Clifford The Big Red Dog (Norman Bridwell)

cliffordI remember reading this book as a child. The illustrations seemed almost hypnotic to me. He’s big. He’s red. He’s a dog. What more can you say? He’s been popular with children since he was born in 1963. Clifford is so popular that’s there’s a Clifford book for every season and nearly every holiday. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also a whole line of Clifford’s puppy day stories, which also cover every season and most major holidays. This dog is huge — in more ways than one! The first book is very simple and very sweet, and it goes a long way toward explaining the popularity of the series. Instead of being a story about a big red dog, it’s a story about the special friendship between a girl and her dog. Emily Elizabeth loves her dog, despite what others may see as his shortcomings. Yes, even Emily Elizabeth will admit that he has a few. For instance, when Clifford chases cars, he actually catches them and brings them home. When Clifford doesn’t win first prize at the dog show, Emily Elizabeth doesn’t mind. She’ll take Clifford over any of those other dogs any day. So would I.  🙂

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Vertigo (1958 USA)

VHitchcock uses a complicated story, interesting characters, lavish visual detail, and deliberate pacing, plus a fine musical score by Bernard Hermann, to produce a mysterious, almost unearthly, atmosphere. The tension rarely lets up, and the viewer is caught up completely in it, at times almost to the point of discomfort. It’s the kind of film that repays careful attention, as almost every moment is filled with significant detail. [Read more…]

Casablanca (1942 USA)

casablanca01If any visitor to this blog doesn’t read this review, they’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of their lives.  I have to give credit to screen writer Julius Epstein for all his quotable lines. One of the greats is: “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” Such throwaway chit chat has become the stuff of legend of course but I have to admit that it is Humphrey Bogart that is numero uno for me here. He had a timeless masculinity that is reassuring. His nasal whine was so confident that he seemed tall, although he was short by modern standards. He was attractively ugly. Whatever he had, the man was magic and probably the best Hollywood actor of them all. [Read more…]

One Hundred Proposals (Holly Martin)

One-Hundred-Proposals-by-Holly-MartinThis book, my first chick – lit review, is one for the optimist in all of us. I may even read another one from this author. So get out your passport – because with Holly Martin’s novel, you are about to go around the world in the search of the perfect proposal. The journey is filled with laughs, misunderstandings, and most of all, love between two people who are afraid to share that sentiment with each other. [Read more…]

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993 USA)

Homeward.bound_dvd_coverThis is a remake of the 1963 oldie ‘The Incredibly Journey’. Surprisingly, the plot is almost identical but this one is superior. The biggest difference is that this version is more for the big screen and has far more humour. Another big difference is that the animals talk here, which is good because they only talk by telepathy. If they moved their lips like people, or like animals do in cartoons, it would be too unreal so top marks for that. [Read more…]

Bruno’s Dream (Iris Murdoch)

Bruno's Dream It seems like I’ve been hearing about Iris Murdoch since I was a child, but only got round to actually reading some of her works recently. Bruno is a dying man at the center of a variety of complex relationships. One day Bruno asks to see his estranged son, Miles. This sets off a series of events culminating in a pistol duel and a great flood. [Read more…]

SOMEWHERE IN TIME (Richard Matheson)

9780312868864I really enjoyed how Matheson pieced this story together, bridging the gulf of years almost seamlessly. When a dying man falls in love with the photograph of a 19th century stage actress, the short remainder of his life suddenly takes on a new meaning. All he knows is that he must be with her, even if it means conquering time itself. [Read more…]

ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (1957/8 France)

5110f1ab49e57_267051bAs I type these words I feel like Prince Charles’ fingertips. Or where ever his brain is located. Is this story an answer to his question “whatever love means?” If this is love, then it makes everyone thoroughly miserable. They are fighting back the tears, digging their nails into the palm of their hand or turning their face toward a rain-soaked wall. But as an Anglo-Saxon what do I know? Maybe this is normal. [Read more…]

OF HUMAN BONDAGE ( W. Somerset Maugham)

Maugham.Human.Bondage.1955.big

This is an amazing achievement and is rightly said to be Maugham’s masterpiece. So neatly written and with such scope. The book is an account of man’s hopeless entrapment in the human condition: our inextricable bond to our body, to carers and school, religion, society, lovers, and finally to our mortal end. [Read more…]

BLADE RUNNER (1982 USA)

BLADE_RUNNER_ANIM_G_BURLEYHow much has the world changed since 1982? Life seemed to make more sense. But our minds were unconsciously drifting away from reality, whilst reality slowly made its way towards the visions of this powerful film. ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?’, written by Phillip K Dick, was adapted to the screen by English director Ridley Scott into ‘Blade Runner’. [Read more…]

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