News, Reviews & Interviews

Brick Live! ~ NEC, Birmingham

Lego has been a firm favourite of mine since I was 4 or 5 years old, probably – although it wasn’t entirely clear who loved building with the popular blocks more – me or my dad! With a son now aged 4 (almost 5 years old) who is already interested in the many movies Lego have released and has jumped headlong into building Lego houses, Brick Live! seemed like the ideal opportunity to fuel the passion and be a big kid myself, not that I need an excuse…

The NEC played host to the event and it’s taken place over four days 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th November.  We attended on the opening day and the highlights of the day were plentiful. It’s the perfect family day out and a fantastic indoor event to take the kids to during half term holidays too.

Here are a few of the features we loved:

Lego Statues

The giant Lego statues were more of a fascination for me than my youngster, however he was particularly taken with the witch, given that we have just celebrated Halloween she was a draw for his eager eyes! I personally adored the Mystical Creatures feature and thought the Cyclops in particular was inspired. It only goes to show that the builds you can make with Lego bricks are limitless.

Have a go….

Lego pits were situated all over the hall and they were in regular use by all of the small guests who thought nothing or launching themselves in to the bricks (even though all of us parents know what it’s like to accidentally step on an offending piece of Lego!!). Duplo was available too for the less dexterous and little fingered enthusiast as well as larger rubber bricks which were fun for all. The more seasoned builders could avail themselves of the various stations situated around the venue and leave their makes out for all to see. There were some amazing quick makes to be seen, there are some very talented young builders around!

Robot Wars

Who doesn’t love robot wars? We see a lot of battles at Comic Con when MCM visit the NEC and it’s always a marvel to see, when the robots have been built with Lego it’s all the more exciting. There’s good sized arena for the audience to sit and watch too.

Aim high

Have your kids tried a climbing wall before? If not there’s a chance to do just that and everybody taking up the challenge looked like they were loving it. What a brilliant idea.

Meet Friends

Lego Friends are the new-ish addition to the Lego family and four talented young ladies represented the popular characters superbly in the Lego Friends section of the show. Offering a dance demo then opening the floor to their young fans, the girls led the throng of wannabe dancers who joined in. My little boy thought it was amazing and it was one of his personal highlights. The final tune they danced to, from Disney’s Zootropolis summed up what I felt was the ethos of the show, ‘try everything’ and Brick Live! has plenty of chances for everybody to try everything. The photo opportunity with the girls afterwards didn’t go amiss either.

Game on!

Do you enjoy gaming AND Lego? Consoles were available for anyone who fancied a break from hands on building and the Super Mario Party stand seemed to be the place to be.

Save your pennies up

There’s plenty of merchandise to buy and having an event so close to Christmas means that it’s tempting to make a few festive purchases as gifts (especially while your kids’ backs are turned!). Lego has never been an inexpensive hobby of course, so it’s worth saving those pennies if you fancy treating yourself or your loved ones! It’s worth checking out the exhibition prices applied to some of the sets if you’re in the market to add to your collection or someone else’s.

As the queues outside the Lego store in London’s Leicester Square go to prove, Lego never loses its place in the hearts of small and big kids alike – so Brick Live! is an innovative idea which attracts all age groups and we’ll be very excitedly anticipating a return visit in the future. Everything is awesome!

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Bobbi Brown Studio Re-Launch, John Lewis & Partners, Oxford Street

Entertainment Views Awards 2018 public vote closed on 1st November and we’re very excitedly preparing for the cyber ceremony which is due to be broadcast across our social media channels on 15th December 2018. With our guest presenters lined up to announce the winners in the fourteen categories it’s all systems go.

Awards season is upon us, the first round of The National Television Awards 2019 public vote has also closed recently too. Entertainment Views will be in attendance and while we can’t wait to see who’s wearing who, we also look out for make-up choices on the night. Styles vary from year to year – bold colours, neutral shades and always synchronised with the colour they’re wearing on the red carpet of course.

On 18th October Bobbi Brown Cosmetics re-launched their new studios at John Lewis & Partners, Oxford Street and with their assistance, team Entertainment Views will be getting the red carpet look ahead of the National Television Awards ceremony at London’s O2 on 22nd January 2019.

Here’s the press release from the re-launch, why not book yourselves an appointment and see what the new space has to offer:

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are taking their consumer experience to the next level with a bold re-design. Carefully conceptualised through the consumer’s eyes, this new space ensures a seamless journey of discovery and play, with a primary focus on bringing the best possible service and experience to the heart of Oxford Street. The re-imagined studio space will feature the first ever private Makeup Room within a central London department store, hosted by a colour brand.

The Makeup Room offers the flexibility of personalised appointments and beauty services, converting to a fully private room with a screen to close off the space if required.

