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Profile for S. Kaye-Smith > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
S. Kaye-Smith "Sean Kaye-Smith" (Bristol)
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Woodstock [DVD] [2009]
Woodstock [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Michael Wadleigh
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Bear...the Blind Owl..., 15 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Woodstock [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
...the Snake...the Mole...and Fito on the drums of course. Let's face it folks, you can't get too much Canned Heat, but you can get far too little, which was the case until this wonderful package arrived. Fito de la Parra said that the original cut of the film - a Warner Brothers production - favoured WB acts over CBS and United Artists, and this set of discs seems to finally rectify the problem. Thrilling.


Riding With The King
Riding With The King
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.35

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clapton is God...when someone has inspired him., 15 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Riding With The King (Audio CD)
If Jimi Hendrix had lived would he have become as boring as Eric Clapton sometimes is? Probably not. But Clapton, more than most, seems to need someone to push him, otherwise he lapses into tedious, lazy, chug-a-long blues, eg. Derek and the Dominoes. Obviously Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker could fire him up, as could the great Delaney and Bonnie band of the late '60s, but there has been far too much forgettable easy (or, for fans of the incomparable 'Beano' album, painful) listening since then. In steps B.B.King, and Eric starts trying again, probably as a mark of respect to the great man. This is wonderful - essential listening.


Mr. Arkadin
Mr. Arkadin
by Orson Welles
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Welles probably did have some input into this novel., 6 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Mr. Arkadin (Hardcover)
In his book 'Rosebud - The Story of Orson Welles' (1996), the distinguished critic David Thompson says that, when he was staying with Laurence Olivier at his home, Notley Abbey, one summer in the early 1950s, Welles WAS typing up a novel based on one of the Harry Lime radio plays - 'Greek Meets Greek' - which Welles himself had written, and in which the main character was a man named Arkadin. What seems to have happened is that Welles got bored with it - as he often did with projects - but when the film 'Mr. Arkadin' was released in 1955 it was decided to publicise it with a radio serial. This task seems to have ended up with Welles's friend, the writer Maurice Bessy (1910 -93), who probably used what Welles had already written, plus the screenplay and plus his own considerable skills to produce this novel. Why it was published as a novel rather than broadcast as a radio serial isn't clear.
I don't agree with the other reviewer, I think it's a fine book with considerable literary merit. Bessy, probably working from Welles's material ('I found myself alone with the garish images of saints and martyrs, and occasionally I was surprised to meet my own reflection, usually distorted and weirdly lit by candlelight in one or other of the mirrors' - this sounds like Orson Welles to me) has produced a stylish, witty novel which is similar in style and atmosphere to the works of some of the classic crime writers, like Dashiel Hammett and Ramond Chandler - so don't be put off. And as for Welles saying that he never wrote a word of it, he was notorious for self-mythologising and having fun with the truth - see 'F for Fake' (1973). Interestingly, when Peter Bogdanovich told him that some critics had described the writing in the novel as often 'beautiful', Welles apparently said, grinning, 'Maybe I did write it at that.'


Zardoz [DVD]
Zardoz [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £3.27

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caution, you are approaching the Vortex periphery shield, 25 May 2012
This review is from: Zardoz [DVD] (DVD)
I love 'Zardoz', but I can understand why people hate it. But for me, a William Blake-style head floating through the Wicklow Mountains, Sean Connery firing a gun straight at the camera, the stunning cinematography of Geoffrey Unsworth, any film which features both Niall Buggy AND Sarah Kestleman..well, it's probably pointless to go on. Coming after the mainstream success of 'Deliverance' it must have been an unwelcome shock for many critics: has Mr. Boorman gone mad? And next up was the moving, and horribly trashed, 'The Exorcist 2 - The Heretic' (1977), although 'Excalibur' (1981) restored his reputation many times over. As for 'Zardoz', you either love it or hate it, and I've already put my cards on the table. But caution, you are approaching...


Warchild
Warchild
Price: £5.99

11 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When everything changed, 19 May 2012
This review is from: Warchild (Audio CD)
Everything Jethro Tull did from 1968 to 1973 (in other words from 'This Was' to 'Passion Play') is totally brilliant (in my opinion of course), and there have been some great moments since, eg. 'Broadsword and the Beast', but sadly 'Warchild' is where it all went wrong. It's stodgy, pedestrian and very boring, in comparison with, say, 'Benefit' (1970), which has a wonderful energy and flow to it. What happened? Who can say? Replacing a brilliant bass player (Glen Cornick) with a visual artist (Jeffery Hammond-Hammond) - who claimed that he never really learned how to play the bass - certainly didn't help. And the songs just aren't that good by Ian Anderson's standards, and horribly unsubtle, just compare this with 'Stand Up' (1969). But there is one truly great song here, and of course it's 'Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day', which comes from a much earlier session, and sadly it merely serves to show just how mediocre the rest of this album is. It's their worst album; even some of the dodgy later ones, like 'Under Wraps' (1984) have more of interest on them than this. I love this band, but this has been painful since its release in 1974.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2015 2:38 PM BST


