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PJC "Joe C" (Ireland)

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The Famous Five - Complete Series 1995/1996 (6 discs)
The Famous Five - Complete Series 1995/1996 (6 discs)
Dvd ~ Jemima Rooper
Offered by ____THE_BEST_ON_DVD____
Price: £20.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Famous Five, 4 Jan. 2011
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"Santa" brought this set to my 7 year old daughter who is a big famous five fan and has read all 21 books.
Just to reiterate what other reviewers have said, we've watched these together and thoroughly enjoyed them. Obviously the menus being Dutch is difficult, the episodes move at a very quick pace and most of the key events from the books are included.
The sexism and classism of the books does surface in the films and a modern child probably requires some guidance through some of the issues ie why the boys are the leaders and when Julian is steps aside, Dick assumes leadership not George although she is a stronger and more capable charecter.
All told excellent family entertainment with a star being deducted for the language difficulties with the menu.

Quo Vadis?
Quo Vadis?
by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quo Vadis?, 8 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Quo Vadis? (Paperback)
Found this a truly excellent read. As another reviewer points out in almost forecasts the horrors of ethnic cleansing, mass destruction and conflict on a grand scale.
The juxtaposition between decadent Romans and spiritual Christian is deliberatley depicted as a yawning gap. Petronius acts as a conduit between both sides and in many ways is the moral judge of both groups.
The pace of the novel is gripping and engaging, the language enthralls and when Ursus defeats the beast in the arena one can almost hear its' neck crack.
Would thoroughly recommend this book and having seen the film version with Robert Taylor and Peter Ustinov which in itself is reasonably entertaining, I would have to say that on this occasion the book definitely surpasses the film!

King Kong [DVD]
King Kong [DVD]
Dvd ~ Fay Wray
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £13.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kong the King, 20 Mar. 2009
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This review is from: King Kong [DVD] (DVD)
A genuine classic which wears its 70 odd years well. Given the technology of the time the special effects are truely brilliant. Kong's battles with the pre-historic creatures of Skull Island are breath- taking. The Skull Island set is wonderfully atmospheric, you can almost smell the decaying vegetation.

Cooper build's suspense wonderfully, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the fearsome island inhabitants are the most terrifying thing there. The wall dividing the island is the last boundary between civilisation and fantasy world where Kong is King.

Denham as portrayed by Armstong is the very personification of capitalism and greed and Cooper's message is that excess greed leads to tragedy. Kong is a monarch in his own realm, when he is transported to democracey as represented by contemporary America, the clash of ideologies produces mayhem.

The film gives us some of the most iconic images of cinema history, the bound Wray helpless in her initial confrontation with Kong mirrored by the bound Kong on the New York stage. The Ape's eyes peering menacingly through the train wreck and of the course probably the most famous cinema image of all, Kong roars defiance from the Empire State summit.

Forget Jackson's version which would be nothing without the many benefits of computer generated special effects and depends on shock and graphic images for effect. This is the definitive Kong, one of the greatest movies ever made and I heartily recommend it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 14, 2011 7:48 PM BST

Son of Frankenstein [DVD] [1939]
Son of Frankenstein [DVD] [1939]
Dvd ~ Boris Karloff
Price: £9.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Karloff, 2 Mar. 2009
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While this film never received the critical acclaim of "Bride of" I have always rated it better. It may not have the imagery, symbolism or black humour of the former but as a horror film it succeeds far better.
Rathbone gives gravitas to the role of Wolf the titular son striking a subtle balance of mania and scientific knowledge. Lugosi is brilliant as Ygor, yes it is his finest role surpassing the vampire count. Atwill's police inspector may represent law and order but the underlying menace of his performance reminds us constantly of the many villians which Lionel played.
Karloff is superb despite his lack of script. Once again he evokes fear and also sympathy by a wonderfully balanced performance.
This is universal horror at its' best, chilling, believable performances. Gloomy, foggy and futuristic sets, and a rattling plot which never loses pace.
All in all wonderfully represenative of the genre as a whole but a film capable of standing on its' own merits as you don't need to have seen the prequels to enjoy it.

