Profile for Phil > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Phil
Top Reviewer Ranking: 30,723
Helpful Votes: 135

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Phil (Cambridgeshire, UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
pixel
Japanese Kanji & Kana: A Complete Guide to the Japanese Writing System
Japanese Kanji & Kana: A Complete Guide to the Japanese Writing System
by Wolfgang Hadamitzky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have!, 21 Jun. 2013
There are several kanji dictionaries on the market. Some of them contain so much information that they're likely to deter the newcomer to Japanese. This volume presents all 2,136 joyo kanji at 7 per page, The hand-drawn kanji are to the left of each page, the strokes numbered to show how they're written.To the right of this is information about the radical, the main On and Kun readings in romaji, and a selection of compounds using the kanji. The main body of the text is framed by an excellent history of kana and an index for kanji search. It really is a book that should be on any beginner's desk. Because it's an American publication, it's made to last, using paper that will stay white and glue that's unlikely to crack. Definitely a must-have!


Read and Write Japanese Scripts: Teach Yourself
Read and Write Japanese Scripts: Teach Yourself
by Helen Gilhooly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book to choose!, 4 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's not easy learning a new language. Usually there's page after page of verb tables to gruellingly memorise, including some tenses we're not even aware of using in our own language. Japanese has the advantage of having relatively straightforward verbs, blissfully regular pronunciation... and pictures! For me it's the script that helps to make the meanings stick. Yes, there are 2000 of these Kanji in daily use, but once you've been shown how to recognise a few of the building blocks, you'll be able to see how these combine to form the more complicated-looking Kanji. The author of this book manages to do exactly that, straightforwardly and with humour.

Her book is the very best you will find for showing you how to learn script. In no time at all you will know the days of the week, how to count, and will have acquired the kanji for basic concepts. I guarantee you'll learn painlessly, too. One initial task is memorising the hiragana and katakana, the two scripts used in combination with kanji. If you download some practice paper and write and rewrite them, and speak them aloud, a few each day, you'll be amazed how you'll be able to retain them.

If you want to learn phrases for conversation, this is not the book you'll need. However, if you want to be able to read (or at least get the gist of) Japanese blogs, CD covers etc, this is the best introduction. Combine this with a good dictionary such as Berlitz Language: Japanese Concise Dictionary: Japanese-English, English-Japanese (Berlitz Concise Dictionary), or the romaji-free Oxford Beginner's Japanese Dictionary, and a couple of bookmarked websites for pronunciation and grammar, and you'll have yourself a a very enjoyable learning experience.


Tuesday, After Christmas (Mar i, dup Cr ciun) [DVD]
Tuesday, After Christmas (Mar i, dup Cr ciun) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mimi Br nescu
Price: £12.38

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Consequences of Infidelity, 18 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Paul is in love with two women, his wife Adriana and his lover Raluca, a younger woman who is their daughter's dentist. Though light in terms of plotting, the film is riveting, each scene revealing more about Paul's state of mind as he prepares to tell his wife the truth.

It's a powerful and accomplished piece of work. There's no music. Scenes often unfold in real time using a fixed widescreen camera and without editing. The opening, for example, showing the lovers casually chatting playfully on a bed, lasts over seven minutes without feeling like it. Another early long scene with the main characters in Raluca's surgery crackles with awkwardness. Several times the camera remains on Paul while the person he's talking to is kept off screen, emphasizing his feeling of alienation, such as a scene in which Adriana asks for a foot massage: we see her feet on Paul's lap but at no point are we shown the rest of her.

Unlike many films of marital break-up, especially Bergman's, which have a strong theatrical, histrionic element to the proceedings,'Tuesday, After Christmas' is quietly realistic. The scene in which Paul tells Adriana about his six-month affair with Raluca feels 'true to life' and is all the more heart-wrenching for it.

This is an immensely watchable film, superbly acted and unfussily directed. The 2.35:1 image is blemish-free. The single 17-minute extra is an interesting informal interview (in English) with the director. In short, another excellent Second Run DVD.


My Dinner With Andre [DVD] [1981]
My Dinner With Andre [DVD] [1981]
Dvd ~ Louis Malle

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 30 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Louis Malle set himself the difficult task of filming what is essentially a two-hander in a restaurant, bookended by exteriors of Wallace Shawn journeying to and from the encounter. It could have been dull, but isn't, thanks to a lively script and two very likeable personalities. The camerawork and editing is subtle and sophisticated, careful not to draw attention to itself and break the spell. The film reminds you of something Woody Allen might have aspired to direct, but in that director's hands it would have been too obvious and ultimately nowhere near as engaging or as moving. Superb!


