Reviews

Philosophy of Physics

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 20 June 2017

Does the future exist already? What is space? Are time machines physically possible? What is quantum mechanical reality like? Are there many universes? Is there a ‘true’ geometry of the universe? 

https://www.closertotruth.com/series/why-there-anything-all-part-1#video-3968

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Reality is not what it Seems

reviewed by Rob Mason on 19 June 2017

“A living organism is a system which continually re-forms itself in order to remain itself, interacting ceaselessly with the external world.  Of such organisms, only those continue to exist which are more efficient at doing so and, therefore, living organisms manifest properties which have suited them for survival. For this reason, they are interpretable, and we interpret them, in terms of intentionality, of purpose. The finalistic aspects of the biological world are therefore the result of the selection of complex forms effective in persisting. But the effective way of continuing to exist in a changing world is…Read

Steppenwolf

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 5 June 2017

Steppenwolf; by Hermann Hesse is about one man's spiritual journey towards self-knowledge. Nearly 90 years on, its message to readers retains a religious intensity: we must explore ourselves and keep doing so. If we don't, then our lives become living deaths.

In writing Steppenwolf, Hesse drew on his own spiritual crisis. After leaving his wife in the mid-1920s, Hesse lived an isolated life in Basel, reaching suicidal depths of despair. This might explain Harry's painfully accurate descriptions of depression, which have perhaps been matched since only by William Styron's Darkness Visible.<…Read

The First Scientist

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 24 May 2017

Carlo Rovelli uses the work of Anaximander to tell us what science is, and where it comes from. He goes on to explain that : ”the reliability of science is not based on the fact that its answers are certain. It is based on the fact that its answers are the best available ones. They are the best available ones because science is a way of thinking in which nothing is considered certain and therefore remains open to adopt better answers. If better ones become available.  In other words, science is the discovery that the secret of knowledge…Read

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 21 May 2017

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

When we talk about the Big Bang or the fabric of space, what we are doing is not a continuation of the free and fantastic stories which humans have told nightly around campfires for hundreds of thousands of years. It is the continuation of something else; of the gaze of those same men in the first light of day looking at tracks left by antelope in the dust of the savannah – scrutinizing and deducting from the details of reality in order to pursue something which we can&rsquo…Read

A Hedonist Manifesto - The Power to Exist

reviewed by Rob Mason on 25 April 2017

Hedonism is the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.  Michel Onfray constructs a positive, hedonistic ethics that enlarges on the work of the New Atheists to promote a joy-ful approach to our lives in this, our only world.

A Dialectic of Politeness

Michel Onfray explains that, “ethics or the moral principles that govern a person's behaviour are a matter of everyday life and of subtle appearances that arise in the complex fabric of human…Read

Key Largo

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 11 April 2017

The story of two strong men who come face to face in a hotel, shut down for the summer, on a sweaty Florida key. One is a hard-bitten fellow, ex-Army and ex-idealist, who is visiting the wife and father of a buddy killed in the war. The other is an old-time gangster, run out of the country years ago, who is set upon making a comeback with the old cruelty and arrogance. John Huston, the director has obtained stinging performances out of most of his cast—notably out of Mr. Robinson, who plays the last of the red-hot…Read

Storm in a Teacup

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 4 April 2017

Helen Czerski’s engaging debut book seeks to demystify physics in everyday life, so whether you know your refraction from your reflection, or find the entire subject incomprehensible, this should be an invaluable primer. Dealing with the everyday – such as what really happens when you spill a few drops of coffee, or how magnetism really works – is a winning ploy. In an age of string theory, fluid dynamics and biophysics, it can seem as if the science of our world is only for specialists and academics. Not so, insists Helen Czerski – and in her new…Read

YEHUDI MENUHIN, THE VIOLIN OF THE CENTURY

Music reviewed by Rob Mason on 21 March 2017

Filmed at his home, in Greece, Yehudi Menuhin tells the story of his life, which is the musical history of the century.

To leaf through Yehudi Menuhin's photo album is to cover the musical history of an entire century. He tells us about his life, "commenting" about himself based on the documents we show him: the departure from Israel for the United States, his birth in 1916, his dear pianist sister Hephzibah, his teachers Louis Persinger (first violin of the San Francisco Orchestra) then Georges Enesco and Adolf Busch, the first time he played with the…Read

Django

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 13 March 2017

The story of Django Reinhardt, famous guitarist and composer, and his flight from German-occupied Paris in 1943.

Director: Etienne Comar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhtCW1mkQOg

Django Reinhardt documentary 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qtko3F0QkEo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQhTpgicdx4

 

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The End of Discovery

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 7 March 2017

We have been born into a world where science progresses.

