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ScottPaul ScottPaul "Scopan" (Surrey, UK)

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'A's more a C-minus-and that's still a recommendation., 9 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A (Audio CD)
The music industry has always held more than a sense of the absurd, awash with inane edifying praise for the most banal of commmodities, while remaining severely critical, or completely and misguidedly indifferent to, far better acts, and timing seems to be everything, as does a sense of alienation. It says a lot about inbuilt expectations, and reputations over how a chosen celeb chooses to live, rather than the actual worth of the work. Hence the dazzling comeback of one of our favourite music queens is far more important than much of the actual music on here, which at its worst is sentimental fluff that would've sounded dated in the 80s-but this is mainly the last track, the biggest disappointment, which it must be said, sadly, is the one song Agnetha co-wrote for the collection.

So much has been made (deservedly) of her wondrous return, that this album galloped quickly into the Top 10, becoming her 'biggest' ever, which, while totally merited considering the kind of dinosaurs still boring us, to say nothing of the mutant youth plaguing the charts with their pointless excreta, actually belies the fact it's not a patch on those three albums she made immediately post-Abba. It says a lot about the utter inanity of the business and a collective audience over the years that those truly decent (and in "Eyes Of A Woman's" case-the downright exciting) 80s solo releases didn't get anywhere near the heights they deserved, despite her profile being pinnacle back then, all because of a petty backlash against both women 'daring' to step out Abba and go it alone, which speaks nothing of their actual quality. But brand a woman mythical, reclusive, paint her in the box you want her to be in, while she's simply living her life away from the paparrazi sucking show-off mannequins of today, and that absence becomes so important than any promise of a new record, no matter how lacking in fire, profundity and excitement, will literally sell itself. Nonetheless I'm truly glad for her that it was this, an original album, and not a collection of covers, that has got the Gold Record status, even if fool's gold it may be, when compared with her 80s output. Anybody with even a slight love of her will, of course, have bought it by now-and so you should. Who else is worthy of good money spent on them in the first half of 2013.

While it's true to say that the rousing 'When You Really Loved Someone', spirited glitterball 'Dance Your Pain Away' and flowing beauty of duet 'I Shouldv'e Followed You Home' are the album's main standouts, the record covers you comfortably with a fleecy richness, reeking of tastefulness and, yes, safety, but Agnetha's lovely voice-still as pristinely perfect as ever, fulsome, tender, yet also soaring, is really all you need to sell it, and repeated plays over time do improve it for me, that's why it's on four stars over three, cos it's more than okay, though I would put it on 7.5/10 against the 9/10s for the two 80s albums surrounding the 10/10 "Eyes Of A Woman". On "A", nice as they are, little matches the consistency of "Wrap Your Arms Around Me", and it could never be her masterpiece-she's already done that in 1985 with the gloriously edgy, varied and beautiful concoction that is "Eyes Of A Woman", or even the less special but still cool touches on "I Stand Alone"-her last CD before her big disappearance, but it's still a charming collection, even if it eerily replicates the same decades her covers album concentrated on; nonetheless the welcome autobiographical proof of 'Back On Your Radio' and the contemplative truthfulness of 'Bubble' add a little something needed to stem the safe flow.

But you get what you pay for-this may never challenge, but it doesn't need to, and for any buyers, go back and listen to those 80s albums, and the extra tracks she did then with new ears, they are great, and I say that as someone who only got into her solo stuff this year, previously prefering Frida's solo approach only. Aside from the closing track on "A"-which I wouldn't "keep on the ledge beside my speakers"-sorry Agnetha, "A" pleases me, as it will you, showcasing at least three lovely pieces on it-named in the passage above. The fact she's back and given us this one more record is reason enough to buy it, and that should also be reason enough for all to listen to the post-Abba past without prejudice, and listen to the really good stuff you can enjoy over and over, and above all, let's let her live the life now the industry just wouldn't before, and thank her for allowing us one more chance with her, that, even if it's far more important voicewise and presence-wise than the material on show (hardly suprising considering what crap the prodcuers usually work with and the decades of music hell we've been in since the 90s), it's still by far the best record of the first half of 2013! A-ay!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2013 2:11 AM BST

Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £7.83

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give "Crush" A Big Squeeze, It Transcends 'sellout' like a breeze., 8 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Crush (Audio CD)
Music fans are sometimes incredibly weird things considering when and how they decide against a favourite artist's work, and I can only assume many UK and European fans felt so aggrieved Andy and Paul went to chase US success with this album, that they actually regard it as the weak-as-water sellout their actual last 80s album was, yet if "Crush" was indeed a sellout, maybe more bands and singers could do it for this album is absolutely excellent, and quantifiably their most consistent and generous work. The consensus seems to be that OMD couldn't top their 1981 and 1983 reputation-setting long players, but in actual fact, both of those are only excellent in layers, the former provoking with long instrumental passages often smothering very few lines of sung words, the latter deliberately dumping tunes for multitiudes of radio snippets, concrete collages, sonic blips and other tricks to heavily impose Cold War themes on the listener, and fine, very worthy, but it's enough to make you want to shout "just give us some bleeding songs-you're a group after all!"

