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PETER BENSON (UK)

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The Messengers [DVD]
The Messengers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kristen Stewart
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £5.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Scary Ghost Story, 9 May 2016
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This review is from: The Messengers [DVD] (DVD)
Compelling and super scary ghost story. Real shivers-down-the-back-of-the-neck stuff. Kristen Stewart plays one of the troubled teens who were her stock in trade at this period, and does so with her usual skill in engaging the viewer's empathy. Then the supernatural events start. There are plenty of borrowings from other films (including Hitchcock's 'The Birds'), all used to ratchet up the tension. A very skillful piece of cinema.


Four Flies On Grey Velvet (Uncut remastered) [DVD]
Four Flies On Grey Velvet (Uncut remastered) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Brandon
Price: £15.92

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Bizarre, 6 Dec. 2015
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This is a 40th anniversary reissue, which has taken the trouble to restore missing bits of film - leading to slight variations in picture quality. It was 40 years since I had seen the film, which had always remained in the back of my mind as one of the most bizarre movies I had encountered. I was pleased to find that my memory was not mistaken! The film is unsuitable for anyone who demands coherent or plausible plots. Rather, it is a set of beautifully lit and composed set-pieces. Argento borrows liberally, from Antonioni as well as Hitchcock, to produce a dazzling piece of pure cinema, which is also often very funny.


Terror at The Opera [DVD]
Terror at The Opera [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cristina Marsillach

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Style, 6 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: Terror at The Opera [DVD] (DVD)
Argento's films have often been called 'operatic', so what better setting for a series of murders than an Italian opera house. The film has fun at the expense of modern opera productions. with its staging of Verdi's 'Macbeth' around a crashed plane, with live ravens landing on the leading lady's shoulders. But the eyes of the ravens hold the clue to the killer, and eventually we are swirling round the theatre from the ravens' viewpoint. Just one of several scenes where the camera floats wonderfully - steadicam tracking along claustrophobic corridors, slow revelations of unspeakable scenes. The film is a glorious display of style from one of cinema's masters.


Miley Cyrus A3 Calendar 2016
Miley Cyrus A3 Calendar 2016
by Imagicom Koolart
Edition: Calendar

5.0 out of 5 stars For Miley Fans, 6 Dec. 2015
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Excellent pictures of Miley, mostly on stage.


Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy
Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy
by Graham Harman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.78

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Philosopher Contemplates the Crawling Chaos, 20 Jan. 2015
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This is a book for people who are interested in Graham Harman's philosophy, rather than for people interested in Lovecraft. Harman is a better philosopher than he is a literary critic. He uses Lovecraft's writing to illustrates the ontological distinctions he makes in his own philosophy, and this is a useful clarification of his ideas. However, the long middle section, in which he analyses passages from Lovecraft's stories is repetitive and monotonous (the very criticisms often levelled at Lovecraft himself). He could have varied his discussion by looking closer at the narrative structures of the stories, with their oblique approaches to an unspeakable core. He might also have expanded his discussion beyond the longer stories of the Cthulhu Mythos. In seeking to reclaim Lovecraft from the opprobrium of critics such as Edmund Wilson, he overstates his case, suggesting that Lovecraft is a better writer than Joyce or Proust. As well as being a foolish judgement, this obscures the fact that Proust's own linguistic techniques, as they probe an evanescent reality, could have been used just as easily to illuminate Harman's ontological concerns.


Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
by Laurie Penny
Edition: Paperback

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars but to the gender system which decides what 'men' and 'women' should be like. Penny writes in a fresh, 28 Nov. 2014
Laurie Penny, who is young and gorgeous (see the photo on her website, if you don't believe me) is a radical feminist. This means that she is opposed, not to men, but to the gender system which decides what 'men' and 'women' should be like. Penny writes in a fresh, accesible prose which is a pleasure to read. She is often funny, and always honest. As a writer, her only fault is a tendency to repeat herself - a bit of editing would help. Nevertheless the book is rich in ideas, insight, and common sense. The chapter about the internet is particularly good - by-passing the familiar themes of moral panic with an appreciation of its value as well as its problems. She is against censorship and puritanism. Men should definitely not see her as their enemy. It is only a tiny proporation of men who benefit from the current gender attitudes. Penny explains how, for the rest of us, the gender situation creates unhappiness for both sexes. Life will be much more fun when we are living in the world she hopes for. Despite the anger in the book, she is basically cheerful and optimistic. Penny is a brave person, and an inspirartion. She is a shining light in a dark world


Cinematic Body (Theory Out of Bounds)
Cinematic Body (Theory Out of Bounds)
by Steven Shaviro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.57

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Failed Attempt at Freshness, 2 Aug. 2014
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This book has a very peculiar design, with half of each page left completely blank. Sadly, the text itself is similarly lacking in substance. Academic film theory has been in a cul-de-sac for several decades. Shaviro believes he has found a way forward by embracing the ideas of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. His account of their joint work is accurate; but his understanding of the theories he is rejecting, notably Lacan's psychoanalysis, is sketchy at best, and his ventures into the philosophical background to these ideas is inaccurate. This would matter less if he had anything genuinely fresh to say about the films he discusses. But his analyses lack detail, and his style of writing never deviates from the typical prose of American academic publications. Seekers of a new approach to the study of film will need to look elsewhere.


The Making of the Indebted Man: Essay on the Neoliberal Condition (Semiotext(e) / Intervention Series)
The Making of the Indebted Man: Essay on the Neoliberal Condition (Semiotext(e) / Intervention Series)
by Maurizio Lazzarato
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.65

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Major Critique of Neoliberalism, 30 Jun. 2014
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This book is the most brilliant analysis I have read of the rise of neoliberal economics and its catastophic social and financial effects. Unlike some other books on the financial crisis (such as those of Christian Marazzi) it does not require any previous knowledge of economic theory. It is clearly and persuasively written. Drawing on ideas from both Nietzsche and Marx, Lazzarato presents a completely convincing account of the deliberately engineered changes in society, human psychology, and financial arrangements which have led to the progressive impoverishment of the bulk of the population. This is a major work for anyone who wishes to understand the world in which we now live.


Who Owns The Future?
Who Owns The Future?
by Jaron Lanier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening and fascinating, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: Who Owns The Future? (Paperback)
This is the best book i have ever read about the social and economic effects of the internet, both now and in the immediate future. These include the concentration of money and power in the hands of small elites; the impoverishment of most of the population, and the destruction of opportunities for paid employment. Lanier believes these problems can be solved. It is not the technology as such that is at fault, but the way it is being used. However, overcoming the vested interests of those making a fortune from the present system may prove more difficult than he imagines. This book is an essential warning about the path we are currently following.


And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks (Penguin Modern Classics)
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Jack Kerouac
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.27

4.0 out of 5 stars The Early Days of the Beats, 15 Feb. 2014
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The recent film 'Kill Your Darlings' (2013) covers the background events which inspired this novel, whose chapters are written alternately by Burroughs and Kerouac. It wasn't published at the time, and was written 10 years before the works which made the two writers famous. Neither had yet adopted the distinctive styles which made their names. But the chapters by Burroughs, which are much better than Kerouac's, have a dark, sardonic humour which is typical of his personality. Despite the murder at the end, the narrative rambles, giving an accurate portrayal of the drunken, irresponsible, disorganized lives of the young beat generation. A book for those intrigued to know about the world from which their better known later writings emerged.


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