From Within [DVD]
From Within [DVD]
Dvd ~ Adam Goldberg
Price: £2.30

3.0 out of 5 stars Rushed ending, 30 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: From Within [DVD] (DVD)
If you're after a gore-fest or scary thrills, this will not be the film you require. It's certainly atmospheric and creepy, though; the widescreen photography very beautiful. There are a few shocks along the way, and there's a modicum of gore, but on the whole it's the moodiness that's the attraction. The main disappointment for me is the ending, which seems rushed, leaving this viewer a little unsatisfied. Worth purchasing if you can get it at a low price.


"Cleo de 5 a 7": French Film Guide (Cine-File French Film Guides)
"Cleo de 5 a 7": French Film Guide (Cine-File French Film Guides)
by Valerie Orpen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Just Perfect, 17 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you love Cleo from 5 to 7 [DVD] and want to know more about the film, then this is an excellent title to own. There's a map of Cleo's 'real time' journey, production notes, context, detailed analysis of several themes, and several stills. The main strength of this book is that while it's intelligent and informative, the prose is straightforward.

And if you're unsure whether to choose this book or the BFI book on 'Cleo', I recommend you buy this in the first instance.


Louis Malle Collection - Vol. 2 [ English subtitles ] [DVD]
Louis Malle Collection - Vol. 2 [ English subtitles ] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harriet Walter

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have, 17 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Malle's output is varied and hard to pin down. One thing is constant, though: it's never dull, and never less than challenging. A recurring interest is bourgeois hypocrisy (Malle himself was born into the haute bourgeoisie). 'Le souffle au coeur' pursues this theme relentlessly. The audacious closing scene of the family laughing together is rich in meaning. The characters in 'Milou en Mai' are terrified by radio reports of the 1968 riots.

Should you not have seen it, 'Black Moon' is a strange work, but certainly not one to dismiss. The main influences are the 'Alice' books and the paintings of Balthus, whose adolescent models' languorous poses are invoked several times. It's essentially a dream. Or rather, a nightmare, with talking animals, strange languages, out-of-synch sound and unsettling situations. Cathryn Harrison Portrait of a Marriage [DVD] is on screen much of the time and is superb.

If you've bought the excellent first volume of Malle's work, then you really ought to have this too. As with the previous volume, the presentation is impeccable, with images so clean and fresh, they could have been filmed yesterday. True, the subtitles are burned in, but if you're not a French speaker, this won't be an issue. Highlights are 'Au revoir les enfants', 'Lacombe, Lucien' and 'Le souffle au coeur': three masterly films. The inclusion of the delightful ensemble piece 'Milou en Mai' and 'Black Moon' are icing on a very edible cake cake.


Interviews with Eric Rohmer
Interviews with Eric Rohmer
by Bert Cardullo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.54

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable, 17 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An excellent selection of 15 interviews with the great filmmaker. And there's more. There's an introduction to his work, a chronology, a complete filmography, a bibliography, 55 monochrome movie stills and 18 colour stills. Indispensable, not only for lovers of Rohmer's films, but for anyone with an interest in French cinema.


An Autumn Tale [1998] [DVD] [1999]
An Autumn Tale [1998] [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Marie Riviere
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 27 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A light-toned movie with standout performances from two Rohmer veterans, Marie Riviere (Isabelle) and Beatrice Romand (Magali). The rolling wine growing landscape features early on, with birdsong and breezes to the fore on the soundtrack, but Rohmer's camera also picks out the twin cooling towers of the Tricastin power plant for his characters to talk about. And while there is much talking--after all, talking is what Rohmer's characters are created to do--it's never tiresome, and always adds to our understanding of the characters. Mention must also be made of the lovely performance from Alain Libolt as the lonely-hearts-ad gentleman Isabelle chooses for Beatrice. The feel-good closing segment (with live music!) is the icing on the cake. All in all, delightful.


Afterschool [DVD]
Afterschool [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ezra Miller
Offered by ClassicMovieStore
Price: £7.97

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, 6 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Afterschool [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very eerie, striking and meticulously crafted piece of cinema. Several themes presented at the start are thoroughly explored. For example, cellphone footage of Saddam Hussein's hanging relates to cellphone recording of a fight between two girls posted online that Robert watches and also cellphone recording of the tragedy. Expectations are constantly undermined: vocal sounds we assume are of pain turn out to be a baby playing; online footage (blocked from view by the back of Robert's head) turns out to be not what we imagined.

The use of the widescreen format is superb. Heads are lopped off, actors are confined to the periphery, an important sex scene takes place just out of shot. The tragedy itself is brilliantly depicted, distantly, through the viewpoint of Robert's static camera, which makes it all the more chilling.

Yes. it's all very clever and cerbral, detached and a tad surreal in mood, but it's also immensely watchable. And you'll be reflecting on it long after you've ejected it from the DVD player.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4