And boy does "Crush" do that. After their 1983 blip, the guys had a rethink and came up with the far stronger "Junk Culture" album, where they married commercial pop their OWN individual wasy perfectly. And "Crush" does the same, only moreso, as there's no instrumental wasting the space for a song. Nothing wrong with broadening your scope, but their artistry is never sacrificed. Yes 'So In Love' and 'Secret' may be romantic and easily hummable, but both have a mastery that many other bands just couldn't pull off; certainly the chorus lyric of 'So In Love' is hardly that of the typical MOR gush sound that US acts grate out in their thousand, as it broods "Heaven is cold, without any soul, it's hard to believe I was so in love with you." Wounding and beautiful and just-them and no one else. But opening your eyes tells you the whole album smokes with their personality. Politicial commentary returns, and the crazy (and kind of rude) 'Bloc Bloc Bloc', the rather foreboding and ambiguous appraisal of feminisim in 'Women III', the guitar-heavy swoop of '88 Seconds In Greensboro' and the gothic Mid-Western fright of 'Native Daughters Of The Golden West' surely tick all the boxes all fans of previous albums would require, then there's the usual bold experimentalism that they'd never relent on, showing up on the few tracks that remain, as in the classical sounding, yet darkly inspiring single 'La Femme Accident', the title track itself that builds around a loop of Japansese commercials, whilst retaining sung lyrics, and the closing 'The Lights Are Going Out'-if ever a ghostly tune could be set to lyrics, it is here, and lovely to hear Paul "ahhing" on it too.

Finally the lovely ballad 'Hold You' is a morose, elegant and heartfelt little treat to please fans of the first two romantic singles. But while the often annoying "Dazzleships" is (fairly for the boys) now highly regarded, "Crush" remains crushed by indifference, a real pity, as it was their 80s swansong album that really strained. High time this classic album, along with "Junk Cultrue" was remastered, as they are both perfect balances of art, commerce, experimentation and the conituation of one the most individual sounds of a band from the best era of music ever. And, for once, I don't feel shortchanged-no instrumentals, vocals are dominant over the music, and we finally get a full album of ten songs from the misers! To think-seven albums they did throughout the 80s-eight counting a complete 80s b-side collection, yet only this release gives us a full 10 tracks, all of which work, and for that solid reason, it pretty much squashes most of their earlier revered albums with more than a little Crush, and it's a high time more people reinstated a big one on it.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2013 4:26 PM BST

The Children [DVD]
The Children [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rachel Shelley
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £16.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Children (for the most part) Should Be Unseen And Unheard., 4 Aug. 2013
This review is from: The Children [DVD] (DVD)
Yet more proof, were any such needed, that the ringing cat chorus of the UK being a "wonderful new horror institution" is either desperation born of self-delusion, or the same kind of canny marketing lie that sells sweetener-heavy cereal bars and smoothies as health kicks, so you avoid the chocolate and crisps you'd actually have been better off with in the first place; therfore, before I wax on lyrical repeat about the days when horror was horror and not an anorexic excuse to camouflage and buff up another routine parents and kids get-together in the country with an even more absurd premise than 'Eden Lake', this film, if that's what it is, looks lovely. The house itself is a 'Hello' magazine spread, the wooded hills a sledder's delight, and boasts a decent name cast you appreciate but couldn't love for signing on for such a listless stitched together 'Omen' from Stephen King's needle and thread. For the last time primary schoolers are NOT scary, NOT threatening, just damn annoying, and you can't cringe enough each time the camera pans on to their full-on face close-ups, where, far from looking dead-eyed and murderous, they seem to need the toilet or are wondering when the director will say cut so they can have a E-number heavy treat. I presume hyperactivity plus boredom is all the expectorate the makers of this tedium needed to cohesively unexplain why well-cared for sprogs should laughably crayon into 'Village Of The Damned' dronoids, minus the glowing eyes-and, er, the inherent creepiness and set about their Ma and Pa thus far.

The usual cliches abound with parents woefully blind to their spawn's "change", though admittedly no switch was ever flipped there either; they call out their names repeatedly in the woods after letting them run off for the upteenth time, they approach outhouses and sealed-up tents with speed a drunk slug would outperform-and it's all so utterly devoid of impact, suspense and any plausibility, yet it'd be remiss of me not to handout two slight treats-a few adults didn't exactly die at pre-programmed points, and a few of the sprogs were dealt a touch what they deserved, yet it's the the film-makers who deserve something-a complete reality check, namely that (a) children are NOT scary or threatening until they become so with age and are then praised for being a non-inspiration for a cinematic plague of asbo-brat pretend-horrors (b) no amount of false advertising will render a heavily derivative style worth wanting (c) if you're going for the unreality of patricide by obnoxious imps barely tall enough to see over a coffee table, at least try casting the creepiest spawn you can find and, last but not least (d) the shock of violent children lost its impact after Stephen King's 'Children Of The Corn' first harvested it so well, and even that film was no classic, but compared to this, it easily becomes one.

'The Children' quite fairly then ends up a fair hopscotch leap away from being the worst film of 2008, and ends up being less a disappointment than other late Brit attempts like 'Wake Wood' (which Eve Birthistle was also in, and has now got me worried for her horror career) and 'Unhappy Birthday', if only cos it didn't aspire to so much, so it was always going to beneath these, even as they radically threw their hard-earned reps away in the last half hour. I'd also adamantly never declare 'The Children' as worst horror offering of 2008 either: it would have to be one in the first place to at least contend, but we can at least attest that, by today's UK standard of chills, it certainly secures a place in the school of fraud just by being, with no references asked for or needed. Tick.

