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Mr. J. J. Noble "JimJNoble" (London, England)
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Oliver Twisted
Oliver Twisted
by J D Sharpe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifically entertaining!!!!, 3 Mar 2012
This review is from: Oliver Twisted (Paperback)
If ever there was a crafty way of introducing young readers to the delights of Dickens, JD Sharpe has nailed it with this gruesome and at times wince-inducing reimagining of 'Oliver Twist'. Retaining the sense of place that made/makes Dickens such a delight, as well as pulling off the neat trick of plunging Oliver, Fagin and The Artful Dodger into a stylised horror narrative and keeping it convincing that they acquit themselves well, 'Oliver Twisted' is immersive and disgusting (in a good way!) right from the off. Highly recommended for both gore-loving young readers, and grown ups with sufficiently irreverent imagination!


Dark Parties
Dark Parties
by Sara Grant
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous, 3 Jan 2012
This review is from: Dark Parties (Paperback)
A quite genius concept that makes wonderful use of the themes of identity and isolation, that teenage readers are sure to relate to - even if the dystopian world presented by the author is not necessarily one that they would like to inhabit! Anchored by a well-rounded, very affecting central voice, this is a book that will excite and challenge its target audience in equal measure. Highly recommended.


2046 [2004] [DVD] [2005]
2046 [2004] [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 6.98

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, 26 April 2006
This review is from: 2046 [2004] [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I am a great fan of not only Hong Kong cinema, but Wong Kar-wai in particular. And since this was a follow-up to his marvellous film "In the Mood for Love", which ties into the world founded in his elliptical, perplexing 1990 masterpiece "Days of Being Wild", the anticipation was high...

Unfortunately, "2046" represents a kind of self-implosion for Mr. Wong, whose films have always been stubborn in cutting their own path in the face of audience needs and expectations. Now, when he was making films like "Chungking Express", which is a film purely for film lovers, he alienated the mainstream while hitting chords with the cine-literate folk who had not had their pretentiousness fed in such ways since the heights of Godard. But "2046" sees the man who was once the most exciting film-maker in the world stray into David Lynch territory - not in terms of style, but the fact that he has finally fallen into making a pretentious film for pretentious people.

"2046" carries the familiar meditations on lost love and emotional masochism and detachment that are the staples of all of Wong's previous films, but the deliberately confusing structure make this blend of period drama and surreal sci-fi more frustrating than the joyous puzzles he usually presents. In distancing the audience so profoundly, Wong draws attention to the fact that his film is glorifying in its own triumph and importance.

It not only leaves you cold, but furthermore, it results in a film that fades from the memory extremely quickly - not a charge to be aimed at any previous Wong Kar-wai film.

Visually stunning as always, with scenes of real power and poetic insight, "2046" is well worth seeing, but does not compare to the other films this director has made.


The Business [DVD] [2005]
The Business [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Danny Dyer
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 4.06

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Love is no flash in the pan, 26 April 2006
This review is from: The Business [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
The third feature from Nick Love is, rather predictably, a lean and colourful blast of Cockney clichés and aggression. It is his most accessible film yet. Though the dialect is still stubbornly south London, the story is a familiar one for the crime genre, with the type of English characters not really seen on the other side of the Atlantic. This sense of novelty COULD endow Love with the beginnings of a cult following in America, and that can only be a very good thing.

It is set in the Thatcher years of the 1980s and tells the story of an idealistic young Peckham lad by the name of Frankie who, after killing his abusive stepfather, scarpers to sunny Spain to deliver a bag of 'biscuits' to Charlie, a former armed robber who fled to the 'Costa Del Crime' after a robbery went wrong thanks to the trigger-happy antics of his partner Sammy. Together, the pair have started up a lucrative drug running business, fronted by Charlie's exclusive club in Malaga. After successfully dropping off the money, Frankie is taken under Charlie's wing, much to the annoyance of Sammy, and begins to sink deeper and deeper into a life of crime. Initially, the high life is every bit as glamorous as he's always believed, but then the stakes get higher, and the hours get longer, and both Frankie and Charlie begin to take too much of a liking to sampling the 'product'...

