Friday, July 31, 2015

YOU by Caroline Kepnes


King quote
I've brought this review over from my old Book Review site, so that I can share it with those people who have only followed my main site. This is one of the best thrillers you will read in years. Stephen King said "Hypnotic and scary ... like nothing I've ever read." I agree.  Simon & Schuster even grabbed a couple of my quotes and published them online and in the UK copy of the book. I feel a kindred spirit with this book. Just wish I could write like Caroline. She's a brilliant new star in thriller writing.


   Rating: ✪✪✪✪✪ out of 5 Stars
     Release Date:                  January 2015 
     Author’s Website:           Caroline Kepnes on Facebook
     Publisher’s Website:          Simon & Schuster 
     AMAZON:                       CLICK HERE


     I’ve a new obsession that I need to share. I read a lot, but so few books go beyond "pretty good." Maybe once or twice a year I find a book that is a real thrill to discover. Discovering a debut author who has also written the best book I’ve read all year is very exciting. You know the type of book I’m talking about, where you pick it up and flip to the first few pages, thinking: Yeah, what’s so good about you that everyone is talking? Then out of curiosity you unsuspectingly read the first few pages just before you think you’re going to turn out the light. Two hours later you’re thinking: I need to go to sleep—but I can’t. I’m sucked in. Then the next day, the thought of getting back inside that world sends a little tingle up your spine. That’s Caroline Kepnes’ YOU.
     Stephen King’s 1987 Misery was one of those novels, too, that had everyone talking. The insanity and obsession of Annie Wilkes was both mesmerizing and horrifying in equal quantity. In the same year, the film Fatal Attraction gave us the iconic portrayal of obsession with Glen Close aiming her crazy desire at Michael Douglas. They were visceral experiences. Misery and Fatal Attraction spawned a myriad of copycat plots, but I personally don’t think anything has come close to creating their claustrophobic feeling of obsession. That is, until I recently read YOU, debut novel from talented (very talented) U.S. author, Caroline Kepnes.
My quote 
    YOU is simply brilliant. From the first chapter, you’re sucked into the world of bookstore manager Joe Goldberg, whose instant attraction to a random customer, Guinevere Beck, takes obsession and love to a whole new level. She has a boyfriend, but that’s no problem for Joe. She has a demanding girlfriend who keeps getting in the way. No problem either for Joe. These problems have a way of working themselves out when Joe is around. He tracks the love of his life via social media. (Note, this is, also, a cautionary tale on not revealing too much on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.) Things head down a very dark and dangerous rabbit hole and some people are not coming out alive. That’s love, and Joe will do anything for love.

My quote second from the bottom!
   Guinevere is a complex, fabulous character, too. She’s not a perfect girl. In fact, she’s self-indulgent, obsessive,  and insecure, but Joe still loves her. It’s his amusing commentary on her and her friend’s failings that make this book so special. Written in second person, we are right inside Joe’s head as he speaks directly in his thoughts to Guinevere, her boyfriend, and anyone else he encounters. This style of writing is unusual, yet it works perfectly in creating the feel for a story that is all about mind games. Now you might think being inside the head of an obsessive narcissist with murderous tendencies wouldn’t be the most pleasant of visits, but thanks to Kepnes's witty prose, you actually come to like Joe—he’s kind of cool. Each time you open the pages you are both excited and terrified to discover what he will do next.  I don’t ever want to meet someone like Joe, but boy I sure do love him.
    YOU is one of the most exciting and thrilling reads released this year. A book about obsession will obsess you. When they talk about guilty obsessions this book is it! Great news is that a sequel is on its way. Hidden Bodies will be out early 2016.

P.S. Since writing this review in September last year for the Australian release, it's been announced that Showtime will be producing a series from YOU. Also, the next in the series will be released as HIDDEN BODIES in January 2016. Stephen King has also added his name to being a fan of YOU, tweeting Caroline that her book was "hypnotic and scary" and having "never read anything like it before." Wow!

Thank you to the awesome people at Simon & Schuster Australia for my review copy.

BOOK BLURB
     When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams.
     Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences...

  A chilling account of unrelenting passion, Caroline Kepnes’s You is a perversely romantic thriller that’s more dangerously clever than any you’ve read before.