Bait [DVD]
Bait [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Brancatisano
Price: £4.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have a Two-For-One 'Bait' Ball at the Supersharket!, 23 July 2013
This review is from: Bait [DVD] (DVD)
Had it on the ocean grapevine from an amazon buddy (he knows who he is) that this Aussie sharker had been made and was hopefully swimming its way over to us in the UK, and I can happily report that the enjoyment factor gleaned from this snappily addictive horror matches the heights and power of the killer tsunami that sets the plot in motion and half under ocean. The premise of a new animal-horror is as witty and clever and fresh as you'll get anywhere, and it's something we don't get too often, but the novelty thrills of seeing beautiful killer sharks roaming about a submerged supermarket where the trapped shoppers are now potentially as dead in the water as the dead animals already sold there merely adds fresh value to an already impressive package. Production design is excellent (check out the nifty but detailed making of, once you've seen the film of course, though it's the only extra item present, beyond trailer), acting is more than competent, and pretty potent in certain scenes (except for one overacting joker of a villain), and the characters implore empathy, and the attack sequences are, for the most part, bite on the money. Added to this is the impressive early scene where the wave hits, and the aftermath of floating bodies among all the debris, soiled food, flailing pylons and crumbling fortifications, plus a half submerged underground car park, and you really can't go wrong. Keeping a wild yet cohesive premise (it could happen, couldn't it?) relates well to animal lovers, the sharks are also portrayed as the cunning, quite silent and stealth predators that they are.

There is little, if any, so-called stupid behaviour from the characters, but I usually find only slashers, cannibal movies and a few other less-than impressive subgenres are guilty of this. The front cover is accurate, it's a shark duo here, so typical of those supermarket two-for-one deals, and while the annoying 3D gimmick is present again, most of the time the animals are effectively realised on screen, with animatronics featuring strongly, yet the CGI is almost matches them. People seem to love bashing films like this, but I say save it for some so-called "horror" far more worthy of the hate-like the next five hundred asbo-bratter, fake exorcism, cannibal-non-zombie 'zombie' shoot-em ups masquerading as actual horror. A few also moaned about it being obvious who lives or dies, and I'd add as well that that is more inaccurate sniping, in a few cases it's utterly beyond merit, ironic from people who likely don't see it as a failing among the many slasher/cannibal bores that flaunt it far worse. 'Bait' simply hooks you in as much as the director Kimble Rendall's last movie, the awesome but typically little-seen slasher 'Cut' from ten years ago did, and I'm hoping he'll not take so long for his next one, maybe tackle dingos or something else. What's interesting is to find that even the director of that pitiful, overhyped borefest 'Wolf Creek' shot a killer animal film since (the excellent crocodiler 'Rogue'), so maybe there is hope and advancement after all. I think Kimble must like little dogs, one turns up here, just like in 'Cut' and not maybe for the reason we expect. There's also a healthy supermarket quota of humour, and the Aussie accents deepen the puns, the fake Gucci one to bust a windscreen is a scream.

For the open-minded and patient fans of varied but well-made low budget horror that thrills, you'll find this movie far from dumb or ridiculous, if you ignore the two slight annoyances of Julian McHamon's distasteful chest-waxed appearance and the guy who was Toni Collette's oldest brother Perry in classic movie 'Muriel's Wedding' being Mchammier than any dead animal (or human for that matter) from the submerged fridges and shelves of the store itself, he must think it's a pantomine or something, and you can't wait sell-by date to float up and away. Otherwise 'Bait's a sizzling snapper, smart as any decent animal attacker, which even dares to throw in a little bit of fresh stock to the trolley, and as such it's worthy of splashing into your shopping trolley: to all who love their animal horror, hook 'Bait' now mate! It's a land-and-water shop till you plop and drop experience that may, yet one day, immerse those huge and sprawling inner city centres too.
Comment Comments (40) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2013 11:32 AM GMT

Abba: The Name of the Game
Abba: The Name of the Game
by Andrew Oldham
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "'Duff' is The Name Of The Book, Does It Mean Anything To You?", 14 Jun. 2013
Cranking up self-important opinions like they were facts, throwing libel around like it had gone into freefall, lining up and printing off blazing mistakes almost as long as Madonna's utter plague of a so-called career, yet this joke of a 'biographer' Andrew Oldham still thinks he's worthy to be called one, yet his self-belief he's an actual fan is even more troublesome and truly baffling. Nevermind the glaring and unforgiveable mistakes an Abba loving child wouldn't make: that Abba never toured again after 1979, Frida didn't like performing live, 'The Way Old Friends Do' was a 1992 single in the wake of the 'Abba Gold' renaissance of their music, Sweden was unheard of as a country in the UK before 1974, and best of all, that AGNETHA sang the opening verse on the huge and internationally recognised hit 'Knowing Me, Knowing You'! So much for the lengthy analysis of their very different voices in other areas of the book! Chronologically aswell, the damn thing does more scattered lurches all over the place then a hare with diarrhoea, and verbal diarrhoea is all it adds up to long before you struggle with huge trepidation past mid-section.

