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Jenny J.J.I. "A New Yorker" (That Lives in Carolinas)

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So Close [DVD] [2002] [2004]
So Close [DVD] [2002] [2004]
Dvd ~ Qi Shu
Price: £6.23

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A perfect example on why looks can be deceiving, 8 Feb 2008
This review is from: So Close [DVD] [2002] [2004] (DVD)
I admire woman who can hold there own and this film says it all. While watching this I couldn't help but to think of Charlies Angels plus the opening scene with Lynn easily marks out the style of this film. "So Close" revolves around a computer program that can hack all the security cameras on earth. Developed by their dad, the program was inherited by Shu Qi and Vicky Zhao after his death, and rather than sell it and make lots of money, they use it to become career assassins - follow your dreams! But after years of busting caps, Shu Qi has become a hurting-on-the-inside kind of lady. Her passion for being a super cool hit woman has cooled and she's starting to feel sorry for the thousands of people she took away. Unable to bring herself to do more than kneecap the legions of goons she used to blithely blow away, she's started to think about getting out of the game, finding a guy, and settling down. Little sis, Vicky Zhao, on the other hand, wants to be like big sis and open many cans of whup a** on veritable armies of henchmen. Karen Mok, a cop who has run into the glass ceiling so hard she's got a concussion, unwinds from all the razzing she gets from her sexist colleagues by pursuing Vicky and Shu Qi and maybe, just maybe, falling for Vicky in the process. Cop/criminal romances are, historically, really bad ideas but it works really well here.

Flying bullets, spinning sidekicks, supercomputer balderdash, car chases, and shattering sheets of glass tumble off the screen like an all-you-can-eat action feast and it takes a fight with Japanese screen legend Yasuaki Kurata to bring this whole buffet to a close. Corey Yuen deploys the pop ballad "Close To You" all over the soundtrack and here's a chance for a whole new generation to get it stuck in their heads, associating it with images of Shu Qi dealing out death from nickel-plated 9mm's.

"So Close" is a movie that manages the neat trick of being simultaneously super-silly and super-cool. With Corey Yuen bringing years of being Jet Li's action director to the table; and Vicky Zhao, Karen Mok and Shu Qi bringing perfect hair, perfect clothes, and perfect roundhouse kicks, it's like a fashion shoot that cant be beat.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2011 3:11 AM BST

Self-Massage for Athletes: 1
Self-Massage for Athletes: 1
by Rich Poley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You would never have thought that you can be your own massage therapist, 8 Feb 2008
For those of you who don't know I practice yoga on a every other day basis and after reading this book it turn out to compliment each other. Although often thought of as a technique that requires two people, massage on yourself is also beneficial and can be done at any time during the day. Most people practice the art of self-massage without thinking about it, whether they are rubbing their forehead because of a headache, scrubbing themselves with a loofah sponge in the shower, or rubbing their feet after a long day you are giving yourself a mini-massage.

Author Rich Poley puts out some great instruction throughout this book with his friendly and human nature. It comes with pages and pages of demonstrative and appealing pictures in black and white. Once you read this and use the following techniques throughout the day, you will feel less tired and tense at the end of it. A primary benefit of this technique is that it can be combined with other healing methods to enhance their effectiveness. Performed slowly, and carefully, self-massage relaxes the body. Performed quickly, it lessens fatigue and revitalizes the body. It is also says, massage may also help heal an injury by bringing fresh oxygen to the affected tissues. This all depends on the techniques used, self-massage can stimulate or relax the body.

Basic moves such as Gliding, Pressing, and Pulling are beneficial towards all the massaging techniques. Once you learn them you'll discover new ways of relating to your body. I personally enjoy the arm, neck, and leg massages being that I use those parts the most. It even has face; butt, abs and chest massages which are really good because you get pleasant responses from them. You don't need any special equipments and oils with these practices just your own two hands that are priceless. I do recommend this book to anyone who's in need to relax, relate, and release.

Jan Dara [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Jan Dara [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Santisuk Promsiri

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Thai film that's erotically dark, 8 Feb 2008
I was quickly won over with one reviewer's perception of this film and sure enough this film was very interesting and intriguing enough for me to never leave my seat. Jan Dara opens with the eccentric statement that the film is based on the writer's first novel, and that it's not for religious people. Jan Dara is a young Thai with a traumatic background. The name "Jan Dara" is given to an infant boy whose mother died giving birth to him. The father (Santisuk Promsiri) blames the boy, actually giving him the name "Jan" the short form of a Thai word meaning "accursed."

