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Reviews Written by
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland)
(VINE VOICE)   

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Mad Max: Fury Road [DVD] [2015]
Mad Max: Fury Road [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Tom Hardy
Price: £4.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The future belongs to the Mad, 17 May 2015
I'm not normally a big fan of action movies,but "Mad Max : Fury Road" possessed a certain amount of relentless ,visceral intensity which set it above the rest of the films in this genre. Mel Gibson has gone but Tom Hardy revisits his role impressively,even though he is for the most part taciturn and often overshadowed by his co star Charlize Theron's equally manic character. For the most part the film is one long,frenetic road chase as Max escapes from an oppressive human outpost with Theron and a group of nubile women. He is pursued by the deformed,deranged autocrat and his legions of road warriors.Mayhem erupts on a biblical scale with crashes,explosions,fights and shoot outs galore.All filmed exquisitely and all looking very authentic. There's hardly any let up in the pace and very little room is left for a plot or character development. This is a worthy addition to the Mad Max genre and a raising of the bar in terms of action movie standards and quality.


Child 44 [DVD]
Child 44 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Hardy
Price: £5.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Murders in Paradise, 9 May 2015
This review is from: Child 44 [DVD] (DVD)
"Child 44" is a mildly interesting murder mystery thriller set in the closing years of Stalin's Soviet Union. It tells the tale of a leading military man and crime investigator's fall from grace in the totalitarian state after he refuses to denounce his wife who is accused of being a spy. They get exiled from Moscow and demoted. This is against the background of an investigation into a series of child murders in Moscow and further afield. Solving this mystery proves quite difficult,especially when you're in exile in an unpleasant part of the USSR. This film conveyed the oppressive,nasty and godless nature of Soviet Communism quite well, but it was a bit overlong and at times was rather disjointed. It didn't fully engage me and lacked genuine excitement. Naomi Rapace was good as the wife.


Academy Street
Academy Street
by Mary Costello
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy Tale, 6 May 2015
This review is from: Academy Street (Paperback)
"Academy Street" is a fairly brief and poignant novel which observes the life of an Irish emigre to New York over the course of five decades. The central character is Tess Lohan who is a passive,unassuming,introverted woman who finds it hard to make friends and create a sense of belonging for herself. She grows up in a farm in the West of Ireland before training to be a nurse in Dublin.She eventually moves to New York where she has a love child to a one night stand. The book charts her life and (very few) loves in a relatively engaging manner. I could identify with Tess,despite being male, and I thought she was a bit like myself. Life almost seems to pass her by ,which she doesn't mind too much,contenting herself with several key relationships with a few friends and some family. Sometimes she yearns for something more ,a great love or passion perhaps ,but this always appears to be elusive. "Academy Street" is an interesting character study of this woman,but it is not written in a particularly stimulating or stylish manner and a lot of the narrative is focused on the humdrum ,unspectacular events of this quiet person's life. It is a rather sad sort of novel and maybe one that women would appreciate more than men.


Avengers: Age of Ultron [DVD]
Avengers: Age of Ultron [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Offered by Bartlett's HiFi
Price: £9.75

6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Barely Comprehensible, 3 May 2015
I didn't enjoy this latest Marvel super hero film despite it being visually impressive with great CGI effects.I could barely comprehend the plot,make sense of the dialogue and keep up with the bewilderingly large number of characters that were introduced. I found the film to be disjointed,incoherent and unconvincing. I also thought that there was a lack of chemistry between the main characters who didn't appear to particularly like each other. There was a certain degree of originality in this film setting it apart from most of the other rather predictable films in this genre but it still featured aliens determined to destroy humanity and lots of chases,explosions and shootings. I thought that these sort of films were aimed mostly at children but I'd be surprised if they could understand all of this craziness.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 12, 2015 5:24 AM BST


Leaving Berlin
Leaving Berlin
by Joseph Kanon
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and poorly written novel, 24 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Leaving Berlin (Hardcover)
I recently read "Istanbul Passage" by this author and I was greatly impressed by it. Well written,good storyline and an exciting narrative. However Joseph Kanon's latest novel "Leaving Berlin" turned out to be a major disappointment. It is a spy story set in Berlin just after the end of the Second World War. A Jewish writer who fled from the Nazis returns to Soviet controlled East Berlin after falling foul of US anti communist witch hunts. He agrees to spy for the Americans in return for them ending their persecution of him and letting him return home. He is welcomed into the bosom of Establishment life in the ruined German capital but soon finds himself immersed in a barely comprehensible web of intrigue involving Russian and German intelligence bodies.Sounds exciting, but this book is mediocre and a bore. I thought that it was badly written. The dialogue was unconvincing while the characterisation was really poor. None of them stood out as individual personalities. There were Dieters and Martins,Sasha's and Peter's , but all of them just seemed to be the same character and it was hard to tell them apart as the book wore on. The narrative was disjointed and hard to follow,especially the closing scenes which totally confused me. Also none of the characters were likeable,least of all the ruthless, soulless Alex. No,I didn't think this was a good book at all. The sort of thing the author threw together in a hurry without having his heart in it perhaps ?