It is generally thought that science, by its very nature, must always progress. But this is not so. One day, fundamental science will come to an end. Not when we have discovered everything, but when we have discovered whatever is open to us to understand - which is not the same thing. Limitations as to what the human brain can comprehend, together with practical considerations to do with the need for ever more elaborate and expensive equipment, are likely to ensure that our knowledge will remain for…Read

Moonlight

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 2 March 2017

Moonlight is a serious film about a boy (Chiron) aged 10 who lives with his mother on a Miami housing project.  The film reveals how other boys at his school tend to influence the identity of Chiron by bullying him.  He displays a shy demeanour and does not mix well.  However, he is befriended by Juan (Mahershala Ali) the local drug dealer who acts as a father figure to Chiron.  He teaches him to swim and improve his posture when sitting in a chair.  The underlying reason for his lack of integration with other boys…Read

Clouds of Sils Maria

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 27 February 2017

This film is about a woman (Juliette Binoche) who is asked to feature in a stage presentation of a film that she appeared in 20 years previously. She agrees to do it and together with her assistant (Kristen Stewart) she goes to the Waldhaus hotel overlooking the Alpine village of Sils-Maria in Switzerland to rehearse for the role.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zup27u6tMzY

During the summers of 1881 and 1883 to 1888 philosopher: Friedrich Nietzsche visited a nearby house in Sils Maria. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyNYtVW9TH0  

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La La Land

Music reviewed by Rob Mason on 21 February 2017

La La Land is a 2016 American musical romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film's title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality.

A movie that has attracted a lot of attention although I can’t really see why.  It seemed to me that the story line about following your dream was not enough to pick…Read

Love Actually

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 20 February 2017

Love Actually is a 2003 Christmas-themed romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress. Most of the film was filmed on location in London. 

The United States release was on 14 November 2003 and a week later in the United Kingdom, where it debuted to positive reviews, but received mixed-to-positive reviews in the US. The film was a box-office success, grossing almost $247 million worldwide on a…Read

I am Love

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 14 February 2017

‘I am Love’ is a film about a woman:Tilda Swinton who plays the part of Emma Recchi.  She is married to Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) and lives together with their three children, Edo (Flavio Parenti), Gianluca (Mattia Zaccaro), and Elisabetta, or Betta (Alba Rohrwacher). Tancredi the husband works in the family clothing business and shows more interest in doing this than looking after Emma his wife. The story is a universal one where a middle-aged wife loses interest in her marriage and seeks stimulation outside the home, or more particularly as…Read

A Bigger Splash

reviewed by Rob Mason on 8 February 2017

A Bigger Splash is a 2015 English-language Italian-French psychological drama dark comedy film directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by Alain Page and David Kajganich, based on the film La Piscine.

Director Luca Guadagnino has done an amazing job in bringing the four main actors together in such a masterly way. Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts are completely in sync with each other.  Harry, Tilda Swinton’s ex manager played by Ralph Fiennes is superb and totally convincing in his larger than life role as a showbiz entrepreneur.  Dakota…Read

Fatima

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 2 February 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8ISCAvj_h4

Fatima is the universal story of a solo mothers’ efforts to raise her two daughters on a limited budget. The film is based on the poetry and short prose collections, “Prayer to the Moon,” and “I can walk alone” by Fatima Elaoubi, published in Arabic in France. The three main actresses, Fatima the mother and the two daughters were non-professional actresses who had the same or similar background to the characters they portray in the film.

The film is about Fatima:…Read

A Man and a Woman

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 25 January 2017

A Man and a Woman

A Man and a Woman (French: Un homme et une femme) is a 1966 French film, written by Claude Lelouch and Pierre Uytterhoeven, and directed by Lelouch. It is notable for its lush photography (Lelouch had a background in advertising photography), which features frequent segues between full colour, black-and-white, and sepia-toned shots, and for its memorable musical score by Francis Lai. The film had a total of 4,272,000 admissions in France and was the 6th highest grossing film of the year. The film is about a man and a woman falling in love; Jean-Louis…Read

Not Here to be Loved

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 19 January 2017

“Not here to be loved” is a carefully crafted art film that is intrinsically linked to the music of the Tango. It involves a younger woman Francoise (Anne Consigny) who is attracted to an older man, Jean-Claude (Patrick Chesnais)

Francoise is preparing to get married to a writer: Thierry (Lionel Abelanski) and is attending Tango classes for her wedding party, coincidently she meets Jean-Claude whom she knows from the past and who is at the dance studio to benefit from the physical activity involved in dancing. During the class and despite the age…Read

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