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dipesh parmar (Brighton)

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Our Children [DVD]
Our Children [DVD]
Dvd ~ Niels Arestrup
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars ‘Our Children’ is a quiet, delicately constructed drama, 2 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Our Children [DVD] (DVD)
‘Our Children’ is an intimate study of a relationship between schoolteacher Murielle (Émilie Dequenne) and Mounir (Tahar Rahim), a recently qualified doctor. Mounir was adopted, along with his sister, by André (Niels Arestrup) who is himself a doctor in Belgium.

Little is known of Mounir’s families situation prior to his adoption by André who has provided him with a life previously incomprehensible in Morrocco. He’s often caught in André’s shadow and unable to make his own decisions for fear of betraying him.

The couple live with André, and have four children in quick succession. Murielle struggles with their domestic situation and longs for a family home of their own. They even contemplate moving to Morocco to live near Mounir’s mother. André has a subtle overpowering effect on everyone around him, he dotes on everyone and thinks he knows whats best. André’s passivity is so convincing that you wouldn’t think it was strange for him to accompany the couple on their honeymoon!

Dequenne, Rahim and Arestrup are all excellent, but the weak link to this film is that there is little history to the individuals which pose many questions. We know nothing of Murielles past to give us some context to why she behaves in the way that she does. Why did André adopt Mounir but not his younger brother? Little is mentioned of André’s relationship with Mounir’s sister, which is a story in itself.

‘Our Children’ is a quiet, delicately constructed drama showing the unconscious cruelty committed by individuals who believe they’re acting in the best interest of their family. The culpable trio seem incapable of foreseeing the consequences of their actions. Based on a true story, director Joachim LaFosse keeps the suspense to an absolute minimum so that when the appalling conclusion arrives it actually passes you by before you start to comprehend what has happened.

Rating: 7/10

Price: £10.78

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I’m still stunned that Actress created an album as bad as this., 2 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Ghettoville (Audio CD)
Actress (aka Darren Cunningham) has raised the bar with each release of his own brand of progressive Techno, with his third album ‘R.I.P.’ being my personal favourite.

Actress’s fourth album ‘Ghettoville’ is meant to be the sequel to his 2008 debut album ‘Hazyville’, and apparently the last record Cunningham will produce under his Actress alias. As soon as the opening ‘Forgiven’ emerges, you realise that although Actress’s signature sound is present that this is a deliberately different album to his last three. And i’d never thought i’d say it of an Actress release, but this is a terrible album.

Since i’ve been a fan of his music from his first release, i’ve listened to ‘Ghettoville’ dozens of times because i’m still stunned by such an insipidly dull release. The majority of the album is slow, dreadfully uninspiring, and lacking virtually any imagination. This album should have been called ‘R.I.P.’ because Actress has literally ripped the heart and soul from his music, leaving us with just a corpse. I have nothing against his source of inspiration, but there is nothing musically challenging in ‘Ghettoville’. The majority of tracks are too long and repetitive, polarising the listener with an indifferent and unemotional purpose to the music. Most tracks are painfully slow, but even the pacier tracks like ‘Gaze’, ‘Skyline’ and ‘Rule’ have a lack of inspiration that just baffles me.

Whatever Cunningham’s intentions were hasn’t worked. ‘Ghettoville’ feels like a suicide note, such is the defeatism that pervades this album. I’m still stunned that Actress created an album as bad as this.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2014 8:02 AM GMT

Computer Chess [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Computer Chess [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Wiley Wiggins
Price: £14.76

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The ponderousness of the many individuals seems to stretch to the whole film, 2 Feb. 2014
Andrew Bujalski's ‘Computer Chess’ creates a fictional account of the dawn of computers in the early 1980’s, shot in a mockumentary style using the same grainy video cameras used at the time.

The film is set in a hotel where a chess tournament with a difference is held,where computer geeks pit their own chess software programs against each other. This round-robin tournament ends with the overall winner getting the chance to test his or her chess program against a real grandmaster, who has never been beaten.

Bujalski amps up the geek-ratio to the maximum, a horde of awkward big brains intent on understanding computers, technology and the even bigger issues of artificial intelligence. This was a time prior to mass-produced computers, where incredibly patient computer engineers and programmers created unwieldly and clunky computers and software which are by todays standards practically archaic.

Bujalski doesn’t concentrate too much on the tournament, ‘Computer Chess’ digs deeper into the minds of the people behind the machines. There is also a sub-plot where the hotel also hosts a creepy new-age know-thyself group, some of whom seem to be swinging singles. A meeting of ‘minds’ between these two very different camps is inevitable, by which point you realise this is more of a comedy. Things get weirder still when alternative realities gets thrown into the mix. All very 1980’s.

