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BA Baracus "BA" (Abidjan, Ivory Coast)

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Allah is Not Obliged
Allah is Not Obliged
by Ahmadou Kourouma
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good s**t, 14 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Allah is Not Obliged (Hardcover)
Ahmadou Kharouma has created a thoroughly engaging character in Birahima our guide through Africa's wild west. He is like so many of the poor street children that pound Africa's streets doing their best to survive. He is a good kid, from a loving family, who do their best to protect him from the attractions of a life of crime.

Upon capture in Liberia where Birahima was going in search of his aunt with his village sorcerer, he is captured and joins the ranks of a group of child soldiers. He continues through Liberia and Sierra Leone joining the armies of a variety of power crazed war lords, each seemingly more insane than the previous. Documenting his personal experiences in a diary, he gives an often hilarious account of some of the most depraved, sadistic acts that anyone could imagine. These experiences no doubt helped to produce the colourful and vibrant voice that bursts from each page. Birahima's detached manner enables him to look objectively at the madness and contradictions that surround him and Africa in general.

It's a real slap in the face to Live 8's naive views that if we erradicate 3rd world debt, we erradicate poverty. It is minds that need to change and education that can only provide this. Otherwise Africa is doomed to repeate this cycle of abuse reeped upon them people such as Charles Taylor, Foday Sankoh, Hinga Norman etc. Birahima recognizes this and it is his despair at the ignorance of his fellow men that makes him angry.

All in all it was a fantastic read and one i can't highly recommend enough.

Point Blank [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Point Blank [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by Newtownvideo_EU
Price: £15.00

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic, 12 July 2005
this is definitely one of the best crime films ever made.
lee marvin does a great job here, playing walker a tough who has been shot and left for dead on alcatraz, betrayed by his best friend and wife who have have been having an affair together and run off with the loot. marvin strides through LA cause catastrophy after catastrophy all in the name of revenge and persuit of what is rightfully his.
despite being set in the 60's the movie is timeless, because intellegently portrayed the underworld not as old fashioned heavy handed thugs but as a maze like jungle of big business corporations and businessmen. this is probably indebted to the social upheavels that were taking place in america at the time such as vietnam, nixon etc.
movies like soderbergh's the limey starring terrence stamp owe some debt to this movie but can never repeat its brilliance.

Criterion Collection: Burden of Dreams [DVD] [1982] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Criterion Collection: Burden of Dreams [DVD] [1982] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good not great, 19 May 2005
criterion have released a wonderful disc with great extras including a commentary from the film makers and Werner Herzog, a 38 minute interview with Werner Herzog conducted in 2005 and Werner eats his shoe in which the director does just that.
there are some great scenes with the indians who are naturally very suspicious of the film and its intents and this coupled with the difficult surroundings and very idea of the film would be enough to put anyone off, but Werner Herzog is not just anyone. He explains that he could have filmed it with Fox and Nicholson in America in a studio but the effect would not have been the same and he is absolutely correct, a fake plastic minature boat (a la Scorses's Cape Fear) would have looked terrible, it had to be completed with this way because the film is all about FAITH and DREAMS (hence the title Burden of Dreams).
Werner Herzog is Fitzcarraldo in some respects a man with a strange vision, a fever dream that he must complete at all costs in order to justify himself as a human being it seems and like Fitzcarraldo he succeeds in my opinion despite what the intellectuals or reviewers say.
this film however although interesting is only a snap shot of the making of the film, there was so much more going on that has been left out (as is evident in the 86 page diary of the film makers accompanying the DVD). the contents at times is also misleading and through some inventive editing it unfairly portrays Werner Herzog as an egomaniac willing to risk lives in order to complete his films. the length at 90 odd minutes is incredibly short considering the 4 year pre-production and production of the film which with all the ups and down would have given so much more great footage.
all in all it is still a great experience but the film Fitzcarraldo is much more rewarding of the two.

Sideways [DVD] [2004]
Sideways [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Paul Giamatti
Price: £2.43

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "no going to the dark side...OK", 16 May 2005
This review is from: Sideways [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Miles has decided to take Jack on a bachelor road trip for some hedonistic fun before he eventually gets married a week later. Miles's idea was for the two of them to enjoy Jack's last few days of freedom together in wine country and perhaps play some golf but Jack has other ideas.
to go into anymore detail would be to ruin the whole experience for you, so i'll stop now.
this film reminded me so much of classic '70's movies particularly those of Hal Ashby such as Harold and Maude and The Last Detail. were so much more emphasis is placed on characters rather than plot, which in my mind almost always makes for a more interesting experience. unfortunately some people will and have disagreed...their loss. Miles and Jack are very interesting characters, Miles is particularly prickly but Giamatti's excellent performance manages to get us to care and love the character neverthless, he is if you like the new Bill Murray playing the sort of depressed, world weary characters directors like Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola have excelled in creating for Murray. how he never recieved an academy nod is beyond me. Jack is lovable straight away with his witty fun loving antics but his infidelity makes you question his behaviour. Thomas Haden Church's performance is equal to that of Giamatti's and he definately deserved an Oscar over Morgan Freeman who was playing the same stereotypical role of reliable sidekick that he always does in the majority of his films, but anyway.
the supporting cast is equally good as well with, particularly Virginia Madsen.
the direction is understated and there are some incredibly hilarious, poignant and sad moments particularly for Miles as he struggles to accept the rejection he sees everywhere. The ending was particularly brave and allows the characters to linger on after you have watched the film and wonder "what are they doing now" perhaps the greatest compliment i could pay to a film so interested and focused with its characters.

Criterion Collection: Down By Law [DVD] [1986] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Criterion Collection: Down By Law [DVD] [1986] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i ham a good egg!, 11 Mar. 2005
this is a wonderful little film, typical Jarmusch and i was not disappointed.
the region 1 dvd offers a lot of extras such as an extensive Q&A with Jarmusch about the film, interviews, Cannes promo, and another more humourous Q&A with fans about anything Jarmusch related and much much more.
the film itself is in my opinion his masterpiece, riffing on jaques becker's le trou and taking it into some odd comical fantasy elements.
tom waits, john lurie and roberto benigni are perfectly cast as trio of misfits who end up in prison and somehow manage to escape and find their way to safety.
robby muller's cinematography is wonderful and there is real depth and beauty in it that colour would never have brought out.
be warned if slow character driven pictures are not your thing then this might not be for you but if you enjoy that sort of thing you will be greatly rewarded.

Life Of Pi
Life Of Pi
by Yann Martel
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 30 May 2002
This review is from: Life Of Pi (Hardcover)
i was unsure as to whether at first this was a real story, as he tells us that the story was inspired by a meeting with an elderley man who was a friend of Pi, knowing what i knew of the story this compelled me to read it though i had decided to buy it even before because of the front cover.
from the first page its a strange, beautiful, twisted, funny and ultimately sad story of one boys remarkable attempt not to give up on life despite his situation and how his faith in God helps to seem him through it along with the friendship he develops with Richard Parker the bengal tiger.
I don't want to say to much without giving it away, you just have to read it, it's wonderful, one of the most original books in years.

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