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Reviews Written by
W. A. Armstrong "W.Armstrong" (North East England)

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The Patrol [DVD]
The Patrol [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Righton
Price: £6.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Focussed and Realistic ., 27 May 2016
This review is from: The Patrol [DVD] (DVD)
First thing i did when i saw this in the shop for £1 was check on Amazon for the reviews. As a rule of thumb I tend to check how the ratings are split between 1 star and 5 stars , this movie was split 25 to 24 (5 stars slightly edging it ) I then read a few reviews from both camps . In the end I 'risked ' my £1 and took my chances and Im so glad i did. This is an excellent British made / small budget movie set in Afghanistan . Although obviously on a minuscule budget compared to some Hollywood war movies , this never seems financially restricted in any way , but the script and the setting make it feel all the more focussed . The acting throughout is top drawer , even though Ive never seen any of these actors before and concentrating on a small group of British soldiers , as it does, allows each of the actors a chance to shine. Be aware , THTERE ARE NO MASSIVE BATTLES , NO THUNDERING SOUNDTRACK, NO 3D SPECIAL EFFECTS - if thats what you want from a war movie, this isn't for you.This is a very thought provoking story of a small group of soldiers ,tasked with holding a village against the massing forces of the Taliban. Its more about how men cope with war rather than the war itself .The movie was written and directed by an ex soldier and the realism certainly comes across loud and clear. This is often more about the banter and the boredom but makes for a top-notch film . If you liked Kajaki , you will enjoy this. And, if you haven't yet seen Kajaki, check it out - another great British film of how life really is in the British military .

A Most Violent Year [DVD]
A Most Violent Year [DVD]
Dvd ~ Oscar Isaac
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £3.48

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT what it says on the tin., 21 Sept. 2015
This review is from: A Most Violent Year [DVD] (DVD)
Its been a while since I took the time to write a review of a movie. I work two jobs and the rest of my time is spent selling 'tat' on eBay and amazon, which means whatever free time I get, is very valuable to me. Like a lot of people , I like to switch off from my day to day worries by watching a good film. I had heard a lot of good reviews when this movie was first released at the cinema , so I picked up a 'used' copy ( or second-hand as we used to call it ).
The movie opens and quite quickly your dragged in by the bleached colours and well-framed, beautifully observed cinematography - urban vistas of New York in the 80's.
The story is straightforward enough, what appears to be a decent man in an industry beset by less honest men, with low level connections to organised crime. In an attempt to get a leg-up, the leading man (Oscar Isaac) makes a deal with the Jewish land owners of a riverside storage facility.In doing so , he over stretches himself , having paid the vast amount of his capital as a part payment - the rest is due to be paid in 30 days. Predictably , problems ensue.
This is all well and good , but the title of this movie is 'A most violent year' , which really is where my gripe lies ! The box has quotes from far better critics than I , expressing how it has 'Echoes of the Godfather ' . Well I would certainly beg to differ. As for the violence , I kept waiting for a shoot out that never came , or for the lead character to be dragged down to the mobsters level by resorting to the violence of the title . Winning his valuable piece of New York Real estate but loosing his principles along the way.
Whilst the story holds your attention throughout (this is mostly down to another fine , if restrained, performance by Mr. Isaac ) it is totally unoriginal and slow in its approach, being content to meander its way to its conclusion.Looking very pretty as it does so. Many movies have walked on similar ground but with far more energy and excitement.
I am a simple man with very little free time and if a movie is called ' A most violent year' , that is what I expect. Good enough movie but it doesn't do 'what is says on the tin' !

