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Profile for Mr. K. J. Mckenna > Reviews

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Mr. K. J. Mckenna "kevinmckenna"
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Wild Search [DVD]
Wild Search [DVD]
Dvd ~ Yun-Fat Chow
Offered by andy_4828
Price: £11.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look, 14 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Wild Search [DVD] (DVD)
'Wild Search', is allegedly a HK remake of 'Witness' which starred Harrison Ford and was about a young woman in an Amish community who witnessed a crime and was then hunted by the criminal who wanted to kill her. Have you ever been puzzled? I mean proper, head-scratchingly puzzled? Well I was while watching this film because the plot had nothing whatsoever to do with 'Witness'. It was a different film entirely. Still, I love HK cinema and it was fun trying to spot all the locations in Central and Causeway Bay in HK. I haven't watched this film for a couple of years and I really enjoyed it. I was particularly taken by the lead actress with whom I fell in love. She is called Cherie Chung and, by co-incidence, walked away from stardom at the height of her fame just like my favourite actress Faye Wong did. This film also has a song by the late, great Teresa Teng (The Moon Represents My Heart)who I am growing to like a lot. It is entertaining and the little girl whose mother is killed is - like most Chinese kids - very cute. So, nothing like 'Witness', and not as sophisticated as films by Wong Kar Wai, but a pleasant enough couple of hours.


Gran Torino [DVD] [2009]
Gran Torino [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Clint Eastwood
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.49

14 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental, cliched and predictable, 15 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Gran Torino [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I should start by saying that I am a big Clint Eastwood fan and regard him as one of the best American directors of the 20th Century but in this film, he sells himself, and the rest of us, short. Much as I admire Eastwood, he does come up with some 'clunkers' every once in a while - Bronco Billy, anyone?
Gran Torino is a 'grumpy old man with a heart of gold' film. Eastwood plays a retired car worker in a neighbourhood taken over by immigrants. It is a neighbourhood with social problems and Eastwood takes on the unconvincing role of vigilante/protector to the Korean family next door. What follows is entirely predictable, full of cliches and dreadfully sentimental, ending with Eastwood sacrificing himself on the altar of - I don't know what. It is a very 'American' one-dimensional film and the ending, as the lawyer reads out the will (in the manner of an awards show presenter announcing the winner) "And the car goes to - long pause - (We ALL know who the car is going to) is just embarrassing. The theme tune is crap too.
Gran Torino is a mild enough diversion on a wet afternoon when you have got nothing beter to do, but way below the quality of Eastwood's best work. Only Americans could have made this film the way it turned out. I wonder how a Korean director would have managed the same story.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2010 6:26 PM BST


Fair Stood The Wind For France...A Love Story [1980] [DVD]
Fair Stood The Wind For France...A Love Story [1980] [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Beames
Offered by rightpricediscs
Price: £17.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 1 Jan. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This has to be just about the worst ever adaptation of a novel. H.E. Bates is a wonderful writer and while Fair Stood the Wind is far from his best, it doesn't deserve the woeful treatment it gets here from incompetents who should never be let near a camera again. The direction is terrible. This is a 2nd World War escape drama, remember, but here it is utterly without drama. The pace is so slow that it is painful. The acting is among the worst I have ever seen and the dialogue is so stultifyingly delivered, that robots would have done it with more animation. There are a couple of pretty chocolate-box scenes of a French farmhouse and a rather bizarre ending with the one-armed English pilot (Franklin) and the French girl who (unaccountably) has fallen for him (Francoise) cycling in soft-focus sunshine like something from Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
In every respect, it is dire.


Dragon Bones (Red Princess Mysteries)
Dragon Bones (Red Princess Mysteries)
by Lisa See
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 1 Jan. 2009
I first read Lisa See when I bought a copy of Snowflower and the Secret Fan; I considered it to be possibly the best book I had ever read. I was somewhat taken aback by Dragon Bones as it is ompletely different in every respect - time, location, style, pace, content. But, I was just as enthralled by the story-telling. Quite simply, this is one of those books you just don't want to end. It is a modern crime thriller set in the Three Gorges Dam project in China with some scenes in Hong Kong. It can be pretty brutal at times but is never less than fascinating. The central characters are well drawn and believable and the plot keeps you on your toes, never being predictable. In particular, Liu Hulan, the female inspector of The Ministry of Public Security in Beijing is a strong literary creation. This novel would make a good film and I have already cast Faye Wong in the role of the Inspector. Lisa See is a masterful (mistressful?) story teller. The book is very well written in good English - I mention this because Ms See is American/Chinese. I suspect that we may have a talented editor at Random House to thank for the good use of language.
To sum up; this is a compelling, complex, pacy thriller which never disappoints. Buy this book!


