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Siamese "Pedro Medeiros" (Azores, Portugal)

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Bruce Lee - Martial Arts Master [DVD]
Bruce Lee - Martial Arts Master [DVD]
Dvd ~ Guy Scutter
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.17

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A waste of a DVD edition, 10 Feb. 2011
I was hoping for some improvements over the old VHS cassette edition of this documentary on its DVD release. Unfortunately, I was proven wrong for it not only contains no suplements whatsoever and the quality of sound and picture remains basically the same as in the video cassette. Plus, the documentary was re-edited and heavily shortened - I know it because I still have the old 1993 video cassette. In total some 12 minutes worth of footage were deleted from its original 65 minutes length, resulting in entire interview segments with Chris Sato, Robert Chua and, most importantly, the recently deceased Ted Wong, one of Bruce Lee's last private students, being removed altogether - in the case of the latter, I found that deletion completely disrespectful of Mr. Wong as a person and his reputation!
The old VHS edition was much better and even included special extended interviews with both Herb Jackson and Ted Wong. Thus, this DVD is to be avoided until the people at Optimum Releasing decide to release the doc intact, restored to an above average quality print and with worthy extra features.

The "Godfather" Family Album
The "Godfather" Family Album
by Paul Duncan
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An offering you can't refuse!, 15 July 2010
Taschen publishing house have done it again! Like the other fabulous tome on Kubrick they put out, "The Stanley Kubrick Archives", this gorgeous book continues their tradition of extreme good taste conception-wise, excellent overall design of the contents, the finest printing quality available and a knack for picking an extraordinary subject.
Thank God Steve Schapiro is still around and for granting full access to his photographic archives pertaining to the production of the iconic "The Godfather" trilogy! There are a few photos that have previously graced the pages of magazines and some other books, yet the majority of the lot included here is indeed rare. The photos are gorgeous, with many being printed in full pages and several others spread across two pages - an absolute must!! They're complemented by insightful excerpts of diaries and interviews of a lot of the people involved in the making of the films, from Mario Puzo, to producer Al Ruddy, to Al Pacino and, most profusely, Francis Ford Coppola.
While "The Godfather" Parts I and II are extensively illustrated - mainly Part I -, "The Godfather: Part III" is the least covered. That was the only minus I found in the entire volume. There is only a minor magazine report on its production and a run of the mill interview of Coppola during filming, plus far less photographs when compared to the ones from the previous two films. That's an unfortunate trend set regarding Part III, which is to be vastly underrated when compared to two immensely lauded and prestigious cinema masterpieces that Parts I and II admitedly are. My personal favourite is "The Godfather: Part I", for all the rich portrayal of characters and relationships, a dynamic story of epic proportions, with superb acting, photography and direction amongst many other things. Many critics favour "The Godfather: Part II" as being superior to the original. Intellectually and conceptually they may be right, but "Part II" feels too dark and slow moving, whereas "Part I" is so full of emotional content and just riveting to watch - however that's another perspective and I just digress off the main focus of this review.
If you are a hopeless film buff with a tendency to appreciate the very best of film art of the past 100-plus years, then this is a book you cannot refuse to buy - and if you're a "The Godfather" 'aficionado' there's nothing else I need to mention!

Dr. No [DVD]
Dr. No [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.54

4.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a Legend, 31 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Dr. No [DVD] (DVD)
The first entry in the decades long successful James Bond franchise seems irrevocably dated in its aesthetics and style of filmmaking. Nevertheless, this is indeed where it all started as several of the standards that were to recur in the series were already here: the Bond/M scene in London, an airplane flight to an exotic location, the Bond girls (two good, one bad), a loyal local contact to show 007 around before he gets killed, many unusual attempts to assassinate Bond, an inscrutable villain owning a hidden HQ soon to be blown up in colourful pyrotechnics and so forth.
Even though it's well made considering the budget limitations, 'Dr. No' seems to go in two directions, the first half being a detective thriller and the second a rather naive and occasionally poor science fiction movie typical of the late 50s and early 60s. Sean Connery holds it all together brilliantly and he portrays James Bond as a tough, cold and merciless killer - just look at how he kills Dent -, a characteristic that would be subdued in the subsequent films.
The restored print included in this ultimate edition is so good it feels like the film was finished only a few months ago. The remaining extras are not sensational, but the film itself is worth its purchase so go for it!

