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A. Willard (Kent, England)
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Amnesia
Amnesia
Price: £5.50

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I still dream, 19 Jan 2010
This review is from: Amnesia (Audio CD)
I've got most of the songs on this album on various iTune playlists, and yet, and yet, it doesn't really work as an album. Taken as a whole the songs get a little bit samey while in isolation they're fine (except for `Can't Win' which is dull).

It was the start of Thompson's collaboration with Mitchell Froom which produced some good stuff - especially `Rumour and Sigh' - perhaps here they just hadn't got into their groove.

Best song is `Waltzing for Dreamers' but there are no `great' Thompson songs on here, just some good ones.


Felicia's Journey [DVD]
Felicia's Journey [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bob Hoskins
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things - happen. Things take a turn., 15 Jan 2010
This review is from: Felicia's Journey [DVD] (DVD)
This is the first (and only) film by Atom Egoyan that I've ever seen, for some reason I've never really fancied his work, but after this I'll certainly be looking out for some more.

The story of a Irish girl who gets pregnant and comes to England to find the soldier father becomes a study in loneliness and quiet understated menace. She is `helped' by a catering manager who has some, er, problems shall we say.

Egoyan's vision of England is rather strange but yet seems to fit the film perfectly. When is the film set? Hoskins factory could have come straight out of the 60's or 70's but in other ways the film seems bang up to date - or as up to date as any film that was made in 1999 may seem to us now.

Hoskins gives easily his best performance since `The Long Good Friday' and, as the young girl, Elaine Cassidy is astonishing (who is she? why isn't she incredibly famous?). Together the two make for very uneasy viewing.

Hoskins `conversion' at the end is a little too pat and may show a slight lack of courage in taking the story to a more natural conclusion, but this is a fine film and well worth seeking out.


Reveal
Reveal
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £2.70

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars She just wants to be, 13 Jan 2010
This review is from: Reveal (Audio CD)
Another `return to form` album from REM which isn't really, but it's still pretty good. The album carries on the more keyboard-friendly sound of `Up' (which almost was a `return to form') and certainly up to the single `Imitation of Life' this is very fine indeed. The opening track `The Lifting' and `She Just Wants To Be' are right up there with their best.

But the album fades very badly towards the end, and is far from the first REM album to have that problem. There hasn't been a decent final track on one of their albums since `Find a River' on `Automatic for the People'.

My main problem is with `I'll Take the Rain', which is supposed to be the climax of the album, but just sounds like ballad-by-numbers to me. Even Stipe sounds bored and going through the motions.

For the most part a decent album though.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2010 9:15 AM BST


The Last King Of Scotland [DVD] [2006]
The Last King Of Scotland [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Forest Whitaker
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £2.74

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You did not persuade me, Nicholas., 13 Jan 2010
Well, Forest Whitaker is very good, there's no doubt about that. So are the black supporting cast, all play their parts with commitment and skill. I'm afraid the main problem here is with the white folks.

Is this the finished part that Gillian Anderson signed up for? Coming over all reticent at first, and just when you think she's about to give in to temptation - she's gone! Only to be glimpsed once more in the film in the back of a bus. I suppose the point they're trying to make is that the main character finds feeding off Idi Amin's power more seductive than seducing the wife of his colleague, but it's done clumsily.

The Brits in the embassy are all very cliched and dull (though, who knows, they probably are all like this).

And then there's James McAvoy. What to make of his character? Well mostly that he's an annoying little tosser; of course to start off with he's supposed to be an annoying little tosser - but even when the scales fall from his eyes and he finally realises what Amin is - he's STILL an annoying little tosser. I'm not having a go at McAvoy - he's a fine actor - but, even when something very unpleasant happens to him towards the end of the film, you just can't feel any sympathy for him - more a case of `serves you right, you annoying..etc..etc'.

When Whitaker is on screen this doesn't seem to matter - he drives the film on with sheer charisma, but there's a real problem at the heart of the story and eventually prevents it from being any more than a showcase for a great actor


Mean Machine [2001] [DVD]
Mean Machine [2001] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Vinnie Jones
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.96

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much cop, 12 Jan 2010
This review is from: Mean Machine [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Poor old Robert Aldrich - what did he ever do to deserve all these lousy remakes. The recent version of `Flight of the Phoenix' is utterly dreadful and this isn't that much better.

Vinnie Jones plays a footballer who falls foul of the law after he goes on a bender when his career takes a nosedive - apparently he `threw' a game against the Germans (can there be a greater crime?).

He ends up in a prison which is run by David Hemming's eyebrows and poor Ralph Brown, who's still waiting for another part as good as Danny the drug dealer, is chief warder. He meets the kindly old lag who seems to inhabit every prison film, and is finally persuaded to set up a football team which will take on the screws, blah blah you know the rest.

The acting is variable to say the least. Vinnie is actually ok and the very wonderful David Kelly plays the old lag who looks suitably embarrassed when he is forced to say the line `You had it all - and you threw it away!'. Jason Statham turns up and, well, what an inspiration his career is to us all, and then there's Danny Dyer...

