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The Woman in Black [DVD]
The Woman in Black [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 4.40

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hammer is back, 28 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Woman in Black [DVD] (DVD)
Hammer began in the 50s and died a death after reigning as Kings of Horror. When they were resurrected, wisely they did not showcase their disappointing Wakewood but went ahead with the proven Scandinavian 'Let Me In'. The Japanese long ago realised that there is a huge market for the old fashioned creepy tale and Hammer turned to the classic 'Woman In Black' to revive the Gothic haunted house theme. And with what gusto! The first half is kept tense with bangs and effects and clever camera angles - all contrived of course, but stylish and skilfully managed to keep the nervous viewer on the edge of the seat. Atmospheric and engaging, the movie suceeds by merit of its cinematography and its attention to detail, so much so that you readily forgive some of the staged shock effects. The success of the production has settled the point - the old ghost story begs to be reborn and in the Gothic sphere there is plenty by MR James, Algernon Blackwood et al for them to continue to produce top quality hauntings for years to come if they so wished. Welcome back, Hammer!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2013 8:58 AM BST


Poe: A Life Cut Short
Poe: A Life Cut Short
by Peter Ackroyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a biography cut short, 17 May 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Poe: A Life Cut Short (Paperback)
Mary Devereaux - `Baltimore Mary' - thought to have had a passionate love affair with Poe. She didn't, and all the stories grown up around her were based on a single magazine article written when she was in her seventies. Among many other similar stories, this was discredited and laid to rest. Until, that is, Peter Ackroyd came along.
In this short book, Mary pops up on several occasions, and it is such a lack of serious research which makes this book especially disturbing. `For some reason', he says, Poe called his wife's mother `Muddy' - ignorant that `Muddy' was diminutive for `mother'.
Bit other errors are less trivial. During Poe's entire journalistic life he was involved in a war to promote American literature against the literature Mafia of the day - the Northern cliques. This brave and exciting battle is ignored in this book.
Errors of detail abound. Near the end of his life we see him wooing Helen Whitman, Annie Richmond and Elmira Shelton, even though Poe did not come across Elmira again until the love affair with Helen was well and truly over.
Again, Ackroyd paints Poe as a waster and a alcoholic, unaware that Poe actually fought hard against his drink problem, even enrolling in the Richmond Temperance Society in his last year.
The growing North- South divide and its effects on Poe is not even touched upon - even though soon after Poe's death it had escalated to the proportions of Civil War.
The appearance of Poe in the middle of the magazine golden age is not discussed.
The Longfellow War is sketchily touched upon, and Ackroyd insists that Poe wrote the articles penned by `Outis' - even though Poe spent months of venom attacking Outis' comments in the press.
Poe's friends are mentioned in passing by name only and his strong relationships with them are ignored.
Griswold's treachery - or the extent of it - is (unbelievably) barely touched upon. The important events after Poe's death are ignored. His background is the merest sketch.
These are just a few of the points which make this book a `public imposition'. There are more. Suffice it to say that this work has been hastily cobbled together - possibly on request - and gives a coloured and highly distorted picture of Poe. Anyone interested in his life should avail themselves of the excellent book by Professor Quinn and leave this dreadful trash well alone.


Poe: A Life Cut Short
Poe: A Life Cut Short
by Peter Ackroyd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.64