In addition to the new design, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics will launch three new services, exclusive to John Lewis & Partners, Oxford Street.

To celebrate the launch of this innovative new space, the esteemed Bobbi Brown Pro Artists made guest appearances during the month of October, giving customers the opportunity to book personalised makeup lessons and receive bespoke tip and tricks based on their beauty needs.

We are excited to report from The National Television Awards in January with our glam new looks courtesy of Bobbi Brown make-up!

 

The Changeling ~ Five Scary Moments

The 1980 incarnation of the spectacular chiller thriller The Changeling was released on Blu-ray on 20 August this year and it’s lost none of it’s appealing jump-a-minute drama – in fact it’s even more horror-tastic than I remember.

It’s a movie that has been described by King of horror, Stephen King as a film that has scared him personally “A child’s ball bouncing down a flight of stairs was enough to scare the daylights out of me” quotes King, and I have to agree with him. The subtlety of suggestion is one of the film’s many strengths.

The story follows central character, John Russell (George C. Scott) as he starts a new life in the wake of the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a car crash.

To choose the top five scariest moments to get into the Halloween ‘spirit’ is easy! There are five stand out scenes that have me racing for the back of the sofa, so without further ado:

Watery Grave

The apparition of a boy in the bath tub – I find it horrific on every level. From the way the scene is shot to the implications, it sets the tone.

Audio Disturbance

The voice of the spirit (Joseph Carmichael) heard over audio during a séance is psychologically disturbing. It’s quite clear and that makes it all the more effective!

The Chase

When Claire Norman from the historical society is chased down the stairs by a wheelchair, the horror ups its game again, and this is towards the climax of the film too. Given the year of the movie’s production it feels all the scarier in the first incarnation too.

Tune in…

To end a film on the note of a lullaby from a music box, given that the storyline revolves around the murder of a six year old boy, absolutely messes with my mind! It’s actually one of the most chilling scenes of the movie as it’s not entirely overt and extremely suggestive.

For the full review of the film, check this out from my viewing this summer: The Changeling

Purchase your copy of The Changeling here:

The Music of Silence ~ Film Review

Star rating: *****

As a newly converted Opera fan, The Music of Silence was of particular interest to me, especially as it charts the story of internationally renowned tenor, Andrea Bocelli. His spectacular vocals can be heard providing the soundtrack to this life affirming biopic which promises to leave the viewer feeling that the sky’s the limit. You don’t have to be a classical music fan to find the heart of this story to be a touching and important message.

Toby Sebastian (well known for his role in Game of Thrones) plays Andrea and he’s glorious, such perceptive casting and it’s easy to forget that he’s not personally singing. We learn that Andrea was born Amos Bardi, he was almost completely blind from birth. However, it’s while he’s away at a ‘school’ for the visually impaired that he loses his sight entirely following a tragic accident. It’s such a heart wrenching moment and yet with prior knowledge that he has carved such a fantastically successful career as a tenor, one feels quite a short-lived fear for his younger self, that’s the rub with already knowing the end I suppose. Although, as a fan of biographies, I was fascinated by the transitions and challenges he faced to live his dream of being a serious Opera singer.

It’s beautifully directed by Michael Radford and the locations used to punctuate the story are quite breath-taking and extremely atmospheric. The use of Bocelli’s voice is the icing on the cake as we learn that the journey this extraordinarily talented man has travelled has culminated in determination and a Maestro (played by Antonio Banderas) with a similar goal. What a stunning relationship that is to behold!

Give this a try because you’ll be surprisingly drawn into and engaged by the life of a living legend.

The Music of Silence arrives on DVD and Digital 29 October 2018: The Music of Silence

 

 

 

Xtro ~ Five Scary Moments

Xtro, the 1982 cult classic has been released on Blu-ray in time for Halloween and it is one of the most truly gruesome movies of its time in my opinion! Directed by Harry Bromley Davenport, it’s a gory hybrid of sci-fi and horror not for the faint hearted! It starts with an alien abduction – a father called Sam (Philip Sayer) being the target and finishes in the most twistedly disturbed and horrific way possible.

First released in the UK in December 1982 (an unlikely festive treat, it must be said!) it was met with mostly negative reviews and it’s easy to see why, however for the hardened horror fan it’s a must-watch. Finding five of the top scariest moments was no mean feat, but here they are:

Killing Spree

The first jump-inducing moment that gave an indication of the scenes that might follow is when two short-lived characters, Ben and Jane are killed by a half-human half-alien creature. The creature itself isn’t a pretty sight but the murders are indicative of the running theme!

