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dipesh parmar (Brighton)

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Force Majeure [Blu-ray] [2014] [US Import]
Force Majeure [Blu-ray] [2014] [US Import]
Offered by Moref Designs
Price: £20.92

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ‘Force Majeure’ raises interesting questions about gender expectations which we all take for granted, 13 April 2015
Ruben Östlund’s ‘Force Majeure’ is a family drama set in a ski resort in the French Alps. Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) have brought their young children Harry (Vincent Wettergren) and Vera (Clara Wettergren), but a false alarm comes close to destroying the family in a way you wouldn’t imagine.

The problem was, Tomas did something he shouldn’t have done in a situation which could potentially have been very serious. His family saw him do it, they were all hurt by it, but nothing was said. Ebba struggles with the ramifications of the incident, the more he evades the incident the angrier Ebba becomes. When she eventually cracks, Tomas stubbornly denies doing what Ebba accuses him of until evidence proved his guilt. A nice family holiday turns into a disaster.

‘Force Majeure’ is an uncomfortable unravelling of a relationship, not least for the children and friends who have to witness events unfold in whats meant to be a relaxing holiday. Tomas’s failure to do what a man should do, raises interesting questions about gender expectations which we all take for granted. But under similar crises, would we react the same way, even though we know what the right thing to do was? What does it say for an individual who has failed his family, should he be forgiven? The problem is, Tomas’ ‘lapse’ was not the first, who unloads more indiscretions to Ebba. He proved his immaturity in the way he manipulated Ebba further still, so that he can be seen as a victim rather than having any backbone.

Johannes Bah Kuhnke is excellent as a measly man who just won’t face up to his role as husband and father, who thinks more of his mobile phone than his children. But the film forces the issue on more than one occasion. The final scene felt manipulative and hammered home a message that wasn’t needed. ‘Force Majeure’ raises a lot of questions, not just how much do we truly know ourselves or the people we share our lives with, but how much can we expect of each other.

Rating: 7/10

I Am Yours [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
I Am Yours [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £11.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Its a heartbreaking performance from Acharia who holds this fine film together., 10 April 2015
‘I Am Yours’ is the debut film from Norwegian actress and director Iram Haq, charting the problems of a second generation Pakistani woman caught between cultures.

Mina (Amrita Acharia) is a struggling 27 year-old actress living in Oslo, Norway. She shares custody of her 6-year-old son Felix (Prince Singh) with her now remarried ex-husband (Assad Siddique). She spends her days searching for acting work, by night looking for love, and in-between caring for Felix who remains her only constant of sorts.

A woman of few words, on a rare moment of openness Mina tells a new date that she was forced into a marriage in Pakistan when she was very young. Her parents are increasingly indignant of her ‘western’ ways, of her being seen openly courting men, never mind everything else she’s hiding from them. Her mother (Rabia Noreen) taunts her at every opportunity for her ‘mistakes’, she can barely move let alone react to an increasingly crippling set of situations. The scars from her experiences are telling, she is constantly lonely and craves for love, but these desires lead to naive decisions which she can’t help but prolong for fear of more rejection.

A life far from harmonious, its an awkward position watching Mina being used by her boyfriends. In one particular scene, after being rejected by her current boyfriend she goes back to a previous one. She might as well have left a photo of herself with him, such was his cruel response to any intimacy. She’s guilty herself of thinking more about her relationships than Felix, who often feels like an obstacle to real happiness.

Mina’s traditional but dysfunctional upbringing have left her with no knowledge of what real love is. Its a heartbreaking performance from Acharia who holds this fine film together. Its fascinating to see her keep herself so remote, as you never seem to grasp what she’s thinking. Even in her most selfish moments, you still feel drawn to her, to will her to improve her situation. Ultimately, you know this is a decision only she can make.

