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m "macey" (United Kingdom)

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A Sentimental Education
A Sentimental Education
Price: £10.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Solid and worth a look, 25 Nov 2010
This review is from: A Sentimental Education (Audio CD)
Bought this on the basis that some bit of blurb somewhere mentioned Crosby Stills Nash or something and I thought I'd give it a listen. It's more Macguinn than Crosby: very acoustic, occasionally unimaginative BUT there are one or two real moments: stand out track for me was 'Taking You To Heart' - spare and haunting. Also 'Wonderful' put me in mind of Shack, and that can't be a bad thing. Also a lovely twist on a trad arrangement of 'Black is the colour.' A few more with that sort of thought and effort, and I would have given it 4 stars.

Someone to watch. Almost a Sunday morning record - in a good way


EPIPHONE DOT STUDIO CHERRY Electric guitars Hollow and semi-hollow
EPIPHONE DOT STUDIO CHERRY Electric guitars Hollow and semi-hollow

5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelieveably good value, 12 Oct 2010
I had tried a few out briefly in the shop but had to order the cherry version on line. For £200, even though it's an Epiphone, my hopes were not that high. However - I was wrong. A realy great finish which makes it look top-line, with lovely shiny chrome tuners and saddle. Best of all though, it does have that fat bite that us Epihone players love. Albert King? No problem. To be fair, this is not a guitar which will be bought for it's clean sound -which is fair, but nothing great, but even the slightest bit of edge to the gain, and you're up and running. Sustain, even on a cheap amp, is wonderful. True, it's not a strat and you haven't got endless tone-options, but for a single, warm sound from the get-go, I don't think you'll find better in this price bracket.

Finally, the thing I love most about the guitar is it's simplicity - tone and volume. Too many knobs on the Casino for my liking, this is far easier to handle in a live situation.

How do they make it so cheaply? OK, she's plain lady (no fret dots, if that bothers you) but no wall-flower either when plugged in.

Side note: I did try the 'vintage sunburst finish' model and whilst it played well, I couldn't get on with the colouration and finish. I struggle to see who would want that, when they could have this fantastic looking model.

Surely this is going to be a collectors item soon?

Buy without fear.

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas [DVD]
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.17

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's just like the book. And that's the problem..., 4 Jun 2010
Many people have a fondness for the drug-weekend anecdote which this film is based on. Sadly, like someone trying to explain their trip to you, it's all a bit hard to take and make out. The beauty of the book was it's wild visions and interjected moments of clarity/profundity. But whereas the book allows the reader to conjure up their own mental version of the tale, here we are stuck with something midway between the mainstream and non-linear art-house.

You know something's going wrong when Depp goes for all-out weirdness but you hardly notice his performance - it's all played at one, long hysterical pitch. Gilliam - so usually able to bring his own satirical humour and contrariness seems to just be plodding through it all. The slavish-ness of it all is part of the problem; as though the fear was that any departure from the book would be heresy.

'They' said the book couldn't be filmed and it seems they were right: a gigantic miss-step for Gilliam et al, only Del Torro gets through unscathed for me - his performance is perhaps two note at most, but his monstrous rampages are a sight to behold, and every line delivered with the preface "As your attorney I recommend that..."

In the end, it would have been better if it was promoted as a sort of weekend project for everyone; sort of a movie B-side, maybe then expectations wouldn't have been so high?
You can't fault the theory: they shot the book almost verbatim; it's just wasn't that good an idea to do it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 7, 2012 5:11 PM GMT

The Wolfman (2010) - Extended Cut [DVD]
The Wolfman (2010) - Extended Cut [DVD]
Dvd ~ Emily Blunt
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.17

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You can't have your furry cake and eat it, 28 Mar 2010
For such an iconic monster, the werewolf probably has the thinnest cinematic background. An off-shoot of Jekyll and Hyde, everyone remembers Lon Chaney Jnr's Universal performance from the 40s. After that the only notable films are Oliver Reed's 'The Curse of the Werewolf' (still a great film with scary moments, even in 2010) the classic but also hard-to-catagorise 'American Werewolf In London'. That film was over twenty years ago of course and since that time perhaps only the 'Ginger Snaps' trilogy came anywhere near something fresh or at least startling with the basic werewolf movie.

This latest outing for old fur face is a real curates egg: at different times it tries to be different things, mostly unsuccessfully. A shame, because I was really looking forward to it, although my antennae were up with the film having been delayed for something like 18 months, with numerous release dates coming and going.
Where to start? Firstly, Del Torro didn't do it for me in the title role. I know he played a big part in getting the film off the ground but too often his performance is (or seems) non-committal. He seems to be wandering around through scenes and dialogue with no clear take on the role. He is a great actor - couldn't get enough of 'Che' - but here, there's an emptiness at his centre and I find myself hankering after some Lon Chaney-style earnestness.

