Archive for July, 2018

A review of “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”

July 31st, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the original “Mamma Mia!” movie, so I was delighted at the notion of another outing for Abba’s wonderful music. Like “The Godfather 2”, this is both a prequel (back to Donna’s graduation) and a sequel (forward to a grand re-opening of Donna’s island hotel) and director […]

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A review of the novel “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid

July 29th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I was impressed by “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, Hamid’s early novel which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2007, and so I was attracted to “Exit West”, another of his novels which was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2017. It tells the story of two refugees, the Islamic adherent Saeed and the […]

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A review of the new animated movie “Incredibles 2”

July 29th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I didn’t see “The Incredibles” in 2004 (I had no grandchildren then) but, 14 years later, I was delighted to have the opportunity to take along granddaughter no 1 (seven year old Catrin) for what proved to be a most entertaining two hours. Writer and director of the original Brad Bird reprises these roles for […]

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1976 and 2018: two exceptionally hot summers – but a lot of differences

July 28th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I remember the long hot summer of 1976. It was the summer I became a father and my life had never been sunnier. But, as explained in this article in the “Mirror” newspaper, there were lots of other things that made that year a better one than this year for so many people in Britain.

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How high can inflation go? Pity the people of Venezuela.

July 28th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Currently I’m doing a short course at the City Literary Institute on the Weimar Republic of Germany from 1919-1933. A defining feature of that country at that time was the hyper inflation experienced in 1923. At the start of the crisis in July 1922, one American dollar could be bought for 493 German marks. By […]

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How many story types are there in the movies and which make the most money?

July 26th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have categorised the movies according to six emotional profiles or clusters, which were previously applied to novels. These are: rags to riches – an ongoing emotional rise as seen in films such as “The Shawshank Redemption”; riches to rags – an ongoing emotional fall (“Psycho”); man in a hole […]

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Have you had a lot of really hot weather recently? You’re not alone.

July 23rd, 2018 by Roger Darlington

“Across much of the northern hemisphere, intense and prolonged heatwaves have triggered disruption and devastation as North America, the Arctic, northern Europe and Africa have sweltered in record-breaking temperatures. In Africa, a weather station at Ouargla, Algeria, in the Sahara desert, recorded a temperature of 51.3C, the highest reliable temperature ever recorded in Africa. In […]

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The life and legacy of President Ronald Reagan

July 19th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

This summer, as usual, I’m attending some short courses at the City Literary Institute in central London. The first one was a two and a hall hour session on US President Ronald Reagan delivered by college principal Mark Malcolmson who is incredibly knowledgeable and very fluent. These are some of my notes: Presidents tend to […]

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Commemorating the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela

July 18th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Nelson Mandela was born 100 years ago today on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then part of South Africa’s Cape Province. So today is a good time to remember this remarkable man and his wonderful achievements. You can learn a lot more about Mandeal’s life from his excellent biography “Long […]

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A review of the new movie “Sicario 2: Soldado”

July 17th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

In the taut and exciting original movie, the action began with FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), but slowly and inexorably shifted to Columbian ‘adviser” Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) who – with support from CIA black ops expert Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) – emerged as the ‘sicario’ (hitman) of the title. In this accomplished […]

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