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The Wicker Tree [DVD] [2010]
The Wicker Tree [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Christopher Lee
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: 3.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its biggest problem is that it's not The Wicker Man, 18 July 2013
This review is from: The Wicker Tree [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Most people will, understandably, come to this film because of an appreciation of, or more likely, obsession with The Wicker Man. Unfortunately, The Wicker Tree cannot compete with what is rightly regarded as a classic.

However, if you can separate the two, which in some ways is not easy as there are deliberate attempts to evoke aspects of TWM, then TWT is an enjoyable hour and a half, eccentric in the way that more surreal episodes of Midsomer Murders can be. This may sound like damning with faint praise (or perhaps downright insulting to some) but it is not intended to be.

It is not pretending to be The Wicker Man, its existence does not cancel out The Wicker Man and therefore I am happy to have it on the shelf next to The Wicker Man. I just suspect that it may gather more dust than The Wicker Man..!


Give The People What They Want
Give The People What They Want
Price: 5.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Better things, indeed., 7 Sep 2012
Many people dismiss The Kinks after 1970 and those that braved the concept albums often seem to become wary by the end of that decade. However, they are missing out on some extremely good songs, generally out of disappointment that the band did not just churn out parodies of their 60s material.

'Give The People What They Want' is undoubtedly a rock album, with a pleasingly full but still dynamic drum sound and arrangements which reflect the band's live audience at the time. However, there are still great tunes and a surprising degree of sensitivity overall.

Despite being a single and possessing an innovative video, 'Predictable' is one of the slighter songs here, albeit an enjoyable track. It pales in comparison with 'Art Lover', which initially seems to be about a dubious gent taking a little bit too much interest in the kids in his local park; however, it transpires he goes there because his own children no longer live with him and "it's just a substitute for what's been taken from me". Even this deliberately ambiguous lyric retains some humour, for example, "Come to daddy...and I'll give you some Spangles!"

Similarly, 'Yo-Yo', despite a solid (literally) musical arrangement, addresses domesticity plagued by dullness but with bursts of touching vulnerability, backed up by a strong tune. 'Add It Up', meanwhile, introduces us to the guitar riff Billy Idol found for 'White Wedding' a couple of years or so before the bleached one made it famous.

Quite a few Kinks albums don't wow you with the first listen but this one really does reward a couple of spins, even if you only do so for the sweet delight of the closing 'Better Things', which even the most cynical of disenchanted 'older Kinks' fans would surely appreciate.


X-ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography
X-ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography
by Ray Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As idiosyncratic as its author., 17 Dec 2010
One would never expect Ray Davies to write a straightforward account of his life. After all, he has given us musical delights over the years which place subtlety ahead of the blatantly obvious and this approach continues in 'X-Ray'. Despite his manipulation of the autobiographical form, he is still candid and honest, although to what degree one can never be sure and that only adds to the enjoyment of this thoroughly gripping tome. I wish he would write a sequel, as this one ends in the early '70s and, despite what some may believe, The Kinks and Ray had much to offer well beyond that period. I would recommend anyone who reads this to follow it with Dave Davies' autobiography, which is more traditional in its style but heartfelt and equally essential. Between the two brothers' accounts the whole truth may be found...


History Of Modern
History Of Modern
Price: 8.40

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you are tempted, buy it!, 21 Sep 2010
This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
Existing OMD fans should be more than happy with this album, as it plays to many of the strengths associated with the band over the years. The songs are melodically strong, the lyrics occasionally quirky as you might expect, and the overall package combines the accessibility of 'Sugar Tax' (no-one could deny it was packed with tunes) with the integrity of 'Architecture And Morality'.

What makes 'History Of Modern' a particularly satisfying album is that it works as a whole, being consistent yet varied. Individual tracks can be plucked out and enjoyed in isolation but their impact is even greater when heard in the context of the surrounding songs.

Kraftwerk fans will appreciate the various homages to them, from a synth sound here and there to the direct tribute in the song 'RFWK'; the final track, 'The Right Side?', is a lush, panoramic soundscape which evokes 'Europe Endless' and shares a similar duration to its inspiration but never outstays its welcome.

The most immediate tracks here seem to become stronger with repeated listens while the small minority which don't grab the ear quite so much to begin with soon reveal hidden charms.

I never trust five star reviews but were it possible this would get four and a half. It is not perfect but it's a lot closer to being so than most albums get. If you are tempted to buy but are for some reason doubtful, you should seize your courage and splash the cash!


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus  [DVD]
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus [DVD]
Dvd ~ Heath Ledger
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.27

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative On Many Levels, 30 Jan 2010
I have a healthy respect for most of the creative forces involved in the making of this film but am not a 'disciple' of any of them, so hopefully you will appreciate that this review comes from an objective and neutral starting point.

"How neutral and objective can a five star review be?" you may wonder. Well, it is ultimately only my opinion but this film takes the viewer to another place and not just via the 'imaginarium' scenes; it defines its own space, draws one in and captivates. It is an ensemble piece in the finest sense of that phrase, from the acting through to Mr Gilliam's initial vision. Credit should be given to him for salvaging the work following Heath Ledger's untimely death and also to the selfless but vital contributions of Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law, not to mention the outstanding Christopher Plummer.

Films can often be enjoyable because they are a pleasing variation on a set formula and I love many of those but I would suggest you would be hard pressed to compare this with much you've seen before, unless you've had a particularly surreal life. The film is not seamless but why should it be? At its core is a theme of the flaws of being human; in our own way, we're as rickety as the Doctor's Imaginarium. Get into the spirit of it and enjoy. And don't forget your whistle next time you place a bet...


Remember the Titans [DVD] [2001]
Remember the Titans [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Denzel Washington
Price: 3.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring film, 21 Jan 2008
American football normally holds little appeal for me but this film is absolutely gripping. It is thought provoking without having to resort to preaching, allowing the plot and fine acting to do the work. I won't repeat the story outline as other reviews cover this more than adequately but this is an enjoyable piece of soul-satisfaction...


It was like this - Live [DVD]
It was like this - Live [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dexys Midnight Runners

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misleading cover shot but great gig!, 4 Jan 2008
Few people would have expected or even dared hope for the return of Dexys in 2003 given Kevin Rowland's troubled previous decade yet the concert I attended by them at the Albert Hall that year was one of the best live shows I have attended.

This DVD from the same tour captures pretty effectively the quality of the band and the charisma of both Kevin and co-lead vocalist (and former Dexys bassist) Pete Williams. New life is given to old songs whilst acknowledging that things had changed over the twenty+ years since they originally entered our collective consciousness, which lends an air of dignity to proceedings.

If you are a fan of Dexys then I think you'll find this DVD immensely enjoyable, as it does justice to the songs but also maintains the band's tradition of always evolving and doing something a little different. Great songs, great playing, great sound and great performance. Guess that makes it great!


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