Archives for film

Book review: Allegiant

The tone of this book, the third in the story about Tris Prior, is different. Influential in this, I think, is the point-of-view which is split for the first time: between Tris and Tobias [Four]. Getting a male perspective is interesting, and I guess Veronica Roth took this approach to add more tension to the storytelling. It certainly highlights the lack of communication between the two. But at times, I lost track of whose thoughts I was reading: not a good sign. The book is full of strong female characters, but not strong in a good way. Evelyn, head of the factionless; Edith Prior, Tris’s ancestor, whose mystery hangs over this third book. The world Tris knew in Divergent and Insurgent has been shattered by violence so she and Tobias set out, beyond the fence to find a new world. Except this is a book, so the new world is not going to be green fields. It is going to be violent and unequal too. Unfortunately this reads to me like an author struggling to string her story idea out across three books, because publishers like publishing YA trilogies and Hollywood likes making film trilogies for teens. Allegiant could have done with
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Gone Girl

I feel like the last person to read this book by Gillian Flynn. I don’t know why I didn’t read it earlier, I like clever thrillers, but somehow I just didn’t get around to it. I was partly put off by the range of reviews of Amazon, I must admit, from 5 stars to 2 stars. This is definitely a Marmite book: love it or hate it. But then the publicity for the film started and I always like to read the book before I see the film, so… I got it from the library. Gone Girl is about the fracturing of a five-year old marriage. We get both points of view: Nick the husband, Amy the wife. Basically one day, Amy disappears. There are signs of a struggle in the house. Nick goes predictably quickly from being lost husband to prime suspect. I have to admit. I did not like Amy from page one of her diary, her language is so OTT and flowery. “I am fat with love! Husky with ardor! Morbidly obese with devotion! A happy, busy bumblebee of marital enthusiasm.” Ugh. Neither was I overly keen on Nick, I guess overall I found it overwritten and
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Categories: Book Love.

Why I started blogging… with thanks to Pineapple Express

Christmas 2012. I googled myself one day, as you do. It was some time since I’d done this, the last search had yielded results including freelance articles written for magazines ranging from The Bookseller to Furniture News, Allergy magazine to What Mortgage? This time: nothing. Well, not quite nothing. I have a very unusual surname which means there aren’t many people out there called Sandra Danby for me to be mistaken for. Except one entry was repeated. Click here to see it. Sandra Danby is a character in a movie called Pineapple Express. Once I’d got over the shock that my name was deemed glamorous enough to be a character in a film, I started to get worried. Exactly what sort of film was it? Something about the title suggested it might be a little saucy. Actually it isn’t, it’s an action/comedy/crime movie about a process server and his marijuana dealer who go on the run after he witnesses his dealer’s boss murder a competitor. The film stars James Franco and Seth Rogen, so it can’t all be bad. My part is played by actress Jeanetta Arnette [below], it’s a small part, basically she just has some papers served on her and
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Categories: On Writing.

I agree with… Joel and Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen “Culturally people are used to watching certain kinds of movies, and a lot of movies have genre types as characters, and those are the people you see in movies. They are used to seeing Tom Cruise play Jaaaack Reeeeeacher,” he slurs the name sarcastically, “and the characters are all kind of the same.” [Joel Coen, interview in the Sunday Times Culture magazine, September 15, 2013] In this interview, Joel and Ethan Coen talk about characterization in their movies. They have been accused of creating odd characters, critics call these grotesques [below, Frances McDormand as Marge from Fargo]. Ethan: “The whole people-taking-it-as-grotesques thing is they don’t see it or they want to disavow parts of themselves by saying ‘Oh those people are weird’.” I worry that we have a tendency today – in film, in literature, in life – of needing to label and pigeon-hole people. Anyone different is odd. Labels and pigeon-holes do not tell a complete picture. Authors should be free to create their characters, free to let their stories develop without having to discount a story turn that may take it ‘out of genre’. More authors these days are self-publishing where they are free to
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Farewell Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy died yesterday. His gift at telling a good story is evidenced by his 17 Number One New York Times bestselling novels. I was a bit taken aback when I read that. I can name the Ryan ones, the ones made into films. But I couldn’t name the others… can you? The Hunt for Red October Red Storm Rising Patriot Games The Cardinal of the Kremlin Clear and Present Danger The Sum of All Fears Without Remorse Debt of Honor Executive Orders Rainbow Six The Bear and the Dragon Red Rabbit The Teeth of the Tiger Dead or Alive Against All Enemies Locked On Even I, who do not like technical gobbledegook in my thrillers, gobbled up his books. For me there is no debate: Harrison Ford is Jack Ryan. Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck are just not right. Did you know:- –       Clancy wrote about commercial airliners being used as missiles several years before the 9/11 attacks; –       He once said in an interview: “The writer with writer’s block doesn’t want to write”; –       The Naval Institute Press, publisher of his first book The Hunt for Red October, was concerned there were too many technical descriptions. Clancy cut
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Categories: Book Love.

