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Shane Hyde (UK)

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Boogie Nights [DVD] [1998]
Boogie Nights [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Mark Wahlberg
Price: £5.67

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anderson's weakest film but still very good., 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Boogie Nights [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
There's no denying that Paul Thomas Anderson is a major talent, maybe the best director alive today, or at least the artistic equal of David Lynch. But Boogie Nights is probably my least favourite of his films. That doesnt mean its a bad film, in fact its very good. It just feels like the least necessary of his films.

It's about a group of porn film-makers on the edge of LA in the 80's and follows the rise and fall of a porn star whose genius is in his trousers. It puts together such a great ensemble cast and is full of humour and kindness along with some darkness, despair and violence. And has a superb period soundtrack.

It makes me wonder what it was about sex that interested Anderson. The film isn't overly critical of the industry, on the contrary it shows great tolerance for these disfunctional characters. No matter, a highly enjoyable experience nevertheless.

The Blair Witch Project [DVD]
The Blair Witch Project [DVD]
Dvd ~ Heather Donahue
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.28

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Free From Gore., 10 Dec. 2011
Not much i can add, since there are 200 reviews already for this film. However, The Blair Witch Project is a great little horror in an old fashioned way. It understands the power of suggestion and how the worst horrors are the ones we cant see and imagine in our heads. You never see gore or dismemberment in this film, unlike the horrid Saw films. It makes a refreshing change. There is the creation of dread and anxiety, and i think that this film will stand the test of time very well because of its restraint.

The Black Cat [1934] [DVD]
The Black Cat [1934] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bela Lugosi
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Mortal Duel Between The Living Dead, 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Black Cat [1934] [DVD] (DVD)
It has nothing to do with Poe's story and very little to do with cats. It is instead a very dark horror film from 1934 directed and devised by German emigre Edgar Ulmer.

It is a film about war and what it does to people. It's about two men, played by Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, whose souls died during the war yet their bodies survived, and now they are like living dead, in a mortal duel that pushes way beyond moral concerns.
Pain and suffering fills the film. The cruelty that Karloff has caused, the suffering Lugosi endured, the death of thousands in the great war including loved ones. Very little happens by today's standards yet the sense of evil grows, the oppressive sadism, Satanism and necrophilia.

It is a powerful piece of authentic horror. Visually it understands the disturbing power of suggestion, rather than the modern need to let the camera show us the gory details, and this leads us towards the psychological horror of Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton. Ulmer went on to direct Detour, one of the darkest film noirs ever made.

Apache [DVD]
Apache [DVD]
Dvd ~ Burt Lancaster
Offered by Love-Your-Books
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Years ahead of its time., 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Apache [DVD] (DVD)
It's a film i've gone back to time and again because it was so far ahead of its time. This was one of the first American films to depict the native Americans sympathetically. Massai is a complex and socially-alienated character. Okay so it's Burt Lancaster as a blue-eyed warrior whose never heard of grain, hardly historically accurate. But it works.

I can't really add much more to what others have said. The film is based on actual history as told in the 1936 novel by Paul Wellman. And it is a good, powerful little western that almost transcends its faults. But Robert Aldrich created a greater achievement 20 years later with 'Ulzanas Raid' which stars an older Burt Lancaster in a film that feels more like The Wild Bunch. Maybe you should watch them both as a double bill.

Amistad [DVD]
Amistad [DVD]
Dvd ~ Morgan Freeman
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £4.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Speilberg is no artist., 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Amistad [DVD] (DVD)
Why was Steven Spielberg allowed to tackle this story? Clearly the wrong choice when you see how shallow, overwrought and underthought the resulting film is. He should have learnt his lesson with A Colour Purple, equally as misguided a film. Someone should tell him to leave these books alone, he hasnt got the skills to tackle these subjects. He is a maker of entertainments and not an artist.

The atrocities that humans have afflicted on each other and still committ to this day need to reach our screen. But not like this. Schindlers List has a power that surpasses its faults, we all hate what happened in the concentration camp and can be very clear about our feelings towards the Nazis. Whereas in Amistad, we see the crimes and we are shook to the core by them but where is the savage attack upon the colonising powers? It would mean attacking the British, Europeans and Americans and Speilberg simply lacks the guts or the critical powers to tear them apart. Bit like how our politicians are afraid to accusing the banks of behaving like dictators. Spielberg wouldnt be where he was if he told too much truth.

The history and on-going story of Genocide needs bringing to our attention, and Amistad at least does that, it gets people talking, for a while anyway. However there are better films out there, its just that few of them make it to our screens. Ive seen Queimada (Burn) by Pontecorvo and its very powerful. Others worth exploring are Sankofa, Daughters of the Dust, Roots (tv series), Africans in America (1998 tv doc), The Last Supper (Tomas Gutierrez Alea), Asientos, Sarraounia, Quilumbo, The Slave Girl, The Od African Blasphemer (tv), Slavery of Life, Ceddo, Adanggaman.