The football itself is actually quite well filmed (Vinnie's influence one would imagine) and the two commentators are quite funny but the rest, well, the original was far from Aldrich's best but he must be spinning in his grave at this.

I haven't seen the Adam Sandler version - perhaps I'll leave it for a while.


Screamadelica
Screamadelica
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £4.00

18 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't fight it, forget it, 12 Jan 2010
This review is from: Screamadelica (Audio CD)
There are certain `classic' albums that I don't like where I know I'm in the wrong - `Pet Sounds' and `Astral Weeks' to name but two. There are others where I know that, deep down, I'm in the right, and that they are, in fact, rubbish; `Forever Changes' and `Sgt Pepper' immediately spring to mind (come on, admit it).

This, now this, really gets my goat - I know I'm too old, never took the right drugs etc etc but REALLY - snap out of it folks - this is dreadful. The fact that the best track on the album is a laughably poor Stones imitation (`Movin' On Up' in case you hadn't guessed) just says it all. Sorry but Bobby Gillespie's career is a complete mystery to me, striking the right poses and taking lots of drugs does not disguise the fact that he sings like a 15 year old boy whose voice has just broken.

`Higher than the Sun' (the short version) is ok and the first 3 or so minutes of `Loaded' are quite entertaining but everything goes on forever and leads nowhere.

Of course I could be wrong...
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2013 5:16 PM BST


Zodiac [DVD] [2007]
Zodiac [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £4.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Here comes the Hurdy Gurdy Man, 11 Jan 2010
This review is from: Zodiac [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
A film about unsolved murders? Two and a half hours long? Don't fancy it much? Well, don't be put off - this is David Fincher in `good film' mode and this is a very good film.

No one is even sure how many murders Zodiac committed, seems he was quite fond of claiming killings he hadn't actually done, but the opening scene, which re-creates one of the crimes everyone is sure he committed, sets the tone. No modern director quite captures `dread' like Fincher and, of course, there's plenty of rain about for the remaining 2 and something hours (what is this obsession with rain?).

The film has an old-fashioned feel about it, the music is by David Shire, and there's hints of earlier films he worked on, those great paranoid thrillers of the 70's, `All the President's Men', and `The Conversation', especially during Jake Gyllenhaal's final, mad, desperate search for the `truth'.

Gyllenhaal is very good indeed, as are the rest of the almost exclusively male cast; special mentions for Robert Downey Jr as the crime reporter who refuses to play the Zodiac's game, and Philip Baker Hall for, well, just being Philip Baker Hall in all his splendid cragginess.

The film presents a plausible solution to the identity of the killer but there's nothing certain here, except the Zodiac ruined many lives, not just those he killed or attempted to kill, or their families, but also those who became obsessed with him and his hideous crimes.

Good stuff.


Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy [DVD]
Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Will Ferrell
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.50

4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks., 4 Jan 2010
I was all set up to hate this movie. I haven't really liked much of Will Ferrell's stuff and it all seems a bit incestuous the way all the same people keep popping up in each other's films (you know their names).

But after about 10 minutes I started chuckling and by God I just kept on chuckling - it's deeply silly and very funny. The story of a sexist 70's news anchorman threatened by a female interloper is just an excuse for a lot of silly jokes (there's even one about Jethro Tull!) and some really bad clothes.

All I can say is any film that has the lines, `Smells like Bigfoot's dick' and 'I miss your musk' and features my uncle Fred Willard (well, he's not really my uncle, I just wish he was) is ok in my book.

Get some afternoon delight.


Monster
Monster
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.73

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's the point, Michael?, 4 Jan 2010
This review is from: Monster (Audio CD)
R.E.M.'s attempt at a heavier, less M.O.R. sound after `Out of Time' and `Automatic for the People' doesn't really work. Parts of `Life's Rich Pageant' and `Document' are quite heavy but they were never that loud anyway.

There's a few good songs (`Strange Currencies' for instance, though that could've come off of any R.E.M. album) but there are a few stinkers as well - the last three tracks for instance.

The start of a long gentle slope downhill - you always know when a band realise they've lost it when every new album is announced as `a return to form'.

Ah well, never mind.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 18, 2011 4:42 PM BST


The Good Shepherd [DVD]
The Good Shepherd [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What about you people? What do you have?, 4 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Good Shepherd [DVD] (DVD)
A surprising film from De Niro - this history of the CIA through the career of one of its leading lights is actually very good, if somewhat overlong. I don't know why it should be so surprising but you just wouldn't have imagined him to have been interested in this sort of thing (maybe it was playing an ex CIA man in 'Meet The Parents').

Matt Damon's character is more George Smiley than Jason Bourne and though, by the end, he doesn't seem to have aged enough he still does a good job (and he looks quite good in drag too!).

The acting overall is fine, Angelina Jolie is good as his long-suffering wife and there's a fine fruity turn from Michael Gambon, hamming it up as only a British stage-trained actor can.

The film is also interesting for its look at America's ruling class, where going to the right college and being a member of the right fraternity prove to be the first steps to power, and if you thought all that wearing aprons and rolling up your trouser-leg in Freemasonry was silly, wait till you see what the Skull and Bones mob get upto.


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