Profile for customer > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by customer
Top Reviewer Ranking: 73,102
Helpful Votes: 523

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
customer "robp2002"

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
pixel
Watchmen
Watchmen
by Alan Moore
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still brilliant, 2 April 2008
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
A friend told me that this was being made into a movie (in fact had been made and was in post-production with a release date in 2009) and got me thinking it was about time I reread it. After all, the last time I'd read this Rick Astley was in the charts. So I got hold of a copy and plunged back into Moore & Gibson's parallel universe.

I suppose the first thing that struck me was how much I remembered, even though it's 20 years since I read it. I recalled the Black Freighter story, the personal mythology of the masked characters and some of the striking imagery. But there were new insights and discoveries, too.

I began to appreciate the symmetry of the artwork, evident throughout the book but, for me, most striking in Episode 11 which begins and ends with a plain white frame that evokes very powerful emotions. I really appreciated the skill required to draw together the incredibly dense narrative in which a complex series of flashbacks / forwards are incorporated without confusing the plot. The truly cinematic sweep of the artwork that seems paradoxically artless and exquisite at the same time.

A fantastic book, then, that retains its power and imaginative verge. I imagine that the screenwriters have gone one of two ways with it...set it in the 1980s where, as a sort of period drama, things like an arms war between America and Russia seems plausible. Or update it to the new century and incorporate more contemporary world events.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2012 7:14 PM BST


The Feel-Good Cookbook
The Feel-Good Cookbook
by Ainsley Harriott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely food, 31 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Feel-Good Cookbook (Hardcover)
I'm not a fan of Ainsley Harriet's tv persona but have to say that the recipes in this book are mouth wateringly brilliant. Only had it for a few weeks but have already tried out 4 or 5 of the recipes, all of which were a success. In fact, the chocolate fridge cake was so popular that when I took a batch of it round to a dinner party the hosts kept it in their kitchen for themselves.


Delia's How to Cheat at Cooking
Delia's How to Cheat at Cooking
by Delia Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Give it a go., 28 Mar. 2008
I got this book as a gift and was a bit sceptical. I had seen an episode of the show and hadn't enjoyed it, as I wasn't very impressed by the look of the recipes. I really enjoy cooking so the idea of a cheats guide offended my sensibilities a little. Still, I gave some recipes a go and have been pleasantly surprised.

In an ideal world (which is obviously where many tv chefs and pundits appear to live given the comments I've heard on tv recently) we would all shop for organic food and spend at least an hour each day in the kitchen making our meals from scratch. But out in the real world we all know that's just not possible. The reasons for this are myriad but, I'd suggest, include:

Not enough time to cook meals from scratch.
A lack on interest in cooking.
A lack of experience in cooking.

It seems to me that Delia's book tackles these three issues with aplomb. For the inexperienced cook the recipes provide easy access to culinary competence. For the time-poor...well, most of the recipes are quick to prepare (even if a little thought is needed when shopping). And for those who lack interest, I suppose the hope of the author is that they'll try a few of these recipes and maybe ditch a takeaway or two.

There's so much sniping and snobbery surrounding this book because, I guess, cooking is such an emotive subject these days. But it's well worth giving some of these recipes a spin...I've been pretty impressed with the results.


Battlestar Galactica : Complete Seasons 1-3 (16 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Battlestar Galactica : Complete Seasons 1-3 (16 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Edward James Olmos
Offered by Rapid-DVD
Price: £33.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly good, 19 Mar. 2008
Reasons to buy Battlestar Galactica:

Acting. Uniformly excellent throughout all three seasons. Strong characters with vivid narrative arcs brought to life by a host of committed actors.

Action. This programme doesn't stint on the action...it's crammed with space battles, explosions, shootouts and eight feet tall, stainless steel Centurions.

Ambivalence. In a nod to realism, none of the characters are wholly good or bad. Even the Cylons.

