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My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
Dvd ~ Jeremy Brett
Offered by VECOSELL
Price: £6.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic musical adaptation of 'Pygmalion', 15 Aug 2013
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This review is from: My Fair Lady (DVD)
This is a musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play, 'Pygmalion', which retains a good amount of the playwright's delightfully insulting dialogue. It's certainly entertaining but far from flawless. Who could not fail to be won over by Audrey Hepburn despite her unconvincing Cockney accent? Surely Rex Harrison makes for a definitive Professor Higgins even though he cannot sing. And some of the musical numbers are tedious but become tolerable when we have such gems as 'I could have danced all night' and 'On the street where you live' to look forward to.

I'm certainly no fan of the musical genre but 'My Fair Lady' has enough substance and style to make it a film which should be seen at least once.

Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] [2002]
Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Daniel Bruhl
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £4.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Proving that German humour is not an oxymoron, 15 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
It's 1989.

Son Alex is taking part in a demonstration against the Berlin Wall when he gets arrested.

Mother and staunch Communist Christiane is on her way to receive an award for her services to the German Democratic Republic when she witnesses his arrest. She has a heart attack and falls into a coma lasting several weeks.

In the intervening period the Berlin Wall is torn down.

When she finally emerges from her coma, the hospital authorities advise her children that the slightest shock might kill her. Knowing her political beliefs, the children decide that they cannot possibly divulge the fact that the Berlin Wall has come down... And so begins the elaborate pantomime of pretending that nothing has changed.

This is the comic premise behind the film and it works well... up to a point... with added anti-communist aberrations popping up to test the ingenuity of the two doting children. However, in comedy terms the film begins to flag towards the end.

Music Box [DVD]
Music Box [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jessica Lange
Price: £10.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling film with a twist, 15 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Music Box [DVD] (DVD)
Having originally watched and loved this film in the 1980s, I wondered how well it would stand up to more mature consideration.

The drama centres on events which unfold after a man who has lived in America for nearly 50 years finds himself accused of being a Nazi war criminal. Is he guilty or the victim of some communist inspired smear campaign orchestrated by the Hungarian government because of his anti-communist activities?

His successful lawyer-daughter is called upon to defend him and must delve into his Hungarian past to unearth the truth.

Whilst there are undoubtedly strong performances from both Jessica Lange playing the lawyer and her father played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, this is essentially a commercial film which is perhaps a little over-reliant on twists and turns in the plot to make it a successful piece of entertainment. Nevertheless, the ending still has the power to pack a punch and if you're still sitting on the fence about whether or not to purchase the film, you should do it... It's interesting, atmospheric at times and your money will have been well spent.

Distant Voices, Still Lives [1988] [DVD]
Distant Voices, Still Lives [1988] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Freda Dowie
Price: £8.02

3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching but not outstanding, 14 Aug 2013
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In many respects quite an engaging film which shows how much, through small incremental changes, our lives have been transformed over the decades so that the past seems like another country.

Davies undoubtedly captures something of the matriarchal spirit of Northern working class life but his film should not be mistaken for reality. There are elements of self-indulgence, romanticism and over-wrought nostalgia here, to be found, for example, in the film's rather too neatly choreographed sing-a-longs where everyone joins in; everyone sings in tune; and everyone knows all the words. Oh if only life were so simple and so harmonious!

Evocative of a bygone era? Yes, if we allow for artistic licence. A piece of social history? To some extent, yes, but the past is definitely seen through sepia-tinted spectacles and nostalgia laid on with a trowel at times.

Lonely Planet Ireland (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Ireland (Travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.25

3.0 out of 5 stars Breadth but at the expense of depth, perhaps?, 14 Aug 2013
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Having found 'Lonely Planet' to be both informative and readable on account of its wry humour, I was in truth a little disappointed with the guide to Ireland which was thinner on history than I might have hoped and which left me wondering whether it's just me who is getting older or whether "yoof" is more important than culture.

Winter's Bone [DVD]
Winter's Bone [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Lawrence
Price: £8.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars America shows its unattractive underbelly, 14 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Winter's Bone [DVD] (DVD)
Set in rural Missouri, 'Winter's Bone' shows the underbelly of American life seldom depicted in mainstream movies.

The film focuses on 17 year-old Ree Dolly, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who holds together her family comprising two younger siblings and a mentally ill mother against a backdrop of rural poverty in the Ozark mountains.

Drama develops when the Sheriff calls and the family learn that they stand to lose their home if their criminal father fails to meet the conditions of his bail. The film centres on the quest by Ree to find her father amidst a wall of silence in the local community. Though the acting is strong from Lawrence, who portrays Ree as both a resilient and sympathetic character with a fierce sense of loyalty to her family, the film as a whole suffers from being rather thinly plotted and is unlikely to abide in the memory.

Climates [DVD] [2007]
Climates [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Price: £6.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Slow moving depiction of how things fall apart, 13 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Climates [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
There's a certain poetry to Ceylan's film, 'Climates', to be found in the way that the film lingers meditatively on landscapes, weather conditions and individuals; with the former functioning as an extended metaphor for a dying relationship.

The film opens in the summer in a small Turkish resort on the Mediterranean and depicts underlying tensions in the relationship between its protagonists, Isa, (played by Ceylan himself), and his girlfriend Bahar, (played by Ceylan's wife, Ebru). Initially, the problems seem to be with the moody Bahar whose sullen nature casts a damper on the holiday, but as the sparse narrative unfolds we learn that Isa has had a past indiscretion with a woman called Serap and this has coloured their relationship. The holiday ends prematurely with the pair deciding to go their separate ways and we move through autumn - when Isa re-kindles the shallow relationship that he had with Serap which was based on sex - to winter - where he travels to eastern Turkey in the hope of finding genuine satisfaction by being with Bahar again.

The film centres on whether a reconciliation is possible and there is an element of dramatic tension in the uncertainties on both sides. A weakness in the narrative, however, lies in its ending which appears to be at odds with the conduct of the characters in the latter stages of the film. The resolution, when it comes, seems unsatisfying, and, as the credits roll, one cannot help thinking: 'Is that it?'

Lemon Tree (2008) [DVD]
Lemon Tree (2008) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hiam Abbass
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £5.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A low key film which could have been sharper., 11 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Lemon Tree (2008) [DVD] (DVD)
When the Israeli Defence Minister moves into the neighbourhood, it is decreed that the lemon grove belonging to his Palestinian neighbour must be torn down. A security risk - or so it is claimed.

Meanwhile his guiltless neighbour finds herself caught up in events over which she has no control and tries to take on the Israeli state.

A low key film exploring human relationships and ways in which peaceful individuals can find themselves engulfed in wider political situations.

Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie [DVD] [1972]
Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Fernando Rey
Price: £10.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly disappointing!, 11 Aug 2013
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I was expecting brilliant satire but the film did not hold my attention for long.

After an intriguing opening in which guests turn up for dinner on the wrong night, the film quickly became repetitious and, quite honestly, boring.

Uzak (Distant) [DVD] [2002]
Uzak (Distant) [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Muzaffer Özdemir
Price: £7.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Low key but moving, 23 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Uzak (Distant) [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
A low key film in which a man from remote Eastern Turkey comes to stay with his more sophisticated metropolitan cousin in Istanbul leading to underlying tensions. This is quite a slow, mournful film with clever symbolism underlining its central theme of rejection and ultimately quite a moving conclusion.

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