"Can we say lawsuit?" is a film term springing to mind as I read yet ANOTHER dog-tired categorically suspect character assassination on just how much of a nuclear capability did the two Abba girls "hate" each other. I think most true fans are sicker than sick of this, but the writer (if you can term him that) is surely the sickest of the lot. Truly, he must get off on all this fact distortion and hate-mongering, totally counteracting his actual stability in stating the media had to put them against each other cos they were both so different, and if you have "a good one", the other must be "the bad one", and that it was a shame. What about his shame though?

Also, if he's a fan of their music, I'm Madonna's biggest supporter, and I hate that nasty old desperado attention-seeking street-walker masquerading as musical 'artiste'. nasty old desperado street-walker masquerading as disco 'singer' and 'all-round entertainer'. Oldham has the absolute nerve to end this tome with "pretty much ALL of the music stands up", championing those "God-like songs" yet in print, he seems to only have praise for the two albums that "sold the most", while dissing every other album and most of the songs before, in between and after, the stupidest and most outrageous ones being his dismissing of the hugely strong and much-loved 'Voulez-Vous' album era, forgetting how Abba ruled that genre, shaping it to their usage, not the other way round, yet he champions the last two they made that were obviously 'in', which, I assume means they weren't meant for the album. Pathetic. Equally so the bald, stuffy and ridiculous statement how Bjorn needs "beheading by the lyric police for using 'chick' on 'Does Your Mother Know'". OMG, did I HEAR that right?! You have Bee Gees shrieking about dancing, and not much else, Madonna coming out with "true blue, baby I love you" and "open your heart to me, I've got the lock and you've got the key", Cure squeaking "have each other with tea, have each with cream", the many absurdities of Madness, Ronan Keating with pretty much everything, not least the hideous "settle down" term that no man under 25 would even entertain as a thought, nevermind a spoken term, to say nothing of the one-syllable repetition dirge of the early 90s rave scene, and he's lambasting Bjorn for a term any man in the 70s would use on a totally untypical yet remarkable and daring hit most took their hearts in early 1979 as a huge single, despite it not being an obvious release cos of his lead vocal?! I suppose Queen, Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, Beatles and Eagles never made mistakes like this. Cos "we all live in the yellow submarine" is hymn-like elegance and the stuff that makes such songs the first thing in cerebral interpretation. Jee-sus, Oldham, get a day job you turd!

It's catty, moany, embarrassing and utterly unconstructive dirge like this that ruin the few good assertions he does make, notably that now the much-admired (and not before time)'The Day Before You Came', plus it's "majestic" (his superlative, echoing mine) b-side 'Cassandra', which he terms (and I also agree)"better even than 'Fernando', and that 'Under Attack' is much better than how it was received, while also 'I Am The City' is bang-on aswell.

His equal degrading of the girls' solo output is the usual grating over-simplification, and all about what he thinks they should sound like. I just want to shake him with the intensity of a tornado and say that in 1983, Agnetha, after coming off a rollercoaster that had now gotten pretty uninhabitable for her, but still loving music, wanted an album that was upbeat, charming but intelligent too, so that was what she helped conceive and put out. And to call her second 80s offering, which I absolutely adore, despite only becoming acquainted with it a few months ago, "clever and agreeable" would be great if he didn't upend it with the utterly deplorable and useless "but soulless". And he's hardly better on Frida, saying she needed more "bite" even though she has it in her. This from a man who states it's far better that looks pervade pop music than talent and "long may it be so", but perhaps prophetic words from someone who deals in falsehoods over facts, while believing utterly incompetent, inaccurate and poison-pen portrayls of things he was not even around to consider, nevermind hear firsthand or witness, is enough to ladder him up in the stratosphere of the written word. We say "Non-Thank you for the bull and non-amusing, for giving it to me". "Under Attack" indeed.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2013 3:55 AM BST

Last Days of Disco
Last Days of Disco
Offered by brrsales
Price: £9.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boogie Nights That Really Hold The Floor., 30 May 2013
This review is from: Last Days of Disco (DVD)
Completing director Whit Stillman's 90s trio of urban comedy-dramas that began with excellent 'Metropolitan' in 1990, followed by Barcelona four years after, this utterly delicious shining strobe of a movie is my utter favourite of his trio, and one of the best movies of 1998 full stop. Far more satisfying and deeper than the overrated 'Boogie Nights' and the feather-light shallow fluff of 'Studio 54'-itself out scarily near to this one's release schedule, 'Last Days' is loosely based around disco's steep descent to doom, an idea Stillman conceived during the disco scenes shot on 'Barcelona'. And his film triumphantly nails the look, feel and atmosphere of early 80s Manhattan whilst his recognisably fizzing dialogue continues to display all the insight, tact and sharp wit one associates with him. Even more impressive is how his also recognisable bougeois, preppy and yuppie characters relate all this interaction without it ever feeling contrived or utterly out of place. Suffused with great performances and what could be the ultimate disco soundtrack, this is 110 minutes to utterly cherish, and a terrible shame it's become almost forgotten among all the mire out there. High time this was righted, even now Kate Beckinsale's become a big star. Ironically it remains by far her best film, along with 'Laurel Canyon', as now she's "made it", her taste and quality dived just like Reese Witherspoon's did.

