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dipesh parmar (Brighton)

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Martha Marcy May Marlene [DVD] [2011]
Martha Marcy May Marlene [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Elizabeth Olsen
Offered by Talbot Media
Price: 7.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well acted, well directed film that offers few clues and even fewer answers., 16 Feb 2012
Events are unclear from the start of Martha Martha Marcy May Marlene, the debut from director Sean Durkin. Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escapes from a cult and returns to the only member of family she has left, her elder sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson).

Lucy has not seen Martha in around 2 years, she instantly knows something is wrong but knows she can't push it. Its obvious that Lucy knows her younger sister well, but we dont really know what their relationship is like together. Martha is clearly plagued by something or someone, and the story slowly starts to take shape through flashbacks of Martha's time in the cult as well as her time with Lucy and her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy). The more paranoid Martha becomes, the more we learn about her past ordeals. Excellent camerawork and editing helps to build a mirrored transitional structure, one half of Martha's immediate past, one half her immediate present. At times, Martha cant tell the difference between her old and new environment, and nor do we.

The chief protagonist in Martha's suffering is Patrick, played by John Hawkes. Similar to his Teardrop in `Winter's Bone', Patrick is even more chillingly charming and persuasive as the cult leader. One of the many creepy emotional techniques used by Patrick was to rename all the women in the cult, Marcy May in Martha's case, as a way of establishing psychological ownership. If ever the phrase `never trust the quiet ones' was meant for anyone, Patrick owns it hands down.

Everything is broken, Martha is broken. Martha may be safer in her sisters home but she doesn't feel it. Lucy's presence offer little reward for Martha, its just another form of confusion and fear. Martha is a complex and often annoying person, not an easy person to sympathise with. But its too easy for us to say to her to grow up, get a job, have a relationship, be a good person, be all the things her sister is. No matter what she does she cannot escape herself. We know so little about her, she could have been traumatised all her life, who knows if her experience within the cult was even real?

Martha Martha Marcy May Marlene is not an easy film to watch, because Martha cant find the answers, and nobody can really help her. As good as some of the acting is and as well directed, Martha Martha Marcy May Marlene is perhaps just a little too disconnected to completely engage you.

Price: 10.32

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 'U&I' is a disappointing album from Leila., 11 Feb 2012
This review is from: U&I (Audio CD)
There's certainly a great deal of urgency on this album, the songs are altogether more direct than on previous releases. Leila has always floated between the quietly whimsical to insanely aggressive, and 'U&I' is no exception. Musically, Leila has opted for broad strokes rather than subtle flecks of colour. The album doesn't really find its feet till halfway through the album, on the dark and disturbing 'Interlace' and album highlight 'Colony Collapse Disorder', both great ways to fry your mind with noise. 'In Motion Slow' is Leila at her best, looped echoing synths over dreamy electronic washes.

As with previous albums there are plenty of songs, all produced in Leila's inimitable brand of experimental pop electronica. Mt. Sims vocals generally let most of the songs down though, his vocal range isn't exploited well within the musical arrangements. Lead single 'Disappointed Cloud' is a good example, a few others such as 'Welcome to your life' cry out for a different voice.

There's no doubting Leila's musical ability, but there's a question mark over whether she can produce a whole albums worth of sustained invention and retain the listeners interest. Too many songs either meander along or lack any inspiration. The sound of 'U&I' also feels dated, unlike some of the albums produced by bands in the past year or so which have been influenced by 80's and 90's electronic music. Sadly, 'U&I' is a disappointing album from Leila.

Delicatessen [DVD] [1991]
Delicatessen [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Dominique Pinon
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 5.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Delicatessen' is 100% magic cinematic., 2 Feb 2012
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
In a battered French street in what looks like the aftermath of an apocalyptic past, present or future, Louison (Dominique Pinon) is looking for a job. He soon finds a job as a janitor in a dilapidated apartment block, not realising the job comes with a chilling past.

The landlord is also the local butcher (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), a man feared by everyone and certainly not to be messed with! Food has become scarce, and with his tenants hungry the butchers search for new supplies of fresh meat takes him to unmentionably gruesome sources.

Louison doesn't seem to be the perfect choice for a handyman, he's too small and too skinny, but he does have hidden talents. He was once a clown in the circus, his sweet, playful nature has caught the eye of the landlords daughter Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac). Julie is shy and quiet, not at all like her monstrous father, but she slowly develops a friendship with Louison.

