Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for Barca 82 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Barca 82
Top Reviewer Ranking: 906,271
Helpful Votes: 138

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Barca 82 (UK)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
by Philip Roth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Worldly, 23 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Indignation (Paperback)
This is a hugely enjoyable book. Roth keeps you turning the page from the off and you are truly transported to live firstly within the confines of a New Jersey lower middle class family and later the stifling environs of 50s college life. The characters are so vivid and real and the mini episodes that lead the main protaganist to meet his end on a battlefield in the middle of Korea are both poignant, and in a strange way, funny.

Roth is a master and you cant help feeling that there is an element of showmanship and knowing humour at work as he takes us through familiar Roth territory about what it means to be a man, and the way that intellect is so often not enough; when class, petty discriminations (real or imaginged) and the vagaries of conventional thought wreak havok on our destiny. When Roth is at his best as he is here, the writing leaps off the page and grabs you by the throat, some of the prose is truly breathtaking - he can convey more ideas in a single sentence than most writers can in a chapter. He may be getting on, but he sees the world so clearly and its an education to pick up a book like this as well as being a hell of an entertaining ride.

The Solitude of Thomas Cave
The Solitude of Thomas Cave
by Georgina Harding
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Chilly Page Turner, 1 Aug. 2009
I really enjoyed this book. Georgina Harding evokes the harshness of the Arctic wilderness and you can all but smell the blubber. Time, setting, place and character are woven into the fabric of the story, making it real. Not a promising premise when you read the blurb, but it works at least in part because the character of Thomas Cave is sympathetically drawn. His backstory is expertly revealed in a heartbreaking narrative that is enthralling. You care about him and the people he cares about.

Story drives this novel but I was also taken with the descriptions of the landscape and by the willingness of the author to portray a sense of the little things; you feel you are out there in the snow and ice hunting with Cave, or else stowed up in his hut whilst the weather does its worst in the prevailing darkness of the endless winter outside. The individual's desperate will to survive in the face of overwhelming odds both internally and externally go to the the very heart of the human condition. A gem of a book.

Watchmen (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2009]
Watchmen (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Malin Åkerman
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £5.91

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surely the best 'superhero' movie yet..., 27 July 2009
...because its so much more than that. Zack Snyder has done a great job in bringing the GN to the screen and whilst it does feel a little like a paint by numbers job on the novel, the effects, the acting and the sheer force of the attention to detail make it a more than decent movie in its own right. I think its important though, that we appreciate when reviewing this movie, we are also reviewing the original GN source material, (despite Alan Moore's reluctance to be credited) and that this means its a film of substance. It can't really be compared with other 'superhero movies'. The idea of an 'alternative reality', with real life threads (Nixon) of the political right holding sway in the mid-80s were not that far from the reality we all exprienced; therefore despite there being more costumes to cope with, its more grounded. Right wing Western govts were pretty good at nullifying violent protests in the 80s (Miners strikes, Poll tax riots in the UK) they just did it without Superheroes. And Nuclear war was never that far away either.

The superheroes in Watchmen, with the exception of Dr Manhattan, are just ordinary people who have had enough. They are real, flawed characters who have a fetish for violence themselves and not a little for dressing up. The backstory of the Minutemen and some of the peripheral characters is handled deftly by Snyder in the main opening sequence of the film - departing here from the GN. Good use of music to convey a sense of time and history - Bob Dylan never sounded so good. The story is complex and the naarrative is as far from linear as you can get, so lets be fair to Snyder- it was never going to be easy to film. He is clearly as much a fan of the GN as much as anyone and the knowing humour and entertaining superhero personas and costumes of the Minuteman is handled with loving care.

The cast is largely unknown and I think this works in the films favour. The performances are fresh but I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan is particularly strong as the Comedian. Malin Akerman is superb as Silk Spectre II and you belive in Patrick Wilson as a decent everyman treading water while the world around him decends into violence. Rorsach is played with vigour and conviction by Jackie Earle Haley and Carla Gugino lends depth and ambiguity to her character. Billy Crudup does as well as can be expected with the CGI enhanced Dr Manhattan LED suit- he is suitably removed and detached from everything around him and as spooky as you'd expect. For me though, the cast is flawed by the choice of Matthew Goode as Veidt. He seemed shifty from the start and it probably didn't surprise those who'd not read the novel, that he was behind the murders and skulduggery.

The violence is explicit but handled by Snyder, I believe, in the way Moore intended. That is with contradiction- its in your face and that of the characters in the film, but thats how we/they like it. And in a sense, its why we all seem to be going to hell in a handbasket. Silk Spectre and Nite Owl get off on it (literally) the Comdedian's self loathing is the cause of the rape/beating scene and even as he grins up at Hooded Justice through bloody teeth, or shoots a pregnant woman in cold blood- we know this, and we recognise at least a little of ourselves. Ultimately of course the irony is that humankind is saved by this inbuilt fragility and unpredicatability. So lets not be daft and expect the film to be perfect, just sit back and enjoy the ride. If it helps stick on a Batman suit but try not to hurt anyone and wait till it finishes before you partake of kinky sex.

