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Ogun Eratalay "oculus tauri"
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4.0 out of 5 stars A rare insight to Lenin, 17 Dec 2011
I have come across with Kazakeviç with his novel "The House in the Square" and then "The Star" (both film and book). I liked his style showing the humane sides in all his characters.

In this short novel Lenin is portrayed during the critical days just before the October Revolution. Lenin has to go into hiding in some Finnsih village after the July Days. He is among ordinary village folk along with his old time comrade Zinoviev. While enduring the hardlife without any complaints he tries to reach out to his fellow comrades who are out there fighting Kerenski regime. He not only guides them but formulates guidelines for their future Soviet republic. Zinoviev however cautions him not to dream and tries to harness him. Lenin strongly condemns Zinoviev as being a coward and irresponsible for not behaving as a true communist.

This novel is very important to show the change in Lenin's attitude from the days of April Thesis into October Revolution. His elaboration of each and every event is clearly shown in the novel as a piece of political art. Also he is portrayed along side his Bolshevik comrades Sverdlov, Dzerjinski, Stalin, Shotman etc. An interesting book worth reading...


Azincourt
Azincourt
by Bernard Cornwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Life among the lowly, 17 Jan 2011
This review is from: Azincourt (Paperback)
I was very lucky I have found him after all those years. Now he comes in a different type which is more exciting. The Richard Sharpe series I managed to watch gripped me as I could not wait to see the end of the series. Bernard Cromwell's touch continues in the novel Azincourt.

What I like about his style is that he describes the common man among his own life and with all the outside world's controversies affecting him. In this novel Hook is our hero. He lives by his longbow and manages to survive against all odds following his instincts all the way.

Cromwell carefully builds up the atmosphere by creating the exact circumstances of that era. The catapults, underground tunnels, siege machines and historic events like the burning of Lollards are all there for you to watch. As for the Battle of Azincourt it is as if you are among the archers face to face with the approaching fierce enemy.

The book can be disregarded by pure fantasy but it has all the ingredients for the ultimate history reader. The English and French economies are clearly explained for you to investigate. The common man's life is there for you to examine. The relations between state and the church, the church and the Lollards are waiting to be re-assessed.

A great book by the great author. You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain by reading it. Hope they make a movie out of it.


Valhalla Rising [DVD]
Valhalla Rising [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mads Mikkelsen
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.97

10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some like it bleak, 25 July 2010
This review is from: Valhalla Rising [DVD] (DVD)
This film is a masterpiece for me. The essence of masterpiece can be classified in so subjective a way that the same work could be regarded as worthless by others quite easily. Let me make myself clearer: Have you watched Aguirre? Did you like it? If your answers are yes, then don't hesitate and watch this film. On the other hand; if you are expecting a film like 300 or Pathfinder this is not the movie for you.

The nameless slave of a Scottish klan leader is a powerful prize fighter for his owner. He is like a gladiator killing his slave opponents to stay alive. Once he gets a chance to free himself he does not show mercy to his once captors, quite understandably. Desperate to get away from these lands he joins a small band of Christian Viking warriors making a journey to the Holy Land. However the nature plays a trick on them and they end up in land far away from their original intention.

The bleak, savage and simple storytelling of the film amazed me. It nearly takes you back to those old ages, seeing how people survived in the primitive conditions. The gory killing scenes were more than I could stomach, I must confess. However if that was the way, no worries. The director Nicolas Winding Refn gave the feeling of the vastness and the smallness of the human being quite incredibly. The musics by Peter Kyed and Peter Peter are so carefully sewn together with the film I could not but part with it. Praise to the cinematography of Morten Søborg which is crucial for the film. As for the actings Mads Mikkelsen is beyond description as is Gary Lewis and Ewan Stewart.

As a history reader this film made a great deal help to my understanding of the skrælingar and the L'Anse aux Meadows settlement, if you know what I mean...(I didn't spoil it did I?)

