Avengers: Infinity War – a staff review

Avengers VS ThanosGreetings library land,

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to an advanced screening of Avengers: Infinity War. The follow up to Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, this movie is directed by the Russo brothers (Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War) this movie is the culmination of everything Marvel have done with their Cinematic Universe to this point.

Please note, I shall try and avoid spoilers as much as possible.

Based on Thanos Quest, The Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity graphic novels, the movie picks up where the mid credit sequence from Thor: Ragnarok ended and sets you off on an incredible journey, culminating in one of the largest cinematic battles since Lord of The Rings!

All of the cast are great, but the standout has to be Thanos, portrayed by Josh Brolin. One of my big concerns going into this moview was Thanos’ portrayal. In the comics, it often seems that there are two versions of The Mad Titan: highly intelligent, calculating and capable of character growth (as written by his creator Jim Starlin and to a lesser extent Dan Abnett and Keith Giffen) or a meglomaniacle destroyer and conqueror (most other writers and the Avengers Assemble cartoon). Thankfully, Brolin plays Thanos closer to his creators writing than others. You can almost, almost understand where Thanos is coming from and the justifacation of his actions (as horrific as they are). In many ways, this is Thanos’ movie and he owns the screen.

The interplay between the vast cast is really good, particulary Tony Stark, Doctor Strange and Star Lord of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There are many touching moments, particularly in the final act.Infinity Wars Insta pic

If I have a complaint, it is that Adam Warlock, a character who (in the comics) is intimatly linked to the Infinity Stones was not introduced in time to play a roll in this film. In the original Infinity Gauntlet story, Warlock was an essential part of the plot, rallying not only Earth’s heroes, but the various cosmic abstracts (such as Eternity, Chaos, Order and Galactus) against Thanos.

A solid 9/10 and don’t forget to stay until the very end of the credits!


Your Friendly Neighbourhood Librarian...Ready to ROCK!!!

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Librarian…Ready to ROCK!!!

Heavy Metal Legends Iron Maiden, a band I have loved since the age of 13, hit Adelaide last Thursday as part of their Book of Souls world tour and I had to go.

One of the first of what came to be called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Iron Maiden served as inspiration for many metal acts that followed, including Metallica. With a musical style that is almost like classical music that you can lose yourself in, and with lyrical content drawn from history, politics, social issues and literature, they are what I like to call the ‘thinking mans’ metal band. (You know, I once aced a history test by memorising the lyrics to their song Alexander the Great!)

The show opened with the haunting acapella intro of If Eternity Should Fail with the band joining Dickinson on stage in an explosion of pyros and sound. The 15 song set drew heavily from the new album and included the beautiful Tears of a Clown, dedicated to the late Robin Williams. My only disappointment was that the incredible album closer Empire of the Clouds was not included.
Of the “legacy” songs (not “old” according to Dickinson), concert standards The Trooper (about the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War), Fear of the Dark, Iron Maiden, Blood Brothers and Number of the Beast were all included but fan favourites Run to the Hills and Two Minutes to Midnight were dropped. In their place was a lesser known Children of the Damned and Egyptian-inspired Powerslave which was a great surprise and fit well with the theme of Book of Souls. For me however, the highlight of the whole night was the song they chose to close with: Wasted Years. This is my absolute favourite song and one that I never thought to hear played live as it rarely makes it into the set.

Heavy Metal Legends in Action

Heavy Metal Legends in Action

With more energy than most bands half their age, Maiden actually perform on stage with costumes, pyros and a giant ‘Eddie’ (the band mascot).  The show was everything I had hoped for and short of backing off from a couple of high notes, one would never have guessed that singer Bruce Dickinsen was being treated for cancer in his mouth this time last year!

At one point, the singer halted a song to berate a fan who was getting out of control (security would remove him from the arena). Dickinson went on to apologise reminding people that Iron Maiden is about the love of music, not getting wasted, and that a joint love of music made the fans and the band family.

(Now I have to get my hair cut…I promised my mum…)

Not familiar with the work of Iron Maiden? Why not have a listen to one of their many albums, or check out the live DVD from the Final Frontier or Somewhere Back In Time world tours, documentaries on the band and the New Wave of Metal, or read about their almost 40 year history.

Book Review

Cats & Lions

Cats & Lions by Mitsuaki Iwago

Ailurophobia is the persistent, irrational fear of cats. Doubtless, a former colleague of mine suffered from this condition, for when looking at a photograph of a reclining cat, she exclaimed in horror “It’s just like a wee lion!”