‘Computer Chess’ had the ingredients for a good film, certainly a good comedy, but its a dull film filled with inert and often cliched characters. Theres also way too many, though very subtle, references to other films mostly of that era. The film has a snapshot approach where it hints at so many technological issues, many of which are hotly topical today such as mass surveillance and the governments role in shaping this new computer world.

The whole film is played out with so much dry wit that you often forget its a comedy, the ponderousness of the many individuals seems to stretch to the whole film. The sub-plots seem contrived and it all adds up to a film with no direction or purpose, leaving you utterly bored by the end.

Rating 3/10

Laurence Anyways [DVD]
Laurence Anyways [DVD]
Dvd ~ Melvil Poupaud
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £15.24

4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful story filled with some great performances and great lines, 2 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Laurence Anyways [DVD] (DVD)
What do you do when the man you love and adore decides he isn’t the man he wants to be? This is the question posed in Xavier Dolan’s film ‘Laurence Anyways’, when Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) admits to his girlfriend Fred (Suzanne Clément) that he wants to be a woman.

‘Laurence Anyways’ starts in late 1980’s Montreal, Canada, where trans-genders are classed in a negative light. Laurence’s change is filmed over more than a decade, but the story is just as much about the changes in Fred. Initially reluctant to accept such a drastic change of circumstances, Fred realises she is in love with Laurence the person, his sex is irrelevant. But will her devotion to him last?

Laurence has the bigger problems to face, once he’s accepted who he is he has to inform not just Fred but his parents, his friends and his colleagues in the college he teaches. You would assume that going to work in a dress in front of hundreds of children would be the most frightening experience he has to face, in fact the parents have more of an issue than his generally unmoved pupils. As much as he could prepare himself, Laurence realises the ramifications of what he proposes may be too hard to bare.

‘Laurence Anyways’ is not your average love story, and Dolan is to be praised for tackling such a subject which even today is taboo to many. Its often an uneven film, Dolan’s imaginative theatricality and pretensions sometimes fails to inspire, and its running time of 2 hours 40 mins is way too long.

But what holds this film together is a thoughtful story filled with some great performances and great lines, not least by Laurence’s unfazed mother played by Nathalie Baye who said to Laurence “Are you turning into a woman or an idiot?” when he asked if she still loved him! Suzanne Clément gives a terrific turn as Fred, managing to steal the limelight from Poupaud on many occasions.

‘Laurence Anyways’ focuses on transsexuality and gender identity, but Dolan sees Laurence and Fred’s relationship as the epicentre to this film. Both have their faults and insecurities, theirs is a fraught but tender and utterly believable relationship. But they just can’t remain apart or keep each other from their thoughts, regardless of what they’ve done to each other. Sounds like quite a normal relationship to me!

Patagonia [DVD]
Patagonia [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matthew Rhys
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It forces you to sit down and just enjoy watching an interesting sequence of events., 14 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Patagonia [DVD] (DVD)
'Patagonia' is a film directed by Marc Evans, providing a unique
insight into two cultures that you wouldn't have ever considered to
co-exist. I wasn't aware that Patagonia is a Welsh settlement in
Argentina, since the mid 19th century where Welsh citizens were invited
by the Argentine government to come to live in Patagonia. Miraculously,
Patagonia still retains its Welsh community and is still thriving.

The film is anchored by two stories, one spoken in Welsh and the other
in Spanish, where both sets of people are searching for their
identities. Rhys (Matthew Gravelle) is a photographer assigned with
capturing the essence of Patagonia, and takes his girlfriend Gwen (Nia
Roberts) for a working holiday. Travelling in the opposite direction is
the elderly Argentinian Cerys (Marta Lubos) who wants to trace her
ancestors before she dies, and misleads the unwitting teenage Alejandro
(Nahaul Perez Biscayart) to come with her.

The photography is stunning, with some wonderful scenes of the
contrasts between the lush green hills of Northern Wales and the dusty
deserts of the Patagonian landscapes. Both sets of couples experience
various states of discomfort and joy in trying to find themselves,
providing a nice balance between them which makes the film work.
'Patagonia' may often be cliché-ridden, sentimental and implausible but
there is a warmth to the characters, especially Cerys and Alejandro,
which is often very touching. Its one of those films which tugs on your
emotions more than your imagination, and forces you to sit down and
just enjoy watching an interesting sequence of events.

rating: 7/10

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film full of subtlety and tension, 9 Dec. 2013
French filmmaker Alain Guiraudie's new film `Stranger by the Lake' is a psychological drama set at a lakeside cruising area for gay men. They sunbathe and swim completely naked, but they are all there for the same thing: sex. Connections are made through glances, catching the eye at the right time will gift you with what you desire. Those lucky enough to succeed go into the nearby woodland for casual sex (shown in graphic detail), while the unlucky ones look on, some pleasuring themselves.

Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) is a relative newcomer to the lake. He develops a curious friendship with Henri (Patrick D'Assumçao), who is suspiciously treated as he's supposed to be straight. He sits in the same spot every day, he doesn't swim, he doesn't sunbathe naked, he just sits in the same spot and observes. The fuss-free Henri clearly fascinates Franck, but he's merely someone to pass the time with until he finds a partner.

One evening, Franck witnesses a murder in the lake. But rather than stay the hell away and contact the police, his desire and curiosity is magnified as he starts a relationship with the murderer. Its not enough that we know little of the murderer and what he's thinking, the same is said of Franck. The film goes beyond this by using a police inspector to comment on everyone at the beach. The inspector is puzzled why these same men who understand voyeurism better than anyone, make such terrible witnesses. Men who are frequently intimate but rarely know each others names, phone numbers or even what they do for a living. They seem programmed to neutralise any form of personal connection. Further still, nobody seems to care too much about the person who was killed, within days of the murder the men were back in the lake swimming.

The police inspectors investigation soon catches up with the murderer, ending the film dramatically and shockingly. The murder at the lake sums up a fine film full of subtlety and tension, of how so much emptiness held such suspense and terror, how a peculiar act of horror still leaves me scratching my head. As if it never happened.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour [DVD]
Blue Is the Warmest Colour [DVD]
Dvd ~ Adèle Exarchopoulos
Offered by MediaMine
Price: £7.10

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Blue is the Warmest Colour' succeeds in its simplicity of storytelling, where two wonderful actors are allowed to blossom, 26 Nov. 2013
Abdellatif Kechiche's Palme d'Or winning film `Blue is the Warmest Colour' is the simplest of stories, of first love. Such a unifying experience has been shown on screen many many times, so why is this film any different or any better?

`Blue is the Warmest Colour' is the story of Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a teenager with a familiar story of having to cope with life, not least having to navigate her way through the complex psychological and emotional perils of relationships. Adele experiments with a boy, but feels that there is something missing. On a night out with her best friend, her curiosity takes her to a bar frequented by lesbians. She meets the blue-haired Emma (Léa Seydoux), an older student studying Fine Arts who is clearly more comfortable with her sexuality than Adele is. A relationship is borne.

What sets `Blue is the Warmest Colour' apart from the majority of films about relationships is the depth and detail to which Kechiche is prepared to go. From the first moments of flirtation to intimacy and a full-blown adult relationship, seen mostly through Adele's experience of the pleasure, passion and pain of first love. Adele is full of innocence and hesitancy, even when the two of them are settled in a relationship Adele avoids advertising their union. Emma is everything to Adele, those momentary glances of approval at Emma never vanish, she allows herself to be second fiddle and is quite happy to do so. By the end, it seems as if Adele is the one who has matured for the better, not Emma.

`Blue is the Warmest Colour' is a daunting three hour film, but theres never a lull at any point in the film which is a remarkable achievement from Kechiche for such a simple story. The exceptional performances from the two highly committed leads, especially Exarchopoulos, adds insight into matters of the heart. Its rare to see such a vulnerable performance from an actor, Exarchopoulos excels at showing us the intense emotional and psychological demands of not just coming to terms with becoming a woman but also her sexuality. `Blue is the Warmest Colour' succeeds in its simplicity of storytelling, where two wonderful actors are allowed to blossom into one of the most naturalistic on-screen relationships ever filmed.

Mister John [DVD]
Mister John [DVD]
Dvd ~ Aiden Gillen
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £6.44

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Mister John' is a clever film, and a very subtle one too., 23 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Mister John [DVD] (DVD)
Husband-and-wife team Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy return with their second film `Mister John', starring Aidan Gillen as Gerry. He's had to travel to Singapore because his brother John had an untimely death.

Gerry has never been to see John in Singapore before, and in turn never met his wife Kim (Zoe Tay) and teenage daughter Sarah (Molly Rose Lawlor). The title of the film refers to the name of Johns bar, which Kim now has to run on her own. Gerry seems to have enough problems of his own, not least his dwindling relationship with his wife and daughter. Its an excuse that Gerry takes advantage of, the distraction of foreign climes and John's demise are at first enough to keep him occupied. He thrives on taking on the responsibility of standing in for John, he even wears John's clothes. Kim keeps her grief in check too, mostly to lessen the pain on her daughter.

`Mister John' is a clever film, and a very subtle one too. This beautifully shot film could have gone down many routes, but instead paints an opaque picture of a mans struggles within himself. Little is known about a lot of things, and you can't help but ask a lot of questions. Why had Gerry not seen John in such a long time? Why has his marriage broken down? Was John's death an accident? Is there more to John's business than we are shown? Who is Kim, and can she be trusted? None, and many others, go unanswered.