About the author:

Caroline Kepnes is a native of Cape Cod and the author of many published short stories. She has covered pop culture for Entertainment Weekly, Tiger Beat, E! Online and Yahoo. She wrote episodes of 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Her directorial debut short film Miles Away premiered at the Woods Hole Film Festival and took third place in the Audience Award for Comedy Short. Caroline is a Brown University graduate who splits her time between Los Angeles and Cape Cod. Her favorite beverages are vanilla latte and root beer flavored vodka. She doesn't do well with flies, needles or freeways.



Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

FILM REVIEW
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation ½
Opens 30th July in Australia. Other countries: CLICK HERE

I enjoyed this film so much and was so blown away by the stunts (which are real), I'm giving the review a separate page so you can see the clips on the stunts. I actually thought the scene where he hangs from the side of a plane was CGI. Turns out it was real and it was Tom and it's him in the car and motorbike chase scenes. The guy is incredible with stunts.
   Tom Cruise was recently on Jimmy Fallon doing a lip-synch battle which was brilliant, too. So this is here as well. I know a lot of people like to hate Tom Cruise and don't go see his movies because of that reason. However, they are missing out. Last year's Edge of Tomorrow was one of my favorite films and still is. And this year's Mission Impossible is one of the best action films you will see. Tom says that he just wants to entertain people, and he certainly does that.



My thoughts
   #5 in the Mission Impossible franchise that began in 1996 (19 years ago, can you believe?) has arrived. Are we tired of Tom Cruise playing Ethan Hunt the super spy yet? Not me. Not if they keep writing scripts as good as this and pulling off thrilling action sequences like they have in Rogue Nation and the previous Ghost Protocol. This film keeps you so far on the edge of your seat that you are at risk of falling on the floor.
   Director Christopher McQuarrie who also wrote the script has an assured hand with the action and fight sequences. He also wrote last year’s Tom Cruise time-repeat thriller Edge of Tomorrow (one of my favorites) and the extraordinarily clever Usual Suspects. This talented writer knows how to weave suspense and thrills and make the incredible look, at the least, credible. He’s cut all dull dialogue and left us with enough humor to play against the outrageous stunts and seemingly impossible chase and heist scenes. It’s a touch long at 131 minutes, but they were clearly having fun. And so do we. 
   Relative newcomer to the big screen Rebecca Ferguson is a fabulous female spy (akin to a modern day Emma Peel of the original British TV show Avengers). She’s breathtaking and is as physical on screen as Tom Cruise. The other usual suspects are there. Simon Pegg reprising his role as computer geek Benji, a great comedic foil; Jeremy Renner as Brandt the head of now embattled IMF defending his team and department against head of CIA Alec Baldwin who doesn’t believe the department is necessary, and Vhing Rhames as Luther, tech genius, whose been there since the beginning.
   This film won’t win any Oscars, but I score it high because it delivers exactly what it promises, full-on action entertainment. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is what we go to the cinema to enjoy: action, adventure and star power at its best. Tom Cruise may have lessened himself in some people’s eyes from his couch jumping some ten years ago, his promotion of Scientology, and his misguided arguments around post partum depression. He is still, though, at 53, arguably the greatest action star alive and a pleasure to watch on screen. My advice is to accept this assignment and go see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation before it leaves the big screen. IMAX if you can. Rogue Nation is why I love films.

Film Blurb 
Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate - an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.


