christmas. At the same time in the neighbouring village a father (Rauno) and his son (Pietari) are preparing a reindeer hunt the proceeds of which will last them over the winter. As Christmas draws near the children of the village begin to vanish from their homes, replaced in their beds with grotesque dolls. The true secret of what has been dug up is discovered by Pietari who finds out the real nature of Old St Nick during his research into whether or not Santa Claus really exists.
If you are looking for a cosy Christmas film you may want to look elsewhere as this film is pretty dark. Although billed as horror I would actually describe it as more of a quirky black humour type film. There are some unsettling moments but essentially the horror comes from the true nature of Santa Claus. There are some creepy scenes such as when the dolls are found in the childrens beds but there is not a great deal of gore or violence hence the 15 certificate.
This is a Finnish film so as you would expect there are no famous actors to speak of. The performances however are very good especially Onni Tommila who plays Pietari. If found his frustration at being a child who knew all the answers but was not believed by any of the adults very funny and very true. The characters of the elves are also brilliantly realised and certainly left me with a chill.
Being set in Finland the mountainous landscape is absolutely breath taking - I do however think the cinematography did not do the location justice.
On the whole I found Rare Exports to be a very enjoyable film. It is the perfect anti-dote to all of the schmaltzy Christmas cheer that will be being rammed down our throats in a couple of months time. The concept of the film is completely original for a Christmas story. The pace of the film is great and I found the storyline gripped my throughout leading to a very unexpected twist at the end.
If you like films that are a little bit off the wall then I would definitely recommend you take a look at Rare Exports. I saw Rare Exports through Lovefilm but is available from Amazon for £9.99 from 7th November.
Over the years my hair has been every colour under the sun. If you flick quickly through a photo album of me over the past 15 years it will create a rainbow. Not want to be back at the point where I was at the mercy of hairdressers at the sign of roots coming through I have been trying semi permanent colour to give my hair a bit of a home made overhaul. The latest dye I have tried is Nice n easy Multi Tonal Colour Blend Golden Red (93) £5.60 from Super Drug.
Nice n Easy hair dyes claim to give you a natural multi tonal all over coverage using there new formula of "colour blend technology". It is suitable for all hair types and comes in 50 different colours. It also promises to cover all grey.
How to use it.
Nice n Easy is exactly as it says on the box - very simple to use. If you have ever dyed your hair below you will be familiar with the standard routine of mixing a bottle of developing cream with the colour , give it a shake and you are off.
Unlike other dyes I have used Nice n Easy is applied to dry rather than wet hair. After brushing out the days tats I donned my gloves (the usual plastic type that come with most hair dyes - not great quality) and separated my hair. Like all dyes the advice is to apply at the roots and then pull through the length of you hair. It felt really weird applying the dye to dry hair and to be honest it does not go on as smoothly as when your hair is wet, rather than using my fingers I found I needed to use an old hair brush to pull the colour through. After ensuring I had applied as much as I needed and as evenly as possible it was time to leave the colour 15 minutes to develop. The solution on my hair left is such that I was able to pile it up without having to use a bobble. As the dye was applied to dry hair I found that the were no drips which meant non of the usual furiously wiping dye from skin. I was a little worried about how the colour would end up because as time went on the dye was turning purple. After 15 minutes I rinsed my hair through until the water ran clear then massaged in the conditioner that had come with the pack.
I have to say this is the best result I have had from a home colouring kit. It is often difficult to get a naturally looking red and there have been many times that I have been left with a more purply tinge but this was excellent. The colour I was left with with is a very natural looking auburn, I already have res hair but the colours have faded over the years. I would say that no one would be able to tell that there was a colour on my hair at all. The colour is multi tonal rather than a flat colour which has made my hair look like it has a lovely texture. I also found that my hair was left very shiny and healthy looking.
I wholly recommend Nice n easy Multi Tonal Colour Blend and will certainly be using it again.
