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nicjaytee (London)

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He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not [DVD] [2002]
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Audrey Tautou
Offered by RX dvds **worldwide delivery available**
Price: 16.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avoid knowing anything at all about this superb film before you see it..., 25 Oct 2009
An extremely clever, ingeniously structured and, after a deceptively slow start, absolutely gripping film, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" is a superb example of modern French cinema at its very best.

Describing it is impossible without giving anything away, which is a serious problem for any reviewer as a key element in its power & effectiveness is that you should see it without any knowledge at all of what happens. Suffice to say that Audrey Tautou is perfectly cast to make it so effective, that it has the "charm" & "style" that makes French films so good when they get it right, and that, by the end of it all, you'll want to hit the replay button.

Buy it or rent it, put up with the problems that subtitles cause, and then enjoy it for what it is: a superbly crafted... what? Well telling you "what" will destroy much of the enjoyment of the film and you really should avoid the temptation to find out any more than this before seeing it yourself... you won't be disappointed.


Little Children [DVD]
Little Children [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kate Winslet
Price: 3.48

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Odd, intriguing and unpleasant..., 24 Oct 2009
This review is from: Little Children [DVD] (DVD)
There's something very odd about "Little Children": it grabs your attention, the acting's good (in the case of Kate Winslet & Jackie Earle Haley, both nominated for Oscars as a result of their performances, superb), the story's intriguing, and what happens to the characters is at times quite thought-provoking, but there's something eerie and very uncomfortable about it all that's difficult to put your finger on... until you think about what you've seen.

Which is? Well, when you reflect on it, none of the people are actually believable and much of what happens to them is also pretty unbelievable. So much so, that it's as though the town's been populated by zombies who conduct their lives in an extremely detached, often bizarrely odd way. For example, a married man and a married woman lie together around the town's packed public swimming pool, day after day, and nobody notices or draws conclusions? A man on his way to elope with his lover gets waylaid during possibly the greatest decision in his life into trying a bit of highly dangerous skateboarding with a group of teenagers? A woman plays with her small daughter in a lonely park at night when there's a known paedophile operating in the area? Come on...

Certainly, as a "moving" love story or a critique of small town America it fails because the characters and events involved are just not believable enough. But that's not what makes it such uncomfortable viewing. No, what makes it so is its really quite nasty sub-story of paedophilia - not a subject that sits comfortably in any film and one that's actually handled very badly here. A known paedophile visits the children's local swimming pool in full snorkelling gear without anyone noticing that there's something blatantly odd going on until he's been in the water for some time? An ex-policeman ruthlessly and publicly persecutes this paedophile to the point of self-castration and then atones for his actions by "lovingly" carrying him to hospital? These aren't only equally unbelievable events but actually quite unacceptable viewing particularly when, like several other similarly bizarre or over-the-top scenes in the film, they seem to be in there primarily for dramatic or comic effect.

Excellent acting and clever direction make "Little Children" worth seeing but its implausible and at times very unpleasant storyline coupled with its woeful lack of characterisation end up making it something you want to go through twice. If you're looking for a genuinely believable, deeply moving story of frustrated small town romance then "Revolutionary Road" is a far better option.


A Very Long Engagement - 2 Disc Edition [DVD]
A Very Long Engagement - 2 Disc Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Audrey Tautou
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: 7.40

5.0 out of 5 stars "Amelie" meets "Saving Private Ryan"..., 22 Oct 2009
A bizarre mix indeed but, believe it or not, it's a pretty apt description of this very odd but quite brilliant film.

First off, you get the most realistic depiction of what war must be like since "Saving Private Ryan", only this time the scene is the trenches in the Somme in 1917... so meticulously recreated, believably presented and deeply shocking that it will leave you stunned and drained by the time you've got through the first section of the film.

But then things become very different as director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and lead actress Audrey Tautou take very distinct aspects of their comic classic, "Amelie", and rework them into a much "darker" mix involving a charmingly poignant love story and an extremely complex and, in the end, pretty unbelievable detective story, centred on the fate of five men sentenced to almost certain death for self-mutilation in the trenches. Tautou plays a tougher but actually similarly sweet & quirky character to Amelie, and Jeunet uses a number of the same directing techniques that made "Amelie" such unconventional but fascinating viewing - flash backs, unusual camera angles, fast scene cutting, bizarre events, and intriguingly odd characters - right down to a secret box that holds the key to a mystery.

