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m "macey" (United Kingdom)
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The Fate of the Artist
The Fate of the Artist
by Eddie Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.82

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky but good, 10 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Fate of the Artist (Paperback)
You might descirbe this as a 'new wave comic', which is to say that it is self-referential and made up of a story told through various comic (and non-comic) media i.e. drawings,photos, mock cartoon strips. Although it feel very hand-made, there is a strong narrative - Mr Campbell disappears and his family reflect upon whether or not he is actually OK, recalling instances of his very eccentric (but very funny) behaviour.

There are non-linear moments too - the little character of 'Angry Chef' that appears every now and again is brillaint - deserving of her own
strip.

The whole thing is a sort of literary experience more than anything else.

If you only know Campbell from his work on 'From Hell' then you owe it to yourself to see what else he gets up to.


Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
by Michael Mignola
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but why?, 7 Jan 2008
To me, this makes very little sense. I'm all for alternate stories and little oblique tales but this left me non-plussed. It becomes a weird sort of 'spot the things you know' game with everyone transplanted back to 1888: there's a picture of someone who looks very like the joker etc etc

Plus, I thought the art was on the poor side, or at least rushed - many panels with blank behinds - this made me sad given the rich detail that you can mine from the victorian era.

It all feels like jumping on a bandwagon probably started by League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and maybe there is a good Batman story than can be told in this way, but I don't think this is it. Check it out for curiosity if nothing else, but 'The Long Haloween' it 'aint.


Take My Blanket and Go
Take My Blanket and Go
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 23.95

3.0 out of 5 stars shows promise, 7 Jan 2008
This review is from: Take My Blanket and Go (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I totally agree with the earlier comments about Counting Crows - his voice and some of the arrangements put me in mind of 'August and Everything After' - which is no bad thing. A bit of Tom Waits, a smidge of Steve Earl - he's obviusly listening to the right people.

It's widescreen americana, if you into that sort of thing. The sparse production works well on most of the tracks - particularly 'Old Days', and there are one or two potentially reaaly good songs. Some of it does come across as half finished ideas - atmosphere is fine, but you do need the song there to start with.

True, there is a lot of this type of material out there, but if Mr Purdy spends a bit more time on the songs for the next album, he'll probably float to the top.


Zodiac [DVD] [2007]
Zodiac [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Price: 4.97

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In 10 years time, they'll be calling this a classic, 30 Dec 2007
This review is from: Zodiac [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Sorry to say the luke warm publicity put me off going to see this at the cinema - doh! Having said that, it really is a film tailor-made for watching quietly at home because the whole thing begins to feel like a giant book which has to be followed closely.

Expecting to find David Fincher having gone off the boil (what with everything he does now suffering from 'good, but not as good as Fight Club' syndrome) infact he has gone up a gear with this film. BUT, it is a slight of hand - in a long film the first hour or so is spent sort of spinning us the viewer around until the initial chaos of the early crimes subsides and we settle down for what has to be one of the best recent films about human obsession.

The central character, despite not being a policeman, becomes obsessed with finding out who the elusive 'Zodiac' was and that ultimately consumes/ruins his life. It's not a thriller in the conventional sense because the antagonist is always...unknown, or at least uncertain. Just beyond reach.

The 70s time-setting of it all gives it a kind of grounding which wouldn't have worked for something set in the now - you would never ever accept a police force these days effectively handing over their files to a civilian and saying: go on then, you solve it if you're so clever. But that's just what happened, and once we get onto that trip, it's totally compelling.

It's not perfect, and the main problem is the early part of the film. To be fair, what can you do when it's based on real events and those events are so weird? But at the start it almost feels like a horror film, and then it drifts a little while we wait to see if Robert Downey Jnr is going to be the main character - he isn't but such is his charismatic presence on screen these days, you just never know. Once things settle down though, it's a heck of a ride.

Special mention to the supporting cast - all brilliant, especially the policeman who continues to help Jake Gyllenhaal so long after the fact. And as for Gyllenhaal, this is the best thing he's done so far - understated but brilliant.