GREAT STUNT CLIPS









JIMMY FALLON INTERVIEWS






Thursday, July 30, 2015

Film Stuff 30th July 2015

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FILM REVIEWS
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation ✪✪✪½
(Opens 30th July most cinemas)
My thoughts
   #5 in the Mission Impossible franchise that began in 1996 (19 years ago, can you believe?) has arrived. Are we tired of Tom Cruise playing Ethan Hunt the super spy yet? Not me. Not if they keep writing scripts as good as this and pulling off thrilling action sequences like they have in Rogue Nation and the previous Ghost Protocol. This film keeps you so far on the edge of your seat that you are at risk of falling on the floor.
   Director Christopher McQuarrie who also wrote the script has an assured hand with the action and fight sequences. He also wrote last year’s Tom Cruise time-repeat thriller Edge of Tomorrow (one of my favorites) and the extraordinarily clever Usual Suspects. This talented writer knows how to weave suspense and thrills and make the incredible look, at the least, credible. He’s cut all dull dialogue and left us with enough humor to play against the outrageous stunts and seemingly impossible chase and heist scenes. It’s a touch long at 131 minutes, but they were clearly having fun. And so do we. 
   Relative newcomer to the big screen Rebecca Ferguson is a fabulous female spy (akin to a modern day Emma Peel of the original British TV show Avengers). She’s breathtaking and is as physical on screen as Tom Cruise. The other usual suspects are there. Simon Pegg reprising his role as computer geek Benji, a great comedic foil; Jeremy Renner as Brandt the head of now embattled IMF defending his team and department against head of CIA Alec Baldwin who doesn’t believe the department is necessary, and Vhing Rhames as Luther, tech genius, whose been there since the beginning.
   This film won’t win any Oscars, but I score it high because it delivers exactly what it promises, full-on action entertainment. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is what we go to the cinema to enjoy: action, adventure and star power at its best. Tom Cruise may have lessened himself in some people’s eyes from his couch jumping some ten years ago, his promotion of Scientology, and his misguided arguments around post partum depression. He is still, though, at 53, arguably the greatest action star alive and a pleasure to watch on screen. My advice is to accept this assignment and go see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation before it leaves the big screen. IMAX if you can. Rogue Nation is why I love films.

Film Blurb
Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate - an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

TRAINWRECK  ✪✪✪✪ (opens 30TH July—screens at most cinemas)
My Thoughts
  I think it’s a sign of the times that a few recent films are about the problems of binge drinking. Drinking is a huge problem in society these days, and it’s good to see films dealing with the subject aimed at the right demographic (who hopefully will take note). The recent Australian film on out-of-control drinking Reuben Guthrie was well received by the critics.
   Now we have TRAINWRECK starring Amy Schumer (the current IT girl in the comedy scene). Schumer wrote the screenplay and the film is directed by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, This is 40). Both the direction and screenplay are smart and sharp. Something I wasn’t expecting from the film.
   The trailers don’t do it justice. TRAINWRECK looks like all the other so-socially-wrong-they-are-funny films. Most of which lately have been so socially wrong they’re NOT funny. TRAINWRECK, while being right up there with the most bawdy comedy I think I’ve seen, is a romance at heart. And a darn good one. While it might not be as uproarious as the filmmakers hoped, it has more depth than just going for laughs. It has wonderful character development, great cameo’s by sports stars and actors like Matthew Brodrick, real charisma between the leads, and a good well-rounded story. It’s worth seeing just for Tilda Swinton’s portrayal of Amy’s caustic editor. I love Swinton; she morphs into any role and is barely recognizable.
  I expected to hate it and be appalled; instead, I was charmed, amused, and walked away thinking what a great message it sends. Unlike most of these comedies where drinking and taking drugs is glorified and made to look cool, this film shows the damage binge drinking can do to your life.
  I lament sometimes that we’ve gone so far past the boundaries of socially acceptable humor, and the subsequent bore it’s become in films. If this is how it’s going to be, though, then let all the comedies be written by Schumer. TRAINWRECK is a modern comedy that works extremely well, and it’s as far from a film train-wreck as you can get. It’s another winner from Universal Pictures who are having a very good year.

Film Blurb
Since she was a little girl, it's been drilled into Amy's (Schumer) head by her rascal of a dad (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn't realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo-enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment-but in actuality, she's kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she's writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

SPECIAL EVENTS
THE GREAT BRITAIN RETRO FILM FESTIVAL
Date: Thursday 6th August 2015 – 19th August
Location: Windsor Cinema Nedlands               Details and Booking


   The first season of THE GREAT BRITAIN RETRO FILM FESTIVAL is here, a celebration of 19 classic British films rarely seen on the big screen films, made from 1939 to present day screening at the Windsor Cinema. Created exclusively as a RETRO celebration and Australia’s most awarded and high profile film critic, DAVID STRATTON will be the festival’s patron.
   Highlights include Hitchcock’s 39 Steps, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, Don’t Look with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, Slumdog Millionaire. Many other films from the forties, fifties through to the last decade.