The apartment block is full of peculiar characters, such as Mrs Interligator who hears voices telling her to kill herself, Mr Potin who lives in the cellar with frogs and snails, and the brothers Kube who construct toys that make farmyard sounds.
You would assume `Delicatessen' was a horror film, but you'd be so wrong. 20 years ago, the world was entranced by the genius of `Delicatessen', one of the most peculiar love stories ever told. We enter the zany world of directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. In equal measures a comic strip fantasy, a comedy, throw in some social commentary, sci-fi gets a look in, horror too, I could go on. `Delicatessen' is a genre-defying spectacle like no other film.

The brilliant characters pale in comparison to the hilarious execution of so many classic scenes. The most famous sequence involves the butcher making love to his mistress on a squeaky bed. As the noise of the bed-springs gets faster and louder, the camera moves around to the other tenants, observing their own work in time to the rhythm of the bed-springs. This riotously hilarious sequence has been copied many times since, but it's never been bettered.

Who can forget Mrs Interligator's doomed attempts at committing suicide, the Australian, the unsuccessful tea party, and the sensational final sequence. Throw in some vegetarian rebels who live underground, a crazy postman, a symphony on a rooftop, and you've still not come close to showcasing all the cinematic gems in this film. The eccentricities of the cast dont overwhelm the film, nothing is overdone. This is down to the directors brilliant direction, it would be so easy for this film to have been an incomprehensible mess. Jeunet and Caro are craftsmen of the highest quality, the attention to detail in every aspect of this film is quite breathtaking.

Jeunet and Caro gobble up the surrealist spirit of Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Luis Buñuel and many others and regurgitates it into a twisted fairytale of staple French concerns, suicide, music, sex and food! `Delicatessen' is not just one of the funniest films i've seen, its not just one of the most romantic films I've seen, its one of the most creatively idiosyncratic films ever. `Delicatessen' is 100% magic cinematic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2013 9:38 AM GMT

Land Lines
Land Lines
Price: 7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars There is so much variety and depth, so many layers on "Land Lines' you'll find it virtually impossible not to enjoy it over and, 24 Jan 2012
This review is from: Land Lines (MP3 Download)
I've only recently been introduced to the Starving Weirdos (sorry guys, lousy band name!), who are the Humbolt County duo Brian Pyle and Merrick McKinlay. In a short space of time they've released 3 albums, and their live improvisational performances have been critically acclaimed.

The band have now released their fourth album 'Land Lines' on Amish Records, my first taste of the Starving Weirdos experience. Calling upon many musicians including Steve Lazar and Monica Shavez, plus Amiee Hennessey on vocals to add weight to an already impressive sonic palette, 'Land Lines' is an immediate, warming sensation. The album is an experimental concoction of drone, dub, Middle-Eastern and Asian instrumentation, and the type of astral jazz made famous in the 1970's by Alice Coltrane, Mahavishnu Orchestra and many others.

'Dreams, Endless' is an apt name for the albums opener, a sweeping, deliciously moving jazz track. Once your ears settle into its groove, you'll be locked in till the end. 'Captured' and 'In our way' similarly engulf you, the latter introduces Amiee Hennessey's vocals, adding an unforgettable grandeur to the sublime orchestration. The album continues in the same vein and without a weak note throughout. The penultimate track 'A Change in the Lexicon' encapsulates the 'Starving Wierdos' musical experience, an unfathomably dark and irresistable beauty which renders you still and ultimately devours you.

Track after track, you can't help but notice how beautifully played 'Land Lines' is. Apparently the album was completely improvised, if so the bands impressive musicianship and skill is to be lauded. There is so much variety and depth, so many layers on "Land Lines' you'll find it virtually impossible not to enjoy it over and over again.

Fabriclive 61: Pinch
Fabriclive 61: Pinch
Price: 9.51

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pinch has created an absolute banger, his best mix yet and another corker by the fabriclive label., 17 Jan 2012
This review is from: Fabriclive 61: Pinch (Audio CD)
Tectonic label supremo and Dubstep legend Pinch has never really hit the sweet spot for me, i always found his music just a bit too earnest and lacking any real bite or interest. Recently, Pinch has gone all midlife-crisis, well so you might think. In 2010, he recorded `Croydon House', yes a house record. He then records yet another single on the Swamp81 label, called `Retribution'. Working on similar 130bpm territory, `Retribution' was an even better, moodier, nastier beast. Pinch's DJ sets even started to incorporate house music, by 2011 everyone was at it. Pinch topped off 2011 with a collaboration with the mighty Shackleton. Suddenly, Pinch has got interesting.

And now in 2012, Pinch releases a mix on the ever so good Fabriclive label. The mix floors you immediately with Distals `Venom', which not only starts the mix but completes the loop by ending it. Pinch's track selection from the ever-multiplying spectrum of bass music is mostly spot-on, from legendary producers such as Photek to white-hot bassheads such as OM Unit, Boddika, Joy Orbison, Illum Sphere and stacks more. The only oddity for me was Roly Porters "Hessra', a powerful track in its own right from a brilliant debut album, but it just didn't sit comfortably in the middle of the mix.

