Posted in Ramblings

Curtains Up of Theatrical #YAshelfies

My first Theatrical Moment

I was living in Leeds, but trying to get a job in London. On a drunken dare/suggestion I might add. I’d read American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and I’d fallen in love with it. I was surprised by how I wasn’t disturbed by the violence as I was warned I was. However, I think that was because I read it as a satire.

I still hadn’t had a successful interview when the off West End Almedia announced a new production by director Rupert Goold. American Psycho the Musical. Oh man, I almost bought tickets there and then. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I had yet to secure a job.

Then they went and announced departing Doctor, Matt Smith, as the titular Patrick Bateman. Which had me conflicted; on the one hand it did make me want to see it just that little bit more however, on the other there would be people who would think I was seeing it JUST to see the good Doc. In the end it didn’t matter; it sold out so quickly that they added almost an additional month to the run and I didn’t see any of those tickets either.

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By January 2014 I’d gotten a job in London and was all moved. I’d spoken to a few people about my love of the book and my desire to see the play. A new friend new someone who had a single, front row, ticket for sale. Oh I took it and it started something that has changed and shaped my life.

The second that music started, I was lost in New York. Even now, upon discussing the play my mind soundtracks it with the original song Killer Wolf. I swooned when Paul Owen took my hand and kissed it. It wasn’t Ben Aldridge, it was Paul Owen and he acknowledged me. I sobbed at the second act and his treatment of Jean; she was the character I’d always identified with. Bloody hell, I didn’t know theatre could move me so much. I felt alive.

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I had to see it again. So much so that I camped out over night to gain access to tickets for the final production. It rained and I didn’t care. I didn’t sleep and I still didn’t care. I was called irresponsible, but I don’t regret it. It’s had to explain in writing, but I saved two girls who’d arrived about 4am from having to deal with a sleazy bloke who was rubbing himself up against anyone and everyone in an attempt to jump the queue and buy tickets for a women we guessed was his girlfriend.
In a moment of bravery I called him out, I used my teacher voice and finally got them to join the back of the queue. I gained a round of applause and took a bow. Well, it was theatre after all. It was only after, I realised that my actions pretty much guaranteed the 15 year olds a spot in the audience, in which they’d witness their hero doggy-styling a over sized teddy bear.

2014 and American Psycho saw that I got to 64 shows that year. I was chasing that feeling I’d gotten from the Musical. Some couldn’t complete, but it was terribly fun finding that out.

Posted in 2018, ARC, Ramblings, Reads of ..., Usborne

Slay by Kim Curran

The most painful time in my life was when my copy of this went missing in the post. For a month, I had this feeling of knowing I *could* have read it, I *could* know how awesome it was but I couldn’t, because my postman decided to ‘return to sender’. My house appeared to be Grimmauld Place for a month or so and clearly the post man was not privy to the knowledge of the secret keeper.

Anyhow, I did get to read it. As it happens, it arrived the day after I started I Was Born For This and they made for a thematic reading pair.


It’s hard not to be biased because I was sold at the reference to Buffy. My life is lacking something teen and supernatural and SLAY fits in just perfectly.
The story hits the ground running and doesn’t stop to let you catch your breath. It’s amazing. From the moment you meet the boys of SLAY, all the way through their collaboration with Milly you will feel like you’re right with them.

Milly is a perfect protagonist. She’s relatable and new to the world of demons that the boys are so familiar with. However, she’s not going to be a damsel; she holds her own and catches up quick. Her feelings towards the band members gives depth to her character and some friction that I expect to see arise in the sequel.

The boy band. They are a riot! If only this band was real; I’d so be going to see them live. There’s a clear leader complex in JD. His frosty front will melt your heart. There is then the twins who are the perfect ying and yang. Curran has a talent for demonstrating sign language in a coherent way. Zek is my favourite and the perfect person to bring together a group that might clash without him.

It’s a perfect origins story for this group. It has the ideal pace and emotion to get you attached, but you are still left wanting so much more. I personally can’t wait to see how the relationships develop within the next book.

