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Reviews Written by
Henry Turner (Manchester, UK)

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Braun Men's Quartz Chronograph Watch with Leather Strap
Braun Men's Quartz Chronograph Watch with Leather Strap
Price: £166.50

1.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous costs for replacement battery and strap - needed after 12 months, 18 April 2016
I would strongly advise against buying this watch. You have to send the watch away to have the battery replaced at a cost of £20. The battery in mine only lasted 12 months. The watch strap was also starting to disintegrate after this period. When I checked with the Braun Service Centre how much a replacement strap would cost, I was quoted £57.45! This is a ridiculous figure.
Comment Comment | Permalink

L'Appartement [DVD]
L'Appartement [DVD]
Dvd ~ Romane Bohringer
Price: £9.95

1.0 out of 5 stars Another terrible DVD transfer from Studio Canal, 13 Dec. 2015
This review is from: L'Appartement [DVD] (DVD)
The picture quality of this DVD makes it look like VHS. Images are blurry. There is no intensity of colour. And at times the colour fluctuates badly across a shot. L'appartement is a hugely visual film and this DVD does it no justice whatsoever.

The Bay Tree Piccalilli 300g
The Bay Tree Piccalilli 300g
Offered by Cooking Marvellous
Price: £6.59

2.0 out of 5 stars Too sweet and too soft, 25 Oct. 2015
I really didn't enjoy the Bay Tree's piccalilli. I found it too sweet and the limited vegetables that it contained were unpleasantly soft. The spicing is uncharacterful. It did not taste like a premium brand at all.

Altman [DVD] [2015]
Altman [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Ron Mann
Offered by Amore DVD
Price: £6.04

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor, unenlightening documentary, 26 July 2015
This review is from: Altman [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
This is a very disappointing documentary about a major filmmaker. It fails - and doesn't really attempt - to get under the skin of Altman's skills and feels like it's been made by a super-fan rather than someone who wants any real analysis. A wide range of Altman's collaborators are interviewed but are allowed no more than a single word to sum up his style or technique. Yes, just one word. The effect is reductive and rather embarrassing. A waste of their time and ours.

Ida [DVD]
Ida [DVD]
Dvd ~ Agata Kulesza
Price: £5.99

82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 star film, 1 star presentation, 9 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Ida [DVD] (DVD)
This is a great film - compelling, emotional, magnificently shot. However, Artificial Eye's presentation of the film on DVD is unforgivably bad.

Many of the scenes are framed deliberately with heads and faces in the bottom third of the picture. However, Artifical Eye has ignored this completely when positioning the subtitles. Even small adjustments in positioning and presentation would have transformed the viewing experience. As such, the key focus of many scenes is lost under large, ugly and very digital-looking subtitles.

Also unforgivable is Artificial Eye's choice to include a major spoiler on the back of the DVD box. It has been included as part of the information supplied by the British Board of Film Classification and completely gives away the biggest shock/plot turn in the film - and what turns out to be a brilliantly-judged piece of filming. An insane error of judgement that completely undermines the way in which the director has shaped the drama.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2015 3:49 PM GMT

Gaslight (Dual Format Edition) [DVD]
Gaslight (Dual Format Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anton Walbrook
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £12.99

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A British masterpiece gets a makeover, 7 Nov. 2013
Patrick Hamilton's play Gas Light was a huge hit in when it opened in 1938, so it's hardly surprising that this hit film was turned round so quickly. Although not opened up far beyond its theatrical origins, director Thorold Dickinson did a remarkable job evoking a terrifying, gothic and very cinematic world.

The film was famously suppressed by American studio MGM when they made their own version of the film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. As a result, Dickinson's British original has always been overshadowed by it's Hollywood rival - and it's always been far more difficult to get to see.

For anyone who likes their thrillers dark, dangerous and sadistic, this delivers in spades - not unlike Hitchcock at his best. It feels more tense, cruel and adult than George Cuckor's remake and revels in its overripe, melodramatic Victorian setting.

This newly remastered version looks and sounds exceptional. As always with the BFI's label, there are a wide range of extras. Some of these seem a bit esoteric and eccentrically chosen, but should appeal to people who are particularly interested in finding out more about Dickinson's documentary-making career and provide a glimpse of life at the time Gaslight was made.

Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics
Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics
by Mark Kermode
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had read Will Self's review, 22 Oct. 2013
Will Self's Guardian review of Hatchet Job is spot on. Unfortunately, I only read it after ploughing into Kermode's book. My recommendation is: read the review before buying the book: [...]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2014 11:32 AM GMT

Anna Karenina [DVD] [1948]
Anna Karenina [DVD] [1948]
Dvd ~ Vivien Leigh
Price: £9.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turgid and unromantic, 16 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Anna Karenina [DVD] [1948] (DVD)
In many ways Anna Karenina is one of the most cinematic of novels. When you read it you can imagine exactly how every scene should be played. But in attempting to transfer the novel to the screen most directors have come unstuck. This, I'm afraid, is one of the dullest, least romantic and least Tolstoyan adaptations. It plods along, uncertain which line of narrative to follow. As such there is little focus and you just don't care about the characters. Ralph Richardson is great as Karenin. Kieron Moore as Vronsky, Anna's Lover, is as unengaging as Aaron Johnson in the latest version. Vivien Leigh is fine - but no more. Leigh seemed to specialise in damaged, dangerous women, but her Anna just doesn't seem to work. A line I never thought I'd ever use: I preferred Keira Knightley!

The film was clearly shot on a limited budget in post War Britain. Some of the austerity measures in the production design don't really make the grade. There's a dreadful shot of a model train (very badly realised) for example, when we first see Anna that completely throws you out of the world of the film. But the real problem for me was watching a film that lacked both focus and drama. The film isn't dreadful, but neither is it a highlight of late 1940s British cinema.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 8, 2013 3:16 PM GMT

Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD]
Ghost Stories from the BBC: Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968 + 2010) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sir Michael Hordern (1968)
Price: £15.89

51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One great film and one turkey, 23 May 2012
Writer/director Jonathan Miller's adaptation of MR James' Whistle and I'll Come to You is one of the great ghost stories and one of the great TV dramas. It's dark, deeply atmospheric and sharply characterised. Miller takes some liberties with James' original, but his choice to imply rather than show is a lesson that should be learned by many contemporary filmmakers. Some people might find Miller's style too subtle and the pacing a little slow, but this is among my favourite 42 mins of television.

In contrast, the 2010 adaptation was a complete misfire. It's hard to know what attracted the writer and director to James' original as they seem to have thrown almost everything out and both plot and character are radically changed. Dumbed down and unsubtle, it's redeemed only by strong performances from John Hurt and Gemma Jones and good location photography.

Why the BFI has paired these 2 adaptations of the same short story is anyone's guess. It would have been far better to have given us a totally different ghost story (and a good one) as the second half of this double bill. Then it might have felt like value for money.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2016 11:16 AM GMT

Upstairs Downstairs - Series 2 [DVD]
Upstairs Downstairs - Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keeley Hawes
Price: £5.88

44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, underrated BBC costume drama, 30 Mar. 2012
It's a shame that Upstairs Downstairs has been eclipsed by Downton Abbey - I would urge any Downton-lovers who didn't return for the latest instalment of Upstairs to give it a go on DVD: you are missing something rather marvellous. Series one of Downton was magnificent; but series two was under-powered and sometimes threatened to be a camp travesty of itself. Upstairs, on the other hand, has continued to improve and develop in wonderful and surprising ways as the series progressed.

The worlds of almost every character in Upstairs are beautifully drawn and complex, unlike those in Downton that too often are of the single note variety (Maggie Smith is arch - there is nothing left for her to do than raise an ironic eyebrow). In particular, Lady Persie (Claire Foy) and Mr Pritchard (Adrian Scarborough) are endlessly fascinating and never as straightforward as they appear on the surface. You meet a character such as archaeologist Dr Motteshead (Alex Kingston) and at first she seems every bit the stereotype of the intellectual 1930s lesbian; but then, as the series evolves, expectations are confounded through great writing and an excellent performance.

Upstairs handles its period detail and sense of time perfectly with none (well I didn't spot them) of the anachronisms that irked me so much in Downton. Moreover, it is really engaged with the history taking place as the drama unfolds - I can think of no other drama that has dealt so well with the mindset of Britain on the eve of war. Scenes such as the household watching the streetlights of London being turned off for the final time are deeply moving. Again, I can also think of no other TV costume drama that has been more beautifully designed, lit and shot. This is far more noticeable in series 2.

For me there were 2 downers to Upstairs: the sometimes maddeningly short scenes and the miscasting of Ed Stoppard - a charisma-free zone. But these are minor niggles for a series that has proved so engaging and full of so many rewards.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2013 3:25 AM BST

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