Snow White and The Huntsman – Film Review

This epic twist on the classic fairy tale pulls in some big name actors and used a colossal budget to bring a dark fantasy to life in the world around Snow White.

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
There is very little left of the original Snow White in this movie but it works to its advantage. Sleeping princesses are so last year and Kristien Stewart plucks the young girl from the fairy tale and turns her into a grown women. Although what is left is done really well. The evil queen, played by Charlize Theron, steals the show with some fantastic acting and special effects that took my breath away! The seven Dwarves were also present but in a different capacity and I was reminded of The Hobbit in their battle style journey.
The additions to the original tale were welcome. I am particularly fond on the Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth who was both devilishly attractive and a fantastic addition to the cast.The fantasy world director Rupert Sanders created, from the castle, to the black forest and the land of the fairies was magical, and without the aids of 3D it was a perfect mix of special effects and narrative. In particular I fell in love with the fairies, whose small white furry bodies were comparable to Avatars on a much smaller scale, and are creepy yet adorable. There are a number of creatures such as moss covered tortoises and a beautiful white stag in this scene that make it not the most eventful, but one of my most memorable.
Yet the two hour long movie, that I must add flew by, seemed rushed in places. There were a number of characters that I felt were under developed namely the Dwarves and the character of the Huntsman. The characters of William and Finn on the other hand superfluous. The romance I felt rushed and pretty non-existent, with true loves first kiss nothing more than an average monologue. 
Overall if asked to recommend a movie to watch in the cinema tonight I would say Snow White and the Huntsman. It is a dark fantasy masterpiece of fairy tale origins that is worth the watch. 
7/10
Want to know more you can visit the micro site and or take a look at the trailer: 

In the comments below let me know what you thought of Snow White and the Huntsman!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

Puzzlebook – Review

I have a review of something a bit different for you all today. A huge book worm you won’t often find me doing anything else on my Kindle other than reading a book. But when I heard about Puzzlebook’s on your Kindle I had to take a look.

Summary courtesy of AmazonThis is Volume 2 of the Top Rated Puzzlebook series from America. In this brand-new puzzle collection you will find 101 pictorial, hand-crafted puzzle quizzes.

My puzzle book of choice was 101 Puzzle Quizzes by The Grabarchuck Family, an interactive puzzle book in colour, with you guessed it, 101 different puzzles. This delightful collection of brain teasers gets you to use your visual, spacial, counting, geometry and searching skills to solve the puzzles that get gradually harder.

Some of you might have noticed the catch already, I am the proud owner of the keyboard-less kindle which is in black and white, not the best for playing colour interactive puzzle books! The interface can also be a little be difficult to use on the actual Kindle device, with me taking a while to realise using the usual page turning buttons on the side of the Kindle taking you to the next puzzle, or answer depending where you are located. The puzzles lead you back and forward throughout the ‘book’ (a term than I use very loosely) as you follow links to the next puzzle. Navigating using the 5 way controller and the back button is possible, but my no means easy.

My recommendation instead is to download the Kindle app for your computer! Free to download and super easy to use it brings this puzzlebook to life. When I first got this set up on my little notebook whilst sat in the living room at home, the whole family had to get involved in every puzzle resulting in a lot of finger counting, voting and ‘YEESSSS’ ‘Oh yeahs’ and ‘DOH’s’ at the outcomes.

Despite some logistical problems navigating back and forward between the puzzles, once you have got the hang of the controls (probably a lot quicker than me) this is a great bit of fun to kill some time. Taking a long train or car journey with some restless passengers? I think this has some great potential to make the time whiz by!

And with a wet Easter weekend forecast this might be a great way to spend some time with the family, and not just the kids (my brother of 19 even seemed to enjoy it!). There is also a special edition 20 Easter Puzzle Quizzes priced at only 77p great for some rainy day fun.

I rate it 7/10!

You can pick up your copy of 101 Puzzle Quizzes from Amazon for just £1.94.

Don’t have a copy of the PC Kindle app, you can download it for free here, and for Mac here.

Happy Puzzling,

Love Rie x

This book was kindly gifted to me for review consideration, but all opinions are as always my own.

The Hunger Games – Film Review

After finishing the book just last weekend, I was fairly late to The Hunger Games hype. However it did have its advantages, I didn’t have long to wait for the movie to come out! I booked my tickets early this week, and was at the advance showing at my local Vue cinema in Portsmouth, dragging along the boyfriend, Terry.

As a late comer, but complete nut of the Hunger Games book, I understand that my review will be slightly biased, so I have also asked the Terry (who has not read the book) to add his comments at the end so you can get both perspectives. As always there is NO spoilers of the book or film in this review.

Summary courtesy of IMDbSet in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.  Based on the book by Suzanne Collins.

