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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Price: 4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Engagingly imperfect, 3 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
3.5? Nearly 4? Not sure quite how to rate this - it's one of those books you want to like more than you do in practice, if that makes any sense. There are some really striking, sparky passages in this novel but quite a lot of half-formed writing that looks as though it needed to run through a few more drafts to tighten up. And yet... maybe, at times, that incomplete and imperfect finish to the writing is what endears you to it, and it does neatly reflect the engagingly mangled and over-stimulated brain of the protagonist.

Fountain makes brilliant use of the artifice and spectacle surrounding a Dallas Cowboys football game to satirise American popular culture and its ritualistic preoccupations with sex and violence - not to mention the rampant commercialisation of, well, pretty much everything...

Oh, and one last thing - BLLHW is approximately twice the book that is the grotesquely over-hyped (and over-written) Yellow Birds...

A Field In England [DVD]
A Field In England [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julian Barratt
Price: 8.75

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rambling narrative, unified aesthetic, 10 July 2013
This review is from: A Field In England [DVD] (DVD)
No, it may not be everyone's cup of mushroom tea, but more fool them. This is the most original piece of film-making I've seen for years and I found myself so utterly gripped that when the Film4 premiere finished I immediately flipped over to Film4+1 to watch the last hour again.

While unlike anything you'll have seen before, it does evoke other distinctive and ground-breaking films you probably know - lots of British cult and art-house cinema for sure (including Lindsay Anderson's If) but also influences from much further (ahem) afield. Something in the interplay of cinematography and score brings Leone/Morricone to mind in places. There are visual cues, too, that surely reference the Hollywood western while maintaining a strikingly British feel (for example in its lunatic humour and its commendable preoccupation with pubs).

And if there's a lack of coherence (hallucinogenic experiences - in reality or representation - aren't exactly renowned for strong linear narrative) then there's an aesthetic unity to this film that marks it out as something special. That unity is also strongly felt in the score, the trailers on Youtube and on the Rook Films website, and the poster and other artwork (something tells me that poster will be plastering student accommodation up and down the land very soon).

Very highly recommended if you've a taste for off-beat, British, hallucinatory, sometimes violent, sometimes dementedly funny English Civil War films set in fields. And very highly recommended if you haven't. Like mushroom soup, what harm could it possibly do?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2013 8:38 PM BST

Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in WWII
Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in WWII
by Nicholas Rankin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book suffers from split personality disorder, 10 Jun 2012
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I enjoyed this for the most part and it held my interest quite well.

That said, Rankin seems to be trying to write several different books at the same time - a biography of Ian Fleming, a history of 30 Assault Unit and an account of the inner workings of British naval intelligence during WWII. You get a lot of information about the latter and there are an awful lot of names, organisations and departments which you have to try to keep track of to follow later developments. The narrative struck me as a little disorganised at times as the author jumps around from one topic to another (sometimes without bothering to change paragraph) - not sure why the publisher didn't iron that out...

Overall, there's lots of interesting material here and I don't regret buying it. I think it would have been a better book, however, if it had stuck to a tighter focus and been more selective about how much historical context to include. Unsurprisingly, the book is at its most interesting when the focus is on the officers and men of 30AU. Oddly, the reformation of the unit in 2010 merits just over one page though.

Lovely cover by the way!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2012 11:26 AM BST

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