Rating: 7/10

Wild Tales DVD
Wild Tales DVD
Dvd ~ Liliana Ackerman
Price: £11.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A film full of mischief and black humour which will entertain you from start to finish., 8 April 2015
This review is from: Wild Tales DVD (DVD)
Argentine writer-director Damian Szifrón’s Oscar-nominated new film ‘Wild Tales’ tackles the theme of revenge in 6 comical stories full of dark and twisted humour.

The opening “Pasternak” refers to a group of individuals on an airplane who soon realise that they know the same person, from the past or present. Trouble is, nobody liked him, can you guess what happens next? In “The Rats”, a man (César Bordón) frequents a roadside restaurant. The waitress (Julieta Zylberberg) recognises him, and is suddenly overcome with revenge. “Road to Hell” reveals an arrogant man (Leonardo Sbaraglia) in a hurry, raging at the lane-hogging driver (Walter Donado) ahead of him who won’t give way to his faster car. Szifrón shows off his action skills in a quite brilliant sequence where both men go head to head, with neither man ready to give in. Its brilliantly executed, and worth the price of admission on its own.

“Bombita” sees a man (Ricardo Darín) at the end of his tether, when his car is towed away. But it turns out thats the least of his problems. In “The Deal”, a wealthy businessman (Óscar Martínez) tries to bribe the police and other officials from sending his son to prison for a hit-and-run incident. We end with “Till Death Us Do Part”, in a wedding you would love to have been invited to, but for all the wrong reasons! A couple’s wedding goes disastrously wrong when the bride (Érica Rivas) realises the groom (Diego Gentile) has been cheating on her. Rivas is terrific as the bride, displaying a range of emotions in a short space of time rarely seen on film. She also delivers a frightening monologue on marriage that will terrify any man thinking about tying the knot!

‘Wild Tales’ offers us the frustrations of modern life, we can all relate to these six stories, and it loosens our morals enough to allow the voice in the back of our head to take centre stage and enact unashamed retribution. We see peoples vengeance characterised in the most ludicrous and glorious forms, its a film full of mischief and black humour which will entertain you from start to finish.

Fabriclive 80: Mumdance
Fabriclive 80: Mumdance
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most fascinating mixes in the past few years., 29 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Fabriclive 80: Mumdance (Audio CD)
London-based DJ and producer Mumdance, aka Jack Adams, has been on an upward curve for the past few years with a string of diverse releases on labels such as Rinse, Tectonic, Mad Decent and many others. He’s collaborated with Logos and Pinch in the last year alone, and now the legendary mix series Fabriclive has enlisted his skills for its 80th release.

Mumdance takes its inspiration from grime, jungle, techno and dubstep, with varying degrees of success. His recent mixes for Rinse FM show a bolder appreciation of music, regularly playing a diverse mixture of music, some not remotely connected to the dancefloor. Adams uses these sets as the foundation for Fabriclive 80, where the beatless sounds of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Fis, Helm, Wanda Group et al share space with Jon E Cash, Fat Controller and Eastwood & Oddz. The mix also includes unreleased collaborations with Logos, as well as a reworking of ‘1 Sec’ with Novelist. Mumdance also steps back in time with nostalgic gems from Ramos & Supreme, Sweet Exorcist and Jimmy J & Cru-l-t.

For a mix series with feet firmly on the dancefloor, Fabriclive 80 is certainly unconventional. The excellent final track, Ramos & Supreme’s ‘The Journey Part 1’ illustrates the path Mumdance wants to take us, using contrasting styles of music to keep you engaged. ‘Travels In The Universe Of The Soul’ by Shapenoise is a brilliant opener, as are tracks by FIS and Wanda Group, where you are immediately faced with music which confronts and confuses you. It doesn’t always work, the nostalgic last few tracks didn’t sit comfortably with everything that preceded them.

There’s plenty of mixes that are far more experimental, even more that glue you to the dancefloor, but Mumdance does a great job balancing these two worlds into one of the most fascinating mixes in the past few years.

