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robert stirling (tarn,s.w.france)
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Boardwalk Empire - Season 1-3 [DVD] [2013]
Boardwalk Empire - Season 1-3 [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Steve Buscemi
Price: £42.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Godfather Part IV, with Blarney., 10 Jun. 2014
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This is the nearest production we will ever get to match the quality of the Godfather series of films of the 1970's in my view.

The costumes and sets are impeccable,as are the acting,scripts and bursts of action framed around the drama and intrigue of Steve Buscemi's Irish-American gangster kingpin.

On first impression Buscemi seems an odd choice to play the pivotal figure of this series;he is ugly to many,slightly framed (not muscular)and with a face that 'talks' i.e. his face is often expressing his emotions,not stoic.
But he makes his role work wonderfully.Credit to the casting director/producers who realized that this man just has to play himself to make the character larger than life.

Some may have chosen a big star with a big physique to command this central role.But in real life both famous and notorous people can be the opposite:Capone,Napoleon and Churchill were relatively short and stout for example,and certainly Al Pacino and Robert De Nero were not hunks when playing their roles in the Godfather films.

I don't think there was a word of dialogue wasted throughout,and each character was intricately painted by the writers and directors to give this series the highest standards of any of the few quality TV series thrust at us all the time.

There is a lot of dross out there;this is very,very special and I look forward to season 4 as much as I anticipated the next Godfather film(which,sadly,was never made).

What War May Bring [DVD] [2010]
What War May Bring [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Audrey Dana
Offered by simply-well-priced
Price: £2.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pure Marmite, 20 May 2014
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This is produced,scripted and directed by the renowned Frenchman Claude Lelouch who has a long list of successful French films on his C.V.

The trouble is that Lelouch has had such a massive input in the making of this production that it is a very personal view of events and therefore not everyones cup of tea in my view.

The story stretches from the 1st World War well into and through the D-Day landings of World War 2.
There is much shifting about from sub plot to main storyline and then to another sub plot:Lelouch seems to try to frame too many stories into this one film:the thought came to me that if you try too hard to hit the target you miss,its as simple as that.
This is a big miss.
One oddity that I noticed was the African-American paratroopers shown in the film at the D-Day landings.This is totally incorrect.No Blacks served in the fighting units of the U.S. bar one Air Force Squadron.
The whole film came over to me as a bit of a mish-mash.If you want to see a well balanced,beautifully structured French film set during WW2 I'd recommend Melville's Army of Shadows [DVD] or Berri's Lucie Aubrac [1997].
P.S. I'm indebited to Terrence A Gardner of Maryland,USA for pointing out to me that black soldiers DID serve in the US army for the last few months of the war following the high losses sustained by the US army at Bastogne late 1944.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 29, 2014 12:07 PM BST

Commander in chief, saison 1 - Coffret 5 DVD
Commander in chief, saison 1 - Coffret 5 DVD
Dvd ~ Geena Davis
Offered by momox co uk
Price: £6.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining,thoughtful but lacks action., 2 May 2014
I have not seen West Wing so this review of C.I.C is a stand alone appraisal,not a comparison as some reviewers have made.
I found it highly engrossing;the different plots for each episode were well written and believably acted by all the cast,despite some improbable story lines at times.

Outstanding performances from Geena Davis,Harry Lennix and Donald Sutherland, who made their characters work extremely well in the overall story arc.In fact so effective was the elder Sutherland's turn we almost hissed every time he appeared on screen.

My only complaints were that the whole series was slightly stagebound (most of everything occured within the White House) but thats probably because of the budget for the series;that would also explain why we could only listen to the action taking place elsewhere during crises(the crew of a US submarine being rescued,the storming of a hotel by Special Forces etc....).

Such action sequences would have enhanced the series but at 12/13 hours and 18 episodes of terrific intrigue and drama this is still worthy of the prices on Amazon for what you get.There are plenty of high profile series out there that aren't a patch on Commander In Chief.