Very important note: Do NOT be misled by the cover!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2011 6:24 PM GMT


In Tranzit [DVD] (2008)
In Tranzit [DVD] (2008)
Dvd ~ Vera Farmiga
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £4.89

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Possible impossibilities or impossible possibilities?, 21 July 2010
This review is from: In Tranzit [DVD] (2008) (DVD)
After viewing this film I had several questions on my mind. The first question that comes to my mind is in what purpose this film had been shooted. If someone can answer this question the film can be understood easily.

If the director Tom Roberts wanted to show the "real evil empire of the Soviet Union" he did a great job. According to him the Soviet Union is a grim, bleak place where people have no hope. They live by the codes that are sacred. They are automotons not humans, they have no feelings, no senses whatsoever. They are blood thirsty cruel servants of a regime which creates hell on earth.

Where can I start? The film is mentioned to take place in Leningrad yet nobody speaks Russian! The Russians and the German prisoners of war communicate quite easily through the common Hollywood language English! The film sets in a small worn down site resembling a workshop and we do not see the great city of Leningrad just one second.

The inhuman indifference towards human life is portrayed awfully by John Malkovich where a NKVD colonel disciplines the transit camp's guards and the inmates at the same time. Also the suicide of the Russian peasant girl is beyond understanding. The behaviours of the female commanders remind me of a sad parody. As for the sex scenes that seem to pop out of every corner I am speechless. Maybe the director mistook the capitalist Russia with the communist Soviet Union, who knows!

Only one actor stands out in the midst of poor acting, that is Nathalie Press. The others including Mr. Malkovich would not lose anything if they had not involved in this project in the first place.

When I read the reviews giving thumbs up for this film I am shocked and thought if we are talking about the same film. I agree that there are no battle scenes or bloody killings but I did not expect any in the first place. I am not put off by that. However if someone argues that the film is an intelligent movie full of thrill I can not but disagree. The characters are not developed, their past is not revealed and their behaviours are not analysed fully. You can not put two seconds of black & white documentary scene to remind of the siege of Leningrad. The feelings of a girl is not shown when you see that she is wearing a wig trying to hide her war scars.

The Soviet Union was a land of possible impossibilities as the people of varios cultures and nationalities there lived side by side teaching all the world how to live in peace and harmony disregarding the capitalist style imposed on the world by the imperialists. The film however focuses on the impossible possibilities that might have happened there. Decide for yourself which is true while watching this very poor show.


Colditz [DVD]
Colditz [DVD]
Dvd ~ Damian Lewis
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £21.96

3.0 out of 5 stars In defence of the socially unwanted, 19 July 2010
This review is from: Colditz [DVD] (DVD)
Colditz is a two part television film that revolves around the uncertainities of the II. World War. The whole society is affected by the terrible events that are taking place beyond anybody's control be it civilian or soldier. The story is about a young flirting couple seperated by the war and the agony of their times in general.

The anti-hero in the film is Nick McGrade. A Scotsman who desperately knows his way, is away from the frontline. He succeeds each time evading the hardships of the war eventually escaping from the Colditz. As the story unfolds his escape will not in any way ease the lives of others that happen to cross him.

I will not get into the details so as not to be a spoilsport but there is an ideology underneath his actions. Portrayed superbly by the ever-lasting Bands of Brothers hero Damian Lewis, McGrade has a story to tell. He is a war-lover, why? As an uneducated and socially unwanted Scottish youngster, the war has opened up his prospects and he knows it. He is not interested in the outcome of the war as the only thing he wants is the continuation of the turbulent social times during the war. In those troubled times the society is not the same as it was. One can be a hero in a second, he could do things he could not even dream of during normal times. He goes for it even if it takes him to the road of treachery. Can he be blamed or is it the society to blame?

Tom Hardy and Sophia Myles join Lewis in extraordinary acting performances. Also it is good to see Jason Priestley of Beverly Hills-90210 back for more real acting. A film worth watching just to feel the atmosphere of the horrible conditions of the POWs, and the Blitz.