My sister is notoriously difficult to buy gifts for - she is a "what do you get the person with everything" kind of girl. Whilst browsing for Xmas presents for her online last year I cam across this great product - Personalised Classic Novels by Gift Republic. My sister loves classic literature not least Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It seems I had indeed found the perfect present - my sister could be the heroine in her favourite novel!
The Gist -
This is your chance for you and your friends and family to take the leading roles in a series of classic novels. Basically you get to choose the names of the cast. There are a variety to choose from including:
Alice in Wonderland
Pride and Prejudice
Hound of the Baskervilles
How does it work?
When you order a personalised classic you initially receive a gift pack - not the actual book. The gift pack contains information on the novel and author and a welcome letter explains how you can register your novel and the names of the people you want to take a leading role. You can either register your characters online using the activation code or through the post by completing the registration form. The set up instructions are self explanatory whether you are doing this online or through the post. You have a choice of character names that you can change. You can also add a dedication to the beginning of the novel and change the name of the author. Once you have registered your product it takes up to 4 weeks to arrive.
Within 4 weeks you will receive a hard copy of your personalised novel - all cast names changed to those of your choice. The book is a good quality paperback measuring 15cm x 20cm. The paper quality is also really good. The cover is a generic cover which cannot be personalised.
As I wanted to have an actual book to give to my sister I completed the registration in advance rather than giving her the gift box. Registering the product and changing the character namescould not have been easier - I chose to do so online and it was merely a process of filling in an online form. The classic novel I chose was Pride and Prejudice. I was able to change the name of the lead character to my sisters name and I also changed the supporting cast to friends and family - of course I kept the name of Darcy as the hero as every girl wants to be swept of her feet by Mr Darcy. My sister actually broke up with her boyfriend shortly after the book arrived so it was a good job I didn't change it to his name as the present would have been completely ruined.
As promised the book arrived within 4 weeks and I have to say I was absolutely delighted with the end product. The book is presented lovely on quality paper and a nice size. It was really funny reading a novel that I am so familiar with starring my family.
The only thing I can think would make this product even better was if you could personalise the cover - but that is a small thing.
This is a brilliant present for any book lover. My sister was absolutely over the moon with it and we had to sit through a reading of excerpts from the novel on Xmas day.
If you are looking for a unique present for a novel lover then this will be perfect. I was so pleased with the end product I actually bought a Romeo and Juliet version of the book for my boyfriend with the names changed to Steve and Kirsty - although this particular romantic gesture was completely lost on him and he made it very clear we would not be acting the play out : (
If you are planning to get this as a gift be sure to order with plenty of time as although the gift pack came in a few days it does take 4 weeks for the actual book to arrive.
I order my Personalised Classics from www.giftrepublic.com for £19.99
I have always loved playing along at home to the TV game show Pointless as presented by Alexander Armstrong on BBC 2. When I saw that a board game based on the show had been released by University Games I knew I had to get it. I purchased the game from Amazon for £17.99.
If you have seen the game on TV you will know that it runs a bit like Family Fortunes in reverse. The basic premise is that 100 people are surveyed on a number of different categories, and the aim of the game is to find the least popular answer. For example if you are asked to name English speaking countries the most obvious and worst answer is likely to be England and more obscure and better answer would be Angola. The game is played over 3 rounds and then there is a final end game.
The game tries to stick closely to the format of TV show which in many ways is its down fall. We found that the board that comes with the game was completely redundant as you tend to just tell the team what score they have achieved rather than wasting time running the counter down the countdown board.
The whole game seems to have too many irrelevant fiddly bits. There seems to be too many bits of punched out card board to use a score markers when you already have a score sheet. The card wallets you get are also really fiddly and it is difficult the put the cards in without looking at the answers - it is really difficult to play the game without a quiz master.
The category cards whilst varied are also mostly made up of questions from the TV version so if you are a fan of the show you will most likely remember the Pointless answers.
If you are playing in 2 teams the rounds are pretty pointless as the previous scores you have received do not really matter and act more as elimination rounds.
All in all I felt it was a lot of hassle and a lot of messing about with different card holders for this to be a really enjoyable game. Most of the time playing the game is spent fiddling about with cards, wallets and tokens rather than actually answering questions and playing the game.