Remembering this incident, I was drawn to reading Cats & Lions by award winning wildlife and nature photographer Mitsuaki Iwago.

Iwago tells us that “Cats are small lions. Lions are big cats.” In a series of beautiful and distinctive photographs, Iwago cleverly sets out the lives of domestic cats in urban areas and African lions in the wild, side by side. He reveals the similarities between the two species and captures the natural beauty of the different environments in which they live.

He compares these cats’ musculature and movement, when walking, feeding and hunting. We see them when they are at rest or gazing into the distance, thinking who knows what and scenting the air. Other outstanding photographs focus on the close bonds between feline families – parents with kittens or cubs, grooming each other and playing together.

Iwago’s work is atmospheric, which is partly due to the amount of detail the he captures in both the subjects and backgrounds of his photographs. Colours are intense and the lighting stunning. You can almost feel the snow falling, hear the murmur of the wind moving through the grass of the savannah, or anticipate the sound of thunder in the distance, preceding the rain.

I think that Iwago aims to create an emotional response from the reader. His photos invoke happiness, especially if you like cats.  They will make you happy but also perhaps, a little sad.  Iwago explains in his introduction to Cats & Lions that “The Lion is a wild animal and does not have an easy life.” His images show us that while lions are supremely adapted to their environment, they must compete and hunt for food. Their only shelter from danger and the harsh elements of heat, drought and driving rain is the long grass and some sparse acacia trees.

You can reserve Cats & Lions through the One Card Network library catalogue, or enquire when you visit the Library. Mitsuaki Iwago is also the author of Curious Cats, In the Lion’s Den and Mitsuaki Iwago’s Whales which are available through the One Card Library Network.

With Rose Coloured Glasses…

It’s very interesting to go back to the original critical reviews of films that are held in such high esteem today, because at the time of their release, opinions were often very different.
Last week saw the 35th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars film. Today many critics and fans have voiced the opinion that the original trilogy was superior to the more recent prequel trilogy. Whether they are right or wrong is a matter of personal view, but what is interesting is that when Star Wars was released,  many of the reviews made the same criticisms about the film as they did for the prequel trilogy. Here’s one example from The New Yorker.

Even more recently, the film Prometheus, a prequel (in spirit) to Alien was reviewed by The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw as “[lacked] the central punch of Alien”. What is interesting here is that a number of years ago the 1979 journal Films and Filming contained a review of Alien. I will never forget the final line of what was, to be frank, quite a damning review, which stated “this film will not stand the test of time”.

In thirty five years will we look back at films released today in a different, more favourable light?

Great new stuff on our library catalogue

Have you searched the Library catalogue lately?
If you have in the last couple of days, you will have noticed some extra features when you found the title you were after.

The Library now has LibraryThing for Libraries as an enhancement to our catalogue which uses the resources created by users of the LibraryThing website. 
Each title features book reviews , ratings, suggested titles “you might also like…” and tag browsing to help you find other titles of interest to you.
You can even review and rate titles you have read, directly in the catalogue by simply clicking on Review this yourself and starting a New reviews account. We look forward to seeing some reviews from our Library patrons!

So if you haven’t visited lately, go to the catalogue, search for some titles and check out the new features. We’d love to hear your feedback about it, so please add a comment telling us what you think.

Autumn reads

Library staff have continued to do a lot of recreational reading over the months and we’ve collected some short reviews of titles we’ve read this Autumn.

heaven1Heather recently  read ‘The five people you meet in Heaven,‘ by Mitch Albom. “I loved the gentle language that Albom uses and his insights that assist people who consider their lives unimportant, to realise their lives really have tremendous value and are worthy of appreciation.” It’s a great read which makes you laugh and cry.

danielcraigSonya has just finished reading the biography of current James Bond actor, Daniel Craig. ‘Daniel Craig‘ by Sarah Marshall tells the story of how he wished to be an actor from a very young age and was actually supported by his mother in his decision. She encouraged him to move to London to pursue his dream, first gaining bit parts in variety of television shows and appearing on the stage before his break into film where he would normally play the villain. An interesting look into the actor’s life.

bridge‘Bridge to Terabithia’  by Katherine Paterson, which in 2008 was made into a film, was reviewed by Carly.  “It’s about a boy called Jess who befriends a new girl at his school and the friendship that forms between them when they create an imaginary kingdom in the woods. It surprised me because when I read it I was expecting some extremely clichéd story about friendship and magic. Instead, the story tackles some difficult issues using language that is easier for younger people to understand. I think this book would be suitable for readers of any age, but particularly those aged 10-12 who are starting to read longer novels.”