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The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou [DVD]
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Offered by streetsahead
Price: 4.31

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange and Beautiful, 17 April 2007
This is one of those movies, like Lost in Translation or Eternal Sunshine, that you are either going to love or hate. I don't think it will allow a middle ground. As such it's maybe one to rent before you buy.

It's also one of those films that are about nothing and everything all at the same time. So, at once, it's a fable about friendship, the difficulties (and rewards) of marriage, the insidious nature of professional jealousy, the pain and joy of fatherhood. But it's also about pursuing a dream in the face of ridicule. It's about camaraderie, bravery and foolhardiness.

But, arguably, it's also a critique on the sort of men who never grow up and who, metaphorically, will forever yearn to be the omniscient captain of a boat, venturing to sea to hide from their responsibilities and commitments.

And, then again, it's about the hunt for a great big fish.

Strange and beautiful. Frustrating and mystifying. Elegant and elegiac. Surreal and realistic. All of these things and none of them.

Warrior King [DVD]
Warrior King [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tony Jaa
Price: 2.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who cares about plot..., 17 April 2007
This review is from: Warrior King [DVD] (DVD)
...when you have action like this?

The plot (stolen elephants, police corruption, drug running etc) is just a conceit that allows Tony Jaa to move from scene to scene and become involved in a series of increasingly violent / bizarre fights.

Stand out moments include a long, sinuous (and continuous) shot of our hero racing up the floors of a restaurant and fighting goons every step of the way. Also cool is a fight in a water logged Buddhist temple.

Bone crunching fun. And the little elephant's cute, too.

The Sweet Escape
The Sweet Escape
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: 5.88

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Po faced pop, 17 April 2007
This review is from: The Sweet Escape (Audio CD)
Pop, at it's best, is a heady mix of the joyful, the life affirming and the just plain fun.

Stefani's music appears, on its surface, to have all of these ingredients. Yet there's something so po-faced and serious about her that sucks out all the joie de vivre.

Even a song camp enough to lift from the Sound of Music is a strangely lifeless affair, filled with a bizarre robotic vocal.

There's nothing wrong with taking pop seriously. But please, at least sound as though you're enjoying it.

Tony Harrison. Selected Poems
Tony Harrison. Selected Poems
by Tony Harrison
Edition: Paperback

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the Heart, 13 April 2007
Poetry is difficult. There. Said it. And you need to persevere to discover its true meaning and worth.

Yet, Harrison is one of many exceptions to these pre set ideas.

In this book (especially in the School of Eloquence sequence) there is a wealth of genuinely accessible poetry about loss, community, and familial relationships. Whilst, at its core, there is the heart rending, and on-going story, of the scholarship boy displaced from his home, his family and his class by his education.

If you get the chance, try Book Ends, a beautiful sonnet about the uneasy relationship between a father and son and the gulf that exists between them following the death of the mother / wife. And you would have to possess a hard heart indeed not to be touched by the gently moving Long Distance.

Collateral - Single Disc Edition [DVD] [2004]
Collateral - Single Disc Edition [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a thriller?, 5 April 2007
Early in the relationship between Vincent and Max, Cruise's character relays the story of a man who dies on the LA subway and whose corpse remained unnoticed as it journeyed around the system. He uses this story to support his argument that LA is a sprawling mass that reflects the dislocated lives of those who live there. Mann's film investigates whether that is true or whether instead LA is home for an interconnected community.

Certainly, there is evidence to support Vincent's view; gang members (the ultimate outsiders) who are so lacking in empathy that they will rob a man bound and helpless in his own car; police departments that fail to communicate with one another; Max's fractious relationship with his mother.

Yet Mann also notes that there are tentative links between people; Max and Ruffalo's policeman who risks his own reputation in his rescue attempt at the nightclub; Max's frantic attempt to contact Vincent's final victim.

No doubting this is a thriller that, whilst not quite up to Heat's intensity, is still a very fine example of the genre. But it is also is an exploration of the virtues of city life (specifically LA) in the 21st century. It is all sprawl, dislocation and displacement. But it may also be the home of a mutually supportive community. Subtle stuff, indeed.

Batman Begins - 1 Disc Edition [DVD] [2005]
Batman Begins - 1 Disc Edition [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Franchise reallignment, 4 April 2007
There was much hoopla and hullabaloo when Tim Burton relaunched the Batman franchise in the late 80's. True to form he created a gothic atmosphere that had at its centre a dark and brooding Gotham City. Unfortunately, I felt that the ghost of the tv show still lingered in the form of an annoying turn from Nicholson. His clowning badly disrupted the film and with him the trend for campy super-villains was set.

Nolan's Batman Begins retains, at its core, the familiar mythology and adds to this a bit of trendy martial arts (although, Bale's Equilibrium did that better). Bale himself makes a convincingly intense super hero and he has been surrounded by some impressive actors in cameo roles. Best of all is the otherworldly Cillian Murphy, a cold fish in a sharp suit who transforms into the Scarecrow. This is a genuinely creepy character and a world away from the skintight leotards of the tv show or Nicholson's gurning.

A little slow at times this may be, but any sequels promise to be barnstormers.