New books coming soon….

Three new novels from fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie. The first, Half a King, will be published by Harper Collins next year and is a coming-of-age tale aimed at young readers. It is the story of Yarvi, youngest son of a warlike king, and is set in an alternative historical world akin to the Dark Ages. Yarvi, born with a crippled hand, cannot live up to his father’s expectations. The three new novels are standalone stories, but are inter-connected and aimed at 12-16 year olds.   The Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings will be published in June 2014 by Cutting Edge Press. Her debut novel, Sworn Secret, published by Canvas, has high ratings on Goodreads as a difficult and emotional read leaving some readers in tears. Faber will publish Hanif Kureishi’s new novel in February 2014. The Last Word tells the story of Mamoon, an Indian writer in his seventies, based in England, who faces falling book sales and a wife with expensive tastes. Harry, a young biographer, commissioned to write a book which will revitalise Mamoon’s sales, prompting a struggle to tell the truth. Later this year a film will be released, written by Kureishi, called Le Weekend and starring
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Categories: Book Love.

If books were real, Bella Swan…

Bella Swan, if she was still human… wouldcontinue to live in Arizona… teach English… … and drink a Starbucks coffee Frappuccino every day.           ‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer [UK: Atom] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Elizabeth Bennet in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Jo March in ‘Little Women’ Bella Swan, vampire, in ‘Breaking Dawn’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Imagine, if Bella Swan were real: TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-ne  
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Categories: Book Love and If books were real....

My Top 5… fictional heroes to follow on Facebook

Everyone has their favourite fictional heroes, the ones we want to read about again. We watch them in films, debate the casting, but always remain loyal to the book. Mr Darcy Rejection in the first place does increase mystique. In the films he comes over as one-dimensional whereas in the book there is always the hint of hidden layers, plus Austen’s delicate inferences that Lizzie’s assumptions are a little presumptive. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen [UK: Penguin]   Edward Cullen Rejection [see Mr Darcy], plus golden eyes and that olden cadence of speaking, manners, loyalty, the way his mouth crinkles when he smiles. Something about speed too, his athleticism, his ability to run without crashing into trees. Ilyana Kadushin, the actress who reads the audio CD, has a most unnervingly sexy voice for Edward. ‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer [UK: Atom]   Mr Rochester Rejection again [Mr Darcy, again]. This is the same story curve as The Sound of Music – Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer – the unwilling governess with no other employment alternative, the handsome but flawed older man, the authoritative boss, the emotional connection. ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte [UK: Penguin]   Jamie Fraser Where do I start? Strength
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Categories: Book Love and My Top 5....

Great opening paragraph 23… ‘The Last Tycoon’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Though I haven’t ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures. Rudolph Valentino came to my fifth birthday party – or so I was told. I put this down only to indicate that even before the age of reason I was in a position to watch the wheels go round.” ‘The Last Tycoon’ by F Scott Fitzgerald  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier ‘Goldfinger’ by Ian Fleming And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE LAST TYCOON by F Scott Fitzgerald #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-eM via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

If books were food, ‘Sense & Sensibility’ would be…

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen… would be a French macaroon. Both smell sweet, they are pretty, girly, full of sugar and spice and all things nice. S&S is a coming of age story, Marianne is led by the heart, by sensation, by immediacy. I read it at different ages and got completely different things out of it. I admit to being irritated by Marianne when I first read the book as a teenager, I thought her rather silly and vapid. Re-read when I was older and bruised by love, I felt sad for her loss of youthful energy. Her final understanding is that the true nature of love is nothing to do with fleeting romantic gestures and fine words, but everything to do with dedication and constancy and two souls chiming as one as the years go by.   ‘Sense & Sensibility’ by Jane Austen [UK: Vintage Classics] And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Imagine, if books were food: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-j5 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love, If books were food... and On Writing.

If books were real, Mikael Blomkvist…

Mikael Blomkvist …would have a white Eames chair and stool in his flat, but rarely sit in it.     ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson [UK: MacLehose] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Hercule Poirot in ‘Death on the Nile’ Mr Wickham in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Torak in ‘Wolf Brother’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Mikael Blomkvist would own an Eames chair: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TAGOO by Stieg Larsson via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-5u
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Categories: Book Love and If books were real....