Posted in 2018, Book reviews, Han, Harper Collins, Harper Teen, Ramblings, Reads of ...

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

About:

The third novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most talked about YA writers in recent years.
For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.
But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.


I was waiting for this book for so long. I was anxious to get my hands on this book, as if there was a small window for it to be bought or it would be lost to me forever. I fully expect I wouldn’t have slept the night before it’s release date, had I not had the wonderful surprise of finding it in a Central London book shop, nestled in with the new releases, a few days before.

I love Alice Oseman’s writing and narrative messages so much that I abandoned what I was reading to start I Was Born for This. Once again, Oseman did not disappoint. There is so much to relate to in the book. It doesn’t matter if the fandom didn’t fit, the reactions and the emotions are still the same.
Me, I’m not so much a boy band following girl any more. I remember abandoning Westlife for Alice Cooper back in 2003 when I went to my first ever concert at 18, but before then I was firmly a Boyzone and Spice Girls fan. I’m also firmly in the tv and film fandoms and can completely relate to the meeting friends online, paying money to be involved in some event and even meeting some of the celebrities involved.

What, perhaps, is the most familiar aspect of the novel is the idea of perceptions. From the viewpoint of both Angel and Jimmy, they clearly think and feel differently to those around them. I loved how they were both explored for their negative and positive aspects.

How it came to an end was perfect; both Angel and Jimmy will make decisions in their lives that provide a fulfilling and satisfying ending. However, Oseman has given me people I love and I want to know more about them.

Posted in Ramblings

Avengers: Infinity War (12a) With Major Spoilers

Release Date: 26.4.2018
Summary: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Time: 2hr 36


The Good

The first good I really need to talk about is Thanos. He’s the first decent villain in the Marvel Universe (Loki is an  anti-hero, not a villain in my eyes) and he does up the stakes a little more.
The crew count was handled well. Certainly much better than Civil War, which felt very bloated and overwhelming in terms of characters. This film upped that count, but was as strategic as a game of chess in its placement of characters and relied heavily on perfect smaller team ups than aiming for everyone on the screen at the same time.
The humour was on point! Those beautiful one liners and the films play on language; from Peter Parker’s pop culture references to Thor and Steve’s misunderstandings, it’s the perfect lift to a film that has very heavy emotions throughout.
Spoiler (This is the ONE I wouldn’t want spoiling so highlight the section at your own peril)
DINKLEDGE!!! If you didn’t know, I have major love for the Dink! He’s just amazing in everything he does and he’s the kind of bloke I’d love to sit and have a drink with and put the world to rights, you know? So having Dink play a giant who towers over Thor was just a stroke of genius. 
Spoiler
For once, we where light on the romance, save for already established pairings. It was great to not have that trope in play, meaning any romantic gestures in play had deep rooted meaning and purpose.

The Bad

While the handling of the cast was good, it didn’t escape without casualties. Black Widow is reduced to mere window dressing and it doesn’t do one our long standing heroes justice. It was almost to the point where I wish they’d benched her until the second outing.
Some of the CGI was ropey. If you’re truly into a film, you possibly don’t notice until watching at home. However, I’m a little concerned that there were bits I picked up on (namely the Hulkbuster Iron suit) on my first viewing. Not because I wasn’t engaged, but simply because they stuck out like sore thumbs.

The Ugly

The ‘deaths’. So there’s two separate deaths in play here. Firstly, we have the one that the Russo brothers had declared of one main cast member ‘there’s no take backs this time’. I believe this is the opening sequence death of Loki. It lacks the punch that it could, mainly because that dude has played dead so much it feels like a bit. It didn’t have any emotional resonance for me.
Nor did the final rug pull of the Infinity gauntlet dusting genocide. I’ll admit, I did gasp at the first character’s disappearance and I was close to tearing up. That was until we lost pretty much everyone who has been confirmed for a solo outing film in the next however many years. To me (and I know its not everyone’s thoughts. A student was unimpressed that I did not warn her about the ending), it takes away any jeopardy for the characters. It’s a shame, because this was the first film in a long time that made me feel there was something at stake.