And, like "Amelie", the dialogue is in French and its delivery is fast, meaning that if you're trying to follow it with English sub-titles you're quite likely to get lost at key points. None of which sounds too promising. But no matter, because the detective story element of the film is fairly predictable, the dénouement to the love story holds no surprises and, their not why the film fully deserves a five star rating.

Why it does is because Jeunet is such a brilliant director and, as a result, the film is stuffed full with superb cinemaphotograhy, first class acting, wonderful scene-setting and, above all, a "pace" that holds your attention throughout and a "style" that makes for, at times, quite beautiful viewing... until, that is, you're plunged back into his equally brilliant vision of what life was actually like in the mud, squalor and blood of the trenches.

Horrific, charming, wholly believable and pretty unbelievable, all at the same time, "A Very Long Engagement" is an extremely strange film but one that will leave you marvelling at the sheer quality of its direction, photography and acting... and, as "Saving Private Ryan" achieved so successfully, it's depiction of the grim realities of war make it one of the best anti-war films that you're likely to see and one that you won't forget for a very long time.


A Very Long Engagement - 1 Disc Edition [DVD] [2004]
A Very Long Engagement - 1 Disc Edition [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Audrey Tautou
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "Amelie" meets "Saving Private Ryan"..., 22 Oct 2009
A bizarre mix indeed but, believe it or not, it's a pretty apt description of this very odd but quite brilliant film.

First off, you get the most realistic depiction of what war must be like since "Saving Private Ryan", only this time the scene is the trenches in the Somme in 1917... so meticulously recreated, believably presented and deeply shocking that it will leave you stunned and drained by the time you've got through the first section of the film.

But then things become very different as director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and lead actress Audrey Tautou take very distinct aspects of their comic classic, "Amelie", and rework them into a much "darker" mix involving a charmingly poignant love story and an extremely complex and, in the end, pretty unbelievable detective story, centred on the fate of five men sentenced to almost certain death for self-mutilation in the trenches. Tautou plays a tougher but actually similarly sweet & quirky character to Amelie, and Jeunet uses a number of the same directing techniques that made "Amelie" such unconventional but fascinating viewing - flash backs, unusual camera angles, fast scene cutting, bizarre events, and intriguingly odd characters - right down to a secret box that holds the key to a mystery.

And, like "Amelie", the dialogue is in French and its delivery is fast, meaning that if you're trying to follow it with English sub-titles you're quite likely to get lost at key points. None of which sounds too promising. But no matter, because the detective story element of the film is fairly predictable, the dénouement to the love story holds no surprises and, their not why the film fully deserves a five star rating.

Why it does is because Jeunet is such a brilliant director and, as a result, the film is stuffed full with superb cinemaphotograhy, first class acting, wonderful scene-setting and, above all, a "pace" that holds your attention throughout and a "style" that makes for, at times, quite beautiful viewing... until, that is, you're plunged back into his equally brilliant vision of what life was actually like in the mud, squalor and blood of the trenches.

Horrific, charming, wholly believable and pretty unbelievable, all at the same time, "A Very Long Engagement" is an extremely strange film but one that will leave you marvelling at the sheer quality of its direction, photography and acting... and, as "Saving Private Ryan" achieved so successfully, it's depiction of the grim realities of war make it one of the best anti-war films that you're likely to see and one that you won't forget for a very long time.


Lemonjelly.ky
Lemonjelly.ky
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 13.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully bizarre..., 7 Oct 2009
This review is from: Lemonjelly.ky (Audio CD)
If you liked Lemon Jelly's wonderfully eccentric "Lost Horizons" CD then this is your next stop - a compilation of their first three EP's which is, in parts, even more "off the wall" but which like "Lost Horizons" is underpinned by such superb tunes and clever production that it just flows from start to finish.

Categorising this music is a hopeless task - what can you say about "Nervous Tension" other than it's a self-help monologue set to an insidious down-beat backing track that, first time, through will leave you completely bemused but which, despite its stupidity, hypnotically draws you back to hitting the replay button... or, "A Tune for Jack" with its ridiculous spoken opening and its loops of a child singing "ooh baby me" and a chap saying "and a big fella too" set to a wonderfully relaxing tune other than that it's equally, hypnotically addictive... too clever? too nave? or, just inspired?

