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Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 2.70

17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This IS Bond and Beyond, 24 Jan 2007
There were many people who were shocked at the announcement of Daniel Craig as Bond. Some even felt it necessary to set up and anti Craig as Bond campaign. Well, you don't hear much from these people anymore. This was a truly inspired piece of casting! I had doubts but waited until I could actually judge for myself. Having seen the film, it is quite clear that the doubters and the cynics were quite simply wrong!!

Daniel Craig in many ways IS James Bond. Already he has made the role his own after just one outing, something that only Sean Connery had managed to do previously with anything like success and in this he was aided by the lack of previous films for comparison. Craig is being mentioned in the same breath as Connery as a dangerous yet vulnerable Bond, one who is charming and efficiently cold blooded in equal measure yet ironically the actor with whom he has the most in common is Timothy Dalton, another steely eyed and abrasive Bond. However, Craig offers more than Dalton. His less than perfect features (he was criticised in the pre-release hype as looking like a boxer- if only the critic had realsed just how appropriate this is for an ex-service man who does not shirk from a bit of fisticuffs) are perfect for the role, he has charm by the bucket and is able to pull off fight scenes in a way not seen since the Bond/Sanchez battle in Licence to Kill, i.e Bond actually bleeds and nearly dies a few times. By contrast, the vastly over-rated Brosnan never seemed to suffer much more than a wonky tie or a dusty suit after a battle.

The film moves along at a great pace. Even the scenes in the casino which had the potential to be very tedious are exciting. The support cast is great and the direction by Martin Campbell is fabulous, a good choice since it was he who in Goldeneye offered the best of the Brosnan four.

What is clear from this film, however, is that the producers of the franchise are now taking seriously the challenge of returning Bond to the charcater first envisioned by the writer, Ian Fleming. After the far fetched verisimilitude of the latter Connery films, all the Moore films (except perhaps "For Your Eyes Only" which was a really good and believeable narrative and a satisfying film)and most of the Brosnans, there really is nothing more in the direction of make believe for the producers to achieve so they have wisely chosen to bring Bond back down to earth and have done so with enormous success. Where do they go from here? More of the same please!


Songs From The Wood
Songs From The Wood
Price: 4.99

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Jethro Tull album, 22 Jan 2007
This review is from: Songs From The Wood (Audio CD)
This album is the epitome of Jethro Tull. The instrument playing is simply wonderful, the songs are evocative and meaningful and the production is great. The blend of rock and folk has never worked better than it does here. The highlights for me are the title track itself, The Whistler, Hunting Girl and Velvet Green although people new to the album might be more familiar with Ring Out Soltace Bells, a regular on the Christmas playlists of many radio stations.

This album and its messages takes on a new meaning in the present feeling of doom regarding global warming and climate change. Ian Anderson's song writing suggests an almost predictional message of the difficulties facing a society in which the wheels of industry and pollution have taken hold over nature and as nature struggles to fight back, it becomes clear that it faces an insidious and determined enemy. On the other hand, if this is too deep, just enjoy the songs for what they are-tuneful songs played by a band at the top of their game.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2012 10:42 AM GMT


Five Easy Pieces [DVD]
Five Easy Pieces [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 24.99

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. Finest performance from a fine actor., 16 Jan 2007
This review is from: Five Easy Pieces [DVD] (DVD)
This film proves beyond any other that there is much more to Jack Nicholson than the star, it showcases his enormous acting talent. For many people, the larger than life persona he adopts in so many of his films, most ntably in Batman and The Witches of Eastwick, is how they know him and this work is certainly entertaining but it is in the smaller often lesser known films that Jack the major acting talent appears. This is evident in offerings such as the brilliant Sean Penn thriller "The Pledge", the not so small "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" and this, in my opinion Nicholson's finest film.

The film tells of a talented but reluctant pianist who leaves his privileged, middle class life behind in favour of an uncertain and impoverished yet infinitely more satisfying life as a manual oil field worker. He shares his life with an ill-educated and rather annoying girl-friend who embarrases him in public and who represents the low-life conditions he has adopted for himself. When word comes through that his sick father is close to death he returns to his previous life reluctantly taking his girlfriend with him. On the way, Nicholson acts out one of the most famous scenes from any of his films as he shows his displeasure with a waitress who is reluctant to alter the menu to accomodate his desire for a chicken salad sandwich on brown bread (at least he has a healthy diet!).

