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Reviews Written by
robert stirling (tarn,s.w.france)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Fargo (Special Edition) [1996] [DVD]
Fargo (Special Edition) [1996] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Frances McDormand
Offered by wantitcheaper
Price: £4.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You should see the other guy!, 7 Sept. 2015
The Coen Bros are a bit marmitey to some and I can see why in some of their films their humour and pace just doesn't quite hit their target audience.
I'm ok with 'Fargo' because Steve Buscemi and William H Macy are two of my favourite actors,and they dominate this film.

Plenty of black humour,a script blended to suit the location in middle America and a laid back performance by Frances McDormand give this production the essential ingredients to create one of the Coen's greatest hits.
Entertaining,with some violence and brief scenes of sex.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold [DVD] [1965]
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold [DVD] [1965]
Dvd ~ Richard Burton
Price: £4.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 years on it's still spellbinding., 7 Sept. 2015
This is an intricately detailed,complicated and intriguing spy film from the 1960's that was filmed in black/white perfectly to give the gritty,realistic feel to its subject matter.

Burton's performance was top class,never to be equaled in any subsequent production but its the bit-part actors that pushed this film into the memorable classic bracket.
Michael Hordern exudes sliminess as the gay prisoner benefactor and is deliberately uncomfortable to watch.
Bernard Lee's cameo as the shopkeeper was brief and believable,while Peter Van Eyck personified hardness in his role as the East German Head of Intelligence.

Despite the labyrinthine plot director Martin Ritt,so underrated,paints the story at a measured,painstaking pace and includes detail that many others would have left out---we are the benefactors as we follow the path of Burton's spy to its surprising conclusion.
One of the great films that still works today after 50 years.

FX - Murder By Illusion [DVD]
FX - Murder By Illusion [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bryan Brown
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still good after all this time., 24 Aug. 2015
I recently watched this again after nearly 30 years and it has stood up well after the absence.
I imagine that if it was remade today the emphasis would be totally on the CGI's and might be spectacular,but at least in the 80's good films relied on a solid plot and fine acting as well as believable dialogue---this has all of those and is an excellent thriller.

The strength of the film is its simplicity of portraying a complicated plot involving a 'special effects' expert played by Aussie Bryan Brown hired by a covert government agency to simulate the assassination of a high ranking Mafia informer who is under protection prior to giving his evidence at trial.

Things don't work out exactly as planned and Brown and his friends are soon at risk and either killed or on the run.

The film really wakes up after the arrival of Brian Dennehy playing a maverick cop investigating the 'murder' of the informant.
There's plenty going on now,and it's still entertaining as an action/thriller despite the 80's permed hair and gas-guzzling cars.
The film spawned a sequel Fx 2 - The Deadly Art Of Illusion [DVD] [1991] which I haven't seen yet.

Auto Focus aka Autofocus [DVD] [2002] [2003]
Auto Focus aka Autofocus [DVD] [2002] [2003]
Dvd ~ Greg Kinnear
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £5.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well handled portrayal of Hogan's Hero., 23 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very good production which captures very accurately the 'flavour' of Bob Crane,star of the 60's comedy series Hogan's Heroes Complete Collection Seasons 1-6 [Import] [26 DVDs] which made him into a household name.
He declined,not because of having sex with under-age girls or boys or because he was a rapist or a closeted gay,simply for his sexual appetite and his desire to film his conquests on a new film format---VCR tape, so that he could watch(and boast about)the sex on tv at home.

His fame attracted the girls of all shapes and sizes but ultimately led to his downfall as people within the media refused to employ him and he ran up debts and divorces.

The film cleverly shows his rise and fall with superb performances from Greg Kinnear,playing Crane, and another underplayed gem by Willem Dafoe as his partner in debauchery.

An interesting take on the misuse of tv celebrityhood and a warning to all the 5-minute wonders of reality tv fame.

Battlefield of Lost Souls [DVD]
Battlefield of Lost Souls [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jason Isaacs
Price: £6.00

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Command performance from Jason Isaacs., 17 Aug. 2015

The film does have solid performances from Tom Skerritt and David Arquette,but the stand out acting role was by Jason Isaacs playing General Breckenridge.
He is an actor who is equally at home playing the villain or the good guy,and here he has to order a group of teenage military cadets into battle to face almost certain death against the army of Ulysses S Grant(Skerritt)---his speech and conduct as he handles the young men is utterly compelling and poignant and the stand out moment in the film in my view.

The battle scenes are graphic at the end of the film,and sad to see so many inexperienced youngsters maimed and killed.
The buildup to those scenes were reasonably well done with clever vignettes of the main cadets and a loosely framed explanation of the reasons for the American Civil War.But this is not a political drama as the writers avoided that controversy.

I've being saying for years that Isaacs will make his breakthrough into Hollywood: perhaps this is the film that will propel him into the starring roles that he deserves.

The Pillars of the Earth [DVD] [2010]
The Pillars of the Earth [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Ian McShane
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £17.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good,but not a patch on G.O.T., 14 Aug. 2015
I try not to get annoyed over films or tv series that appear to be based on historical events(and even include real characters from our history books)but don't actually deliver historical accuracy.

This mini series is based on a fictional novel by Ken Follett.Amongst the producers are the Scott brothers,Tony and Ridley.The series is directed by one Sergio Mimica-Gezzan.