My first impressions were this was very well done. Anyone who has read the book will know that around 2/3rds of the content is dominated by the main protagonist, Katniss’ inner monologue. Going into the movie I did wonder how they would over come this problem, and make the film interesting! It really is Kaniss’ thoughts, feelings and knowledge of the wilderness that create the tension and drama within the book. Yet it was the inclusion of the reality television style panel (consisting of the blue haired TV host, Caesar Flickerman & Claudius Templesmith the games announcer) to give commentary and explain events that non-readers of the book would not otherwise recognise, namely what Tracker Jackers are and the symptoms of their stings. Other events are also played out very well, with shaking camera shots, ringing ears sound effects and extreme close ups all provide a great alternative to Katniss’ thoughts.

Katniss, Primrose, Peeta & Haymitch


Jennifer Lawrence did a fantastic job of communicating a thousand words with the smallest facial expression.She brought Katniss’ character alive in the most tangible of ways, and was really well cast. Willow Shields who plays Primrose Everdeen was also fantastic and looked exactly how I imagined in the book. Other castings however were a surprise. I had imagined Peeta (who I didn’t realise until I saw the trailer of the film was pronounced Peter) to be a round faced and unimposing baker’s son but in fact played by the rather attractive Josh Hutcherson. Haymitch was also portrayed as being a lot younger, and some what more civilised character than I had pictured him whilst reading the book. The biggest surprise to myself however was the casting of Clove, the female tribute from district 2, played by Isabelle Fuhrman who also played Esther in possibly the scariest horror movie I have ever seen, Orphan. Something of her previous role stuck with me to make her a truly horrifying character. 

This is a film made about a book however, so naturally I am more critical. Several scenes were shortened to almost extinction, while other aspects of the film, such as the origins of the Mockingjay pin were changed completely. However, this was also done okay! No key scenes were really left out, and the changes made from the book made logical sense to tie the narrative together. Although it is a YA book, there was a certain amount of censorship of the stories true brutality at times to make it a 12A, but we have been promised an extended DVD edition to bring back more of the action which will be bumped up to a 15.

The one thing that really did disappoint me is so small it is barely worth noticing. However the book did do a fantastic job at aiming itself at young girls (and 20 some thing’s) by providing details such as hair, and nail art designs that girls could really latch onto and replicate. Although the signature side braid was included, my personal favourite girl on fire nails, which consisted of flames painted on the nails for the opening chariot ride to the games were completely absent! As I said, a very small detail, but disappointing to a nail polish fan like myself.

Picture of me, shamelessly copying Katniss’ style with the signature side braid.
This photo was taken after the movie, but still 1hr and 41mins before its official release…. I’m so sad!

Perhaps the one thing I did enjoy about the film more than the book is the flash backs. The back stories of the characters were provided quite freely and frequently within the book, not making you wait for any relevant information. However in the movie these were peppered throughout  in a series of short black and white teaser clips until they built up to reveal the whole story.

Terry’s Comments:

“I liked the film. It was alright, if not a little bit predictable. Even though I haven’t read the book, I understood everything. Defiantly enjoyed it enough to watch the inevitable sequel, and not just because Marie will force me to come along regardless!”

Overall I felt that this film did a great job of portraying a fantastic book without resorting to 3D or IMAX sound and flashy effects. Instead it relied on good camera angles and minimal special effects to create a more tangible Panem. Terry and I whilst talking the movie on the way home both agree our mark, now out of 10, for this movie without any discussion.

7/10

Thanks for reading,

Terry & Rie x

Chronicle – Film Review

On Thursday night, whilst visiting my best friend Sam in Plymouth, we decided to have a visit to the cinema. The trip to the Vue in Plymouth was organised originally with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in mind, but as you can tell by the title we had a change of heart.

Summary courtesy of IMDbThree high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

I first saw the advert for this film in the cinema and thought it looked right up my street. Teenagers with telekinetic powers sounds like something right out of one of my favourite fantasy fiction books. Yet this movie was more than that. It was weird!

This is a Hollywood feature film, with a predicted $12 million budget, it was not lacking on the special effects department! This wasn’t some 3D thriller that jumped out at you and made you scream, but a really cleverly directed narrative with believable special effects inter-spaced with hand-held camera POV shots from one of the protagonists that worked really well. Not once during the movie did I sit back and think “that looked so fake”, but this is 2012, and graphics are getting better with every movie.

But what makes it more than any old Hollywood clone, was that it had a narrative. The characters were well rounded, if not stereotypically challenged teenagers (Sam & I both agreed that if every ones teen years were as bad as movies suggest, we would all be psychologically damaged, if not dead). The supernatural aspect of the movie was almost believable. It is not pink, or fluffy, but moody, dark and boarding on the side of bizarre! No real explanation is given for how they get these powers, and the end is satisfyingly ambiguous, which in my opinion is always good.

Overall, I would recommend going to see this movie. It has awesome special effects, a good narrative and well developed characters, but with a warning it is a little dark and weird.

4/5

Let me know in the comments below if you have seen Chronicle and what you thought of it?!

Thank you for reading,

Love Rie x

Underworld: Awakening – Film Review

On Wednesday I went to see Underworld: Awakening with my boyfriend at the cinema, and really enjoyed it so wanted to let you guys know why.