The final part of the film acts as a metaphor for the dichotomy of America's middle and working classes and the seeming inability they have for co-existence. Realising that the problem is entrenched and that as a thinking member of the American middle class who balks at its hypocrisy and one for whom a working class life fails to satiate his needs, the central character in a brilliant open ending makes the ultimate opting out step for those who find it difficult to find a place in society and simply walks away from all he knows to see what's over the next hill. In short,he has the nerve to do what so many other people would like to do.

The film is quite simply a piece of cinematic excellence with BRILLIANT performances from all concerned:- cannot possible be recommended highly enough
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2011 10:36 AM GMT


The Day Of The Jackal [DVD] [2010] [2003]
The Day Of The Jackal [DVD] [2010] [2003]
Dvd ~ Edward Fox
Price: 4.96

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Meticulous masterpiece, 16 Jan 2007
I read somewhere theat Fred Zimmerman, the director of The Day Of The Jackal had toyed with casting Roger Moore in the lead role but plumped for Edward Fox instead. Commercially, Zimmerman was said to regret this decision as Moore, having recently been cast as James Bond and already known to millions in the US and the UK from his roles in The Saint and The Persuaders, was far better known. The decision to cast Fox was taken however precisely because he was less well known, a feature which helps to make the shadowy, anonymous, enigmatic and cold hearted assassin portrayed in the film all the more realistic.

Whilst commercially it might have made sense to cast Moore, critically Fox is the perfect choice for the lead role. His cultured, refined and debonair English Gent portrayal of a highly lethal, dangerous and effective assassin is brilliant. The direction is slick, it never loses pace yet it never drowns the senses in overly fast paced editing or intesne cinematography. The support cast, particularly the excellent Michel Lonsdale and Cyril Cusack are all brilliant. The historical fact of DeGaulle's fate and the inevitability of the outcome do not in the slightest detract from the film as one is not given so much to wondering whether The Jackal will succeed but how such a meticulous, determined and relentless person could not fully succeed.

The most compelling feature about this film however is its style. It borders at times on documentary in its presentation and demonstrates quite rarely in a mainstream film characteristics usually associated with a New Wave movement,- no background music, all the sound seems to be diegetic (actual sound from the filming rather than an artifical soundtrack recorded later) and extensive location work in 'real' settings (note how members of the crowd stare at the actors and at the camera while the scenes at the Liberation Day Parade).

In short, this is one of those films that remain as remarkable nearly forty years after it was made for exactly the same reasons it was remarkable when it was first released. Never betterd in this genre!


Never Loved Elvis
Never Loved Elvis
Price: 5.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a weak tune in sight., 21 Dec 2006
This review is from: Never Loved Elvis (Audio CD)
What a belting album this is. The songs are quite brilliant and with the exception of "False Start" each one could have been a hit single. At first experience, the songs are good solid efforts with a great mix of guitar riff and folk touches provided by accordians and violins, though not overpoweringly so. However, it is with repeated listening that real appreciation comes. The lyrics, so easy to overlook as your senses are barraged with musical brilliance, suddenly come to mean so much. Okay, maybe Miles Hunt isn't Bob Dylan or John Lennon but he could be Michael Stipe, Paul Weller or (almost) Morrisey.

Quite simply, there isn't a bad song on this album, although "Welcome to the Cheap Seats" despite being a well known song is in my view the weakest, but for power, fantastic melodies and great lyrics check out this terrific album.


The Daughter Of Time
The Daughter Of Time
by Josephine Tey
Edition: Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully interesting, 21 Dec 2006
This review is from: The Daughter Of Time (Paperback)
What an interesting idea,- to investigate the most talked about, the most baffling and the most controversial mystery in English history, the murder of the Prices in The Tower of London supposedly by their unlcue King Richard III via the research of an injured fictional police officer as he recuperates in hospital. The book's synopsis did not really suggest to me that the book will particulary work. After all, academic books on the subject of Richard are plentiful although some of them are quite turgid to the casual reader, and there are a wealth of murder mystery books where the author is not limited in the case by the need for histroical accuracy and where dramatic licence can be freely employed and these both offer the reader who comes to this book for either more chance of satisfaction. However the book DOES work, and delightful is the result. The book offers a new and interesting perspective to those interested in the mystery of the dead princes and the mysterious figure of Richard himself and to those who enjoy reading about the deep and laborious investigations of a murder enquiry it likewise offers much.