This is a great TV show that does not transfer to board game.
**Playing the game**
Scoring - you receive the number of points on the answer card for each answer. If your answer is completely incorrect your recieve 100 points, if your answer scores 0 you receive a Pointless token.
Round 1 - A category is read out. Each team suggest the answer that they think will be the lowest scoring by writing it down on their answer pad. After each person has answer they declare it and then write down another answer and declare it. The card is taken out of the wallet to reveal the answers and each team receives the points as allocated on the card.
Round 2 - A question card is placed in the wallet and everyone is shown the possible answers through the window in the wallet. Each team as to choose an answer from the card in turns. After everyone has chosen their answer the card is removed from the wallet to reveal the scores for each answer and points are allocated accordingly.
Round 3 - Head to head game. A question card is placed in the wallet and each player has to write down and answer. The scores are revealed - the team with the lowest score is awarded a head to head token. Play continues like this until one team has collected 3 tokens.
Round 4 - End Game - If you are playing in more than 2 teams the team with the lowest score is out of the game. A question card is placed in the card wallet. The team with the most pointless tokens are allowed to give 3 answers to the question. The team with the next highest pointless tokens can give 2 answers and so on. The team that has the lowest scoring answer is the winner.
It seems barely a week goes by without a new product entering the beauty product market that claims to be a miracle cure for any type of beauty need. The latest is a new powder foundation - JML's Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander. I had seen the advert for JML Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander on one of those advertising screens at the Boots checkout. The powder costs £20 which is twice the price of my usual foundation and I always think of JML as a company that carries products like banana cases but I thought hey why not give it a go.
JML Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander claims to be the only foundation you will ever need. It is a concealer, foundation and corrector all in one. It claims to correct redness, dark circles, age spots and breakouts. Its has built-in colour correctors to make skin imperfections disappear and its fine formula glides gently on the skin without clogging wrinkles or lines. The powder is fragrance free, contains no talc and is hypoallergenic.
What's the big idea?
The powder is made up of a unique formula of minerals in the perfect colour combinations to create a translucent fine powder that matches your skin tone and balances out imperfections in all skin types for a flawless finish.
Pink - Brightens pale complexions
Mint - Dulls redness and conceals skin discoloration
Lavender - Camouflages yellow and pallid skin
Yellow - Coverage for your under and over eye areas
The product in hand:
The powder comes in what I thought was quite a good size square black plastic compac. It also has a good size mirror so it can be used on the go. The set I purchased came with a stubby applicator brush. Unfortunately I found that the brush was not of very good quality and the hairs fell out from the first application so after a few applications I reverted to my own make up brush.The powder itself looks a little strange as the different colours are really obvious and to be honest my first impression was that it would be too dark for my light skin despite claiming to be suitable for all skin types. The package I got also came with a free mascara.
To apply the powder you simply swirl your brush on the powder and sweep it on to your skin. The powder as promised is really fine so and there is not a great deal of mess which I have found to be the case with other powders. As the powder looked dark I was quite cautious when applying so initially applied a light coat, I found however that it was easy to build up the coverage to the level I needed. After a bit of experimenting I mastered the technique for my skin and I can now apply it quickly and fuss free.
I have to say I was very impressed with the results of this product. I was a bit worried that as the colours were so obvious on the palate I would end up with weird coloured smears on my skin but this was not the case. The colour is great for my skin tone which I was really surprised at as I could not believe a one size fits all product would work.
I personally do not suffer from spots or acne so cannot comment on the coverage it offers in that respect, however, I have found that it has been excellent at reducing the dark skin around my eyes and other patches that are prone to redness. Whilst I did not find a completely flawless finish it was certainly the best result of any foundation I have used. I found it did balance out my skin tones and as such I was left with quite a radiant glow rather than a dull matt finish.
When I am wearing make up I do not want to feel concious of it, there is nothing worse than feeling like your skin is caked. I found the powder to be really light, it did not get clogged in any lines and as it was so fine it felt almost like I wasn't wearing any foundation at all.
