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All reviews - Movies (1) - Books (13)


Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 13 February 2008 04:09 (A review of Cloverfield (2008))

Filmed from the point of view of a handheld camera, this film charts the progress of a group of friends trying to make their way across Manhatten to save Beth, the girlfriend of one of the group, in the wake of an attack.

I don't really like these 'camcorder-style' films, they generally just annoy me and tend to look amateurish. I hated the Blair Witch Project, for example. But I was willing to give Cloverfield a go - and boy was I pleased I did.

For once the style worked. Seeing the film through the lens of one man's camcorder gave it a sense of claustrophobia and of having no idea what was going on that really upped the fear level. The scene in the underground tunnels was particularly scary.

Seeing only glimpses of the monster was another masterstroke, spoiled only by seeing too much in one scene near the end. The demons we imagine are always far scarier than those that can be shown on screen, and this is something JJ Abrams seems to understand, and to have used to great effect in Lost as well as here.

The handheld camera really puts you the viewer in the action. At times it's almost possible to forget that Hud is there and feel like this is what you're seeing. It makes the film seem more real than most other things I've seen. The cuts in the tape to a normal day in two of the characters' lives brings all the characters to life as 'people who are just like us'.

I do have a couple of criticisms, for one, would anyone really hold onto a camcorder that long? I'm not convinced that anyone would risk so much, even for the girl he loved, and that the others went with him is unbelievable. Also I'm pretty sure the military would have taken the camera from the group.

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Kant's Critical Philsophy

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 13 February 2008 03:40 (A review of Kant's Critical Philosophy: The Doctrine of the Faculties)

This short book by Gilles Deleuze examines Kant's three main texts - Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason and Critique of Judgement, which make up the bulk of Kant's critical philosophy.

Deleuze's own philosophy is quite different from Kant's and he describes this as a 'book on an enemy' in which he is trying to get at how Kant thinks. Deleuze has succeeded admirably. The book, at under 100 pages, is a clear and concise explication of Kant's thought; as an introduction to Kant's critical philosophy it is indispensible.

The book is easy to read, manages to render transparent some of Kant's notoriously difficult concepts and returns the Third Critique to its rightful position in Kant's system. Highly recommended.

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Last of the Wilds

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 6 February 2008 03:32 (A review of Last Of The Wilds: Age Of The Five Book Two)

Continuing from the exploits of the first book, the war is now over; won by the Circlians due to an enormous magical attack from Auraya that killed the Pentadrian leader, Kuar. This book follows Auraya's attempts to reconcile the Circlians and the Dreamweavers, a cult of healers who refuse to acknowledge the gods. It also charts the progress of two Wilds, immortals of great power, Mirar and Emerahl, and Reivan, a Pentadrian who is about to become a Servant of the Gods.

The book is too wide in its scope. The Reivan and Auraya threads are bogged down by boring politics and not enough action. Do we really care who the new leader of the Pentadrians is? Or whether Dreamweavers and priests can get along? It's not badly written but the machinations of peace really aren't that interesting to read about.

Mirar's and Emerahl's stories are more interesting but much is glossed over. Who is The Gull? What did he add to the story? Mirar's acceptance of the Leiard personality was surprisingly easy.

The book ends without much conclusion. It needed a big battle like that played out in the first book to draw it to a close. Methinks Canavan might have shot her load in Priestess of the White.

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Priestess of the White

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 5 February 2008 10:29 (A review of Priestess Of The White: Age Of The Five Book One)

Auraya, a strongly Gifted girl, is chosen to become one of the White, the five gods' most powerful servants and leaders of the Circlian religion in Northern Ithania.

But Auraya has little time to adapt to here powers. Northern Ithania is about to come under attack from the south, where powerful sorcerers are raising an army. These men and women are leaders of the Pentadrian religion and hold that theirs is in the only true religion.

Auraya and her fellow White must unite Northern Ithania and meet the Pentadrians in battle.

This is a quick, easy read, with nothing offensive or surprising. The basic plot of warring gods and magical humans is a stock one for fantasy novels. That the protagonist is female and the conflict between the two very similar religions give a more modern twist but this is not enough to lift the book above its paint-by-numbers story and writing.

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