Chole Sevigny plays "nice" in a marvellously understated role you really take to your heart, she is just so sweet, vulnerable, and you'd so want to be her friend. Shudder, shiver and gasp then, at the utter bitchery and bile her so-called friend Charlotte (Beckinsale) displays to her and at her on their regular nightclubbing basis, a half escape from the supposed mundanity of their day jobs as book editors. She saves enough spikes for all, firing randomly at the male characters at will. The flamboyant disco backdrop colourfully sets the background as they and the Ivy League boys (perfectly judged performances from handsome and adept twentysomething actors Mackenzie Astin, Matt Keeslar and Robert Sean Leonard) interconnect, with club wide-boy Des (Stillman regular Chris Eigeman-and kudos to Stillman for his loyalty in fending off choices like Ben Affleck-what a thought!-and insisting on Chris) flitting about between them, whilst having the actual termity to routinely dump girls like 'Flashdance' empress Jennifer Beals, making a beautiful cameo, with lies once he's lost interest, and stashing away drugs in the club, much to the contentment of the oily owner, played by Cyndi Lauper's hubby David Thornton.

Winona Ryder missed out on Chloe's roll, due to the film editor preferring her instead, and I wholeheartedly agree, while Beckinsale actively mailed Stillman her audition tape, sporting such a perfect American accent that back then some used to think there was both a US and UK girl by that nane! She also lights up the dancefloor display, a show that balances out some of her character's nastier moments. Tara Subkoff is on fine form as a good friend who moves in with the girls, and Matthew Ross, who works with the girls and wants to frequent the disco. 'NCSI' fans will notice Detective Dinozzo stud Michael Weatherly in a small role, and Drew Barrymore's mother turns up in a few sequences!

As in the best of dramas, a wonderful lightness of touch keeps things from being too heavy, and those unused to his style may whinge at the apparent "all talk not action" but that misses the point, in a Stillman drama, the talk IS the action, and there is no stagnation about any verabl exchanges on offer, and plenty of drama happening all about, yet if nothing else, just soak up that musical energy. There are many talky overrated banalities out there like 'The Ice Storm' that pretend to deal with real issues, but 'The Last Days Of Disco' has enough flurries of suitable heaviness, as sexual diseases, street bashings and drugs raid all flow through the mix.

What I'm left with is a fabulously feel-good glow whenever I watch this, and so wish I was there among these sparkling characters and a place in time when, briefly, anything went, and I don't even like disco! But I love good movies, and whether disco died or not, this deserves to endure forever, and not just for being Beckinsale's best ever piece, though I do highly recommend 'Laurel Canyon' too. Given an unfairly small release by Image Entertainment in 1998, despite unique and deserved critical acclaim, it fell out of print around ten years later, commanding high prices online, though it only had its trailer in the way of an extra, but has now been given a release on the esteemed Criterion Collection, restored to Whitman's approval, with a fair few extras, and an arty new cover ('Metropolitan' received this treatment a few years earlier), but it is sadly very pricey, yetI pray for its swift descent, as I'd really want this far better package, but until then "this will survive". For disco lovers, the soundtrack is easier to find than the film, a total injustice I just won't boogie with.

Chaw [DVD]
Chaw [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tae-woong Eom
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £1.94

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pig Out and Chaw-tle, 4 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chaw [DVD] (DVD)
Fear of pictures like this being made seem to grip people simply because it's the sort of horror not deemed 'hip' anymore, but with so many low-budget ill-breds porking it up at the low end of the quality market, many could be forgiven for not wanting a wallow. Well, all I can say is, don't be so quick to judge, and let the mudbath soak in, cos this sizzler's a hell of a porker-corker.

Byword likens it to the enviable 'The Host' , not the hideous Stephenie Meyer goop in the cinemas right now, but that cracker of a killer salamander horror several years back, and while some may scoff at that comparison, I find it perfectly acceptable comparison, even if that glossier product owns the more accomplished edge, and certainly the novelty factor. But then other big-monster movies have impressed before and after 'The Host' whereas killer piggywiggies seem to create more than esnuff (sorry) challenge to entertainment, so much that an almost pigs-ear is the best result usually nosed-out. I always figured 'Razorback' couldn't be equalled, as the few porcine piccies attempted since its reign tended to slump head-into-trough, but Optimum Home Entertainment has finally sired its oriental sibling. And I couldn't be happier than a pig in shid about it.

It asks a bit of tolerance from the discerning viewer, it's no small fry at almost two hours long, but this matters little as events unfold naturalistically, and you actually see the Boar far quicker than in, say, a disappointing pig of a big failure like 'Pig Hunt'. The humour of the rather inept police force may seem a little too whacked-out and top-heavy, but other things rebalance it, like a worrying village woman (an escapee from the 'Ringu' section), an obstinate but very funny and niave female student who wants to picture the boar, and the main young cop who's pushed from his town-life into a mountain village under attack from an entirely new enemy, all the while trying to keep his dotty old mother out of trouble. A scene rooted out of 'Jaws' may make a few squeal at the nerve, butthe film is beautifully photographed, with charming mountain and forest vistas all around, while the pig himself is very impressive. Not all its bulbs are pulsing; the disregarding and ugly cultural view on wildlife is as Stone-Aged as in 'Razorback', and the irritatedly tired and absurd cliche that people can outrun any animal stalking or ambushing them has yet to be a made a totally extinct species. It's beyond high time a price was put on is leg, as homo sapiens are in reality so slow that almost any animal of any size can outrun them, and certainly escape them if you exclude the necessary cheats like vehicles and firearms employed to catch them anyway! Aside from this, there's s-nout to really quibble about, as their is very little rind on this bacon considering its weighty length.

