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Dr. Vernon M. Hewitt (Bristol, UK.)
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Moby Dick: Part 1
Moby Dick: Part 1
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £1.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars whale lines, 19 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Moby Dick (Amazon Instant Video)
It is extremely difficult to make a film of a book like Moby Dick; it evades visuals and works deep on the imagination. The characters are Homeric, and their language archaic. Yet this two part dramatization is an epic stab at achieving such an adaption. William Hurt excels as Ahab, his madness is prophetic and divine, and the whaling scenes are breath taking. Of course we `see' the whale in a way that diminishes it - the CGI is good but at times out of synch with the filming itself: it is a minor quibble, a very enjoyable piece and well worth watching.


The End - Part 1 of 2
The End - Part 1 of 2
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £2.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ... ended with the byline `so ends one of the greatest TV events of the decade', 6 Sep 2014
Season six ended with the byline `so ends one of the greatest TV events of the decade': in retrospect, I think this absurd and pointless drama tells us much more about who we were and what we had come to expect of mystery and entertainment at the beginning of the 21st century. Personally - and it is not my intention to offend but to be honest - I cannot recall such a waste of acting and production talent ever. No doubt some of the production and creation teams involved here convinced themselves that what they were producing was an innovative, post modern take on the `mystery island' genre: actually they were literally making it up as they went along - the utter antithesis of both plot and drama; no continuity, no reason, simply no point, but a staggering random form of celebrity castaway which produced some of the most absurd scripts and events every televised.Why were so many people convinced by this t watch it for so long? That is the greatest event, not the show, but the compulsion to watch what is meaningless.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2014 9:33 AM BST


First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers
First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £1.89

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a joy - and a relief - to watch, 2 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As with the West Wing, this series is hard hitting and perfectly scripted. It underlines the incredible strength of current US drama. The depiction of the Tea Party - which you sense comes from deep inside Sorkis' soul - has not, to my Whiggish sensibilities, been bettered. One might quibble with the Sorkin Myth that there was this golden age of America, that the Republic fell into this factional divisive period recently, but that is besides the point: The interview scene at North Western is one of the most remarkable pieces of drama I have seen for a very long time. It is a joy - and a relief - to watch.


The Jewel In The Crown: The Complete Series [DVD] [1984]
The Jewel In The Crown: The Complete Series [DVD] [1984]
Dvd ~ Charles Dance
Offered by joe4books
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Scott conveys perhaps the most damning and painful view of the complexity of colonialism for the British, 2 Aug 2014
This first aired when I was an undergraduate - watching it was an ordeal because I had to park myself in the common room and coopt the TV for about an hour. I first went to India in 1983 and was there for the assassination of Mrs Gandhi. I spent much of the late 1980s and early 1990s there and became what used to be called an Indianist. I have written several academic texts on the subject, especially the period of Partition. I say this because the power of this book, and this screen adaption, is worth far more than the almost countless texts I have read and edited. Scott conveys perhaps the most damning and painful view of the complexity of colonialism for the British, and also the sheer complexity of the years 1942-47. The pace is deliberate - the threads are gathered up - what one reviewer clearly saw as disjointed and badly edited is a slow gaze over the minutia of an Era. Scott, close in real life to Merrick, is bold and painful in his depiction of this character: watching this again in middle age I am astounded at the audacity of Granada and of the direction. Anyone who wishes to feel - as opposed to know - what the ending of the Raj probably entailed should read = and then - watch this simple, almost effortless masterpiece.


True Detective: Season 1
True Detective: Season 1
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £13.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars astounding, 5 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was initially irritated by the flashback technique used to establish the storyline - unfairly as it turned out. It quickly evolved into a compelling and quite sinister plot which I found remarkably made and edited. The acting - and the dynamic between the partners is literally electric - the mood is Tennessee Williams morphed with Cormack McCarthy and for once - for ONCE - the ending is literally out of this world. This is a classic. It deserves sustained critical acclaim.


It Happened One Night
It Happened One Night
Dvd

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars blame the networks.............., 5 May 2014
Like so many US sci fi series, this peters out as the seasons are renewed. You can almost sense the commercial pressure as the story is bent one way then another, away from what promised to be a really interesting dynamic between Kyle, his family, and the gradual realization of what he is for, to a sort of generic teen drama. Kyle rather brilliantly manages to sustain the sort of intriguing naivety and the supporting actors (all rather good) scrambled about as the story goes one way and then another. The end is typical of networks who pull the plug when the ratings fail with out regard for any fan base that a show develops. Originality is the main cost of this. But what is here showed promise and ingenuity, especially Jessie as a foil for Kyle and a debate over nature and nurture - but perhaps we were spared the torture of an increasingly denegerating story line.

One thing that interested me - and its very minor and just personal to me - is the episode in which the family mobilise against the school concerning same sex couples going to the proms. The ambiguity with which this is done is typical of US liberal conservatism: it's clever and funny, but the entire episode is mediated by heterosexuals and faux lesbians, male homosocial behavior remains taboo, even though what starts off at the heart of this series is ideas about hard and soft wired instincts and how Kyle stands outside social norms. Sc Fi remains deeply conservative over gender and sexuality, and this again limits its originality as social commentary.


