Sunday 28 September 2014

Happy Birthday Brigitte Bardot

Happy Birthday to Brigitte Bardot! This picture is of her with Picasso, during a visit to his studio at Vallauris, near Cannes, during the film festival in 1956. He actually refused to paint her!!

Most romantic story is about her romance with playboy Gunter Sachs.  Hours after they met, he arranged for a helicopter to douse Bardot's house in red petals: "It's not every day a man drops a ton of roses in your garden," she wrote, and married him precipitately in Las Vegas. 

Sunday 21 September 2014

Top Ten Favourite Dog Films

My Top Ten Favourite Dog Films

Let me know your favourite doggy movies, would love other suggestions!

1.Eight Below
This is my all time favourite and based on a true story. All about an Alaskan dog team surviving a bitter winter on their own. Beautifully filmed with Paul Walker playing second fiddle to the dogs. A real treat.

2.Lady and The Tramp
A Walt Disney classic. A Love Story that has seduced generations of children and adults.

3.White Fang
A wild dog, part wolf finds friendship with a young miner whilst running from a brutal past owner. Stunning backdrop and gorgeous dog. I have watched this so many times and never get tired of it.

4.Lassie Come Home
All time classic. So many Lassie films so little time! I have picked the Elizabeth Taylor version but honestly you can't go wrong with any of them. The modern version from a couple of years back is also lovely if you don't like old movies.

5.101 Dalmations
Mix loads of Dalmations with Glenn Close as Cruella DeVille and you have an instant hit. Funny, cute and a little dark. Something for all the family. Of course I do have to mention the cartoon version as well. Both have a charm that you can watch again and again

A family adopts a St Bernard puppy and as he grows watch chaos ensue. Laugh out loud film. Brilliant!

7.Because of Winnie Dixie
Lovely little film based on a classic childrens book. A little girl finds a dog and wants to keep it despite there being a no pet clause in their trailer park. Beautiful sentiment and wonderful characters. Divine Dog.

Brilliant and clever animated adventure about Bolt, A Hollywood Dog Star who gets lost and has to find his way home. Funny for all ages

9.Hotel for dogs
Adorable family film about a group of kids taking over a disused hotel to rescue and home abandoned dogs. Inventive.

10. Turner and Hooch
Classic with Tom Hanks and his sidekick Hooch, a French Mastiff. If dribble is not your thing then you should give this a miss. However Tom is at his funny best and a perfect foil to his dog partner. Funny and poignant.

Honorary Mentions

The Incredible Journey
The story of three pets, a cat and two dogs, who lose their owners when they are all on vacation. Can they find their way home?

The Call of The Wild
Jack London's classic story from 1903 about Buck, a dog kidnapped from his home in California and taken to the Yukon where he is mistreated until a prospector discovers him and relates to his situation.

Stray Dog saves 2 children.

All Dogs Go to Heaven
 dog returns from the dead looking for revenge on his killer using an orphan girl who can talk to animals
Cats and Dogs
This never appealed to me but its been so popular i thought I'd better put it in!! A look at the top-secret, high-tech espionage war going on between cats and dogs, which their human owners are blissfully unaware of.
K 9
To stop an elusive criminal, a maverick detective enlists the aid of a police dog who's an unusually intelligent smart alec.
A suburban family moves to a new neighborhood with their large yet lovable Great Dane, who has a tendency to wreak havoc in his own oblivious way.
Snow Dogs
When a Miami dentist inherits a team of sled dogs, he's got to learn the trade or lose his pack to a crusty mountain man.

You'll Need A Tissue, You Have Been Warned

These films I can't watch without shedding a tear. They are all beautiful films but don't watch if you want to cheer yourself up!
Grey Friars Bobby 
Marley and me

Sunday 14 September 2014

In memory of Richard Kiel RIP

Richard Kiel will be forever remembered as one of the best Bond Baddies of all time. Seven foot 2 with metal teeth that could bend steel bars he terrified me as a child and I loved him for it. He and Roger Moore were the perfect foil. Entertainment at it's best.
Richard Kiel 
Actor 1939-2014

Obituary in The Daily Mail

Monday 8 September 2014

Film Review: Pride starring Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Ben Schenetzer, Menna Trussler and Imelda Staunton


UK gay and lesbian activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

My Musings

We were lucky to be given early bird tickets for this film for a showing at 10.30 am on Sunday morning. There are not many things that will prize me away from my coffee and sunday papers but I was dying to see the film featuring a star turn from our very own local actress Menna Trussler and so off we zoomed, blurry eyed and coffeeless. 
We were so glad we made the effort. Definately one of the best films this year.