The narrative forms a typical Rise and Fall structure familiar to the genre, but Love hooks this into the greedy conservatism of the period and, as a result, the film feels more weighty and culturally aware than some of its contemporaries. There are obvious parallels with GOODFELLAS, but if anything Love goes out of his way to reverse everything one expects from a Happy-go-lucky British gangster film. There are scenes of gut-wrenching desperation in the film's relentlessly powerful final act, after the tables have been turned on the playboys, which recalls the flat-out misery Love injected his short film LOVE STORY with (a trait that had been missing from his first two features). After a clunky opening with, frankly, poor dialogue, Love's script settles into an enjoyable, pacy story with colourful characters and a don't-fuck-about attitude. However, though his visual style is terrific, his ability to get great performances unparalleled, and his choice of music bang-on, Nick Love is in need of a writing partner - someone who will tighten his story to make sure that, from beginning to end, the script is taut and consistent. For, just as the beginning feels tacked on to explain Frankie's flight, so the climax of the film hinges on a character inconsistency, which does jar somewhat, and you get the feeling that Love just wanted to wrap things up and get to his triumphant ending.

Of course, this is a minor quibble, and said triumphant ending is certainly a crowd-pleasing one. It's a testament to the fact that Love actually CREATES characters in his films.

The performances are very good. Danny Dyer excels here as Frankie, with the right amount of lariness and vulnerability that he brought to his standout role as Tommy Johnson in THE FOOTBALL FACTORY. He looks more and more like an emerging star in the making, in the Ray Winstone mould, and it's about time more directors used him properly. Charismatic, charming and unsettling, Hassan is a memorable figure, and looks to have the talent to carve quite a niche for himself.

All in all, THE BUSINESS is a top-notch film with the broadest appeal of any that Love has so far produced. Powerful, exhilarating and at times genuinely funny, with a kind of crowd-pleasing triumph about it that you just can't teach or package.


Goodbye Charlie Bright [2001] [DVD]
Goodbye Charlie Bright [2001] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nick Love
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: 4.94

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undiscovered gem, 13 Aug 2004
As the directorial debut of Nick Love - the filmmaker who brought to life John King's excellent book, The Football Factory - Goodbye Charlie Bright will hopefully be given a retrospective second chance by the British filmgoing public, who largely ignored it on it's original cinematic release.
A humorous and touching tale of friendship and loyalty, the film bears what one imagines to become future Nick Love trademarks - short running time, quick edits, rapid pace and colourful characters, as well as a knowing and confident authenticity about the subject matter.
What marks this film out from other British films that take place on a council estate is that Love taps into the youthful mindset - the estate is not a bleak, depressing and hopeless place when you're young... it is your whole world... It is represented in the film with vibrant colours and a scorching summer setting. People picked on the fact that the 'adult' characters were mostly exagerrated, but what the film is really doing is tapping into the youthful fantasy and fascination with the 'grown ups' - they ARE larger than life to youngsters, hence we have the cowboy-wannabe Tony Immaculate, and the faux-posh geezer Paul 'Hector' Moriarty. Only Charlie's dad, in a superb cameo by David Thewlis, seems grounded, almost pathetic - a world apart from the other adults his son encounters and, as a result, his is the most minimal of impacts on his son's life and narrative.
The two lead actors are Paul Nicholls and Roland Manookian, both of whom turn in fantastic performances. Nicholls, in particular, exudes a presence and star quality that begs the question why he isn't a bigger star. Manookian has a tougher role, but somehow makes his 'loser' character oddly endearing; sadly, as evidenced by his equally impressive turn in Love's second film, his is a specific look, and it's very hard to see him playing anything other than directionless losers... but what he does, he does brilliantly.
The film moves along at such a pace that certain characters wander in and out, often seeming undeveloped. This is not a flaw in the writing so much as it is a virtue of the screenplay - the film, stylistically, is caught between slice-of-life and urban-thriller, subscribing to neither, fusing, rejecting and critiquing contemporary British cinema.
Energetic, lively, with humour and pathos that elevates it above most modern British films, Goodbye Charlie Bright is a highly entertaining film from a promising director, with far more depth than you might first believe.
Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2010 9:40 PM BST


Football Factory (Special Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Football Factory (Special Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Danny Dyer
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.73

