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King Of New York [DVD] [1991]
King Of New York [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Christopher Walken
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £2.70

4.0 out of 5 stars King Walken, 7 Oct 2012
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Christopher Walken and Abel Ferrara made King Of New York when both were at the peak of their careers. Ferrara immediately made another classic in Bad Lieutenant with Harvery Keitel and struck gold with an actor ready to go right to the edge. Walken doesn't quite go that far but in this film, as in "The Comfort Of Strangers" which he made at around the same time,he has a presence that no other actor could replicate.Ferrara films New York in a beautifully dark and menacing manner and that is how Walken plays Frank White, but somehow he manages to imbue him with humanity, maybe because Walken himself is a humane guy but maybe because he also knows how many of society's elites use charity as a mask for their underlying criminal perversities.
This is absolutely Walken's movie, and he looks superb in a film that is high on style and low on budget.It does lack depth and detail and could have done with being 20 minutes longer with a more filled-out script, but the pace of it is just right and the lighting and ambience of a city at night is superb.
The supporting cast is incredibly good, containing several who went on to become movie leads in their own right: Laurence Fishburne, Wesley Snipes, and David Caruso.
The story is basic and knowing Ferrara is most likely also highly un-scripted, just following a basic plot and then ad-libbing in the blanks, but with Walken it works, and with Keitel in Bad Lieutenant it works even better. Both movies are cult classics which would most likely have been dismissed as average B movies with lesser actors in the leads. For me Bad Lieutenant just shades King of New York,because the story itself has more depth to it and Keitel gives the performance of his career.
This is probably Walken's best movie along with The Dead Zone, The Deer Hunter, and Heaven's Gate, and he has done little of note since this came out in 1989, with the exception perhaps of Catch me if you Can, for which he got nominated for an oscar supporting Leo Di Caprio. Some critics went on about his cameo performances in True Romance and Pulp Fiction but he is better in King Of New York than in either of those movies. Too often he seems to accept low budget, limp scripted TV style movies just to keep himself busy, when he is good enough to be in bigger budget classy movies like The Godfather.Ferrara too has never since matched what he managed to achieve with this film and Bad Lieutenant, and i would recommend buying both.

Shame [DVD]
Shame [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Fassbender
Price: £4.40

4.0 out of 5 stars scratches the surface when a shovel was needed., 3 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Shame [DVD] (DVD)
There is a style to this film which borders on both excellence and pretentiousness and the former is thanks to the main actor and the director, and the latter is mostly the fault of the writing not going far enough into each scene or into the subject as a whole. But the raw open-wound style of acting by Fassbender drags every scene back into the murk of his character's reality and grounds it. He never fails in any scene and the real "shame" here is that the writer needed to bring the character Sissy in to provoke a reaction from him,and maybe this was done because it seemed a bit thin on the ground as it was, when really it would have been more interesting (for me anyway) to just watch how he developed without an irritant in his face every minute he is at home. The story could have gone anywhere but in the end it was decided to structure it almost like a theatre play with a slightly cliched ending and a final scene that left more questions than it gave answers: Has he changed? Is he still the same? Unlike some people who read a lot into that scene on the tube, I think he is still the same, because what happened with his sister had nothing to do with his sex addiction, so there is no guilt connected to that,and so he wouldn't have changed his lifestyle.
So although Fassbender is excellent, he is limited from going deeper by a script that scratches the surface and almost doesn't want to go too far for fear of ruining a solid first act. And so the real shallowness is surprisingly not in the lifestyle itself but in setting up each scene with so much potential only to break away before it really becomes something more than shallow. Instead we see a slice of a lifestyle when what was really needed was the whole cake, cut up and eaten. This makes it everso slightly frustrating and if they had only left him alone and dug a little deeper into the murk, then this could have been an absolute taxi-driver style classic.