1970s Fa Cup Finals [DVD]
1970s Fa Cup Finals [DVD]
Dvd ~ 1970's Fa Cup Finals

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Goal"den nostalgia, 8 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: 1970s Fa Cup Finals [DVD] (DVD)
As a child of the 1970's the FA Cup Final was one of the few live televsion matches during the season. Here is recaptured every moment from the teams emerging from the tunnel to the final lap of honour. Some of the games are devoid of action replays but this does not detract unduly from their quality.
For me it was a pleasure to relive some of those unforgetable moments, Sprake's blunder in 1970, Charlie George's 1971 celebration, Clarke's winner in 1972, Montgomey and THAT save (Better than Banks and Pele) in 1973, Shankly's rampant reds humiliating Supermac in 74, Moore lining out against the hammers in 75, Stokes offside winner in 76, Liverpool's attempt at the treble in 77, Bobby Robson's Ipswich announce their arrival in 78 and the finest finish ever to a cup final in 79.

Relive those glorious May Saturday afternoons of almost 40 years ago and enjoy the spectacle of English football at its height when the FA cup was indeed the greatest cup competition in the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this dose of nostalgia which was enhanced by the fact that the the games are now in full colour compared to my original viewing which would have been in black and white.

I would deduct a star for the lack of sub titles and the missing action replays in the earlier games.

Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (Digitally Remastered) [DVD]
Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (Digitally Remastered) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Basil Rathbone
Price: £19.85

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basil the Best but no Subtitles, 20 Dec. 2008
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I would agree with most reviewers. Basil Rathbone is head and shoulders above any other depiction of Holmes. The films have wonderful atmosphere, foggy streets, moonlight moors and eerie mansions. Rathbone's wonderful voice alone is the very personification of Doyle's creation. Bruce's Watson is played somewhat for comic relief but the warmth of the relationship between the two leads is an endearing element to the films. Yes, some of the films are unashamedly war time propaganda but notwithstanding the settings, the qualities of Rathbone's Holmes elevate the films.
My only criticism and the reason for the deduction of one star is that the hearing impaired are NOT considered, there are no subtitles!!!!!

Right Time Right Place: Clough's Derby Years
Right Time Right Place: Clough's Derby Years
by George Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Clough, 21 Nov. 2008
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Found this a poor read. The book is excellently written but my expectations of the content based on the book title were sadly disappointed. Too much of the book is autobiographical, anecdotes of athletics and journalism. Some chapters make no reference to Clough or Taylor. The Rams march to their historic league title is dealt with in summary form. In comparison to Peace'e "Damned Utd" or Hamilton's "Provided You Don't Kiss Me" I found this lacking in insight reagding Clough. Far from being an inside story, it features many tales all too familiar to followers of English football in the 70's and 80's

James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD]
James Cagney - The Signature Collection : Angels With Dirty Faces / Public Enemy / Roaring Twenties / White Heat (4 Disc Box Set) [1931] [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Cagney
Offered by Lizzie Amanda
Price: £48.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cagney, Top of the World, 3 Mar. 2008
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Rarely can an actor have merited the accolade "star" more than Jimmy Cagney. He brought to the screen a consistencey of performance which is unequalled to this day. His versatility ranged from song and dance (Yankee Doodle Dandy)through comedy (The Strawberry Blonde) to serious bio pics (Man of a Thousand Faces). Although it is as a screen tough guy he is perhaps best remembered.

This collection features probably his four finest perfomances as the ultimate gangster of the american screen.

In "Public Enemy" he gives a touching portrayal of the kid from a good background gone wrong who pays the ultimate price for aspiring to the wild side of the law.

"The Roaring Twenties" is yet again another moralistic tale with a social conscience about prohibition era America. Cagney plays the returning dough boy who finds not a hero's welcome but rather doors being closed in his face. Out of desperation he resorts to boot legging with savage consequences.