Rather than become frustrated by any lack of closure, you're fascinated with Gerry's passive acceptance of his troubles. Gerry does slowly reveal his impotence and vulnerability, issues which plague his relationship with his wife and brother. Its an incredibly subtle performance from the excellent Aidan Gillen, you witness a man who has finally come to terms with loss, and by doing so breaks down whatever wall was stopping him from moving on.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2014 12:09 AM BST

Room 237 [DVD]
Room 237 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rodney Ascher
Offered by Jasuli
Price: £5.95

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If this film is about obsessive behaviours, its succeeded. As a documentary, its an absolute shocker., 8 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Room 237 [DVD] (DVD)
`Room 237' is a documentary by Rodney Ascher, a curious film based on Stanley Kubrick's classic horror film `The Shining'. This documentary shows off the obsessive theories of a few ultra-obsessive fans on what they think `The Shining' is really about.

Five different narrators pitch various interpretations of "The Shining," accompanied by footage from the film. Kubrick was renowned for his perfectionism, and the narrators spared no time in putting every minute detail under the microscope. One narrator thinks the film is about the genocide of the American Indians, another associates it the Nazi holocaust. An even more outlandish claim is from another narrator who thinks the film is Kubrick's confession for faking the television footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing at the behest of the U.S. government!

But theres more, the hotel manager has a hard-on, Jack Nicholson is reading a porn magazine, and a Ski poster is seen as a Minotaur. Canned goods and the number 42 are discussed at length. You cant help but laugh at first, but by halfway through this documentary you will be shaking your head in disbelief, repeating to yourself `Have these people got nothing better to do in their lives?'. As if thats not enough, we see a sequence where the film is played and superimposed with the film played backwards, illiciting a new level of justifications, connections, theories and conspiracies. By now you are feeling as murderous as Jack Nicholson was in the film!

The narrators premise for such barmy ideas is based on the notion that as Kubrick was such a meticulous filmmaker, everything in the film has a meaning. You have to assume Ascher is sending up these people. Chuckles turn to bemusement and then anger, knowing that this isn't the warped interpretations of one person, theres plenty of them out there! However much you liked `The Shining', you couldn't care less about the self-indulgent ramblings of these contradictory narrators over 100 soul-destroying minutes of utter tedium. Let's hope i never get cornered by a film obsessive at a party! If this film is about obsessive behaviours, its succeeded. As a documentary, its an absolute shocker.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 29, 2014 10:59 PM BST

The Selfish Giant [DVD]
The Selfish Giant [DVD]
Dvd ~ Conner Chapman
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £6.93

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `The Selfish Giant' is the sort of film that the British excel in, 5 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Selfish Giant [DVD] (DVD)
`The Selfish Giant' is British filmmaker Clio Barnard's new film, set on the same Bradford estate that featured in her debut `The Arbor'. Swifty (Shaun Thomas) and Arbor (Conner Chapman) are two thirteen year old boys, best friends who always seem to be upto something they shouldn't be in. But theirs is not merely a selfish path of youthful gratification, they know their parents struggles and want to improve their lives.

Victims of their circumstances, expelled from school and lacking a purpose in life, the boys drift aimlessly down a dangerous path. The boys hit upon a scrap metal scam, stealing copper cables left on a railway line by some just as untrustworthy individuals. They soon embark on trying to make a living from scrap metal, twinned with a fascination for horses. Swifty in particular has a gift with horses, and feels even more at home with them then he does with Arbor. He's the more sensitive and innocent of the two, Arbor's behavioural problems (ADHD) and big mouth tends to land them both in trouble.

The boys start to work for a local scrap-dealer named Kitten (Sean Gilder). Kitten shows no qualms about exploiting the boys' willingness to earn money, encouraging them to rent his horse and cart from him in order to collect scrap metal from sources that aren't legal. Kitten also runs an illegal horse-and-cart race, shown in one of the standout scenes, and he wastes no time in employing Swifty as a jockey. Barnard makes a subtle comment on child exploitation, but far more on the world commodities boom which has led to many people taking huge risks where copper has become the new gold. It also illustrates the waste that exists in society , plus how an entrepreneurial spirit can make money out of anything.

`The Selfish Giant' is the sort of film that the British excel in, and there is a point where you do get tired of yet another film about how grim it is up North. But you cannot fault the film, and if anything its nowhere near as bleak as you'd have imagined. First-timers Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas are exceptional, as are the whole cast who give the whole film a naturalistic feel.

There's clearly a lot of anger in this film concerning the way society has let down these boys and forgotten about these communities. Barnard doesn't pull any punches but there is a surprising level of compassion and grace from the adults which really pulls on your emotions. For all the hardships they've suffered there's still something inside them which burns through their grim reality to reveal what it really takes to be an adult and a parent. The final moments of the film are practically dialogue-free, but you won't find a more powerful sequence all year.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2014 1:04 PM BST

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