La Traviata - Met Opera Winter Encore
Date: Saturday 1st August & Sunday 2nd August 2015
Time:  11:30 AM (SX on Saturday) & 1:00 PM sessions
Location: Luna Leederville & Luna Essex Fremantle  Details and Booking

   Natalie Dessay puts on the red dress in Willy Decker's stunning production, in her first Violetta at the Met. Matthew Polenzani sings Alfredo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky is Germont, and Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium.
Conductor: Fabio Luisi; Production: Willy Decker; Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani, Dimitri Hvorostovsky. Originally screened: 2012


Friday, July 24, 2015

West End Spirit comes to Northbridge Theatre



THEATRE REVIEW

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BLITHE SPIRIT
Date:                       18th July to 9th August 2015
Time:                        Various
Location:                 Heath Ledger Theatre, Northbridge   
Bookings:             Ticketek Ph 1300 795 012 www.ticketek.com.au
                                 In person at venue box office or Ticketek agencies

My thoughts
Photograph by Gary Marsh Photography 
      I grew up from a pre-school age going to the theatre with my father, who was passionate about books, theatre and ballet. Even if I was too young to understand the play, I still loved the experience. Something about good theatre just gets under your skin. It’s electric. This love continued into adulthood, and was only put on pause thanks to children. Recently, though, I’ve become a theatregoer again. So every now and then, you’re going to hear about the latest theatrical production here in Perth. I keep the same rules for theatre reviewing as book reviewing. If I don’t like it, I won’t review. However, if I do review, it means I have loved the experience, and I highly recommend you get along and see the production.

  Blithe Spirit comes with my highest endorsement. Written by the prolific genius Noel Coward during World War II, the production ran for 1,997 performances, outlasting the War (a West End record until The Mousetrap overtook it).
  Black Swan State Theatre Company has recreated the 1940’s brilliantly, complete with perfect English accents and an authentic country house. The play is witty, amusing, and visually stunning. The company had the misfortune of having one of their leads replaced due to illness only days before opening. Veteran thespian Alison van Reeken was brought in to take over. She did an extraordinary job to manage a wordy and physical role with minimal preparation. You may find if you are attending the early productions she is using a script prompt. However, this doesn’t detract greatly, except to have you marvelling at the wonderful job she does. The show must go on, and it certainly does.
Photograph: Gary Marsh Photography
   Charles Condomine is a novelist married for the second time to the assertive, opinionated and a touch acerbic Ruth (Adriane Daff). When Charles invites medium Madame Arcati (Alison Van Reeken) to conduct a séance as research for his latest book, Charles’ dead wife Elvira (Jo Morris) comes back in spirit form and attempts to rekindle their love, despite the obvious difficulties. Only poor Charles can see her, which causes enormous complications in his relationship with Ruth. It’s also an amusing insight into English lifestyle in Kent in mid-twentieth centry, with the maid Edith (Ella Hetherington) playing a humorous and key role in the story.
Photograph: Gary Marsh Photography
  Brava to the lighting designer Jon Buswell and costume and set designer Bryan Woltjen. The ghost of Elvira looked every bit ethereal as if on film. In fact, she was quite spellbinding. The costumes and set were as good as anything you will see in London’s West End or New York’s Broadway. I’ve seen many a small and big production in those places before children. The performances were energetic, perfectly played, and a delight to watch. Adriane Daff as second wife Ruth was so spectacular as she delivered a monologue during a scene, as she left the stage the audience applauded her.
   Blithe Spirit is a quality production of an intelligent, witty, and humorous play. If you don’t book tickets you might in fact find yourself haunted at missing out on a very special experience.

Theatre Blurb
While researching his next novel, Charles Condomine employs the services of a clairvoyant to see whether it is possible to contact souls in the afterlife. Unfortunately for Charles, the psychic summons the ghost of his dead wife, Elvira. It’s soon clear that the morally untidy Elvira wishes to reunite with her husband, much to the dismay of Charles’ new (and living) wife, Ruth.

Bookings:  Ticketek Ph 1300 795 012 in person at venue box office or Ticketek agencies/ or at www.ticketek.com.au     More Information click here