The Survivors [DVD] [2002]
The Survivors [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Walter Matthau

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Obscure but worth a look, 21 July 2009
This review is from: The Survivors [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This is a corker of a film for Matthau fans. I came across this late one night on TV and have always been fond of it. The 'Survivalist' motif and plight of the everyman running through the film is as relevant today as it was when it was made, the tone being set with some nice satire from Randy Newman- "Every Man a King" opens the movie.

Robin Williams and Matthau are thrown together when they witness and unwittingly prevent a hold up. Both men soon lose their jobs- in a cracking scene Williams is sacked by his boss's parrot. Williams becomes increasingly insecure and turns to survivalists, convinced he is being tracked by the thwarted hold up guy who inists he is 'the man who killed Jimmy Hoffa' - a comically sinister performance from Jack Locke. The film is a bit slaptsick and clumsy at times and there are some clunky bits of dialogue and a familiar undone villain scenario is played out. The main female character - Matthau's teenage daughter is more interesting than most- Kristin Viigard plays a well balanced and laid back character completely unfazed by the overwrought adults and events around her.

But it is the Matthau-Williams friendship that endures and eventually emerges as the central theme. Matthuau tracks his friend down to a survivalist camp where it emerges the inhabitants are being ripped off by the survivalist leader. In the final scene the Williams character breaks down and strips naked in the frozen wilderness saying to Matthau "I don't know whats real any more" - Matthau's response is to take off his coat and wrap it around Williams "I'm real" he says. Cranky film at times, but also warm, tender and at the end there, quite touching.

Pathology [DVD]
Pathology [DVD]
Dvd ~ Milo Ventimiglia
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.84

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crass, 4 July 2009
This review is from: Pathology [DVD] (DVD)
Oh, dear. We've been her before. Shallow characterisation, dialogue that is frankly laughable and a storyline that you can see panning out across a flat barren desert from a million miles away; the words 'dead meat' tattooed across the usual characters forheads. Crass Hollywood at its worst. They are trying to make us believe they have something to say about a 'broken moral compass', when all we really need to know is that this film is empty of ideas, human feeling and any kind of cinematic aesthetic. A car crash of a film.

The Red Riding Trilogy [DVD] [2009]
The Red Riding Trilogy [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Paddy Considine
Price: £10.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great TV, but read the books., 14 April 2009
They have done a good job with the TV adapatation but really it felt very rushed to me. I heard the writer/director(?) said he'd run out of money and couldnt do 1977 so weaved it in. The internal narratives of the characters were inevitably lacking depth (though the acting of lead characters is so good they do a better job than I'd have expected here), but it was the short cuts for the sake of time that really leapt out. Dont get me wrong though, this is still very well done and TV doesnt get any better. All of the the acting is outstanding, the cinematography is atmospheric and the music for all three films is different and evokes an atmospheric tension and an emotional pull.

My favourite adaptation was 1974. The moral quagmire Eddie finds himself pulled into is brutal and unrelenting and his journey through the story and subsequent breakdown is wholly believable. There are some wonderful moments throughout; the moment of redemption near the end of 1983 which holds out a little hope (unlike the books) was beautifully shot. Read the books, they are brilliant, you'll never look at the police in quite the same way.

Red Riding Nineteen Eighty (The Red Riding Quartet)
Red Riding Nineteen Eighty (The Red Riding Quartet)
by David Peace
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Read, 1 Mar. 2009
I'm new to Peace's writing and started with The Damned United which is a great book whether you are a football fan or not. I picked up '1980' at the library and read it in a few days. They staccato prose will be familiar to readers of the Damned United. He uses this effectively to get inside the head of his main character, Hunter- a policeman sent to review the Yorkshire Ripper case of the 70s when it was floundering.

I've not read the earlier parts of this trilogy 1974 and 1977 and there were obviously references to these books and characters here that meant I probably didnt appreciate all plot links. My fault not his, and the book stands alone anyway. Its a fascinating look at police courruption as well as being hugely evocative of time and place. The dialogue is very convincing and the claustrofobia and paranoia keep you turning the page.

His style is unique and very effective. Perhaps because you feel you are in the head of Hunter where repetition is used to give an authenticity to the nature of his fears and worries and to heighten anxiety. He doesnt shirk from the violence and the details and full horror of the attacks is given due focus. The emotional impact of the attacks on the women are also conveyed in heartbreakingly understated ways - 'mummy' being crayoned on the purse of one victim; the opening to each chapter gives us an eerie glimpse into the mind of the both the ripper and to the last moments of some of the victims. An appreciation of the darkness and the sadness of the lives lead by many of these women is in danger of being drowned out by the violence at the core of this novel - but it's there - and thats one of the things I like about Peace's work, no matter how bleak it is, he tries to give us a glimpse of the humanity.

