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Zaroff (UK)

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Slaughterhouse Five [DVD]
Slaughterhouse Five [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Sacks
Price: 5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars fourth dimensional tour de force, 29 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Slaughterhouse Five [DVD] (DVD)
One of the most striking aspects of the film of the glorious book, is the editing. The linear flow of a standardised or generic story telling is not so much cut up, rather it is crisply cutting to apparently random yet related periods of the characters life, adhered together as we do our own memories in our mental scrapbook. The flitting back and forth of Billy Pilgrim, the main character, is the stuff of sci-fi, yet the core element of the story & thus, his life, is clearly the horrendous bombing of Dresden & the futility of war etc. And all the impacting moments that are coloured by simply being present at any point in time at historical or life-changing periods...much that tastes of sci-fi, but do not come to the film expecting a clearly defined or over-stated sci-fi tableaux.

Yet thanks to the Tralfamadore aspect of the story, we have the delightful distance of observing the entire life unfold in random intervals, like solid memories coming to the fore unbidden by Billy Pilgrim. As with much of Vonnegut's original thinking, schizophrenia is alluded to and psychiatry is often the scientific way to explain away all this damaging lack of clarity the character has. Yet, Billy Pilgrim having insight from being 'unstuck' in time, has a zen ambience about him. Learnt from the Tralfamadorians, time is, just simply Is. Happened already, going to happen, is happening. And as such, is the perfect counter-weight to the ego-centric human drive for war and cruelty. The sonorous use of Glenn Gould as a soundtrack, of Bach, takes the satirical highly cultured irony to it's furthest point. War is not just Hell, it is downright demeaning and lacking in any sense of insight into Time. War is an attempt to make a mark on History, which simply put, is a vague notion of events in linear order...this film, and the book of course, reveals an attitude of how absurd and preposterous our relation to time, and other humans may be.

The film itself could do with more details from the book in it but that would obviously slow the pace, but as it stands it is remarkably seventies style cinematography, the editing sweet, the music over-lush at times but dramatic, the acting solid and the humour, of which there is much, is a delight if a little black. If any sense of the Vonnegut slant of irony & bittersweet view of so called reality is unappealing, avoid. Never mawkish, nor maudlin, the film drifts finally off into your memory where it will be stored, re-processed and made familiar. Read and absorb the book, assimilate the film. Masterpiece. If it is remade, pray to the Tralfamadorians, who understand and occupy fourth dimension, that it doesn't end the universe by being inferior to this earlier film.

Price: 10.63

5.0 out of 5 stars folk zen scandinavian purity bathing, 28 Jun 2014
This review is from: Sumie (Audio CD)
Utterly beguiling. Simple as a zen bath, smooth as a snowy owl...yet the use of the language, lyricism, is crisply dreamlike, vividly present yet passing effortlessly away- So a sense of paradox remains, a flitting array of images rather than a faint flickering; almost conveying an indefinable loss & very human emotive repercussions whilst being so damned pleasant it almost demands immediate replay because of the album's brevity. Strikingly immediate.

Acoustic folk flavourings if categorising is your bag, with barely a maudlin lilt, scarce any bravado of modern pops unnecessary hoo-ha...this is the sigh of a real artiste. More, more more..encore. Deserves an audience of every creature that might like Agnes Obel, Ane Brun, Rebekka Karijord or any one who might just prefer to sit under blossom trees as they start cascading.

Music From The Monks Kitchen
Music From The Monks Kitchen
Price: 12.34

5.0 out of 5 stars reflective old poet troubadours, 17 Jun 2014
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Hearkening back to a sixties that probably didn't exist, mellifluous melodic strains of more than faintly gothic ambience, occasionally rises up through the pleasant surface jangling. A simple structure to much of the style suggests ease of effort, yet there are bouts of sound that conjure lyrical landscapes. Imagine a pirate riding a vespa through a meadow & then rendering a few morsels of edgar allan poe, as he scoots through a graveyard...or a drifting empty row boat by moonlight, with a suspicious plop and ripple... that might just be me.

So casually proficient at being mellow yet enjoyable, if you don't pay full attention the music trundles off to the background & you might find yourself playing it over again,and again in order to make it mark the mind. This is not to say it doesn't penetrate the skull, but this is unlike a lot of jolting modern fare that tends to overplay it's 'look at me' card all too often. That their output is so minimal is all the more reason for the monkish fellas to have a quick paddle in your ear canal before drifting off into the moonbeams...

Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics
Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics
by Mark Kermode
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shredded wheat, 10 Jun 2014
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This congregation of vapours would, like Mr Kermodes other book releases, be best served by being edited. By someone who isn't in the long list of names lauded, applauded, declaimed & exclaimed as worthy or flagrant back-slap material, peppered throughout this meandering egg salad, this compilation albumen. Edited by someone who perhaps hasn't got all the time in the world for such diversions, digressions & reiterations. A lot of it reads like a pseudo-confession merged with revelatory stance decrying & yet trying to embrace,the new-world-order of criticism, now that the internet has given every molecule a voice...

Some of the humourous personal material is funny, some of the anecdotes appear to be faintly interesting & amusing, for a period. Some of it is new, news to many as they don't have the insight. Yet taken en bloc, this is a tatty quilt, pieces of 'what i like and dislike about possibly having my career diminished by amateurs', sewn next to quick quips of marvelous inventiveness about his modest rise to fame. Taken in short bursts, his style is dynamic. Taken as a paperback, the material doesn't gel until you yourself have mentally edited a great deal of squit out of it...if you have the time. Personally i would prefer a professional to have done it for me beforehand.

Price: 9.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisp, vivid, real, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: Anastasis (Audio CD)
Take a few handfuls of those moments when Dead Can Dance made you pause everything you were doing.
Add more than a few dashes of vocals to remind of who these people were and are beside their solo works.
Push the envelope, shove the envelope of the heavy cathedral drama older sounds through an ear shaped letterbox of sharp modern clarity bursting from the edges to the centre.
Garnish with Perry and Gerrard vocals breaching the anthemic titan backgrounds, best matured in oak barrels for thirty years but who's counting...if you thought genres could be defined, guess again batman...

Not sorrowful enough for sudden teenagers perhaps, but certainly strikes minor chords & planetary fusions of melody sufficient to attract new bod's to the fold. Big. Wrapping sound, envelopey yet spare in content. A spartan lushness! Ah, dormant sunflowers, under a fierce sky. Yes, do this some more please my merely momentary, occidental ears, have been much pleased. Might require repeated consumption in order to appease the palate.

Incubus [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Incubus [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ John Ireland
Price: 6.23

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars curse of the canadian creepster, 23 April 2014
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A distinct 80's feel, with a few nods to the 70's, in the solid camera work & of course questionable costumes of fashions now long dead, shouldn't put anyone fond of exploitation flicks off this quiet, perverse, pandaemonic frightner. Under the surface is a rather horrible direct, almost legendary mythos at work. It may begin slow, take an even pace, but lets not forget those moments of exposition explaining the hideously painful, ghastly rapes, the fluids involved...and add to the mix Cassavetes almost perpetual expression of priapic pan, a hang over from Rosemarys Baby perhaps. He looks a sweaty wry grinning dangerous man. And he's the hero...

What then occurs is subtle, occasionally flashbang, more often tending to move from thriller to creepy horror in short space of time; only to then veer toward an atmospheric drama, for some reason similar to director Hough's Legend of Hell House and Gary Shermans Dead & Buried. Not overly grim or drab but with a sense of impending menace that plays under the surface. And when we do glimpse the 'creature' of the Incubus, well, on the credits Les Edwards was involved so that hints at its value. It did recall shots from the old classic Haxan in the threat & Bosch like shape of the entity in question.

Not a modern flick, not fast paced, not full of gory stuff. Yet this can leave one with a taste in the mouth afterward, a delightful long finish, plenty of tannins itching the teeth as it spits you out. Be thankful the truly horrible was moderately hinted at here in lieu of playing out every scenario, because by its description it would be an appalling film experience without a notch of Hough's control. A minor,but potent classic from the glorious eighties...a calmer viewing than The Sentinel but with an eye to tainting the viewer...

Black Demons [DVD] [1991] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Black Demons [DVD] [1991] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Keith Van Hoven
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 8.33

2.0 out of 5 stars shuffle of the damned & doomed, 15 April 2014
Right off the bat we have Lenzi's major problem with film. They are commonly known in the mammal world as 'actors & actresses'. The film is set, filmed or perhaps that should be , perpetrated, in some random parts of Brazil. Lenzi in the interview admits two key points that reveal why this is a long fat cake of awful. One, the actors were mostly 'picked up off the street'. Wether this is literal is beside the point, they are all defiantly godawful at acting, delivering the asinine lines like nervous zombies. Point two he broaches, is that the actors didn't like each other, there was no chemistry.

And that is the least of this films problems. The zombies move slower than molasses covered in molasses stored in a jar marked 'slow stuff', fallen into a tar-pit. And much of it begins in very broad daylight. Until night falls like a big fat juicy worm over proceedings, and we get more wandering about like lost sheep waiting to be picked off by very very slow semi-conscious make-up rejects. There are a few interesting deaths, but the main failure, despite the arduous task of the 'plot' from a script written by, well, who that the entire mishmash has no drive, no cinematic flair, nothing to offer. Even the music is lame.