In the end, the best thing to do is just to lie back and enjoy it all and, on the way, marvel at this slice of brilliantly odd, beautifully bizarre chill out music.


Extras - The Special [Blu-ray]
Extras - The Special [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Ricky Gervais
Price: 7.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, funny & genuinely thought provoking..., 6 Oct 2009
Closer to a full length movie than another episode of a highly successful TV series, "Extras - The Special" is a funny, superbly acted and, in the end, genuinely thought provoking exploration of what TV fame is all about.

As in the two preceding series Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen and the wonderful "Barry" are a brilliantly effective comic combination but, unlike many other "specials" which simply re-tread what's gone before, they take their roles and their stories to much deeper levels that provide real insights into how the successes & failures of what's served up on our TVs each night impact on those involved. Bitingly critical of the whole celebrity bandwagon and, probably, closer to the truth than we'd like to believe, the trick - which they pull-off wholly successfully - is to make us laugh at its excesses while making us question the sanity of what's going on in a business where "fame" has become an end in itself, where people will do anything to get it & keep it, and where broken dreams litter the floor.

And, as in the previous episodes but in this case even more pointedly, the celebrities they wheel in for their cameo turns seem oblivious to the self-parody of their roles - witness Lionel Blair's and George Michael's appearances which beg the question whether they're so desperate to get exposure in a high ratings show such as "Extras" that they're prepared to allow themselves to be degraded in this manner... which, of course, is exactly the point that Gervais & Merchant are making.

Black comedy doesn't get any better than this and, in addition to being a superb way to end an already excellent series, "The Special" is, on its own, a highly effective and very funny insight into people's aspirations & motivations in a very strange world that, thankfully or not, most of us will never experience.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2010 8:52 PM BST


Extras - The Special [DVD]
Extras - The Special [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ricky Gervais
Price: 5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, funny & genuinely thought provoking..., 6 Oct 2009
This review is from: Extras - The Special [DVD] (DVD)
Closer to a full length movie than another episode of a highly successful TV series, "Extras - The Special" is a funny, superbly acted and, in the end, genuinely thought provoking exploration of what fame is all about.

As in the two preceding series Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant & Ashley Jensen provide a wonderfully effective comic combination but, unlike many other "specials" which simply re-tread what's gone before, they take their roles and their story to a much deeper level - exploring what the success, failure and broken dreams of what's served up on our TVs each night actually means for those involved. Bitingly critical of the whole celebrity bandwagon and, probably, closer to the truth than we'd like to believe, the trick - which they pull-off wholly successfully - is to make us laugh at its excesses while making us feel genuinely concerned about the impacts it has on those caught up in it all. And, as in the previous episodes but in this case even more pointedly, the celebrities they wheel in for their cameo turns seem completely oblivious to the self-parody of their roles and, as a result, add a level of uncomfortable "truth" to the proceedings - witness Lionel Blair's really quite worrying send up of... Lionel Blair, and, George Michael's equally disturbing role as a low level gay cruiser. Do they appreciate what they're doing to their public images by accepting these roles or, are they prepared to accept such self degredation just to be part of a highly successful TV show?

Quite how Gervais & Merchent get these people (and a leading High Street retailer such as Carphone Warehouse) to publicly "crucify" themselves in this manner is quite incredible particularly as it's actually the perfect response to the question that they're raising... i.e. how far will you go to get coverage on prime-time TV?

Black comedy doesn't get any better than this and, in addition to being a superb ending to an already excellent series, "The Special" is, on its own, a brilliantly effective and very funny exploration of people's aspirations and inadequacies in a very strange world that, thankfully or not, most of us will never experience.


