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Mr. S. Wright (Rotherham, South Yorkshire)
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Sennheiser Eco Ear Canal Headphones - Black (discontinued by manufacturer)
Sennheiser Eco Ear Canal Headphones - Black (discontinued by manufacturer)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These earphones are 5/5, the packaging, which is supposedly eco-friendly... 1/5, 23 Jan 2009
Some people may see this as a small thing to comment about, but this is something that I, and a lot of others, feel strongly about.

My partner purchased these earphones for me, knowing that I like them and also because I am always looking to help the environment, the packaging also made this an excellent purchase as it is all recyclable and the phones had been produced ethically (apparently). And of course, the packaging will not rip your hands to shreds that the terrible plastic that Sennhesier normally wraps these in, just so they can look prettier on the shelf.

Great. Perfect.

The earphones....5/5. I've never had a better pair of earphones and I much prefer them even to the CX500's which were far too bassy.

But when I opened them, there was the cardboard box...wrapped in cling-film style plastic. There was, simply, no need and in doing that, basically defied the point of this product. Whether this is down to Sennheiser or Amazon themselves, I am frankly very annoyed about this as, even though to some it may seem a small thing, I was bought this because it is better for the enviornment, and I avoid plastic at all costs and there was simply NO NEED to wrap them in this plastic.

As I say, earphones 5/5, absolutely brilliant. The packaging, although the cardboard is nicely made and formed, the plastic blew it for me. 1/5.


The Diving Bell And The Butterfly [DVD]
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mathieu Amalric
Price: £7.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty Lies In The Eyes Of The Beholder, 10 Jan 2009
French cinema can often have edge. It has a lot of what is great about European cinema (a genuineness, strong emotional depth, subtle beauty), and adds slices of the French attitude in with it; a stubborn sense, humour and beautiful melancholy, and also incredibly sensual women. But on top of this it's adds an accessibility to European cinema that can sometimes turn even the most hardened of 'no subtitles' watchers. 'The Diving Bell And The Butterfly' is such a film.

You spend the majority of the film within the eyes of former French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, a charming, stubborn and darkly-humerous man who has found himself paralyzed by a stroke. Literally. The camera work and direction is superb in achieving this feat and you find that you are believably within Bauby's awful situation. The inability to no longer play with his children as he previously had is saddening, but not delibitating, and the struggles that he faces throughout the rest of his life, although not profound as such, you actually feel. The only times we really leave Bauby's body is mainly to see flashbacks of his much-missed life before the stroke, when we see a happy man, living his life to the fullest until that day.

This is by no means a sad film though. It has it's more touching moments and it levels the balance with moments of funny and often hilarious commentary from Bauby about his carers and his previous life. There's a chance the film might actually start you thinking how difficult it must be to be in Bauby's position, and not just that, that the man actually managed to write a book while in this state, although not in the conventional sense.

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly is a film of great beauty, a profund commentary on a situation that many of us are lucky not to find ourselves in. It's sad, but is a highly uplifting film that demands you watch and return for repeat viewings. It also has excellent performances in the incredible lead role (Mathieu Amalric), Bauby's ex-wife (Emmanuelle Seigner) and his caring and loving father. Although it may have it's moment where it occasionally drags, it still pulls you along and keeps you watching and is very much worth watching. It is an incredible true story which isn't a big, flash hero story like the American's champion, but of a real person who finds himself in an abnormal situation. Highly recommended.

4/5.


Burn After Reading [DVD]
Burn After Reading [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: £2.75

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awkward But Thoroughly Enjoyable Black Comedy., 6 Jan 2009
This review is from: Burn After Reading [DVD] (DVD)
Following on the heels of No Country For Old Men comes the Coen's latest work, Burn After Reading, a black comedy, that retains the awkward atmosphere that kept No Country... compelling.

There's just something special about the Coen's work, as if if you were to freeze-frame every frame of the film that you could print it and put it on your wall. It's not arty as such, it's just strangely beautiful to look at.