Shame [DVD]
Shame [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Fassbender
Price: £5.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Limp as a wet lettuce, 17 July 2015
This review is from: Shame [DVD] (DVD)
I read the reviews before buying this and the vast majority were more than positive , so , being a fan of Michael Fassbender I bought a 'used' copy for less than three pounds. However having just endured the non stop tedium of having watched it , I can honestly say that I wasted my money, unfortunately I also wasted the time it took to watch it. Its very rare that I fail to watch a movie all-the-way through , but I have to say, several times during this I was very tempted.
Whilst the acting is perfectly fine , theres absolutely nothing to hold your interest . Fassbender's character is a man obsessed with sex, his waking hours are spent watching it ,or engaging in it. At one point his character admits to a very attractive date that he doesn't see any point in relationships, and several times we see him engaging in sex with prostitutes - presumably this is to avoid any emotional ties. Its during the sex scenes that this film is shown to be at its worst. Little is left to the imagination during the sex scenes and credit to Fassbender for agreeing to full frontal nudity but the direction of these acts is done in such a way that the act itself is dull and insipid, how any director can make sex boring , is beyond me, and yet steve Mcqueen (the director - not the actor) manages this with aplomb. McQueen emphisises the shallow , ugliness of Fassbender's character with a series of slow motion close ups of the actor at climax, his face distorted and hollow.
I feel sure that the director would have some great and meaningful diatribe to explain the 'meaning' of this and of modern day life , but the truth is its simply uninteresting. The lead character is totally vacuous and not worth the time to invest your interest in and the ending is predictable and trite .I spent the entire film waiting for something to happen but when you have neither sympathy or empathy for the main character then your fighting a loosing battle. Very dull, very slow, very sorry I bought it

Bio- Ethanol and Fire Gel Fireplace Model Celin Deluxe - Choose from 6 colors (Black)
Bio- Ethanol and Fire Gel Fireplace Model Celin Deluxe - Choose from 6 colors (Black)
Offered by Interworld24
Price: £159.90

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE TO RUN, 28 Feb. 2015
Bought a BIO-ETHANOL fire for a cold loft room that we had been heating with an electric fan heater but wanted something cheaper to run. Installed the fire within 5 mins . (most of these fires are lightweight and installed very easily via a back-plate and a few screws ) Filled each gel/ ethanol container half full as I wanted to see how long it would burn for. Very , very disappointed with the results . Ethanol burns way too quickly and would be ridiculously expensive to run. A 1 litre bottle in 3 trays lasted less than an hour !
Other serious problem is that the Ethanol gives off Carbon Dioxide which gave me a splitting headache, small print on the bottle says ONLY USE IN A WELL VENTILATED ROOM - which meant I had to open the trickle vents on the veluxe windows , thus negating the use of a fire !
On the plus side ( the ONE and ONLY plus) is that the flame does look great - just a pity that its so expensive that we can't afford to use it .

Spun [DVD] [2003]
Spun [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Jason Schwartzman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars tries too hard to be a Cult movie, 19 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Spun [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I watch a lot of movies. A LOT of movies. Writing reviews for what I watch is pretty much straightforward , after all , reviews are simply peoples opinions , in this case , mine!
The thing about this movie is that there are a lot of very talented actors involved , sadly nearly all of them have been in far better movies than this. This is one of those strange movies , where its difficult to put your finger on why you didn't like it - you just didn't ! Mickey Rourke and John Leguizamo deliver stand-out performances and are extremely believable as a meth 'cook' and his dealer ,there 's also good performances by Mena Sevari and Brittany Murphy but the film simply doesn't 'spark'.
The film , without spoiling it for you, is about the main protagonist, Jason Schwartzman, a self absorbed waste of skin , only interested in getting high, and who , through seeking some illegal high, gets involved with a bunch of small time drug manufacturers , inept dealers ,pushers and addicts, eventually the Police get involved and the whole thing quickly spirals into farce. The two Police are SO over the top that whatever believability the movie had up to this point is quickly lost and I found myself wishing for the end to speed into view.
The biggest problem I feel with this movie isn't the acting, or the script (although it does drag in a lot of places )the biggest drawback with this movie is that its as if the director had set out to make a 'cult ' movie - the problem with this is, 'cult' movies are more than the sum of their individual parts , they strike a chord with the audience or they capture the times and feel of when they're set. They ignite the collective imagination and build into cult status by word of mouth over an extended period of time. By setting out to make an instant cult hit , the Director has skewed the movie into his personal vision of what that means and there are several scenes where theres random animation and overlays and repeated voice overs and the whole thing just begins to creak under its own pretensions.
Had the director simply concentrated on making a 'good' movie , I feel sure it would have produced a much tighter story , without as many dead-end distractions (Debbie Harry's character is an example). The actors at his disposal certainly do their part but unfortunately this is yet another movie that falls flat and looses your interest before the story plays out.

