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.

During the summers of 1881 and 1883 to 1888 philosopher: Friedrich Nietzsche visited a nearby house in Sils Maria.  


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


film reviewed by Rob Mason on 2 February 2017

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

Shirley Valentine

reviewed by Rob Mason on 17 January 2017

Shirley Valentine is a stay-at-home British housewife who has fallen into a dull routine with her life and in her spare moments philosophises about how this has come about. She has no career and has been dependent on her husband and two children along with a few neighbours for all her interest and conversation.  However, her two children have now moved out of the house and her husband, Joe is more interested in the business he runs than what Shirley is doing.  However, an incident arises that becomes the catalyst for change. It occurs one evening before…Read

The Reader

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 2 January 2017

The Reader Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of post-war Germany. When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence,…Read

Bread and Tulips

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 2 January 2017

The theme of this movie is about human relationships and how a wife discovers that her husband no longer has the same feeling for her that he once did.  The husband, wife and Mimmo's mistress in this movie are: Mimmo Barletta (Antonio Catania)

Rosalba Barletta: Mimmo's accordian playing wife (Licia Maglietta)

Ketty: Mimmo's mistress (Vitalba Andrea) 

Rosalba: married at 21 but now in her late 40’s with two teenage sons 18 and 16 is no longer happy. She is vague and uncertain …Read

The Age of Insight

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 17 December 2016


The relationship between the advancements in the sciences and in art, and how those were interrelated in Vienna’s evolving cultural and intellectual scenes.

Not only philosophy but also the fine arts work towards the solution of the problem of existence.  For in every mind there exists a desire to comprehend the true nature of things, of life and existence.  For this reason the result of every asrtistic expression of things is…Read

The Universe of Things

reviewed by Rob Mason on 12 December 2016

The Universe of Things by Steven Shaviro

From the rediscovery of Alfred North Whitehead’s work to the rise of new materialist thought, including object-oriented ontology, there has been a rapid turn toward speculation in philosophy as a way of moving beyond solely human perceptions of nature and existence. Now Steven Shaviro maps this quickly emerging speculative realism, which is already dramatically influencing how we interpret reality and our place in a universe in which humans are not the measure of all things Steven Shaviro explains how Alfred North Whitehead is trying to overcome the bifurcation…Read

The Reader

film reviewed by Rob Mason on 26 November 2016

The Reader is a film about lost love and human emotions and although it has a somewhat melancholy feel about it, there is a certain poignancy that evokes subjective feelings. The story is presented in three parts, the first part (circa 1955)t tells of the sexual relationship of a teenager, Michael (David Kross) and a 30 year old woman Hanna (Kate Winslet). The second part of the story is portrayed 8 years later and introduces Ralph Fiennes as Michael.  The story involves Hanna going on trial for a…Read

The Sociology of Consumption

Book reviewed by Patricia Hogwood on 22 November 2016

The Sociology of Consumption: A Global Approach, authored by Joel Stillerman, offers a long-overdue account of the processes and cultural relevance of consumption in the twenty-first century.  Patricia Hogwood finds much to admire in this solid introduction to the diverse theoretical literatures on consumption and its exploration of the new opportunities and challenges arising for governments and citizens alike due to rapid changes in contemporary practices of consumption.  

The author: Joel Stillerman explains on page 43, that shopping malls orginated in the U.S. after WW2. Victor Gruen, the designer of some of the…Read

The Arcades Project

reviewed by Tim Worstall on 18 November 2016

The Passagenwerk or Arcades Project was an unfinished project of German literary critic Walter Benjamin, written between 1927 and 1940. An enormous collection of writings on the city life of Paris in the 19th century, it was especially concerned with Paris' iron-and-glass covered "arcades" (known in French as the passages couverts de Paris).

Benjamin's Project, which many scholars believe might have become one of the great texts of 20th-century cultural criticism, was never completed due to his death under uncertain circumstances on the French-Spanish border in 1940. The Arcades Project has been posthumously edited and published in many languages…Read


Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 1 November 2016

Published as "Wissenschaft als Beruf," Gesammlte Aufsaetze zur Wissenschaftslehre (Tubingen, 1922), pp. 524-55. Originally a speech at Munich University, 1918, published in 1919 by Duncker & Humblodt, Munich.


Ideas occur to us when they please, not when it pleases us. The best ideas do indeed occur to one's mind in the way in which Ihering describes it: when smoking a cigar on the sofa; or as Helmholtz states of himself with scientific exactitude: when taking a walk on a slowly ascending street; or in a similar way. In any case, ideas come when we do not…Read

Politics as a Vocation

Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 14 October 2016

Politics as a vocation

"Politics as a Vocation" is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber. It originated in the second lecture of a series he gave in Munich to the "Free Students Union" of Bavaria on 28 January 1919. Wikipedia

Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist, philosopher, jurist, and political economist whose ideas profoundly influenced social theory and social research. Wikipedia

Born: April 21, 1864, Erfurt, Germany Died: June 14, 1920, Munich, Germany

Sociology is the study of social behaviour or society, including its origins, development, organization, networks, and institutions. It…Read


film reviewed by Rob Mason on 14 August 2016

CITIZENFOUR not only shows you the dangers of government surveillance - it makes you feel them. After seeing the film, you will never think the same way about your phone, email, credit card, web browser or profile, ever again.



Book reviewed by Rob Mason on 7 August 2016

The extraordinary life of J. M. W Turner, one of Britain's most admired, misunderstood and celebrated artists J. M. W. Turner is Britain's most famous landscape painter. Yet beyond his artistic achievements, little is known of the man himself and the events of his life: the tragic committal of his mother to a lunatic asylum, the personal sacrifices he made to effect his stratospheric rise, and the bizarre double life he chose to lead in the last years of his life. A near-mythical figure in his own lifetime, Franny Moyle tells the story of the man who…Read

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