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Profile for Mr. Daniel P. J. O'brien > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Mr. Daniel P. J. O'brien (Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom)

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Doctor Who - Lost in Time [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - Lost in Time [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ William Hartnell
Price: £13.00

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless Doctor Who Archive, 9 Nov. 2004
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The aim of LOST IN TIME is to present incomplete DOCTOR WHO stories where only 50% or less of the episodes have survived. Stories which are largely intact - such as THE REIGN OF TERROR, THE TENTH PLANET, THE ICE WARRIORS and THE INVASION - will presumably be released on DVD at a later date (subject to the popularity of this set, I'd guess). It's unlikely that more missing episodes will be recovered, though the return of DAY OF ARMAGEDDON earlier this year suggests there may still be a few in private hands. As things stand, this is a great opportunity to see some fascinating fragments of television history.

Amityville II: The Possession (Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Amityville II: The Possession (Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Burt Young

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a demonic guilty pleasure, 23 Oct. 2004
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Described by one critic as "luridly energetic grand guignol", AMITYVILLE 2 is an effective film rather than a good one. The stylish direction, moody score and edgy tone balance a thin script, minimal characterisation and a finale that just tails off. Jack Magner gives an effective performance as the disturbed son, especially given the demands of the plot. According to the Imdb, his only other film credit is FIRESTARTER, another Dino De Laurentiis production. Though nominally based on real events, AMITYVILLE 2 is best viewed as out-and-out gothic horror, featuring one of the most dysfunctional families ever to grace the screen. The brutish father, played by Burt Young, seems just as scary as the demonic forces.
This DVD is by far the best version available, including the courtroom sequence and several other scenes missing from the German and Australian releases. The transfer is generally good, given the film's age. For the record, AMITYVILLE 2 was shot in standard format (1.85:1), not 2.35:1 scope, despite what the box claims. The commentary by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman is entertaining and informative, though it's clear they don't think much of the movie. The 'extended lost souls scene' is a series of production photographs. It's suggested that the film's ending was radically changed during post-production. Given the arbitrary sfx set-pieces and obvious loose ends, this may well be the case.

Ulzana's Raid [DVD]
Ulzana's Raid [DVD]
Dvd ~ Burt Lancaster
Price: £4.69

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great movie but not the definitive DVD release., 27 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Ulzana's Raid [DVD] (DVD)
One of the best films of the 1970s, ULZANA'S RAID works on many levels - western drama, character study, Vietnam allegory. Unfortunately, this UK DVD release has been heavily cut - and re-edited - to remove all shots of horses being trip-wired. According to the BBFC, this technique falls foul of the 1937 Cinematograph Act, which forbids the ill-treatment of animals during film-making. For the record, many stunt co-ordinators claim the technique can be used safely. Cuts aside, this is the American version of the film, supervised by director Robert Aldrich, rather than the overseas version prepared by Burt Lancaster.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 14, 2010 7:31 PM GMT

Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell [DVD] [1974]
Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell [DVD] [1974]
Dvd ~ Peter Cushing

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars monster from censored hell, 6 Nov. 2003
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Unfortunately, both the UK and US versions of FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL suffered from censor cuts. However, the R-rated US print used for this release contains a gorier version of the asylum director's death. As I recall, the BBFC let the notorious 'artery scene' stand, at least in part. I've seen the Dutch version of the film, which appears to be uncut. Presumably, locating an unedited master copy was not possible, for whatever reason.

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