Life Is Beautiful [DVD] [1997]
Life Is Beautiful [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Roberto Benigni
Price: £4.00

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 'The Marx Brothers go to Auschwitz.', 14 Oct. 2014
I bought this movie after reading the overwhelming 5-star reviews , a huge percentage of people love this film but after watching it , I have to admit that i am totally confused 'why' they like it.
The product description reads 'Life Is Beautiful is a moving and poignant tale of one father's sacrifice to save not just his young son's life but his innocence in the face of one of the most evil acts ever perpetrated by the human race. ' However what you get is a Marx Bothers style 1940's slapstick /romance movie set within the second world war and the nazi death camps.
The description goes on to say 'Italy's rubber-faced funnyman Roberto Benigni accomplishes the impossible in his World War II comedy Life Is Beautiful: he shapes a simultaneously hilarious and haunting comedy out of the tragedy of the Holocaust. ' which quite simply , is BOLLOCKS ! The lead actor is infuriatingly annoying within seconds of being on-screen, his dated humour and totally over the top behaviour had me wanting to turn this film off within minutes , but I stuck with it because of all the positive reviews. Im saddened to say that i wish I had turned it off , as it just gets worse and more and more ridiculous.
The plight of the Jewish people and their extermination is very well documented in countless other movies but I hadn't previously seen or read anything about their treatment in Italy during this time, unfortunately this movie addresses this only during its second half and even then, its almost as if the Director included it as an afterthought.
I realise that this movie is 'supposed' to be a comedy and picking the Holocaust as its setting is bound to strongly polarise peoples opinions , but the humour is so stupidly purile and dated ,and the extermination of the characters (although conveniently not seen on screen ) is largely ignored until the very end of this tedious movie and leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2015 7:09 PM GMT

Oldboy [DVD]
Oldboy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sharlto Copley
Price: £3.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES - BUY THE ORIGINAL., 22 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Oldboy [DVD] (DVD)
To be honest I haven't seen the original Japanese version of this movie , which I've read is a classic,I bought this much inferior remake and wish I hadn't .
The plus points are that Josh Brolin is excellent throughout , as are the rest of the actors , with surprisingly , the one exception to this being Samuel L.Jackson ( a long-time favourite actor of mine) who is massively over the top in this.
The early part of this movie is largely entertaining , Brolin plays an instantly dislikable person who is kidnapped and framed for the murder of his ex-wifeand whilst being imprisoned without explanation by some mysterious figure for reasons unknown . We see Brolin eventually escape after 20 years and attempt to find his daughter , who was three at the time she witnessed the violent murder of her mother. Unfortunately , its upon Brolins escape that this movie goes totally downhill. Theres several fight scenes that are almost like something from Benny Hill, the only thing missing is the music.
However what totally ruins this movie, is the total mis-casting of the actor who plays the mysterious stranger / villain of the movie. Spike Lee obviously thought that someone with a ridiculous 'plummy' English accent was a great idea but the acting is camper than a row of pink tents and every scene that he's in just comes across as so over the top , that your interests start to drift.
The movie comes to its conclusion, with what I guess was supposed to be the out-of-the-blue , shock ending , but you actually see it coming minutes before the ending is revealed.
In all honesty I couldn't recommend you watch this movie , even though the initial plot is intriguing and the acting very good at times but the sometimes disjointed camera work and the embarrassingly bad villain erode your interest the more the movie goes on.
Buy the original and accept no substitutes - its what I intend to do .

