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Paul Grove (Liss, UK)

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Fish Tank
Fish Tank
Dvd ~ Michael Fassbender
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: 6.22

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It tanked ..., 8 Jan 2012
This review is from: Fish Tank (DVD)
I watched this after seeing `Red Road'. What a disappointment. Gritty - yes. Well-shot - yes. Entertaining - nope.

As has been touched on by other reviewers, I think this film failed to grip as there were absolutely no redeeming features about the main characters - well-acted though they were. At least Red Road ended on a sense of closure.

For me, this film says a lot about the British film industry. It's got a bit formulaic. Ever since the 1960's middle-class UK directors seem hell-bent on building their reputation on making `isn't life hell for the working class on council estates?' films that have slowly drifted south from `up north' over the years. Is the fact that they seem to attract funding again indicative of the middle-class trying to salve its conscience? And then they wail and gnash their teeth as the same directors `sell their souls' and make hugely popular and lucrative films in the USA - anyone remember Ridley Scott's `Boy on a Bicycle?'.

Anyway - to end on a positive note. Rebecca Griffiths produces a wonderful performance as the young sister (if you can stomach the language). And the scene when the main character fishes the little girl out of the estuary is heart-breaking and powerful viewing. How the hell did they get that past the insurers?

If you're into gritty UK films, go for it. Otherwise - avoid.

The Bomber [DVD]
The Bomber [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ekaterina Astahova
Offered by Direct-Offers-UK-FBA
Price: 2.35

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tells us more about Putin's Russia than WW2?, 4 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Bomber [DVD] (DVD)
As the other reviewers state - this film runs at over 3hrs, and judging by the structure, it was originally made for television (apparently 100mins have been cut - yikes!). In fact it would probably fare much better in that format; as a standalone film it's just too long. I'm sorry to say I just couldn't make it to the end without hitting the fast forward button.

On the disc itself - clearly this has been put out to the UK market on a bit of a budget. The image (Standard Definition 16:9) is good, but the dialogue is predominantly Russian rather than German as stated. The subtitles seem to be literal and at times seem both quirky and clunky.
Attention to historical accuracy in terms of costume, vehicles, etc., is impressive, but don't expect the CGI to be up to Hollywood-blockbuster levels. It's clearly been limited by a limited television budget. But I've seen far worse. There are also several continuity gaffes - we see a POV shot through telescopic sights, and the reveal shows the soldier making spectacular shots with iron sights. Oh dear.

Plot-wise, it is potentially an interesting story. It is hard to gauge how historically accurate it is with reference to Russia being attacked by V2's. Likewise, the `turned' units of Russians. It would be fascinating to know what (if any) research they based this on. Or is it just a fiction? There are no extras on the disc covering this.

Which leads me to some more serious issues with this film. The characters and their development are awfully predictable (there's even the `good' German). And you have to accept a huge liberty within the plotline within the first few minutes; the main character bemoans the fact that he hasn't heard from his love interest. Another character tries to console him that she has probably been swallowed up in the system and chaos. And lo and behold, she suddenly appears fully-trained up to go on a major mission. I've spoken to Russians about their war experience and families really did lose contact with each other for the duration of WW2, given the sheer size of the USSR, its populace, and the anarchy that descended. Ah well, I'll go with it ... 2hrs 45mins to go ...
But something has left me profoundly unsettled by this film. There is no mention of the Western Front (ok - how many Western WW2 films mention the USSR?), and it is Moscow that is about to fall victim of the V2's. The paranoia and terror instigated by the NKVD is hinted at, but is glossed over. And then another `branch' of the NKVD sweeps in (miracle of miracles) to save the day, which suggests that parts of the NKVD weren't all that bad really. Well, sorry, all the evidence suggests that the NKVD were far from `heroic' in any sense of the word.

I'm left with the suspicion that this film is a product of a Putin-dominated Russia. Little mention of the West, not all the NKVD were bad, stoic Russian heroes, etc. Heck, even the Komsomol looks fun. For a more accurate view of the NKVD, I would suggest the pre-Putin `Burnt by the Sun' or `Katyn'.

Unfortunately, this film does not work primarily due to its length and the fact that it falls between two stools - blockbuster or historical story. It doesn't quite make it as either. Maybe seeing it as a mini-series in its original form would be the best option.

Acer Liquid Metal Sim Free Smartphone
Acer Liquid Metal Sim Free Smartphone

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Product Design - Fundamental Flaw, 26 Dec 2011
I purchased this item as my first foray into smartphone technology. Initial impressions were good. However, I found a big problem for me - the screen is slightly convex making it nearly impossible to type text. Big shame as the design is otherwise quite sleek. It the screen had been flat I would have kept it. Instead it was returned. Top marks to Expansys and Amazon for the initial quick delivery and then the refund.