As I have very sensitive eyes I do not usually wear mascara but I gave this a try for the purpose of review. I found that it was a good colour but was quite clumpy and rather difficult to remove so would personally give it a miss.
Value for money?
The £20 price tag attached to JML Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander is almost double my usual foundation so I initially thought it was quite pricey. However as you do not have to fork out for additional concealers or base foundations it probably works out not much more expensive. I have not had JML Magic Minerals very long but I can imagine it will last quite a while. That said I could not help but feel that an ineffectual brush and average mascara added to the price so felt it would be better to make it cheaper without the additional extras and as such have marked it down.
Overall I would definitely recommend JML Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander and will continue to use it myself.
If there is one thing that I love it is a good old fashioned board game and am always on the look out for something to usurp Trivial Pursuit as my current king of board games. When I stumbled upon Bezzerwizzer on Amazon for £11 I thought this may be a contender.
Bezzerwizzer is essentially a first to the finish type game in which you are rewarded for your strategy and knowledge of everything from Architecture to Sport.
* Split into teams - 4 in total
* Each team picks a coloured counter and the corresponding coloured Baezzerwisser and Zwap tiles.
* Each team then picks randomly picks 4 catagory tiles and places them in order of preference on their tile board.
* Each space on the tile board is attributed points from 1-4 - the idea is to place the categories you are most confident in in te highest scoring spaces.
* You take turns to answer questions beginning with the lowest scoring tile - you receive the corresponding points for each correct answer and move around the board accordingly.
* After each round of tiles they are put back into the bag and each team picks again.
* Bezzerwizzer tiles - you can play a Bezzerwizzer tile to steal your opponents points by answering their questions. More points are attributed for playing a Bezerwizzer tile before the question is asked.
* Zwap tiles can also be played at anytime. These tiles mean you can swap catagories with other layers or rearrange the point order.
* The winners are the first team to reach the finish line.
When I first played this game I found the rules a bit confusing and took a while to get the hang of it.The scoring and use of the Bezzerwizzer tiles seemed convoluted but it is worth taking the time to get familiar with it as it adds a great aspect to what could have been a run of the mill question and answer game. There are 13 question categories which mean there is a wide variety of questions and you are sure to find a specialist sunject amongst them. I personally found the questions much more challenging than Trivial Pursuit and would say that the game is targeted more towards adults.
The first time I played it was just against my boyfriend so we could not completely appreciate the strategy aspect of the game. Although I did enjoy stealing his points every now and again. It was also good to lumber him with some of the harder categories. I subsequently played with 4 teams and I have to say this is a much better way to play the game. There is a much better opportunity for scoring extra points and Bezzerwizzer and Zwap tokens can be used much more effectively. There is also a better opportunity to send players backwards meaning that even if you are not doing very well you can prevent your opponents from reaching the finish line.
This is a great game that it is worth trawling through the rules to play.
Director: James Wan
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins
When I first saw the trailers for Insidious I knew that this was going to be a film that was right up my street. I love anything spooky and there is nothing more spooky than a weird kid. However when I realised it was by the same guy responsible for the Saw movies I was a little worried that it would turn into a slasher gore fest.
Josh and Renai are a typical American family who seem to have the perfect life. They have moved into the house of their dreams and filled it with their 3 seemingly perfect children. One of the children Dalton is involved in what seems to be a minor household accident however within 24 hours Dalton has fallen into a coma. Released from hospital still in a comatose state Dalton is interred in his bedroom - it is at this point that strange things begin happening in the house. Freaked out that the house is haunted the family move to a different house however the hauntings continue and we realise this is not a typical haunted house movie.