A Single Man [DVD]
A Single Man [DVD]
Dvd ~ Colin Firth
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a perfect - surprisingly perfect - adaption, 26 Sep 2013
This review is from: A Single Man [DVD] (DVD)
I watched the film adaption of A Single Man last night on the box and ordered it immediately. It was a special book to me, probably Ishwerwood's best. I am no particular fan of Colin Firth, but his depiction of George was disturbingly accurate: he portrayed perfectly the sense of double exile in 1960s America: an ex pat Brit and a homosexual. The film is pleasantly observed, beautifully made, and for once existentially true to the book although there were some notable changes in dialogue and character. I first read this in 1986 - ironically the year Isherwood died - and of course in my vanity I associated myself with Kenny (who is well casted by the British actor from Skins). Now of course I realize I am George, in fact I AM George, and the bitter sweat entropy he feels is painted out on the screen with care. Afterwards I re-read the book: it does make me wonder whether now, in an era of sexual acceptance and openness, this sort of novel could be written. Isherwood would have rejected the idea of a gay novel, (he tried to embrace the idea of the American novel late in his life) but the secrecy implicit to George's life is was makes the book (and the film) so subversive and well observed. Now all is open and revealed and what gave Isherwood's work its peculiar grace, could not be written.


Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately unconvincing, 6 Sep 2012
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (Paperback)
I have only just got around to reading this; and as a life long enthusiast of Ishiguro, I have to say although I caught some of the mood commented on in so many reviews, it just didnt add up to me in a convincing or engaging way. I appreciate the distinction we need to make here between `sci'fi' and dystopian fiction: but what doesnt work for me is the connection between the minutia of the story and the wider ethical themes the book is seeking to engage. In the past, Ishiguro's work has been able to use this style successfully: working within what seems a conventional, small scale, even pedestrian world and then just weaving together a sudden breathless transformation through `telling stories' from the perspective of the characters themselves. What worked in Remains of the Day doesnt work here, Never Let Me Go is inplausible within its own logic, even as a methaphor or allegory: and it does demand comparison with works of Philip K Dick and otherw writers (Le Gaun, Left Hand of Darkness, or most obviously the Handmaiden's Tale). Even in a generous comparison with Beckett, or as many suggest, Kafka, the slow burn narrative of Kathy, meandering back and forth from her Hailsham days to her career as a Carer, did not move or engage me and Tommy and Ruth were half drawn, undeveloped characters stripped down to the bone. If this was a allegory it did not work, and if it was a story about the ethics of cloning (which, will all due respect to many reviewers it HAS to be*) then I needed more context to appreciate it: what were the ethics of the wider society in which this had happened or become possible? Like most of Ishiguro's work this is a story of denial, evasion, dishonesty and illusion, but I feel that had anyone else written this it would have sank without trace.

*This book was published around the time of a sustained debate about cloning for donor organs in the wake of the dramatic drop (2002-2007) in people willing to donate their organs on death for the benefit of others. It also raised questions broader questions about `clone siblings' at birth to have organ banks on hand. I can reference this for those who want to look at the debates.


Battle: Los Angeles [DVD] [2011]
Battle: Los Angeles [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Aaron Eckhart
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars black hawk down meets War of the Worlds, 18 Sep 2011
This may not - in fact it is not - high art or even classic sci fi, but it's a good action romp with some rather innovative twists to a tried and perhaps over-tested genre. The documentary-hand held wobbly camera work causes nausea on a large screen but it races along well enough. The aliens are now the generically offal and wire jobs full of body fluids and what appears to be a large amount of redundant extra organs, but they loom menacingly out of the fog at the start, and there is something novel to the idea that their technological edge is not so great as to make pitched battles a non-viable cinametic option. And for once the humans have a huntch that all is not quite well with meteorites that slow down on impact. I have grown tired (and embarresed on behalf of human dignity) that we seem always to approach alien ships with a flag or a bible or an invite to the UN. The only tedious thing - as commented on by many - is the over the top `buddy-buddy' bit, but the sub-text is as much a grunt movie as it is `invasion'. It is interesting to ponder how influential the legacies of Iraq and the idea of `intervention' had spilled out into a series of quite different genres; but it is not especially new remember the scene in Independence Day when we are treated to the sight of Israeli's cooperating with Iraq!) The patriotism inthis movie is as much about marines and the US as opposed to the planet, which may(?) limit its appeal. Exhausted, dried up grunt commander dude gets a tad tedious towards the end, and he is helped of course by the rather crass idea that the alien's command center is very large and very big and bizarrely in the middle of all the action, but i'm sure even aliens make mistakes. Anyway - good fun: and (as one reviewer remarked) it does exactly what it says on the box.


I Am Number Four [DVD]
I Am Number Four [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alex Pettyfer
Price: £4.71

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good romp, 8 July 2011
This review is from: I Am Number Four [DVD] (DVD)
I enjoyed this film - partly I have to say because my expectation of main stream sci fi has been somewhat dumbed down: and I am a sucker for blonde women on bikes and young men with good shoulders. This is a pretty film, well made if not overdone
on the computer graphics: at least Number Four acts with a certain moody boy charm - unlike Edward in Twilight who seems to confine himself to narrowing his eyes and snorting. The premise is good if undercooked - and I certainly agree with the perceptive reviews above that this has a sort of pilot feel to it: a lot of lose ends. The fact is, that Twilight Meets ET aside, this is a close re-working of Roswell: in fact it contains the same universe down to the sheriff, the mean sheriff's son (made good at the end), the geeky boy, the box, the communication device, and the Nasedo character pretending to be daddy. In this sense I saw it - and enjoyed it - not so much as a film rip off but a sort of trope about sci fi and identity. Alas it turns into a sort of transformers-mutant approach towards the end with very BAD baddies and lots of explosions, but it was a good day out on a wet windy British bank holiday - teen music over moody shots is a bit wearing though after a while. Serious sci fi fo rme is stuff like Clooney's extraordinary reclaiming of Solaris - almost in many senses better tyhan the original - but it wasnt a hit and studios are driven, like political parties and fashion - into a middle ground in which content and dialogue and ultimately plot give way to a bland derivative format of bang bang kiss and moody endings. I liked the dog though, that was sweet - and this does get a place on the Hewitt sci fi shelves between Roswell Series One and Supernatural.


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