Bird On A Wire (Live In Europe 1972) [DVD] [2010]
Bird On A Wire (Live In Europe 1972) [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Leonard Cohen

5.0 out of 5 stars Every Cohen fan must buy this, 18 Sep 2012
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This was very moving in a way i didn't expect. It is more a tour diary than a concert film and so you have backstage footage galore and mistakes, problems, hassles,and triumphs dragged from the jaws of failure, but underlying all of this the thing that comes through most is the exceptional character of Leonard Cohen, both as a man and an artist.He doesn't shy away from admitting his mistakes and facing his flaws, on the contrary he attempts to go the other way and to lay his soul bare,making no excuses for himself,and without trying to pretty himself up in a conceited way. He is perhaps the one who most undervalues what he gives to people, while those around him constantly look to him for the right words,and the right responses to the confrontations and awkward situations,and somehow he seems to always find a way through with dignity and compassion and often with unusual and ingenious methods. I wish i were more like him,and watching this is like taking a lesson in being, in how to be,as a human in a difficult world.

Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD]
Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dustin Hoffman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £10.67

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good for the soul, 26 Aug 2012
This review is from: Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD] (DVD)
This film has received far more attention than it is due purely because it was lumped in with the video nasties in the 1970's and banned,and so obviously that brings far more curiosity and attention than would otherwise have been present for what is basically an average B movie.Director Sam Peckinpah seems to have more insight into the emotions of a horse than he does to a woman,as he handled them with so much more sensitivity during "The wild Bunch," which clearly is a far superior film to this,albeit narrow in terms of its outlook on life.
The problem with Straw Dogs is not the first 3/4 of the film.Although an obvious hors d'oeuvres to the main event, it does build quite nicely and Susan George flashing the builders as a statement of petulant defiance and to get a reaction is also believable given her character's personality and that she is feeling bored and is being neglected by Hoffman.
The tension between Hoffman and the builders is also realistic and many a poor homeowner will relive their own nightmares at the hands of manipulative lazy sods who leer in their windows whilst doing a bodge-job on their homes and eyeing up their wives and daughters. So the sympathy, if there is any, lies with Hoffman throughout.But he is an irritating simpleton at the same time,and so when he gets all brave and capably vigilantic at the end, it completely lacks credibility, and my opinion is he would never have pulled it off, and would at most have hit out only to miss and got beaten up and shut up quite easily by one or two of the builders.
The main event of the film is not his unrealistic vigilantic behaviour at the end but the rape scene. This scene alone probably multiplied a hundredfold the number of people who watched this film.
The only part of the rape that Peckinpah handled in any way like a man who respected women, was the aftermath, in the scene where the village community has a gathering and the susan George character sees the builders staring at her with amusement,having seemingly got away with their act.And again the reality would normally be that they WOULD have gotten away with it, because how many women would tell their husbands what had happened to them,knowing that married life would never be the same again? And if they did tell, how many would then receive justice from a court of law? Statistics sadly point to the number being miniscule in comparison with those who are the victims of such attacks. So i felt this after-rape scene was crucial to show a glimpse of how she felt inside, because right after the event she was apparently not affected at all,and not even in shock,and this on its own would send out a terribly wrong message to those who watch these kinds of films for kicks.So by putting that scene in,Peckinpah almost gets away with his hideous portrayal of the rape.But not quite.
The arguments over whether it was edited to make it look like she resisted and then enjoyed it are surprising, because it is OBVIOUS for everyone to see that this is what Peckinpah intended,and says more about him as a man than it does about society as a whole. He should have stuck to horses and not bothered to try and make a film with a strong female character, because he toyed with the privilege on every count.The fact that she had had a past relationship with the fisrt rapist does complicate it, but only if you believe that her marriage counts for nothing to her and that she still has feelings for the other guy. But if that were true then why does she resist him,and why does he still feel a need to rape her? Are we still in the wild west of Peckinpah's imagination? I can only give my opinion and personally i was left feeling that Peckinpah had more sympathy for the first rapist than he had for Susan George, whose character he sullied by showing her breathless enjoyment of her own defilement.You can almost see him righteously rooting for the first rapist, a guy who had history with her, a guy who had lost her to the husband and who had been teased and provoked by her. He was just doing what a man does in that position, and look how she responded to prove him right. Correct? According to cowboy Sam yes, that's how it is done in the west.The only thing missing from the scene is a lasso to bring the quarry into easier submission,and a "yahooo!" as a cowboy hat is held aloft. It should be realised now in 2012 that Cowboy history is nonsense, John Wayne was an imbecile, and the indians were the good guys.Oh,and women are humans not dumb beasts.Somebody please tell Peckinpah the news.

