Profile for Dave > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Dave
Top Reviewer Ranking: 25,709
Helpful Votes: 261

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Dave (Cornwall)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
pixel
Forgotten Men [DVD]
Forgotten Men [DVD]
Price: 15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An important viewing experience, 7 July 2014
This review is from: Forgotten Men [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This moving and sombre documentary from 1934 is a rare account of the events of combat in the First World War made less than 20 years after it ended. It uses original footage taken on the battlefield and combines it with interviews with ex-servicemen on both sides. During the 75mins running time, it covers land, air and sea warfare and uses unforgiving footage to depict both the scale and reality of the awful conflict.

Although it only runs just over an hour and is not very technical, Forgotten Men is an important feature to view. It serves both as an historic document and also for a fairly unique and interesting viewpoint due to when it was made. In 2014, the centenary year of the beginning of WW1, it seems even more appropriate to serve as a reminder of what madness and sacrifice lies in armed conflict.

The single extra feature is a 12 minute interview with historian and author Max Arthur OBE who gives some additional insight into the main feature.


Drug War [DVD]
Drug War [DVD]
Dvd ~ Louis Koo
Price: 6.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting low-key drama from mainland China, 20 Dec 2013
This review is from: Drug War [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A lab accident leaves drug manufacturer Timmy Choi in the custody of veteran Police Captain Zhang. To avoid the death penalty, Choi bargains with his life and so assists the police in bringing down the hierarchy of the drug trafficking organizations. There then begins a fight for survival as the cop and criminal lines get blurred.

The above synopsis and the trailer for this film makes this movie look like a million others that we've all seen many times before. It is a shame because the marketing for this production betrays the intelligent and riveting story that takes place within. In addition the filmmaker deserves credit for often not resolving certain scenes in the expected way and taking us in various other directions instead. The attempts to be realistic and foil genre traditions is primarily what keeps Drug War interesting, as there are few films in this over-populated genre where it becomes genuinely difficult to guess what will happen next.

Although the pace could initially be described as plodding, it is necessary to allow the viewer to get a feel for the people and the situation they are in. There is not so much in the way of deeper character development here but rather an attempt to give enough information to enable the viewer to play along with the police in guessing what Timmy Choi might do next. Not knowing if he'll defect carefully raises the tension and draws you in.

The entire film was made in mainland China and so presents Western viewers with a different palette that gives the movie a flavour that seems more unusual and interesting compared to the usual Los Angeles or New York setting. The pockets of action, when they come, are low-key but due to the time spent with the characters, are made more dramatic both in their execution and resolution.

This is not a jolly film but it is bold and confident film-making with a conclusion that most Hollywood films would never dare go anywhere near (and so is worth seeing for that reason alone). Although generally fairly bleak it is never boring and is dusted with occasional dry humour. But primarily it stands as a noble and recommended example of how dramatic and dark character driven stories are being told with serious effect within blossoming mainstream film economies on the other side of the world.


The Kings of Summer [DVD]
The Kings of Summer [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nick Robinson
Price: 13.97

4.0 out of 5 stars A touching and quirky tale that also seems strangely familiar., 19 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Kings of Summer [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Children turning into teenagers is a stressful time both for them and the parents who thought they knew their children. In Kings of Summer we experience both sides' frustration in what essentially is a nostalgia trip of summer holidays and familiar parental conflict.

Joe is finding it increasingly difficult to deal with his single father attempting to manage his life. In an act of ultimate rebellion, Joe decides to escape to a secret clearing in the woods where, along with his friend Patrick and a strange kid called Biaggio, they set about building their own unique house to live in. They revel in the fact they are now masters of their own destinies and vow to live their lives on their own terms. However conflict arises between Joe and Patrick when a female friend is invited to see their new place and nothing is quite the same again. Meanwhile the two boys have been reported missing and are becoming the main focus of multiple news channels in an attempt to find them.

Kings of Summer looks like a loving childhood memory with cinematography that is stunning and dreamy in its presentation. The film is edited to seemingly give snap shot recollections of a million different adventures and bizarre ideas that only youngsters could invent. The world around them is also lovingly portrayed as the woodland bustles with wildlife of all shapes and sizes. Although the characters on screen are busy forging their exciting memories, there is undoubtedly something familiar for all of us in their exploits. Most viewers should be able to relate with their own experiences of both uncaged fun and the emotional roller coaster of the adult world.