I really enjoyed this film but to be honest, for me it was a film of 2 halves. Whilst the film clearly borrows themes and ideas from many different horror films such as Poltergeist it still had a lot of original ideas. As I said when I realised the movie was by Saw director James wan I was expecting a lot of blood and guts but I was pleasantly surprised as there was very little gratuitous violence or horror. The first half of the film relies on spooky understated ghostly activity which is well executed and builds up the tension so you are on the edge of your seat. There are a lot of great scares and some frightening imagery. However Insidious falls into the trap of revealing the "monster" and from that point on it was a bit ruined because lets face it, it can never be as bad as you imagine. I felt that the last part of the film suffered from horror overkill and there were almost too many frights in quick succession. That said the climax will have you jumping out of your seat.
The cast are all very good particularly Barbera Hershy who puts in great performance as Daltons grandmother. All of the characters play their roles in quite an understated way which keeps us in mind that these people are an ordinary family and this could happen to anyone. I thought it was great that Renai did the thing I always think victims of a haunted house should do, move house! I never believe when people stay in a house in which the whole family is potentially in danger.
Whilst this was not a film that had me wanting to sleep with the lights on there are a lot of scares to enjoy. f you like a good horror then I would recommend Insidious. Whilst it is not massively original I would say just suspend your disbelief and enjoy.
Available from Amazon for £7.
This is the second part of Paul Magrs "Brenda" trilogy preceded by "Never The Bride" and succeed by"Conjugal Rights". Although the novel briefly outlines what has happened in the first book this should definitely be read as part of the series and not stand alone.
The second instalment of Brendas story starts where "Never The Bride" left off and we find her trying to re assume her normal life in Whitby. Apart from the Womanzee still stalking the Whitby inhabitants everything seems quiet. However Effie and Brenda are soon sucked into a new adventure when poison pen letters start landing on the door mats of Whitby's residents and it is up to our heroines to get to the bottom of who is responsible. A face from Brendas past also acts as a device to tell the reader about what Brenda has been up to all these years when her past memories, long forgotten, are brought to the fore with the arrival of Henry Cleavis.
This is another great yarn form Paul Magrs. The story is a rollercoaster and every chapter leaves you wanting more making it completely impossible to put down. Magrs is brilliant at creating new myths and legends that are very authentic. The setting of Whitby is perfect for this present day tale that is firmly rooted in the Gothic past.
Like the first book the characters are brilliant and it is difficult not to like any of the eccentric protagonists. Brenda is as ever a figure of sympathy and whilst it was great to read about her back story I did feel that that meant there was not enough Effie time. Whilst the first book was populated by a wide arrange of fantastical characters there is a much smaller cast this time around but all are fantastically quirky and original. A new introduction is Henry Cleavis a man from Brenda's long distance past who looks exactly the same as he did 40 years previously. The introduction of Henry leads to the flash backs into Brenda past and also a different and somewhat unexpected side of her. The bumbling awkward relationship between the two also leads to a great deal of humour.
I have to say that whilst I enjoyed this book it was not as good structurally as the first one. Although it retains the charm and quirkyness of "Never The Bride" the narrative is completely different. "Never The Bride" is more like a series of short stories about the weird people Brenda and Effie meet in Whitby however Something Borrowed revolves around one story - the poison pen letters that are circulating the small seaside town.
Although I preferred they structural style of "Never Mind The Bride" to "Something Borrowed" I look forward to reading the finale "Conjugal Rights"
I have recently been on a family holiday to Inverness, the age of the people in our party ranged from 2-82 years old so as you can imagine we thought we would find it difficult to find a place to go that would suit everyone. After browsing through the local brochures at the cottage we were holidaying in we stumbled upon Landmark Theme Park located in Carrabridge.
Landmark Theme Park is not a theme park in the traditional sense in that it is not all about big thrilling rollercoasters and rides, it is more about getting active in the forest.
I have to say this is a brilliant day out for all of the family and is great value for money (prices at the end of this review). There is plenty to do for all ages and abilities. The whole park is quite small meaning the activities are close together all of which are supervised by experienced staff who I found were very helpful.
For the little ones.
The youngest member of our party was my niece who is only 2 years old. She had great fun on the mini cars (which do cost an extra £1) and the giant climbing frame Ant City.
For the kids.