Additionaly I have spotted 4 actors in this series who have appeared in 24 - Complete Season 1-8 + Redemption (New Packaging) [DVD].Now that series had a huge budget and were able to select the creme de la creme of acting talent for even the tiniest of roles which they played marvellously;its no surprise to me to see them in C.I.C.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2014 11:07 AM BST

Sweeney Todd (The Director's Cut) [DVD]
Sweeney Todd (The Director's Cut) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ray Winstone
Price: £3.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golopshious!, 29 April 2014
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This is a BBC tv film and this dvd(Director's Cut)contains graphic footage not shown on the broadcast version.The dvd also has English subtitles,but has no other extras.
Winstone is a terrific actor,but his gravelly voice benefitted from the subtitles fortunately.
Its a compelling portrait of Sweeney Todd by Winstone,far more complex than the awful Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street [DVD] [2007] with Jonny Depp or Sweeney Todd - Demon Barber Of Fleet Street [1936] [DVD] with Todd Slaughter(a brilliantly hammy portrayal).
There was so much pathos in this extremely violent depiction of the London barber who slit his clients throats and used the victims bodies as meat to supply his neighbours pie shop business.
An early Hannibal Lecter perhaps?
Essie Davis plays Mrs Lovett the proprietor of the said pie shop,showing enough cleavage,innocence,guilt and horror to bring off a superb supporting performance to Winstone.
My take on this Sweeney Todd was that the ample charms of Mrs Lovett were not sufficient to give him a buzz: it was the killing of men that gave him that ultimate 'climax'.
This is an extremely well acted and directed work but not for the squeamish.

The Following - Season 2 [DVD] [2014]
The Following - Season 2 [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Kevin Bacon
Price: £14.20

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bigger,better,faster:thats Season 2., 10 April 2014
If you recall adverts for products such as the VW Golf that claim that the new version tops the older model, then this could be said of Season 2 of The Following in my opinion.
Serial killer Joe Carroll is still alive and kicking and is motivating groups of would-be killers to perform acts of outrage often with the aim of taking revenge against Ryan Hardy for originally capturing him and 'stealing' his ex-wife.
James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon continue their central roles respectively and are again the backbone of the 2nd season;as previously whatever faults there were in season 1 were overshadowed by their commanding performances,and this season gives them more depth as the story progresses.
Connie Nielsen (of Gladiator (2000) - Two Disc Set [DVD] fame)is the new love interest in Bacons life as he tries to settle into his new life away from the FBI,but never far away are the machinations of Purefoy's serial killer and his following.
It's more of the same,with some of the solid characters of the previous season giving equally pertinent support.
If you found season 1 bland and silly don't bother;some people did.There is more of the same here,with 'followers' comming out of the woodwork when you least expect it which to me added to the plot.
In conclusion I think this is an excellent follow up and adds to the 1st season if you are desperate for more.

Killing Them Softly [DVD]
Killing Them Softly [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Price: £3.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What Mixed Ratings!, 6 April 2014
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This review is from: Killing Them Softly [DVD] (DVD)
And very reflective of what we thought in our family!

This is a gangster film,but unlike many there were no redeeming characteristics in any of the players so it was very hard to empathize with anyone.
You'll know what I mean when I mention,for example,in The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration [DVD] [1972] we were rooting for the Corelone clan because they were murdering bent coppers,sexually-deviant politicians,corrupt bankers and greedy priests.

Much of the film is dialogue driven,mainly conversations between Brad Pitt playing a hitman/enforcer and his underworld contacts.
There are brief scenes of a beating(very graphic)and criminals being taken out by gun(very realistic).

I saw the film as an almost fly-on-the-wall obvservation of the interplay between the various small-time crooks,middle-order gangsters and hitmen that exist in American society today(it was set during Obama's election to the Presidency).

The settings were dour and drab,and sometimes wet----the real America not the glamourised Hollywood version.

Pitt's character said it all in one paraphased sentence:"America's foundling fathers didn't want to pay taxes to the British so set in motion a war which they let others fight while they stayed safe at home f***ing their slaves".

