Book Review: When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

I quite enjoyed the last Kazuo Ishiguro book I read – ‘Remains of the Day’.  The portrait of the repressed Stevens stayed with me for some time.  Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same about ‘When We Were Orphans’.  It’s well-written, but a combination of factors torpedoed the book for me.

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Book Review: The City & The City by China Mievelle

‘The City & The City’ by China Mievelle is set in an invented place somewhere, I think, in Eastern Europe.  Because the city is the star of the novel, I’ll go into its worldbuilding in a bit of detail.  There’s a city divided into two distinct areas, Beszel and Ul Qoma.  But rather than this division taking place through half of the city, like East and West Berlin, the division of this city is scattered all over the place.  A bit of park might belong to Beszel here, a building over there might be in Ul Qoma over there.  ‘Crosshatched’ streets are where the two cities overlap, although they might have different names.  The two cities have different languages with the same root, and citizens are trained from a young age not to ‘see’ the inhabitants of the other city, essentially pretending not to see the other people or buildings.  Culture is defined by different ways of dress.  To acknowledge the other city, even though it might be right there, or to cross over is to be ‘in breach’, which is enforced by the mysterious Breach organisation.

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Yamazakura, The Cherry Tree in the Hills and Endings that Just Stop

Currently, I’m nearly at the end of my week at the Japanese film festival.

I was puzzled by the ending of tonight’s movie: ‘The Cherry Tree in the Hills’ or ‘Yamazakura’. I’m going to spoil this horribly so I can talk about, so here’s a handy cut…
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Movie Review: Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

The first Transformers movie had a plotline reminiscent of disaster movies coupled with the boy and his alien best friend/car storyline. And it worked – the narrative felt cohesive, despite some wonky plotlines and dodgy comic relief characters. And there were some awesome giant robot combat scenes and cool scenes of stuff blowing up.

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Movie Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

I didn’t really enjoy this movie.  Not because of its subject matter, but because I didn’t think it was a good movie.  Let me explain in a bit, given that the movie is otherwise well-directed and acted out in crisp-sounding English accents.

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Movie Review: Star Trek

I got invited by my friend Anna to a special mystery movie screening last night.  I was expecting some blah romcom, but it turned out to be the new Star Trek movie!  The screening turned out to be a test screening to see how well Star Trek would go down well with a mainstream audience.  (I suspect I may have skewed their demographics somewhat, being more fan than mainstream!)

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