Love For Lydia - Complete [1977] [DVD]
Love For Lydia - Complete [1977] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mel Martin
Offered by alentertainment
Price: £34.99

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Drama Series, 21 Aug. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Love For Lydia is one of the best drama series you will ever buy; it is also exceptional value for money. This television adaptation of H.E. Bate's best novel is old-school television production of the highest quality. Made in 1977 it is organised into thirteen episodes on six discs and lasts for 650 minutes - almost 11 hours of top quality entertainment. H.E. Bates is a modern writer - he died in 1974 - and is England's most underrated and prolific writer.While I say he is a modern writer, in terms of the time in which he lived, in style, he belongs to a different generation. He is, essentially, a pastoral writer, writing with great detail and authority about the English countryside.
Love For Lydia is set in `Edensford' a small town in the English Midlands. The arrival of Lydia, a neice of the wealthy Aspen Family and a young, gauche and seemingly fragile young woman, brings substantial and tragic change to the lives of others in the small semi-rural community, as she interacts with the others with whom she comes into contact. The story begins in the 1920s at the hight of gay young things and the `flapping' dance craze. Lydia, an amoral, hedonistic `butterfly, flits between the young men she encounters, causing jealously, fist fights, pledges of love, broken hearts and death. As a person, we should despise her and her worthless `high-society' type. As a character, brilliantly played by Mel Martin we love, hate and above all are utterly captivated by her - exactly the effect she must have had on the young men she encountered. Martin gives the performance of a lifetime in the lead role and how this actress did not go on to dominate stage, film and television, I will never understand. Other lead roles are played by Christopher Blake, Peter Davidson and Jeremy Irons. The casting of the lead roles is spot on. The quality of acting is high, the scripts very well edited and the settings expertly chosen. Whoever comissioned and produced this series should be congratulated for allowing this complex novel to unwind in a leisurely fashion without cutting too many corners. It is as good a TV adaptation as there has ever been.
Five stars doen not begin to do justice to this series. Graeme Greene described H.E. Bates as `Britain's successor to Checkov'. In fact, he is more accurately described as the lineal successor to Thomas Hardy, though a writer of far greater range than Hardy. Love For Lydia is outstanding. While you are buying the DVD, treat yourself to a copy of the novel. Read the novel first - if you can bare putting off the viewing for a while. This is a purchase to completely delight.
Buy this DVD.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2016 10:59 AM BST


When the Boat Comes In [DVD] [1976]
When the Boat Comes In [DVD] [1976]
Dvd ~ James Bolam
Price: £43.99

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Partly Missed Boat, 21 Aug. 2008
There is little need for me offer an extensive synopsis of this excellent North-East drama; the comments of other reviewers are sound enough. I remember watching it when it started on television - was it really 32 years ago? - In fact, as a youngish actor I appeared in the last five episodes. As regional drama, it is outstanding. The writers, the story-lines and the acting are first-class. The settings are excellent - I doubt that many of them remain - at least as they were when this programme was filmed. At approx. £2.50 per disc, it's not bad value.
BUT - whoever put this compilation together should be taken out and, after being given a good kicking, should be shot. There is no list of episodes printed anywhere. The disc are bizzarely numbered, each series being labelled Series # disc 1, & 2. This is repeated throughout so that Series 1 has three different discs called Series 1 Disc 1 And three discs labelled Series 1 Disc 2. This is extremely confusing. Furthermore, several of the discs contain the same episode title - thus, disc 1 & 2 both carry the same title 'A Land Fit For Heroes And Idiots'. This titling recurrs throughout all 24 discs. Unless you are meticulous about returning each disc to its allotted space each time you use it, you have absolutely no chance of keeping them in order - or of ever getting them back into order. I had to number each disc sequentially with a marker pen. This kind of nonsense should never happen. To some up, Top quality drama, utterly appalling organisation and pretty much nothing in the way of special features.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2009 3:55 AM GMT