How I Ended This Summer [Blu-ray]
How I Ended This Summer [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Grigory Dobrygin
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 9.83

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Salted trout, anyone?, 10 Oct 2011
This film seems to have polarised (no pun intended) opinion; on one hand lavish critical acclaim and on the other slating reviews with one broadsheet national newspaper stating that you shouldn't waste two hours of your life on it. So, I approached with a degree of trepidation.
Good points - beautifully shot. Sorry - that's just one good point.
Bad points - too long. Poor characterisation. Despite two hours and just two characters we fail to learn about either in any depth. As a result, their actions are totally inexplicable. And because we fail to learn anything about the characters, the viewer ends up with little sympathy for either and their outcomes.
The Blu-ray itself - cracking picture that compliments the photography superbly. Extras consist of an interview with the Director at the BFI. Can't comment on that as after two hours I'd lost the will. Would have loved to have seen a 'making of' documentary given the location, but no sign ...
The story has so much potential - cabin-fever, wild animals, cliff-hanging predicaments, a human element. Could have made a fast-paced 1hr 40mins. Maybe the Director was trying to avoid that - because it is so tried and tested. Maybe he was trying to achieve a 'look'. Well, yes he has. It is pleasing to the eye. But we end up learning more about salted trout. I kid you not. Shame.

MYWIPE Individual Large Flat Television TV Screen Plasma LCD TFT Cleaning Wipes x 10
MYWIPE Individual Large Flat Television TV Screen Plasma LCD TFT Cleaning Wipes x 10

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets ..., 20 Mar 2011
I've tried numerous screen wipes - both wet and dry - and have been disappointed. These wipes have been perfect on various typres of screen. Highly recommended.

Robin Hood - Extended Director's Cut [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Robin Hood - Extended Director's Cut [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Russell Crowe
Offered by Sent2u
Price: 5.99

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should have known from the outset ..., 24 Oct 2010
... that this was going to a be a disappointment. The Blu-Ray begins with the choice of the theatrical release or the Director's cut. Bad sign. Right away this hints that the Director was unhappy with the finished product. Still, it's by Ridley Scott, so it's bound to be good, isn't it?

Er, no. Sorry. I really disliked this. A real mish-mash of borrowed ideas that we've seen before, and plot-lines that fail miserably. For starters, who are the Lost Boys in the wood? What are they about? Why should we care? Having them ride down the beach with Cate Blanchett in Joan of Arc / Elizabeth mode was just stomach-churning. Too many crane shots. Let's start this scene low then raise the camera up high. Oh, and we need a bit of music for the village dance scene. Quick. Try Kubrick - I know - Barry Lyndon! Cracked it! And - the beach invasion. Hmmm, tricky. I know. Spielberg did the Saving Private Ryan invasions scene from left to right, so we can do it from right to left. If we put some planks of wood on those allied landing craft, no-one will notice. Oohh, and those shots of bullets going through water and soldiers drowning were good, so we'll just change to arrows and armor. It's a certain hit!

Unfortunately, this film sums what can go wrong in the film industry ... 'It's directed by Spielberg / Scorsese / Scott / Kubrick etc ... it's bound to be a box-office smash. Do you want to be the person that doesn't given him the money?'.

Give this a miss. Stick to The Duellists, Alien, and Blade Runner - Ridley Scott at his finest.

Zulu [Blu-ray] [1964] [Region Free]
Zulu [Blu-ray] [1964] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jewel in my Blu-Ray Collection, 29 Mar 2009
Zulu was one of those films that I always seemed to catch the last twenty minutes of on television. Having upgraded to Blu-ray recently I decided to buy this as one of my first discs to see what the fuss was about.

Well my jaw hit the floor! Considering this was shot 46 years ago it looks remarkable. This restoration has been a labour of love by somebody - many thanks to them! The picture quality is amazing - even my parents - technophobes at the best of times - were impressed. The only slight disappointment is the sound; when processed through my surround sound system I get a slight rumble on the rear speakers. However, I understand that the original stereo track has been lost.

Although many liberties were taken for dramatic effect (there is no evidence to suggest that 'Men of Harlach' was sung), this is still an enjoyable, exciting film to watch - even though from the outset the audience knows what is going to happen. If anything, it is Nigel Green's performance as Colour Sergeant Bourne that steals the show.

The extras are fascinating and narrated by Sheldon Hall - I strongly recommend his book for sale on Amazon - he reveals the many trials and tribulations in how this film was made on a small budget in the shadow of apartheid.

And do try and read up as to actually happened to the participants to put the events in context ... Bromhead (Caine) died of disease in India, and Chard (Baker) died of tongue cancer a short time later. Bourne (aged only 24 at the time), was promoted through the ranks and died on VE Day.

Yes there are flaws - why is Chard building a pontoon across a river in which Bromhead's horse is only up to it's ankles?! - but buy and enjoy this disc - it shows you what HD truly means.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2009 5:48 PM BST

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