Cagney's performance as Rocky Sullivan in "Angels with Dirty Faces" is a wonderful dichotomy of venom from a soft heart. Pat O' Brien's final exhortation to "pray for a boy who couldn't run as fast as I could" encapsulates the whole theme of the environmental determinism on the growing child. Cagney's final scene in the death chamber must rank amongst the silver screens finest moments.

Finally, in "White Heat" Cagney surely brings to the screen the most frightening human being ever in the guise of mother fixated, psychotic gangster Cody Jarret.This is a towering performance which evokes a real sense of fear as the audience empathises with everyone who crosses Cody's path. The final scene atop the blazing gas tanks is legendary as Cagney screams his final epitaph "Made it Ma, top of the world"

This collection represents wonderful entertainment from a true movie great. If you are not familiar with Cagney's work and believe he can be stereotyped as the one dimensional character who's best line is "you dirty rat", why not educate yourself and experience the depth and intensity of perfomance which was unique to-Jimmy Cagney
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 30, 2010 6:41 PM GMT

The Invisible Man / Phantom of the Opera [DVD][1933/1943]
The Invisible Man / Phantom of the Opera [DVD][1933/1943]
Dvd ~ Claude Rains
Price: £18.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Universal Classics, 24 Feb. 2008
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A wonderful tribute to one of Hollywood's finest charecter actors, the great Claude Rains, featuring his leading debut as "The Invisible Man".

The Invisible Man features special effects which although seventy odd years old are still thrilling to behold. Rains perfomance as the meglomaniac scientist, Griffin is taut and filled with menace; a considerable achievement considering the only time he appears on screen is his death scene.

Rains rich speaking voice lends genuine terror to the role particulary in a wonderful rant where he ponders on a world running scared at the brush of his invisible finger.

The Invisible Man was ground breaking in its day with an unseen leading star and its awe inspiring special effects which still entertain and enthrall today.

The Phantom of the Opera is the relatively weaker of the two films. It is beautifully photographed in technicolour and features a macnificent operatic score delivered by two wonderful voices Susanna Foster and Nelson Eddy. Indeed its focus on opera rather than phantom somewhat anticipates Lloyd Webars later effort.

The film looks and sounds great but whilst Claude Rains delivers a wonderfully sympathetic performance as Claudin, the ageing musician, his interpretation of the phantom is sadly restricted by the plot.

Gone is any supernatural element to the phantom, being replaced by an acid throwing incident which deprives the plot of any real mystery, in that here is a phantom but everybody knows who he is!

As the masked menace Rains delivers a number of chilling setpieces, his revaltion to and murder of Biancorrolli, the chandelier incident and a suitably menacing perfomance on the organ prior to unmasking.

However, the phantom loses all real menace once he captures Christine. His dialogue becomes weak and pitiful, a love struck teenager, tongue tied and posing Christine no real threat. The unmasking scene is totally undermined by the very understated make up which Rains insisted upon. ( a bad case of acne!)

Nonetheless, the film has value in terms of atmosphere and visual impact. Rains delivers his material in his usual masterful way and cannot be blamed for its shortcomings.

In conclusion it is more opera than phantom, not a patch on the Lon Chaney silent version and a precursor to the acid throwing versions of Schell, Lom etc.

The Apartment [DVD]
The Apartment [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Lemmon
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.58

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wilder Comic Genius, 6 Sept. 2007
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This review is from: The Apartment [DVD] (DVD)
The comic genius of Billy Wilder was never better illustrated than by this bitter sweet romantic comedy. It's focus ranges from the general with its' seering indictment of the corporate world to the particular and a wonderful exploration of the central characters's lives in the persons of Lemmon, MacLaine and MacMurray.

Lemmon's performance as the central "everyman" or John Doe character caught between career enhancement and love, is superb. MacLaine provides a wonderfully tragic heroine and McMurray is immoral corporate America personified.

Laughter freely mingles with tears as Lemmon struggles to assert his identity against a rising tide of corruption and infidelity. It's warm, it's funny, it's wonderfully evocative but most of all it makes you consider the ethics of the corporate world and their impact on society at large.

An all together superior romantic comedy

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