The romantic plot, such as it is, is too throwaway and slight - this is no reflection on Emily Blunt who, together with Hugo Weaving, give the best performances. Anthony this stage in his career he probably fancied a bit of a laugh and I'm not going to deny him that BUT his character was too...? Plus, at different times his accent veers from his native Welsh to Kings English to 'Oirish Brogue. Wasn't anyone keeping tabs on him?

The victorian setting is a great stroke, and the London scenes are probably worth the price of admission, but there's too much sense of a directionless story, too much feeling that they wanted to do a little homage here and there to this and that, not enough sense of pushing the whole thing forward and into new territory.

My main gripe though is the the werewolf himself. If after tosh like 'Van Helsing' there was still some doubt about the inadequacy of CGI as the end-all to effects problems, it should be very clear here: a CGI main monster almost never works. The old 'Cat People' adage of less is more is very true for the werewolf film. The great transformation scene in 'American Werewolf' was a true cinematic one-off; we hadn't scene it before and it was done with old-style effects which made it seem extra-real. But you can't go back.

There were some good moments, one or two genuine shocks, but I found the gore too off-putting; another example of them trying to please everyone but ending up making no-one happy.

I'm thinking of this as a reasonably fond farewell not to the werewolf himself, but to this cinematic incarnation of him. Next time I see him, I want him dragged into new and more interesting directions. Think it can't be done? Check out Stephen Moffat's serial drama 'Jekyll' from a few years ago. Wolfie, there's life in the old dog yet...

Where The Wild Things Are [DVD] [2009]
Where The Wild Things Are [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Max Records
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.78

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With a child's heart..., 12 Mar 2010
The thing which struck me most about this film was that, in the 'age of Pixar' where 'children's films' are effectively stories for both adults AND kids combined, here is a film solely designed for young minds. Objectively, almost nothing happens - some friends have a bit of a falling out, but manage to make up. But within that, the film makers manage to extract so much emotion. One aspect that I was very happy to see come over from the original was the sense that it was all about a giant tantrum - and it's true, if you go back and watch it again all the elements are there, and Max spends most of the film trying to calm down.

The other great thing is where they add or digress from the original story, it always somehow stays true to the spirit of the book - a bit funnyweird: the best example being the crazy 'Bob and Terry' characters! Loved it.

A real benchmark of movie making for kids, and it show us that Pixar's way is no the only way.

The Wave [DVD] [2008]
The Wave [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Jürgen Vogel
Price: £7.79

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Danger of Ideas, 3 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Wave [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I agree with the other reviewer who said this film ought to be shown in secondary schools: young adults are a key audience for this. The whole thing, while not completely perfect, is a welcome change to the usual 'coming of age' malarky Hollywood likes to subject us to.

The biggest moment for me was towards the end where one pupil shouts out: "But not eveything about the Wave was bad." And therein lies the rub. If anything let the show down, it was probably the last, inevitable scene and also the character of the teacher. I expected to read that this film has been picked up for a US remake, but it would seem not. I wonder why that is...

Fair play to the German film community, who just lately are putting out some really interesting main stream stuff. In a way, I was glad this film was German - it's refershing to see the attitudes of young Germans to the inevitable 'weight of history' they must, from time to time, have to deal with.

Well worth a look: kind of a political Dead Poets Society.

Revolutionary Road [DVD] [2008]
Revolutionary Road [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.58

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As pretty as a cut crystal glass, but as empty too..., 17 Feb 2010
Missing this at the cinema I was very ready to see it on DVD. The disappointment comes from the old adage: if it 'aint on the page, it 'aint on the stage.

The film looked great, I couldn't fault the acting by all players(particularly DiCaprio.) Where we ran aground was story. Winslet apparently wanted to play the part badly, and it is a full-tilt performance from her; the downfall comes in that there's nothing to peg it to. More time was spent on DiCaprio's character, and we ended up knowing far more about him than Winslet playing his wife. Given the twist of things at the end, I found this very confusing as a viewer.
It was as though they were all so in awe of the subject matter that no-one stopped to ask if it all tied together. Who actually was April, as a person? It's not made clear - was that intended? I found it funny that DiCaprio's character got all the extra fleshing-out story, but Winslet's didn't. With the path the story takes, it only leaves us with sympathy rather than what we should have had: empathy.

Was April a woman only defined by her husband and his place in the world? Maybe that was the idea, but presented as it is in the film, the distance from her character makes it hard, very hard, to relate.