36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars poe: a life distorted, 23 Feb 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Poe: A Life Cut Short (Hardcover)
Mary Devereaux - `Baltimore Mary' - thought to have had a passionate love affair with Poe. She didn't, and all the stories grown up around her were based on a single magazine article written when she was in her seventies. Among many other similar stories, this was discredited and laid to rest. Until, that is, Peter Ackroyd came along.
In this short book, Mary pops up on several occasions, and it is such a lack of serious research which makes this book especially disturbing. `For some reason', he says, Poe called his wife's mother `Muddy' - ignorant that `Muddy' was diminutive for `mother'.
Bit other errors are less trivial. During Poe's entire journalistic life he was involved in a war to promote American literature against the literature Mafia of the day - the Northern cliques. This brave and exciting battle is ignored in this book.
Errors of detail abound. Near the end of his life we see him wooing Helen Whitman, Annie Richmond and Elmira Shelton, even though Poe did not come across Elmira again until the love affair with Helen was well and truly over.
Again, Ackroyd paints Poe as a waster and a alcoholic, unaware that Poe actually fought hard against his drink problem, even enrolling in the Richmond Temperance Society in his last year.
The growing North- South divide and its effects on Poe is not even touched upon - even though soon after Poe's death it had escalated to the proportions of Civil War.
The appearance of Poe in the middle of the magazine golden age is not discussed.
The Longfellow War is sketchily touched upon, and Ackroyd insists that Poe wrote the articles penned by `Outis' - even though Poe spent months of venom attacking Outis' comments in the press.
Poe's friends are mentioned in passing by name only and his strong relationships with them are ignored.
Griswold's treachery - or the extent of it - is (unbelievably) barely touched upon. The important events after Poe's death are ignored. His background is the merest sketch.
These are just a few of the points which make this book a `public imposition'. There are more. Suffice it to say that this work has been hastily cobbled together - possibly on request - and gives a coloured and highly distorted picture of Poe. Anyone interested in his life should avail themselves of the excellent book by Professor Quinn and leave this dreadful trash well alone.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2010 1:15 AM GMT


Baby Love [VHS] [1968]
Baby Love [VHS] [1968]
VHS

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little movie with surprising depth, 5 Jan 2007
This review is from: Baby Love [VHS] [1968] (VHS Tape)
So often dismissed as the movie in which the under age Linda Hayden took of her clothes, there is much more to this movie than that. It is a thoughtful, and surprisingly provocative movie which is well acted and written. It is a dream of a debut for the fifteen year old starlet, and it is a shame that she seemed to be typecast as the siren in movies such as the Hammer horrors ever since. Linda plays a teen whose mother (Diana Dors) has committed suicide, her last request being for a former lover to take care of her daughter. And so Ms Hayden moves from a dysfunctional working-class home to a dysfunctional middle-class one. The interest lies in how she acts as a catalyst on the repressed sexual urges of the new family, and how she herself copes with her own demons. Her dead mother, a slag as well as a bad parent, is a constant thorn in her side as she seeks love while bristling with sensuality. It is the mixture of puberty and sexuality which is so dangerous. Keith Barron stars as the bemused doctor and foster-parent, and Linda plays the troubled teen with surprising depth. Well worth a watch.


The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books)
The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books)
by Ezra Pound
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.85

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The literary Himalayas, 26 Oct 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
How can you be critical about an opus which was so many decades in the writing and whose themes and methods changed between the slabs which were published piece by piece? Starting in the middle of Homer's Odssey and moving through Ovidian metamorphosis through several themes to the Russian Revolution, dropping in at the Italian Quattracento (and Lucrezia Borgia - `Madame Matter') as well as on his old pal Baldy Bacon en route (not to mention the Sigismondo cantos). He even brings in his granddad who `sweat blood' put to put that railroad... We follow the chapters on Jefferson `Nuovo Mundo' and even the Adams cantos put side by side with the Chinese history cantos. On the down side we read the fascism of the Italian Cantos, with a skull in a North African desert crying `Alamein! We will return!', and old Adolf `furious from perception'. On the other hand, we read the quiet reflections from Piza prisoner camp, follow American history intermingled with the Shu King, Confucius with modern life; and after the `rock drill', the 'thrones' showing flashes of saintly acts (eg del Mar)with flashes of the inferno. Finally, sad fragments from his depressed reflections in later life, the No-Khi wind ceremony. What can we make of this jumble of archaic snatchings and even hieroglyphics? Pound's need to change society, to battle against usury and to take example from those who lived the right way - Confucius, the Byzantines and the Sacred Edict of K'ung Hui. And to change ourselves. `Pull down thy vanity' is not the only beautiful introspective line in this maze of quotations. And we can watch the transformations take place in his `ideogram' method, where fragments are welded together in snatches to give an impression; just as Chinese characters are composed of several elements which add up to the meaning. For, obscure and complex as the Cantos are, they are undoubtedly a labour of love and an attempt to show society where it is going wrong. They are many beautiful passages in the text, and I suggest the reader wander through this book and appreciate them in their rightful place - the seven lakes canto, for example, and the canto on `lynxes', to mention but two. We can learn a lot from Pound and enjoy what he wrote, but we must make the effort. There is so much that is of great value in this huge work - it really is a modern masterpiece.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2013 9:18 PM GMT