29 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British film of the year, 11 Aug 2004
Nick Love is a director whose two films (the other being 2001's 'Goodbye Charlie Bright') really deserve to have done better than they actually did at the box office, for Love's style of filmmaking is energetic and lively, a refreshing change from the heavy-handed and overly 'worthy' style of most contemporary British films. That he manages to do this while telling stories about working-class white males in the poorer quarters of London makes his films all the more enjoyable. Sadly, the effort and panache with which this young auteur pulls off his films is not matched by the distribution of said films and, although his second effort achieved moderate success in London, his work goes unnoticed by most of the general cinemagoing population. Which is a crying shame, for 'The Football Factory' is probably the most relevant British film to be released in 2004...
It is a deft, if loose, adaptation of John King's blistering debut novel, with characters amalgamated and - in some cases - invented for the purposes of the story which Love has pulled away from King's episodic, elliptical inner-narrative and grounded with a tight time-frame and tit-for-tat war between Chelsea and Millwall thugs. In addition, protagonist and narrator Tommy Johnson has been tweaked and tailored according to the quirks and mannerisms of lead actor Danny Dyer, who is absolutely sensational and deserves to go onto great things in his career (hopefully with Nick Love guiding the way). To label the character a 'Mark Renton' for the 21st century is a little short-sighted, for Love's script walks a tender line with the morally ambiguous redemption of the character, which leaves the audience to ponder the character's future (although those of us who read King's third book, England Away, don't do much guessing there!!!), and does no credit to the way Dyer admirably rises to the occasion, eschewing his troublesome Moff (from Human Traffic) persona that had previously typecast him in earlier films.
Love's adaptation of the novel is assured. He takes many liberties with the source material, but is not afraid to make the almost unfilmable prose palatable for a mainstream audience. Structurally, it doesn't achieve the heights of his 'Goodbye Charlie Bright' script, which very cleverly shifted pace according to the emotions of the characters, while at the same time being an 82 minute critique of all that was wrong with Britfilm, but The Football Factory moves along at a great pace, with interesting and intriguing characters who hold your attention throughout. The riot scenes are also brilliantly staged and totally believable.
Fast, funny, violent and with an honesty and authenticity lacking from the pathetic 'I.D.', or the overly-judgemental Alan Clarke BBC drama 'The Firm', The Football Factory comes highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 11, 2008 3:10 PM BST


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD] [2002]
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Elijah Wood
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 10.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The benchmark for all DVDs., 21 Nov 2003
Though there is something distinctly despicable about New Line/Entertainment in Video's policy of releasing two DVD versions of 'Rings' three months apart, they have nevertheless delivered a second astonishing collector's edition. The 42 minutes of extra footage worked into the film provide a denser, fuller viewing experience - of particular note are extended comedic scenes featuring Merry and Pippin (one of which pays homage to the controversially-excised characters of Tom Bombadill and Old Man Willow), and more screen-time for Faramir (which allows for a superb flashback scene involving Sean Bean's Boromir). J.R.R Tolkien's dense, rich world is explored further in this version of the film, and the result is immensely satisfying.
The DVD extras are just as dense - four commentary tracks on the movie that further enrich viewers' understanding. The standout track is from director Peter Jackson and writer's Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh, which is illuminating and often funny. The supplementary appendices provide further insight into the writing of the book, the adaptation for the screen, as well as translating Tolkien's epic vision to a visual medium, with especially fascinating features on action chereography, the animation of Gollum and the use of 'Bigatures' (get the DVD and you'll see what I mean!)
'The Two Towers' is an essential DVD in that it has a long shelf-life - a film well worth repeated viewing, with four extremely entertaining commentary tracks, and many hours of enlightening features. The sheer wealth of material make the thirty-odd quid price of the DVD seem like spare change.