The World According to Clarkson
The World According to Clarkson
by Jeremy Clarkson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect holiday reading, 18 Dec 2006
I never realised that a person who has an interest in cars which is more than regarding them as an applicance could actually be quite so interesting and witty, (why don't people have the same enthusiasm for electric drills, spin dryers, paper shredders, food blenders or hoovers as they do for cars???) Cars:-yawn! Clarkson on Cars:-ZZZZ! Top Gear:- Snore! However, "The World According to Clarkson":-wakey wakey!! This is a good book which I was surpirised to enjoy. I had decided that the moment he started ranting on about cars I would finish reading the book immediately but that moment never came. Instead Clarkson shows that there is more to him than writing or broadcasting about cars, indeed he is a clever and very witty writer whose observations of life range from the thought provoking to the refreshingly confrontational but all, even his chapter on cricket about which we profoundly disagree, are very humorous. I read this book last summer on holiday and it was perfect for this purpose. Nice short chapters in case a dip in the sea, a beer or an MP3 session beckoned. Heartily recommended- and (thankfully) not a car in sight!!!


Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs (Morningside Books)
Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs (Morningside Books)
by Paul E. Willis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.86

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable sociology, 13 Dec 2006
This book has been at the forefront of sociological debate for a number of years. Drawing heavily on ideas presented in Bowles and Gintis' "Schooling in Capitalist America" and as a Marxist text it does what it says on the tin- it "investigates" how working class kids get working class jobs but as an ethnography, it is fatally flawed. The idea of ethnographical research is to a little more open minded but what is clear from the beginning of the research is that Willis actually set out to "prove" (if ever that is possible with the social sciences) that working class kids get working class jobs rather than to see WHETHER they do. In short it is not a bad book in terms of its writing but since Willis seems to have an idea of his conclusion before his research has been done, where is the rigorous sociological investigation? Many working class kids don't get working class jobs today, nor did they in inner city Birmingham in the 70s but there is no real mention into the infinitely more interesting topic of why this happens.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2011 9:10 PM BST


The Blooding: True Story of the Narborough Village Murders
The Blooding: True Story of the Narborough Village Murders
by Joseph Wambaugh
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An awsome true crime story, 11 Dec 2006
I haven't read too many true crime books, the genre does not appeal as much as the fictional kind where nomatter what happens you can always retreat behind the fact that it is fictional if it gets a bit unpleasant. This however had always appeald because I come from Leicestershire and the book tells of events which happened in the Leicestershire village of Narborough and of a breakthrough in the case which took place in my local pub, The Clarendon. The story revolves around how the murders of two young girls were solved thanks to techniqies in genetic fingerprinting developed at Leicester University, the first time genetic profiling had been used and at the time of the crimes and the subsequent murder hunt it was big news. These factors were what initially drew me to the book. It is, however, so much more than just a book about where I lived and an event about which I knew sonething of. It is fabulously written and provides a great insight into the workings of a police department as they at times hopelessly try to crack a baffling crime. Were it not for 2 contrasting reasons:- the breakthrough in the science labs at the University, and the inability of a young lad to keep his mouth closed over a pint in a pub, the killer would almost certainly have got away with it. Compelling stuff, a brilliant read and extremely well written.


Richard III (Revealing History)
Richard III (Revealing History)
by Michael Hicks
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough going, but meticulously researched, 30 Nov 2006
This one is for the reader who doesn't mind somewhat dry writing and who really wants to get to know about this mysterious king in much more than a superficial "was he a villain or wasn't he?" kind of level. It is detailed but does not grab the reader. I am an avid fan of anything Ricardian but at times I felt like giving up and referring back to more..., well, exciting accounts. On the plus side, I give it four stars because for those who are willing to stay the course, it offers much insight into the 15th Century politics and society. Quite predictably it follows the generally established view of most books on Richard that he was a low down, conniving and evil monster, the "facts" as presented here would suggest this but don't believe the "facts", there is a fast growing pro-Richard movement which counters strongly the views held in such books as this one, therefore read this as only PART of the overall picture of the last British die in battle, not the full story.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2014 4:45 PM BST


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