Sunday, 31 January 2016

100 - Flash Fiction

People are clumsy in the morning.

I stumble and fall over everything. The bed sheets, my shoes, invisible cats. Everything. I noticed the writing on the back of my hand.

One Hundred Days

That's all I have left.

There is nothing peculiar about this morning. My wife is doing the dishes. She has three thousand and four days on the back of her hand.

I walk down the stairs. We have thirteen steps. That's seven point six days for every step.

I am becoming a mathematical genius in the short time I have left. My wife has broken a cup.

100 Words written for the 100 Word Challenge hosted by Tara Roberts over at Thin Spiral Notebook. Check it out and maybe join in the fun.

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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Awakenings. Back in Time Movie Review.

                   A doctor discovers a drug to wake up catatonic patients.

Starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.

Written by Oliver Sacks ( Novel) and Steven Zaillian ( Screenplay )

Directed by Penny Marshall.

This is superb!

It ticks all of the boxes as to what a movie should be. To be honest I've had it on my Sky box for a few weeks and never really fancied watching it for some reason. But it really is worthy of as many accolades as it's been given.

The story sucks you in right from the beginning and two two main actors are brilliant. I've seen a few De Niro films now and this is the best I've seen him by far. His portrayal of the first catatonic patient to wake up is worthy of an Oscar. I knew he was a great actor but this performance is top drawer. Robin Williams is brilliantly understated and together they are perfect castings.

Awakenings is tearjerker and the plot won't have you on the edge of your seat, it will have you reaching for the tissues. It's an incredibly moving film. Well acted, well directed and with a great soundtrack. Brilliant!

This could be an early favourite to be my favourite movie watched this year.


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Eyes Of Laura Mars - A Movie Review

   A renowned photographer can suddenly see through the eyes of a serial killer

Starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones.

Written by John Carpenter (Screenplay) and David Zelag (Screenplay).

Directed by Irvine Kershner.

Everything about this movie is average. From the acting performances to the story itself.

It just about kept my interest and it does build up to a good climatic ending. On a historical note it was interesting to see all the old cars and landmarks and it captures well the feel and atmosphere of the disco scene in the late seventies,

However Faye Dunaway's performance throughout was about as hammy as a tin of spam. This movie really needed a better leading actress or at least a better performance. I wasn't too keen on all the photography and modelling stuff either but maybe that's just personal preference. I'm not interested in that world whatsoever.

An average but easily forgettable film.


Monday, 25 January 2016

St Elmo's Fire - My Latest Movie Review.

A group of friends leave college and walk head first into adulthood.

Starring Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez,  Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Mare Winningham, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy.

Written by Joel Schumacher and Carl Kurlander.

Directed by Joel Schumacher.

If any film epitomizes the fluffy soundtrack movies of the eighties this is it. Grab a handful of gorgeous looking actors and pin a great soundtrack to it and you've got a brilliant marketing plan! The movie will sell the record and the record will sell the movie.

I missed it the first time around, even though I grew up as a teen of the eighties; I don't know how I missed it but at least I can watch it now with fresh eyes. This features a cast of young actors who were part of the rat pack of the time. Good looking actors and actresses who would be on bedroom walls for most of the decade and beyond.

I like it. It's a feel good teen flick that made me nostalgic about my own teenage years and the teenage years of my son. It has a few laughs along the way and it's pretty mindless entertainment.

It's not an Oscar winning movie by any length of the imagination. For a start off there are way to many main characters and you spend most of the movie trying to work out who is who and who is going out with who. There isn't really a plot to grab hold of and there isn't really a significant ending. It just kind of stops. It's full of young (at the time), up an coming actors but none of them really deliver a stand out performance.

But this fluffy movie made me feel a little bit fluffy, even if it's not the best film ever made.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Cat Who Came In From The Cold - My latest book review.

A white kitten sits on an upturned bucket and waits for the right human.

A few months ago I received a couple of boxes of books for free and I've only read a couple of them so far.  Most of them are obviously not my cup of tea and some of them look plain awful. But as I was struggling to find some inspiration I gingerly plucked this one out of one box.

I wasn't expecting it to be very good, let alone entertaining. But guess what? It's brilliant!

It tells the story of how Author and broadcaster Deric Longden's life gets turned upside down by the arrival of a little white kitten. His house is never the same again with hilarious consequences around every corner. It's wonderfully written with a gentle wit that I haven't come across very often as a reader.

