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Reviews Written by
Charles Vasey (London, England)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Anthologia
Anthologia
Price: £23.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr John, 4 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Anthologia (Audio CD)
Perhaps this is only really for superfans as there are a lot of repeated tracks, but it suited me down to the ground. It is difficult to get the CDs out of the pocket and the application of a scalpel is required.


La Bataille, Tome 2 :
La Bataille, Tome 2 :
by Ivan Rambaud
Edition: Album
Price: £11.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars L'Enfant chéri de la Victoire, 4 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: La Bataille, Tome 2 : (Album)
The battle hots up in this the second of three BDs covering the subject of Patrick Rambaud's novel "La Bataille". Not only do we have a cavalry charge, but several attacks on the village and an Austrian "hell burner" attacking the bridges. Massena (the beloved child of Victory) is in action, and Napoleon loses his temper with Bertrand. The larger canvas than in Tome 1 (with lots of wide views and sweeping action) suits the BD style well.


La Bataille, Tome 1 :
La Bataille, Tome 1 :
by Ivan Rambaud
Edition: Album
Price: £11.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Round One, 3 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: La Bataille, Tome 1 : (Album)
Based on Patrick Rambaud's novel on the battle of Aspern-Essling this first of three volumes introduces us to the characters and opens the battle with the French crossing the Danube and building the series of pontoons that were to contact them back to their base in Vienna. It was the failure of these bridges that offered the Austrians the chance to defeat the French in detail. Like all BDs this must encapsulate a lot into a little as the action ranges from the rape of a peasant girl by a Frenchman to the movements of many thousands of troops (and of course a lovelorn swain).


European Armies of the French Revolution, 1789-1802 (Campaigns and Commanders)
European Armies of the French Revolution, 1789-1802 (Campaigns and Commanders)
by Edward J. Coss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What God Abandoned These Defended....., 3 Feb. 2016
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The wars of the two Coalitions against the Revolution and the Directory are over-shadowed by the Emperor and his wars, but they additionally suffer from being categorised as a class between free-thinking sons of Liberty and an army of mercenaries. History loves categories but has a greater love for spoiling the neatness. This collection of essays demonstrates that in spades: particularly Charles Esdaile's chapter on the Spanish Army which escapes the usual stereotyping found in, for example, the Sharpe stories. The nine chapters cover the French, Prussian, Austrian, Russian, British, Spanish, German, Italian and Ottoman armies. The German and Italian chapters covering the various minor states in those "geographical expressions". The Prussian chapter has some interesting arguments as to why the result in 1806 was unkind to the changes made since Frederick the Great. The British chapter demonstrates what a real Nation In Arms looked like. But I am just sampling a box of delights. If I had (under torture) to pick a chapter then Peter Wilson's one on the German Princes continues his long line of high quality work.


99 Homes [DVD]
99 Homes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrew Garfield
Price: £8.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars America doesn't bail out the losers. America was built by bailing out winners., 24 Jan. 2016
This review is from: 99 Homes [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The property crash of the mid Noughties caught a lot of people out, but in America the consequence of the mix of toxic loans made unwisely and a jobs market de-layering fast was that many homes were "under water" not just amongst the poor (who usually suffer this) but the aspirational middle and working class. In 99 Homes the deed is done before the film starts, these homes are already owned by the bank as the loans are foreclosed. The "villain" of the piece played by Michael Shannon now enforces these and sells on the homes; in this he is aided by the teams who clear the houses, the lawyers who run (sometimes after the fact) the legal process, the judges who hammer it through, and the sheriff's officers who enforce the evictions. These are the carrion eaters who clean up the mess and remove the evidence of the dreams that died. In nearly every case the evictees are portrayed as a mixture of false bravado ("You are not coming in here") that crashes, as the adrenaline reduces, to numbed resignation or light gunfire. In one case the former owners do come up with an inventive way to get revenge but I'll leave that to you to discover. Our hero (the rather dozy Dennis Nash) suffers all these indignities before joining the enemy and working for the unsentimental Rick Carver (handsomely played by Michael Shannon). However, it's not just a matter of bouncing people, there are frauds to be committed by removing (and then reinstalling) property equipment, or signing up paper tenants to benefit from grants, and finally forging documents.

