Review of 2009

December 31, 2009

Among other things blogged about this year, like being breathalyzed for the first time, decorating my bathroom, getting an app-phone (here, here & here), using dropbox, a guest-blog, etc.   I have…

Gone to see this lot in concert…

Gone to these Movies…

Watched these boxed sets…

and, read these books….

Happy New Year!

book: Stuart Woods “The Short Forever”

December 31, 2009

Yes, yet another Stuart Woods book featuring Stone Barrington. I’m kind of running out of things to say about these books because they are fairly similar to each other – fast-paced, easy to read, cop/thriller with good strong characters.

This time we see Stone travel to London and become slowly involved in crime and international espionage.

There are a lot of English cliches in this book for the US audience and for no apparent reason lots of little details of how to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ which don’t add anything to the plot but just made me imagine the author taking notes during his research.

So, there it is.  Another Stone Barrington story which I very much enjoyed and also the last book of the year!


December 30, 2009

I never fully get the hang of this time of year.  It appears to be a great time to visit people, exchange presents, attend all those extra church things and watch the seasonal TV… but where does the time go?

I always tend to put aside little jobs for this holiday with the phrase “I’ll do that between Christmas and New Year because there is never anything to do then” But here we are with one day to Hogmanay, and I’ve still got lots to do and the one work based job isn’t even started.

I have managed to turn completely nocturnal, napping a few times during the day and being awake all night.  I get the feeling this is my natural sleep pattern since this happens every time I have a few days off.  I’ve managed to be disappointed with the lack of  good TV but that’s been off-set by some great movies and boxed sets.

Now half way through the holiday period it is time to reassess what I can practically do in this time and how to spend more time with friends relaxing and having a proper break.

movies: Sherlock Holmes

December 28, 2009

The big Christmas movie this year, opening on boxing day, is Guy Ritchie‘s take on Sherlock Holmes. I’m not a big fan of Guy Ritchie, agreeing with the majority of the public by thinking that Lock, Stock… was good, Snatch was OK but more of the same and after that he hasn’t done anything worth watching.

Well Sherlock Holmes has certainly had a lot of publicity and big release.  This movie is far from your traditional take on the Holmes character, method or plot!  Here we meet two men of action not afraid to take on all foes with fists, sword-sticks and guns.  The set piece scenes in period London are good as you would expect, the action sequences are explosive but, for me, this fails in two major ways – the plot and the plot.

Firstly the plot is just too plodding, taking for ever to cover any ground at all.  Secondly it just isn’t clever enough to be a Sherlock Holmes story.  The whole point of Sherlock Holmes is to solve difficult problems by clever deductive reasoning… not here.  The only times we see his ‘brilliant’ mind is when he is figuring out how to fight someone or in flashbacks to explain what happened – I can’t remember any forward deductions that drove the plot.

So, if you are looking for a period set action, buddy-cop movie then this might work it certainly isn’t a who-done-it because the plot just doesn’t go that way.  That said it is a reasonably enjoyable romp but not much more.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2009

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book: Stuart Woods “Cold Paradise”

December 19, 2009

Yes, another Stone Barrington story by Stuart WoodsCold Paradise takes Stone from New York to Palm Beach in Florida, but of course being Stone he is taken on a very rich client and travels, eats and stays in the utmost luxury.

Of all the books in this series I’ve read this one is has the most preposterous plot which brings almost all the characters that we have met before back in one story. I particular we meet again Allison and Paul Manning who we first met in “Dead In The Water“.  Dolice is also in the background again (although we thought that we had seen the last of her at the end of the previous novel) and of course the long running on-off relationship with Arrington continues.

However, even with these three women who Stone has (of course) already slept with he still manages to jump into bed with the only other female character.  As mentioned the plot is more than a little ‘out there’ simple because a new client comes to Stone asking him to track down a ‘Liz’ with so little information it seems impossible – Stone goes to Palm Beach, sleeps with first woman he meets, goes out for dinner, spots his ex-client Allison Manning who is supposed to be in hiding (because she should have been executed)… not only has he happened to bump into her but of course she turns out to be the ‘Liz’ that he is looking for.

If, however, you can put that aside the plot is typical of this series.  Very fast-paced, easy to read, page turner with cliff hangers and twists that keep you guessing.  This certainly hasn’t put me off these Stuart Woods books – which is good because Lou has just passed me the next SEVEN books :-))

Impossible Movie Tech

December 18, 2009

I know that sometimes a writer will need to take liberties with what is possible with technology in order to keep the plot moving along but this montage shows one example that has been used so often it has just become a lazy way of revealing the next part of the story…