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R. Hastings (Loughborough, UK)
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Glastonbury [DVD]
Glastonbury [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julien Temple
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £23.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mud, mud, glorious mud, 4 Jan 2007
This review is from: Glastonbury [DVD] (DVD)
As the King of all music festivals takes a break in 2006, Temple's documentary is the closest thing you can get to the Glastonbury experience this year. It charts the history of the event, but is formed in a way that recreates the feeling of three days of fun rather than simply following chronology.

Two hours and twenty minutes might seem a long time for a documentary, but as you're kept smiling most of the way through, it's not in the least overbearing. We are treated to a number of musical highlights, but just as entertaining is meeting some of the weird and wonderful people that make the festival so unique. Particularly memorable are the three-man family team who run the tanker that sucks the, aherm, human waste out of the portaloos - such are the moronic faces of the two children, they really could be characters from Little Britain!


Garden State [DVD]
Garden State [DVD]
Dvd ~ Zach Braff
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: £2.75

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the Doctor ordered, 4 Jan 2007
This review is from: Garden State [DVD] (DVD)
If, at the end of a romantic comedy, you leave the cinema both thinking that life is wonderful and also wishing your cheeks didn't ache from laughing so much, you can't really ask for anything more. Garden State easily fits into this category, and in ambitiously taking on the jobs of writer, director and star, Zach Braff, of `Scrubbs' fame, has succeeded with aplomb in creating a film that is both heart-warming and hilarious.

Although this is a romantic comedy, thankfully there's no room for the kind of schmoozing Julia Roberts and her collagen-fed pink pet slugs normally get up to, and in this respect Garden State is much more in the mould of the similarly excellent Lost In Translation. Meanwhile, Braff's comedy is very direct, so if you're not into simply smiling knowingly for two hours, don't worry - after all, you can't get much more direct than a guide dog humping someone's leg...

Along with Braff and his script, another reason to see this film and adore it is Natalie Portman. While playing the endlessly energetic and self-sure Sam, Portman also still manages to portray real sweetness and vulnerability, in perhaps the most polished performance of her career so far. Just how she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Closer rather than for this comic masterpiece is a strange one.

Despite sometimes dealing with tricky issues, this is a truly excellent feel good film, which never feels contrived. While the ending may be a little sentimental, this for once doesn't seem too bad a thing, after the characters have earned your genuine affection. With the acting, the screenplay, and also the soundtrack all being of top quality, there is no reason not to see this film. So see it!


Sideways [DVD]
Sideways [DVD]
Dvd ~ Paul Giamatti
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.73

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comedy of fine vintage, 4 Jan 2007
This review is from: Sideways [DVD] (DVD)
Not too many comedies get nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, but `Sideways' is fully deserving of this honour. The prospect of the discussion of the finer qualities of chardonnay and the like might not seem that enticing, but don't let that stand in your way: laugh-out-loud humour and great acting await you. Also, with subtle humour being mixed with occasionally jaw-dropping hilarity, the film never drags, despite it not following the hurried pace that too many modern comedies get dragged into.


Memoirs of a Geisha [DVD]
Memoirs of a Geisha [DVD]
Dvd ~ Suzuka Ohgo
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Luxuriant, lavish and very very good, 4 Jan 2007
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha [DVD] (DVD)
Lavish cinematography means `Memoirs of a Geisha' is never anything less than visually beautiful, and it's hard to think of how any other movie could beat it to an Oscar in this department come March next year. However, the true merit of the film lies in the fact that its sumptuous style does not outweigh substance, something particularly thankful given that such an imbalance was so unfortunately true of House of Flying Daggers, the last major release to star Ziyi Zhang. Instead, the truly enchanting performance of 12-year old Suzaka Oghu, who plays the young Sayuri for the first half hour, ensures attention is captured within her character's story for the rest of the drama. This allows the script to remain pleasingly understated, and also means the unlikely nature of the romance can be overlooked.

The hibernation that the story withdraws into during the wartime years could so easily have been damaging, but in the event the portrayal of how the post-war influx of American troops corrupted Japan's ancient traditions is just as excellent as the rest of the film.


Broken Flowers [DVD]
Broken Flowers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Price: £3.49

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murray at his very best yet again, 4 Jan 2007
This review is from: Broken Flowers [DVD] (DVD)
It's very easy to pooh-pooh the vacant stare that Bill Murray seems to have slapped a Hollywood patent on in the last couple of years - you know the one I mean: that look of utterly emotionless disregard for whatever happens to be within his line of vision at any given time. People joke about the Roger Moore school of acting, whereby Moore seemingly made an entire career in the movies simply by raising or lowering a single eyebrow; but give him credit, at least that involved the man using a couple of facial muscles.

The staggering part of this belief that all Murray ever does onscreen nowadays is look uninterested in life, is that it has developed from of the success of just one film - something that surely proves once and for all the brilliance of that one film - `Lost In Translation.' If enjoyed that, you'll probably love `Broken Flowers' too. If not, bad luck, but you're missing out!

Ricky Gervais has made us Brits think we're pretty used to handling uncomfortable anxiety, and you'll probably need that training to enjoy the paucity of dialogue in the script. Like Murray himself, the screenplay will have a polarising effect on the audience - it is one of the very best things about this brilliant film, and yet it's also what will make many people dislike it. However, even if you can deal with the script, Murray's ex-girlfriends will make you squirm. As if Sharon Stone's outrageous daughter isn't enough (let's just say that her name is Lolita and she lives up to it in suitable fashion), each reunion makes you think surely the next can't be worse - and then, in hilariously uncomfortable fashion, it is.


A History Of Violence [DVD]
A History Of Violence [DVD]
Dvd ~ Viggo Mortensen
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.71

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real thriller, 4 Jan 2007
This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
From the very first camera shot, this film is completely engrossing. It is also rarely anything less than bewildering. This is a quality that comes in many different forms in the movies; the tangled plot chronology of Pulp Fiction, or the pure "what the hell?" strangeness of Donnie Darko for example. However, A History Of Violence does bewildering in quite a different manner. Basically, whatever assumptions Cronenburg encourages you to make, whether they concern the plot or simply the style of the film you're watching, he then defies and dashes.

From the first half hour or so, AHOV seems as if it will turn out to be a commentary on the part violence plays in modern society, in the same way as racism is examined in Crash. We see the foiled armed-robbery at the coffee shop, the high school bullying, the father striking the son when he steps out of line. But then suddenly the storyline gathers such momentum that any concerns about deeper meaning fall away, leaving AHOV to be an out-and-out thriller.

All this is mainly possible thanks to Viggo Mortensen, whose ability to transform from considerate family businessman to the taciturn Terminator through the course of the film appears effortless. Combined with Ed Harris's battle-scarred and scared-of-nothing villain threatening to ignite the heavy tension at any second, and the strength of Maria Bello to boot, any shortcomings from a slightly overstretched plot can be ignored.


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