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Mary Kruger "armchair critic"
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MastaPlasta - Leather Repair Plasta 100mm x 60mm Crown Design in IVORY. Covers, holes, rips and stains in leather, vinyl and many upholstery fabrics.
MastaPlasta - Leather Repair Plasta 100mm x 60mm Crown Design in IVORY. Covers, holes, rips and stains in leather, vinyl and many upholstery fabrics.
Offered by Mastaplasta
Price: £9.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Does its job, 21 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These patches do what they are supposed to do and live up to all advertised function. A patch, however, is still a patch, and the fancy embossed crown or skull or bandaid (!) or whatever serves only to embarrass the poor damaged leather even more. Still, it serves its purpose well. It adheres immediately to the leather and keeps tears from becoming worse. I would certainly buy more if I ever need them, but I wish they looked more generic.


Jane Eyre [DVD] [2006]
Jane Eyre [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ruth Wilson
Price: £7.53

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, and by far the best, 13 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This production of Jane Eyre was the first film purchase that I made from Amazon based on its reviews. I was absolutely delighted then and have been pleased with my purchase ever since. Sandy Welsh "tweaked" and sometimes modernized the speeches a bit, but the characters and the story shine wonderfully. The almost violent desperation of Rochester (from the novel) is watered down a bit, so that he is essentially a romantic who is sometimes prone to grumble, but what of that? The Rochester-Jane relationship is intense and dynamic, which is far more than can be said of the "Timothy Dalton Show" of 1983. The production is beautifully filmed and directed. The background music is nothing less than a perfect mold for the atmosphere of film. The characters are vibrant, and the story is told to break your heart, not just to pay homage to Charlotte Bronte. And only the most anal-retentive purist would say that it untrue to the novel.

I purchased the Dalton production more recently, and, his performance aside, I find it far inferior. The script holds closer to the book, but only Dalton gives a "faithful" portrayal that also breathes. I gave the DVD 4 stars, and he earned all of them, but his performance is not so strong that I want to watch the production repeatedly, unlike the Wilson-Stephens production here. And the trailer alone of the more recent movie makes me cringe.

THIS is my Jane Eyre. I would never dissuade any artist from using this wonderful story to film it again, but my DVD collection has its Jane Eyre for now, and does not need another.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2013 8:03 PM GMT


CREAM 650gsm 6pc Prestige 'Luxor' Egyptian Cotton Towel Bale Bundle Gift Set
CREAM 650gsm 6pc Prestige 'Luxor' Egyptian Cotton Towel Bale Bundle Gift Set
Offered by Viceroy Bedding
Price: £19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Towels after many washings, 26 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are wonderful fluffy and absorbent towels... but not at first. At first they feel like cozy towels that wipe the water off you rather than absorbing it. They need several washings, but when they finally do "break in" you not only have truly luxurious towels, you also feel rather clever for having spent so little for them.


Mansfield Park [DVD] [2000]
Mansfield Park [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Frances O'Connor
Offered by babsbargains *** WORLDWIDE SHIPPING ***
Price: £16.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars VERY loosely based on Mansfield Park, 4 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Mansfield Park [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
This is a lovely film, but the character of Fanny is the creation of someone other than Jane Austen. In this film, her younger sister Susan says of her: "Your tongue is sharper than a guillotine", and Lord Bertram compels her to read the society page about Maria's elopement saying: "You have such a strong, clear voice." That, if you have ever read the book, should tell you all you need to know. The Fanny Price of this film is spirited and outspoken. It works artistically, in and of itself, but for those wanting to watch "Mansfield Park" it would be less jarring to see Othello played by Jude Law.

The sexiness in the film doesn't bother me, and the issue of slave trade being Bertram's income is a bit heavy handed, but not entirely unjustified. No, what bothers me is Fanny's complete make-over. The Fanny of the 1983 production is so dull (and completely unaided by the director), and I can't get past the cover photo for the more recent production with Billy Piper (she reminds me of a 13 year-old girl I once saw who, with pre-maturely large breasts, had the habit of walking with obscenely good posture). Is it too much to ask for a Fanny who is very pretty, sure of her own heart, but beaten into timidity by her superior relations?

