I received this collection of poems for my birthday earlier this year. I have loved Andrea Gibson (who is the editor of this book) for almost four years now, since I was introduced to her by my girlfriend through videos of her spoken word, slam poetry. Reading her words invokes the passion I heard in her voice, and these words (while not hers) are no different. From many writers from many background, races, sexualities and beliefs, this book is equal parts uncomfortable and comforting!
Each author gives the information of a charity near and dear too them, which usually inspired the poem included by them. This means that if you should wish to do so you could simply input the web address given in the book and find out about volunteering opportunities, or even donate to that charity. Each also charity receives some of the money raised through the sales of this book. Andrea Gibson writes this: “Our goal is to raise awareness on important issues and encourage the kind of critical self-reflection that inspires a rise to action. We thank the writers and readers of this book for their fierce and compassionate hearts. There is so much work to do. May we do it beautifully.”
While I cannot say I love, or even like, all of the poems in this book I can say that some of them are simply beautiful. I’m not someone who read poetry habitually, and so I cannot claim any knowledge of what make on poem “Good” or not; that having been said I know what I like and that I would recommend that if you find a copy of this book you should give it a shot. I would place money on everyone finding at least one poem which they are affected by in some way.
Now I do feel it only fair to say that the subject matter of the majority of these poems are at the very least uncomfortable, and at times down right upsetting! So reader beware, you may have to set the book aside and make a cup of tea (or grabbing a whiskey) before returning to it! Even considering this, this book is simply wonderful and I have, and would recommend it to all; poetry lover or newbie alike.
I will leave you with a video of the first poem in the book, this is ‘Feminism is not a brand of combat boot’ by Lauren Zuniga:
Creativity- 9/10 (this can included originality, shock value, plot twist and devices
What can I say about this film? I can’t say I enjoyed this film but maybe for all the wrong reasons. I found the concept somewhat ridiculous. The film starts with the ma character (Adam) setting out the universe this film takes part in. The world in which we find ourselves is a two-planet world. This phenomena includes the fact that this world has “dual gravity”. This dual gravity allows the two planets to orbit each other in what would otherwise be impossibly close proximity. There are three immutable laws of gravity for this two-planet system:
- All matter is pulled by the gravity of the world that it comes from, and not the other.
- An object’s weight can be offset using matter from the opposite world (inverse matter).
- After a few hours of contact, matter in contact with inverse matter burns.
Yeah…. I can’t say that this doesn’t bother my inner physicist. I just cannot suspend my disbelief especially as there is no point in between the two planets where the two fields negate each other. This wasn’t a problem for my girlfriend and I feel it fair to note that she loved this film; I fear mostly because of the sickeningly romantic storyline which really sapped a large chunk of what enjoyment I could have taken from this film.
You may be wondering why I have given this film such a high creativity score. Well all I can say the defence of this film is that it is truly visually stunning! I mean it is almost worth watching just for the cinematography… almost. Also how could I not say that a film that rewrites the laws of physics is creative and original! I do admit that my severe dislike of romance films has meant that I was missing some terribly heart warming story; so if that is your kind of thing really give this a shot. Like I said Rachael loved it. The soundtrack was a little too epic for the film however there is a really nice piece when they dance (you will know it when you see/ hear it).
I leave you with the trailer:
A survivor is Born!
So this game has been out for quite some time now, in fact the Definitive edition was released at the start of this year. I have really enjoyed many of the tomb raider games over the years, from the early days on the ps1 right through to the Anniversary game on the ps2. However I felt that by Underworld it was really getting outdated as a series. This prequel game has rebooted it, and has shot it to the heights of my favourite series once more!
Really there aren’t really any aspects of this game that I whole heartedly dislike. I did find that while going back on free play that there are certain flags and sea mines that are just a faff to find but while it makes for a frustrating afternoon of exploring areas over and over, ultimately it really isn’t that bad. That conveniently sets me up to talk of one of the best aspects of this game. The world in which it is set. I mean really this game isn’t free roam as there are set points that cannot be moved between without fast travel but while playing the story I didn’t even notice. Every area comes with it’s own mix of animals and enemies to plough down with the small but very varied armoury. The Bow will forever hold a place in my heart but the rifle, shotgun and of course the iconic Tomb Raider handgun are used to great effect in the game play (there are even nods to the iconic double pistol use). There is also a climbing axe which you can use as a melee weapon for close quarters combat but that is an unlockable skill set. That is another great thing about this game the way you learn skills means that there is a degree of personal style to be imposed although once you get through to the later levels everyone will end up with the full skill set. That having been said there is still room for personal flair. While there are definite uses for some of the weapons (for example the shotgun is used to breakthrough barricades) whether you use the rifle, bow, handgun or shotgun in combat is largely up to you. I must admit to somewhat neglecting my shotgun; which I felt very foolish for doing once watching my girlfriend killing the enemies I struggled with, with just one or two shots from the shotgun… yeah.
The story line is interesting if a little slow at first, ad the characters as a whole are fairly intricate (all but Whitman!). Lara herself is convincingly young while you can see glimmers of what she is to become. It really does’t seem to bother her much that she is killing quite a few people but hey I guess it is kill or be killed right! I don’t really want to go into detail about the story itself because really you should find it out for yourself! The tombs of this game are another minor blip in this game. They are on occasion fiddly and truly irritating (as I am talking about you “Hall of Ascension”!! But I do get the feeling that the tombs really aren’t the point of this game and in fact I’m not sure I would have questioned them not being there…. although the name may have been a problem. The overwhelming positive of this game (for me at least) was the level of involvement I felt while playing. At the begging I was jumping when a dear ran across my path but by the end I was all like “yeah bring it on you big Samuria man!” (minor spoiler there sorry but nothing too big I promise). I liked the fact that I wet through that journey of growth with Lara and by the end I really did feel emotional (not in a weeping of the floor kind of way) almost like a sense of closure. That having been said I did shed a tear or two when a certain someone dies. Also on a side note why would you leave that note there! Why would you do that Eidos! If you have played it and found all the documents you will know which one I mean! Also find a jumper Lara it is cold!! Sorry rant over.