Mood Indigo
Mood Indigo
Price: £2.49

3.0 out of 5 stars A surreal worldview which craves your attention, and its hard to resist such an overflow of creativity and imagination., 15 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mood Indigo (Amazon Instant Video)
‘Mood Indigo’ is a new Parisian love story by French director Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind, The Green Hornet). The film is based on the 1947 book “L’Écume des Jours” by Boris Vian, who was also a singer-songwriter, jazz trumpeter and all-round cool dude.

Set in Paris, France, ‘Mood Indigo’ travels between the 1940s, the present and a lo-fi/sci-fi future. Colin (Romain Duris) is a wealthy inventor, he lives with his friend Nicolas (Omar Sy) who is a lawyer and chef, in a converted rail carriage suspended between two buildings. His best friend Chick (Gad Emaleh) introduces him to Chloé (Audrey Tautou), a romance blossoms.

Vian provides the perfect form of inspiration, Gondry’s visual flair and surreal box of tricks is irresistibly conceived. From the opening scene we see rows of typists typing away on typewriters that move along without stopping, pianos that make cocktails, a TV chef who can reach through the screen to hand you ingredients, a dance style that turns your legs to rubber, to cranes lifting spaceships around paris to give the best views of the city.

Its an overwhelming experience, especially the opening 30 minutes. Duris, Tautou and Sy do well to draw you back into reality, of sorts. Their performances are as breezy and whimsical as everything around them, but the mood isn’t always so colourful, especially when Chloe’s health suffers. Sy’s character didn’t sit too comfortably, his eager to please servant/chef and occasional lawyer is a cringeworthy throwback to outdated stereotyping.

‘Mood Indigo’ only just avoids the pretentious pitfalls which many films of this ilk can get sucked into, it often lapses into moments when such surreal inventiveness should be reined in, its occasionally overindulgent and a little precious. But Gondry’s manifestations of Colin’s experiences and feelings into physical forms is impressive, creating a surreal worldview which craves your attention, and its hard to resist such an overflow of creativity and imagination.

Rating: 7/10

Lilting [DVD]
Lilting [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Whishaw
Price: £5.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Writer-director Hong Khaou has directed an assured and thoughtful debut, full of subtle releases and deeply felt emotions., 9 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Lilting [DVD] (DVD)
Junn (Cheng Pei Pei) is a widowed Cambodian-Chinese woman who lives in an old peoples home in London, placed there by her only son Kai (Andrew Leung). With no other family, and having left Cambodia over 50 years ago, Junn is alone and unwilling to adapt to her surroundings or the people she’s placed with.

She relies on Kai’s attentions and affections, but her isolation becomes utterly complete with his unfortunate death. Junn knew that Kai lived in a house with Richard (Ben Wishaw), but Kai hadn’t told her they were together as a couple. Grief-stricken himself, Richard feels duty-bound to help Junn, but they don’t even share a common language let alone know much about each other.

Alan (Peter Bowles) resides at the home too and starts an unusual relationship with Junn where they talk to each other in their own languages, not really knowing what on earth the other is thinking or talking about apart from physical gestures. Richard tries to help this sweet pairing by hiring a translator in Vann (Naomi Christie), so that they can communicate with each other. Its a way in for Richard to get closer to Junn, who has her own reasons for disliking him.

‘Lilting’ is the debut from writer-director Hong Khaou, who shines a light on contrasting cultures in the capital. Grief is foremost in the minds of all concerned, Wishaw is wonderful as the achingly suppressed Richard, who gradually releases his grief the more he gets to know Junn, showing her just how much he loved Kai. Pei Pei plays the stoic mother perfectly, you can see the isolation, love and grief in her eyes.

In light of the subject matter, the overall mood of ‘Lilting’ is quite forgiving. Junn and Alan provide the most endearing moments as well as some awkwardly comical scenes especially when they confess their bad habits to each other. Dealing with such weighty issues as love, memory, language and mourning, Khaou has directed an assured and thoughtful film full of subtle releases and deeply felt emotions.