Amadeus [DVD] [1984]
Amadeus [DVD] [1984]
Dvd ~ F. Murray Abraham
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular but impersonal., 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Amadeus [DVD] [1984] (DVD)
What more can be said about this film? With 95 reviews already submitted not much i guess. It is a spectacular film and anyone who loves Mozart's music will love every minute. Truly, the use of Mozart's music is masterly and this creates much of the power in the film. The sets and the sense of place and the choreography all brilliant. The tragedy is believable and well worked out. The performances all very good. So, why then am i left feeling that the film is impersonal?
The problem for me is that the film uses the great mans music to gloss over a script that doesnt quite work. Very few films are perfect, perhaps none at all, and maybe weaknesses make films interesting anyway. But to these eyes the structure of flashbacks in Forman's 'Amadeus' splits our relationship with the characters so that we arent as involved with Mozarts tragedy as much as we should be. This makes the film lack real depth of character and feel more like Oscar material rather than an astonishing revelation of a genius split in pieces. Tom Hult is brilliant. As is Simon Callow, who played the role on stage.

Everything All The Time
Everything All The Time
Price: £9.45

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, sorry., 3 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Everything All The Time (Audio CD)
After listening to their second album until i'd pretty much worn out the disk, i was really looking foward to experiencing their first album, especially since all the other reviews on here claim that its the best thing Band of Horses have ever done.
Alas, I'm really sorry but i found it a very disappointing album. Possibly because my expectations were so high. But everything that i liked about 'Cease to Begin' seems to be missing here. Few of the tracks stand out as interesting or distinctive. Ive listened to the album maybe 10 times in the last week and no track grabs me or remains memorable. Ben Bridwell's voice verges on annoying, especially on tracks like The Wedding, where the repetitions seem to go nowhere.
Overall, the album lacks the overwhelming intensity of sound that i love on Cease to Begin.

Guess i'm going to be the only one to rate 'Everything all the time' with 3 stars!

Panasonic Lumix FT2 Digital Camera - Blue (14.1MP, 4.6x Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch LCD
Panasonic Lumix FT2 Digital Camera - Blue (14.1MP, 4.6x Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch LCD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good camera but not sure i'd buy it again., 29 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My camera broke and i needed a replacement so i did my research and this Lumix FT2 was my final choice. I use my camera mainly when i'm out cycling and so i thought having a camera that was waterproof, shockproof, etc would make sense. Reading the reviews, most of these type of cameras produce average quality images, but the FT2 was supposed to be much better. But after using this camera for a month now, these are my thoughts.

1) It is encased in rugged alluminium (which is attractive) but this also makes it a bit chunky and also a little heavy.

2) The lens rattles inside when you switch the camera off and also when you switch to viewing mode. Apparantly this is normal, the handbook says so, but it's a little disconcerting when you spend £[].

3) It doesnt have a viewfinder (very few compact digital cameras do these days) but that is a major problem when trying to photograph things in bright sunlight.

4) The image quality is okay, not exceptional but fine for my general use.

5)The start-up time when you switch the camera on is very fast, you can take pictures almost straight away. And shutter delay is above average.

6) I'm glad i didnt go with a touch screen camera as greasy finger marks on this cameras screen are annoying enough as it is and hard to wipe off.

Overall, given the chance again, i would buy a cheaper panasonic camera with a better (conventional) lens, there are some good ones for around £100. I just dont think this camera is worth the extra money.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2011 3:44 PM GMT

Requiem for a Dream [DVD] [2001]
Requiem for a Dream [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Ellen Burstyn
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.75

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film that just doesnt get it., 20 Jun. 2011
After reading Selby's excellent gritty and harsh book i expected great things from the film adapation. Alas i was very disappointed. The casting itself is very good, and the film doesnt shy away from some of the harsher sides of taking drugs but the main fault of the film is that it's meant to be a criticism of drugs yet it glories itself in one of the 20th centuries most powerful drugs - film. What i'm saying is that the camera movement, editing and soundtrack are so giddy, fast and over-the-top that it's utimately turns the movie itself into a kind of frenzy, which may have been the intention but this serves as a huge distraction from the subject matter itself. I don't think that the director understands how much his film falls apart in the contradiction, and as it stands, this film speaks immaturity. What the film really needed was a style that is simple and transparent so it could take us into this world and these characters without calling attention to itself. What could have been a great and powerful film, seems as disposable as pop music. Sorry.

As far as films about drug and alcohol abuse, it's nowhere near as good as The Man With the Golden Arm, Drugstore Cowboy, Leaving Last Vegas, DeadRingers, Days of Wine and Roses, The Lost Weekend, Long Days Journey into Night, House of Sand and Fog, Panic in Needle Park, Rush, The French Connection 2, Who'll Stop the Rain, The Boost.

Black And Blue
Black And Blue
by Anna Quindlen
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Good depiction and a readable style., 20 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Black And Blue (Paperback)
It is reasonably accurate in its observations, confusions and feelings of these characters affected by domestic violence and it has a nice readable style that is quite focused.

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