Believe it or not, that's probably when the father was nicest to the boy. His earliest memories recall his father's sexual relationship with his childhood nanny. Branded a "bastard" by his father, Jan is later disowned and cast out of the house. Years later Jan Dara returns to seek revenge by outdoing his father's sexual conquests. The movie rapidly progresses through Jan's childhood and the physical and emotional abuse involved. Before long, Jan is a young man (Eakarat Sarsukh) who struggles with his identity and his hatred for his father.

The movie is set in an unspecified region of China in the 1920s through the late 1930s (a date is never given, but a newspaper mentions Pres., who was in office from 29 to 33). However, the outside world never affects Jan or his family. The reason the movie seems to be set there and then is that the producers needed what was a basically a feudal time, when the father was lord of his estate and could legally beat up servants and have sex with their wives.

There is a tremendous amount of sex in Jan Dara. It's not sensual lovemaking, either, just people using each other in the harshest ways. Almost everybody has sex with everybody else. Father and son share concubines (although father doesn't know it). That warning for religious people to stay away now seems like a good idea. The biggest drawback is that the story proceeds much too quickly toward the end. All of sudden people are pregnant, married or missing, and it's never shown how or why. The only member of the cast who may be known to is Christy Chung, who plays the father's main mistress. Jan Dara is a good choice for fans who has a place in there heart for the love of foreign films believe me it captures mine.

Storytelling [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Storytelling [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ James Van Der Beek
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £37.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone always has a story to tell, 8 Feb 2008
Todd Solondz's `Welcome to the Dollhouse' showed comic/absurd promise; his masturbation scene in `Happiness' overstepped the boundary of film taste but got everyone's attention. While I didn't enjoy "Storytelling" as much as I did the Director's two previous films, "Happiness" and "Welcome to The Dollhouse," Solondz continues to amaze with his depictions of just how awkward true life really is. As always, he masterfully shows the oft times tactless, cynical, transparent motivations of everyday suburban life and combines them with outrageous situations, giving a humorous view into the myriad of interesting quirky characters he creates. As with Happiness, Storytelling has no background characters. Each character gets fully explored in a way that no matter how familiar or foreign a specific character's behavior might be to you, you can't help but understand their motivations. Solondz can develop over 10 characters in 88 minutes while most conventional Hollywood films fail to portray just one in any given 3 hour "epic".

Selma Blair and Leo Fitzpatrick give incredible performances in the first segment of this film titled "Fiction". John Goodman is at his best here in the film's second segment "Non-fiction", not to mention it was a good to see Julie Haggerty in it.

One of the film's most honest moments (and there are MANY) comes in the beginning of the Non-Fiction segment, during a phone call Paul Giamatti gives to a female classmate he hadn't spoken to since high school. While hilarious, I couldn't help but feel bad for his character, which gets fleshed out in the almost confessional tone of the conversation (which of course, he blunders).

I don't want to dig far into the plot because the elements of shock and surprise that are Solondz bread and butter should only be revealed by others, suffice it to say I recommend this movie very highly. I look forward to anything this director does.

Waitress [DVD] [2007]
Waitress [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Keri Russell
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.91

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm hungry!,, 8 Feb 2008
This review is from: Waitress [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This movie almost remind me of the TV sitcom Alice: set in a small, out-of-the-way diner run by a cranky head cook with a heart of gold, and staffed by a trio of waitresses, the brash Blondie Southern one, the child-like and naive one, and the level-headed single mom (or mom-to-be, in this case), along with the typical assortment of wacky and colorful customers. Writer/director Adrienne Shelly manages to take this template and make something wonderful from it, however. Far from being a mere remake of Alice, Waitress is a well-conceived and well-executed exploration of one woman's fight to come into her own and realize her dreams, despite the bad choices and wrong decisions she's made along the way that weigh her down.