Memory Imprints
Memory Imprints
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully accomplished album which is full of ideas and insights, and it only gets better with repeated listens., 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Memory Imprints (MP3 Download)
Mexican musician Marco A. Fierro Mendoza played drums in various grindcore, death metal and punk bands in the 90’s, moving onto free improvisation, drone, noise and ambient music in the past decade or so. Mendoza refused to create computer-based music, but then a chance meeting with musicians Holly Herndon, Mat Dryhurst and Scott Arford in Mexico City helped change his mind.

As Burstbot, Mendoza releases his first computer-based album ‘Memory Imprints’, on Russia’s Kotä Records. The title refers to Mendoza’s thoughts on human cloning and its consequences. The album cover art give you an indication of what to expect, a fascinating musical mosaic of various shapes, colours and textures. ‘Memory Imprints’ is a crisply composed album which flips from ambient to experimental jazz and modern classical music. Its a dazzling, prismatic journey thats mostly upbeat and playful in spirit. ‘Saliva’ and ‘Orphan Embryo’ are wonderful moments of illumination, ’Tiling Tissue’ and ‘You’ve Specified’ are playful and experimental, ‘Plasmid’ and ‘Cleanup Reaction’ fearful and paranoid, and ’Inherited’ and ’Cytosine’ open and close the album with a more questioning perspective.

‘Memory Imprints’ is a beautifully accomplished album which is full of ideas and insights, and it only gets better with repeated listens. Thanks to Herndon and company, Mendoza’s epiphany has clearly paid off.

Citizenfour [DVD]
Citizenfour [DVD]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Considering the magnitude of this story, everyone remains incredibly calm, not least Snowden!, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Citizenfour [DVD] (DVD)
‘Citizenfour’ is a documentary by Laura Poitras about the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) systems administrator Edward Snowden, who exposed possibly the greatest intelligence leak of modern times with revelations that the U.S. government blatantly and illegally violated civil liberties by spying and gathering data on all of us.

In 2013 when the leaks were exposed by the Guardian newspaper, Snowden had his movements filmed by Poitras. She came to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security with ‘My Country, My Country’, about life under US occupation in Iraq, and ‘The Oath’ which was filmed in Yemen and Guantánamo. Snowden confided in the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, and the three met up in Hong Kong to film Snowden’s leak.

Snowden’s leaks became the news story of this decade, even eclipsing Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. Verizon, AT&T, and other telecoms companies opened hundreds of millions of phone records to the NSA, who in turn tapped into the data of Yahoo, Google and others. The NSA’s PRISM surveillance program collected emails, texts, voicemails, and video chats of U.S. and global citizens. Their Stellar Wind programme was an enormous metadata-mining system, stealth operations called Dishfire, XKeyscore, and Tempora allowed the U.S. and other members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance (the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) access to our daily communications. They even hacked the UN’s video conferencing system, tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls seemed a trifling matter in comparison to the immense surveillance operations taking place.

Snowden is smart, eloquent, humble and surprisingly well glued together for a man who is about to become the most wanted man in the world by the American government. Considering the magnitude of this story, everyone remains incredibly calm, not least Snowden! Its interesting to watch him, always reaffirming that the story is not about him when in reality it is, to begin with. He didn’t tell anyone, not even his partner of over a decade, who he knew would be placed in danger if he had. Under so much pressure, he seems so well-balanced, theres no histrionics, and he certainly doesn’t play up to the camera.

You can see that Snowden doesn’t want to be in this position, he knew his life will change for the worse, but he knows the world needs to see what is going on in front of us. The magnitude of the surveillance was immense, near the end of the film we see the scared and paranoid Snowden and Greenwald exchanging written notes confirming revelations from a new source. They show us that 1.2 million Americans are under some stage of “watch”, Snowden was flabbergasted, someone you wouldn’t think could be surprised any more than he has been!

