Swiss Family Robinson (1960 USA)

sfrGorgeous production with Disney all-star-cast , funny sequences and spectacular adventures. The treatment of its subject (survival on a desert island) is overly wholesome and unrealistic of course. The family seems to be treating the whole situation like the perfect holiday. Even in the face of many hardships they all remain surprisingly cheerful. And the parents have an annoying habit of calling each other “Mother” and “Father”, even when they’re alone. But we must take it for what it is – good old fashioned, clean fun played out on a widescreen.
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The Runaway Woman (Josephine Cox)

article-0-1b6c3db800000578-626_233x423Lets see what England’s fourth estate had to say about this potboiler. “Thanks to her near faultless writing, sympathies will lurch from one character to another, and as events reach their dramatic conclusion readers will find it impossible to tear themselves away.” News of the World. (Er, I don’t think so) “Written from the heart” Daily Mail. (Again, no. Written while persuading her publisher to deposit another advance into her bank account more likely) [Read more…]

The Lonesome Gods (Louis L’Amour)

1983thelonesomegodspb1984Quintessential “guy-lit” (or whatever is the opposite of “chick-lit”). This is a long book for L’Amour. He spends some time getting philosophical – a boy on his own living in the desert, communing with nature, learning and such.  This is a book about being a man. And becoming a man. All those things a man gotta do. The main theme is Self Reliance. There are also some great descriptions of the California/Arizona desert around the time of the Gold Rush. [Read more…]

The War Of The Gargantuas (1966 Japan)

japanese-horror-fantasyLosing the Second World War must have turned the Japanese insane. Imagine what type of films they would have churned out if they had won. Plot: From the remains of a Frankenstein monster spawns a hairy brown gargantua named Sanda. Though raised by kind scientists in captivity, he escapes one day and a part of his flesh was snagged off a rock and made its way into the sea, spawning a green gargantua called Gaira. Gaira goes on a rampage through Japan killing countless civilians, but soon finds himself overwhelmed by man’s great weapons. Before the military could finish off the beast, Sanda arrives to help his brother. [Read more…]

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account Of The Mt Everest Disaster (John Krakauer)

book-coverA great adventure story worth reading. On May 10 -11, 1996 a blizzard struck Mount Everest on the day when numerous individuals and groups were attempting to ascend the mountain. Eight people died that day, making it, at the time, the deadliest day in the mountain’s history. Written by a journalist, one of the strengths of the book is actually it’s lack of journalistic detachment. The author was there that day, on assignment from Outside magazine to write a story on the climb and watched several of the people he knew and became friends with, die. [Read more…]

When Worlds Collide (USA 1951)

when-worlds-collide-1951-13Give your inner child a chance to enjoy this. It’s about an attempt to save a remnant of humanity from oblivion by whisking them off in an untried rocket ship to a new planet. This is a moving film, profound and well-deserving of classic status among other 50s genre masterpieces such as “Forbidden Planet.” I even like the Biblical passages – which predictably offends many! This is filled with images that still resonate over 60 years later. [Read more…]

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (USA 1966)

whos-afraid-of-virginia-woolf-01-1Richard Burton used to reach over to Elizabeth Taylor during off-camera moments, take her breasts in his hands, and squeeze them like antique car horns, making “honk! honk!” noises. Dirty bastard. So he must have relished some of the lines he had to utter in this cinematic tour-de-force: “Well dear, if I kissed you I’d get all excited. Then I’d have to take you, by force, right here on the living room rug.” Liz and Dick were married in real life and it was reported that they had similar encounters with Jack Daniels and boisterous ‘conversations’ at home, so this should have been a walk-in-the-park acting job for both of them. [Read more…]

Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

darknessLegendary novella by a Ukrainian-born British subject. He took a fateful steamship voyage into the deepest jungles of Africa, an experience which forever changed him and this literary classic was the result. Marlow, the seaman narrator, tells the story of his journey into the heart of the African interior and his encounter with the natives and most notably, Kurtz, the ivory agent, a much revered white man. To me, the journey into the heart of darkness is the unraveling of what is inscrutably at the core of human nature. [Read more…]

The Love Machine (Jacqueline Susann)

eamstrashy novelslove-machineWould you think something was wrong if you kept shouting out “Mummy! Mummy!” in a German accent every time you tried to sleep or reach orgasm? Maybe a trip to a hypnotic psycho-therapist is in order and we can travel back to when you were five. This extremely tasteless best-seller from 1969 certainly shines. Like a rhinestone in a pit full of manure. The novel deals primarily with the rise and fall of Robin Stone. His psychological problems are straight out of Hitchcock. And he runs through the lives of a good half-dozen women in the course of the book, leaving all of them scarred and mutilated–a couple of them literally so. [Read more…]

Broadchurch Season One (2013 UK)

broadchurch_ep01_4British crime dramas generally enjoy pacing and depth of characterization more engaging than the American ones, and there is often more emphasis on “mystery”. Whereas the Americans have more innovative plots that seldom have the holes that sometimes mar British crime stories. Unlike most murder dramas, this story isn’t about autopsies and gunfights. It’s about human nature. It’s about a very miserable but addictive British TV show…
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