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One Hour Photo [DVD] [2002]
One Hour Photo [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Connie Nielsen|Robin Williams
Price: £2.66

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great performance by Robin Williams, 16 April 2003
This review is from: One Hour Photo [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Robin Williams is having a good run in straight roles lately. His follow up to Insomnia, while not a masterpiece, delivers an intense cinematic experience which looks sharp as a developed photo on DVD.
Given the film's subject matter - lonely photo developer Si Parrish (Williams) develops a dangerous obsession with one family whose pictures he processes- every frame of the film is crisp and beautifully shot in a sterile style which reflects Parrish's soulless existence. Williams' performance is the antithesis of his earlier roles. Restrained, quiet and really quite frightening, he invests Parrish with the sort of desperate loneliness that many feel but never act on.
Several key scenes in the movie stick in the memory - our twisted protagonists' living room wall, covered in prints of his target family - his fantasties about becoming the new father figure - and most chillingly of all, his encounters with the family's young son, vulnerable and away from his parent's protection. Williams brings just the right amount of empathy to the role to make you pity rather than hate Parrish.
It's well paced and draws you in slowly - held together by Parrish's descent into madness and the final confrontation scene is uncomfortable viewing, but does take a few risks - don't expect to see the juicy murders so common to other films of this type. Had they taken that route, it would have detracted from the film.
There are no real surprises as to how the movie is going to turn out - but One Hour Photo is a solid slice of genre thriller that's well worth a couple of hours on a Friday night.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier [1989] [DVD]
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier [1989] [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Shatner
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £7.38

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pants, 10 Jan. 2003
There is clearly a consensus among some elements of the Star Trek fan fraternity that the franchise can do no wrong and every last TV episode and movie should be placed on an altar and worshipped. However, a more objective viewpoint will quickly conclude that this fifth movie offering stinks beyond belief. Whoever let William Shatner sit in the Director's chair is probably living with that decision - it must haunt their every waking moment. The plot is bizarre, the Enterprise looks rubbish, the denoument is the oddest thing I have ever seen - and don't even get me started on Uhura's song and dance routine, which is clearly supposed to add some sort of 'erotic' element but unfortunately you can't beat the 7 signs of ageing, lieutenant. Kirk (as you would expect) dominates nearly every scene in the film - Shatner clearly thought that the comedy of the fourth film should be replicated here, but unfortunately the mock-slapstick approach (Scotty knocking himself out on an exposed pipe, for heaven's sake) is about as funny as dying alone in space. Actually I think there is one scene that Kirk isn't in - I'm sure this will be rectified when they release the 'Directors Cut'.
I beg you, buy 'Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country' instead. Please.

I'm Alan Partridge : Complete BBC Series 1 [1997] [DVD]
I'm Alan Partridge : Complete BBC Series 1 [1997] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Coogan
Price: £2.69

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jurassic Park!, 25 Nov. 2002
A long overdue DVD release of Alan's finest series which co-incides with his new run on BBC2, 'I'm Alan Partridge' has entered comedy folklore as one of the century's best sitcoms. Banished from national television and at an all time low (his wife has left him for a fitness instructor, he's been living in a 'Travel Tavern' for over 100 days), Alan has nothing left to lose. The hellish motorway motel is the perfect setting for a razor-sharp series which will have you rolling on the floor as Alan bounces from humiliation to humiliation. Such is the brilliance of Steve Coogan's character that you can't even empathise with him - he has no understanding of how people react to him, and in many ways is a forerunner to Ricky Gervais' equally loathable David Brent.
What really makes this work, however, is the fine ensemble cast who are allowed to grab the limelight and become the centre of the action. Similarly, the action is just the right side of believable to make it excruciatingly painful viewing - note Alan's lunch with the BBC Head of Programmes - and his final descent into extraordinary measures to win his career back.
I'm Alan Partridge is British comedy at its finest - and without a single duff episode, this DVD is an essential purchase. No doubt Jed Maxwell (Alan's self-procalimed biggest fan) will be first in the queue.

