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Nik (Hull, East Riding Of Yorkshire United Kingdom)

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The Driver [DVD]
The Driver [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ryan O'Neal
Price: £7.99

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic car chase masterpiece!, 21 Feb. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Driver [DVD] (DVD)
The Driver (1978) by Walter Hill is the last great car-chase movie of the 1970s. Following on from such iconic movies as Bullitt (1968) & The French Connection (1971) as well as lesser-known offerings like Vanishing Point (1971)& The Seven-Ups (1973), The Driver is a worthy successor which is just as good as any of them.
The story concerns a supremely talented getaway driver (Ryan O' Neal) who plies his trade in night- time Los Angeles while being pursed by a fanatical cop (Bruce Dern).

The Driver is a highly stylised film with very little characterisation, no names for the cast - merely descriptions of what they do; the driver, the cop, the player etc. The dialogue is sparse, the acting restrained (even Bruce Dern!) and the music pared down; all of which emphasises the drama, tension and visceral excitement of the car chases.

Comparisons have been made between The Driver and Le Samourai (1967) by John-Pierre Melville, in which a stylish, taciturn assassin is brought down when he becomes aware of his own emotions. There is a similar line-up & alibi scene which Hill has clearly copied. Alain Delon's assassin is a stylish handsome loner with minimal life outside of his work; just like Ryan O'Neal in The Driver. For both Alan Delon and Ryan O'Neal meeting a woman changes everything, the influence of Le Samourai may have prompted Walter Hill to cast the French actress Isabella Adjani in the lead female role as the player.

The story is gripping, the minimalist style (which could be seen as pretentious or silly) really works and the direction and cinematography truly excellent. It's hard to believe this is only Hill's second movie. A minor quibble would be the reusing of two scenes from The Getaway (1972), whose screenplay was written by Hill himself. The first scene is when the cop pursues the exchange man and a suitcase aboard a train and the second is when the driver fast draw shoots an adversary; both very like Steve McQueen in The Getaway.

Whatever, The Driver is a b-movie classic which had clear influence on James Cameron (especially the night time car chase in The Terminator) and Michael Mann who has created stylised crime pictures with tight lipped male protagonists in Thief (1981) and Heat (1995). It is one of Walter Hill's best movies in a career that has taken in the blatantly commercial buddy movies of 48 Hours (1982) and Red Heat (1988) as well as stylised Sam Peckinpah homage's like The Long Riders (1980) and Last Man Standing (1998). It's also an opportunity to drool over classic 70's American muscle cars and should be included in the collection of any movie petrol head.

The DVD package is pretty basic; 16:9 aspect ratio, mono sound and no extras. The picture quality is more akin to a well preserved video than a digital mastering with some scratches and dirt still quite evident. Arguably this bare bones presentation is kind of fitting considering the minimalist nature of The Driver but a digital remastering to improve the picture quality and a 5.1 audio track would be nice to really enjoy the roar of the engines. Perhaps a Special Edition in a year or two...?


Brotherhood
Brotherhood
Price: £6.89

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quick New Order Album?, 8 July 2006
This review is from: Brotherhood (Audio CD)
As a fan converted by 1985's Low-Life album I read up on the band and it was apparent they took TIME between recording. It was thus a great shock to recieve Brotherhood the very next year! I know NOW that this haste was due to Factory Records haemoraging money into The Hacienda night club but back in 1986 all I knew was there was a new album to be welcomed!

Brotherhood builds on Low-Life and adds acoustic guitar to their electronic palete to great effect.It also bosts their synth sound at it's best, the classic New Order sound never got any better than this!

Paradise is a good intro with drums ala Love Vigilantes, Weirdo swaggers along on Peter Hook's booming bass with a great solo too. As It Is When It Was is a classic, with low key acoustic guitars mingling to emotive effect with bass. The lyrics about a broken relationship probably mirror Barney's marriage problems, he blamed them squarely on a Smash Hit's article that strongly implied he was 'enjoying' himself on a US tour, his bitterness towards the press still comes out in songs written 20 years later.

Broken Promise continues the theme of betyral, it has probably Barney's best guitar solo. Way Of Life mixes rock and synths like Paradise and is notable for mimicking Love Will Tear Us Apart in it's closing chords.

Bizarre Love Triangle (the title comming from a News Of The World article)with it's heartfelt lyrics again about betyral has the finest mix of synths and bass guitar New Order ever managed, the bass solo comming in at the 'wrong' moment to incredible effect.

All Day Long tackles child abuse with simple words while the orchestrial synths are achingly beautiful and melancholic. Angel Dust antcipates the 'druggy' ambience of Technique while Every Little Counts is a humerous pastiche of Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side that ends with the sound of a needle scratching the grooves(I still recall with a grin my Dad rushing in thinking I'd ruined his record player the first time I played it!).

In the 1980's I considered Brotherhood New Order's finest moment, looking back now I would place it just below Low-Life and on a par with Technique. But WHY didn't they include the brilliant single State Of The Nation?


Low-Life
Low-Life
Price: £5.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic!, 8 July 2006
This review is from: Low-Life (Audio CD)
Low-Life was where I got onboard and 21 years later I'm still a fan! From the booming drum intro this album captures New Order at the top of their game.Love Vigilantes' story of war and religion now reminds you the more things change, the more they stay the same! The Perfect Kiss is both state of the art (in 1985!) and a tribute to Ian Curtis ("My friend he took his final breath, Now I know the perfect kiss is the kiss of death").This Time Of Night is hauntingly beautiful with Peter Hook's comic spoken intro ("I'm one of the few people I know who enjoys sports on television"). Sunrise, the best rocker since their Joy Division days with an intro that DEMANDS maximum volume.

Elegia is proof that New Order really were the 80's equivalent of Pink Floyd, a wonderful, slow building instrumental that may be their finest ever track. Sooner Than You Think still baffles me lyrically but it's a great track with the guitar - bass interplay effortlessly wonderful. Sub-Culture is epic, forget the AWFUL remix,the orginal version is where it's at. An awesome bass solo by Peter Hook reminds you just how good he can be, while Barney's lyrics are sharp and sour. Face Up is the archetypal New Order track; painfully sad and wonderfully joyful at the same time.If you only own one New Order album (you shouldn't there's several more you should have!), make it Low-Life.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2015 2:47 AM GMT


Waiting For The Sirens' Call
Waiting For The Sirens' Call
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.25

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best album since Technique!, 7 July 2006
Like many longtime fans I had given up. After the awful Republic in 1993 (admitedly the single Regret was a wonderful 'goodbye') New Order split up and disappeared. They became part of the past. The comeback began in 1999 with Out Of Control on The Chemical Brother's Surrender album. The break with keyboards, guitar and Barney going 'woo!' in time honoured tradition brought a sloppy grin as I heard the old magic in a new song. 2001's Get Ready album was a joy to have but close inspection revealed only 3 REALLY good tracks (Crystal, Slow Jam & Run Wild).
Waiting For The Siren's Call however has 10 great tracks (skip Working Overtime) several of which stand up to their 80's best.
The silly but emotive simple rhyming lyrics, the synth led sound with great guitar - bass interplay, the stacato drumming; the year might be 2005 but it feels like 1989 as that was the last time New Order were this good!
Krafty is a fix of happiness, I Told You So is wonderful cod reggae that feels like it should follow Mr Disco on Technique, the title track is on a par with Bizarre Love Triangle, Barney's singing as good as he's ever been and Turn bittersweet and poignant as only New Order can be.
New Order may not be so 'new' anymore but as current trends lead back to 80's music why bother with kid's copying when the real thing sounds better!


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