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Lei-Lei Jayenne (Leytonstone, London)

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Constantine [DVD]
Constantine [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keanu Reeves
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.99

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but lacks that authentic JC feel...., 23 May 2005
This review is from: Constantine [DVD] (DVD)
It seemed, when details of the casting for this film were released, that the minds of a million nerdy Hellblazer fans (me included) exploded in disbelief and anger. Keanu Reeves as John Constantine!! That's Keanu 'dark hair, American' Reeves as very English ex-punk, chain-smoker and Sting lookalike John Constantine!!! Eh, how's that gonna work?? we cried, and scratched our heads bemusedly.
Well, i have to say, i think the film is good. It's darker than most Hollywood productions, which is always welcome, and it does try valiantly to stick to some aspects of the comics. The biggest mistake made here is definately the changes in the character of Chas (shameful!), and not the casting of Keanu!
The premise is one fairly familiar to those who read comics of any sort i'd imagine, not a particularly in-depth plot, but one that adheres to JC's character very well, and draws on the Dangerous Habits story-lines. Basically, after trying to commit suicide, he is attempting to gain his place in heaven back by killing demons running free on Earth. He encounters a young cop, played by Rachel Weisz, who needs help investigating the strange death of her twin sister. Never fear though, this meeting does not herald the beginning of yet another dull, vacuous, pointless Hollywood love interest story-line. JC would much rather kiss a Marlboro than a girl, ya see!!
As the film goes on, a bigger plot is unveiled, involving the resurrection of the Devil's own son, here on Earth. There's a nice little acting debut from Gavin Rossdale as the snappy-dressing demon Balthazar, and a quite true-to-the-comics depiction of Papa Midnight by the great Djimon Hounsou.
For me, though the acting honours go to the superb Tilda Swinton as the Angel Gabriel. She is highly believable as a sex-less, age-less being such as an angel, and her softly-spoken, subtle acting style perfectly depicts Gabriel as the dangerous and devious character he/she is.
This is a good film on it's own merit, and i don't think it matters if you've read any of the comics, when it comes to this film. This isn't the definitive JC remember, and for that, i think you have to stick to the stories, after all he's a literary character, and maybe he needs to stay that way...
So, Hellblazer fans shouldn't watch this with too many expectations, but if you keep an open mind you might just find yourself enjoying a dark, twisted, interesting film of merit.
So, Keanu Reeves then?
You know, he isn't that bad as JC it has to be said. I mean, he isn't JC, but he does a fair job of nailing a few of the great man's traits, he's certainly moody and bitter. He maybe scowls and tries to look intense a bit too much, but i think this could have ended up a hell of a lot worse than it does. I did miss the biting humour/sarcasm of the real JC in Reeve's performance, which was actually pretty humourless, maybe lapsing into Neo-land a bit too frequently, a bit too much action hero and not enough anti-hero perhaps. But it could have been worse, in my opinion.
All in all, an interesting, dark film, which doesn't capture the comic book hero, but maybe just puts a different spin on him, to entice new readers into the Hellblazer realm, which can't be bad.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2011 8:46 PM GMT

Possessed: The Rise and Fall of "Prince"
Possessed: The Rise and Fall of "Prince"
by Alex Hahn
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sign o'the Times..., 2 May 2005
Where most biographies are written by fans of the subject, and therefore paint them predominatly in a positive light, this Prince one doesn't shy away from depictions of a man who essentially is a control freak.
Prince is my favourite artist and musician of all time, but i don't need to read pandering studies of him,(i already think he's perfect anyway!), what i want to know about is the real Prince. This biography leans towards the more negative aspects of the little genius, for instance his terrible treatment of his girlfriends, his blatant unwillingness to allow anyone to have any impact on his recording work, and his diva-esque temper tantrums.
This book was written when Prince was perhaps going through his most difficult period, creatively and personally. Relationships with his record company Warner Bros were coming to an unamicable end, he was expecting the birth of his first child(a tragic story in itself), his finances weren't what they used to be, resulting in Paisley Park staff being fired. There is even a hint of a suicide/cry-for-help attempt ending in a rush to hospital.
Essentially he was a legend in the process of self-destruction, again both personally and musically.
His musical out-put at this time was famously below par for a man of his standards, the fact is, he didn't let anyone become his creative filter, and he'd lost the ability to do that himself.
This is a fascinating book about the downside of 'legendary' status and musical genius. A man losing his grip at the top of the summit and sliding into a somewhat self-inflicted abyss.
Whilst written from a fairly neutral standpoint by Alex Hahn, i do still get the impression the author is a fan of Prince, just realistic about him.
I, too, would recommend this book to any Prince fan, and indeed to any fan of music, as it's a study on the nature of musical fame and it's inevitable downsides.
It's particularly nice to read it now, as Prince is going through a creative re-emergence right now(Musicology album and tour proving hugely popular). Maybe in a couple of years, someone might need to write another biography about the rise and fall and then rise again of His Royal Badness.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2012 6:20 PM BST

