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Reviews Written by
Mr. G. C. Stone "mgcs" (Newcastle, UK)

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Badlands [DVD] [1973]
Badlands [DVD] [1973]
Dvd ~ Martin Sheen
Price: £4.70

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Achievements of US Cinema, 3 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Great works of art are very much of their time, but have a relevance and impact long afterwards - and this is a great work of art. A simple story - disfunctional couple on the run, but told with great artistry and 'truth', with actors burdgeoning into great careers, and with much to say about US society, disaffection, and the cult of celebrity killers.

The cinematography is groundbreakingly beautiful, and surely the use of music has never been bettered - this movie sears itself into your brain.

Enthralling, gripping, funny, brutal (death is sad and real and pitiful), and simply a benchmark of US film-making that might never be bettered.

How many DVDs do you watch right through the end credits? I found myself doing this - in awe and contemplation, and because the music is notched up once more and demands to be listened to through to the very last. This is quite deliberate - every detail here is thought right through and infused with cinematic genius.

Nostalgia [DVD]
Nostalgia [DVD]
Dvd ~ Oleg Yankovskiy

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Astonished, 20 Aug. 2008
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This review is from: Nostalgia [DVD] (DVD)
A glorious and utterly profound experience. Revel in the depth and multi-layered brilliance of the story and sentiment, and exploration of themes such as being human, religious and personal faith, home, and how we face our need for meaning and control in an unknowable universe. As in the earlier 'Mirror', understanding Tarkovsky stirs feelings and intellectual yearning at the deepest levels. I make no apology for making such bold statements - this is truly great art.
But forget that. Whether you follow the the detail and nuances or grapple with Tarkovsky's own intentions(and you will discover more every time you come back to this), ultimately it doesn't matter: there are scenes and images throughout this experience that just simply astonish. Not in a grand, big-screen way, but by striking you in the recesses of your mind - like great painting or music. And it holds you to the end. The final image - how it unfolds, what you hear, is one of the most moving and remarkable constructions in all art; following everything that has gone before, it struck me dumb when I first saw it on the film's release, has stayed with me since (haunted me in fact as any truly great image does) - and going back to it on DVD it has lost none of its power. Quite the opposite in fact - the older you get, the more hooks Tarkovsky has into your psyche.

Marketa Lazarová [1967] [DVD]
Marketa Lazarová [1967] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Frantisek Vlacil
Price: £11.91

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Find, 8 Aug. 2008
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I do not know why this film doesn't appear more often in the standard lists of great and top movies - what a treat to find a totally overlooked gem. Yes it's in black and white, subtitled, is self-consciously arty and worthy, and has a complex construction - but then the best things often need that extra bit of effort. I suppose this sort of sits close to Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev or The Seventh Seal, but is totally on its own as an experience. Where it really pulls you in is in not just being about the 13th Century, but in recreating it in exact detail - both its brutal glory and the sense of magic and belief and faith - feeling so real and true, and conjuring up a whole way of seeing and believing. The story is about rival clans - fighting between themselves and the state, and the consequences of a raid on some wealthy German travellers. Simple things - like snapping a broken sword and keeping the hilt after a fight...stealing horses but not being able to feed them, somehow give it an almost documentary edge - a truth. And of course, being high art, we get astonishing and haunting scenes and images too - stirring you on an even deeper level.
Expect the sights, sounds and feelings of this epic achievement to stay with you long after the final image.

Pink Flag
Pink Flag
Price: £7.16

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Not Bettered, 7 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Pink Flag (Audio CD)
The are not many 30 year old albums that sound more smart, vital, and up to date than anything currently being churned out. Time has revealed this as a genuine classic - and makes much of the guitar-pap being churned out by today's indie-poppers seem juvenile amd irrelevant. It's all very simple - fuzzy, churning, bounding guitars (sounding just like what the electric guitar was invented for), brilliant drumming and bass lines, and edgy, intelligent lyrics. If you don't like one track there will be another along in a minute - they don't overstay their welcome and leave you wanting more. Despite the plethora of tracks this album is consistently brilliant - you will play it all the way through and then go back again to the tracks you love best. I do not play any album more than I return to this one, and many of the tracks consistently make my 'best of' playlists. Much copied, totally influential, but never bettered. The central riff of 1,2,XU is worth your money alone - treat the rest as a bonus.