Somewhat bleak and perhaps thats why some will find this film hard going.
The acting was tremendous with Pitt giving another sublime performance,but its not a comfortable film to watch.
If my wife found it a no-no I can't give it 5 stars.

Jericho: Season 2 [DVD]
Jericho: Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Skeet Ulrich
Offered by JAY MAKER
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars People Power wins......temporarily, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: Jericho: Season 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Hopefully the TV producers of this series will have found some satisfaction in the viewing figures for this 2nd season and DVD sales of both seasons to justify their U-turn of making a final season;I for one would not have bought both seasons if there was no resolution to the story,unlike my error in purchasing Alcatraz - The Complete Series [DVD] [2012] which left me high and dry as there was no conclusion to the 1st season.

This 2nd season runs for only a third of the length of season 1 but at least there is some closure with 2 endings available to watch on the dvd set.

The pace of the story is faster as you would expect with much crammed into the 7 episodes(there are also bonus features on disc 2 including details of the online battle by the fans to pressurize the tv producers).

I sigh with relief as there was some satisfaction watching this final season but who knows there may (one day) be a further series:there is a book Jericho Season 3 TP which I have not researched yet.

Jericho - Season 1 [DVD]
Jericho - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Skeet Ulrich

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars People Power forced a 2nd season, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: Jericho - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
This production was made with a particular audience in mind I suggest and it isn't for the fans of series such as Banshee - HBO Season 1 [DVD] [2013] or The Spartacus Collection (Gods of the Arena, Blood and Sand, Vengeance) [DVD] in my view.

Jericho is very sanitised,with most of the violence that takes place happening off camera---this is not late night viewing but prime-time,family drama of a harrowing event that in the hands of a different director(like Danny Boyle for example)and in an alternative TV slot would be portrayed much more realistically.

But,hey,I'm not reviewing the terribly nihilisticThe Road [DVD] or the Mad Max series of films; this is neatly produced,the actors are mainly pretty and clean and have several romances playing throughout,and the bad guys are not disgustingly bad.

I can see why this 1st season generated so much interest that the fans campaigned for a 2nd season and some kind of resolution to the story.

I did buy the short season 2 to see how things panned out---it interested me enough to do so.

L'assoluto Natural
L'assoluto Natural
Price: £32.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morricone to Italy is the John Williams to Hollywood., 28 Mar. 2014
This review is from: L'assoluto Natural (Audio CD)
Check out my review for this CD on L'Assoluto Naturale.That version is also by CINEVOX and is made in Japan,and is not described as 'remastered' with 'extra tracks'.

Both versions of this work by Ennio Morricone are from the film 'He and She' starring Laurence Harvey(1969).

L'Assoluto Naturale
L'Assoluto Naturale
Price: £19.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb soundtrack to a sexy film., 28 Mar. 2014
This review is from: L'Assoluto Naturale (Audio CD)
Ennio Morricone is famous for composing the musical scores for countless spaghetti westerns,the most famous being The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - 2 Disc Special Edition [1966] [DVD] and Once Upon a Time in the West -- Special Collector's Edition (2 discs) [DVD] [1969].

He is less well known for his music for many Hollywood gangster/thriller films such as The Untouchables [DVD] [1987] and Once Upon A Time In America [DVD] [1984].

He has worked profusely in the erotic cinema zone;after all he is Italian and the Italians have always made shed-loads of sexy,titillating films over the years.This music is from an unusual erotic drama called 'He And She'(English title) starring Laurence Harvey and the extremely sultry Sylva Koscina(star of many sword and sandal epics),made in 1969 and which I had the pleasure to see at a London cinema in 1971 with my girlfriend.

It doubled with Sunday, Bloody Sunday [DVD] which depicted the 1st ever mouth to mouth kiss by 2 men(Peter Finch and Murray Head).So the film was in good controversial(for the time)company in mainstream cinema.Morricone's score was fabulous,capturing the mood of the film perfectly.

I bought my copy on for 10 euros----money well spent for the reminisence.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2015 9:48 AM GMT

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