Glorious 39 [DVD]
Glorious 39 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Romola Garai
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: £8.66

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Molotov was right all along!, 14 July 2010
This review is from: Glorious 39 [DVD] (DVD)
This very interesting film had an effect beyond description on me as it focuses on an incomprehensible period when the British Empire was categorically at war with Germany yet doing nothing. This period of the II. World War is known as "Sitting War" or "Phony War", likely so.

The film opens up in beautiful manor house outside the city in Britain belonging to an aristocrat family having ties to the ruling government. In the dinner honoring the father of the house who works in Foreign Ofice, an outspoken critic of the appeasement policy speaks about the need to change the government. As he is a member of parliament his words are taken seriously by the unknown and mysterious guest at the table.

After this episode, the adopted girl of the family living in the country estate accidently finds recordings about a secret governmental meeting. Then follows the mysterious killings around her. Her school of thought derails as she is treated as a near insane mental patient by her own family and eventually gets locked up.

When Watson and Holmes are travelling to the countryside, Watson looks up and appreciates the beautiful scenery of the England countryside. Holmes however intelligently remarks that under this image of beautiful countryside unspeakable crimes are being committed throughout the ages. I cannot but agree totally.

This episode in history has to be carefully studied as it is one of the darkest in history. Leading to II. World War the foreign policy of the British Empire was to preserve the status quo after the Great War. Unable to defeat the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War, the British turn to Nazis to do their job for them. They turn a blind eye on the Spanish Civil War, encouraging the fascist Franco and his allies Hitler & Mussolini. They appease the Germans when they annex the Ruhr, Silesia, Czechoslovakia and Poland as well. Even when declaring war on Germany for invading Poland they sit and wait for months for a peaceful solution for diverting the war.

The Soviet Union side had always tried to show the two faced policy of the British and the French when it comes to peace. They tried to stall the Soviet ouvertures for a regional pact to stop Hitler yet appeasing Hitler at the same time. When Molotov-Ribbentrop pact had been concluded they were the ones that were flabbergasted.

An intriguing and very cunningly knit movie with wonderful acting especially by Romola Garai (Anne) and Julie Christie (her aunt). The costumes, the scenery and the living conditions of the aristocrats have been studied immensely as the film lacks nothing as to reality. The tense atmosphere and the grim prospects reflects the mood of the day not uncommon to George Orwell readers yet in a non-communist England, the birth place of democracy! However the ending had to be more realistic rather than a classic Hollywood ending. Some of the characters had not been developed so the viewer can not guess what to expect from them.

One final comment on Churchill. While he is not on the movie he is everywhere when somebody is talking about appeasement. How sad that his defiant stance against appeasement had been used for all the aggressors from his time until now; Lyndon Johnson, Reagan, Thatcher, Bush and the list is ever growing...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2011 5:17 PM BST


Walker [DVD] [2005]
Walker [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Ed Harris
Price: £5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before Rambo there was Walker!, 11 July 2010
This review is from: Walker [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Before Rambo and Oliver North there was Walker. Walker, in which the life of a filibuster of Manifest Destiny is told, is more than an action movie. It is like a critic of US imperialism in Central America.

The director Alex Cox who is renowned for films like Repo Man and Walker has been blacklisted in America for his denial to be involved in the "American dream" or "fight for democracy". This puts a great deal of importance on the film for me. The film is shot in Nikaragua during the dirty war against Contras which are sponsored by the US against the democratically elected leftist government of Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas.

Ed Harris portrays the maybe over-educated Walker trying to come to terms with the revolutionary period he finds himself born into.(During the shooting of film, on his insistence the whole crew took a forced march of 10 miles to feel & experience the hardships of the Walker's band) The railroad and waterways tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt is portrayed by the late Peter Boyle, magnificiently. After failing to annex a part of Mexico by his mercaneries, Walker accepts the invitation to end the civil war in Nikaragua for the benefit of US & Vanderbilt's interest. He conquers the country after a series of battles only to be routed in the end.

The film is a unique example of usage of anachroisms radically but very impressively. In one instance you see Walker showing himself on the cover of a TIME magazine, in another US Marines arrive to the scene via a helicopter saving the US citizens from the shootings. I strongly recommend the final closing credits of the film as they are of great historical value.