Bad Lieutenant [DVD] [1993]
Bad Lieutenant [DVD] [1993]
Dvd ~ Harvey Keitel
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Redemption?, 24 July 2008
This review is from: Bad Lieutenant [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Sometimes your need to explore the bad. Not sugar coat it, not make it all-right-in-the-end feelgood hollywood crowd-pleasing, but take a character and a situation and follow them both through to their rightful conclusion. And make no mistake, this is totally about badness - Keitel's character is as corrupted to the core as a human being can be. And we witness it all close up. But can someone like him be ultimately redeemed? I'll leave you to find out. Be prepared to be shocked, to witness total corruption and despair, and to witness one of the best performances an actor can give. This film will take you way beyond your comfort zone - but is a tour de force of vital, raw cinema. I still shudder now when recalling it and how I felt at the ending. It doesn't come much better than this.

Les Diaboliques [1954] [DVD]
Les Diaboliques [1954] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simone Signoret
Price: £6.60

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson in the true art of horror, 24 July 2008
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This review is from: Les Diaboliques [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Here's a reason to turn your back on modern hollywood schlock dross and return to a time when intelligence, story, acting and sheer craftmanship actually meant something.
A beautifully worked story, setting us up in a boy's boarding school and the twisted relationship between a headmaster, his wife, and his mistress. By the time the two women get together and decide to rid themselves of him they have our total sympathy. But a simple plan soon unravels when the body disappears....
Engrossing to the very end,this film is a classic of old-school horror - building dread upon dread, and bringing everything together into a startling finale. It deserves its reputation in the pantheon of great movies.

Chinatown (Special Collector's Edition) [1974] [DVD]
Chinatown (Special Collector's Edition) [1974] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Nicholson

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classsic Film, brilliantly presented, 11 July 2008
For story, direction, acting, and sheer period class, this is worthy of its status as a classic. Whether you are a serious film addict, or whether you are looking for a great 'hollywood' movie, this does the trick. And this is one of those special movies that rises higher in the ranks as time goes by - looking back it can be appreciated even more. The quality of the picture on this 'collectors edition' (the one with red case if you're ordering) is probably the best transfer of any film I've watched on DVD - a clear, crisp, vibrant print that does the whole experience proud - an all round treat.

Touch Of Evil [DVD]
Touch Of Evil [DVD]
Dvd ~ Charlton Heston
Price: £4.25

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Opening Sequence Ever?, 11 July 2008
This review is from: Touch Of Evil [DVD] (DVD)
Dark, entertaining, messy, but very rewarding. My favourite Welles. Dietrich, Leigh & Heston on top form too. Sweaty, steamy, dark view of human falibility and complicity. But if it's not for you, this is a must see simply for the opening sequence: a complex, perfectly timed, almost balletic tracking shot as we follow a car through a mexican border town. Sit back and marvel at the genius who had the vision and the audicity to pull it off. Here's you money's worth already - regardless of the delights to follow. If you ever wondered what all the fuss was about with Welles, just invest your pennies in this and enjoy a mini masterclass.

Fanny and Alexander [DVD] [1982]
Fanny and Alexander [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Bertil Guve

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Will Stay With You Forever, 11 July 2008
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It's now twenty years or so since I first saw this, yet scenes, feelings, images and ideas from it still float into view when I'm least expecting. Love,beauty,family, fear and dread, and a little bit of magic. This is not just a feast, it is a banquet - for the eyes, for the heart, soul and intellect.
A town square in the snow dotted with fresh, bright flowers - so beautiful an image that I remember almost gasping when it appeared on screen.
One the 20th century's greatest artists(in any field), working with one of the greatest cinematographers of all time - and performances that just stay with you. You will never be quite the same - but then, that's the whole point.

Letter From An Unknown Woman [DVD]
Letter From An Unknown Woman [DVD]
Dvd ~ Joan Fontaine
Price: £16.09

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-discover the true spirit of 'Romantic' cinema, 11 July 2008
Modern Hollywood tells us that romances are just product for women - guns for boys, love for girls. Forget that, and instead go back to when films were made with intelligence, had depth and meaning, and could keep you enthralled by a great story, beautifully brought to the screen and impeccably acted. Here we trace a life-long quest of unrequited love, and the painful recognition that sometimes when we get what we want, reality can fall short of our ideals. In Hollywood land we get our emotional roller-coaster rides, crisis near the end, and a lovely resolution. In the grown up world of great cinema we know that redemption is possible, but often only when it is too late.....

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