Resident Evil - Apocalypse [DVD] [2004]
Resident Evil - Apocalypse [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Milla Jovovich
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.02

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just good old-fashioned fun!!, 15 Mar 2005
This isn't a film you remotely need to take seriously, but when you're in the mood for some good action moves from some seriously good-looking people then this certainly does the job.
Girls kicking ass is always a pleasure to watch when it's done well, and isn't just laughable. This film does it very well (like Resident Evil 1 did too). Milla Jovovich is sexy and feisty as a kick-ass babe, i wouldn't mess with her anyway. She has that statuesque iciness that makes it highly believable that she has been altered in some way, as the plot states. Oded Fehr is a complete fox as Carlos Rivera, his entrance from the 'copter is amongst the best i've seen in an action film. He has some great old-school charm in this film, very charismatic, the flirting between Carlos and Alice works very well. The only let-down for me cast-wise was Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine...yeh she looks the part, right clothes, perfect stances etc etc, shame she can't act and comes across as rather simpering, i just couldn't see her as that tough, touch of the laughable girl-in-ation-film stuff i mentioned earlier i'm afraid.
Being someone who's played the game, it was kinda worrying how the Nemesis would be characterised in the film, but actually it's done really really well. He looks exactly the same, only complaint being the inaccurate weaponry(as someone else mentioned).
So, if you watch this film expecting some kind of deep and meaningful message to work itself out before your very eyes, then you will only be disappointed. However, if you watch it because you fancy a bit of well-done zombie-bashing, good, interesting stunts and kickass babes(male and female) then i don't think you'd be disappointed.

A Journal of the Plague Year
A Journal of the Plague Year
by Daniel Defoe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book!, 4 Mar 2005
This is a brilliant history book, written as fiction by Defoe, who was 5-years-old and stayed living in London throughout the Plague of 1665. He wrote this book some years later from his remembrances of things he saw and heard. Placing himself in the character of a young man, we read stories of great sorrow and great hope alike. Giving us a fascinating insight into the nature of varied human responses to tragedy and disaster. So we learn about people who put their own lives on the line going out to work sometimes in the houses of the already infected just to be able to feed and clothe their family, and then we learn about disturbing characters who used the opportunity for their own ill-gotten gains. It's disturbing to learn that young women were still attacked and raped in the streets of London, and houses were still robbed despite having the 'cross' sign of the Plague infection on their doors.
The book doesn't just centre on the streets of London but travels into the surrounding countryside, remember even places like Walthamstow were at the time considered to be outside London, and very much the countryside.
During it's worst months, thousands of people, both infected and not, were attempting an escape to what they thought was the safety of the country, only to be confronted with pitch-fork wielding locals at the village gates telling them to go away in no uncertain terms. But of course even these people succumbed in the end.
This is not a pleasant read, what with Plague pit descriptions, stories of babies suckling the breasts of their long-dead mothers, and in-depth descriptions of the symptoms. But i believe it's an important read, being both an interesting look at the human psyche and behaviour patterns in a time of great distress, panic and fright, and also as probably the most accurate account of one of this country's most tragic years.
The book touches on the Great Fire of 1666 aswell, and the conclusion the reader is lead to, is that London was a completely different place following those 2 events, even to this very day. A particularly riveting read if you are either a Londoner by birth or live in London.

Ambulance Ltd
Ambulance Ltd

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent..., 3 Mar 2005
This review is from: Ambulance Ltd (Audio CD)
Ambulance Ltd are a NYC band with a difference. If you listen carefully, the sound of desperate fashionista post-punkers is conspicuously absent. This is an album of gorgeous, tender, somtimes funny moments. There is quite a Beatles/Kinks feel to it, but it never travels down the trad-rock retro route. But they aren't overtly like ANY other bands really, to me there's elements of Big Star, My Bloody Valentine, Amusement Parks on Fire, The Lemonheads and early Ride (they are obvious Buffalo Springfield fans too). They wrap all their influences up in songs of humour, sadness, and shimmering melodies. The vocals are consistently good quality throughout, and they are great musicians too. Not afraid of the magic touch of feed-back, which is always great to hear in my book.
I stumbled across this album quite unexpectedly, and it's always a joy when such an encounter surprises in a positive way.

Raw Power
Raw Power
Price: £4.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kick-Ass Rock'n'Roll...., 18 Feb 2005
This review is from: Raw Power (Audio CD)
...doesn't come any better than this album. As far as i'm concerned, this is still the best r'n'r album ever recorded.
Despite the murky mixing of David Bowie on the original release, and the extremely loud remixing Bruce Dickinson and Iggy Pop performed on the reissue, it always sounds great. I personally enjoy listening to both versions, but then i can't get enough of the album.
Search and Destroy, the opener, may very well be the most influential song ever, containing as it does elements of both nihilist punk and thrashy metal, how many bands did this one song conceive?!
Gimme Danger follows, and is confrontational and dare i say it dangerous. Iggy singing Gimme Danger makes me laugh, considering he's the one who was mostly handing out the danger of the era!
Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell, is quite frankly scary, in a great way, and surely has one of the best titles a song has ever been known by.
Penetration, again confrontational, and beautifully sleazy, Iggy at his yelping and howling sexiest.
Title track, Raw Power is lyrically great and musically incendiary. I Need Somebody is probably my least favourite song on the album, yet still one of my most favourite songs ever, the albums that good.
The closing 2 tracks absolutely warrant repeated listening, as you hear new things almost every time. Shake Appeal is great to dance to, and i love the way Iggy practically spits the words out like they're poisoning him or something. Death Trip is just insane, I can't do it justice, just listen to it.
This is an album i never tire of, i don't think i ever will. It can never be loud enough and one listen at a time is never enough, let it finish, go to your stereo, turn up the volume and start it all over again!
ps, it's actually really worth getting both versions in my opinion.