Allegories. You can make any number of allegorical readings and there is scope for dozens of dissertations and essays doing just that. Briefly, you could argue it comments on American foreign policy, religious fundamentalism, the war on terror, the morality of suicide bombers, the Oedipus complex, the myth of the American Dream, mistreatment of prisoners, the dangers of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, class warfare, racism, personal morality and the nature of war crimes. Big themes for sure but they don't get in the way of the story, but add depth and subtly to it.

Emotional engagement. For all the bullets, rockets and giant robots, at its heart Battlestar holds the human emotions of love, loss, grief and hope. And whilst some episodes are thrillingly exciting others are incredibly moving (and a few episodes are both).

In my opinion this is one of the best tv shows of the century, certainly up there with the West Wing, 24 and even (deep breath and drum roll) The Sopranos. Battlestar Galactica is an intensely satisfying televisual experience...it's what DVD players and nice big telly's were made for.

I'm jealous of anyone who hasn't seen this yet. You are in for such a treat.


Crash [2005] [DVD]
Crash [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sandra Bullock
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keeping it real?, 19 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Crash [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
The thing that struck me was how brave it was that a Hollywood movie should tackle the theme of race relations. Very laudable and perhaps even shocking - there are too few films that confront this social issue. The issue is illuminated by a host of fine performances and tightly plotted script (that works very hard to appear loosely structured and realistic).

However, I found the film a little too emotionally manipulative. Credibility is stretched wafer thin as one character after another experiences a moment of epiphany - all the while caught up in a litany of increasingly unlikely coincidences.

It's a pretty good film, with fine acting and a strong social message. It was just too contrived and superficial for my tastes.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 25, 2010 8:15 PM GMT


Cloverfield [DVD]
Cloverfield [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lizzy Caplan
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.44

58 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Modern Monster Movie, 29 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Cloverfield [DVD] (DVD)
In creating their film the makers of Cloverfield have cherry picked from the monster movie genre. So we are presented with a story concerning a big monster attacking New York (Godzilla, King Kong), an event filmed by characters in the movie (Blair Witch Project) and is thus told from the perspective of the innocent bystander (Signs, War of the Worlds) as opposed to a position of privilege like a scientist / military / President of USA (Independence Day, Godzilla again). So far, so derivative. What, then, makes this film so different?

1. It knows its audience.
The film is presented as a piece of evidence held by the military, a conceit that will thrill the conspiracy theorist in us all. Meanwhile, a scene in which amazed on-lookers switch on their camera phones to document the startling events chimes perfectly with the You Tube generation.

2. It takes its subject seriously.
Cloverfield fields a cast of unknown actors, gives them believable dialogue, recognisable relationships and strong personal narrative arcs. These elements are set in place during a deceptively straightforward opening 15 minutes that anchors the rest of the film in emotional truth.

3. It's allegorical.
In much the same way that monster movies from the 50s touched on the threat of nuclear power (Them) or the Red Scare (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), so Cloverfield is replete with its own subtext. Obviously, it's a non-too subtle 9/11 allegory as is evidenced by traumatic scenes of collapsing skyscrapers and dust-covered on-lookers cowering inside shops. These moments tap directly into these anxiety filled times and cause moments of intense unease yet, crucially, steer clear of bad taste.

4. It treats its source material with respect.
Here's the post-modernism bit...Cloverfield draws from a huge range of source material and treats it all with the utmost love and respect. Here are a few of the reference points I noticed.

The film is imbued with the savage nihilism that is evident in Romero's zombie movies. Like Ridley Scott's Alien, Reeves knows what he's doing with his monster - less is more. And, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cloverfield does not grant the audience the comfort of exposition. The monsters in both Texas and Cloverfield are unknowable, uncontrollable and unstoppable whilst their motives remain unexplored. This, to my mind, makes them very scary.

Specific elements /scenes within the film also directly referenece recent horror flicks such as The Descent and 28 Days Later (especially scenes set in the subway).