What truly sets this movie apart from most other big-screen fare is the script. The dialogue, written by Adrienne Shelly - who also directed and co-stars as Dawn, the mousy waitress who eventually finds true love - sparkles with wit, charm and humor. It's fast and it's funny, but it always feels totally natural, due in no small part, of course, to the talents of the actors and actresses charged with delivering it. Unlike the writing in, say, Gilmore Girls, widely praised for it's unique character, the dialogue in Waitress never seems forced or unnatural. It's brilliant without being obtrusive.

My only downsize to this film is the fact that the "men are dogs" message is a little heavy-handed. Without exception, all the male characters in Waitress are presented as either mean, like Earl (Jeremy Sisto), unprincipled, like Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion), or just plain weird, like Ogie(Eddie Jemison's). Even Joe (Andy Griffith), who turns out to be truly kind and caring, is shown throughout most of the film to be abrasive and demanding, to the point that long-suffering Jenna is the only person who can deal with him and is truly his only friend. This is obviously a film made by a woman, primarily for a female audience, but one can't help but think that if a man made a film in which all the female characters were nothing but gold-digging, abusive, sluts, there would be a serious, if well-deserved, backlash.

Waitress is a good movie that is well worth seeing. It's tragic that Shelly, who was brutally murdered in November 2006, won't be making any further films, as this movie will no doubt bring awareness of the writer/director's impressive talents to a much wider audience than ever before. Fortunately, Waitress is a fitting memorial by which to be remembered.

The Namesake [DVD]
The Namesake [DVD]
Dvd ~ Irfan Khan
Price: £4.44

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mira Nair returns... by bringing art back to cinema, 8 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Namesake [DVD] (DVD)
If "The Namesake" had just been your usual coming-of-age story, it would be easily forgotten. But director Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding," "Vanity Fair") has gone beyond the usual confines of such a story to present a portrait of three people, a husband and wife, and their son, who come to moments when they lose sight of who they are, only to find through difficult times that sense of identity again. The story begins in 1971 Kolkata, a time when foreign products dazzled us and visits by expatriate relatives were pretty much the event of the year. A young Bengali settled in the US, Ashoke Ganguli (Irrfan) marries a local girl Ashima (Tabu) and they migrate to the US. Some years down the line, Ashima gives birth to a son (Kal Penn). The basic premise of the film is this: How will this child survive in American society with a name as odd sounding and tongue twisting as Gogol Ganguli? Nikolai Gogol is Ashoke's favorite author. A brilliant and eccentric man, who penned literary masterpieces like The Overcoat, he eventually starved to death.

His modern-day namesake Gogol Ganguli experiences all the usual clichés associated with people with unusual names -- his American classmates poke fun at him during lessons on Russian Literature and women raise a quizzical eyebrow at the part when he reveals his name. He grows up, very annoyed. But also, sadly, with a misconception about the origin of his name. Little does he realize that it has a more profound explanation, than he could ever imagine.

Though the premise sounds flimsy, the film breathes life into the book's characters by leaps and bounds, expanding the central idea to encompass a whole lot more. It dissects the complex lot of the American Born Confused Desi and more importantly, their attitude towards India. But sans the caricatures and the clichés. It traces a troubled son's pilgrimage back to his family and the realizations that don on prodigal children only in the face of immense tragedy. In fact, the film is a tribute to one's parents, but tackles the subject sans the emotional drama of say, a Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. The accents, the sets, the costumes and the dialogues boast of an authenticity, which is often missing in Indian films set in a foreign country. And the cinematography boasts a host of frames rich in texture, especially in the scenes set in Kolkata.

Irrfan Khan brilliantly, effortlessly steps into the shoes (which read 'Made In USA') of the very Bengali, practical, cool-headed Ashoke, accent and all (though it slips in one or two places). The chemistry between Khan and Tabu is intense! Kal Penn has a meaty role and finally, an opportunity to act. And he does a smooth job of it. The rest of the cast measure up perfectly, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Though the film begins on a somber pace (and slips back off and forth), it gains momentum post Gogol's birth. Nair makes the search for one's identity both enlightening and entertaining- a journey, both internal and external, you won't regret taking.