Summary courtesty of  IMDB: “When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrioress Selene leads the battle against humankind.”

I first learnt about and watched the Underworld films, which there are now four, through my friend Sam after I purchased them for him as a gift. I loved the different interpretation of vampirism and werewolf / lycans that these films portray. They are dark, and also quite sexy.

I was lucky enough to go see this at the Odeon cinema in Southampton that offered the IMAX 3D experience, which I thought was really good. The boyfriend feels that the 3D is a little unnecessary, yet I revelled in the audio that moves you in your seat, and the images that literally at times glitter. It really did add to the cinema experience, which I didn’t really understand the hype about before. I would never enjoy that as much on y TV at home.

This is an action movie, it is violent, it is dark.I don’t normally like this in a movie (Saw is my worst nightmare!) but I really liked it in this movie, as it works. It has a narrative, it is predictable in parts and surprises you in others which is a mix that I think is hard to achieve. It has been left wide open for another movie with a some big unanswered questions.

I talk more about the movie in this really short vlog:

After filming this video I did a quick search on other reviews. I mentioned in my last video how much I have spoilers and found some classic cases of careless reviewing. I found this one review that comes with a serious spoiler warning from me. But I wanted to include it as I thought the points it made were valid, and quite funny. 
I give this movie 4/5 (it loses a mark for at times being quite scary!!)
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x

Kindle Review

I know that Kindle’s have been out for a while now, but I received mine as a birthday present at the end of October and wanted to play around with it for a few weeks to let you know what I thought.
I initially asked for the original Kindle, now called Kindle Keyboard, for my birthday present before the new one came out. I have been umming and ahhing about e-readers for quite some time and finally decided to have a go. However when it came to my parents ordering it, they got me the new Kindle and I am so glad they did. 
I won’t bore you with the stats of the reader as they are easily available on the Amazon website. But I just wanted to let you know what I think of its features, and also what my friends and family have said about it when having a quick play.
The look and feel of the reader is lovely! It fits easily in one hand and is super light making it easy to read and hold. Whenever people have seen me using it they always go “is that a Kindle… its sooo small!” and it surprising how compact it really is.
In terms of usability it did take a little longer than I expected to really get to grips with all the controls. The 5 way controller works logically but it can be difficult to use the search features especially the keyboard. Having said this finding and downloading books was really fast, so it was not such a big issue. 
I have to mention here that I have never played with a Kindle before, I had simply read the specs, and heard a lot about them so as a big reader I decided I needed to have one! I found page turning buttons on the sides of the screen are really easy to use, and I picked up their function and how to use the without even thinking, yet when others pick it up and see then struggling to get to grips with the concept. 
Just a soft pull down on the keys turns the page, but nearly every person who has had a look at it attempts to push the button into the side of the kindle exclaiming “these buttons are a bit stiff” and “they don’t even work Marie – have you broken it already!”. A simple demo is all it takes to clear the confusion in 9/10 cases, yet my boyfriend still hasn’t got to grips with it! Whereas I think they are slightly too easy to use, with me accidently skipping pages whilst adjusting my position whilst reading!
The screen has to be my favourite part. It actually does read like paper. Super easy on the eyes I have found myself on more than one occasion reading for hours into the night seamlessly flicking pages. There is a small flash when the pages turn, but I didn’t notice after the first 2 pages. The background images are really cool too. If I didn’t know otherwise I would think they were pencil drawings – really showing of the screens quality. There is so many too! I have been using it every day for 2 weeks and I swear I have just seen one I haven’t seen before.
The paper like quality of the screen is not really
given justice in this photo! This extract is from
 Nick Spalding’s ‘The Conerstone’

The images appear to be randomly selected,
but this is my favourite one.

I haven’t been taking it out and about much of late; due to the case my brother kindly ordered me a case from Amazon, which was out of stock and has taken over a month to arrive. But I have to have everything in lime green and I hope it will be worth the wait! In the mean time I have been storing it in its box which is equally compact.

The sample feature is also been really good. I have been able to download the first chapter of every book I have wanted to read, but never sure if it was going to be for me. After all it was blurb on the back of a Kelley Armstrong book I read once in Waterstones that lead a whole lot of my friends to purchase (and fall in love with) the entire Women of the Otherworld series. And it was the first chapter I downloaded of Charlaine HarrisDead Until Dark on Kindle for PC that made me go a buy the entire set. I think this might be a costly habit!!
Overall I think I am in love. Heavy books no more I am a reader of a super light, and super stylish Kindle. I don’t think I will ever run out of space, but with cloud storage you never need to worry about losing your books, or even your page.
4.5/5 (it lost a 0.5 because it is fuelling my book worm habit!)
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie xx

Fire Kills!

Whilst doing some work for university this evening I have come across a really powerful ad for Fire Safety.

Being petrified of fire myself, this is a message close to my heart.

It is such a shame this really important campaign is reaching so few people.

So please take the time to share this video with friends and family, and go and show them some support on Facebook & Twitter.

Love Rie xx