But is Burn After Reading funny? The answer would be yes, with conditions. If you like black comedy, that is dark, awkward humour, then you will most likely love Burn After Reading. It also has the feeling of not being quite sure what's to happen next.

And if you see stars Clooney and Pitt's names on the beautful produced posters and promotional material, don't be put off by this; they both give appropriate and good performances in their respective roles, Clooney as a smooth, adulterer and Pitt as a dopey gym worker. Pitt is especially good and his face bending is both hilarious and strangely touching in equal doses.

To some the randomness of Burn After Reading, the feel that there isn't a great deal of structure may be a problem, but it's not a film that takes itself too seriously undoubtably, and this sense of randomness surrounding the events of the film are ultimately what keeps the film warm.

Burn After Reading is more a film of funny scenes that, despite lacking cohesion somewhat can be an absolute riot if the viewer is in the right mood.


Mother of Mine ( Äideistä parhain ) [DVD]
Mother of Mine ( Äideistä parhain ) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Topi Majaniemi

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching Tale Of A Boy And His War Mother., 6 Jan 2009
This Finnish-Swedish crossover movie is a terrific example of a film being completely overlooked by the world as a whole. Albeit apparently quite popular within the two previously mentioned countries, this is a film that could touch millions such is it's appeal.

Mother Of Mine tells one of the unheard stories of World War II which is that of Finnish children being sent to Sweden for their own safety. If you're British and reading this, think Goodnight Mister Tom, only more European, less sappy and much more powerful. Not that Goodnight Mister Tom is any kind of disgrace, but just mentioning it in the same context as Mother Of Mine just isn't right as Mother Of Mine is undeniably epic, both in it's storytelling and it's location of the Swedish coast, a barren but seemingly beautiful green land.

What makes Mother Of Mine special is of course the relationship between Eero, the Finnish refugee child and his 'Swedish Mother'. Both play their part extremely well in making the relationship initially awkward but then make the audience truly feel the love that develops between them.

Beautifully shot, it's an unusual tactic to use black and white imagery for the modern day, and full colour for the recollection of Eero's childhood, as if to suggest that the best time of Eero's life was spent in Sweden, and it's all the more touching to see Eero return to Sweden to his Swedish Mother's funeral, because you truly feel his pain, as if he'd pushed those times to the back of his mind for the them to all be rushing to the fore once more, 60 years on.

Mother Of Mine refrains from melancholy like many other Finnish films out there, and relies on good old heart-string plucking, not pulling, because those plucks are what really makes the impact and with that, makes it all the more believable and tragic.

4.5 / 5.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2009 12:31 PM GMT


The Tough Ones [DVD]
The Tough Ones [DVD]
Dvd ~ Samuli Edelmann
Offered by DaaVeeDee-uk
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'A Place Where Men Are Men'., 6 Jan 2009
This review is from: The Tough Ones [DVD] (DVD)
In Häjyt, director Aleksi Mäkelä has forged one of Finland's finest films to not include support from a Kaurismäki.

Samuli Edelmann, one of Finland's premier actors, is quite simply superb in the role of a brute of a man who has never known anything else than to be a brute, to break the law, to beat people up and to generally terrorise.

In support, is Juha Veijonen who along with Edelmann's character, has grown up in the same area where 'men are men' in the old fashioned sense. However, after both men were released from prison after a five year stint, only Veijonen's character has any intention staying back out, by trying to hang onto a job that, inevitably he can't keep due to the expectations that surround him in his small town.

Although the rest of the town have slowly moved on from this masculine conception, the two men have trouble adjusting, and it's not helping them that their former friend is now chief of police in the town.

This might sound like something of a serious flick, and in truth it isn't. As with most films from Finland, there's always a small sense of melancholy underlining the film, but for the most part this film is very entertaining and in parts hilarious, mainly because of the two men's boyish ways.