The Bonfire Of The Vanities [1990] [DVD]
The Bonfire Of The Vanities [1990] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.10

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars De Palma doesn't do straight satire.,, 8 Feb 2008
Personally, I watched the movie without having read the book, which could be seen as both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it allows me to judge the film as exactly that - a film, with no other conflicting point of reference to cloud my opinions. On the other, it means I'm pretty much ignorant as to whether or not the screen version succeeds or fails in living up to its story's potential. 'The Bonfire Of The Vanities' is a good film: nothing more, nothing less. So why, then, was it so universally slated by critics at the time of its big screen release? The answer, it would seem, is the overwhelming popularity of the piece of literature it was based on, Tom Wolfe's novel of the same name.

This movie is played on the borderline "tragedy and comic" the result, in my opinion, is a very interesting mix of ironic situations. Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) is on top of his game and is the top dog in one of the top financial firms in the city. He has money in spades, a socialite wife, a Park Avenue apartment, a mistress and a very nice car. While out with that same mistress Maria (Griffith) in that same expensive car, Sherman takes a wrong turn and ends up in the Bronx where, in a moment of panic at being confronted by crowds of African Americans, Maria suddenly hits a black man and they drive off back to normal white society. Sadly for Sherman, this minor incident escalates when the boy goes into a coma and his car is identified as the one involved, Add to this a DA who desperately needs to win the ethnic vote by prosecuting a rich white person and a journalist who, desperate to get off skid row, talks up the story with a series of sensationalist headlines that twist the truth. As these factors all come into play, Sherman's tidy, rich, world starts to crumble.

Griffith is great along with Tom even though he didn't win anything his performance is good. Bruce Willis is very funny as an alcoholic reporter who follows this New York scandal, I know we all like Bruce in action movies but he does well on this job. Morgan Freeman really catches your attention as an no-nonsense judge, seem suited to their roles. Really the plot in this movie is odd but watch it you see how it develops and relates to the lifestyles of the characters. I know that Brian DePalma has done better than this but remember many times a novel doesn't do well on the big screen. Again, "The Bonfire of the Vanities" was an '80s story based on a Tom Wolfe bestseller so don't blame Brian he done as good a job possible the cast had plenty of talent and that's why this movie is great and out of the ordinary.

Fort Apache the Bronx [DVD] [1981] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Fort Apache the Bronx [DVD] [1981] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Paul Newman

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rotten Part of the Big Apple, 8 Feb 2008
The story is a well paced, gritty cop drama that side steps the usual Hollywood treatment of the good cop in the bad city, in this case the South Bronx (the film drew heat for it's realistic locations and hellhole depiction of the area). This is straight forwarded NY story telling. Paul Newman (Hud, Cool Hand Luke) is Patrolman Murphy, a veteran cop almost ready for retirement. His partner is Corelli (Ken Wahl) a younger man who tries to dress for success. Together they patrol their 40 block area with a population of 70,000. The beat looks like one of the German cities that was bombed flat in WWII. Ed Asner is the new precinct captain, wanting to get everything shipshape.

In response to a pair of cop killings by a deranged hooker, Asner orders the cops to roust the ghetto, resulting in a riot. Because of some rock throwing and heckling, a couple of cops throw an innocent boy off the roof of a building. Newman witnesses this and wrestles with his conscience about it. I think if the filmmakers would have stuck with just those plot points they would have had an excellent movie, however, they added many additional situations to give Newman more things to do. These included stopping a jumper, delivering a baby, saving hostages, and there are lengthy courting scenes for both Newman and Wahl. These stock plot devices derail what could have been a compelling story.

Paul Newman does a genuine job, as usual, playing Murphy with an admirable restraint. He puts the dramatic emphasis where it's needed and stays low-key otherwise. Ken Wahl also does a good job as Officer Corelli, a flamboyant guy, giving the older cop unsolicited advice, often. The byplay between the two cops is very good and believable. Supporting players include Ed Asner (Precinct Commander), Rachel Ticotin (Murphy's girlfriend), Pam Grier (Angel Dust Hooker), and Danny Aiello (cop). All of these players do a good job, but Pam Grier is basically wasted in a few brief scenes portraying a prostitute who kills people while under the influence of drugs. Of course, these inexplicable things do happen in real life so in that respect it makes sense. However, the film, rather than trying to play it straight with all the ambiguities of real life, puts in all these stock situations for Newman to react to thereby watering down the impact of the main story. I blame the writers and the director for not streamlining the screenplay, which has too many clichés.