It's exciting viewing,and has an intriguing plot with plenty of devious characters wielding awesome power whether for the State or the Church over ordinary mortals who are trying to do good and or just survive life in the hard times of 12th Century England.
The acting,although not Oscar level,is mainly believable but not helped by the script which was somewhat simplistic and cumbersome in my opinion.
Ian McShane's role as a Borgia-style climber was under used ;more could have been made of this terrific,meaty character and McShane has in his tank the performance of a lifetime in Deadwood Ultimate Collection Seasons 1-3 [DVD].Sadly the only time I saw his eyes sparkle was a scene in which a woman lifted her skirts in front of him and urinated on his bible.

There is little nudity throughout,some swearing and some violence.There is a thread of incest running between a mother and her son,and a brief rape scene also involving the son.

My own view is that somebody somewhere enjoyed this so much they decided on the idea of making Game of Thrones - Season 1 [DVD] [2012] with more nudity,violence,sex and intrigue.

G.O.T. works very well---'Pillars' is like an appetizer.But to be fair to the production it is entertaining without the excesses of G.O.T.

Game of Thrones - Season 1 (DVD)
Game of Thrones - Season 1 (DVD)
Dvd ~ [Audio: ENGLISH + GERMAN. Subtitles (Optional): ENGLISH + GERMAN].
Offered by Anverkauf
Price: £10.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Put this on your Wish List., 10 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What can I say that would be helpful in making a decision to buy or not?Nothing I think because this production has become CULT viewing over the last few years,and rightly so.I can only echo its status.

This 1st season has an abundance of nudity,sex,incest,gratuitous violence and graphic gore.

I absolutely loved it,so if that's not your cup of tea avoid it.

The plot ducks and dives all over the place amongst the various different families that feature in the saga,but this is the setting up of a long and enthralling series so I can forgive the amazing number of characters that we are introduced to over these 10 episodes.

I certainly think that all the hype about G of T is well justified,and I'll certainly be looking out for the future seasons to buy on Amazon.

Bialetti non-stick frying pan madame 20 cm - bottom atiscivolo
Bialetti non-stick frying pan madame 20 cm - bottom atiscivolo
Price: £20.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mama Mia.Bella,Bella., 6 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is style personified if such a thing exists in frying pans.

It's ivory in colour,curvaceous to look at and is an eloquent statement of Italian verve and a pleasure to handle in the kitchen.

I usually use Meyer(German) frying and sauce pans which have exceptionally thick bases which is great for conductivity of heat.They could have been made from the remains of Tiger Tanks!But after 25 years or so they are losing their non-stickiness.

Using this Bialetti has made me think about changing to this brand.It does the job extremely well---big enough for a couple of burgers or 3/4 eggs or a small steak for example and the heat distribution on my gas ring is very even.
I don't ask for much in the kitchen but it helps if the utensils you use really work and I'd pay a bit more for that confidence.

Bravo Two Zero [DVD]
Bravo Two Zero [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Bean
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £13.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious Brit failure., 4 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bravo Two Zero [DVD] (DVD)
The mission: locate and sabotage the fibre-optic cables that transmit signals to the Scud missiles being launched against Israel,a volatile but 'neutral' country. Secondary aim---destroy Scuds when you find them.

The objective: prevent Israel from entering the 1st Gulf War aggressively which would alienate Arab allies in the coalition.

Neither of these targets were successfully met by our 8-man S.A.S. team but as on many occasions in the past(and probably in the future)its in the way in which we failed that the true story lies.
This can be said of Dunkirk,technically we were kicked out of France but it was the heroism and bravery of ordinary people that turned that event into something to be cherished for ever.

It's the way our men fought and endured the horrors of capture that this story is about.No Hollywood glitz,no expensive CGI's,no Gung Ho tactics---this was about real professionals behaving as they were trained to do and ultimately succeeding as trained soldiers in a hi-tec war that was won by men and women in boots in the end.

Gritty,earthy stuff that makes a wonderful change from the usual dross that gets made showing men in war.

I salute our own SAS and my own nephew,Douglas,who dares in the Australian SAS.

House Of Cards - Season 2 [DVD]
House Of Cards - Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin Spacey
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars State of the art tv., 1 Aug. 2015
You need to have watched Season 1 to keep up and enjoy this bristling Season 2.
It is fantastic,and I wonder if this show has peaked this season which starts slowly but escalates to unusual and sordid high standards already beautifully set by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in the opening season playing Frank and Claire Underwood.

As in the original BBC series of 1990 the husband and wife team will stop at nothing to crush anyone in their path to the top.How the British writers of this American production gain our sympathy for Spacey and Co is the secret of the success of both the series even though we mostly hate politicians whichever side of the pond they operate.

Spoiler Alert.
One particular episode illustrates the standard of the show:Spaceys character is stuck in a lockdown at the White House while Wright conducts an interview live on tv recounting the occasion she was raped by a General whom Spacey has recently decorated.The drama is played out stunningly and encompasses the agenda of both devious Underwoods.Frank is helpless to put in his own viewpoint but has to watch with grudging admiration as Claire sets out a platform for a future crusade which may or may not propel them further up the pecking order.

5 stars for the production but 1 star for the presentation of the box set---the 4 discs are squeezed into separate cardboard slip cases which will suffer over time as the discs are handled.Season 1 was packaged exactly the same way.
Some of us do lend out our dvds so they will be scraped out and back in again often.Short term thinking by the manufacturers sadly.

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