The films splits itself between following the rural teenagers experience and the pursuit by the concerned parents. But although teenage angst and annoyed parents are nothing new, what makes it interesting is the brilliantly designed characters. The blossoming ambition and curiosity of the children is perfectly drawn against the dry sarcasm or cringe worthy perception of parental happiness. Each cast member has created realistic characters that seem real and plausible without a whiff of trying to appeal to the mainstream perceptions of how children should be seen on screen.

Sitting comfortably between films such as Stand By Me and Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, Kings of Summer can be seen as an affectionate nostalgia trip that is well worth taking.

The DVD also contains a 20 minutes behind-the-scenes glimpse of the film production.


Petit Nicolas [DVD]
Petit Nicolas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Maxime Godart
Price: 5.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming and amusing family comedy!, 9 May 2013
This review is from: Petit Nicolas [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Petit Nicolas is a wonderful light-hearted tale that revels in the innocence of childhood whilst also showing that adults also make silly mistakes as well!

Set in 1960s urban France, this amusing family comedy is based on the best-selling books about a mischievous schoolboy called Nicolas. When he mistakenly thinks his parents are planning to abandon him to make way for a new baby, he enlists the help of his school friends to come up with a plan to make his parents change their minds. Meanwhile his dad is also hatching a plan to impress his own boss in order to win a lucrative promotion.

For the most part this story is told from the school childrens perspective. Director Laurent Tirard perfectly captures both the naivety and cunning of youth. Each of the classmates are amusing characters in their own right and there are plenty of jokes played at the expense of the adults. We occasionally dip into the imagination of various children and see situations played out that I am sure will be familiar to anyone who went to school!

From a performance point of view, although the adult cast are very good, it is obviously the many child actors that really impress. It helps that they are served by an intelligent and well designed screenplay, but that would count for nothing if it wasn't matched with such a fantastic group of youngsters. They have comic timing that would be the envy of actors twice their age and naturally this helps breathe life into the familiar classroom roles and really make the story work.

Although slightly short at just over 80 minutes long, Petit Nicolas is a funny film that should be enjoyed by both adults and children alike.


Jon Richardson - Funny Magnet [DVD]
Jon Richardson - Funny Magnet [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Richardson
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: 10.35

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent first DVD release, 28 Feb 2013
I'm a big fan of Jon Richardson and I always look forward to his panel show appearances. This DVD is of his 2012 live tour and is certainly worth watching.
For anyone who is not familiar with his material, he mainly concentrates on putting himself down, admitting social & personal anxiety as well as focusing on and analyzing everyday routines of people's personal behaviour. This exploration of such familiar situations/irritations make him very easy to relate to and takes it further by looking at habits on an almost microscopic level.
On the DVD performance he did seem to do more of the squeaky voice than I remember him doing when I saw him live and so (for me) was on the verge of damaging some of his routines with its over-use.
The DVD also includes an audio commentary and also his appearance on Live at the Apollo.

This is a good show of a great tour. Although I didn't laugh quite as much as I did when I saw him live, I would still say that any fans of Jon should get enjoyment from watching this show.


Barbara [DVD]
Barbara [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nina Hoss
Price: 6.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very dry but watchable drama, 19 Jan 2013
This review is from: Barbara [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is the summer of 1980 and Barbara is a woman alone and working as a doctor in a small rural town in East Germany. She is there as punishment for previously attempting to escape to West Germany. She yearns to make it over the border and thus patiently bides her time whilst managing to use secret methods to obtain products from the other side of the wall. All of this is while she is under regular monitoring from the authorities. All is going to plan until she meets a friendly local doctor at the hospital called Andre. He seems to be very interested in her and tries to pierce her cold exterior. His true motives may possibly not be what they seem but she seems to very slowly warm to his kindness, all the while being very mindful of her original plans of eventual escape.

'Barbara' is the latest offering from Berlin Film Festival and German Oscars regular Christian Petzold. It is a film that requires patience as it is a prime example of prudent European film-making that dwells on small detail and very realistic portrayal of personal interaction. For anyone not normally familiar with anything outside of the typical Hollywood style of storytelling, the structure and execution of this story may come as a bit of a shock, but I think that is one of the reasons to give it a go.
Although it may be a little long, I was never bored and as the tension very slowly began to rise, I really became curious to see how it would conclude. Fast and exhilarating storytelling this is not, but that is not always a bad thing.


OverBoard Waterproof Carbon Messenger Laptop Bag
OverBoard Waterproof Carbon Messenger Laptop Bag
Offered by Flashmemo-Uk
Price: 34.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic bag that has kept my items dry for 2 years +, 24 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this bag in 2010 and after two years it is still going strong. I have taken it out on many wet days and I have never yet had a problem with any moisture getting through. My electronic devices have never once gotten wet and I put that down to the tough and solid build quality (even though the bag itself is quite lightweight). Another nice feature is that the main flap has a light reflective logo print, which of course is helpful for allowing traffic to see you in the dark.