The second rapist in Straw Dogs almost interrupts the apparent mutual enjoyment of the first, and is Peckinpah getting off on voyeurism, so he has both the idea of woman being successfully seduced and conquered by rape,and then brutalised by it.The arguments will go on, but this is Peckinpah's movie,about Peckinpah's world, made for Peckinpah's enjoyment.Susan George should have just plain refused to go along with the way this scene was filmed,and yes it is just one scene in one movie, but if would-be rapists watch this and think "oh look, i can do it and she will resist but ultimately enjoy it and not make trouble after," then how many of them does it give a nudge towards acting it out for real?
Go to the back of the class Peckinpah.This is Potentially damaging for the soul.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2014 11:06 PM GMT

Convoluted Universe: Book Four: 4
Convoluted Universe: Book Four: 4
by Dolores Cannon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.86

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books of our time, 21 Aug 2012
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Only 4 reviews for a book of this quality astounds me. So i am adding my voice to those others who gave this maximum stars. I would say this is a book of such importance that i would put it on the same level as religious people put their holy books.This book plus the other Dolores Cannon wrote this year,"The 3 waves of volunteers and the new earth" are key to understanding what is happening now on this planet,and also what is about to come. If you buy one book this year,but this one or the 3 waves. Both are modern masterpieces and exactly what we need now: absolute truth.

Three Waves of Volunteers & the New Earth
Three Waves of Volunteers & the New Earth
by Dolores Cannon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most essential books of our time, 7 July 2012
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If you feel like a stranger on this planet, a lost soul, needing to be alone,away from people, and when you walk around you don't feel a part of anything that's going on, and you have struggled for years to relate to people around you, and sometimes you want to leave your life with an almost desperate cry from the soul inside you, then read this book.It is one of the most essential non-fiction books of our time. People on the edge, do not jump until you have read this. And once you have read it, most likely you will walk away from the edge with renewed strength, because all of us have a purpose, and we may well be fulfilling it without even knowing we are doing anything special. We are all more than we know. This book provides a tantalizing glimpse of beauty and truth unseen by most on earth, beauty and truth that for some will soon become a normal daily waking reality.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2013 12:24 PM GMT