The Abominable
The Abominable
by Dan Simmons
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DELIBERATELY MISLEADING - I WANT A REFUND !, 27 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Abominable (Paperback)
Let me cut straight to the point , I bought this book purely on the merits of it being a Horror / thriller , it is no such thing. The inside cover reads ' As the winds rise and the temperature and oxygen levels drop, Deacon (one of the main characters) and his companions hear howls in the distance. A dark creature is tracking them up the mountain, sending them scrambling blindly into Everest's dangerous heights to escape it'
SPOILER ALERT (Read no further if you don't want to know what happens)
There is no 'Dark creature' , there is no 'Abominable' snowman - as suggested by the title of this book. The abominable in question is supposed to be some candid photographs of Adolf Hitler with several young boys, taken before his rise to power in Germany. The book is a deliberately miss-marketed and promoted as something it isn't. Its dull as dishwater and obviously the marketing people realised they had a stinker of a book and decided to deliberately mislead people into thinking it was a horror novel.
The plot concerns three climbers who mount an expedition to find the remains of a english nobleman, at the behest of his rich family and who is feared lost on Everest in mysterious circumstances .The book is set shortly before the second world war and involves a German plot to recover some damning photographs of Adolf Hitler, eventually , after a long and very very dull plod , we discover that both threads are interwoven, unfortunately by this time you simply couldn't care less, as you realise you've been tricked into buying a book that isn't anything like its been marketed.
I found this a slow, unrelentingly tedious read,with the author ( a mountain climbing enthusiast in real life ) taking almost full chapters to describe the type of knot used when tying a rope . He obviously finds the subject worthy of such a drawn out, long-winded description but its simply mind-numbingly tedious.
Please avoid this book , unless your the kind of person who finds knots interesting .

Edison [DVD]
Edison [DVD]
Dvd ~ Justin Timberlake
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.03

2.0 out of 5 stars A light Cop Drama, 29 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Edison [DVD] (DVD)
Edison is a tired old story of crooked cops tasked with cleaning up a crooked city by crooked politicians with aspirations of Government positions. I don't know how many times I've seen something similar and far superior.
Whilst the acting is largely okay ,this has the feeling of a made for T.V. movie or an episode of any number of interchangable American cop drama's.
If you can pick this up cheap , then its worth a watch but its the sort of movie that you can get up at any point and make a cup of tea or have a toilet brake without pausing the disk, because the plot is so transparent that you know whats going to happen throughout. The villains are villainous, the burnt out cops are over-the-top psycho's and the heroes are baby-faced and handsome, its a cop drama for the Beverly Hills 90210 generation.

Defendor [DVD] [2010]
Defendor [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Woody Harrelson
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Kick-Ass, 29 July 2014
This review is from: Defendor [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Woody Harrelson is one of that rare breed of actor , such as Gene Hackman or Robert Duvall, that never fails to deliver a great performance and here is no different. Woody plays a 'slightly slow' individual , (I know this doesn't sound politically correct , but its how his character is described within the movie) , who for reasons that become apparent, dresses as a costumed crime fighter and patrols the city streets at night.
This story is nothing knew and has recently been done far more high profile with both 'Kick Ass' movies and to a somewhat lesser degree with James Gunn's 'Super' and this movie treads over a lot of very similar ground , However its the performances of a great ensemble cast and stand out acting by Harrelson and Kat Dennings (Thor) that set it above all other similar films.
The story is linear and lean and you get the feeling that the writer/Director has worked especially hard to keep the focus of the movie from ever becoming silly, even though at times , its laugh-out-loud funny.
Harrelson never allows his character to become a 'Forrest Gump' type Caricature , instead he walks a tightrope between believable but mentally vulnerable, allowing you to warm to his character , and ultimately , to care for his wellbeing .
This won't be everybody's cup of tea but if you like the type of movie that engages you with a well told story and exceptional acting by a great cast of character-actors, this ones worth a watch.

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