There is one main large pocket/section that everything fits into along with a smaller mesh pocket inside that I use for pens. The only downside of it is that the small handle on the side doesn't support much weight at all, so I never use it. I've not tried fitting a 17" laptop into the main compartment (which is apparently the max size that the bag can take), but I've easily fit a 15" edition inside without any problems. I'm certainly going to buy another copy of this shoulder bag as of mid-2012 the original one I had is starting to show some wear but should still last for a good while yet.


Death Proof [DVD]
Death Proof [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kurt Russell
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: 3.68

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Despite the beautiful Zoe Bell, this film is a tedious bore, 14 Nov 2012
This review is from: Death Proof [DVD] (DVD)
I found Death Proof to be an utterly tedious and boring viewing experience. Although it is great that Quentin gave the beautiful stuntwoman Zoe Bell a sizeable acting roll, she was surrounded by other female characters that are written as such dimwitted idiots as to make everything they do and say to be annoying. This is a problem when you spend 96% of the 1hr 40 mins running time in their company. Kurt Russell is decent in his role as Stuntman Mike, but he only appears for around ten to fifteen minutes in total and almost the entire rest of the time is spent listening to the moronic female characters talking on and on and on with such utter tedium that it is hard to believe that this is made by the same guy who delivered such trademark snappy dialogue in his other works.
I did like much of the 1970s style retro look and feel, complete with scratches and missing frames etc, but these tributes to the genre and time period only get you so far before the lack of substance makes it a chore to sit through.


The Innkeepers [DVD]
The Innkeepers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sara Paxton
Offered by FUNTIME MEDIA
Price: 4.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars takes a long time to dish up the genre clichés, 12 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Innkeepers [DVD] (DVD)
In this film two hotel workers spend their spare time investigating an old legend of a supposed haunting at the establishment where they work. Gradually they start to get signs that indicate they may indeed not be alone...

I find the hype surrounding this film quite mystifying. Although promising at the beginning with two central characters that don't seem initially to fit regular horror protagonists, they soon seem to dissolve into stupid fools doing illogical things that no real person would ever do, just to advance the increasingly lazy plot. I assume the extremely slow pace was an attempt to build a degree of tension, but I didn't find that was effective at all. It takes an age for not very much to happen and when it does I found myself expecting a lot more than what was offered. It is not that I have an attention span issue but for all the build up over the first hour of the film, the few fairly tame jumps do not pay off the amount of time you sit around waiting for something solid.
The two main actors are perfectly fine, but in the last third they start to do the moronic things that are a chronic problem in this kind of genre film - like glaring down into a dark basement and then continuing to go and have a look. When you have a capable cast, making them do stupid things like this is so frustrating as it undoes all the work up to that point and leaves them looking like the idiotic teens in a bad Friday 13th sequel.

The Innkeepers promised a lot, but is totally ruined by taking a long time to deliver virtually nothing. If you want a creepy hotel film, I would recommend watching The Shining instead.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2014 11:23 AM GMT


Monsieur Lazhar [DVD] [2011]
Monsieur Lazhar [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Mohamed Fellag
Price: 8.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Initially sombre, but ultimately full of subtle and low-key charm, 9 Nov 2012
This review is from: Monsieur Lazhar [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This French-Canadian film tells of a primary school class that has recently experienced a tragedy. Enter their new teacher, the charming Bachir Lazhar, who gradually earns the trust of his new class and allows them a new lease of emotional life. Meanwhile we also see that he is fighting a private battle of his own, which as a result has left him feeling emotionally vulnerable.

At the beginning I was unsure if this would prove to be a particularly interesting story, I was really glad I stuck with it as the subtle performances really make this a worthwhile watch. The new teacher seems to be a very able individual, unbeknown to his class he is suffering emotionally because of his past. Yet the children he teaches never seem to realise that he may well be drawing as much hope and strength from their lives as they are from his kind actions whilst in school.

Although the main adult lead gives a solid performance, the film would have fallen flat if it wasn't for the strong turn by the class of primary school children. They are both totally convincing and emotionally gifted actors that easily hold their own against the adult cast. This makes the story work and provides a film that balances emotional turmoil with glimmers of hope but at all times leaving it totally grounded in reality. Although the film is certainly low-key and quite slow, it is worth seeing for the quality of the cast and the reasonably brave story that it is trying to tell.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8