Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Feel free to leave any suggestions or comments regarding music, books, films, TV, theatre or culture related news...

My ratings:
❤️ = Loved it
😐 = It's okay
😝 = Hated it

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express (Kenneth Branagh)

From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers and one man's race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Tom Bateman, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Sergei Polunin, Lucy Boynton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe

😐 I have not seen the original Murder on the Orient Express from 1974 although I do enjoy Agatha Christie's novels and I absolutely loved Death on the Nile (that is why I'm begging Kenneth Branagh not to do a remake - you can have all the A-list stars in the world but you can never top a classic).
About this film, the acting is superb with great A-listers (I particularly liked Kenneth Branagh as Hercules Poirot), but the plot felt a bit rushed in my opinion. Like I said, I did not see the original, but I felt that it took more time with less important matters in the beginning and the end, and then it just rushed through the main topic.
I still enjoyed the film though.

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Orville (Seth MacFarlane)

Set 400 years in the future, we follow the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-functional ship in Earth's interstellar Fleet. Facing all kinds of cosmic challenges, this crew of space explorers will go where no comedic drama has gone before.

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Larry Joe Campbell, Chad L. Coleman, Victor Garber

❤️ I have never been a fan of Star Trek or Star Wars, but this has won me over.
Seth MacFarlane once described The Orville as 'something that has never been done before, which combines Science Fiction and comedy', and I guess that is why I like it so much. It is not a spoof of other shows but it actually brings something new to the table, something that has never been accomplished before, and which is so refreshing.
It is, overall, funny and there is an actual story here. It feels like it was written by a more grown-up Seth although you do get some hints of his typical humour here and there.
I guess this is my new addiction!

The Late Show (Michael Connelly)

Los Angeles can be a dangerous city - never more so than in the dead of night.
Detective Renée Ballard, once one of the department's young hotshots, now works 'The Late Show', the graveyard shift at the LAPD.
It is a thankless job keeping strange hours in a world of tragedy and violence, handing over her investigation as the sun rises, never getting closure.
Some nights are worse than others. And tonight is the worst yet.
Ballard knows it is always darkest before dawn. But what she does not know is how deep her dual investigation will take her into the dark heart of her city, her department, and her past.

Compton got out and looked back in at her. She said nothing and kept her gaze on the Camaro. He slammed the door. She refused to turn to watch him walk away.
"And another one bites the dust", she said to herself.

😐 I have not read other books by Michael Connelly, so I may be in for a nice surprise along the way; however, although I did enjoy some parts of the story, particularly towards the end, I felt that it took a long time to build up, where it even seemed somewhat boring at times.
Also, I did not care much for Renée Ballard. It is important to love the main character, and maybe I will feel differently later on, but I felt that everything happened too fast for me to like her.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Geostorm (Dean Devlin)

When catastrophic climate change endangers Earth's very survival, world governments unite and create the Dutch Boy Program: a worldwide net of satellites, surrounding the planet, that are armed with geoengineering technologies designed to prevent natural disasters. After successfully protecting the planet for two years, something is starting to go wrong. Two estranged brothers are tasked with solving the program's malfunction before a worldwide Geostorm can engulf the planet.

Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Amr Waked, Adepero Oduye, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Robert Sheehan, Zazie Beetz, Talitha Eliana Bateman

❤️ Unlike other disaster films, this one is actually more realistic. The acting is also very impressive. The special effects are amazing with shots of cities falling down along with entire buildings and aeroplanes (I felt like I was back at Universal Studios). And there were very funny moments as well, although it does turn a bit dramatic and emotional towards the end.
Overall, this has to be one of the best movies I have seen recently.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Origin (Dan Brown)

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that 'will change the face of science forever'. The evening's host is his friend and former student, Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old tech magnate whose dazzling inventions and audacious predictions have made him a controversial figure around the world. This evening is to be no exception: he claims he will reveal an astonishing breakthrough to challenge the fundamentals of human existence.
But Langdon and several hundred other guests are left reeling when the meticulously orchestrated evening is blown apart before Kirsch's precious discovery can be revealed. With his life under threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape, along with the museum's director, Ambra Vidal. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch's secret.
Against an enemy who is one step ahead of them at every turn, Langdon and Vidal must navigate the labyrinthine passageways of the city. On a trail marked only by enigmatic symbols and elusive modern art, Langdon and Vidal uncover the clues that will bring them face to face with a world-shaking truth that has remained buried - until now.

Evolution is the way the universe continually tests and refines its tools. The most efficient tools survive and replicate themselves, improving constantly, becoming more and more complex and efficient. Eventually, some tools look like trees, and some look like, well... us.

❤️ Being a true fan of Dan Brown and having read every single book written by him, I must confess that my first thought when I picked up this book was: 'Oh, no! Not another Robert Langdon story!'
I loved The Digital Fortress as much as I loved The Da Vinci Code and I wish Dan Brown would give Mr. Langdon a rest for a little while. However, as I became engrossed in this story, I changed my mind. This is another great history/art/science lesson by Mr. Brown with some great action in-between (although the action is not as great as in his previous books). I also loved the fact that it was set in Barcelona, a place where I have been recently and which is still so fresh in my mind.
But what I love the most about these books is that I can actually learn new things every time: I love that I can look up a building or a piece of art or a religious organisation I have never heard of (such as the Palmarian Church) and they are all real. Plus the fact that this is an intense, fast paced, and intriguing book you cannot put down, and it keeps you guessing until the very last page.
I totally recommend it!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Lucky (Jackie Collins)

Daughter of one of the world's richest and most powerful men, wildly beautiful Lucky Santangelo is set on continuing the family tradition.
Sex and the rich fruits of crime are her aphrodisiacs. Power is the ultimate thrill - power over the Santangelo empire and power over the men of her choice.
Moving in the fast lane from Las Vegas to New York, from Beverly Hills to a Greek island paradise, Lucky takes up where Chances left off. Winning is all that matters - and luck has nothing to do with it.

It was goodbye. Neither of us is looking for trouble. Today was a dream... a fantasy... Now we go back to real life.

❤️ This was the one book missing from my Jackie Collins collection. It is written in such a way that only Jackie Collins could do. Intrigue, romance, sex, liars, and players all rolled into a fabulous 700-page-adventure.
I have always loved the banter between Lucky and Lennie, in the later books as well as these earlier ones. Their road to marriage was a long one, but most definitely worth every second of reading time put into it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Victoria and Abdul (Directed by Stephen Frears; Written by Lee Hall, based on the book by Shrabani Basu)

The true story of Queen Victoria's friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Michael Gambon, Paul Higgins, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar, Sukh Ojla, Kemaal Deen-Ellis

❤️ This should probably be best described as a comedy drama. The first part had me in tears from laughing so hard while the second part had me in tears from crying.
The focus of the film is quite rightly on the scandal of the Queen of England (and hence head of the Church of England) having a spiritual teacher (or Munshi) who is neither white or Christian.
This is an acting tour de force for Dame Judi Dench. I know it is early in the season to be placing bets before having seen any of the other major contenders, but her marvellous performance from beginning to end screams Oscar to me.
Another great surprise was relative newcomer Ali Fazal (he had a role in Furious 7). His performance is almost as impressive, bringing warmth and compassion to this supporting role.
The rest of the cast is also amazing, but the Scottish countryside manages to steal most of the film. The images are just ravishing!
Overall, it is a true delight of a film, perfectly balanced, brilliantly acted, and a 'must see' for anyone, really.
Highly recommended.