'Chaw' is simply an underrated porker that delivers the goods the negative reviews here just haven't rooted out or for. Way better than the diabolical squealer 'Pig Hunt'-the real runt of the litter, more accomplished than the grunting 'Prey', it gets 'Razor' right 'Back' for hogging the tiny fenced-in-pen of pig horror all to itself for almost thirty years, therefore sow far sow very good, and while not as grand, enticing or plain excellent as that other barely-known animal attack horror gem of 2009 (America's own 'Burning Bright'), it's the best way to be gored and Boared Korea-style so pig-out people.

I'm hoping they might tackle Pandas next, I'd love to see them chew more than bamboo, but you can't have everything so black and white.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 5, 2013 4:00 AM BST

Dvd ~ Lane Hughes
Price: £6.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Erase, Unwind, Destroy., 17 April 2013
This review is from: V/H/S [DVD] (DVD)
You can almost absorb the group excitement of the dozen directors resurrecting the classic horror anthology premise to "update" it for today's shaved new horror world with the steady cams and pov found footage to put you "right in the story". But note to all newbies and those already there, it helps if what you string together actually competes as a horror film of some quality in the first place, and I can't imagine any past creators are even slightly worried they're in danger of being competed with. The balsa-thin set up of thoughtless, aimless simplicity itself begins with several wayward losers beating up cars, then storming an abandoned ruin, find a "dead" old man in a chair, and after smashing up few more light fixtures, decide to watch some of the many old video cassettes stacked up around the old TV, and from each unfolds the next segment leading each newly portrayed set of characters' to a sticky end, until the end of their footage closes up our linking set-up. Sounds totally tantalising...right?

The first video-cassette inserted (ahem) being*Amateur Night*, a cautionary tale of deadly excess; three frat boys take back to their digs a couple of girls to bang the night away, and end up horrified to find the eerie-looking almost speech-free one who isn't passed out is actually something else entirely, and her identity is the one truly bit of fresh scare this bashed together whole movie job has, and the last scene is quite a cracker, reminding me pleasingly of the gargoyle strand from 1990's excellent 'Tales From The Darkside' and this gets 4 out of 5, easily the best of a very dodgy bunch.

Ti West's contribution is next,and a miserable letdown, and I can't help wondering why these whydunnits aren't shoved into the thriller/drama genre where they'd fit better. I'd say whodunnit if any mystery existed, but all I'm left with is fretting annoyance over how there are less violent ways of stealing from and breaking up with someone, and why wear a mask killing them when they won't care who you are once they're dead? This from the man feted as a new voice in horror? And this is horror how? 1/5, pitiful.

I pity myself enduring the third disaster *Tuesday The 17th* taking the usual trajectory of four friends camping in the woods where a serial killer awaits. Oh how novel, except in this instance its dire limitations are diluted even further by the utterly idiotic gimmick of blurry white lines to announce his presence so the vacant can imagine a supernatural threat, but the rest of us know the shoddy phasing out of the killer's appearance is nothing short of desperate pretence at ambiguity, something often used when the killer is JUST a human, aren't they bleeding always? Typical celluloid approach these days where human killers are the ultimate horror a-z, but you do wonder why enough films pretend otherwise for a time, when their audience won't. And *Tuesday The 17th* buries itself admirably with its utterly pat fadeout which has, you guessed it, Blurry-White-Line Man offing the girl who lured her friends to him for "proof" he existed, whilst she carries on filming it, yet is shocked to die!? Love the logic found-footage genre people display, cos you'd really film your friends dying, wouldn't you, and then yourself? Worst section, but it scores a point for another attractively non-model-looking US male student (in addition to the *Amateur Night blond) allowed a hairy chest, whilst not sporting that odious overpumped baby-smooth Channing Tatum look or ken-doll sculptured plasticity six-pack so utterly core of all things Hollywood today=so 1/5 for that, 0/5 for everything else!

Next part by Joe Swanberg displays an unwieldy title, is technically well done I suppose, but this fake haunting stuff is another common crime of modernity, and while displaying a more macarbe surprise than the full-lengths fakes clogging up cinemas, I still don't get it's point. It revolves around Skype-chat, and it's harvesting organs for the black market I guess, but I find it ungraspable and way too muddled to be worth much so=2/3, more if it was a REAL haunting. Which leaves us with the last tale *10/31/98, okayish build-up, but "dead people" never convince in a badly staged misfire, and the premise of freeing a girl to lead you to certain death for reasons (always) unknown in these things is just stagnant time-wasting. The hands coming through the walls were okay but still meant nothing so 1/5, but 2/5 if the deleted last scene on the extras had been inserted instead of what was. The extras on the disc are miniscule, with a few elongated scenes from a few sections that are worth no opinion whatsoever.

The dumb asbo footage linking the mini-cam experiences together, is as idea-free as the backwoods story, but is even more dumbly transparent with the pointless bat wielders, breaking off to watch the tapes here and there, while an old man pretends to be dead in a chair when he so obviously isn't. When will these film-makers (that what they are?) get that what was once an utterly blinding coup in 'Saw' a decade ago is now just pathetic 'Silent House' naffdom in their named *Tape 56*? This collective strand linking all the twaddle together deserves worse than 0, but I deal it 1 cos the other tapes couldn't work without it, always supposing they work at all. I can understand people being curious enough to see this film, I was and did, but prepare for regret. I wasn't and did.