Sigh.


The Woman in Black [DVD]
The Woman in Black [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £4.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ghost story well Filmed, 18 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Woman in Black [DVD] (DVD)
I have never read the book or seen the 1989 production of "Woman in Black", and most of the negative commentary seems to stem from comparisons to those. I am also no ufficianato of Hammer horror. But I can concur with what most people here seem to agree:

This is a good ghost story.

And for myself, the movie makes me want to read the book.

Unlike so much of the cheap horror and gore from the '70s and '80s (although, admittedly, that is setting the bar rather low), this movie is very well filmed, better directed than even "Shutter Island" (no offense to Scorsesi; I just found this film more effective), and with a very judicious use of background music, or lack thereof. Very little special effects are used, and most of the real creepiness comes from things that creak and groan on their own. The ghost is more than sufficiently creepy, vindictive and vicious, and seems to have taken her mental illness with her (which begs the disturbing question: was she disturbed and slighted, or did her viciousness come naturally?)

As for the acting, the whole world knows that Radcliffe is 10 years younger than the character he is playing, but he plays it as credibly as Liz Taylor in her 30s played Martha. The acting generally more than supports the justifiable fear of the village. To be fair to the comparison to Shutter Island, the acting level falls a bit short, but that is setting the bar rather high.

I am very glad I own this DVD, because, although the story is perfectly self-contained, the first viewing left some questions. Questions which I want to answer through subsequent viewings and reading the book.

UPDATE: I have in the meanwhile read the book, and while I understand the critics who say the movie does not come up to par, I cannot fault the movie for it. The power of the ghost in the book is her ability to make her victims feel her terror, despair and grief, which is not easy to portray in film. Elements of the story are "rearranged" in the movie, but in many ways the changes make the story more consistent. I stand by my review and repeat, emphatically, that this is a really good ghost story.


Jane Eyre (Complete 1983 BBC Adaptation) [DVD]
Jane Eyre (Complete 1983 BBC Adaptation) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Timothy Dalton
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £14.15

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dalton is Amazing!, 14 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Jane Eyre Purists of the World, buy this DVD immediately. In my opinion, the 2007 Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens is, for many reasons, the more satisfying film experience, but the general quality and length of this 1983 production make it the most faithful to the book.

But let's be honest. The real reason to buy this DVD is Timothy Dalton's performance as Mr. Rochester.

Dalton's portrayal almost single-handedly earns all 4 stars for this review. It is incredible! The 312 minute format allows him to recite many of the glorious passages from the book in their entirety, and very often in an intoxicating brogue. He brilliantly brings out Rochester's passion, humor, intensity and almost violent desperation, all in perfect measure.

The same, however, cannot be said of Zelah Clarke's Jane Eyre. The cast around Dalton supports him credibly (the men doing better than the women as a rule), but she is in no way his equal either in banter or in romantic intensity. In fact, she seems to be more impassioned, excuse the word, in her dialogues with St.John. With Rochester she never seems to grow beyond the "schoolgirl nun" that he teases her about, and there were many scenes in which I felt that Dalton was working in a vacuum. I was particularly disappointed in her choice to avoid Rochester's eyes in the interview after the aborted wedding (in the book it is clear that she belongs to him entirely, but despairs that he can never belong to her; her avoidance of him made her seem cold and prudish), but to stare fixedly in his unseeing face in the last dialogue when she should be teasing him out of self-pity.

For a more balanced and intense romance, get the 2007 Jane Eyre. The 200 minute format means that the violent desperation is "edited out" of Stephens' Rochester, but the Eyre-Rochester relationship is more dynamic (as it should be), and Wilson and Stephens are truly partners.

To see Mr. Edward Rochester walk out of the novel and onto the screen, get this.


Box Set (Hunger Games Trilogy)
Box Set (Hunger Games Trilogy)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Books, Good Story, 10 July 2012
I saw "The Hunger Games" on an international flight, and I was immediately struck with the combination of many classic and popular ideas being put together in a new way. It was rather like "Harry Potter" in that respect, but the pool of ideas was quite different: classic gladiator, Joan of Arc, Rollerball, 1984, The Truman Show, Dragon Slayer, a heroine reminiscent of Dagny Taggart ("Atlas Shrugged"), and I may think of more.