This was so easy to read, the pages literally turned themselves. It's so sad that this talented Author isn't with us any more but I am looking forwards to devouring the rest of his books. If you like to have a laugh and you love cats, you have to read this one.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Weight Of Water (2000) - A Movie Review.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Weight Of Water (2000)

A photographer investigates the brutal murder of two women in 1873

Starring Sean Penn, Sarah Polley, Catherine McCormack, Elizabeth Hurley, 

Ciaran Hinds and Josh Lucas.

Written by Alice Arlen ( Screenplay ) , Christopher Kyle ( Screenplay ) and Anita Shreve (Novel).

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

I have no problem with any of the acting performances and this isn't a bad movie by any length of rope and it just about kept my interest all the way.

The problem lies in the two so called parallel stories. On the one hand you have a fascinating story set in 1837 based around the controversial murders of two young women. And on the other hand you have a rather bland story of a group of family friends on a boat trip. The former could have well done without the latter.

I don't think the latter story was interesting or strong enough to be used in this way. I'm sure this would have been a much better movie if we had just had the story about the murders on it's own. That story was gripping and wonderfully acted by everyone concerned.

I haven't read the actual novel but I'm guessing it's probably better than the movie.

A generous 7/10.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Repo men. ( A Movie Review )

If you can't keep up with the payments, your transplant is removed.

Starring Forest Whitaker, Jude law and Alice Braga.

Written by Eric Garcia and Garret Lerner.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik.

This really wasn't my cup of tea.

It's a good idea wasted. The whole premise was promising but it just turned into another 'shoot them up' action movie when it could have been much more.

On a positive note the performances by Forest Whitaker and Alice Braga were decent. Jude Law, on the contrary, was pretty wooden. But the whole thing was way too far fetched and unrealistic and repetitive. The plot was monotonous and just kept on going around in circles,

And it was too gory for my liking. It made me feel a little bit sick to be honest and I even felt like that a few hours after it finished. And I'm a nurse and blood doesn't bother me!

I was yawning towards the end and that says a lot. If you've seen one movie where a guy spends one and a half hours taking on ( and killing) two dozen armed men single handed, you've pretty much seen them all. 

A wasted opportunity.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Crying Game (Movie Review)

An IRA volunteer falls in love with the girlfriend of a dead British soldier.

Starring Stephen Rea and Jaye Davidson.

Written and directed by Neil Jordan.

I really liked this one. It's a great story, full of unexpected twists and surprises and it has two outstanding performances by Stephen Rea and Jaye Davidson. I also love the soundtrack. I'm guessing this was quite a controversial and groundbreaking movie at the time.

My only niggle was the cinematography and the location filming. The first part of the film could have been filmed anywhere, And the street scenes looked like they were stolen from Eastenders! And the scenes set on the building site were similarly uninspiring and very studio looking.

But overall I really enjoyed this. Lots of tension and a few giggles along the way. A good movie.


Friday, 8 January 2016

First book review of 2016. White Fang.

A story about a birth, a journey and the struggle to survive in the frozen north.

This, my first read of 2016, is like a mirror image of Jack London's The Call of the Wild.

It's a great story and I felt emotionally attached to it. It grabs you and sucks you in. This is one of those books that you don't just read, you feel like you are living it. The story is at times dark and gritty and it isn't always an easy read. There is a lot of prose and not a lot of dialogue and that does slow things down a tad.

I'd encourage anybody to read this but I don't think it quite reaches the heights of The Call of the Wild. It maybe lacks a bit of excitement and suspense and the addition of the escaped convict towards the end felt a bit contrived and unnecessary to an already decent story.

But overall it's a really good read.


Sunday, 3 January 2016


I carry Angela around with me everywhere I go.

To the untrained eye she's a ten buck lava lamp from Walmart. She's so small I can fit her in my pocket. She never complains.

Angela is the quiet type and is never quick to lose her temper, even on the rare occasion when I've dropped her. She's got a few scratches and I know she worries about that crack that is working it's way slowly up to the top. I blame the shakes. The pills do that to me.

But Angela understands. Sometimes she reminds me if I've forgotten a pill. She uses the blue bubbles for that. Three blue bubbles in quick succession. Pink bubbles mean she wants to be left alone and when she wants a cuddle she releases a red bubble, I don't see many red bubbles and that's how I know she is happy.

The cat got her once. The little furry bastard. Now she panics whenever he comes into the room. Clear bubbles are fear bubbles. And they only come out when the cat's about or when we are in a crowd or an elevator. She hates elevators. They remind her of home. At night we curl up together on the couch and she talks about home and walls and elevators. I calm her. I soothe her. I blow her my own red bubbles.

Five red bubbles in quick succession.

                                                                               (C) Ally Atherton 2016

235 words written for this week's Sunday Photo Fiction