The Downfall Of Berlin - Anonyma [DVD] [2008]
The Downfall Of Berlin - Anonyma [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Max Farberbock
Price: £4.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars impossible to recreate., 5 July 2012
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The story is true, and an account so rarely told that it absolutely warrants being made as a film. Of course it is impossible to re-create the horror a woman must feel in that moment she realises there is no escape for her, and nothing she can do can avoid the inevitability of being raped, and then to know it will happen again and again. I initially felt this film should have been made as an 18 cetificate,and an attempt made to reach closer to that point of feeling in a woman's emotional state, if that is possible.Because then their subsequent behaviour would have been better understood,and also more heroic. In a watered-down 15 certificate this could never be accomplished. There is one moment in this film i really disliked, where the lead character meets her friend again after both have been raped, and asks her "how many times?" (meaning how many times had she been raped.) And her friend answers "4 times," and raises her eyebrows suggestively as if to suggest that it was something to laugh off.In this moment i really felt the actress and director got it wrong. Yes they might try to downplay what had happened, but i personally felt a woman would never have such an expression on her face and then laugh as though it was all a game. By this point in the film most of the women have already been raped and they share a common bond in suffering,and it is there that the filmakers portray them as becoming almost nonchalant about these continued assaults,(Possibly owing something to the style in which the original account was written.)The reality however, must have been far more horrific than is portrayed here, as there were many many suicides, gang rapes and children also were raped. And there was no mention here of these aspects as though that was a step too far even to suggest it.But the truth is the truth. Some women were raped constantly by gangs of soldiers.Do we need to see it? No. But should it at least be mentioned or shown in a subtle way so as to get the full horror across? Yes,if only to be fair to the victims,and to explain why they were then so inclined to co-operate with simply being assualted more on their own terms by a single soldier.
If a Russian audience of men watched this they could easily look at it and feel simply that the Germans got what they deserved,that there were some good russian characters and that the Russian lead character was a man of moral strength and courage. And then they would remind you of what had been done to them in the war leading up to this point. It was very commendable that the Germans made a film featuring Russian actors, but it was made possible by diluting the reality of what they did. But then we need to address why they did what they did in Berlin. Not just because that is what men always do in war, but more because of what the Germans had already done to the Russian women, children, and men in the 4 years leading up to this point. It is touched on in one line of dialogue, but a more powerful way would have been to introduce the film with some kind of fragmented montage of horror of what the Germans did, just a series of examples of true incidents,leading into the first scene in Berlin. You would only need make the film 10 minutes longer, but you would have hit the audience emotionally in a way that would almost make them sit there thinking, "serve them right," about the Germans,and then perhaps the next day they would reflect on their reactions and ask themselves "how could i have felt like that?" And then they would have come closer to understanding both victims and aggressors. Because who is to blame really? In the end it can only be that each person is responsible for their own actions regardless of what everyone else is doing.But that's easier said than done when your wife and daughter have been raped and slaughtered. The director i felt tried his best to walk the fine line between demonising Russian soldiers and showing them as men with varying degrees of brutality and reason. I felt this was done very effectively, sometimes without using any dialogue. But the women are done a disservice in the watering down of what really went on, just for the sake of sanitizing things for a viewing audience. The director might argue that the alternative would have been to make the rapes so explicit that they become the focus of the film,rather than the women, and would put the sensitive people off and attract more of those kind of people who buy films like this just to sit and watch those kind of scenes. So credit must go to the director for not trying to make the film so shocking that this became the major selling point. Above all it is a human story,and an important one, and one so difficult to tell in any way close to how it must have really been. But i felt it was made with the best of intentions and with a very strong desire for fairness.

The Elite Squad (Tropa De Elite) [DVD]
The Elite Squad (Tropa De Elite) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Wagner Moura
Price: £8.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winner of the Berlin film festival 2008, 8 April 2012
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This film deservedly won the Berlin film Festival in 2008. It never even got nominated for an oscar, and neither did the sequel.Forgetting for a moment about the best foreign film category, in 2008 the oscar for best film went to Slumdog millionaire and in 2009 it went to Hurt locker. Elite Squad blows both of these films clean out of the water in the first five minutes alone. It should have by-passed the foreign language category and been put in the main category and it should have won best film, best director,best actor, best original screenplay,and best cinematography.
This is a non-stop onslaught with a brilliant performance by Wagner Moura as Nascimento. It was already the most-watched Brazilian film of all time even before it had been released! Watch the extras for why and how that happened.
The brilliance of the script and Wagner Moura might leave a non-Brazilian confused as to whose side to be on, whether to aympathise with Moura and agree that all drug dealers are scum that should be killed, or to side with the drug dealers who appear to protect the inhabitants of the favelas from corrupt police who would take everything from the poor who live there rather, as you will see if you buy the sequel Elite Squad 2. The script doesnt sit on the fence, but it treads the fine line between all sides, and if anything i personally would side with Wagner Moura and BOPE for wanting to be rid of both the dealers and the corrupt cops. But honestly i don't know enough about BOPE other than this film, to be able to objectively take them apart and see the evil intent there. But like one man in the second film says, they are an instrument of the state, an organisation meant in theory to protect the people but they have a skull as part of their badge motif and they are trained to kill. Their standpoint is one of control rather than freedom, and this in the wrong hands inevitably gives birth to Fascism and its twin brother Communism.
Brillaint brilliant film and the sequel ELITE SQUAD 2 takes it even further though with less BOPE and more political corruption. Both are highly intelligent and highly recommended.I would give 10 stars if i could.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2013 12:31 PM GMT

