Crooked House DVD Review

Hello reader, the other night I watched the DVD of crooked house (Mark Gatiss not Agatha Christie) so I thought I’d share my verdict. First a synopsis.

The story starts with a young man who finds a strange door knocker in his garden; he takes it to the curator of the local museum who tells him that the knocker is from a recently demolished manor house.

The curator then begins to tell him two ghoulish tales from the houses troubled past. The first is the tale of a Georgian gent, who finds he is disturbed in the night by strange noises; what secrets do those walls hide?

The second story take place in the 1920’s a young couple announce their engagement, but all is not well with the bride to be. Who is the mysterious figure in white and what is the secret her future grandmother-in law has been keeping?

He also learns something of the dark history of the house’s original owner; a history which is about to have an effect on his own future in a startling way.

So what did I think? Well surprisingly I did find it quite spooky, a lot of modern ghost stories are all about making you jump rather than the gradual chill. This was an enjoyable film and is one I can see myself rewatching several times.

The story telling method worked well. Mark Gatiss, the museum expert, starts relating the tales which we then drift into; this narration works well as a bridge between the eras.

I would just like to say, which you will understand once you’ve seen it: The eyes!!!! OK if anything to do with eyes freaks you out in horror/ supernatural films then this definitely has that factor. Yuck!

All in all a pretty good film. Although Doctor Who fans like myself might be asking questions about paradoxes at the end, but I’m sure most people wont care and will just appreciate it as it is and rightly so.



The Lost Beauty Of Language

I’ve blogged quite a bit over the last few weeks about my love of classic books; It set me thinking about why it is that I find them so appealing. What is it about them?

Is it the escapism of reading something set in a time so far removed from our own? Partly perhaps. Is it because in time of less scientific knowledge, dark lamp lit rooms and sinister shadows, foggy streets where strangers can creep up unseen, there is more scope for atmosphere and chills? I think so, in part.

I suspect though that a big part of the appeal is the language. I know some people say that they struggle with the old fashioned language but I revel in it. Of course, sentences are longer and there are some words that aren’t commonly used now and there are expressions that aren’t used in the same context anymore.  All that aside though I find the language so much more descriptive and evocative.

There’s something in the beautifully crafted and sometimes conversational, if formal, tones of classic literature that conjures a more sensory if not vivid image than modern language. That’s not to say that modern literature doesn’t have it’s appeals too but I’m speaking only of language in this instance.

What is it about the style of language that has fallen out of fashion? I suppose the language was formal which reflected society. In theory at least we are much freer now. Has language gone too far though? Obviously language evolves, as it should, new words pop into existence and abbreviations abound but I can’t help wondering if, in our quest for informality, we’ve lost some of the beauty of language; after all language is there to convey meaning, but a cunningly crafted piece of writing can also convey emotion.

Now I’m all for the invention of new words, if it’s good enough for Dickens, Caroll and Shakespeare etc, language  has always evolved and always will. This said though classic literature is a treat, you see so many words which have fallen out of common usage. I think it would be lovely, dear reader, if we made a small space in our vocabulary to preserve some of those fabulous words from being confined entirely to history.

For example instead of calling your partner a lying scumbag – which is descriptive enough in its own way – try calling them a mendacious scoundrel 😉

Doctor Number 12- Peter Capaldi

The news is out, Peter Capaldi is our 12th Doctor!

My first reaction was ‘oh’ I’m not sure how I feel yet. He’s a different type of actor to Matt Smith and David Tennant but I guess that was of the factors in the casting process. They are probably looking to go in a different direction now after two manic Doctors. I’ll be interested to see what kind of Doctor he will be.

I had my doubts when Matt and David took over the role so I wont judge yet. The fact is I will always approach any new Doctor with a degree of scepticism because I love the show so much. It’s not until you first see an actor in the role that you can know how you’re going to feel. So I shall sit back and watch and hopefully enjoy the ride.

See you in the T.A.R.D.I.S!

Stand by for the Doctor!

Well guys it’s 2 hours until we find out who Doctor number 12 will be. Frankly my whovian DNA is nervous. I know by next year I’ll probably be raving about how great the new Doctor is but the uncertainty is stressful! Lol

I’ve really grown to Love Matt Smith’s Doctor and I shall be sad to see him go 😦

Look out for another blog from me when we get the news! I expect I’ll have comments to make (don’t I always?)

The last Templar – A Book Review

I tend to buy books in bulk so I usually have an unread paperback or two hanging around. Recently I finished the latest book in the game of thrones series and was stuck as to what to read next. So I went through my unread paperbacks and settled on the Last Templar by Raymond Khoury.

Now, the last thing I want to do is insult someone else’s work so I don’t often do negative reviews but I also want to be honest. I didn’t  really like this book and I’ll try to be fair as I explain why:

The premise sounds good. Four horsemen dressed as knights Templar ride up to New York’s metropolitan museum during the opening of a Vatican treasures exhibition and launch a raid, one of the stolen items is a medieval decoder. FBI agent Sean Reilly and archaeologist Tess Chaykin set out to discover who is behind the elaborate attack and what they want with the decoder.

Sounds good right? But the book completely fails to live up to the promising blurb. Looking back on the book now I’ve finished it I’m asking myself why I didn’t enjoy it. The storyline itself isn’t bad but the writing style meant I was willing myself to finish reading it so that I could write this review and never have to look at it again. I found it really uninspiring and boring.

What went wrong?

The main problem, I think, is the characters. They are two dimensional and dull. The female lead does something stupid and dangerous, tells herself off for being stupid and then goes and does something even more stupid. At the beginning of the book we are told she doesn’t know the effect she has on men, a few chapters later she’s commenting on how good she looks! The most irritating thing about Reilly? No matter how stupid Tess is he forgives her because he fancies her.

The writer has decided that Reilly and Tess’s pasts are affecting the choices they make now. OK pretty standard, however it isn’t dropped in here and there, subtly and woven in with skill, it’s just the opposite; there are times when you feel like he’s saying ‘Right, lets all take a break from the story while you read this character bio I prepared earlier detailing the characters entire back story. Have you finished? OK then lets carry on where we left off.’

Also there are times when I found myself wondering if I’d picked up a novel or a gun magazine (pun not intended). The only thing he did describe well and in detail were the guns, every last one of them, repeatedly.

There is a scene, I wont mention which, that if cut out or edited could have made a later scene more surprising. Instead in conjunction with other later scenes it resulted in the obviousness of what was coming being laid on with a trowel. In fact the only person it wasn’t obvious to was Tess. Unsurprising really; did I mention she was stupid?

Good points?

Well as I said the concept isn’t a bad one and the big secret is a bit different to the usual religious conspiracy novels. I think the book did improve a little towards the end.

I realise this review has come across quite harsh but there really were some interesting ideas in this book and of course the things that didn’t work for me might not be an issue for others; it’s all subjective.