No it's not Fight Club, the power comes from the story and the human element, not flashy visual or gallows comedy. More like this please Mr Fincher...


Before Sunset [DVD] [2004]
Before Sunset [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Ethan Hawke
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: 16.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best modern romance film?, 30 Nov 2007
This review is from: Before Sunset [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Maybe.

And for a film which consists of two people talking and walking around Paris, with no soundtrack music at all, for just over 90mins, it's a pretty tall claim I know BUT! Following on from Before Sunrise, to me it's the perfect meditation on what it actually means to find someone attractive to you, to consider what that means for your life, what it means when you connect with someone, even if you only see them the once.

There's an honesty about the whole thing - a realism in the dialogue, a naturalism you rarely get in Hollywood (not that director Linklater is mainstream, he definitely isn't.) The resonance of the whole thing just runs and runs: choices, the lies we sometimes tell ourselves, how we can be our own worst enemies and yet still try to reach for a better self.

Brilliant, completely brilliant. To be fair, it did take me a couple of viewings to really absorbe it all. Just look at that scene where they first leave the book shop and start walking - how long does that go on for?!? And yet, it seems like only a flash.

Best of - BEST OF ALL! What has to be the fabbest ending of any recent romantic film - the last ten minutes with Julie Delpy and her song and the whole Nina Simone thing (this is not a spolier by the way!) is priceless, just..the magical ending it all deserved. You find yourself going back to that again and again.

There should be some sort of law requiring them to make a new sequel every year. How did the screenplay not win the Oscar that year?

Buy without fear, everyone deserves to have a copy of this.


Mission Impossible 3   (Single Disc) [DVD]
Mission Impossible 3 (Single Disc) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise..., 30 Nov 2007
...given the pseudo-macho-ego-out-of-control-fest that was the very average MI 2. As usual, it's good writing that saves the day and JJ Abrams does not let us down. True, there are some (alright, a lot) of moments which stretch credibility but hey, this isn't documentary it's CINEMA.

The charm of the first one was I suppose the intricacy of the plot and the sense of some sort of real-world grounding of the action, and whilst they don't really gun for that, there's enough intelligence to make it more than the simple 'Tom does Arnie' ethos of MI 2.

And fair play - there are some incredible moments - my heart was in my mouth when the Cruiser seems to actually leap off the top of a Chinese tower block. You know it's CGI, but it's still amazing.

Don't let MI 2 put you off, things are back on track here.


Finding Forrester [DVD]
Finding Forrester [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Offered by UKPaperbackshop
Price: 9.20

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fitting au revoir, 16 Nov 2007
This review is from: Finding Forrester [DVD] (DVD)
Although he did another one or two films before his formal retirement, this is as good a swan song as the splendid old so-and-so deserves. Playing a character based so obviously on J D Salinger he even has the same number of syllables in his name(!) but it's all good fun - to the extent that the film really only seems to move forward when Connery is on screen.

But...it's all a bit too contrived for my taste, to many Hollywood coincidences in the script - plus Van Sant had only directed Good Will Hunting a few years earlier and this film suffers (as most would) by comparison to that. It's the sense of going back to the well one time to many.

Major gripe - the story goes on too long (SPOILER SPOLIER SPOILER!)and there's no need really to have most of the scenes after the death of Forrester - the end shot in my mind always comes back to Forrester cycling off through the heavy daytime city traffic, in his suit and coat, completely out of place but enjoying the world again.

To me, it's better that a million `Shaken, not stirred' clips in giving us a fond farewell to Mr Connery. May his tartan retirement be restful..


Bridge To Terabithia [DVD]
Bridge To Terabithia [DVD]
Dvd ~ Josh Hutcherson
Price: 2.73

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In the end, not that well put together, 16 Nov 2007
This review is from: Bridge To Terabithia [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not one to ordinarily criticise children's films too much, after all it's the really good ones that deserve the praise and for the rest, well, I'm sure there are plenty of children who love them anyway.