The Whistleblower [DVD]
The Whistleblower [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rachel Weisz
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: £6.09

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a film., 8 April 2012
This review is from: The Whistleblower [DVD] (DVD)
It is high time the highly corrupt organisation known as the UN were held accountable in some way if only for the behaviour of their so-called peacekeepers who commonly rape trafficked women and even buy and sell them themselves. If you don't believe this movie is true,then do some research of your own and you will discover it is even more horrifying and widespread than this film is able to show in 2 hours.
I would say it is an important film, very concisely written and very well-acted, but you may come away from it feeling depressed and also frustrated to live in a world where rape is such a commonplace event that many men do not even recognise it as being rape, and those that do enjoy it. They call it recreation and it makes me as a man feel totally sick to be part of a species which treats women and children in such a way.
Also the frustration is not to know what we can do about it. If you watch this and want to do something then one thing people can do is to sponsor a child or teenager with SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES and they operate all over the world including Bosnia, and then you could play a part in helping keep one individual protected from such a life as is portrayed in this film, as least until they are an adult and have a chance to make their own choices.
While this film mostly portrays events concerning young women,the crimes described do also affect children in vast numbers and there are always people in positions of authority whether they be police or in government organisations, who are affiliated with paedophile rings and turn a blind eye or take payoffs to protect the perpetrators of such crimes. Many young women and children are kidnapped from their towns and villages by traffickers in Eastern European countries, places like Belarus, and also in South-east Asian countries such as Cambodia.Serbia is well-known to still be operating rape camps long after the war finished, and to be a country where kidnapped women are sent to to be "broken" and then trafficked through places like Istanbul and on to countries like Italy and also UK and Holland, etc etc etc.
If you want a laugh and to eat food while watching a movie and to be entertained, don't watch this.I would say it could be seen to be entertaining as a dramatic thriller, but as soon as you realise everything here is true and the woman rachel weisz plays is a real woman, then how can it still be entertaining? But i think it is important that such things have a voice and a place to be seen and understood, and it is inspiring what this woman tried to do, standing virtually alone,and that is more important than being entertained.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2012 1:22 PM GMT

Beyond Borders [DVD]
Beyond Borders [DVD]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Price: £7.45

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Belief, 26 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Beyond Borders [DVD] (DVD)
What annoyed me about this film is that is deals with a very deep and profound subject in such a lightweight way.
Clive Owen and Angelina Jolie are not the problem. Both of them are the only reason why i kept watching. But I know a bit about Cambodia and i also know she would never have got close to him in Chechnya and survived.She would have been gang-raped and then killed. The Cambodian sequence is not a true portrayal of the Khmer Rouge. The writer and director could not even be bothered to find out what kind of clothes the Khmer Rouge wore. The most basic of details, completely ignored. Clive Owen's character would never have brought that little African kid all the way to show him to those people at the beginning because the child was near to death and Owen was playing a doctor and would have known that. He would have probably made a film of conditions instead, so that is pretty shallow in the way it was done, just for effect, with a writer and director most likely saying "hey do you know what would be really cool...bla bla bla." To do a story like this justice it needed to be about 45 minutes longer, and epic in the way that Dr Zhivago is epic, and written and directed by people who bothered to research the fine details and were more concerned about realism than sensationalism.This is just popcorn fodder, but if it plants a seed in some people and makes them want to go and help others, then it has served a higher purpose.

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