Profile for S J Buck > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by S J Buck
Top Reviewer Ranking: 382
Helpful Votes: 6548

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
S J Buck (Kent, UK)

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30
Dark Water [2003] [DVD]
Dark Water [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hitomi Kuroki
Offered by FilmloverUK
Price: £4.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly matter..., 24 Mar 2012
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
I was given this a birthday present and have just watched it for the first time. Straight away I've got to say there isn't much wrong with it. Its well acted and directed, not too long, atmospheric and keeps you guessing right to near the end.

But despite the advertising blurb, and maybe one scene this is really not a horror film. Its a ghost story, and theres nothing wrong with that. As mentioned by Amazon, its influences (Don't Look Now and The Shining) are fairly clear to see, but credit where credit is due, it has enough originality of its own.

Hopefully there won't or hasn't been a trite US remake, because rest assured it won't be as good as this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2012 10:06 PM BST

Phantasm [1979] [DVD]
Phantasm [1979] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Baldwin
Offered by Leeds Entertainment
Price: £8.82

3.0 out of 5 stars Not fantastic but..., 21 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Phantasm [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
I hadn't seen this for more than 25 years, so to watch the DVD on a big widescreen TV was a real treat. The film has many good points: Its errie atmosphere, the unexplained spheres and in fact the general surreal nature of the goings on. Especially the portal to another world scene. Its also well photographed, the special effects for 1979 look good and on DVD the picture is mostly very sharp and it looks great.

On the downside the script does the actors no favours, and there is some very wooden acting going on!

But I enjoyed the film and will watch it again and would probably give it 3.5 stars if allowed.

The Damned United [DVD] [2009]
The Damned United [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Michael Sheen
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Dammed good, 20 Mar 2012
The cast alone should make you look twice: Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent and Colm Meaney; all of whom are very good. The subject matter is of course Brian Cloughs short-lived stay at Leeds United in 1974. Michael Sheen has become, in a relatively short space of time THE British actor, and he shows why here, as he pulls out another gem with a portrayal that captures the essence of Brian Cloughs legendary straight-talking persona. The rest of the cast push Sheen hard though, and Colm Meaney really does look uncannily like Don Revie.

Some real footage is interspersed with the film, most notably the infamous Keegan/Bremner fight. Football was tough then! The film admits that some parts of the story are fictionalised, so this isn't a completely accurate record of the events that occurred. But it captures the key elements of the story, especially the importance of his relationship with Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall), and it does it all with with some style.

This is a film that I will want to watch again as I think there are nuances in some of the performances that you may not get on first viewing. As the film is only 95mins long it won't be long before I do so.

Syriana [DVD] [2005] [2006]
Syriana [DVD] [2005] [2006]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, but worth it, 18 Mar 2012
This review is from: Syriana [DVD] [2005] [2006] (DVD)
Syriana is a film that demands your attention. There are 4 or 5 main characters and a number of other important lesser characters. If you don't concentrate you'll be lost, as the plot is thick with business and political intrigue. It is essentially a story about the oil industry and the way elements within the US government interact with it, and with other governments. What this means in simple terms is that hardly anybody is up to any good.....

Its very well acted by Clooney, Damon and Wright and the rest of the cast, and despite the complications kept my interest all the way through. I couldn't explain the plot after one viewing, indeed I would have trouble telling you who some of the characters worked for! So its a film that I will have to watch again.

The film makes no claims for any basis in truth or fact (that I could see), but my guess is that the real oil industry is just as cut throat and just as embroiled in politics and dangerous liaisons. It certainly isn't an uplifting film, but I look forward to seeing it again.

And Friends - Live at Voce
And Friends - Live at Voce
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 12 Mar 2012
The first reviewer has it spot on. This is a wonderful group of musicians, playing a wonderful selection of classic Jazz/Soul/Blues material. Joey DeFrancisco on Hammond B3 is my favourite. Have a listen to his great solo on Jimmy Smith's 'Back at the Chicken Shack'. Ronnie Cuber is great on Baritone as well, but the whole band swings (on most tracks).

If you're in any doubt about the buying the album as a whole download either "Back at the Chicken Shack" or "Undecided" and you'll be convinced!

Clint Eastwood: Out Of The Shadows [2000] [DVD]
Clint Eastwood: Out Of The Shadows [2000] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Morgan Freeman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine review of a extraordinary career, 11 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Out of the Shadows is a high quality documentary that covers the full span of Clint Eastwood's whole career. As the other reviewer points out when the film was made that means, up to the year 2000. Starting with the bit parts he had in films like "Return of the Creature" and "Tarantula", through Rawhide and then all his major films, whether he was an actor, the director, or both. His interest in music is also given its due place.

What the film shows, is that Clint Eastwood is a driven man. When other actors left the set Clint would stay on to see what the director did, how the editing was done etc. He learnt the whole process and of course it helped that is his two film mentors were Sergio Leone and Don Seigel.

The quality of the material he has done over the years is truly amazing. From the spaghetti westerns, through Dirty Harry and Unforgiven, and then less well known classics like "White Hunter Black Heart".

The documentary is narrated by Morgan Freeman and there are contributions from many other actors and actresses.
You might only watch this once, but its worth it to remind yourself of one of the greatest film careers in the history of cinema.

