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Zaroff (UK)

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The Walk (Extraordinary Classics)
The Walk (Extraordinary Classics)
by Robert Walser
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effusive, 20 May 2012
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Walser's flavouring is that of essaying a narrative, then perhaps yes, i think, commenting on his own process as he creates this blending of essay & story-telling. As he approaches a change in mood, so too does the text change with his ebb and flow. Yet, whereas i cannot abide the overwritten zealous Proust, or the sheer same joke told over & over by Beckett, nor moreover, the intellect stomping-ground of Joyce...this, this swiss fella has vibrantly pursued his own course & is easier on the minds-eye. That his musing, changes of tone come across well, suggests he has also met with favourable translators.

These variably aged, differing story-essay-come-hither-glances of literature gathered here, are as ever a delight. The Walk is the longest 'item' involved, & seems to be the back-bone of the book. The other prose-pieces are as ever an exquisite state of 'walserness'. Not unlike being a bit 'pessoan' after & during the Book of Disquiet.

He seems personally, to be writing without guile, without some sinister purpose, with nary a care for impressing the audience. But he does impress upon the audience, with every sense described. He appears to run his prose work like a mouse, a mouse in a maze, but a mouse that occasionally reminding us he also made the maze. Walser is one of those writers who enjoys to remind the reader there are no walls.


Norton Internet Security 2012, 1 Computer, 1 Year Subscription (PC)
Norton Internet Security 2012, 1 Computer, 1 Year Subscription (PC)
Offered by Kryonet
Price: 9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You are NOT coming in with those trainers on.., 13 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What would you want on the door as security of a well-known exclusive club, a nerdling who has his own list of demands for the position of 'door-person', or an experienced operative who may or may not have worked for the secret service?..

I want security that is thorough, knows who & what to keep an eye out for and yet doesn't keep bothering the management with demands. Ok, my 'doorman' might be a bit surly, he might now and then insist he does a scan after a long time with out one, but i know his team is going to deal with the threat with zero tolerance. I like that.


Masquerade and Other Stories (Quartet Encounters)
Masquerade and Other Stories (Quartet Encounters)
by Robert Walser
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.27

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Microcosmonaut, 9 May 2012
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Imagine if you will, a significant detail in zen buddhism suddenly appearing from the pen of a depressed yet vibrant swiss chap twirled with smoke-rings, in the form of prose-poetical koans; add a dash of Pessoa's detachment & self-effaced delight in otherness, a soupcon of Beckett if he were at all pleasant to be around, then stir in a measure of wonderment that Wordsworth could only speculate upon. Perhaps drizzle a light grizzly bears tears over these precise, perfumed, prestigious particulars with the quiet flair of an introverted eccentric & idiosyncratic idiom atomiser. Heat with time. Adjust lighting to allow for a bright Kafkian flare to dazzle but silently. Serve with absolutely anything under the sun. Remember to disregard any hint of hinderance. Read to loved ones. Smile, wave your arms. Leave the book in plain sight, perhaps near a poet.

Robert Walser has ripened in the literary realm and is now becoming an acquired taste, somewhat rarefied. A literary touch not unlike that of saffron. No, i lie, like air.


The Quay Brothers - The Short Films 1979-2003 (Two Discs) [DVD]
The Quay Brothers - The Short Films 1979-2003 (Two Discs) [DVD]
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: 12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunters, 27 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There may well just be two camps regarding Quay brothers films. Not unlike those who either like licking marmite off penguins, and those who don't. Either this is your bag or it is something that should remain inexplicable.

The range of flavours here are toward their usual shadowy, hinting of a nightmare hinterland, even in the colour shorts that are not pure monochrome. A persistent tone of catching these worlds in the act. A persuasive entry ticket into the realm of someone's psyche. Many arty phrases could i engineer.

However, add to the precision involved, their insightful & entertaining commentary on these pieces, and even more interest is aroused. The addition of details, of phantasmic allusions to authors, artists and particularly outsiders of every stripe, is what appeals. The uncanny seems almost natural, the necessary measure for the haunting sounds & discordant melody of the image.

If there's any flaw in this excellent rendering & restoration it is that someday a box-set of Quay Brothers complete works, after much license stamping in the mode of Kafka, would mean this exquisite series of overtly engothed artifices will be on a shelf, quivering with envy.


