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Reviews Written by
MarkW "WGCReviewer" (UK)

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Two Hands [DVD] [2007]
Two Hands [DVD] [2007]
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Underated Australian Crime Thriller, 1 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Two Hands [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Tells the story of young lad Jimmy (Heath Ledger) working as doorman at a sleazy bar in Kings Cross, Sydney who decides to take an opportunity to advance himself by doing a job for local gangster (Bryan Brown) to deliver $10,000. Things go badly wrong when Jimmy loses the money and tries to stay away from the gangsters while trying to find a way of repaying it and dating new-in-town Alex (Rose Byrne). There are some great humorous moments and interesting sub-plots that tie into each other in various ways. The 'dead narrator' is a great touch and the mystery of his identity is eventually answered neatly. I enjoyed the file immensely, and the great soundtrack.


Wool (Wool Trilogy)
Wool (Wool Trilogy)
by Hugh Howey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Imagined, 18 May 2013
This review is from: Wool (Wool Trilogy) (Paperback)
Right from the first sentence this book grabbed my attention, and kept it as it gradually revealed details of life in the 'silo' through following the stories of a number of characters living there. There are some great moments as more details are exposed and the environment of the silo has been cleverly thought out. I don't think that the characters in the story are the best drawn out that I have come across, and there were some areas of the story that seem to be skated over (particularly at the end) but the book is in my opinion worth 5 stars just on the breadth and imagination of the plot. An enthralling read.


Life! Death! Prizes!
Life! Death! Prizes!
by Stephen May
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, 13 April 2013
This review is from: Life! Death! Prizes! (Paperback)
Life! Death! Prizes! tells the story of Billy and his brother Oscar after the sudden death of their mother in a bungled street robbery. The story starts at the funeral and quickly you come to know the key characters. Paralleled with Billy's struggle to cope looking after his younger brother we also hear the life story of his mother's attacker to understand how he came to be in the position he is in. The story is funny in places and engaging and to begin with you feel a lot of sympathy for Billy. After the strong start however I felt that the story lacked a bit of direction and was a bit frustrating in that Billy is portrayed as quite a selfish character, and although people seem to be unexpectedly nice to him, he never really develops much beyond that, and it seems surprising that he gets away with it for so long. The book does build to an exciting conclusion and kept me interested until the end.


I Hunt Killers
I Hunt Killers
by Barry Lyga
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 2 April 2013
This review is from: I Hunt Killers (Paperback)
Title got my attention - as did the bleak cover (paperback cover different to that shown here) and the blurb on the front cover:

"My father is America's most notorious serial killer.
My biggest fear is that they think I am like him.
My second biggest fear is that I am..."

All in all, a good plot idea and a great set up to the story which relates how 17 year old Jazz, brought up by a serial killer who has now been imprisonned, struggles to come to terms with his situation, and becomes involved when another murder happens in his town. The internal conflict, nature vs nurture, is he destined to follow after his father? continues through out the book and adds an unusual angle. The book is fast paced and has some interesting characters, but in my view is a bit implausable in the degree of freedom Jazz has to try to solve the crime, his unauthorised investigations being found-out by the authorities repeatedly, and each time he is freed immediately to continue, and in the lack of progress that the law make in solving the case. The villain is unknown to the reader until the end but the candidates are fairly crudely set up beforehand. I found this an entertaining read, but with a bit more (gritty) realism and less extreme plot this could have been better.


White Horse
White Horse
by Alex Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the next Hunger Games, 20 Feb. 2013
This review is from: White Horse (Paperback)
Told as a series of short alternating episodes from the past and present this is the story of Zoe's struggle for survival in a post apocalyptic world. Not content with a world war, weather gone crazy, loss of technology, deadly disease or zombie type mutation this book messily combines all of them as society breaks down. Details of the different contributing factors are vague (exactly who is fighting who, where and with what?) and acknowledgement of the disease that is sweeping the population seems implausably slow. For me the different episodes were too short to engage me, too loosely linked and implausable for me to really understand what was supposed to be going on, and I gave up before the end. Admittedly it is not the author or publisher who referrred to this as 'the New Hunger Games' - but they seem happy to put that quote on the cover. Similarities with the Hunger Games are minimal and although not spelt out in detail some of the unsavoury incidents that take place suggest to me that this is not one that is aimed at young teenagers. Basic concept probably OK but not a book that I would recommend.