This is a touching and highly entertaining film that I would recommend to all, and I don't recommend a film to everyone lightly. In some small ways, I think you need to have a level of understanding of Finland to really 100% feel the film, but as a whole, the film is simply superb and beautifully acted.


Lost in Translation [DVD] [2004]
Lost in Translation [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.96

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Self-Discovery Never Looked So Good. Or So Neon., 6 Jan 2009
Despite Lost In Translations's slow-pace, there is never a moment where you don't feel that there is some variety or another of the proverbial electricity in the air. Whether it's Tokyo's neon landscape combined with the tranquil nature that bemusingly also takes up space in that truly inspiring country, or Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson's indescribably touching relationship, it can't be avoided.

I can understand why some people would be turned off by such a slow-paced film, after all this is normally the sort of performance and direction reserved for the hidden-from-the-mainstream place that is world cinema.

If you'd have been in the casting room you'd probably have never thought that the 1980's comedic king that is Bill Murray and a relative new-comer in Johansson could gel just so well, but that is what makes this relationship such a joyous thing to watch. Two people in a place where they really don't want to be, both physically and personally, both questioning their current relationships, this is not only the most serious film that Murray had ever faced up to date and Johansson's most challenging role, and this is reflected in their characters: an over-the-hill actor with no real action remaining in a career that was dominated by it , and an inexperienced young woman with no clue as to where she is going, both teach the other vital lessons throughout the film.

The ending is positively spell-binding and one of the most memorable endings the any film at least in a long time, and at most, ever.

I don't care what people say: a love story (however you take the relationship of the two characters) up there with Gone With The Wind.


The Man Without A Past [DVD] [2003]
The Man Without A Past [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Markku Peltola
Offered by Digizoneuk
Price: £34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Dead-Pan Melancholia. Possibly The Best Film Ever Made., 6 Jan 2009
One of the greatest films I have ever seen from the Finnish master, and I never say 'master' lightly.

Kaurismaki's opinion that nothing ever good came from the cinema since the early seventies is clearly on show here. A sublime mixture of dry-wit, melancholy, film-noir acting, over the top use of cigarettes (he would later use them even more as a protest to Finland's public banning of tobacco products), and a magnificent soundtrack, together with a very subtle retro feel to the production, in many ways, this is Kaurismaki's masterpiece.


Grace Is Gone [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Grace Is Gone [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ John Cusack
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £6.10

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All-American Tale Of Pushing On From The Point Of No Return., 6 Jan 2009
John Cusack and the two supporting actresses who play his daughters, particularly the actress who plays the older sibling, give out great performances in a film of great emotion and beauty, that sadly will not be seen by as many as it rightly should due to it's flopping in theaters.

Grace Is Gone is without a doubt an all-American story with an all American feel to it. The landscape is unmistakeablely America, the barren landscapes with the occasional house for example, but this is more than a story about a wife who dies in combat and the husband having to deal with telling the children as well as convincing himself that she's gone. The deeper meaning is that this is a fear for all parents, a fear that all humans can understand; life can be sucked away at any moment without care or consideration.

Cusack is wonderfully understate as the father, putting himself across as something of a subdued and introverted husband and father who suddenly finds himself in the position of having to open up to his daughters. Cusack does this with genuine believability and the lowest percentage of fondue possible.

His inability to tell his daughters about the death of their mother makes for a compelling tale that you follow finding Cusack's character slowly becoming the father that he needs to become.

Overall Grace Is Gone is American so it bound to be a little slushy but you won't find many better uplifting films to come from the US.

3.5 / 5.


Sex and the City: The Movie [2008] [DVD]
Sex and the City: The Movie [2008] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sarah Jessica Parker
Offered by rsdvd
Price: £4.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars City Fans Should Be Impressed...But A Poor Ending Ruins The Party., 6 Jan 2009
Undoubtedly, fans of Sex and the City will have flocked to see this one and those who didn't (and did) will flock to buy it on DVD when it's released over the coming weeks, and in truth, they can't go far wrong.