Agnosia [DVD]
Agnosia [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martina Gedeck
Price: 5.31

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy caper, 27 April 2012
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This review is from: Agnosia [DVD] (DVD)
There is perhaps a fatal flaw in marketing to as many people as possible, a generic foreign film that plays around genres & narrative tones. How do you sell the various concepts within the film, of which there are many, in a few direct eye-catching words. We usually end up with a vague film that intrigues some & yet disappoints others. Simply remarking its a 'beautiful' film is hardly useful.

However, contrary to popular misconceptions, this film is quite easy to classify or at least create signposts for. To begin with, the film has subtitles. Neat, clear and i did not feel obtrusive text. Most of the film smoothly runs on images anyway. Thence we can feel the mood and tone is all, its about expressing an atmosphere. This is a congenial, almost Remains of the Day via the Godfather back-drop. The scenarios are such that it takes in action, mystery, thriller & overall a romantic tragedy unfolding. The even tempo or some might say slow, or perhaps regal pacing might annoy many. But this is a different century spain, & the tone and pace, the feel of the simple narrative tricks all seem suitable to the tale told. One should rarely hurry a tragedy.

Now step back and classify a mystery romance period thriller tragedy that is shot gorgeously in fine cinematography and yes, has occasional art-house pretensions. The film is in fact overall, in a reductionist way, a glimpse, a mere hint at a larger canvas. There is a hinting at what could have been, people are deceptive, the young woman with the agnosia is the pivot and centre-point but is not the entire narrative. She is the reason the tragedy has to unfold. Which it does. Evenly and yet with changes of genre & tone of feeling. To classify this piece would simply be to say it is very much 'cinema', reliant on techniques and acting through imagery rather than explanation or exposition.

Personally, this was a graceful mystery that became ever clearer a romantic tragedy. The mistrust of ones senses & the sad tendency of deceit of those humans one must rely on, almost ensures that from the start, 'this will not go well'..

Beautiful & elegant, this is more than the sum of it's part, no mere operatic drama, it is a theatre of the conceptually disquieting.


The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes [DVD]
The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Amira Casar
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: 5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invention of Quays, 17 April 2012
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Differing to the first longer feature with humans by the Quays, Institute Benjamenta, this stands in a slightly differing frame..

The concepts of operatic performance, of just performance in general seems to contaminate the whole ensemble, everything is measured long & hangs in the air. The animation is lesser than many watching Quays earlier shorts might prefer. However, the animations, particularly automatons, now seem to suggest & become the more surreal for their sudden appearances amongst the 'real' human interaction.

More dialogue than monologue than previous, more music that apparently is library stock of a ballet theme, than the jarring notes in the past. Perhaps many people dislike this more 'palatable' arrangement, slightly forced upon the Quay brothers by financing companies..,which suggests 'make us something people will understand'. Well, no, you still won't quite grasp every layer in one sitting..

As mentioned in the interview also on the disc, the film has been disliked by many, possibly expecting more of the same from their last venture. However, this is a film that i think it fair to say, on third viewing or so will suddenly be a source of adoration. Its visually sonorous, flitting timeless.

Aside from many authors i mused upon when seeing Institute Benjaments, or related filmic thoughts, the main one that came to mind here was the book 'The Invention of Morel' by Casares. Very much a similar shade of metaphysical romances..

Give it all a chance to mellow & the 'alternate' Quays styling will impress upon the memories very finely.


Institute Benjamenta (DVD + Blu -Ray)
Institute Benjamenta (DVD + Blu -Ray)
Dvd ~ Quay Brothers
Offered by ludovico_institute
Price: 8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreyer Kafka Pessoa Has, 15 April 2012
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Literary sensibilites that arose from viewing/witnessing this artisans masterwork...Pessoa's Book of Disquiet, because this film is based on Robert Walser, & the dream/real poetry/prose of the whole piece felt so similar in tone & a microcosmic/macrocosmic abstraction and emotional obfuscation that i simply sat slack-jawed as i watched.
Other authors who wandered through the mind were of course Kafka, Meyrink or even Grabinski.

Filmic memories that arose were: Dreyer's 'Vampyr', which has the similar twilight sensation of faerytale threaded with precise shadow & light play (and play is exactly the Quay's methodology), touching upon Murnau's 'Sunrise', and a sense i felt watching 'Phantom Carriage' by Sjostrom; pertinent also would be the world of Has, namely 'Saragossa Manuscript', 'Hourglass Sanatorium', in the persistent filling of the frame with surreal interest & ferment!