Sex Lives Of The Potato Men [DVD] [2004]
Sex Lives Of The Potato Men [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Johnny Vegas
Price: 4.26

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just awful, 20 Feb 2007
Quite what messrs Gatiss, Vegas and Crook are doing in this dross in anyone's guess. Although I would have to suspect that a few quid for a couple of days work had everything to do with it.

This is a repellent piece of film making that features a witless script, flat direction, hopeless incidental music and a level of acting that could best be described as gurning.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2011 7:08 PM BST

28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wyndham for the 21st Century, 26 Jan 2007
This review is from: 28 Days Later (2002) [DVD] (DVD)
The opening 20 minutes of this film are filled with astonishing images. An empty London is quite breathtaking; eerie, haunting and heartrending. And Jim's arrival at his parent's home is full of pathos. What follows that night in his parent's kitchen (when we see the brutal decisiveness of Selina) is flinchingly shocking.

Unfortunately the film can't maintain this atmosphere and seems to run out of steam amidst a series of horror-movie staples.

A bold attempt, then, at a Brit horror movie. And you can see how this takes its cue from books like Day of the Triffids as much as from the work of Romero. Just seems to be lacking the bite of a Night of the Living dead or the visceral thrills of the remade Day of the Dead.

Irreversible (DVD) (Collector's Edition) (Subtitled) [2003]
Irreversible (DVD) (Collector's Edition) (Subtitled) [2003]
Dvd ~ Monica Bellucci

19 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What's the point?, 20 Dec 2006
One wonders what the director was trying to achieve with this film. Perhaps it's a critique of an increasingly immoral society. Perhaps it's an attack on an audience that has grown desensitised to the power of cinema. Perhaps it's an attack on the way that violence is shown on screen.

I tend to think that this film is merely a sordid display of macho one-upmanship. Because Noe isn't concerned with the lasting effects of sexual violence upon women, he is far more interested in how such violence perpetuates yet more male violence. If he were at all concerned with the plight of the victims of sexual violence then surely he would have stayed with the Bellucci character following her assault.

It's an undeniably powerful film and contains scenes that are likely to stick in your mind like fishhooks. But I don't think it adds anything to the debate about violence against women. And if it doesn't do that, then what's the point of this film?
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2013 10:56 PM GMT

The Business [DVD] [2005]
The Business [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Danny Dyer
Offered by 247dvd
Price: 2.97

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is this the English Goodfellas?, 17 Nov 2006
This review is from: The Business [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I'm going to take a look and some of the key elements of the film:

The film follows 10 years in the life of our (anti) hero Frankie, during which he becomes a reluctant drug runner. And as this decade happens to be the 80's we get a plethora of music; from Adam and the Ants to OMD, Duran Duran to Loose Ends. It's good stuff, but there's a problem with it; it's played out of sequence. Blondie, OMD and the Knack are all featured towards the end of the film (end of the 80's) when they were all released in very early 80's. The same happens with Duran Duran. Planet Earth (1981?) is played during a hold-up (film date of 1987?).

So, what's the 80's soundtrack supposed to be doing? Is it reflecting the hits of the day or providing atmosphere? If it's the former, then it's got its dates all wrong. If it's the later then what's the point of the (clichéd) incidental music? To see how music can provide atmosphere AND signal the exact time then perhaps Nick Love should've watched Goodfellas more closely.

There is none. At all. The tension between the 4 gang members is not developed, the resentment between the new boy (Frankie) and the Sammy (one of the gang) doesn't get above simmering point. The femme fatale radiates no sexual charge and played without charm or humour. Her partner (Sammy) is presumably supposed to be the unhinged Joe Pesci character. Sadly, they got the casting all wrong as he looks like Ronald McDonald (as one of the Sarf Lahndan lads says ) and he's about as threatening as the hamburger wielding clown, too.

Uniformly awful. I liked Danny Dyer in Human Traffic, but he's a one trick pony. All he does is the cockney geezer. A role in Eastenders surely beckons.

Threadbare, to say the least, it goes AWOL in the last 30 minutes.

Well, they got this mostly right. Lots of Ellesse and Sergio Tacchini tracksuits. But what about the hair? Why didn't any of the lads have wedges or mullets?

Shouting swear words isn't a script. It's just a night down the pub. Don't get me wrong, a good swear is sometimes appropriate and (still) shocking. Just watch an episode of The Sopranos.

End credits
We're given a one sentence biography under a photo of the character to show what they went on to do. Cringingly unfunny.

So, is this the English Goodfellas? Nope. It has none of the class or style. None of the visceral, feral energy. None of the illicit excitement. We don't feel the allure of the money, the power, the drugs, the women, the guns, and the cars. The Business is an empty experience beneath a smart Sergio Tacchini tracksuit.

So, if you want to watch a film that charts the rise and fall of a reluctant villain, watch The Godfather. If you want to see how the drug trade brings down a working class criminal then you have to watch Goodfellas. If you want to see drugs, violence, power, money in the sun, then Scarface is the one for you. And if you want to see a proper, classy, English gangster movie check out the sublime Sexy Beast. It's got a cracking, crackling script, a ferocious turn from Ben Kingsley, a vulnerable Ray Winstone and a reptilian Ian McShane. And it's set in Spain, too. Nice one.

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