Side bar- this isn’t the fault of Infinity War. The biggest problem was Avengers Assemble and the choice to resurrect Agent Phil Coulson. Damn, that death meant something. That death gave the assembled heroes something to avenge. Most of all, that death had me crying like a bitch. I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t prepared. I was begging the screen for it not to be true. I mourned the character who had been given a place in my geek heart.
Then in a ‘it was all dream’-esque twist of fate, my tears had been wasted and I vowed never to cry over a Marvel death again.

Except Yandu! Damn, that was a harsh blow and was more about his words preceding his death than anything else. I sobbed like a baby with that one too.

Posted in Movie reviews, Ramblings

Truth or Dare – 15

About 
Release date  13.4.18
Summary A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.
Time 1hr 40


Trailer


truthordare

The Good
If you like your horrors with a body count and a supernatural tone, this is the one for you. It’s reminiscent of the early Final Destination films; the deaths are scary because some of them can be easily passed off as an accident. It’ll chill you to the core.
The Bad
The premise is a little far fetched. I can’t get past the initial decision of Markie (The Flash’s Violett Beane) to withdraw Olivia (Lucy Hale) from her planned work experience holiday, never mind the fact that the whole group join Olivia and Carter on the big trek up the mountain. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I’m tired and done on a night out, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me going home.

The Ugly
While it’s not exactly torture porn territory, but it’s almost there and is almost tasteless because of it. The dares are quite horrific and morally corrupt. I found the ‘lust’ triangle nauseating and the treatment of the gay character bordering on offensive.
The plot is so familiar and predictable that you can’t help but feel a little cheated.


Cinema offences
A new segment for my reviews. I’m going to list the problems with the cinema going experience as it is something I think we all face issues with.
Viewing date/time: 13.4.2018/ 4pm showing (Odeon Uxbridge)
Fullness: About 20 people.
Late comers (5 minutes or more into a movie): 8 people in 2 separate groups
Phones (Texting/games/checking the time. Essentially anytime I see/am distracted by the glow of a phone): One of the girls that arrived late Boomeranged the screen for Instagram and then spent the next 5 minutes uploading it, with emoticons and everything! 
Talking: Same late girl was talking 3 -4 times throughout.

Posted in Ramblings

Social Creature by @NotoriousTIB

Release date: 14.6.18
About: A friendship to die for.
A Ripley story for the Instagram age set in contemporary New York; a world at once sophisticated and sordid, irresistible and irresponsible, unforgettable yet unattainable
Louise is struggling to survive in New York; juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, renting a shabby flat, being cat-called by her creepy neighbour, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia who has everything – looks, money, clothes, friends, an amazing apartment.
Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the best parties, bars, the opera, shares her clothes, her coke, her Uber account. Louise knows that this can’t last for ever, but just how far is she prepared to go to have this life? Or rather, to have Lavinia’s life?
Pre order at Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Social-Creature-Tara-Isabella-Burton/dp/1408896117/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523567025&sr=1-1&keywords=social+creature


Characters

Louise at first is a likeable character who is in over her head. Who wouldn’t embrace the new life she is offered? However, as the narrative unfolds I find myself fearing her and scared of the lengths she will go to keep her place in the social circle that she has become so comfortable.
Lavinia is the embodiment of people I really do not like; privileged, spoiled and, worst of all, lacking any sort of independence. I found her incredibly realistic to the point of hatred for her.
Rex, Hall and Mimi are bystanders of the whole unravelling and its interesting to see how they fit and how Louise’s thoughts about them change over time.

Plot

It’s hard to say anything about the plot without giving away some of the books best parts. What I will say is that when you think you have it all set in your head how it will end, you will have the rug pulled violently from under you. You will, from that point, settle again. You’ll be on edge, heart in mouth and unable to do anything but consume the story.