The Imitation Game [DVD]
The Imitation Game [DVD]
Dvd ~ Benedict Cumberbatch
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars How Germany lost the War, 19 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Imitation Game [DVD] (DVD)
What a good film "The Imitation Game" is. It boasts excellent character acting and is a gripping,heroic tale based on a true story. Benedict Cumberbatch plays top mathematician Alan Turing who is drafted in to help the British government break the Nazi Enigma code during the Second World War. The film tells of his single minded determination to build a rudimentary computer to do this against resistance from sceptical colleagues and superiors. Turing is a straight laced, unpopular character and he is also a secret homosexual. The film spends most of its time during the war years, but there are flashbacks to his youth where he was bullied for being different and flash forwards to his post war life where he faces prison for homosexual acts and where he appears to be lonely and isolated. Kiera Knightly plays his fellow code breaker and erstwhile fiancée very well,but the acting is top notch from all the cast. This film is absorbing throughout,telling the story of how Turing's cipher busting success turned the war in the Allies favour. Very enjoyable.


A Walk Among the Tombstones [DVD] [2014]
A Walk Among the Tombstones [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Liam Neeson
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.45

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grim Thriller, 12 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"A Walk Among The Tombstones" is a routine,reasonably adequate thriller that features Liam Neeson playing the same character he has played in most of his films since "Taken". He must be fairly coining it in since he reinvented himself as a late middle aged action hero, but the formula is becoming a little over familiar and predictable now in my opinion. In this movie he plays a PI who gets hired by a drugs baron to track down the sadistic killers who kidnapped and butchered his wife. He is assisted in his search by a young homeless black boy whom he befriends in unlikely circumstances and together they hunt for the killers. The film ,as you would expect,is fairly downbeat with a lot of depressing implied violence, but not a lot of action scenes. It is more of a mystery/thriller. I can't say that "A Walk Among The Tombstones" will live long in my memory - it will just be one of those films that Liam Neeson did after "Taken" - but it was decent enough entertainment .Can't recall anyone smiling in the film.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 12, 2015 5:24 AM BST


Insurgent - 2 Disc Limited Edition (Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) [DVD] [2015]
Insurgent - 2 Disc Limited Edition (Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Shailene Woodley
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £19.99

23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Loneliness of the Divergent, 11 April 2015
My teenage son wrote off "Divergent" as a "Hunger Games" rip off, but I thoroughly enjoyed it empathising with the leading Divergent Tris. I wasn't expecting much from the sequel,"Insurgent", but I was pleasantly surprised. It's pretty good. The story continues with Tris and her boyfriend hiding out among various non Erudite factions and the Factionless,but they are relentlessly pursued by Janine's Erudite henchmen as Tris is needed by them to help open up a mysterious box containing an important message from the City's founders,which Janine hopes will entrench her power base. There is plenty of excitement and suspense,good acting and impressive special effects in this absorbing film which builds to a thrilling climax. I found "Insurgent" to be a much better film than the recent "Mockingjay Part One", but I don't think that will make my son change his mind. Not sure whether I'd be a Divergent or Factionless in this dystopian society.


The Establishment: And how they get away with it
The Establishment: And how they get away with it
by Owen Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Power to the people, 9 April 2015
I was quite impressed by this book. It is an articulate ,penetrative and impassioned argument for a socialist future for the UK and is a damning expose of the last five years of Conservative led rule in the country. The author highlights the increasing inequality of wealth in the country and how the various agencies of the state collude formally and informally to advance the interests of the rich and demonise the poor. His arguments are persuasive and struck a chord with me. From my point of view the Establishment are only on the side of life's "winners" and couldn't care less about those who lack the intelligence,money, selfish ambition,ruthlessness and connections to "succeed" in what they see as life's Darwinian struggle. The winners are "strivers" while everyone else are in some shape or form "scroungers". It is a very unChristian worldview. I grew up in a UK which the author looks back on with fondness, where there was an Establishment that had a "one nation", paternalistic outlook and he demonstrates how the new rabidly capitalist Establishment undermined and supplanted it. I once felt part of the Establishment and shared its outlook, but I feel excluded from it now and abhor its money grabbing,authoritarian,selfish,socially liberal ethos. Owen Jones book is a clinical dissection of modern Britain and the five years of Coalition rule. Presumably he advocates a radical left Labour government, but where I differ from Jones is my scepticism as to whether they would just create an exclusive Establishment of their own and whether the state would let them make any radical changes. The proletariat are as avaricious,selfish,immoral and hateful as the new bourgeoisie and a society remade in their image could be an even worse nightmare than what we have now, assuming the Establishment would even let them get into that position. After reading Jones book,my reaction is,yes, things are bad, but the alternative could be worse. I think the working class is just an entity that needs to have a lid kept on it for its own good, but gross inequalities of wealth,low wages and welfare benefit reductions are topics that need to be addressed by a more caring,one nation,paternalistic,libertarian type of Establishment if that is to be the case.


Get Hard [DVD] [2015]
Get Hard [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Will Ferrell
Price: £4.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing comedy, 8 April 2015
This review is from: Get Hard [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
"Get Hard" was an entertaining enough comedy starring Will Ferrell as a rich stockbroker who gets sentenced to ten years in San Quentin after being found guilty of fraud and embezzlement. He pleads his innocence to no avail. He hires a black car wash owner to help toughen him up for his prison stint,believing falsely that he is an ex convict. Cue all manner of humour based around gays,fighting and race. Some of it is quite funny, but none of it is hilarious by any means. As prison beckons can Ferrell find a way to prove his innocence ? I enjoyed this buddy film but there's not a lot in it that you feel you haven't seen elsewhere at some stage.


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