Snow Falling On Cedars [DVD] [2000]
Snow Falling On Cedars [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Ethan Hawke
Price: £4.00

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a film, 17 Jun. 2007
I bought this film some months ago solely on the grounds that it had a picture of a Japanese girl on the cover - and it was cheap. (I have an interest in Chinese & Japanese culture) For the want of anything better to do, I got around to watching it last night, and I was engrossed from beginning to end. It is not full of star actors yet the cast is excellent. The cinematography is outstanding and the crew was blessed with spectacular weather and location shots - it still needs expert direction and camera work to exploit these factors - and this film has them both. The plot is a slowly unravelling drama centred on a small coastal community of American and Japanese at the time of Pearl Harbour; it show just a glimpse of the appalling treatment of Japanese Americans at the hands of the US Government and `ordinary' American citizens. Two central roles are played by Ethan Hawke and Yuoki Kudoh - their young selves being played by Reeve Carney and the excellent Anne Suzuki - you can easily see why he was so utterly captivated by her. Much of the film takes place in a courtroom as the drama unfolds. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird - there the `victim' is of a different colour; in this film, the innocent on trial, largely because of prejudice, is of a different race. It is all impeccably handled. I'm not going to give anything away about the plot which is actually quite ordinary; what brings this film to life are the locations, cinematography and first-class acting. I just don't know why it isn't better known. Do yourself a favour and buy this film; this is how story-telling should be done.


Snow Falling On Cedars [DVD] [2000]
Snow Falling On Cedars [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Ethan Hawke
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a film, 17 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this film some months ago solely on the grounds that it had a picture of a Japanese girl on the cover - and it was cheap. (I have an interest in Chinese & Japanese culture) For the want of anything better to do, I got around to watching it last night, and I was engrossed from beginning to end. It is not full of star actors yet the cast is excellent. The cinematography is outstanding and the crew was blessed with spectacular weather and location shots - it still needs expert direction and camera work to exploit these factors - and this film has them both. The plot is a slowly unravelling drama centred on a small coastal community of American and Japanese at the time of Pearl Harbour; it show just a glimpse of the appalling treatment of Japanese Americans at the hands of the US Government and `ordinary' American citizens. Two central roles are played by Ethan Hawke and Yuoki Kudoh - their young selves being played by Reeve Carney and the excellent Anne Suzuki - you can easily see why he was so utterly captivated by her. Much of the film takes place in a courtroom as the drama unfolds. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird - there the `victim' is of a different colour; in this film, the innocent on trial, largely because of prejudice, is of a different race. It is all impeccably handled. I'm not going to give anything away about the plot which is actually quite ordinary; what brings this film to life are the locations, cinematography and first-class acting. I just don't know why it isn't better known. Do yourself a favour and buy this film; this is how story-telling should be done.


Happy Times Hotel (2002) [DVD]
Happy Times Hotel (2002) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lifan Dong
Offered by Super Duper
Price: £4.33

17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately Disappointing, 25 Mar. 2007
I really wanted to like this film - and there are some things to like about it - but in the end, it fails. The publicity for this film repeatedly calls it `hilarious'; it isn't. It does have its amusing moments and it is not without charm, but it isn't a funny film. There is tenderness from the character of Zhao, ably played by Zhao Benshan, from his friends and from the character of Wu, a competent performance by Dong Jie. Zhao is a lonely bachelor trying to find a wife. The repulsive character he pursues dumps her blind stepdaughter on him, believing him to be a hotel owner - a deception he has encouraged to improve his standing. He constructs an elaborate sham to convince Wu that she is a gainfully employed person. Of course, the deception fails and she reveals that she knew it all along - and there the film just stops and she wanders off alone.

This is not an enigmatic ending with viewers left to project their own interpretation of where it goes from there - it just stops as if everyone had got bored with it and decided to call it a day. It is less than the sum of its parts, which is a pity because it could have been a good film. In the end though, it is just disappointing.


Cast Away (2 Disc Set) [DVD] [2001]
Cast Away (2 Disc Set) [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.98

2 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laughably bad, 4 Mar. 2007
An utterly ludicrous film in which Tom Hanks is comprehensively out-acted by a deflated football. Stranded on an island, the useless & inept Hanks' character (who would never have survived a week) muddles around for four years until he escapes. More wooden than the palm trees, Hanks talks to the football. Two hours of completely pointless dross.


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