There are also references to video games, most notably the first person shooter Half Life (fight gruesome aliens from another dimension) and the survival horror genre that spawned Silent Hill and Resident Evil.

Finally, we must mention Orson Welle's radio interpretation of War of the Worlds. His broadcast purported to be live reports of an alien invasion and scared the wits out of many unsuspecting listeners.

5. It leaves just enough to the imagination.
One of the things that rankles with me is the amount of exposition we get in movies. The way every last thing has to be explained makes for awkward dialogue and takes all the life out of films. But the filmmakers trust the audience's imagination and whilst they never stint on SFX, drama, excitement, thrills there's still plenty left unexplained (and therefore intriguing). I mean, what happened in Manhattan Bay? Were did the creature come from? Was it alone? What was going on in the spooky military zone? What happens next?

So, to summarise...this is a technically brilliant, emotionally engaging film. But what makes it so impressive is that it manages to transcend the genre in a way not seen since the 1950s. Let's hope Internet gossip of a sequel proves correct (mouth wateringly, one thought is that a sequel is set during the same time period but from a different perspective).

This film is pure hokum, of course, but Reeves and Abrams have created a monster movie that taps into 21st Century angst. And it's scary too!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2008 1:41 PM BST


I Am Legend [DVD] [2007]
I Am Legend [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Will Smith
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: £2.75

92 of 106 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One man and his dog, 14 Feb. 2008
This review is from: I Am Legend [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Pro's
The opening half of the movie...in which New York is vividly recast as post-apocalyptic dystopia.
Smith's portrayal of a man slowly going insane. Considering this is a big-budget Hollywood movie, this is subtle and quietly moving. Flashbacks to pre-apocalypse confusion are interspersed with care and inform Smith's character and the plot.
The idea that it is Smith who is now the monster. After all, from the perspective of the other residents of the new New York it is Smith who is the outsider. He lurks in his basement like a Frankenstein conducting lethal experiments on innocent subjects he captures.
The sense of dread. This is built slowly and cumulatively. The scene where the dog runs into a dark, seemingly empty building is exquisitely tense.
Sam the Dog. Seems strange to praise a dog for its acting, but for most of the film it's just Smith and Sam and they make a fine double act.

Con's
The second half of the movie. Once the monsters are revealed in all their CGI glory the movie turns into a loud, shouty action flick. The psychological and moral arguments are shunted out of the way and we are left with a series of ever-louder explosions.

I'd consider this an interesting but flawed movie. The first half is great - filled with loads of striking imagery and interesting thoughts about isolation, survival, personal morality, the boundaries of sanity and human arrogance. The second half is more interested in bombs, guns, and monsters. Worth watching for the performances of Smith and Sam.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2008 3:44 PM BST


No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post Modern Monster Movie, 14 Feb. 2008
In creating their film the makers of Cloverfield have cherry picked from the monster movie genre. So we are presented with a story concerning a big monster attacking New York (Godzilla, King Kong), an event filmed by characters in the movie (Blair Witch Project) and is thus told from the perspective of the innocent bystander (Signs, War of the Worlds) as opposed to a position of privilege like a scientist / military / President of USA (Independence Day, Godzilla again). So far, so derivative. What, then, makes this film so different?

1. It knows its audience.
The film is presented as a piece of evidence held by the military, a conceit that will thrill the conspiracy theorist in us all. Meanwhile, a scene in which amazed on-lookers switch on their camera phones to document the startling events chimes perfectly with the You Tube generation.

2. It takes its subject seriously.
Cloverfield fields a cast of unknown actors, gives them believable dialogue, recognisable relationships and strong personal narrative arcs. These elements are set in place during a deceptively straightforward opening 15 minutes that anchors the rest of the film in emotional truth.