I haven't read Richard Yates' original book, and perhaps this is a spot-on adaptation, but if so, I wonder why they wanted to make it in the first place? It's not as though the themes here are unique - it has been done before - and much better - in films like Ordinary People or The Big Chill.

Digressing finally: I thought the soundtrack was very weak. Newman (the composer) did the beautiful music for Mendes' Road to Perdition, and here he seems to be just lazily riffing on that. He, like everyone, apparently infected with 'gravitosis'.

The real shame is, the background of the story, the premise, could really deliver a great tale. but there was no tale here - it's all about the angst. Thanks, but we can get enough of that in real life. In a film, it can't stand on it's own and be expected to hold everything together.

Die Hard 4.0 [2007] [DVD]
Die Hard 4.0 [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.44

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a long way to Nakatomi, 30 Jan 2010
This review is from: Die Hard 4.0 [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
All of the die hard sequels cower in the shadow of the first, great, movie, but this one more than the others. I kept thinking about the first film - the great characterisation, in fact the first one is all about that: the hero who will not give in when he should, the villain who is the same.

There is really so little connection here with the original elements that made the first film so great. The film makers are reduced to the occasional visual reference or homage to DH1. It came across to me as basically a so-so buddy movie. I think a lot things could have been sorted out thad they got the villain right, but for some reason they decided to make him one of the most inactive, passive baddies I've ever seen. Comparing him to Gruber in the first film, you start to get a sense of the problem. All the talk in the world about someone's evil genius is much less impressive than actually seeing that genius in action. Only at the end does that point get picked up, and for me it was too late by then.

Do I sound sour? There were some great moments, true, and Kevin Smith's cameo was fun, but...
For all the action, and there was a lot of it - and I'm sure most of the fifteen year old boys watching would have been happy, to me it was just too much like Mission Impossible II - all the great looking action CGI in the world isn't going to save weak writing. I kept comparing the moment when JM ends up jumping from a falling truck onto the tail of a fighter jet, to that moment in the first film where he has to jump off the building, and ties a fire hose around his waist. That seemed to spell out the difference to me. This film had the visuals, it just didn't have as much heart.

Worth a look, but I'm hanging on to my box-set of the first three films.

Aliens in the Attic [DVD]
Aliens in the Attic [DVD]
Dvd ~ Carter Jenkins
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £6.38

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Punches it's own weight, 13 Jan 2010
This review is from: Aliens in the Attic [DVD] (DVD)
No, the repuations of Ingmar Bergman or Orson Welles are not placed in any danger by this Hollywood 'pack em and rack em' movie, but on it's own terms, it's pretty good.

I took my two little ones to see it and they couldn't have been happier. And for me there were shades of The Goonies, E.T.and all those great 80s 'Kids Adventure' films. All the necessary ingredients are there - big old house, warring siblings, cute little girl who never really get's in any danger because she's so loveavble, the bully character who gets his comeuppance, and of course, the parents who have no idea what is going on. It's a wet Saturday afternoon type of picture.

I wouldn't object to a sequel.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus  [DVD]
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus [DVD]
Dvd ~ Heath Ledger
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £4.40

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All whimsy and no plot makes Terry a dull boy, 9 Nov 2009
The hard truth of this film is that, despite the attention it has received on account of being Heath Ledger's last film, it's actually not that great, certainly by Gilliam's standards. There is far too much time spent 'marvelling at the fantastical' than giving us a decent story to get hold of. The premise itself seemed like Gilliam home-territory but in the delivery, it all falls flat. Characters are interesting but given no solid grounding - Ledger's character is a case in point: there are allusions to his background/story which seem interesting and inviting, but...are never capitalised upon.

There is no denying the master-stroke in casting Tom Waits as the devil, but again, he never really is able to make anything meaty from the role. Infact, non of the actors put a foot wrong really, the issue for me was that the story just seemed to drift along and peeter out, giving way to little set pieces which often looked great (the film of course, does look fab) but lead you nowhere and add nothing.

Gilliam's films have often had these surreal little moments and occuring in the context of a wider, solid story, and we love that from him. If you are hoping for the wild ride of, say, Time Bandits, you will feel a bit let down. It's worth bearing in mind that some of Gilliam's best stuff is actually NOT written by him (e.g. 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King) and whilst as a writer sometimes he does hit the mark, here it ends up feeling like a dead-end. A great story like the Devil and Daniel Webster, but re-imagined - that's what I had hoped for.

The other thing to say is that - and this to me illustrates the whole problem with the lack of decent story - the sequences with Depp, Law and Farrell, with the exception of Farrells end-sequence, are almost completely expendable. Little islands of weirdness in a sea already jam-packed with it.

Worth a look, but don't get your hopes up too much.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2010 4:51 AM GMT

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