In short play this game if you are at all into that kind of thing. I got my copy for £10 second hand so it won’t break the bank and will really be worth your while! The infinitive edition supposedly offers a massive jump in graphic quality as well as some new content I believe. But that obviously comes at a cost and is only available on next gen consoles.
I will leave you with the main theme from the soundtrack- ‘A survivor is born’ with the trailer visual playing in thee background:
Also a link to a video with all the cut scenes and story stuff for those of you who don’t want to or can’t play but fancy watching a longish Tomb raider film (alas no Angelina Jolie): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSkTAbbXKfc
Creativity- 6/ 10 (this can included originality, shock value, plot twist and devices)
I this film Iris (Brittany Snow) unknowingly agrees to compete in a deadly game of “Would You Rather,” hosted by a sadistic aristocrat on the promise of money and support for her desperately ill brother. While this film was more than an enjoyable to pass a rainy night in, it did lack a spark that would make me want to own, or watch it again. The best part about this film is undoubtedly the characters. Travis is my favourite and I did not like what happened one bit! But all the portrayals in this film are consistent and believable. The “Games” the contestants are forced to play are imaginative and while I do think the producers did shy away from the gore a little it did still make for some moments that made me shift in my seat.
Unfortunately that is where my good comments end. I can’t say I even noted the soundtrack; so it can’t have bee that bad but then again it was not noteworthy. While I can’t say I have seen this exact formula of film before it did seem a little like the love child of ‘Choose (2010)’, the Saw franchise and ‘Vile (2011)’. Now while I am the first to admit that I like all of those films it does make for a rather ‘been there, done that’ feel to this film. The order of people to fall is predictable as is the “shock” ending; I must admit that it may be down to me watching far, FAR too many of this type of film but it really was easily foreseen. Overall I would say that this film is worth the watch if you can’t find any other horror movie to fill your time but really if you want a good bit gore and the darker side of human nature try some of the films mentioned above. But hey you can decide for yourself!
Here is the trailer:
Overall- 8.5 /10
Soundtrack- 8 /10
Characters- 9 /10
Creativity – 8 /10 (this can included originality, shock value, plot twist and devices)
So this is my first film review, and it is really very fitting that I start with one of my own personal favourites. This film is very near and dear to me as it was a film I watched (and still do watch) with terrifying regularity. To me this film gives the viewer a look into a lifestyle free from responsibility in the traditional sense and yet has stakes higher than the ones we usually encounter. From the soundtrack, to the characters, to the cinematography and visual imagery this film offers such a comprehensively unnerving peek into another world that the escapism offered is to my mind it is about as close to perfection as almost any film can get.
While this may seem like the rant and ramblings of a fan girl I do feel it important to stress that the topics and messages found in this film are really very gritty, rather grim and oddly relateable. The film unlike the book (written by Irvine Welsh) focuses on one character- Renton – and his interactions with various other characters; most importantly with Heroin, who as Sick boy says has a “great personality”. While the drug world my be a million miles off from our day to day lives there are many aspects of Renton’s life that are whole heartedly relevant to all of us. One overarching theme is that of belonging and loyalty. Without spoiling the storyline I can tell you that he struggles with guilt from several deaths and grapples with loyalty to himself over that of his family and friends. I do feel it is fair to mention Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Renton. His commitment to this role is amassing and quite ahead of it’s time. While now we are getting used to actors and actresses pushing their bodies to the extremes for roles he really pioneered this method of acting; by shaving his hair prior to getting the role and dropping a alarming amount of body fat that he maybe should have kept in reserve. More recent commitments of this kind are Anne Hathaway who shaved her head for Les Mis and Christian bale who dropped so much body fat for his role in the machinist.
Basically this film may not be for everyone but if you can stand some uncomfortable senses and ideas then you should really give this film a shot. It does depict images of drug use (obviously), senses of a sexual nature and some really very disturbing and upsetting stuff (who else was show the toilet scene as a kid to scare them away from drugs?). However it is the films hard hitting nature that makes it stand out for me. Even if you don’t want to watch the whole thing just the opening “choose Life” speech is worth a listen (it is on YouTube). Also if this film makes you want more then as I said there is the book and a stage show. Fun fact Ewen Bremner who plays Daniel “Spud” Murphy played Renton in one of the stage show production and was passed up by Danny Boyle for that role.
This is my favourite song from the first volume of the Soundtrack (yes there are two volumes).
Templar is a graphic novel written by Jordan Mechner and Illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland. I got this for Christmas from my girlfriend, and have been slowly reading it since. I have been savouring this wonderful book willing it to never end but, to my woe, it has. Now while this book is a Graphic novel I would say that it is the depth of story which makes this recommendable rather than the art in itself. Now that is not to say that the illustrations are inferior, in fact quite the contrary; however the style is not unique in any way to my mind. The story is another matter! The historical research behind this novel is evident, from dates and names to locations of infamous doings. As a bit of a Templar nut since playing the Assassin’s Creed game series I really loved having the nods to things that are in those games as well as relating the behaviour of some of the characters to things we know about the order.
All this said even if you do’t give two flying ___ about the accuracy of the portrayals etc this is a compelling story with sufficient humour and seriousness to even manage to pull at the heart strings every once in a while. I really recommend trying to get a hold of this and giving it a go. If you have never read a graphic novel before this would be a nice starter for you as the clean art style is highly accessible; and the story is not overly fantastical as the more hardcore Graphics tend to be.