A Pregnant Pause

The hybrid creature impregnates a woman – that’s scary enough, however when the unlucky victim regain consciousness and the fetus grows at a ridiculously fast rate (no 9 month gestation period here!) and she gives birth to a fully grown human. He bursts through her dress and there are a number of shots that don’t shy away from how gruesome this very messed up scenario is. Of course she dies – but when Sam (who was given up for lost years ago after the mysterious light took him away) appears as the ‘new-born’ it’s clear there are more sinister turns to come.

Who wants eggs for breakfast?

Sam’s son Tony is on his radar to track down, and his wife, Rachel (she has a new fellar in tow, called Joe). Once a seemingly amnesia-riddled Sam moves in with them, he displays strange behaviour which makes for disturbing viewing – eating the eggs of his son’s pet snake and drinking his son’s blood. As I say – not for the faint hearted!

This isn’t child’s play…

A human-sized toy soldier used by Tony to kill the annoying neighbour, a bit extreme? Oh yes! However she killed his pet snake and he’s discovered he has certain powers! His use of powers resulted in something reminiscent of IT for me… shudder!

To be continued!

The scene that had me hiding behind the sofa – Sam rekindling his romance with Rachel and making love to her. It was never going to end well, and his decomposing skin was also somewhat of a turn off for his unsuspecting wife! So the cycle of half-human half-alien life continues…

Make sure you nab a copy of Xtro on Blu-ray… it’s worth it for the ‘xtra’ Xtro features!

Interview with Casualty’s Cathy Shipton ~ What next for Duffy?

Duffy and Chuffy fans who tune in regularly to the BBC One drama, Casualty will be in for a few surprises. The popular Nurse, who’s already in the throes of dealing with her diagnosis of Clinical Depression and Anxiety, is set to behave uncharacteristically and become a worry to her husband, Charlie (Derek Thompson) for more reason than one.

Entertainment Views caught up with actress Cathy Shipton who plays the troubled Nurse.

Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Cathy – we’ve seen Duffy diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety, which she hasn’t revealed to Charlie yet. What are you able to tell us about the latest storyline? 

You’ll have just seen the episode with the CQC inspection where Duffy was called in by Charlie even though she’d just done a twilight shift. Charlie’s been working days while Duffy’s working nights so they’re on parallel lines and not communicating very well. During Duffy’s interview with the CQC Inspector you might have noticed she’s a bit jaded in her response, she’s knackered though and almost pulled a 24 hour shift as well as al the while losing confidence in her abilities.

The miscommunication between Duffy and Charlie almost led her to make a fatal error on that extra shift…

Yes, but did she mishear Charlie’s instructions because of her anxiety which has made her slightly unfocused?

(C) BBC – Photographer:

So her way of dealing with the altercation with Charlie was to call Bill! 

She calls Bill and he meets her at the pub. What you’ll see next at the start of the subsequent episode is Bill and Duffy in a hotel room at a Boutique Hotel! The room is littered with all their clothes, Duffy wakes up not knowing where she is and Bill walks out of the bathroom in a robe!

Is this the beginning of the end for Duffy and Charlie? 

Duffy tells Bill to get out and is clearly angry that it has happened. She’s trying to get away and ends up called back to settle the invoice just as a guy runs out to alert them to the fact his girlfriend’s been in the hotel swimming pool and can’t breathe.

And of course, Duffy is a Nurse….!

Yes, so Duffy goes to attend to the hotel guest and upon calling 999, she’s met by Ian and Ruby who are questioning as to why she’s at the hotel. Duffy says she’s been attending a conference there but she cant look either of them in the eye.

Will she tell Charlie the truth? 

Duffy’s been AWOL over night so Charlie’s been worried about her and wants to know where she’s been. She tells him she had to clear her head and needed space and admits that she spent the night in a hotel. He’s trying to make it up to her by suggesting they do things together, like swimming at the hotel she’s just spent the night at. Duffy is desperate for him not to be nice to her though!

So it hasn’t taken long for Duffy and Charlie’s marriage to hot the rocks,  but is Duffy’s behaviour a ‘side-effect’ of her state of mind? We’ll have to wait and see! Thanks as always to Cathy for a fantastic interview, looking forward to seeing where this storyline will take the character. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Amityville Horror ~ Five Scary Moments

Halloween is creeping around the corner, so what better excuse do you need than to turn the lights off, light the pumpkins and get ready for a fright in front of a classic horror movie? The Amityville Horror is one of those classics, it’s spawned many sequels and spin-offs and I always feel there’s a part of this film’s content and format in every good scary movie.

With a first class cast including James Brolin, it’s a must-see and should have a place on everyone’s Halloween hit list.

Synopsis: When George and Kathy Lutz and their children move to Amityville Long Island they believe they have found the perfect family home. But the house has a shocking history and within its walls a demonic presence lies in wait that will turn the Lutz’s lives into a living nightmare.