Paris
Paris
Price: 16.51

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a soundtrack... but what a soundtrack..., 26 Aug 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paris (Audio CD)
If you haven't seen "Paris" in the cinema or on DVD then, maybe, this won't hit the button... but if you have, and if you enjoyed its wonderfully reflective storyline, then this is money well spent because, like the film, it absolutely captures the "feel" of Paris in all its glory. Unlike many soundtrack albums this isn't just a repetition of several key theme tunes reworked to fit different scenes. It is, like Paris itself, a kalaiedescope of different things... in this case superbly evocative & exciting music from Eric Satie through to reggae, Wilson Pickett and raw punk, with some exquisite electro-jazz on the way. And, if you know Paris, then this is the city captured in music: at times ecstatic, often deeply reflective, occasionally abrasive or lonely but, at all times, unforgettable. It's a lot of money to pay for a CD but it hasn't been off our stereo for weeks.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2010 12:28 AM BST


Paris [DVD] [2008]
Paris [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Fabrice Luchini
Price: 9.01

80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French cinema at its best..., 25 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paris [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
What is it about French films that makes the best of them so deeply reflective in a way that few American and British films achieve? Maybe it's that France itself is such a beautiful and evocative country, maybe it's that the French have a lifestyle that, for us non-French, appears so stylish and romantic... whatever... but when they get it right they really are in a different class, and "Paris" most definitely gets it right.

Beautifully filmed, brilliantly acted, and underpinned by a superb soundtrack, the film explores "real" peoples' lives slowly and above all subtly. Not a great deal happens, and there are no conclusions to the stories involved - a guy gets diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition, another chap falls in love with one of his students, a lonely single mother and a market stall trader are hesitantly drawn together, and an African dreams of getting to Paris to start a new life. That's about it really. But it's the way that this is all put together & explored that makes the film, and which achieves its objective of trying to capture what Paris is to people who live there or dream of living there - which of course means that its infused with their, often vague, hopes & fears and it has no clear & tidy "Hollywood style" endings... life's not like that.

At times funny, at times charming, and ultimately quite moving, Klapisch directs the film without reverting to heavy-handed sentimentality or high drama to make his points.... in fact, exactly the opposite: witness the fleeting, beautifully poignant shot at the end of the film as the African compares the view on the postcard of Paris that has driven him to make his journey there, and which underpins his hopes for the future, with the reality of it... nothing more needs to be said or filmed to capture what he must be feeling.

Perhaps the greatest credit to "Paris" is that, even though it's two hours long, subtitled (which is never the easiest way to watch a film), and devoid of any clever plot twists or unexpected surprises to hold your attention, by the end of it all... you really don't want it to end. It's that good.


Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect "stock" lens..., 20 July 2009
You really don't want to keep swapping lenses unless you have to and with this one... you don't have to. Covering the most used and useful focal lengths from 16mm (24mm old style), which is probably as wide as you want to go in everyday shooting, through to 85mm (128mm old style), which is in the most popular mid-range telephoto length, it's all here in a single lens.

Size wise it's a bit bigger than a standard 18-55mm lens; weight wise it's quite a lot heavier; but despite its weight it's still small enough and (just) light enough to be used as a "stock" lens. Maximum aperture of 3.5 to 5.6 is good and its VR (vibration reduction) system not only completely compensates for any aperture restrictions but very significantly extends your camera's versatility by allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without a tripod. And... the pictures it produces are, to me, indistinguishable in quality from my other Nikon lenses.

Sure you can get all of this much cheaper, but only if you're prepared to cart at least two or more lenses around with you and regularly swap between them. What you're paying for here is the speed & convenience of a genuinely portable solution to probably 99% of your photo requirements: other than where you need A2 size or larger photos at exhibition quality levels, you don't need a longer zoom lens given the pixel resolution of current Nikon SLRs and the fact that you can enlarge sections of their photos to almost double their size without any noticeable loss of quality, you only need a wider angle lens for specialist, ultra-wide shots, and - because of its VR system - you only need a wider aperture lens in equally specialist situations where absolutely minimal depth-of-field is critical.

Problems? Only one: at its widest angles the lens blocks part of the illuminated area when using the built-in flash on my Nikon D40X producing a black shadow in the lower part of the picture. This is easily avoided by zooming in to around 20mm (30mm old style) and, of course, isn't an issue when using a separate flash unit, but... it's annoying if you're in point & shoot mode and forget to correct for it and, the same problem may well occur with the built-in flash units on other Nikon bodies.

However, other than this minor niggle this is a superb, if expensive, replacement for your stock lens which once on your camera will rarely come off. Brilliant!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2011 2:20 PM GMT


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