Highlighting a big issue in America the film is unremitting in its treatment of that issue at its most personal (where the rubber hits the road) with people being evicted, at times veering towards Grapes of Wrath territory. From there on in the issue is how much of this the hero can take. Can Dennis last the course in his journey from loser to winner? It took its time but got there in the end, and with no Disney endings.


Wooden Crosses [Les Croix de Bois] (1932) [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)
Wooden Crosses [Les Croix de Bois] (1932) [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)
Dvd ~ Charles Vanel
Offered by bestmediagroup
Price: £9.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bearded Ones, 16 Jan. 2016
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Much that we see in this film must have been very new when it came out but is more well-known now (the Citizen Kane effect) for all this the film remains a strong piece of work. The story line follows a young poilu joining his company, through a spell in the line (harassed by mining operations), a major attack and counter-attack (with some splendid explosions that really shake the ground) to the final attack, we even manage a parade for the men coming out of the line. In the same tradition of Band Of Brothers our group of squaddies is whittled down by death and injury all achieved in a grimly realistic fashion. The film is over 80 years old but the story is as fresh as when it first appeared.


Into the West Complete Series - 4 Disc DVD Boxset [IMPORT]
Into the West Complete Series - 4 Disc DVD Boxset [IMPORT]
Dvd ~ Beau Bridges
Offered by Film_Europe
Price: £17.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We're Going To Need A Bigger Country, 12 Jan. 2016
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One has to admire the scale of this tale, using two families (one settler, one Indian) to cover the 19th century. The tone is rather maudlin with the Sioux being portrayed as Eco-warriors but the incidents are not Disneyfied, with plenty of slaughter. The result is a worthy tale that stitches together periods we may have seen or read about without seeing them set in context


Lillie - The Complete Series [1978] [DVD]
Lillie - The Complete Series [1978] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Francesca Annis
Price: £24.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebrity, 12 Jan. 2016
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Great fun spotting the famous and infamous, but dear me what a dreary (to me) life they led surrounded by convention, ravaged by status anxiety, and in many cases living off the wealth of former ages. It is perhaps not surprising that Lillie did an A List job on Society: combining looks with sauce and avoiding being a demi-mondaine. Played as a charming narcissist Lillie Langtry's story is far better than fiction. Great fun in small doses, wonderful costume department. The players surpass themselves, Peter Egan probably takes the palm as Oscar Wilde, but Dennis Lill as Edward VII and Francesa Annis as our heroine press him hard.


The First Man in Rome by McCullough, Colleen (1990) Hardcover
The First Man in Rome by McCullough, Colleen (1990) Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boni, 12 Jan. 2016
I long delayed reading this series for contemplated pleasures are (I find) the best. McCullough has her own voice, perhaps nicer than Graves or Duggan, but just as immersed in detail and in narrative drive. Modern politicians will recognise the mixture of hard law and established practice, the importance of principle and of servicing one's own network. For those of us who usually find ourselves reading historical fiction of the non-Junior-chap-on-secret-mission-to-vindicate- his-father type this is delicious fun, not only because it is a rattling read firmly set in context, but because we can then voyage out to the histories to see how McCullough weaves her tale into the data that we have (for example her interpretation of both Sulla and Marius being allies) . The story concerns the post-Gracchi era with the arrival in politics of both Gaius Marius and L Cornellius Sulla both of who were to be the First Man In Rome. Being set in Rome in an era with a host of famous characters leading us ever upwards towards C Julius Caesar this is a novelist's (and reader's) dream.


The First Man in Rome by McCullough, Colleen (2008) Paperback
The First Man in Rome by McCullough, Colleen (2008) Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boni, 12 Jan. 2016
I long delayed reading this series for contemplated pleasures are (I find) the best. McCullough has her own voice, perhaps nicer than Graves or Duggan, but just as immersed in detail and in narrative drive. Modern politicians will recognise the mixture of hard law and established practice, the importance of principle and of servicing one's own network. For those of us who usually find ourselves reading historical fiction of the non-Junior-chap-on-secret-mission-to-vindicate- his-father type this is delicious fun, not only because it is a rattling read firmly set in context, but because we can then voyage out to the histories to see how McCullough weaves her tale into the data that we have (for example her interpretation of both Sulla and Marius being allies) . The story concerns the post-Gracchi era with the arrival in politics of both Gaius Marius and L Cornellius Sulla both of who were to be the First Man In Rome. Being set in Rome in an era with a host of famous characters leading us ever upwards towards C Julius Caesar this is a novelist's (and reader's) dream.


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