Writing

The writing was something I’ve never come across before. It threw me off at first, the almost conversational tone that was present in the moment, but also had an insight into what was to come. Won’t lie, it also brought a sinister tone to the book; I was scared for quite a lot of it.

Posted in Movie reviews, Ramblings

Rampage – 12A

thVLVTRTW9

About 

Release date  11.4.18
Summary
Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.
Time 1hr 47


Trailer


The Good
This is a Dwayn ‘the Rock’ Johnson movie and I’ll hold my hands up here and now; there’s no wrong this man can do (sidebar: My dad calls him The Fairy because of The Toothfairy. When an actor or film gets a Dad Hunter pseudonym, that means they’re on the win list). With Johnson, so come some film expectations. There’s going to be fast paced action, quips and smouldering. There’s also an understanding that the plot will stretch reality to provide a fun plot and indeed it does provide. Bucket loads of it to the point that I’m not so sure we can really call it Science Fiction.
Johnson’s character works well with George, the CGI Gorilla saved from poachers during infancy and taught to sign (Yup, We verge into Congo territory. I’ll reassure you though; I think this one will be considered a little better). Some of the best scenes involved the two of them interacting. There’s heart and humour in their banter and it allows you to feel for them and root for their survival when the shit hits the atmosphere about 2 minutes later.
In addition we have Naomie Harris and Jeffery Dean Morgan helping Johnson ‘save’ his friend and Malin Akerman and Joe Manganeillo playing for the company that caused the mutations in the animals.

The Bad
It really is a shame that most of the film sees George and Johnson’s Davis separated. Not only that, but essentially on opposite sides. They truly do have amazing chemistry that no one else can come close to and it removes some of the natural humour. If the film could keep them together by tweaking the plot it would keep the comedic tone and not seem to be bookended by a separate movie.
The two outside sections have a lighter a tone and sees everyone in on the joke and having fun, however the bulk of the film takes itself a little too seriously.

The Ugly
The CGI is rather ropy and it’s worrying that I picked up on it the first viewing. Normally because it’s all new, I miss the little flaws and only catch them during a repeat viewing, usually at home. It means I wasn’t as engaged in the story as I normally would have been and that could be because of many factors; one being the lack of feeling for the characters.


Cinema offences

A new segment for my reviews. I’m going to list the problems with the cinema going experience as it is something I think we all face issues with.

Viewing date/time: 12.4.2018/ 11.40 showing (Odeon Uxbridge)
Fullness: Quite a busy showing for early in the morning. That said, there couldn’t have been more than 40 people.

Late comers (5 minutes or more into a movie): 4 people in 2 separate groups
Phones (Texting/games/checking the time. Essentially anytime I see/am distracted by the glow of a phone): 0
Talking: 3 separate groups, all persistent.
Oh this was a big one today. Fresh off the back of my annoyance from The Quiet Place I think my patience had already warn thin. However, it was people in the row right behind me and it was persistent; like a running commentary on a DVD. Imagine my horror, when I turn around to bollocks the tween triplets I’d mentally given three chance to are not in fact three kids, but a mum and her two sons. Instead of telling her kids to stop, she was engaging them in conversation. I was rather reserved, for me; I politely asked them to stop talking. Well, my dear readers, I might as well have taken a dump right there on her lap based on the look she gave me. All I heard was ‘don’t listen to her’ from the mother and I’d had enough. Premiere seats be damned, I got up and moved to one of the nice seats; I figured Odeon owed me this for allowing this sort of behaviour to become the norm (Disclaimer: It’s not an Odeon problem, the is a all-franchise epidemic. Seriously, this woman will have spent at least £25 on tickets. Alone. I’m sure she’d jacked her kids up on sugar too and when a ‘kids pack’ starts at £4.50, surly just setting fire to your money would be better?! Or at least buy a dvd, rent one from Sky and then let them chatter away to their hearts content at home.

lonely child