What's really surprising is the bewildering momentum Pinch maintains, not easy with such an array of rhythms and pulses from a diverse pool of talent. Even more impressive is how Pinch maintains his signature dubstep aesthetic in amongst the house and halfstep terrain, the music is often dark and brittle, ominous and unrelenting. But don't be scared off, Pinch manages to combine his own urban dreadscapes within a rich and vibrant mix of unstoppable beats. Pinch has created an absolute banger, his best mix yet and another corker by the fabriclive label. And there's me thinking 2012 was going to start quietly.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2012 10:49 PM GMT

Margaret [DVD]
Margaret [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anna Paquin
Price: 6.06

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars `Margaret' is worth watching just for Anna Paquins performance,, 3 Jan 2012
This review is from: Margaret [DVD] (DVD)
Lisa (Anna Paquin) is a bright, self-absorbed teenager in New York. Her carefree existence is shattered after witnessing an accident which causes the death of a woman (Allison Janney). Lisa was partly to blame, by distracting a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) which caused him to run a red light.

Typical of a teenager, Lisa cannot quite articulate her grief and despair, taking her anger out on those close to her and especially her equally self-absorbed mother (J. Smith-Cameron). Growing more and more unhinged, Lisa is a disaster waiting to happen. Unable to find any solutions from her awkward attempts at sex and drugs, Lisa eventually decides to right a wrong that has been plagueing her since the accident.

`Margaret' misfires as much as it should be admired. The film is way too long, the film was originally made in 2005 but the producers could not agree on the length of the film until the director Kenneth Lonergan cut the film from 3 to 2.5 hours. We may never know if the original 3 hours is an improvement, i personally don't think so. Some scenes are way too short, others linger too long. `Margaret' doesn't feel complete, a scene near the end of the film typifies this when what should be a shocking scene seems more of a joke and is badly misjudged.

The performances of the cast save `Margaret', especially J. Smith Cameron and Anna Paquin who both deliver fiery performances which provide the backbone to the film. Paquins performance is one of the great depictions of what it feels like to be a teen, a wonderful portrait of moral confusion and helplessness in a young woman who is completely out of her depth and who just wants to get some closure. `Margaret' is worth watching just for her performance, its a shame the film doesn't dazzle in the same way.

Incendies [DVD] (2010)
Incendies [DVD] (2010)
Dvd ~ Lubna Azabal
Price: 8.45

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unflinching and brutal, `Incendies' is a heartbreaking tragedy of epic proportions., 4 Dec 2011
This review is from: Incendies [DVD] (2010) (DVD)
Denis Villeneuve's `Incendies' is the story of a mothers death and her children's struggle to cope with their mothers last wishes in her will.

The mother is Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal), and her children are Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxime Gaudette). Jeanne and Simon discover that their mother's final wish is that they should deliver sealed letters to a father they believed to be dead and a brother they never knew existed. Nawals wish was that she be buried in unhallowed ground face down from the sun. If the letters are delivered, the mother will then permit herself a headstone and a customary burial.

It is not really a choice at all, and so the initial intrigue soon unfolds into a cryptic family mystery, to say too much would spoil the many revelations in an incredible story. Simon is extremely angry and seeks to defy her mothers wishes, but the lawyer forbids it as it was his mothers wish. Jeanne wants to find her father and brother, she knows that she needs to uncover her mothers past to find the clues needed to find her new family.

Jeanne's journey takes her to the Middle East, intercut with Nawal's story since she was a teenager. What follows is a series of personal disasters for Nawal, and ever-increasing revelations for Jeanne, as she travels throughout the region while her country falls further into a civil war. After slowly finding enough clues to start to patch together her mothers life, Jeanne pleads with Simon to come to her aid. Simon wants nothing more than to take Jeanne back home to Canada, but he realises that he must start his own journey to find his family. Jeanne and Simon uncover not only the traumatic life of their mother, but the horrific circumstances in which they came to be born, who their father is, and who their brother is.

`Incendies' may be melodramatic, contrived, even manipulative. It depends on how far you're willing to let this film `take' you. The film's structure has a few inconsistencies, and the final twist is created through a ridiculous set of coincidences that borders on the insane. The political and religious strand to the story may be slightly heavy-handed but it is symbolic not only within its own historical context but one that underlines the domino-effect of the children's and mothers journey. In the end, someone has to end the war and the hate, and Nawals incredible final wish was to do just that.