In our party were my nephews who are aged 7 and 10. They absolutely loved getting harnessed up for a fun rope adventure in the forests trees known as Tarzan Trail, the climbing wall and sky dive (a platform that you basically jump from after a telegraph pole climb). There are also 3 large water slides in the park which you travel down in a dingy, each of which they went on at least 5 times. There is also a small rollercoaster which is suitable for anyone over the age of 6.
For the adults.
All of the adults in our party had great fun on all of the same activities as the kids although I have to admit we were a little less daring. In addition to this there is also an adult rope trial in the trees which is very challenging but great fun.
My grandad is 82 years old and has difficulty walking so we were concerned he would be confined to watching everyone else have fun. However this was not the case and he had a brilliant time. There is a great maze built on wooden pathways that is easily accessible and looks a lot easier to figure out than it actually is. There is also a walk through the ancient forest, again on wooden pathways. The route has regular information boards about the forest and its celebrity resident the red squirrels. If you do not spot a squirrel on your way through the walk there is a feeding area at the end where there is all manner of birds and the illusive squirrel. The latest addition to Landmark is the brilliant Bamboozeleum. The Bamboozeleum is a museum that is full of optical illusions, heat sensitve cameras and a great photo booth which can transform your image from ape to adulthood.
I have to say this is the only thing that let the park down. There are two places to eat on site and like most theme parks the food prices are extortionate. There is the usual fare of hot dogs and burgers - they were all fine except for my cicken burger which was completely inedible. That said some of our party opted for soup and a bun which was very nice and much cheaper than the other options. There are loads of picnic benches so I would definitely recommend taking a picnic.
I really cannot recommend Landmark Theme Park and their friendly staff highly enough. It is a brilliant day out that is very reasonably priced there are discounts for families and booking a week ticket which I would really recommend as the kids wanted to go back as soon as we left. It was great to drag the kids away from their PSP's and see them really enjoy the great outdoors whilst getting a bit of fresh air and exercise ourselves. There is something for everyone and I also found that despite being their in August at the height of the kids holidays there were very few queues.
Website - http://www.landmarkpark.co.uk/
Adult Child Senior
Nov - Mar 4.10 3.05 2.95
Apr - Oct 12.60 10.50 9.95
Nov - March 10.00am - 5.00pm
Sept - October 10.00am - 5.00pm
April - mid July 10.00am - 5.00 or 6.00pm (see local notice board for time of closing)
Mid July - late August 10.00am - 7.00pm
I have never had problems with my teeth until the past year or two when I began to find it painful to eat cold foods such as ice cream or drink chilled drinks. If you have sensitive teeth you will be well aware of just how painful it can be - the pain is actually agonising. I have tried lots of different toothpastes to try and alleviate the problem and when I saw Arm & Hammer Enamel Care Sensitive Toothpaste on buy one get one free for £3.22 in Boots I thought I would give it a go.
So what makes Arm and Hammer Sensitive Care Toothpaste different? Arm and Hammer Sensitive Care Toothpaste claims to contain innovative patented technology, Liquid Calcium®, which blocks the pathways to your exposed nerves and rebuilds a smooth and white surface enamel. The Liquid Calcium fills in dentinal tubules, sealing teeth with a protective shield and closing off your sensitive nerves.
I have to say that this is a brilliant product that so far has lived up to all of it's claims. I have found that the sensitivity in my teeth has all but completely gone. It may be my imagination but my teeth do also feel like they are in better condition, after a good brush sometimes the surface of my back teeth could fell a bit rough but since using Arm and Hammer Sensitive Care Toothpaste they feel much smoother.
The first time I used the toothpaste I was very aware that it had a much thicker constituency than regular paste - you need to give it a really good squeeze to get it out of the tube. The toothpaste also contains baking soda which really makes my teeth feel like they have had a deep clean and I have also noticed my teeth are much whiter. The only problem I have with Arm and Hammer Sensitive Care Toothpaste is the taste, unfortunately like most toothpastes that contain baking soda it has a very salty taste rather than minty, as such I do not get the fresh breathe feel of minty toothpaste. If it was not for this I would have awarded Arm & Hammer Enamel Care Sensitive Toothpaste 5*
Director: Richard Ayoade
Writers: Richard Ayoade (screenplay), Joe Dunthorne(novel)
Oliver is a teenager in Wales who is at the tricky junction between adolescence and adulthood. The story charts his quest to be the best boyfriend ever to the girl of his dreams Jordana if only he can get her to notice him and to reignite the marriage of his parents. It is essentially a coming of age tale that will make you laugh and cry in measure.