Quiet Nights
Quiet Nights

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to Diana Krall's canon!, 14 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Quiet Nights (Audio CD)
For the life of me I can't understand many of the reviews written concerning "Quiet Nights"! Some complain that there's not enough Jazz in this album, while most point out how 'breathless' or 'whispery' Diana Krall's singing voice sounds here. I guess there's no two ways about it, and either you love her style or downright hate it. I love her so very much and, consequently, I'll most definitely be and sound biased in my review.
I love every song in this album and Ms. Krall's homage to Brazil's Bossa Nova music makes it a bit different from her previous albums. Moreover, it means more to me than it might have to others because I'm Portuguese and Bossa Nova speaks volumes to me culturally, and especially the track 'Este Seu Olhar' (roughly translated: 'That Look in Your Eyes') was so enchanting! What did not change was the way that the music moves me, being so soothing and marvellously orchestrated, to the point where I wept when I first listened to some of the songs included here.
I must stress that I'm not a Jazz fanatic and in fact much of it turns me off. That being said, I feel this album falls in the same category as "The Look of Love" and a great chunk of "When I look in Your Eyes" did, where Diana Krall gave a new lease of life to old classic standards to such a degree it me made me fall completely in love with her musical style.
My final words will be a small side note: I saw Diana Krall perform live in Lisbon last October, and she sounded absolutely wonderful!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2015 8:26 PM BST

Duellists, The [DVD] [1977]
Duellists, The [DVD] [1977]
Dvd ~ Keith Carradine
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.98

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A visually spellbinding little gem!, 26 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Duellists, The [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
For such a marvellously constructed film, it's hard to believe this was Ridley Scott's very first feature length work! It's also quite surprising to realise that, for someone that was described as being uncomfortable around actors when "Alien" was in production, here Scott managed to get his whole cast to give more than capable performances and delivered his trademark dazzling visuals with overwhelming results.
"The Duellists", based on Joseph Conrad's story 'The Duel', deals with man's obsession that turns into folly, namely Feraud's intolerant arrogance that turns him into a loose cannon, whose compulsions overpower his life and of those around him - he shares some similarities with Mr. Kurtz in Conrad's better known novella 'Heart of Darkness.' Yet ultimately it's the beautiful visuals that grabbed my attention - many said that the film was too beautiful at the time of its original release! Ridley Scott was heavily influenced by Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" during filming, and admits that, like Kubrick had for "Lyndon", he also took the work of painters as references to create his superbly detailed images in the commentary track. Curiously, Kubrick's work was so influential to Scott that he went as far as to cast Gay Hamilton, who had played Nora Brady in "Barry Lyndon", in a small role as one of Feraud's mistresses.
Keith Carradine as D'Hubert renders a quiet and understated performance, and Harvey Keitel is excellent as the intense and almost impossibly obsessive and maniacal Feraud. Funnily enough, their native accents never bothered me as I felt they weren't obtrusive in delivering their very well written dialogue, plus they didn't affect the incredible atmosphere set up by the director for the entire length of the story.
Another amazing thing to realise is that this movie was made on a low budget of only 900.000 dollars, if you look at all the depth and richness Scott was able to convey - to such a degree that I'd describe it as an epic in miniature scale! "The Duellists" won the Special Jury Prize at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival (for Best Debut Film), however it was poorly distributed in the United States and remains the least seen of Ridley Scott's films. I hope this DVD corrects that handicap and the extras are actually quite good. The 'Duelling Directors' featurette is most interesting as it's interspersed with footage of actual location shooting in France, of Scott receiving the award and being interviewed alongside producer David Puttnam in Cannes. Scott's first short, 1965's 'Boy and a Bicycle', is a revelation in that it shows not only his early visual motifs, but also a path he could've taken and avoided in the future as Scott started working on shooting commercials. Indeed, everything in this short is reminiscent of the kitchen sink dramas that were prevalent in British cinema in the early 60s, noticeable in the films of Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson, emphasizing the realities of working classes in the poorer industrial areas in the North of England.
Go for it as this is one of the best, and certainly most beautiful, period dramas I've ever seen.

Sleuth [DVD] [1972]
Sleuth [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Laurence Olivier

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece!!, 3 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Sleuth [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
I re-discovered 'Sleuth' a couple of years ago on a cable movie channel - I barely remember having seen it on TV over 30 years ago! It's truly a masterpiece with superb writing, and it's literate yes, theatrical yes, but brilliant all the same! It's a movie that's waiting to be newly discovered by so many.
'Sleuth' has to be one of the single best examples on the murder/mistery genre, with its multiple twists and turns, while it's also satirizing it. It's also about the bitter class war typical of British society, particularly at that time, and a wonderful character study. Both Olivier and Caine are fantastic in their performances, the direction by Joseph L. Mankiewicz is subtle but razor sharp, and Shaffer did a marvelous job adapting his own play for this film.
This old 2002 edition from Anchor Bay UK, now sadly out of print, does a great job of putting together background material on the film. Thus, it includes film notes, photo galleries, a trailer and, of special notice, a loving featurette with the late Anthony Shaffer reminiscing about the origins of the play, its long and successful run both in England and in the US, plus the making of the film adaptation.
In sum, this is a DVD that does justice to the superior overall quality of 'Sleuth', which again I feel is just waiting to be re-discovered by newer generations of movie buffs and general viewing audiences alike.