I know nothing about the book(s) the film is based on but it seemed to me things took a wrong turn during the last third of the film. For me (and my little boy watching) it really threw things way, way off kilter. Apart from the fact it was pretty unexpected, a big problem is this - it wasn't shown in the film. Now, this is not a macabre fixation or anything but the fundamental rule of fiction for children is always this: don't talk down to them. By keeping what is such a massive plot moment (the plot moment of the whole film really) OFF-screen the film makers took a huge risk, and LOST.

The small series of events leading up to that incident did not make a great amount of sense story-wise, so what the viewer is left with is an immense sense of shock without resolution, and this is because of things being handled the wrong way.
I have no problem with children's films which deal with death - Bambi etc, but it MUST be handled in the right way so that kids watching are able to fully understand and relate, but that didn't happen here.

To put it another way - perversely - it was too much like real life i.e. parent leaves for work, has fatal accident and never comes home again. That's life as we know and understand it - and that has no place in a children's film. Which is to say, with such an issue as death, there is a need for a proper follow through so that the little viewers see and understand the bigger picture so far as each is able to. To me, this is one of the few times you can talk about the `responsibility of the filmmaker' without sounding like an idiot.

It may seem like I'm banging on to the detriment of the rest of the film but it's such a big issue for a `family film' with a PG rating such as this to go down this road. So big was the blunder it seemed to me, that after that turning point, nothing really recovers - we're palmed off with a quick-fried ending about the brother and his sister not really getting on...and then suddenly getting on. Ham-fisted and mawkish.

Now, the only saving grace here is that you can see there is the potential for a good story - a kind of family version of `Heavenly Creatures' where the kids who don't fit in invent their own world which magically comes to life and reality and fantasy then collide. Now that's a film I would have like to have seen, and I think my son would have too.

The effects are good (which is fast becoming movie-shorthand for "the film was rubbish" these days!)and it had some good moments - AND the young girl in the lead was great - probably a future talent. But next time, we're hiring Jumanji...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2008 5:24 AM GMT


Chaos and Disorder
Chaos and Disorder

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars His goodbye kiss-off to Warner Brothers, 16 Oct 2007
This review is from: Chaos and Disorder (Audio CD)
Not for a long time has such a nasty slab of not-niceness been dumped on a record label by an artist - something like marvin gaye's 'Here, My Dear' springs to mind. Prince had finally managed to get out of his Warner Brother's deal by fobbing them off with a legit release of the black album and this, collectively filler.

Now, some will point to the one or two highlights here - and there are highlights, as always with Prince. BUT, the overall mood is very very bleak - even apparently nice songs are seemingly mean-spirited - like Dinner With Delores and the over-eating heroine of the song. 'Dig U Better Dead' is a career low and everything is summed up by the final short, sharp and abrupt 'Had U.'

CD artwork which includes a real heart about to be flushed down the toilet kind of says it all doesn't it?

Someone as prolific as Prince would never have had a problem filling a final album quota as a contractual obligation but all the song choices - even the packaging, reeks of bad vibes.

Does he regret it now? Probably not, but you'd be better trying to track down the magnificant 'Gold Experience' which followed not long after this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2013 7:13 PM BST


Prince
Prince
Offered by Dirty Deals UK
Price: 5.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prince lunges for mainstream success..., 16 Oct 2007
This review is from: Prince (Audio CD)
And finds it!

The hard truth was that as good as the first album was, it did not have the hits or sales that perhaps everyone was hoping. So probably for the only time in his career, Prince decided to actively gun for commercial success. Now, you could say that he just suddenly wrote a whole album's worth of great songs that happen to be radio-friendly. And you might be right - and when such a thing happens later in his career, I would agree. But at this point he had a lot to loose. He really needed a proper hit album.

So, out came songs like I Wanna Be Your Lover and When We're Dancing Close and Slow and guess what happened? He got what he needed, and then it was on to Dirty Mind and back to his orginal agenda.

It's a good listen - it still sounds good, crisp and fresh today, thanks to a production ethic of mainly just recording real instruments very very well. When We're Dancing could appear on one of his albums today and not sound out of place.

A good place to start if you want to get into early Prince.


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