Nil By Mouth [VHS] [1997]
Nil By Mouth [VHS] [1997]
VHS

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best British films ever made..., 18 Nov 2003
Nil by Mouth would be an important film if only for the fact that it reminded the good British public that Ray Winstone isn't just an asset to a film, but a resource all on his own! However, Gary Oldman's directorial debut is so much more than that - a searing, affecting film that leaves a lasting impression.
Exceptionally foul-mouthed, Nil by Mouth is a slice-of-life drama in the style of Mike Leigh or Alan Clarke (directors Oldman was very familiar with from having worked with them as a young actor); there is no classic Hollywood structure, no safety-net of a clear-plot through which we discover the characters. The cast of this film are never introduced, we are just thrown into the middle of their world and expected to adjust, treat them like people we have known for years. Because of this, the film's tale of domestic violence, alcoholism, heroin abuse and father-son relationship attains the kind of power lacking in most films. It helps that writer-director Oldman is writing about the world in which he grew up, and has populated it with real-looking (read: unattractive) actors.
Winstone is, of course, magnificent in the role of Ray, a marauding south London man on the brink of mental collapse, who takes out his unarticulated frustrations on his helpless wife Valerie, played with equal brilliance by Kathy Burke, who proves that she is far more than just a comic actress. Charlie Creed-Miles, Jamie Foreman and Laila Morse (now on TV as 'Big Mo' in EastEnders) provide sterling support.
It is a difficult film to watch, but not just because of its often-disturbing scenes of domestic violence. Oldman's commitment to realism means that all dialogue is extremely south London specific (almost incomprehensible to non-London viewers), and un-coordinated in that characters often speak over each other, making some of the dialogue inaudible. It takes a while to get used to, but it becomes an ingenius way of tricking the audience into believing that what they see is the result of a hidden camera in someone's living room/pub/car/garage.
Nil by Mouth is definitely worth seeing, more than once. It has hidden depths and sensitivity that become more apparent with repeated viewings. It is a genuine masterpiece of 'cinema verite' - the only question is: why hasn't Gary Oldman directed another film?


These Days
These Days
Price: 8.64

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon Jovi at their very best, 14 Nov 2003
This review is from: These Days (Audio CD)
Strange that one year after releasing their first Greatest Hits compilation (generally a sign of a band being on a slippery slope) Bon Jovi would turn around and deliver their best record - at no other point in the band's history have they sounded better. Lyrically, they reach heights out of the range of their peers, and their pretenders; Jon Bon Jovi's voice is at times 'Meatloaf-like' in its sheer strength and power; and the production values are flawless.
Bon Jovi have always been an emotionally charged group, and here their typically expressionistic lyrics are served by a lush, full production that makes them sound grander than they ever have before or since. 'This Ain't a Love Song' and 'Lie to Me' solidify their reputation as kings of the Power Ballad, and 'My Guitar Lies Bleeding in my Arms' is a huge epic record that proves their worth as songwriters.
An excellent album, and an essential addition to any Classic Rock collection.


American Psycho [DVD] [2000]
American Psycho [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.96

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A misunderstood movie about a misunderstood book..., 14 Nov 2003
This review is from: American Psycho [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
How do you satisfy readers of one of the most influential, daring and plainly brilliant books of all-time, never mind recent memory? How do you transfer Bret Easton Ellis' level of gore to the silver screen without incurring the wrath of censorship boards across the world?
The answer is, you do not. Instead, you focus on what REALLY makes a novel like 'American Psycho' tick... it's sharp, dark wit. Intelligent readers (those not liable to get hysterical at the drop of a hat) have long known that, beneath the blood and guts, the book is/was satirical. It satirised 80s materialism and the vanity of the shallow, self-absorbed, empty male souls who lined the street named Wall.
The filmmakers are thankfully aware of this, and have decided to home in on this element to make their adaptation work. Generally, they make the right choices - the film looks glossy, almost like an 80s TV movie (the visual implication being style over substance), and the 80s decor and fashions are very understated, downplayed - everyone is wearing generally the same thing, and this sense of homogenisation runs throughout.
At the heart of the film is a superb performance by Christian Bale, as Patrick Bateman, playing it uncannily straight when lesser actors would 'ham it up' (his pursuit of a prostitute while wearing only trainers and weilding a chainsaw is a superb example of this).
Ellis' work is patently unfilmmable, the reason being that his true genius lies in his skill with character's narrative voices, which cannot be faithfully transferred to film. Also, the very shallow aesthetic presentation of the film causes Bateman to appear as a serial killer with a quirky habit of being obsessed with meaningless, trivial things - whereas the book drew a distinct connection between materialism and Bateman's psychosis.
But these are minor quibbles, for the film adaptation of 'American Psycho' is an often very funny film that never fails to entertain, even if it does not teach us quite as much as its source material.


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