I don't usually read books by living people (Harry Potter being a very notable exception), but I was intrigued so I bought the books, and I am very glad I did. The first movie stays so close to the book that I was able to love the story and characters as they unfolded, and as I continued onto the next two books (devouring all three in 4 days) I was completely drawn into the pace of the narrative, the intense humanity of the characters, the horrors of the tyrannical future world and even entertained by the futuristic fantasy (which is constantly counter-balanced by scenes of primitive survival; I generally prefer historical fantasies and adventures to futuristic ones, but Hunger Games is quite good at both). Themes of righteous rebellion against tyranny vie with the horror of warfare and the noble potential of the human spirit, and all are wrapped around a love triangle that never seems to get dull (a remarkable feat, considering the hackneyed nature of the device).

The story is violent, passionate, horrific and romantic. Mockingjay is especially philosophical about the aspects of war, and many aspects of PTDS are explored (in good fantasy-novel fashion). The moral of all three books can be summed up in this passage from Mockingjay: "Something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children to settle its differences."

Good Books. Good Story. Good Characters that become increasingly vivid (even if the evil President Snow is a bit one-dimensional). Good satisfying read.

To put this into context, I usually like to re-read 19th century work like Austen, or Jane Eyre, somtimes Dickens. From the 20th century, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Rebecca have spend alot of time on my bed table.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2012 3:44 PM BST


A Christmas Carol [DVD] [1999]
A Christmas Carol [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Patrick Stewart
Offered by Digizoneuk
Price: £24.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars, but lovely none the less, 6 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I search in vain for the "ideal" Christmas Carol (1977 BBC Production with Michael Hordern comes closest, for my taste), but, in my opinion, this production does NOT deserve much of the criticism leveled at it. Sometimes the text is modernized without improvement. Clearly too much money was spent on Marley's funeral at the beginning. I personally hoped that the "modern" production would have better special effects (memory fades; perhaps they were impressive in 1999). The performances of young Scrooge and Belle (among other minor characters) are somewhat lack-luster, and the Bob Cratchit is too funereal. But I must defend this production for its fine qualities, not the least of which is a VERY studied portrayal by Patrick Stewart.

Many "traditionalists" here criticize his decisions as an actor, but every choice he makes is perfectly motivated. One person was very upset that he did not anticipate his name on the tombstone until he actually saw it, but considering he does not even recognize his own room in which the body lies, this willful ignorance is not extraordinary. His fear of the body, as a neglected body, not as his own, is described in detail by Dickens in the book: "Oh cold, cold, rigid, dreadful Death, set up thine altar here." His sarcasm with Marley, the fact that he is still a curmudgeon after his awakening (just one that can laugh at himself) and his approach to just about every line (his quiet condescension as he says "I wish to be left alone") are clearly deliberate choices of one who knows the text VERY well. Traditional it is not, but it is believable and consistent, and the mark of a fine classical actor.

Other positive qualities of this production include (for the purists) that more detail from the story is found here than in any other version (although the Jim Carey cartoon takes a close second). For example, the ghost of Christmas present takes him to see the many "Christmas lunatics", as in the story. Usually his trips to the sea and to the mines are cut as extraneous, but here they also serve to tear him away from Fred's party, the one place he would like to be, and the one place he damned the day before. Fred's party is also the best of any production I have seen, as is the portrayal of Fred himself. I find it intriguing that the Ghost of Christmas yet to Come has the hand of a woman (although the costume is a bit obviously built up), and the I find the graveyard scene to be truly disturbing. Also, Joel Gray plays a Ghost of Christmas past that is both congenial and creepy.

It is beautifully filmed and will adequately "Spirit" up any house for Christmas, and you get more of the story than in any other production. Plus for the price you can't beat it. If you want a bit of Christmas spirit in combination with a bit of artistry, but don't want to spend alot of money, this will serve splendidly.

Also, my non-existent ideal Christmas Carol would include the Fred, Fred's party and the graveyard scene from this one, but that's just me.