Crunch Time
Crunch Time
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Dig the groove, 9 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crunch Time (Audio CD)
What can you say? Jimmy McGriff on Hammond B3, Hank Crawford on Alto Sax, Bernard Purdie on drums etc. This is a mix of swing, funk, blues and soul. The album was recorded in 1998 by Rudy Van Gelder so the recording quality is excellent. Highpoints; well the title track (which I think is nicked from a Count Basie riff!), with a teriffic guitar solo by Melvin Sparks, followed better one by McGriff is a swinging highpoint. But its pushed hard by The Preacher (the Horace Silver tune), which features Crawford blowing up a storm on Alto.

There really isn't anything to dislike about the album. 4.5 stars for me.

Jazz Goes To College
Jazz Goes To College
Price: £5.81

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brubeck in time, 9 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jazz Goes To College (Audio CD)
This classic live recording from 1954 features the Dave Brubeck Quartet on a set of swinging tunes. With Brubeck is Paul Desmond on Alto Sax, Bob Bates on Bass and Joe Dodge on drums. The group is not as well known as the classic quartet (apart from Desmond obviously) that would appear a few years later, and if you were being harsh you might criticise the fact that the bass player seems to walk in 4/4 all the time. So perhaps the rhythm section is a less flexible unit in terms of the time it kept. But the later quartet was justly famous for its time, so I would just say this is a swinging recording!

Above that is the playing from Brubeck and Desmond, which is consistently inventive. As with his entire career Brubeck plays with that wonderful mixture of chordal jazz, modern classical, bits of Bach - which is quite unique in Jazz Piano. There is an astonishing sequence on Le Souk which is the best Piano solo on this album in my opinion. Desmond in contrast is I suppose the opitimony of cool jazz. A wonderfully fluid alto player who although a complete contrast to Brubecks playing is somehow magically the perfect fit.

Interesting "Le Souk" was recorded at Oberlin College, which was the venue for another classic early Brubeck album (Jazz at Oberlin) that I highly recommend.

The track listing is:
Balcony Rock
Out of Nowhere
Le Souk
Take the "A" Train
The Song is You
Don't Worry 'bout Me
I Want To Be Happy

Sound quality is pretty good for a 58 year old recording and the CD is 51mins long. Sadly since I wrote this review Dave Brubeck has died. Truly one of the last of the giants has left us.

Man Of The West [DVD]
Man Of The West [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julie London

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classy western, 4 Mar 2012
This review is from: Man Of The West [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this for the first time last night, and wonder how I've never managed to see it before, as this is a superb western, which may even justify 5 stars after another viewing.

Gary Cooper fits the leading role perfectly. The part could have been specially written for him, but it wasn't, yet he makes it his own. He plays Link Jones a reformed man with a violent past who is caught up in a Train heist. There is a stillness to Coopers acting that reminds me of Clint Eastwood, even though in many other ways they are completely different. In fact the cast as a whole are very good. An almost unrecognisable Lee J Cobb is teriffic as Doc Tobim and Julie London does more than add some glamour to proceedings.

Anthony Mann directs with an effortless economy, not a shot is wasted, and this is helped by the fact that the film is only 95mins long. The DVD is in the proper widescreen ratio and the picture quality is good. I can't think of a reason not to buy this, at any price, let alone when its available as cheaply as it is now.

Your Songs: The Music of Elton John
Your Songs: The Music of Elton John
Price: £14.50

4.0 out of 5 stars For the Jazz/Elton fan, 3 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've seen other instrumental albums of Elton's material and never taken the chance to buy one for fear that what I'd be getting was pure shopping mall musak. However when I stumbled across this album a few weeks ago and looked at the musicians I knew this was worth taking a chance on. Paul Motian is on drums (sadly now dec'd) and Steve Swallow on bass. NO disrespect to the other musicians but Paul Motian is a Jazz legend, who played with Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett.

So what about the music? Well lets start at the core, the Elton John tunes. Unless you are incredibly biased against Elton John theres no denying that he knows how to write good and sometimes great tunes. In fact his best tunes really don't need lyrics at all, and that is the key to why this album works (not forgetting the quality of the musicians). The selection here is very good; I might have picked a few different ones but no real arguments.

Blue Eyes kicks the album off and if ever you wanted to shove a custard pie in the face of Eltons detractors, play them this version. Its a beautiful tune, that doesn't need its lyric, and is wonderfully played as a Jazz ballad by Pietro Tonolo on tenor sax and the rest of the band. At the moment this is my favourite track. Tiny Dancer is next, and to be honest its hard to pick the tune out in the opening section. This doesn't matter, it has a nice grove, that hints at Gospel and then just before 2:00 in, the chorus arrives and you suddenly know where you are.

Tiny Dancer has one of my only criticisms of the album, and that is the use of the accordian on the track. I don't think it adds anything. This is no doubt down to personal taste... but for me the album loses 1/2 a star for its use. The other 1/2 star is lost because occasionally the album does drift dangerously close to musak for its own good, despite the quality of the musicians playing.

Fortunately the other highlight of the album for me is the punchy, almost Monk like version of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. This adds a nice contrast to the other tracks as it genuinely swings along.

Overall then this should appeal to people on both sides of the fence (Elton/Jazz). Just keep an open mind!

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30