Bruce Lee: v. 2: Legends of the Dragon
Bruce Lee: v. 2: Legends of the Dragon
by Steve Kerridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book that builds anticipation for the final instalment, 24 Feb. 2009
A terrific follow up to Volume 1 in this series, Steve Kerridge's second opus in the "Bruce Lee: Legends of the Dragon" books is a much bigger and more ambitious tome. Indeed, the book is bursting at the seams with precious new information and a plethora of photographs, the great majority of them being very rare, never before published or hardly ever reprinted since they originally came out.
The copy I purchased suffers from transitional errors derived from its conversion from PC to Mac format, but that doesn't detract from the sheer scope of what was accomplished, or from the original concept of the timeline inherent to this literary project. Thus, it does build the anticipation for what is in store in Volume 3, which faces the challenge of matching or surpassing all that was achieved in this book.

Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition) [DVD] [1987]
Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition) [DVD] [1987]
Dvd ~ Matthew Modine
Price: £5.09

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will this DVD be upgraded in the future?, 20 Nov. 2008
You may find the title for this review very strange, but there's a good reason why I wrote it.
I bought this recent edition of Kubrick's Vietnam war drama a few months ago expecting a great deal of extras to be included there. Specifically, I had seen snippets of the behind the scenes - or making of footage as it's popularly known these days - shot by Stanley's daughter, Vivian Kubrick, during filming of 'Full Metal Jacket'(FMJ) and that she never completed, on the 'Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures' documentary. Now, that was quite revealing and most promising, as was the 'Making The Shining' documentary that Vivian had also filmed. Thus, I was expecting a lengthier version of it to be featured here. Alas, none of it was included in this disc!
Nevertheless, after having recently seen Jon Ronson's documentary 'Stanley Kubrick's Boxes', produced for Channel Four, it turns out that there are 18 hours worth of this FMJ making of footage. And all the excerpts shown in Ronson's doc have synch sound and look fairly good. The Kubrick Estate gave permission to Ronson to go through Stanley's extensive archives, encompassing the release of this footage and a bit of a screen test for 'Lolita', featuring Sue Lyon.
It's truly fascinating material, but why hasn't Warner Bros. used it for this edition? The Kubrick Estate was involved in the release of these special editions of Stanley Kubrick's better known films, so again why didn't they take advantage of this material that's worth gold? There's so much of Vivian Kubrick's behind the scenes footage that it could fill an entire second disc of extra features for 'Full Metal Jacket'!
Well, I can only surmise that it will eventually be used in the future, and hence on an upgraded version of this masterpiece on DVD. By the way, I've given four stars for the DVD, but the film itself deserves five.

The Wind in the Willows - The Complete Collection [DVD]
The Wind in the Willows - The Complete Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Jason
Offered by JMBMedia
Price: £14.94

97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merriment and joy!, 29 Oct. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had already written reviews three times for the dvd's of the original 'The Wind in the Willows' film adaptation and series 1 and 2 produced by Cosgrove Hall, but I never tire of revisiting its wonderful universe. Allow me to focus a bit on the background of the film special for a while.
The original adaptation of 'The Wind in the Willows' cost £400.000 to make, spent 18 months in production due to all the minute details that went into the recreation of the novel by Kenneth Grahame in intricate, brilliant stop-motion animation. And that's what accounts for the added ingredient that separates this from previous and later adaptations: it brought along plenty of atmosphere! Indeed, the riverfront world of the novel was splendidly captured, the models were exquisitely tailored and dressed - the characters themselves cost £5,000 each to produce, consisting of 9" high figures containing a brass ball and socket skeleton with a latex exterior -, the homes were filled with implements, artworks and paraphernalia scaled down to minute proportions, and the country side rich with a variety of flora and fauna. Just for added curiosity concerning the details, Mole's Willow pattern crockery was minutely scaled down to a half inch diameter, whilst Ratty's jumpers were sewn together from real men's socks, and there were even miniature copies of Tatler magazine to be spied around the houses!
The film was first broadcast in December 27, 1983, and it truly recreated that Edwardian spirit of joie-de-vivre, merriment and melancholy from the original book thanks to the extraordinary and impeccable crafstmanship on display. The success of Cosgrove Hall's achievement garnered the company several international awards, and led to the production of all the series now compiled in this gorgeous box set. All the actors rendered marvellous vocal performances to their respective characters, with David Jason's Mr. Toad practically stealing every scene in which he appeared, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I will finish by mentioning that, as the previous reviewer pointed out, all 65 episodes from the five series and both films are included here and, being the timeless classics that they deservedly became, no one can miss this box set.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2011 12:01 PM BST

Blade Runner Trilogy 25th Anniversary
Blade Runner Trilogy 25th Anniversary
Price: £19.73

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive soundtrack!, 1 Oct. 2008
I always considered Vangelis' work for the "Blade Runner" soundtrack to be one of the most accomplished and definitive pieces he ever did for the universe of film. The music featured here is so evocative, its impact is so profound that it makes my mind travel through the most beautiful visions and landscapes. I would dare using Rutger Hauer's Batty final speech here: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe! Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion... I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate... All those moments will be lost in time... like tears... in rain..." Except that those moments won't be lost in time for me, because they will forever be imprinted in my memories as some of the single most dazzling and wonderful that I have ever experienced when listening to music!

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