Happy-Go-Lucky [DVD] [2008]
Happy-Go-Lucky [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Sally Hawkins
Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Engaging but Aimless, 2 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Happy-Go-Lucky [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I have enjoyed most Mike Leigh films that I have seen, but this one did not really do it for me. The film follows Poppy, a cheerful primary school teacher througth a period of a few weeks, after having her bicycle stolen. Her interactions with other characters are interesting and sometimes amusing (rarely laugh out loud funny) but there is really not much of a plot. Poppy is always upbeat and in my view often irritatingly so, although she shows empathy for others she meets in difficult circumstances. As she learns to drive, her driving instructor, the opposite in character, struggles to work with her, and his negative and at times extreme views become more evident. Some good acting, interesting scenes but the film ambles to a close without really any conclusion. I can't really see it as a 'feel-good movie' and suspect that I will not watch it again.


Ghost World [DVD]
Ghost World [DVD]
Dvd ~ Thora Birch
Price: £3.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Unusual, 20 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Ghost World [DVD] (DVD)
Ghost World tells the story of Enid (Thora Birch) and her friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) when they leave high school. The two of them are portrayed as rebels not having tried to fit in at school and intolerant of some of those that do. When they play a trick on a stranger (Seymour played by Steve Buscemi) Enid is determimed to find out more about the victim and builds an unlikely relationship. As Enid spends more time with Seymour, and attends an art class she drifts away from Rebecca, who has a job and wants to settle into a new appartment. Soon things start to go wrong for Enid with all her options being closed off and the story moves to an unexpected conclusion. As some interviewers have pointed out the ending is left fairly open, but Enid's exit and the plot strand that leads up to it is brilliant and bizarre. The film openning is great as well and there are many amusing moments in the film particularly in the art class and shop where one of Enid and Rebeccas few friends works. A surprising an enjoyable film (but I would have liked some more of a conclusion)


The Raid [DVD] [2011]
The Raid [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Iko Uwais
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.65

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-Stop Action!, 15 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Raid [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
When I picked this film I was looking for an easy-watch Action film and that is exactly what I got. I had not appreciated that this was not an English language film until it started, and after a couple of minutes of watching it subtitled I switched to the English dubbed version which was not always that well done, but meant that you could concentrate on what was going on rather than the sub-titles - and there was a lot going on....Without much in the way of scene-setting, the film launches into the arrival of the Police SWAT team at the block of flats that they are raiding, so with one or two exceptions you don't really get to know who's who in the team. Soon the team is under attack and it is not a case of completing the mission, just of trying to get out of the building alive. The action is relentless and very violent with gun fights switching more towards cruder weapons and unarmed combat as the film progresses. The suspense builds and it becomes clear that not everybody is what they seem. The film builds to an exciting and tense conclusion with several prolonged 'martial arts' fights along the way. Not sure that the plot all fits together that well, but that didn't detract from the film for me. Maybe nit-picking but I did object to the DVD cover that show a police-van outside the flats with explosions and helicopters circling with search lights. Maybe poetic licence but the explosions don't start until the SWEAT team are inside and a key part of the story is the fact that the SWAT Team have no outside backup - so there is never any helicopters involved! Still a great Action film.


One Night at the Call Centre
One Night at the Call Centre
by Chetan Bhagat
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read, 7 Jan. 2013
The basic premise of this story - of what happens to 6 friends during one night working at a call centre in India seemed to me to have a lot of potential and I thought the story started well. The characters were interesting and the use of flash backs to chart the decline of the relationship between the Shyam and his girlfriend could have been very effective. The portrayal of Indian life and work in a call center was interesting and you did start to get a real feel for the different characters. For me, however the story lacked impact and I did not really get a feel for the drama of the situation and the real affects and any feelings that the characters had for each other when secrets and problems were revealed - it all semed very light to me. What did not help was that I did not find Shyam to be a particularly likeable character - even at the end when he was apparently looking for some kind of redemption. The attitude of the call center staff to their American customers may be realistic(?) but seemed stereotyped and a bit unkind. The key phone call later on switched the whole nature of the story to a different kind of story and I was not sure that added to the plot. The tactic used to try to save the call-center seemed very unbelievable and again unecessary. I read it all, and found it an easy read, but it could have been a lot better.


Everything Must Go [DVD] (2010)
Everything Must Go [DVD] (2010)
Dvd ~ Will Ferrell
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Well-acted Drama, 6 Jan. 2013
In this film Will Ferrell plas the part of an alchoholic Salesman Nick Porter who, on the day that he is sacked from his high paying job, returns home to find that his wife has left him and locked him out of his home, moving all his possessions out onto the lawn. Lacking a car, money, and any motivation Nick starts drinking and sits out on the lawn, but is told that his possessions can only stay there if he has a yard sale. Nick interacts with a number of characters an old school friend, his new neighbour, a young lad who hells him sell, his AA sponsor and gradually you see him come to terms with his situation. The pace is quite slow, there are amusing moments (but its not a comedy) and the ending seems a bit inconclusive, but it is well acted and I did not regret watching it once (but doubt I will re-watch it). Interesting film but seems to amble too much without really going anywhere.


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