Silent Alarm [CD + DVD]
Silent Alarm [CD + DVD]
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £5.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly anticipated, already loved..., 17 Feb 2005
This review is from: Silent Alarm [CD + DVD] (Audio CD)
Bloc Party's debut is probably going to be one of the best albums of 2005, regardless it's certainly one of the best albums of the past few years as far as i'm concerned. Their single Banquet piqued my interest in the Essex 4-piece, and then they released the gorgeous So Here We Are, and i was sold.
Although, overall they aren't really on new ground regarding their sound and style, they do seem to come at it from a different angle to the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads. The post-punk edgy guitars and primal drums are there but there's a lot more in the mix, even some nods towards a 'shoe-gazing' sound on some tracks.
The musicianship is top-notch, particularly the drumming, which at times is almost frenetic. But the real star is singer Kele, who obviously likes to play with his vocals, he doesn't sing each song the same way as the one before, and the emotional range of his voice is stunning, at points drop-dead gorgeous.
There are points when they sound almost Blur-like, in fact this is the type of album Blur should have been releasing in their latter days. But forget Blur, Bloc Party could now sweep all before them with this album. I hope they continue to evolve and don't stagnate now that they have had some success with this sound. Highly promising band, they kinda put Franz Ferdinand to shame with this ambitious album.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season 1 - The First Year [2001] [DVD]
Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season 1 - The First Year [2001] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Vincent D'Onofrio
Offered by rockaway-records
Price: £9.82

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another American Cop-Type Drama........, 10 Feb 2005
But this is probably my favourite of the lot. Mainly due to the supreme, intense acting of Mr Vincent D'Onofrio, who tears up the screen with his portrayal of criminal psychologist type person Det. Bobby Goren. It's a joy to behold him ripping the villains minds to shreds every week, with his amazing intellect and some funny one-liners thrown in too.
He does have a female partner who is very good too, played by Catherine Erbe, though she doesn't often get much of a chance to shine. The producers obviously realised what a coup they got with Vincent D'Onofrio signing on, and the focus is certainly on him.
This first series was very good, the story's weren't too 'same-y', and were consistently mind-boggling and sometimes disturbing, but you feel safe in the hands of Bobby Goren....

Worlds Apart [CD + DVD]
Worlds Apart [CD + DVD]
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £17.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The arrival of this album was...., 10 Feb 2005
This review is from: Worlds Apart [CD + DVD] (Audio CD)
...highly anticipated round my way, and boy, it doesn't disappoint. I've been a ToD fan since Madonna, and they are one of the consistently best live acts i've seen. A joy to behold in their instrument-swapping, total-destruction of the set-up swagger.
This is the fourth album proper (plus mini-album thingy Secrets of Elena's Tomb), and as such is quite a different prospect to the previous three releases. The production values are much more apparent (don't get me wrong this is neither an improvement nor a mistake, it's just something quite new for ToD). It gives their songs a meatier edge to them, when compared to say the songs on Madonna, with their hard-to-make out vocals and almost wall-of-sound instruments.
Conrad Keely is an extremely artistic individual, a lot of the beautiful art-work is either his or from a design of his, and on the bonus dvd we get a very interesting essay on music from him. His lyrics on World's Apart are every bit as good as they always have been too. The 3 songs Will You Smile Again?, World's Apart and The Rest Will Follow are the stand-out tracks so far for me. Brilliant example of a band that likes to evolve musically.

Price: £7.71

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The genius of Grant Lee Phillips...., 10 Feb 2005
This review is from: Fuzzy (Audio CD)
...has never really caught on over here, which is a shame, as he's a superb song-writer, and has the most beautiful voice.
This, GLB's debut album, is still my favourite of them all. It contains plenty of gorgeous moments (Jupiter and Teardrop, Soft Wolf Tread, The Hook), and the narrative lyrics are great too. But, it's really Grant's vocals that hook you in, at points awfully fragile, then almost forceful in his delivery of certain lines. GLB and Phillips himself are the sort of band/songwriter who will gain loads of recognition after they have ceased to exist, rather than fame and glory in their day.
Forget the bland singer-songwriter trash that we are producing at the moment (Melua, Stone, Beddingfields 1 and 2, Dido), and go straight to the heart of Grant Lee Buffalo and their beautiful songs. This is the best album of theirs to start with.

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