Minority Report (2002) Film Review


Philip K. Dick wrote a short story set in a future where the police don’t solve crime, they stop it before it happens. See, there are some things called ‘pre-cogs’, who are people who are in a tank and plugged in to some machine. They can see into the future and every so often, they will inform about a crime. The Precrime squad then go and catch the criminal before they can commit the crime. The world is a great place. Only then Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) discovers that he has been seen committing a murder and goes on the run.

It’s a great science fiction premise. It’s a fabulous cast. Tom Cruise gets to run a lot which is always ace. And just when you think it is going one palce, it ends up somewhere else. I really, really like this film. Really.

Minority Report was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound Editing.


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After.Life (2009) Film Review


Anna (Christina Ricci) dies in a car crash, but at the funeral home, she awakens. There she is told that she is dead by undertaker Eliot(Liam Neeson) who has the gift of speaking to the deceased and helping usher them through to the other world. Or does he? She believes she is still alive. And so does her boyfriend, Paul (Justin Long). And he is trying to get to her before it is too late.

Ooh, boy, this is a stinker. A massive, massive huge stinker. Christina Ricci is at her gothic best, make-up wise. And her nudity for almost the entire film was logical, but still. Possibly seeing this close soon after Tusk made everything Justin Long did give me flashbacks.


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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – Book Review


Ah, thank goodness it’s over! Sorry, that’s a terrible way to start a review, especially of a book that I quite enjoyed. But as someone who is yet to totally succumb to the e-book revolution, an 828 page tome is just too bloody long.

Set in New Zealand during the gold rushes of the mid 1800s, it follows a series of characters whose fates become entwined and tangled. There is a whore, found passed out from opium in a suspected suicide attempt. A recluse found dead in his hut with a hidden fortune. A politician, the first to come across the body. And just so many more characters. It is a complex web of lies and deceits, and even at the end, I do not know who knows what, and who has come out of it better or worse.

Catton won the Man Booker Prize for this in 2013, and while I find that the Man Booker winners can be touch and go for me, I absolutely see why this won. It is beautiful, evoking the time and place in a way that is extremely romantic and yet filthy and realistic. The characters are complex and it is fascinating to see the lies they tell to each other and to themselves. But it was just too much book for me.

This book is a commitment to reading. If you can set aside time to let the story take you away, to become completely drawn in, it will be a book that you cannot put down. Unfortunately, for me it felt like homework; like the book that I had to finish before I allowed myself to have any reading fun.

Should I give up on the big books? Here – check out Wendy’s blog on Brick Sized Books.

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Blast from the Past by Kinky Friedman


Kinky Friedman is enjoying life – drinking a ton, doing some drugs, couch surfing and generally enjoying sleazy New York when suddenly, it seems like someone is out to get him. And get him dead. This is the book that introduces Friedman fans to his world and has him meeting up with all variety of folks that become his world for future books.

It’s fun, it’s lighthearted, it’s not all that politically correct, but that’s easy enough to forgive. It makes you want to live in the sleazy New York of yesteryear, with all of the filth and violence and everything.

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100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson – Book Review


Henry is twelve and has been sent to live with his uncle and aunt, along with their three daughters, in a small town called Henry. See, his parents (who were overprotective yet barely knew him – how dare they!) have been captured, possibly to be held for ransom. Meantime, in his new house, Henry has discovered that there are 99 cupboards hidden behind the plaster in his room, and he and his cousin, Henrietta, learn quickly that there is strange magic afoot.

There was a lot a really enjoyed about the book – Henry’s a good guy with some strengths and fears, all brought out nicely by his aunt and uncle, who both rock. But I couldn’t understand why you would have a massive event such as captured parents, that barely gets referred to. Henry doesn’t even seem to care in the slightest that they are gone. Seems odd to me; perhaps it would have been better to have a less dramatic premise so that we don’t mind the focus being on the rest. Although there are at least two sequel books to this, so perhaps the answers are yet to come.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading kids books, although it may be a bit too adult for kids and a bit too kiddish for adults.

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Skulduggery Pleasant : Playing with Fire by Derek Landy


Evil is afoot. The bad guys are getting stuff together to raise a creature that will end the world, that is unless Skulduggery Pleasant , his side-kick Valkyrie Cain and their various colleagues can stop them.

This is the second of the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I enjoyed the first one, but have been glad to move away from the whole origin story and get into the world that they inhabited. Valkyrie has got a lot to learn, but she has a pretty good grip on things. The books is funny with a ton of action and is really worth enjoying.

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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy


Stephanie Edgley’s uncle, Gordon, has passed away. But inheriting most of her uncle’s estate was not the strangest thing that happened to her at the will reading; she met Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton who is an investigator friend of her uncle. And then there is strange revelation after strange revelation, but Stephanie is a gutsy fighter who wants in on the action, no matter how much that involves magic and injury.

This is far too much awesome fun. There’s action, intrigue, humour (a lot of humour) and magic! I would recommend this to someone who has read Harry Potter and gets the magic thing, though it’s not as earnest and keen as that series. It is, however, an excellent step toward Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. There are heaps more Skulduggery Pleasant books, if you are looking for a series to keep you on the edge of your seat, this could be it.


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