So why watch it??...because it's Lenzi?!..He hasn't the eye of a lot of italian directors who at least make interesting shots when nothing much happens. Here we have bad actors in a bad plot with second rate effects in a long plodding movie shot at great speed with about fifty quid budget. So watch this at your own risk, but that being said once it is over the idea of being 'satisfied' by a film may compel you to seek out something with bigger plums than this. Say, Demons, or Zombie by Fulci, hell, anything that is half awake.

Dead Kids [DVD]
Dead Kids [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Laughlin
Offered by rsdvd
Price: 2.10

2.0 out of 5 stars suicidal tendencies, 2 April 2014
This review is from: Dead Kids [DVD] (DVD)
The UK release would be a welcome addition to the various releases of 'Strange Behaviour' aka: Dead Kids. However, due to the uk being a den of lunatics & perverts, we must assume the BBFC censors have spared us the issues of 'suicide' by removing first 41 seconds on a release, now 27 seconds for the Optimum release. Why? Because people can imitate the methods of suicide shown therein. Hmm. I would like the psychiatric proof that suicidal patients are likely to put on australian exploitation films before taking up a relevant sharp implement...

That being said, picture acceptably widescreen anamorphic, sound as original mono. Just like the UK release of American Horror Story, don't purchase if you are thinking of suicide technique advice, they are not here children..

Killer Nun [1978] [DVD]
Killer Nun [1978] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anita Ekberg
Price: 7.80

4.0 out of 5 stars exploits of a damaged dame, 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Killer Nun [1978] [DVD] (DVD)
Some people seem to approach this as just another Nun film, nunsploitation and it's bevy of breasts, heavy breathing, naughty catholic guilt trips & general rolling about in a naughty way. An excuse for watching high and mighty get reduced to feral felines. Some might even expect boundless bloodletting, or a giallo-like plot that unravels in a weird way and puts scooby doo to shame. Needless to say exploitation is exactly that. Ballyhoo of a product that suggests much but may well deliver something completely different, or at least a partial flavour of something else. There is a killer, there is a nun. There are certainly repressions being expressed. But not in a garish way, more geared toward short brush strokes. Then the film throws occasional moments of dotty behaviour...all suggestive of a confining, damaged world view...

This film is not merely all about the standard hand wringing guilt, the sexual shennanigans of a lot of repressed gals who strangely resemble models. It seemed to be a brief observation of a dame as she deteriorates, who has been operated on for a brain tumour, who has still got a few problems and not just headaches.

Amongst the plot, meandering as it may be, people are being knocked off, some are being merely treated badly. In short then, it's worse case scenario: a nun who isn't sure of herself or her religion, exacerbated rapidly given her strong libido & her confused mental state; looking after old folk in a confined area is trying at the best of times even without guilt, religious anxiety & a rather overtly sensual fellow nun...then of course theres the need for drugs to ease her 'suffering' becoming an addiction...

Basically then with exploitation elements and occasional flashes of what a tortured tormented soul might do when driven barmy, we have not a giallo, not a fleshy art laden Borowzcyk flick, not a gory excuse to kill everything within reach with the best tools to hand. What occurs is a florid descent into a slightly crazy world, with a slightly crazy accent on the religion that went some way to adding to her confusion. But why then is it entertaining, & interesting?...for me it barrelled along headway without waiting for anyone to catch up, it did what it set out to do with a slightest of twists to what is assumed at work here. Visually pretty good, a few pieces of music are really punchy. But what really sold me was it was fun. I laughed. It made me enjoy it. How and why im not entirely sure. An acquired taste is required perhaps, but devout catholics and those seeking skin-flicks should perhaps both look elsewhere for louder thrills.

Rat Man [DVD]
Rat Man [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Warbeck
Price: 11.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars smeary, 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Rat Man [DVD] (DVD)
Warbeck wanders through some trash laden scenarios with a female who is looking for her sister, who likes to model in distant places...but wait! A terrible half man half rat had escaped! And he seems to be angry, hungry & not surprisingly a bit of a nibbler.

The film is delightfully bad. A shower sequence could have ended quite rapidly, but didn't, lets take the camera all over again and again, just for coverage...The script may be laughable, the acting generally poor, even Warbeck is doing a bit 'more' than is necessary. Yet if you can forgive the slowness of the enterprise it could be entertaining, as a retro throwback.

However, the picture quality is pretty much not what you would call impressive. There is a slight warning/reminder at the start of the film that it's the best found. Hmm. Ok. A soft vhs'esque to the wishy-washy colours is retro and nostalgic at least.

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