It's scary Sundance got so tickled over 'V/H/S' but I resume my sanity on it being walloped in wider circles, like amazon, and all involved in this thing should have made the undervalued 'Trick'RTreat' by Michael Dougherty from 2007 required viewing as an abject lesson on how to sleekly recreate the horror anthology, as far from being edgy, current, cutting edge and memorable, this found-footage montage of horror currency of serial killer/abso brat and fake haunting cheats is more dated a device than the old VHS tapes used to play it, and like them, they don't half take over your space, and are bloody hell to dispose off. Too many forget the much-mocked 'Blair Witch Project' was an original one-film concept, and not a new film-school workshop for all horror directors of the future to shakily pan us all through their truly unfair "what-isn't-there-scare" taking us where? unless its the other half of your romantic pair (yes non-'Paranormal Activity'), everyday illogical people cannibalising you in your lair, or the asbo-brats wot dare you to stare. Jesus, do we care, could imagination being any more bare? Maybe 'V/H/S' could lend me a bat cos I'm a baseball brat away from taking this damn spam to go wham, ram, slam, bam and clam all that shaky-cam horror ham into a beaver's bloody dam, or jam under a tram.
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Price: £10.17

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Select selectively the best follow-up to a debut ever., 15 April 2013
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This review is from: Select (Audio CD)
After the UK Queen of Pop&Rock stormed onto the scene in early 1981 with her generally guitar-driven, she and her clever brother cranked things up even further and went immediately in another direction. The synth-age now underway, so this unique, stylish and suprising collection reflected that completely, and easily gave all competition a run for their money and then some. The student-rock ethos of her maiden-set reflected mainly on the singles and some of the album tracks are eclipsed for an amazing set of mini-movies doubling up as songs, complete with plot arcs, characters often falling by the wayside and a depressing yet exciting denoument of sorts, whether the tunes trailed away into the murk of despair or smashed out on a high. Choruses became more developed, as did verses, swathes of amazing synthesiser rushes set eerie scenes, and you're left gasping at what's actually happening to the characters inside them! Make no mistake, this is an album with a death-count, and this, complete with the eerie/angry/forlorn singing style by Kim, not only suited the album completely (all today's 'soul' wailing 'divas' take note), but proved beyond all doubt she was no pop barbie, anyone shallow enough to dub her so.

Though it often seems men are embarrassed to like women singers, I don't see how they can, especially as you could term this "boy music" and no sell-out sweet lovesong Kim of the 1988 and 90s mainstream set, but the coolest girl with the hippest music for most of the 80s. "Select" boasts two of the gutsiest openers of any album, the angry, straight-talking 'Ego'-complete with ear-splitting synth-whirring at fade,(if only she'd said @hole in the chorus, it would so suit) and the virtual rape-song 'Words Fell Down' with an eerie middle space-age musical passage bringing to mind Doctor Who and eclipsing Blondie's usage of it in 'Call Me'. Then there's the electrifying assault of 'Action City' of a world gone mad, as topical now regarding riots as in the times of Thatcher's deployments of extreme policing and the breakdown of society in the 80s, also predating 'Surburbia' from the Pet Shop Boys by three years, which said the same thing. Up next is the dramatic, yet delicate 'View From A Bridge', a more well-known tune, every bit as beautiful as remembered. A suicide song no less, something few noticed at the time! The paranoia of despair and loneliness seem at the heart of the chiming 'Just A Feeling' and poignant 'Take Me Tonight, and both take unique new chances with song presentation. The mighty 'Choas At The Airport' has more guitar in evidence, but narratively in keeping with the album, and as topical today as 'Action City'. Rocky upbeat and playful 'Can You Come Over' isn't on the other hand, a bouncy swinger complete with drumming, but it adds a necessary blast of fun to an all-round edgy, chilling and dark record, before the despondency settles again for 'Wendy Sadd'-one of the most emotionally wrenching punch in the guts I've ever heard on record, I had tears when I first heard it, and the police brutality theme is astounding. Rounding the original album off is the classic 'Cambodia', itself bravely inserting wordless male ohhing in place of a chorus and a lengthier instrumental finale completes the song.

RAK were already screwing Kim's career up already, as the single list for this album is alarmingly short, considering how more promising the songs than the first lot, especially as there's always the pressure the trounce your original, and Kim did so with ample ease. It also belies the fact the 80s was heavily a singles market-only for some it seems! Some have complained that "Select" is far removed from the debut and yes-of course it is and thank God! In just a year, no 'Kids' style perkiness, as the high drama of horror movies, contemplation of sadness, paranoia and isolation are at the forefront, those this was hinted at with the last three brill tunes on the debut, and while its evident Kim does sing these songs with a necessary clinical detachment from the bleakness on hand, listen closer and you'll hear the regretful rage on 'View', coiled panic on 'Chaos' and the throbbing hurt on the choruses of 'Wendy Sadd'.

Of the first Cherry Red Kim releases, this is quantifies as best value, as in addition to the original ten, there are four extra tracks, the eerie 'Watching For Shapes' with lovely acoustic guitar, excellent child-cult hit 'Child Come Away', scornful 'Just Another Guy' and the exceedingly rare single 'Bitter Is Better'. There's the usual liner notes, not always a delightful or even apt read, though notes on the album songs are interesting enough, but it must be said that Cherry Red have not transferred the sounds perfectly at all. There is distortion current on as many of the tunes as all the other Kim releases, and worse, just like the other two RAK albums, almost every single is shorn of several seconds than when it was first put on record, something the reissues from the MCA albums don't seem to suffer from as much.