Submarine is directed and adapted by Richard Ayoade most known as Moss in Channel 4's IT crowd. When I saw that the Ayoade was involved in the film I was expecting the same kind of obvious slapstick style comedy that you see in the IT Crowd. However what I got instead was a very intelligent, quirky indie comedy with a lot of heart. The film has quite an arty feel about most notably the influence of French Wave which is obvious from the opening credits.
This is a brilliantly funny film set in Wales. I loved the amusing voice over of Oliver as he tells us what it is like to go through the hell of high school in the UK. His story is very touching and he faces the same dilemmas many teenagers are facing all over the country. The portrayal of teenage love is brilliantly accurate as is the fear of a families falling apart for varying reasons.
I loved the lead character Oliver (Craig Roberts) who finds himself torn between obsessing about being the best boyfriend ever and saving his parents marriage. Oliver narrates the film and his paranoia and idealist fantasies are both amusing and well observed. He perfectly plays teenage angst as he traverses the slippery path from childhood to adulthood.The object of his affection the weird and strangely beautiful Jordana played brilliantly by Yasmin Page who whilst at first I felt was a bit of a bitch could not help but sympathise with as her back story is revealed. Every character is brilliantly written and perfectly performed not least the character of Graham a cheesy self help guru played by Paddy Considine.
The soundtrack to the film is written and performed by Arctic Monkeys Alex Turner - each song is perfectly fitting to the film. The songs acurately articulate and represent the feelings of and situations in which Oliver finds himself.
The acclaim this film has received in indie circles is definitely justified - sit back and enjoy : )
Grisly Trails and Ghostly Tales
Alan Robson (Author)
If you are from Newcastle or the North East it is likely that you are familiar with Alan Robsons late night radio show the "Night Owls" on Metro Radio. Although the "Night Owls" is a typical talk radio show it is notorious in the North East for the Halloween specials Alan Robson hosts every year. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in Newcastle who has not had the beegeesus scared out of them by Alan Robson on any Halloween for 20 years.
This is a brilliant book for anyone interested in ghost hunting. Grisly Trails and Ghostly Tales is a collection of 150 "true" stories that listeners have either sent to Alan Robson, spoken about on the Night Owls or are local legends. Each tale varies in length from 1 page to 2 or 3 pages, despite being short you get all of the information you need most sending a chill down your spine. Robson has a very casual conversational style of writing much like he is talking to you directly over the air waves so it is a very easy, brilliantly entertaining read. Robson tells the tale often recalling his own investigations into the story and then leaves the reader to make up their own mind as to whether or not it is true.
The stories span the decades right up until the 90's. Many of the landmarks still stand such as the Claremont Road Windmill in Newcastle who's sails were taken down so as to banish the evil spirits of a coven of witches who sacrificed children they kidnapped from the famous annual Hoppings Fair on the town moor. I cannot get on the bus to town without thinking of that story as I go past. The book also tells of the legend of the broken bottles in the window of The Old Cross Inn in Alnwick. It was said that who ever tried to move the bottle from the window woud drop down dead - the bottles are still there in the window boarded up from the inside and have been so for more than 200 years.
If you are planning a trip to the North East and are interested in the supernatural then this is an essential guide to the horrors of the Newcastle and the surrounding areas. From our many historic castles and stately homes to the more modern city buildings it seems that there you can't go anywhere in the North East without encountering an account of it spooky past.
Unfortunately it seems this is now out of general print but you should still be able to pick up a new copy in one of the bookshops in Newcastle or second hand on eBay or Amazon.