3. It's allegorical.
In much the same way that monster movies from the 50s touched on the threat of nuclear power (Them) or the Red Scare (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), so Cloverfield is replete with its own subtext. Obviously, it's a non-too subtle 9/11 allegory as is evidenced by traumatic scenes of collapsing skyscrapers and dust-covered on-lookers cowering inside shops. These moments tap directly into these anxiety filled times and cause moments of intense unease yet, crucially, steer clear of bad taste.

4. It treats its source material with respect.
Here's the post-modernism bit...Cloverfield draws from a huge range of source material and treats it all with the utmost love and respect. Here are a few of the reference points I noticed.

The film is imbued with the savage nihilism that is evident in Romero's zombie movies. Like Ridley Scott's Alien, Reeves knows what he's doing with his monster - less is more. And, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cloverfield does not grant the audience the comfort of exposition. The monsters in both Texas and Cloverfield are unknowable, uncontrollable and unstoppable whilst their motives remain unexplored. This, to my mind, makes them very scary.

Specific elements /scenes within the film also directly referenece recent horror flicks such as The Descent and 28 Days Later (especially scenes set in the subway).

There are also references to video games, most notably the first person shooter Half Life (fight gruesome aliens from another dimension) and the survival horror genre that spawned Silent Hill and Resident Evil.

Finally, we must mention Orson Welle's radio interpretation of War of the Worlds. His broadcast purported to be live reports of an alien invasion and scared the wits out of many unsuspecting listeners.

5. It leaves just enough to the imagination.
One of the things that rankles with me is the amount of exposition we get in movies. The way every last thing has to be explained makes for awkward dialogue and takes all the life out of films. But the filmmakers trust the audience's imagination and whilst they never stint on SFX, drama, excitement, thrills there's still plenty left unexplained (and therefore intriguing). I mean, what happened in Manhattan Bay? Were did the creature come from? Was it alone? What was going on in the spooky military zone? What happens next?

So, to summarise...this is a technically brilliant, emotionally engaging film. But what makes it so impressive is that it manages to transcend the genre in a way not seen since the 1950s. Let's hope Internet gossip of a sequel proves correct (mouth wateringly, one thought is that a sequel is set during the same time period but from a different perspective).

This film is pure hokum, of course, but Reeves and Abrams have created a monster movie that taps into 21st Century angst. And it's scary too!


My Booky Wook
My Booky Wook
by Russell Brand
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Rake's Progress, 13 Feb. 2008
This review is from: My Booky Wook (Hardcover)
Old Russ, eh? He's a one ain't he? A veritable dandy for the 21st century. An androgynous goth comic in tune with current sensibilities but informed by literature, philosophy, the lyrics of Morrissey and the minutiae of Bagpuss. He's a seething mass of contradictions: At once a flippant, facile fop who is also intensely proud of his staunchly working class heritage, a poseur whose effete exterior masks a ferocious heterosexuality.

All of these contradictions (and their origins) are apparent in this startling autobiography. Although he is renowned for his dextrous use of language during his tv / radio / stand up work it still comes as a pleasant surprise to note that this ability also shines through in his prose. Indeed some of his imagery is striking (especially like the scene when a group of police envelop him like dough).

Yet beneath all the stylistic affectation and post modern irony is a very bleak tale of a young man laid low by his addictive tendencies. The consequences of this psychology are set out in a series of incredibly dark and disturbing anecdotes. It may not be the bundle of laughs you'd expect, but it is honest and well written.


The Fountain [DVD] [2006]
The Fountain [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.58

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small wonders, 3 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The Fountain [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Certainly this film lacks the itchy paranoia of Pi or the hallucinatory / visceral power of Requiem for a Dream. The triptych of stories doesn't always mesh together and accusations of pretension are pretty difficult to deflect. Yet The Fountain contains much to recommend it, not least the sensuous photography that beautifully captures some startling images. But what really works is the relationship between the two leads. There's a real chemistry between Jackman and Weisz that adds an emotional depth to the film that is lacking in Aronofsky's previous outings.

One of those films that will intrigue some, enrapture a few but bewilder many. Worth watching because you may be one of those it enraptures.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8