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Sketches of Spain

 

Reviewed by Hazel Menehira

Spain’s Federico Garcia Lorca is established as an icon amongst global writers of the twentieth century. Literary students of the classics, lovers of Lorca’s poetry, enthusiastic thespians and audiences whose souls have been moved by his dramas like  Blood Wedding and The House of Bernarda Alba will rejoice to see this book - Sketches of Spain on their book shelves. 

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The Last Viking Returns

 

 

Reviewed by Leanne Weymans

Compiled by both an award winning writer and illustrator, the children’s book The Last Viking Returns by Norman Jorgensen and James Foley, holds plenty of promise. As the sequel to the much acclaimed and loved The Last Viking, the second instalment is greatly appreciated by lots of young readers. And there is much to be appreciated for both young and old audiences, with a clever storyline, timely theme, great characterisation and gorgeously colourful and enticing illustrations accompanied by easy to read prose. 

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Stephane Reynaud's Pies and Tarts

 

Reviewed by Jill 

For simplicity and appeal, Stéphane Reynaud’s Pies and Tarts would be hard to beat.  French chef Reynaud has put together an array of over 70 pies, sweet and savoury, substantial and starter.  This is a well-illustrated book, and it will appeal to the novice as well as the experienced cook.  

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Industrial espionage clothed in silk

 

Reviewed by Jill 

This story began with a weighty, unwieldy book of silk samples.  Swatches were missing entirely, or had had snippets removed.  Samples were out of order and damaged.  Little is known about the book prior to its seizure by Customs in London in 1764.  Through careful examination, and by meticulous reference to the literature of the time, Lesley Ellis Miller has extracted its story.  Selling silks : a merchant’s sample book 1764 is an incredible account of fashion, manners, business and economy.  It reflects not just the value of silks to France, but to buyers of silks all over the world, and the countries which tried to capture some of the trade.

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Cinema: The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed out The Window and Disappeared

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

From the opening scene where we see Allan Karlsson blowing up a fox for murdering his cat, we know The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared will be full of mischief. The Swedish have their own way of delivering comedy, drama, farce, and mayhem, all of which you'll find here. It’s sharp and on its own terms, and tailored in a style that Western audiences aren’t conditioned to; treacherous terrain is fodder for comedy. Based on the bestselling book by Jonas Jonasson, neatly directed by Felix Herngren, and starring Robert Gustafsson, The 100 Year-Old Man… is a labyrinth of a film. Getting lost in it is near unavoidable yet it’s all done so slyly, a compass will be the last thing on your mind. It’s intelligent and absurd, and shot through with midnight black comedy.

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Cinema: The Expendables 3

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

“It is what it is,” they’ll say. “What did you expect from a sequel in a franchise like this one?” they’ll pointedly ask. Obviously the answer is absolutely nothing. The Expendables 3, like its predecessors, is nothing more or less than a curio, a chance to see how the old guard is looking, how often they’ll mumble a snappy one-liner, and of course how up to the task they are. Its what the audience wants, and along with the countless explosions (sometimes the same ones seen from different angles), deafening gunfire, and a body count that Jason Voorhees would envy, they’ll get a half asleep Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger rising to the Olympic challenge of playing a character called Trench, a near frozen Harrison Ford (filling in for Bruce Willis who asked for a million a day to reappear), a growling Jason Statham, a melting Dolph Lundgren, a chubby cheeked Jet Li (blink and you’ll miss him), a rippling Terry Crews, a crumpled Robert Davi, Randy Couture returning to the plum role of Toll Road, Mel Gibson chewing up the scenery and nearly choking on it, odd man out Kelsey Grammer, a film stealing Antonio Banderas (let's call it petty theft), and a knife loving Wesley Snipes. Even for a parody (what else could it be?), this is a dreadful film. Look at that photo. They all hold their enormous weapons like that. How provocative.

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Cinema: Project: One Shot

Contributed by Susan Bush

South East Queensland is about to get one shot at making landmark film history with the ambitious PROJECT: ONE SHOT. Funded, written, produced and filmed by an impassioned group of local talent, PROJECT: ONE SHOT is the brainchild of prominent film-maker, Darwin Brooks.

“I'll never forget the time I was given my first big break—that “one shot” that launched my career from wannabe to established professional,” says Brooks. “PROJECT: ONE SHOT is about giving back. Now it's my turn to provide the same opportunity for others.”

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Cinema: Snowpiercer

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Director Joon-ho Bong is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Visionary, daring, and inventive, he keeps switching gears with each film. In his delirious monster movie The Host from 2006, he hung a huge, ugly creature from a bridge over Seoul’s Han River and then turned it loose with a nosedive to terrorise sightseers. Visually expressive, he had audiences laughing and screaming as his google eyed monster  bounded along the grassy knoll after the screaming horde. It was old-fashioned but fresh and exhilarating and we were obviously in the hands of an artist in love with the form. Since then we’ve had Mother, a moving drama about a mother’s search for the killer that framed her son. He couldn’t have moved further afield. Now he’s gifted us Snowpiercer, an apocalyptic adventure (for want of a better word) that is set in 2031. The societal ladder has been reimagined before, but never like this. The world has frozen over and all life exists aboard a speeding train, a sort of Ark on wheels, where society has been strictly divided between the haves and the never wills.

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Cinema: The Selfish Giant

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Relating the story of The Selfish Giant, Clio Barnard’s drama set in a poor UK village, might be a discouragement. Downbeat and hard, it follows the adventures of two boys who yearn to be “scrappers”, scrap metal foragers, and scour the area, often stealing, to make money from the local junkyard dealer. Barnard met two boys while filming her unusual 2010 semi-documentary The Arbor who were the inspiration for this film. The Arbor, much admired, walked a fine line. A unique examination of the life of playwright Andrea Dunbar, it wasn’t exactly a documentary or a drama. By recording interviews with family and friends and then assigning actors to lip-sync their comments, it proved to be a successful experiment that challenged audiences in how stories were told.

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DVD: Blue Ruin

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

When someone wrongs you, no matter how horrific the crime, is it better to just keep moving forward? How necessary and fulfilling is retribution? In the stunning Blue Ruin, the ripple effect of evening the score makes for an unforgettable 90 minutes as a man plunges blindly into avenging the death of his parents. Directed by Jeremy Saulnier and starring no one you’ve heard of (with the exception of Eve Plumb), Blue Ruin is one of the finest revenge thrillers ever committed to celluloid, and one of the most terrifying films I’ve seen in years.

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