A Christmas Carol [1977] / Oliver Twist [1985] [Dutch Import]
A Christmas Carol [1977] / Oliver Twist [1985] [Dutch Import]
Dvd ~ Eric Porter
Offered by ____THE_BEST_ON_DVD____
Price: £5.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well done... just get rid of the subtitles, 7 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For the price I suppose one can tolerate the Dutch subtitles, but I would rather not, and removing them is not an option. Hence 4 stars, not 5. The artistry of the films themselves is truly wonderful.

For the first 50 minutes of "A Christmas Carol" I would give it 6 stars if I could. Never mind that the sets seemed to have been funded by a loan from Scrooge and Marley. Never mind that the Christmas yet to come is copiously decorated with cast-off cobwebs donated from the BBC Dracula production. All the actors, from Michael Hordern as Scrooge down to the boy who plays Ignorance (his malicious glare is quite unnerving) are masters of a technical school of acting with a traditional understanding of how one "reads" Dickens. The results are characters that breathe while the language sings, and that creates a production as excellent as if it had cost a fortune. The humanity of "A Christmas Carol" is embodied here. God bless them every one.

Unfortunately, the final minutes of the production are horribly rushed. It really seems as if a BBC executive walked in just after they finished the death of Tiny Tim and said to the director, "Sorry, old man, but it has to be cut to 60 minutes not 70." From Scrooge's entrance in the graveyard to the end of the end credits is less than 8 minutes. We all know how the story ends, but there is no real time to fully enjoy that end, or to appreciate the gulf between Scrooge's terror of death and subsequent joy of life. It is true that the equivalent from the book is only a few pages, but Dickens knew how to pack a punch with a few phrases. Film needs more time. The first 50 minutes, though, are incomparable for artistry.

The "Oliver Twist" also belongs to the very best of "classical" BBC production. The script runs closely to the book, the direction, sets, lighting and costumes all demurely support the story rather than telling their own, and generally fine to extraordinary acting throughout transports the story to our minds and hearts. Even Sike's dog gives an excellent performance. I bought the set primarily for the Christmas Carol, but the Oliver Twist is well worth owning.

Pity about the subtitles.


CHRISTMAS CAROL (1977) (import)
CHRISTMAS CAROL (1977) (import)
Dvd ~ Michael Hordern

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 stars for the first 50 minutes, 27 Mar. 2012
For the first 50 minutes of this production I would give it 6 stars if I could. Never mind that the sets seemed to have been funded by a loan from Scrooge and Marley. Never mind that the Christmas yet to come is copiously decorated with cast-off cobwebs donated from the BBC Dracula production. All the actors, from Michael Hordern as Scrooge down to the boy who plays Ignorance (his malicious glare is quite unnerving) are masters of a technical school of acting with a traditional understanding of how one "reads" Dickens. The results are characters that breathe while the language sings, and that creates a production as excellent as if it had cost a fortune. The humanity of "A Christmas Carol" is embodied here. God bless them every one.

Unfortunately, the final minutes of the production are horribly rushed. It really seems as if a BBC executive walked in just after they finished the death of Tiny Tim and said to the director, "Sorry, old man, but it has to be cut to 60 minutes not 70." From Scrooge's entrance in the graveyard to the end of the end credits is less than 8 minutes. We all know how the story ends, but there is no real time to fully enjoy that end, or to appreciate the gulf between Scrooge's terror of death and subsequent joy of life. It is true that the equivalent from the book is only a few pages, but Dickens knew how to pack a punch with a few phrases. Film needs more time.

To be fully honest, I bought this production with "Oliver Twist" and will move this review to its appropriate place when I have watched that "Oliver Twist". My only other complaint (with the DVD, not the production) is that I would sponge away the Dutch subtitles from the screen. But do buy this Christmas Carol, if you are looking for fine artistry. The first 50 minutes are incomparable.

UPDATE: I see from the "Available from these sellers" list, that when one purchases THIS version, one CAN sponge away the Dutch subtitles. I am not made of money, but I might just spend the extra 20 pounds. The acting is really that good, and the best_on_TV subtitles sometimes cut across the actors' faces. I am, however, glad that I own the 1985 Oliver Twist as well.


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