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G. Wood (Kent)

Page: 1
by Nigel Cawthorne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Overview, 22 May 2015
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This is a fairly short book that seems to outline the subject's life quite well. There were only a handful of surprises though: a lot of it I already knew from newspaper articles.

The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour
The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour
by Andrew Rawnsley
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too soft, far from wrong, but very very long., 3 Jun. 2010
The End Of The Party comes in three sections: the Blair premiership, the tussle for the top job and then Brown's shaky grip on the levers of power. The author does an excellent job of demonstrating how Tony Blair went from being the saviour of Kosovo to the West's roving ambassador to Bush's lapdog. The reader sees how a mixture of realpolitik, the flow of events and vanity led Blair and a tiny number within his circle (so small that they could be counted on the fingers of one hand) to commit the UK to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The middle section covering the wranglings between Blairites and Brownites is probably of interest mainly to those within the Westminster village. There are lots of examples of how Brown held back Blair in his middle years but to the interested general reader the bigger questions go largely unanswered. Why was Brown so petulant? Why was Blair so coy about handing over, if that was the arrangement? These questions are certainly touched on but not wholly answered. Perhaps now that Labour are in opposition the sources will be more forthcoming.
The final third of the book deals in a fair way with Brown's rollercoaster ride in the polls as PM and delineates his obvious character flaws. If anything, the author is too kind to this man Brown who has none of the qualities of a leader in any field, particularly strategic vision, communication skills, the ability to inspire a team and a willingness to delegate. This book is a gripping read; I really enjoyed it, but it is very long(and heavy). I think the middle section could have been compacted without any loss of depth and the final chapters were a bit too drawn out as well.
Nevertheless as a history of the slow death of the New Labour project it is first rate and worth the price tag.

Hidden (cache) [DVD]
Hidden (cache) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Auteuil
Price: £4.50

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Hidden' - thought-provoking, as in: what was all that about?, 3 Jan. 2008
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This review is from: Hidden (cache) [DVD] (DVD)
'Hidden' stars Daniel Auteuil as a Parisian TV intellectual who enjoys a pleasant metropolitan existence with his wife (Juliette Binoche) and their son. One day, odd videotapes and strange drawings start to arrive anonymously in the post. These are perplexing to all concerned but only Daniel Auteuil's character seems to be particularly disturbed by them from the start. Is this the re-surfacing of a dark episode in his life that he thought had been buried long ago? His quest to track down the sender leads to further unravellings until a conclusion of a sort is achieved.
This film is about two things: one is the concealment of awkward truths within families and larger social groups in order for them to function. The other is the different memories and interpretations that people can hold of the same sequence of events, and the differing consequences of these events for the people concerned. I understand that 'cache' means not just 'hidden' but also 'put away' (as in a mental institution or prison) in French. The film demonstrates that 'reaching closure' (to use the social worker's favourite phrase) of an 'issue' is totally subjective - the problem may only be hidden...
As in many French films the director does not make it easy for the viewer to follow the plot and some things are left deliberately vague, in keeping with the general theme of the movie. The interview with the director in the extras menu is worth watching after the first viewing to understand what is going on. Then the film is worth a second sitting to catch the rococo flourishes attached to the main plot.
This film is definitely worth seeing, if only to see which camp you fall into, and is worth buying if you are into French cinema, but gets four out of five stars from me because, for the general viewer, it is not as good as the blurb claims.
Cinematic masterpiece or pretentious Gallic twaddle? There's only one way to find out....FIGHT!!!!!!!

The Last King of Scotland [DVD] [2006]
The Last King of Scotland [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Forest Whitaker
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.63

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last King Of Scotland - 70s retro, 23 Oct. 2007
Set in 1970, this film follows the adventures of newly-qualified doctor Nicholas Garrigan (played by James McAvoy) as he seeks something racier than following his father into the family practice. More or less at random he picks work as an overseas medical officer in Uganda. On the bus into the country he declares, on sighting his first monkey, "if we had monkeys in Scotland we'd probably deep-fry them" before breaking his journey to make jiggy-jiggy with the first local girl he speaks to.
Upon arrival at the mission hospital - a day late - he soon finds that the heavy clinical workload is both emotionally overwhelming and not to his taste. A chance meeting with newly-installed president Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) leads to an offer he can hardly refuse to become the president's personal physician. However he soon finds that he is in over his head and has to turn for help to the bourgeois types in the British establishment that he had come to Africa to avoid.
James McAvoy's character is a thrill-seeking charmer who smokes, drinks and services his libido with as many attractive women as he can. Both he and Idi Amin see something of themselves in each others eyes, though Idi Amin wins hands down in the psychopathy stakes. Forest Whitaker plays the fickle egotist brilliantly and avoids the pantomime psycho act in favour of a more believable and even sympathetic character - the film shows that he's not just being paranoid, they really are out to get him!
On the down side, Dr Garrigan at times felt like a gap-yearing member of the ipod generation who had been time-warped into a Graham Greene story. Would a young doctor in 1970 be so naive and reckless?
This film has great scenery and characters and accurately depicts the clothes, buildings and vehicles of the time and place it is set. Well worth seeing more than once.

Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD]
Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Josh Hartnett
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.45

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Hawk Down - See the film then read the book, 19 Oct. 2007
Based very much on a true story, this is an atmospheric and quite scary depiction of a raid by US Army Rangers on Mogadishu that starts badly and goes rapidly downhill from there. Poor planning, lousy communication and an underestimation of the heavily tooled-up enemy lead to a desperate attempt on the part of the US soldiers to fight their way back to safety, and a courageous effort to rescue them on the part of their buddies.
What you get from the book but not really from the film is that order was finally restored (and much of the rescuing done) by a non-american UN force doing things the old-fashioned way. Also, the author explains how after the SF guys snatch their target successfully, over-complicated command-and-control procedures led to the convoy driving around in circles, picking up casualties in their lightly-armoured Humvees and trucks on the way. The absence of a reserve force ready to go in led to decisions being made on the hoof - something not often practised in the US army! Interestingly, with post 9/11 hindsight some experts reckon that the enemy, who at the time were thought to be all local clansmen and warlords, was actually being co-ordinated by a more sinister force, with more sophisticated knowledge of how to, say, shoot down a helicopter with an RPG.
If you want to know the political and military background to this film, do read the book (available at all good on-line bookshops, plug plug).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2010 11:53 PM GMT

Fight Club [1999] [DVD]
Fight Club [1999] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.97

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film from 1999 for 2013?, 18 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Fight Club [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
The first rule of Fight Club is: the global military-industrial complex seeks to perpetuate the oppression of the proletariat through the jackboot of, er, Scandanavian self-assembly furniture outlets, liposuction clinics and airline safety announcements.
The second rule of Fight Club is: if you haven't seen this film, you must watch it. Then talk about it. It's odd, it's confusing, it's unsettling post-9/11.
I saw it as a response to feminism and consumerism. If you are male and white-collar and lie awake at night feeling your life is in monochrome when it should be in technicolour, see this movie...

Page: 1