The sad fact is that its cinematic release, a year after the revelations were aired, raises the question of what’s really changed? We still know so little, and it seems the status quo pervades. We don’t really even know if the NSA, GCHQ and many others have stopped surveillance operations, so whoever you’re calling or texting, or what websites or apps you’re viewing, your privacy is probably being scrutinised.

The Patience Stone [DVD]
The Patience Stone [DVD]
Dvd ~ Golshifteh Farahani
Price: £10.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Atiq Rahimi takes some big risks, as does Farahani, by breaking social, cultural, sexual and religious taboos., 25 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Patience Stone [DVD] (DVD)
Atiq Rahimi’s ‘The Patience Stone’ tells the story of an Afghan woman, played by Golshifteh Farahani, in war-torn Kabul. She keeps watch over her comatose husband (Hamid Djavadan). She’s left alone to care for herself and her two daughters, with little money and virtually no family support apart from an aunt.

We learn of a life of torment for the young wife, before and during her marriage, and who is forced to take drastic measures just to survive and continue caring for her husband. Part confessional, part therapeutic, we see the wife talking openly and frankly to her husband about her past. One particular story relating to her wedding is both hilarious and tragic.

Her frustrations turn to anger and hysteria, she becomes more emboldened in her thoughts as she knows this could be her only chance to be so brazenly honest. Ironically, this is the closest the woman comes to a happy relationship with her husband, who has been absent whether he has been with her or not. Its as if she is carrying the hopes of women in Afghanistan, railing against the oppression of men which is symbolised by her husband. His paralysis allows her to blossom, by the end of the film we see a changed woman.

Exquisitely shot by Thierry Arbogast, ’The Patience Stone’ is a wonderful study of a woman under immense restraint. Rahimi takes some big risks, as does Farahani, by breaking social, cultural, sexual and religious taboos in a film full of controversy. Farahani is exceptional, revealing the stress points of her character with tenderness and honesty. Her wonderfully poetic voice, and the way she tells the story, combined with such an expressive face, leaves a lasting impression on you.

Inherent Vice [DVD] [2015]
Inherent Vice [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Jena Malone
Price: £12.25

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Phoenix excels, Newsom's narration is a plus, nevertheless ‘Inherent Vice’ remains an exasperating bore., 3 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Inherent Vice [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
Based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon, ‘Inherent Vice’ is the new film from Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello. Set in 70’s southern California, this pot-smoking private detective has been called in to explore the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend’s married lover.

Shasta (Katherine Waterston) is Doc’s ex, property tycoon Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts) is her lover. But when she too goes missing, Doc unearths a tangled web of corruption, drug running and many other misdemeanours. In amongst neo-Nazi bikers, dodgy dentists, rehab centres and communes, lurks one shady character after another. Michael K Williams, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short all play characters who fall within this category, and you can count Doc in amongst them too. Josh Brolin outdoes everyone bar Doc, as "Bigfoot" Bjornsen who gets the most screen time alongside Doc. Sporting an ultra-serious buzz-cut and a lack of personality to match, Bigfoot hates hippies and despises Doc. Time after time, he tries to frame Doc for crimes he didn’t commit. A fractious partnership of sorts develops, to see if they can figure out whats going on in the sun-drenched Californian underworld.

‘Inherent Vice’ is a rambling pulpy caper where little really happens over its overlong 2.5 hours. Its splintered, open-ended narrative is not an issue in itself, the film tries too hard to be unconventional and cool, especially the comedic elements which barely got a laugh. I don’t even mind the convoluted plotting, or that it doesn’t even makes any sense, in fact nothing in it seemed remotely peculiar. I did resent having to listen so hard at what many of the underdeveloped characters were saying, 2.5 hours is a lot of incoherent mumble to get through.

At least the ever watchable Phoenix remains just that with the splendidly affable Doc. Joanna Newsom's narration was a plus, especially to those who like me haven't read a Thomas Pynchon book before. Nevertheless ‘Inherent Vice’ remains an exasperating bore.
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