Unflinching and brutal, `Incendies' is a heartbreaking tragedy of epic proportions. The ending may seem far-fetched, but it still packs an emotional wallop that is hard to ignore, `Incendies' will certainly keep you thinking long after the film has finished.

Down 2 Earth
Down 2 Earth
Price: 10.19

3.0 out of 5 stars I do like Ras G's music, but he's not added anything new to the mix, which is a real shame., 13 Nov 2011
This review is from: Down 2 Earth (Audio CD)
'Down 2 Earth' is LA beat-smith Ras G's latest album. If you are new to the cosmic sounds of Ras G, his instrumental hip-hop takes inspiration from dub, jazz, funk and what Ras calls 'ghetto sci-fi'. He's basically pigeonholed himself as the new Sun Ra, or rather hip-hops version of Sun Ra.

'Down 2 Earth' is Ras's fourth album, so he's had plenty of time to experiment and refine his blunted dub-jazz-cosmic-funk. The album is very short, clocking in at just over half an hour, over 21 very quick tracks. With so many musical influences, Ras G doesn't shy away from incorporating as much as possible into his dense collages of galactic funk.

The trouble is, his sound hasn't really developed much in the last 4 years since his first album. One thing that really annoys me is his incessant use of his 'Oh Ras!' sample which seems to be on many tracks on every album. It adds the wrong type of familiarity to his music, i.e. you've heard it before. Such is the density and variety of his music, its difficult to place what really is new or not from his earlier output.

The dynamics of his music is similar to dub, but Ras G could learn from the dub masters he's clearly influenced from by stripping his music back, to bring back some kind of focus and avoid everything just sounding like background music for those 3am sessions. The only plus was his quickfire track lengths, most of which worked from being shorter rather than strung out over 8 minutes like many instrumental hip-hop producers tend to do. Don't get me wrong, I do like Ras G's music, but he's not added anything new to the mix, which is a real shame.


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For all the sound innovations its an album steeped in the past with nothing new to say., 11 Nov 2011
This review is from: Replica (Audio CD)
Under the guise of Oneohtrix Point Never, Daniel Lopatin's new album 'Replica' is an about-turn from his recent releases. 'Replica' is comprised of samples from '80s television ads which have been mutated <!--more-->sometimes beyond recognition, woven into complex patterns over 10 tracks. Ironically, 'Replica' actually sounds like the most accessible album from Oneohtrix Point Never to date.

'Replica' is a nervy affair at times but always interesting, fabulously brushed over with Oneohtrix's trademark vintage synth washes, as well as some piano. Lopatins constant change of direction within most tracks helps to keep your interest, but it is also due to Lopatins skilful understanding of sampling, dynamics and melody. This is exemplified by the best track on the album, `Child Soldier'. Initially erratic samples of video games and various vocal snippets graduate into lush synths and strings, a track that really shouldn't have worked at all but does superbly.

I've always had a bit of a problem with Oneohtrix Point Never, the albums are usually good but theres always a nagging feeling that someone else has done it already and better. As inventive and beautifully crafted as 'Replica' is, it often sounds like Brian Eno and David Byrne's seminal 'My life in the bush of ghosts' remixed by Boards of Canada. Memory plays a big part in Oneohtrix's work and 'Replica' is inherently obsessed with the past, but for all the sound innovations its an album steeped in the past with nothing new to say.

Price: 12.57

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you've been used to the harsher, darker sounds of Vex'd, 'Severant' takes time to adjust to, as the sound is such an inviting, 21 Oct 2011
This review is from: Severant (Audio CD)
No sooner has Roly Porter said goodbye to his old outfit Vex'd with a new solo album, his Vex'd sidekick Jamie Teasdale has followed suit pretty quickly with his own solo album 'Severant'.

The first surprise is that although you could still hear the influence of the Vex'd sound in Porters solo album, there is virtually none of it on 'Severant'. The second surprise is Teasdales use of vintage synthesisers and a pretty obvious homage to the early electronic pioneers from the 70's and 80's in Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre.

But 'Severant' is no retro synth love-in, Teasdale combines the old sci-fi sound with an appreciative nod to electro, mid 90's IDM, as well as bringing it all up to the present day. Teasdale creates a beautifully futuristic spectacle which is both seductive and nostalgic, tracks such as 'Truth Flood' and 'Scissors' may at first sound cheesily out of time but there is a reassuring immediacy to the beats which pull you in. Its a difficult trick to pull off, and Teasdale mostly succeeds by avoiding repetition and varying the tempos and shapes to keep your interest.

If you've been used to the harsher, darker sounds of Vex'd, 'Severant' takes time to adjust to, as the sound is such an inviting and immediate sensation. To everyone else, i'm really not sure what they will make of this album, but its most definitely worth a listen, and then some more.

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