As a strong anti-imperialist film I am not suprised it has only grossed 250k in the US. After you have watched this well sewn together film of drama, satire, shocking naked truth and history, I bet you will not be sorry.


Green Zone [DVD]
Green Zone [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.16

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lessons of mass intrigue, 8 July 2010
This review is from: Green Zone [DVD] (DVD)
A powerful story is told by director Paul Greengrass in the film Green Zone. The film takes place in the early days of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. While the assault on Baghdad is well under way a special team is searching for weapons of mass destruction. As the whole invasion is based on this issue a chief warrant officer is seriously thinking that their post-invasion intelligence about the wherabouts of the WMD is misleading. While questioning his own work he gets entangled in the no man's land in a war between CIA and the Pentagon.

For me the center of attraction was Yigal Naor, an Israeli doing a wonderful job portraying the general who is hiding underground with all his entourage. If I come to Hollywood actors; Matt Damon plays a good role acting the chief warrant officer. Also at his best is Brendan Gleeson. Not the best performance of Kinnear and Abdalla as they lack reality.(Especially Abdalla in the last scene which reminds me of the poor ending in BBC series Archangel) The film deliberately or not shows off the technical capabilities of the US muscle. Also the near real living conditions of the front line soldiers, the normal Iraqi citizens and the inmates of the infamous US prisons shown deserve credit.

Green Zone gets back up from real life events and nearly every incident or character is loosely based on real events or persons. Everybody is there: the all powerfull sheriff Paul Bremer, the New York Times reporter Judith Miller, military top notch Jay Garner, puppet prime minister Iyad Allawi, the real informer Rafid Ahmed Alwan and even Bush is there!

In a relatively short time the director tells the bottom line of the war in Iraq. So Michael Moore is right when he says that this is not an action movie rather the most honest political movie made about the Iraq War. The alleged production of WMD, the undisclosed Iraqi sources, the journalists, the war between CIA & Pentagon elites, the exiled Iraqi leaders, the de-Baathification process, the misery of Iraqi citizens and the life of GI in the front line is melted in a pot.

Considered an anti-war and anti-US film in the Hollywood a film worth watching.


The French Connection [DVD]
The French Connection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gene Hackman
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem, 7 July 2010
This review is from: The French Connection [DVD] (DVD)
The French Connection is a 1970's American crime thriller film starring Gene Hackman and Roy Schneider. The two cops get involved in a series of events that eventually lead to the uncovering of one of the biggest ever narcotics smuggling attempt.

The casual cop from New York "Popeye" Doyle and his partner Russo form an extraordinary team. They live casually and often go out together. One late evening they follow up the trail of a curious couple only to find out that in spite of their extravaganza night life they are the moderate owners of a cafe under disguise. They suspect foul play yet can not find any clue. After their superiors have given up on them the incidents begin to unfold.

The film is set on various places in New York and South France. The director William Friedkin wanted to give the audience the real deal so do not be surprised the typical street and alleys in the film. The grim scenery of the Big Apple revolves around the realistic plot of the story.

The most remembered scene in the film is the famous car chase which was mathematically calculated and edited, to be rewarded by an Academy Award for Film Editing. Gene Hackman and the stunt driver Bill Hickman did a brilliant job, making the chase maybe the best ever car chase in the modern films. The scrapping of a new car suspected of carrying narcotics by the elderly police mechanic, the detection of the purity of the drug by a young drug expert-junkie and the failed chase for the capture of Alain Charnier are the moments that will stay forever in my mind.

A newly but lately found gem worth watching over and over again.


The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 (Essential Histories)
The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 (Essential Histories)
by Efraim Karsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly simple, 28 May 2010
This concise and compact book is just the thing for the average history reader. The events leading to the open conflict is summed up beautifully. The internal poltical problems of Iraq and Iran are well studied. The military tactics used in the conflict are backed up by well drawn maps and sketches. Also in the book there are supplementary sections about thorny questions like child soldiers and the chemical warfare. A well written book full of information. Must be included in the curriculum of the high school students if you ask me.


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