Things Snowball
Things Snowball
by Rich Hall
Edition: Paperback

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, beligerent, laugh-out-loud funny, 20 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Things Snowball (Paperback)
There are parts of 'Things Snowball' that will have you laughing your head off on the Tube. There are other parts which really make you question the way you live your life. For this book is a perfect travelling companion - a collection of short essays and opinion pieces which have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Rich Hall has made much of his 'American lost at sea in Britain' persona and it reflects really well here. From the difficulties he faced looking after his grandfathers 'family run' nuclear power plant as a child to the ludicrousness of the over-careful user instructions for loft ladders, this book really is bizarre. But funny, often hilariously so. I don't believe a word of it ever actually happened (he even admits it) but oddly this seems to add to its charm. It's certainly unique -and a refreshing display from a stand-up comedian who can actually write. Oh - and by the way, I wouldn't recommend Estate Agents buy it - you may not like what you read...

The Best Of 1990-2000 (2CD)
The Best Of 1990-2000 (2CD)
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The decade U2 reinvented themselves, 4 Nov. 2002
Doubtless this compliation of the high points of a turbulent decade for the world's biggest Irish rock band will not fare as well as its forerunner, The Best Of 1980 - 1990 - which is a shame, as it's brilliant. The 90's saw U2 radically revise their sound - reinventing their own sound to beat detractors waiting to claim the band were stale and irrelevent. To a massive extent they succeeded - from the bizarre, opening chimes of Even Better Than the Real Thing to the dense, dance-fuelled excesses of Discotheque, this was the decade that four men not only 'chopped down the Joshua Tree' but set fire to it for good measure.
While this compilation does not sit in any kind of chronological order, it's a fascinating insight into a band that constantly developed, brought in themes and ideas which would have been unthinkable only a few years previously. The track selection has clearly been thought about - it even contains a few surprises. Zooropa's 'The First Time' is an unlikely addition here, but sounds part of the whole and very different with a few years on it. 2000's 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' is sparsely represented, and some intelligent new mixes from the much-maligned 'Pop' album really make sense here.
If you bought the first 'Best Of' because you wanted to have some U2 in your collection, you'll take longer to get into this one - but as a document of a turbulent decade full of uncertainty and changing landscapes, The Best Of 1990-2000 is essential listening.

Hard Candy
Hard Candy
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £1.41

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mature, confident, brilliant, 10 July 2002
This review is from: Hard Candy (Audio CD)
The Crows have come a long way since 'August and Everything After' and have produced their best-sounding record to date. While some of the simplicity and innocence that made their first album so appealing is still here, it is the virtuosity of producer Steve Lillywhite that really lifts 'Hard Candy' into the stratosphere of great rock albums. The song 'Hard Candy' is their best opening number since 'Round Here', and this is only the beginning. This album is light of touch, refreshing and meaningful and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into it - even the cover art is fantastic. Adam Duritz's voice is on top form and much mellower than his previous, emotionally charged performances. This album will hopefully attract new fans to a band which has never compromised its creativity while producing beautiful music. And the hidden track is a recognisable gem but I'll leave you to hear it.

Heathen Chemistry
Heathen Chemistry
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.95

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Running out of ideas?, 2 July 2002
This review is from: Heathen Chemistry (Audio CD)
Those who were waiting to herald 'Heathen Chemistry' as an unabashed return to top rock 'n roll form for Oasis are probably now split into two camps - those who think Noel has pulled it off and those who can't help feeling disappointed that such a big build-up has given birth to an album that, although inspired in places, is tedious, devoid of much imagination and contains several songs which should have been taken out of the studio and shot. You can almost hear the sheer pain of Gallagher senior's mind working as he tried to squeeze out a few drops of creativity. He partly succeeds. These songs are ordinary, and for Oasis that just won't do.
Lulled like many into a false sense of security by the Morning Glory-esque stomping crowd pleaser 'Hindu Times', the album which attaches itself to this song is at least mercifully short, despite a lengthy hidden track which sounds like a studio jam no-one knew was being recorded. Mediocrity is the byword for songs like 'Born on a Different Cloud' and 'Hung in a Bad Place' - the boredom is lifted occasionally by standalone songs - the Liam-penned 'Songbird' is delightful, and his album closer 'Better Man' which takes the best and worst of the Stone Roses and turns it into something new. It must have been very hard to make this album, and boy does it show.

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