Directed by Daniel Petrie, who mainly did TV, Fort Apache, the Bronx has serviceable visuals, particularly effective when showing the devastated landscape of the South Bronx. The cinematography is workmanlike but nothing special. If you don't mind an average film with a sad ending, Fort Apache, the Bronx might be for you.

Shoot 'em Up [DVD]
Shoot 'em Up [DVD]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Price: £2.73

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No real plot, but boy does it make up for it with action!,, 8 Feb 2008
This review is from: Shoot 'em Up [DVD] (DVD)
To be honest, for the first 10 minutes of this film, you will probably be laughing at the ridiculousness. You are catapulted straight into the action without any introduction of characters, plot or surroundings. This film is violent, sure, but as I always say, it's how a movie is done that makes the difference. Shoot 'Em Up proceeds from one dazzlingly outrageous scene to another with unflagging confidence, tons of panache, brilliantly warped humor and blazing originality, sweeping you and many viewers along.

The casting is genius as well, beginning with Clive Owen, who's dead-on here, with his ever-present carrot in hand, rescuing the (adorable) baby, getting the girl, killing the bad guys (who just keep coming like deranged vampire replicants), even solving The Mystery from the most obscure of clues, all while complaining about everything he hates.

And speaking of the great Paul Giamatti, he's in monumentally fine form here as Hertz, the self-described brilliant leader of the gunmen. Squallid and seedy beyond all comprehension, you just know he's having a blast (pun intended) with this part. After proving in his last few outings that he can carry a film and play anything, he gets to bask hardily in full venal mode, sneering, scowling and torturing his way into our hearts as only Giamatti can.

The film is shot in stark, sharp tones, making it look like a comic book come to life more than any film I've ever seen, while still using real actors. And there are sequences here that you have NOT witnessed before, speaking of that originality I mentioned earlier. The one which stood out most to me is the one where Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci (also perfect) are making love and the baddies bust in. In most films, this would pre-empt the love-making. In Shoot 'Em Up, they continue the act, which actually culminates while the bullets are flying. Worked for me.

American Gangster Extended Edition [2007] [DVD]
American Gangster Extended Edition [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Denzel Washington
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.33

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5-Ridley Scott--is not a rip-off; it's an homage to every wise-guy classic to touch the screen, 8 Feb 2008
I like this movie for what it's worth. We're treated to either side of mobster film, both unlawful and law enforcement; "American Gangster" plays like an assortment of 'Scarface' (there's a ruthless low hit-man becoming a drug emperor), 'The Godfather' (a calm, respectful, business like man rules over his mafia empire), 'The French Connection' (undercover cops go pursuing cryptic criminals in America, who do business in foreign lands), 'The Untouchables' (incorruptible good cop selects hand-picked team of cops he trusts to bring down notorious gangland leader), and you know all the rest. It's an intriguing, entertaining, and entrancing crime story. "American Gangster" is a solid mob movie. It's amazing watching this film and realizing how long he went unnoticed and unsuspected by the NYPD.

Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington hand in non-surprising solid performances and Ridley Scott directs the story tastefully, although it could have used a bit more speed. You find yourself looking at your watch a couple of times. Where Scorsese and even De Palma have directed overlong gangster movies that keep you on the edge of your seat from the first minute to the last, Scott made this one as unagitated as most of his great movies ("Alien", "Blade Runner", "Gladiatior") - and apparently people like him for it, so maybe it's just me who's got a problem with that.

Personally, I didn't feel connected enough. The main characters don't ever meet each other until the very end and then it's over way too quickly. Especially, Denzel Washington's change of ambition seems a bit rushed there and the ending is more than a bit reminiscent of "GoodFellas". Pretty much the whole film doesn't really feel fresh anymore even though I took well to Washington's role. Sure he's just like he is in most of his other movies but we routed for him just like how we routed for Al Pacino in Scarface. In fact, Peter Travers calls this movie the black Scarface. I agree with him partially. The tense job an unbribable cop has to do in a corrupt environment, the schizophrenic life of a gangster who is a loving family man in one minute and brutal killer with no qualms in the next, the glamorous rise and fall of a gangster boss. It never really gets old, but the more movies like this are being made, the less surprising they'll become.

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