Month: June 2016

Goodbye Mousya

mousyaToday we said goodbye to Mousya, our gorgeous tabby princess who lived to the ripe old age of 18, which means that she’s been in my life for exactly half of it. She’s been an old cat for so long I can barely remember her as a young one. We got her very soon after we moved into our family house, and for the first few days she wouldn’t leave my brother’s bedroom, which she probably found comforting because of the carpeted floor. We called her Mousya after our first family cat who we sadly left behind in Russia. Mousya is basically a Russian version of Spot, a common-as-dirt pet name.

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Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James – Book Review

pdjamesI finished this book in a couple of days while recovering from a nasty cold. This was in fact the first P.D. James novel I’ve read in my life – despite their enormous popularity they just never fell in my lap before, even though I quite like the crime genre. As the title suggests, this one is set in an Anglican theological college on the Suffolk coast, where a young, rather unpopular ordinand is found dead under a collapsed mound of sand (first time I’ve seen this method of death in a book, so full points for originality). His death is dismissed as an accident, until his father receives an anonymous note hinting at foul play, and being the kind of powerful man who is accustomed to getting his way, he insists that Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard takes over the investigation. For Dalgliesh, it’s a chance to return to the place of many fond memories he’d visited as a boy. More bodies start to pile up even before he arrives, when the elderly woman who discovered the boy’s remains is murdered and her death passed off as natural – you pretty much know she’s doomed when she remembers something described as important and tells someone about it.

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The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell – Book Review

danish.jpgAnother I-moved-to-another-country book, this one by a London woman who moved to Denmark after her husband got offered a job with Lego – and rather than exchanging one capital city for another, they move to the “real” Denmark, a tiny town of 6,100 in the rural Jutland (the European peninsula part of Denmark). Unlike many other books of the similar sort, which are rather rambling in nature and simply concern themselves with the author’s experiences in a foreign country, this one has an actual focus: uncovering the secrets of Danish happiness. According to the statistics, the potential new home of Helen and her husband (nicknamed Lego Man) is officially the happiest country in the world, with most of the Danes Helen interviews in the course of the book ranking their happiness at 8, 9, or even 10 out of 10. To Helen, who is supposedly living her dream with a high-flying job as an editor on a glossy magazine but instead feels overworked and overstressed, this is an attractive mystery to explore.

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The Nice Guys – Film Review

the_nice_guys_poster_2_headerThis movie was a nice surprise, a detective buddy comedy that feels fresh mostly because of the stellar work by its two stars (Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling), who are not typically associated with the comedy but turn out to have a major, previously untapped talent for it. Throw in a sleazy, noirish 1970s Los Angeles setting, slapstick, sarcasm, raunchy dialogue, darkly humorous and surreal touches, and the results are highly entertaining.

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Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi – Film Review

returnofthejedioriginalposterFinished the rewatch of the original Star Wars trilogy with the third and final movie, which, yes, is the weakest one of the lot. It also suffers the worst from Lucas’ post-release tinkering, with the CGI additions that stick out like a sore thumb, and an unnecessary melodramatic NOOOOOO shoehorned into the climatic scene, which, while not as terrible as the NOOOOOO that forever ruined the birth of Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith, is still pretty cringeworthy. I’m also pretty sure that the addition of “Weeesa freee!!!” cryout during a final cheering scene is Lucas giving a middle finger to the people (i.e. everyone) who didn’t like Jar Jar Binks. And what’s the deal with Hayden Christensen showing up as the force ghost of Anakin, instead of the person Luke actually interacted with onscreen in this movie?

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Labyrinth – Film Review

labyrinthI finally watched this 80s children’s fantasy classic, which like many other 80s movies I missed out on account of having grown up in the last years of the Soviet Union. Because the film is now 30 years old, I was kinda prepared for it to be really really dated, but to my surprise it mostly holds up very well. There is one distracting sequence with the red feathery creatures which looks like a cheap 80s music video, and the painted backdrops are really obvious, but overall the effects are on the acceptable side of dated and Jim Henson’s old-school puppetry is simply exceptional, a showcase of creativity and wild imagination and that clunky tactile charm that you’ll never find in the modern-day CGI animation.

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