Sounds like a scare-fest? Here are my top five scariest moments in The Amityville Horror

  • The first alert for me that this is going to be a frightening ride is when the babysitter (Amy Wright) is locked in the bedroom closet and it seems like nobody has done it, it’s just ‘happened’. She’s supposed to be taking care of the Kathy’s (Margot Kidder) daughter Amy (Natasha Ryan) and I spent the whole fall-out of that scenario waiting for something to happen to Amy.
  • Amy’s pretend friend Jody gave me the chills, the supposed nature of the imaginary buddy is sinister in the extreme. Jody’s introduction is one of the key points of the film for me.
  • Red eyes outside Amy’s bedroom! Kathy spots them and they are enough to make any horror aficionado jump!
  • Kathy’s nightmares about the details of the killings that took place take in the house they’re living on take the scare-factor to another level. It’s clever because it’s gritty stuff, yet engaging on some level too. Although at that point I’d be running for the hills.
  • The music has to be one of the vital tone setters and ‘game changers’ for me, the accompaniment to the paranormal activity is the epitome of evil. One of the best horror soundtracks. Lalo Schifrin composed for the film and there’s an interview with him on the new Blu-ray edition of the movie.

Do you want to add The Amityville Horror to your Halloween horror must-watch list? Grab a copy on Blu-ray:

 

Il Postino (The Postman) ~ Film Review

Star rating: *****

A movie which conveys so many aspects of life as well as a myriad of emotions all in one fairly simple, straight forward storyline. Michael Radford’s film, first released in 1994. With a glorious Italian setting for company, there couldn’t be a more picturesque backdrop for such a romantically driven cinematic piece. It’s easy to see why this is an award-winning film, the intricacy of every scene is exceptional.

We watch the story unfold through the eyes of fisherman, Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi) who has instantly become ‘obsessed’ with a well-known poet, Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret). Pablo has moved to the island Mario inhabits (which is situated just off the coast of Naples) under exile. An unlikely friendship develops between the pair, with Mario taking a job as postman so that he can deliver letters to the man who has such a way with words and indeed, the ladies! Mario has his eye on Beatrice Russo (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) so he’s seeking Pablo’s help to turn her head.

There’s gentle humour combined with a real passion running through the thread of the piece and the chemistry between Troisi and Noiret adds an extra dimension to the idyllic and believable tale. While Maria Grazia Cucinotta epitomises elegance and grace. It’s easy to see why Mario wants to woo her, it’s only lack of education standing in his way and smothering his confidence.

Watching the restored version certainly enhances the viewing experience, as would be expected and with such spectacular views to soak up, it’s certainly worth watching Il Postino on either Blu-ray or DVD in the duel edition which has just been released. Click the image below to get your copy:

Mystery Road ~ Television Series Review

Star rating: ****

A new BBC Four crime drama from Australia, Mystery Road is worth a watch if you enjoy this particular genre and fancy a fresh take on your standard whodunit.

From the first episode the scene is set, and the location sets the tone of the drama, the team behind the show have certainly made the most of what Western Australia has to offer and it makes for some superb shots. The areas of Aboriginal land which were also used and added to the atmospheric approach which provided a very real overall feel to the television series.

The central character of Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pederson) came across as somewhat of an introvert in the loosest sense, my initial impression of him was that of arrogance and nonchalance – certainly not an instantly likeable individual. However, as he gets to work on the task in hand, investigating the disappearance of two farmhands (a backpacker and a footballer), it’s clear he’s the right man for the job. Thorough in the extreme and eventually works well with the local copper he’s paired with, Emma James (Judy Davis).

The six episodes, which were originally shown over the summer on the ABC network before their recent broadcast on BBC Four, culminate in a story within a story as the crime that is under investigation unravels another story. There is more to the community than meets the eye and it’s sure to turn you into an armchair detective.

The strong points of this drama are most definitely the solid characters, especially in the wider community, who each has their skeletons and whom it’s easy to care about. I also think that Judy Davis is a superb choice for the role of Emma James – a determined performance, quite fascinating characterisation too. Direction from Rachel Perkins is exceptional, she knows how to tell a story! I’m on the fence about Jay Swan, as the main man I wasn’t as inspired by him as I have been by previous detectives in other dramas. However, he’s an interesting person and engaging, there’s no denying that Aaron Pederson has captured the character well. He’s not stereotypical and that’s refreshing. 

Mystery Road is worth a watch, it’s a no holds barred, rough and ready piece of drama and there are a few edge of your seat moments too.

The good news is that you can own Mystery Road on DVD! Click the image below to get your hands on a copy:

 

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