If you like the show, then you will like, if not love, this film, albeit it is somewhat light on one of the major features of SATC as a TV show: character development.

If you watched the show, then you'll know the majority of the characters, but whereas they had a pretty significant part in SATC's TV episodes, they barely feature in the movie, Steve being the only exception.

However, bizarrely, where Sex And The City The Movie is at it's best, is in the area where the TV show always seemed to lack: emotional impact.

When Carrie is let down by Big, she is genuinely an emotional wreck and she's bare faced for all to see. It's not pretty and it is in part, heartbreaking.

As previously mentioned, SATC fans will enjoy this, as will I think a few outsiders, so the crew should be given a thumbs up on that one.

It's breezy, it's pretty easy to watch and for the most part sticks together quite nicely and all adds up to be one of the best rom-coms of the last few years. But it is let down in a big way by its ending.

Just when this film appeared to be actually gaining some credibility and was actually distancing itself from the pack, which is what the original show intends to do and succeeds, Carrie accepts Big's proposal after getting back together a few minutes prior after a year of heartache. Many will argue that this is because they were originally getting married for the wrong reasons, and they realised this, but despite this, if after coming back together after 20 minutes of laying on the floor of a closet together he proposes yet again and she says yes, this is unrealistic and messes up this film, purely because this wouldn't happen in pretty much any woman's mind...she would hopefully and rightfully say no, whether in the meantime or completely, especially after a year long rollercoaster like that.

So it returned to Hollywood, which disappointed me more than anything, but for most people, this movie will work just fine. It's funny, at times touching and does rightfully have a good following, but is severely flawed by an atrociously Hollywood ending, after such an effort to be...well, Sex and the City.

2.5 / 5.


Reign Over Me [DVD] [2007]
Reign Over Me [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Adam Sandler
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.71

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sandler Impresses In Surprisingly Un-pompous Heartfelt 9/11 Loss Film., 6 Jan 2009
This review is from: Reign Over Me [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This was one of those films that bites you in the backside. Hard. Harder than most because of both it's subject line and the most shocking thing you'll ever hear. Correction; two of the most shocking things you'll ever hear...

The first is that Adam Sandler is actually appearing in a serious role. The second is that he succeeds. Brilliantly.

To be the face of a man who lost his family to 9/11, was always going to be a difficult task, both from a directors perspective and more so for an actor, so taking on Sandler in the role of the long-time mourning Charlie was a very large risk. Some might say that his performance is a little 'puppy with a broken leg' (it makes you want to cry just by looking at it), but Sandler brings depth and tremendous power to his role. Cheadle is as ever excellent, one of the few actors in the crap-fest that was Crash that I actually felt genuinely towards, but this is Sandler's show, which makes it all the more surprising, as Cheadle has often been commended, but has never got the true deserved recognition, for his skills as a serious actor.

Reign Over Me is an odd movie to review as it has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood story, the strings come in in all the right place etc., but it strives to get as far away from this as it can, and for the most part succeeds. There's nothing that will make your gut-churn like you might see from a European film, had it been made in Europe, but Reign Over Me is a genuinely effecting film, of which, this reviewer hasn't seen in quite some time.

The soundtrack of old tracks from the 70's is especially good, including a Graham Nash classic and one of Jackson Browne's lesser known classics, The Bird of Saint Marks.

The New York setting is of course essential for this film. Despite it having been nearly a decade since the tragedy, the streets and walls of the city still seem to reek of a covered sorrow that this film exploits fully.

I'm very surprised that the Oscar bells didn't come ringing for Sandler as he genuinely deserved them. Time will only tell if he manages to form a career which proves that he can do 'serious' well, but I have faith in him because as his scene where he finally opens up to Cheadle proves, he can be utterly mesmerizing, and in this film, in that city, with this subject he needed to be. Don't miss it.


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