So album=***** and reissue by cherrypop=**** not great, but it's still necessary own these albums if they don't have them. And certainly get "Catch As Catch Can" if you don't already have as it is the most beautiful, experimental, underrated and undervalued work by any artist I know, not least by the silly woman herself. A high-concept album and never bettered by anyone. With "Select", "Catch" and first MCA album "Teases & Dares" Kim created her never bettered three-album career pinnacle. Unreachable ever again, deservedly so, but no matter as long as the standard of 'Close, if not 'Another Step' is ongoingly maintained, which she does seem to be doing, though to know this we must clearly look beyond the spiteful, ageist and crud-happy UK musical mainstream.
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Love: and a million other things (1990/91) [VINYL]
Love: and a million other things (1990/91) [VINYL]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love that should have sold A Million Other Things..., 22 Mar. 2013
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And would have done, were the music business a bastion of fairness and equality, but sadly, though music was at its best in the 80s, a virtual brick wall of old standing kept women from being leaders, even though they equalled the men in the quality stakes, yet once the omnipresent nightmare of greed and exhibition that is Madonna mushroomed into being, women no longer needed to be talented or worthwhile to 'sell' a record, as the S/A/W boom of Kylies and then the absoulte dearth of talent from both sexes once the 90s took hold-something that has carried on to this day-continues to show. You just have to be a slut. But equally bad was the main fact that no European act was of any consequence to a label when home-grown talent (or lack of) was the best sell to the UK/US mainstream, and old prejudices die hard. Claudia was given, initially far more push then the even better German twin force of male band Alphaville and German's actual Queen of Pop since 1985, Sandra Cretu were, but even then, Trevor Horn abandoned her group Propaganda instantly once his silly Frankie Goes To Hollywood vehicle took hold, and ZTT Records themselves were criminally fleecing them out of every small cent they made, so she extricated herself as soon as possible. Her absence seemed unending (though she made a record as the duo Act in 1987), but in 1991, this solo piece, now well restored by Cherryredrecords, deserved far more push than it got from the world.

Clearly the mainstream could accept no more long-term Europeans then the cynically highly welcomed twin clout of A-ha and Roxette, but the best three German acts ever continued successfully alongside them, even if only in other markets. There's no doubting the class and sophistication of Claudia's tracks, but the avante garde approach does need time to acclimatise too over the more easy listening enterprise favoured by some. It's a record not quite up there with the majority of Kim Wilde, Bangles, Alphaville and Sandra albums, but it's a far better bet than the heavily instrumental indulgence but lyrically rather deficient 'A Secret Wish' by Propaganda. This is a full album of songs for a start, not just eight, with plenty of vocals. The choruses aren't multi-stranded but they're good and three songs-the rise and falling sweep of the excellent 'Unforgiveable', intense challenge of 'Fanatic (The Nail In My Soul)' and all-round accessibility of the straightforward yet special 'Love: In Another World' are absolute masterpieces, and would have made great singles. Of the two known singles, 'Kiss Like Ether' usually gets the vote over 'Absolut(e)', but I agree only if I can delete the album version over the "As Pure" single version-track 8 on CD2-because it doesn't try the patience with over two minutes of barely intelligible chanting to put you in a doze. 'Absolut(e)' may not have the best chorus for some, but is a catchy and intoxicating song, and many of the choruses on this album are one line repeated twice in any case, the kind of Annie Lennox way, but without the mudanity. The album itself is cheekily titled: love is mainly the topic, over anything else, but it is the way she does it that counts.

Post-80s albums are seldom fresh as this this, though 'Kiss Like Ether' smacks heavily of Donna Summer's 'State Of Independence', 'Always...' could easily be a Sade number, and the space-age sheen and industrial noises of closer 'Surprise' bring to mind OMD and Kraftwerk at once. 'Baby Sigh' and 'Moments Of Joy' have a laid-back charm, livelier moments like many already named and 'Suicide: Song For A Ghost' ensure something for almost every palette. The second disc catches the different mixes of the two singles, plus 2 b-sides that didn't make the album for good reason. They're okay, just not all that, and the first one goes on too long with little musical change. But they add nicely to the unalbumed songs she's made over the years (see her recent-ish compilation 'Combined' for a clearer tracklist). Suggested third single 'Fanatic' has no other versions here, but this long-awaited re-release from cherryred will please most everyone, especially those who've only heard Claudia whenever the radio emits 'Duel'.

Just like the Kim Wilde, Duran Duran and Bangle's debut album reissues, the mastering isn't perfect, the clarity seems muffled in places, and there's also static and rather abrupt fades, but that won't detract from a classy and individual lost album finally back out on release. You get the usual booklet with some lavish photography and a historical document of the album's construction, including a few complimentary reviews from journos, who chauvanistically ignore the fact her true contemporaries like Kim Wilde and Sandra had been on top of the partially electronic game ever since they appeared, only mentioning a few male ones. But put this reocrd on and see how it rips the Kylies and Madonnas to pieces (not actually hard). And S/A/W would kill for 'Love: In Another World', only in another world, they'd hopefully never have been born, and a million other things.

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