Personally, as i am very much a photographer, the macro/close-ups & use of monochrome is a sheer delight to see focused and refocused, the focus-puller should have had a field day..ho ho.

But, as ever, cast aside the mere intellect and memory keys, and the film eagerly struck a chord, which it maintained throughout, art and artifice, the superlative acting skills, the precision of effects, all amass to an 'Outsiders' metaphysical, existential theatre.

A very deft, subtle use of eccentric literature, artisans attention to occultic elemental detail and an eye for the depths inherent in inanimate objects.. Any praise i heap upon this work of 'pure' cinema (that does sound pretentious but its harkening back to silent cinema and innocent clarity), would be faint praise indeed...

In short, lets be slightly vulgar, one either embraces eccentricity in artforms or shuns it as one would a plague carrier. Couple my enthusiasm with decent sized insightful booklet, useful thought provoking features and it is only now that i realize that i have waxed lyrical and nostalgic about a simple, monochrome flickering riddle. A come-down indeed into the real world, imposing order on this exquisite participation mystique.


Vault Of Horror [DVD]
Vault Of Horror [DVD]
Dvd ~ Terry-Thomas

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vipco House of Terrible Horrorness, 7 April 2012
This review is from: Vault Of Horror [DVD] (DVD)
Most people have noted the quality of this release.
Audio, feeble. Visually: mediocre dupey feel, like one of those nights you accidentally tried to record a decent flick on VHS, back in the old days, but onto a jiggery shuddery worn tape..oh the pain the next day..

Yep, that's about it. Marvelous to see Amicus or Tigon films given an airing. This one has some good E.C. comics grue under the covers. Ruined of course by the half-baked release from the Vipco land of ironicly inept releasing-mechanism. Avoid vividly, like an invite to a 'bring a burnt betamax' party.


Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD]
Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD]
Dvd ~ Angus Scrimm
Offered by Films and Figures
Price: 58.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Variations on a theme, 7 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
Old school fantastic-horror of the 'is this all a nightmare?' narrative playground. The first has low budget, no, i mean proper low budget not the modern equivalent, late seventies & early eighties low budget constraints. Thus, enthusiasm & imagination must rule the day to carry the flick. Oh does it..

If the following films develop & expand the themes of the first film, of varying budgets & demands, still there is a consistent drive to each one. Give the viewer a playful midnight movie, draw 'em in, let 'em roam about, throw some crowd-pleasers at 'em. In the form of the Tall Man, the floating spheres that drill and spill blood, the femme fatales, the dwarves, the ice-cream vendor, the creepy soundtrack..

One of those flicks commonly assumed to be categorised as either really like it/really fall into the world-view, or don't even bother throwing your popcorn. In many ways a better nightmare in four 'variations' than that Elm Street nonsense. The deft playfulness & indie film-making need no mainstream veneer to sell it, nor an attempt to make it's bogeyman palatable. Recommended pleasing entertainment of a gothy driven drive-in. And in this box set within the special features you also get every facet of production given air-time & everyone involved seemed to have a blast..which shows throughout the four films.


The Monk (Oxford World's Classics)
The Monk (Oxford World's Classics)
by Matthew Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak-kneed, 20 Mar 2012
Descriptions and reviews tend to emphasize the gaudier elements of this gothic melodrama. Regretably the composition of this ponderous tale is limp, beyond mere limpid. I would almost go so far as to say the drama is tepid. The impression of a cleric that succumbs to earthly vulgarity essentially, is steeped in a spanish somnolence. In short, the sheer lack of a decent tempo in the text slows the reader to a monks starched mind-set..drowsy.

Lacks any significant traces of varied pace, or characters with anything suggesting depth of varied emotions; moreover the mode of discourse in the narrative is basically a court drama, a play drawn out to novel length & peppered with sensationalist motifs when the narrative lags for sensation. And there is a lot of lag. For more verve seek out Melmoth the Wanderer, which is almost as multi-faceted as The Saragossa Manuscript..or mayhaps Les Chants de Maldoror, which has far superior command of 'evil'. Eccentricity is best treated by an authentic eccentric.


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