Leo the Last [region 2] [import] [DVD]
Leo the Last [region 2] [import] [DVD]

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost masterpiece., 4 April 2012
John Boorman's filmography is truly outstanding - 'Point Blank' (1967), 'Deliverance' (1972), 'Excalibur' (1981), 'Hope and Glory' (1987) and so on - but, like most directors he has had his critical failures - in his case quite spectacularly with the fascinating 'The Exorcist 2: The Heretic' (1977) - and his forgotten gems, and 'Leo the Last' (1970) is definitely one of those (as is the virtually unseen 'Where The Heart Is' [1990]).
A film maker of consummate vision and skill, Boorman clearly has an eccentric streak, which some people cannot forgive him for - has any film ever divided opinion more than 'Zardoz' (1974)? - but for some of us this is hugely welcome. 'Leo the Last' is a lovably bizarre film; based on the play 'The Prince' by George Tabori, it is about a shy Italian prince who discovers that he owns a street in West London and decides to take up residence there. It was filmed mainly around the corner from Latimer Road tube station in a street due to be demolished and, in addition to Marcello Mastroianni in the title role, includes a wonderfully eccentric cast of stalwarts from '60s and '70s British cinema: Billie Whitelaw, Graham Crowden, Vladek Sheybal and the great David de Keyser, who had also appeared in Boorman's feature debut 'Catch Us If You Can' (1965) and went on to do voice-work in 'Zardoz' and 'Excalibur'.
'Leo the Last' is an intriguing snapshot of late '60s London, and, at times, revels in the weirdness and fun that crept into British cinema after the social-realism of the late '50s and early '60s. This period does have it's darkside - 'Repulsion' (Roman Polanski 1965), the brilliant 'Performance' (Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg 1968) for example - and 'Leo the Last' does have its disturbing moments, but it is primarily a swirling kaleidoscope of a film from a director at the height of his powers. A BFI/Second Run style remastering would be very nice and it's sad that this wonderful movie has so far been ill-served by the reissue companies in the UK.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2012 2:40 PM BST


London Orbital [DVD] [2002]
London Orbital [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ J.G. Ballard
Price: £24.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the film of the book, but a companion piece., 3 April 2012
This review is from: London Orbital [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
The film 'London Orbital' is not 'the film of the book' - the book being 'London Orbital' (2000) by Iain Sinclair - rather it is a companion piece to it by Sinclair and his occasional collaborator the director Chris Petit. It is, as would be expected of anything involving Sinclair or Petit, a fascinating but challenging work, a kind of film essay or meditation on the M25 and what goes on on it and around it. Some of the footage is 'straight' documentary, but some of it is hallucinagenic and dreamlike, and there is occasional surveillance and home movie footage blended in. Both directors provide voiceovers and the music is primarily electronic. There are also brief appearances by significant others, most notably the late J.G.Ballard. Petit has been in road movie territory before with his seminal 1979 black and white feature 'Radio On, and journeys are key features of several of Sinclair's books, eg. 'Dining On Stones' (2004) and 'Edge of the Orison' (2005). 'London Orbital' is thought-provoking, atmospheric and totally engrossing, but not - as the other review on this page suggests - to everyone's taste.


Des Visages Des Figures
Des Visages Des Figures
Price: £9.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 13 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Des Visages Des Figures (Audio CD)
I totally agree with the other reviewers. This is something really special, comparable with the first two Velvet Underground albums, or the Miles Davis electric band of the early '70s. It pushes the 'rock' format way beyond its normal parameters and makes much else in the field, however good, seem safe and predictable. An absolutely brilliant work by a group of extraordinary musicians.


Red Psalm [DVD] [1972]
Red Psalm [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ József Madaras
Price: £12.86

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miklos Jansco is unique., 20 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Red Psalm [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
Miklos Jansco's films of the 1960s and 1970s are unique in World Cinema. Their extraordinary choreography of radical political events in Hungarian history will not be to everyone's taste, but for me these are extraordinary films made by a director of possible genius. 'Red Psalm' continues with the style of 'The Round Up' (1965) and 'The Red and The White' (1967) in its stunning portayal of a peasant uprising and its consequence in rural C19th Hungary. You either like it or you don't - I love it.


The Chymical Wedding
The Chymical Wedding
by Lindsay Clarke
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Boorman tried to film this novel., 30 Nov. 2011
This review is from: The Chymical Wedding (Paperback)
'The Chymical Wedding' is a fascinating, intelligent novel, I really liked it. In 'Bright Dreams and Hard Knocks: A Journal For 1991' - published in the first issue of 'Projections' (1992) - John Boorman reveals that he and Lindsay Clarke wrote a screenplay for 'The Chymical Wedding' but were then, frustratingly, unable to raise the finance for the film. In view of Boorman's interest in Jung, Alchemy and myth, not to mention his stunning cinematic gifts, it seems likely that we've been deprived of a masterpiece.


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