Moby Dick [DVD] [1956]
Moby Dick [DVD] [1956]
Dvd ~ Gregory Peck
Price: 8.66

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melville brought to life, 26 Oct 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Moby Dick [DVD] [1956] (DVD)
This movie has had very little critical acclaim in its time, and the severest comment was on the set when it was noted (unkindly) that Huston himself should have played Ahab and Welles the whale. But the director's vision was completely fulfilled here, and as has been noted this is a homage to the book itself, full of high drama and over-the-top melodrama. Personally I think Peck was exceptional as Ahab, and brought out the monomania, the ruthlessness and the determination of the character very well; in fact all the leading actors were marvellous and helped give a taste of the sea to the viewer. The final chase, cut from the book's three days and three lowerings to only one, is still thrilling and the climax a rollercoaster ride. Admittedly, they changed parts of the story (e.g. Ahab beckoning) for dramatic effect, but otherwise this is as close to the book as you'll ever get.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2011 11:14 PM GMT


The Exorcist [DVD] [1973]
The Exorcist [DVD] [1973]
Dvd ~ Ellen Burstyn
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 4.94

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just perfect film-making, 26 Oct 2006
This review is from: The Exorcist [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Watching `The Exorcist' today reminds me of the story of the old lady who went to see `Hamlet' for the first time. When asked her opinion she thought it was great, but full of clichés. This was an innovative movie, and still is; sadly, its inventions have been copied and copied ad nauseam over the last thirty years, and so the horror has been watered down by custom. That said, this really is a marvellous treat; rare for horror movie, Blatty's tale has well-formed subplots and characters (the loss of faith of the young priest and his feelings of guilt, the atheist mother who is forced to turn to the Church, the old sick exorcist who is to face his nemesis one more time). And the suspense is kept up to a maximum throughout. Even today, the crucifix scene manages to scare audiences and to shut up the hecklers. And the threads of this believable tale draw together and meet in a final devastating climax. Whether this is the scariest movie of all times begs the response `huh it didn't scare me', but that really isn't the point here. `The Exorcist' a great movie, regardless of its theme - well-scripted, beautifully filmed, exciting and intelligent. This is one of the finest films ever made.


Venus in Furs [DVD] [1994] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Venus in Furs [DVD] [1994] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Julia Braams

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good try, 26 Oct 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Unlike Franco's pathetic version, this movie at least attempts to follow the original story-line. The camerawork is often quite effective, and along with the black and white format does occasionally give a brooding chairoscuro which so oddly fits with the dark perversion of the theme. The sado-masochistic titillation is in proportion which Masoch's tale, and the setting is updated to modern times. The finale changes in this production, and although Wanda still teaches Severin a painful lesson she is not the saviour; and instead of being redeemed Severin is crushed. Still, a bold attempt to film a difficult tale. Admirers of the author and the book will probably enjoy this version.


Whore [VHS] [1991]
Whore [VHS] [1991]
VHS

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated gem, 4 Oct 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Whore [VHS] [1991] (VHS Tape)
Most critics have vilified this movie, and I cannopt for my life see why. Oddly enough, given the subject matter, this is strangely restrained, and is both sensitive and bold. Theresa Russell is top notch as the downtrodden girl of the road, dodging her pimp and trying to eke out a living in her hard world. At times moving, brutal, comic and horrific, this well-woven movie hits all the right notes, and together with Ken Russell's unerring eye for imagery makes it one of his best. The mock documentary style and earthy characters make this a treat to watch, warm funny and sad. I only wish this were available on DVD.


Salome's Last Dance [DVD] [US Import] [NTSC]
Salome's Last Dance [DVD] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Nickolas Grace

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salome a la Russell, 2 Oct 2006
If you like Russell, you'll love this. Using the expedient of a performance in a brothel, Russell gives us an excellent interpretation of Wilde's play as watched by a fictional Wilde (Grace). This gives him rein to include the usual bizarre oddities we expect from this off-the-ball director; still, he keeps a firm hand on things for once and the result is tight, well-acted and intriguing.
[...]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2012 4:49 PM BST


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