Setting the stage we meet the first half of a large ensemble cast, a gay London activist group led by Mark played by the brilliant Ben Schenetzer, (recently seen in The Book Thief) and includes older couple, Andrew Scott(Sherlock's Moriarty) and Dominic West, Freddy Fox and George Mackay with Faye Marsay as the token lesbian. They all have their own personal issues to deal with but also decide to show solidarity with the Welsh miners and raise funds for them during their fight against the closure of the pits.  It would sound very far fetched if it wasn't absolutely true and because of that it is immeasurably heartwarming. 

When they raise enough money the group feel they should go and give it to a community in need and after picking a welsh mining village they all head off to donate their support in person.
This is where the fun really begins, seeing two cultures clash as each side go on a journey of discovery about the other. Set against the backdrop of the fragmentation of these tight welsh communities and the emergence of AIDs and the backlash that came with it the many individual stories that are weaved throughout the film could have been a mess but was told sensitively and intelligently. 

It was also nice to see no stereotyping on either side and all the ensemble cast were fantastic. The Welsh contingent was led by Billy Nighy who underplayed the quiet stern Welshman with a sensitive side and Mena Trussler innocently playing the perfect foil to the gay activists while on a steep learning curve. One of my favourite parts of the film was Mena and Imelda Staunton dancing with Dominic West. Who knew he had moves like that! Brilliant. Talking of which the music score of 80's hits are brilliant and will have you toe tapping through out. 

This isn't your usual comedy as it is touched with a serious message and note of sadness in that the miners lost so much with their community and work and the gay community had to deal with aids and the hysteria and ignorance that came with it. The ending was very unhollywood in that the miners lost their fight and the gay community continue to fight ignorance on several fronts however in the film many of the individuals won on personal levels. The film ends with a really positive and extraordinary true scene showing the Union joining the 1985 Gay and Lesbian Pride Rally in London, and helped push through gay rights policies at the 1985 Labour Party Conference, in the face of opposition from that Party’s National Executive. 
This film will make you laugh and cry and more importantly leave the cinema filled with PRIDE
So spread the word it's well worth it.

Friday 5 September 2014

Book Review, Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters


Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child's mother, it is wrong...
Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother's belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew - dated after he supposedly died in the war.
Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later...

My Musings

A beautiful novel about two different women in different times coping with life, love and loss. 

The setting for the book is very endearing. Roberta works in a beautiful old bookshop collecting letters of strangers that have been left behind which leads her to find a devastating letter of her grandmothers. It seems she made a decision which led to the loss of her one great love, but why?.

Louise then spins us back in time to Dorothea, Roberta's grand mother in wartime when her husband is away fighting and she is recovering from a still birth. The arrival of Jan a hansome polish pilot turns her world on its head. Back with Roberta, her friendship with Philip, the owner , is kept at a distance because of abandonment issues, insecurities and her terminally ill father. The steady resolve and determination not to give up on either women by both men in the book is deeply romantic, sensitive and I would definitely like to meet both in real life!!

The book weaves back and forth seamlessly as both women struggle to overcome their reticence to make a meaningful connection afraid to be hurt. Both women have quite difficult and frustrating characters in their own way. I can't imagine I would warm to either in a first meeting but as the story gently unfolds to its heartbreaking conclusion Walters shows us why both these woman have made the choices they have and we really shouldn't judge a book by its cover, excuse the pun!!! The secondary characters give the book added richness and it weaves a rich tapestry of intertwining stories that conclude very satisfyingly even if you may need to reach for a tissue at points.

A great debut novel and will definitely look out for this author again.

If you like this you may also like
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn
The Light Behind Windows by Lucinda Riley