I will be chasing up the earlier books and 1983 asap, might have to tape the upcoming TV series on C4 and watch it later.

Working On a Dream
Working On a Dream
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, tomorrow never knows, 14 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Working On a Dream (Audio CD)
...but usually you can bank on a decent album from Bruce. After the success of Magic he continues to make some carefree tunes with Brendan O'Brien producing and shows that he still has an ear for a hook and a melody. At its best the album touches on themes of time passing and mortality, King of Days is a great song, up there with anything he's written before. The Wrestler is a close relation to The Hitter (and a few others)- apparently Bruce knocked this one out overnight as a favour to Mickey Rourke. Fortitude and defiance in the face of resignation and defeat, the theme is familiar and we've been here before but Bruce is right - he can "make us smile when the blood it hits the floor." The Last Carnival is a touching song in the light of Danny 'The phantom' Federici's death. Bruce has said its a grown up 'Wild Billy's Circus Story' and as you listen you can't help but think back to a younger Danny's harpsichord playing and the the darkness of the circus when the marks have gone home...."we'll be riding the train without you tonight..." as ever the love and losses of old friends are not forgotten.

Elsewhwere the album takes on lighter tones. Queen of the Supermarket is fun, with a great hook and backing vocals to die for, and the yearning in it never quite rings true but then again since when are 60 yr olds not allowed to fall in love? Working on a Dream is honest and heartfelt; typical Bruce, stripped of pretense, his cards on the table, sleeves rolled up, working for what matters - a connection and the love of a companion. If you're of a cynical leaning you might call it trite, but the intention is, as ever, good for the soul, and again the music lifts this track.

Some might be disappointed at the lack of angst here, but Bruce has done that in spades. The political and social background of the States has also been well documented through his music and I'd be surprised if he has put this aspect of his music to bed for good. Still, we know he's capble of better at times. My Lucky Day is old territory not really worth visiting, This Life has some good imagery and is not bad but gets spoiled by a few throwaway lines - especially annoying is the lazy "what more can you expect". What Love Can Do, Good Eye, Life Itself and (winces) Surprise Surprise are routine at best. Outlaw Pete goes on for too long but its a good yarn, harks back to the Seeger sessions and will likely be great live. Tomorrow Never Knows is short and sweet with a beautiful bridge. Bruce knows people look to him for answers, and this song again touches on the need to find love to give meaning to lives that are too brief, and on the uncertainty that each of us have to learn to live with. So, small song it may be, but the message is big.

Overall I'm happy that he is producing at times great music, but more than anything, that he seems to be out there, playing live and in the studio and very much enjoying himself. 3.5 stars, if I could, but deserves the BOD.

Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £9.64

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars small genius quietly going about his business....., 24 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Cardinology (Audio CD)
About halfway through this album Ryan sings "Some of us are strong....but the rest of us are weak". The track is Let Us Down Easy and the moment would serve as a worthy abstract for this latest offering. Ryan is writing some of the strongest material of his career (no small feat) and is singing with real sensitivity and a soulfulness that lends his songs a hushed meaning. Live, these songs sound harder and louder, yet even there the message gets through. Songs about people who are haunted, wounded and riddled with doubt. Fix it, sounds as great on the record as it does live. It's been labelled the 'radio-friendly single' - for me thats harsh - the song has subtleties and nuances as well as drive and energy. The band sound great and as ever there are some sweet melodies with some inventive twists and changes of pace. The album is similar in feel to Easy Tiger but the tone is more even and the recording is more natural. Ryan is a genuine talent, a quiet innovator who sings from the heart about the things that matter; love, relationships, and the light and dark that is around us and within us. Stop, the closer is evidence enough for that alone.

What Is Love For
What Is Love For
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.57

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As close to perfection as it gets, 15 July 2008
This review is from: What Is Love For (Audio CD)
If you want perfectly crafted songs, Justin is still a man you can go to. This is a gem on an album and it deserves to be heard. The melodies are achingly beautiful and the lyrics are both tender and true. The cynical edge remains on songs like 'Something in that Mess' and the wonderfully dark 'Where Did I go?'. Out of My Control is simply a perfect pop song and 'Gold Dust' will go around your head for days. The album ends on the touchingly defiant 'No Surrender', which has us reflecting on the need to keep stocking up the fridge and why we would need personal goal shoppers- some brilliant lines in this rant of a song. Best of all though is the heart wrenching moment at the end of 'What is love for?. Buy this album, you won't be disapponted. Every song hits home, line by line; heartache, loss and what it is like to really live with someone by your side in this world or else cope without them. What else is there?

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4