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ponyboy (London, UK)

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Carnage [Blu-ray]
Carnage [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Kate Winslet
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 8.71

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and very entertaining drama of parental strife, 4 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Carnage [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Aces director Roman Polanski brings Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage to the screen. When one kid hits another in the school playground, the two sets of parents - Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly in one corner, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz in the other - come together in Foster and Reilly's apartment to try to sort things out. But the genteel behaviour of the two couples collapses with alarming ease, and they are soon bickering at each other as the kids' spat takes a backseat and the adults' neuroses come charging through. Excellent work from all four actors, some great lines, and at only 80 mins., this film knows when it has done its job. Enjoy!


Skyfall (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Skyfall (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Top-class Blu-ray release of an endlessly watchable, if flawed, blockbuster Bond film, 4 April 2013
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A billion-dollar earner, and the winner of two Oscars (Best Original Song and Best Sound Editing), this James Bond film - released in the series' 50th anniversary year - is a crowd-pleasing adventure. Bond is injured, presumed dead, in a mission, but comes back to work when MI6 is threatened by a cyber-terrorist. Bond tracks down the culprit, only to find that things are far more complex - and more personal - than they had initially seemed.

Skyfall is a great-looking film - the eye-popping cinematography is by the massively talented Roger Deakins - and it's grand entertainment, repaying repeated viewings. (I've seen it five times already!) But it is not quite as wonderful as general opinion suggests. The story sags a bit in its second half, a key female supporting character is unceremoniously bumped off in an inexplicably callous scene, and I think it was a mistake to focus on Bond getting a bit old for his job, when only two films ago he was the unschooled young buck.

That said, the film has some terrific sequences, from the opening chase in Istanbul to the humour of Bond's training session, from a neon-lit assassination in Shanghai to a smoky casino sequence in Macau. Indeed, pretty much the entire first half is a wonderfully flowing drama. The film takes an odd route about three quarters of the way through - and viewers may question Bond's decision to go to such a remote location at such a crucial moment in the story - but the ending redeems the film in properly moving fashion. Plus, the film has probably last year's most famous song - the title tune sung by Adele - and enough action and humour to convert non-Bond fans.

Overall, then, Skyfall, while not as inventive as Casino Royale nor as radical as Quantum of Solace, is solid and spectacular, and there's a good chance you'll like it a lot. Oh, and Judi Dench is perfection as M.


Missouri
Missouri
by Christine Wunnicke
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, 31 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Missouri (Paperback)
This novel blew me away. It's the mid-19th century and a foppish English poet flees London with his brother to America. Meanwhile, a young American outlaw terrorises all and sundry...but is also captivated by a certain book of poetry, through which he has learnt to read. When the poet and the outlaw meet during a hold-up, they slowly form a poweful bond. The brother, meanwhile, searching for the poet, thinks he has been kidnapped, and sets off in pursuit. This is a gripping Western, and a great love story, with a heartbreakingly beautiful ending. An excellent translation too. Go for it!


Le Havre [Blu-ray]
Le Havre [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Andre Wilms
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: 6.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific, feelgood film, 27 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Le Havre [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Writer-director Aki Kaurismaki's latest film Le Havre is a real charmer. A man befriends a young boy, an illegal immigrant who arrives in Le Havre and who is desperate to get to London. The man is going through personal problems of his own - his wife is seriously ill - and he forms a bond with the boy as he tries to help him hide from the law, which is searching for him. The location of the port of Le Havre comes across vividly, and the film has a real charm to it, with gentle humour and an almost fairy-tale clarity. Excellent stuff.


The Devotion Of Suspect X
The Devotion Of Suspect X
by Keigo Higashino
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent crime story, 27 Oct 2012
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This is a terrific crime/mystery novel. It starts with a killing, and even though we think we know what has happened, as the story progresses it becomes increasingly clear that it's not as straightforward as it first seemed. And it develops wonderfully, keeping the reader guessing, following all the characters involved in the case, and leading to a genuinely surprising ending. I can't wait to see if any more books by this Japanese author are translated into English. Kudos to the translator too - an excellent job.


Bruce Springsteen (Pocket Essentials)
Bruce Springsteen (Pocket Essentials)
by Peter Basham
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book on a brilliant career, 27 April 2005
This new book from Pocket Essentials covers The Boss's career from his New Jersey origins right up to the 2003 greatest hits album, The Essential Bruce Springsteen. It's an engrossing read, and a reminder that, in this age of pop stars brought to the boil on TV shows and then blithely disposed of within months of the all-important number one single, there are musicians - hell, go on: artists - who have been developing and sustaining careers for decades - in Springsteen's case, for about thirty-five years (and rising, if you pardon the pun).
Adopting a chronological approach, Peter Basham gives us an easygoing and informative account, weaving together coverage of dramatic behind-the-scenes events (Springsteen's wrangles with Mike Appel around the time of Born to Run, the bleakly hilarious appropriation of Born in the USA by President Reagan, the marital strife which happily gave the world Tunnel of Love) with pithy and informative assessments of each album. He picks highlights and weak spots among the songs, details regular and session musicians who added their craft to the Springsteen sound, and generally fills in gaps of knowledge without making the reader feel left behind. In short, the book is sufficiently learned to satisfy die-hard Springsteen fans and accessible enough so as not to exclude newcomers to his work.
To write about popular music without irony and without ego would seem to be an achievement in itself; what makes Basham's book even more valuable is the way in which it succeeds in reigniting interest in Bruce Springsteen ('interest' is a bit of an understatement) at a time when The Boss is in one of the most satisfying and thought-provoking grooves of his career. If The Rising was a grower of a work, a rock album (superbly produced by Brendan O'Brien) which asserted a gentle post-9/11 contemplation, his latest release, Devils & Dust, would seem to be offering yet more food for thought. No matter that Basham doesn't cover Devils & Dust; buy the book and the new album in one fell swoop and take home some fine writing and the latest work by one of music's giants.


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