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Reviews Written by
Richard Hart (St. Andrews, Fife United Kingdom)

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Jeeves And Wooster: The Complete Fourth Series [DVD]
Jeeves And Wooster: The Complete Fourth Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stephen Fry
Price: £5.15

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stop it now. You're just being silly., 13 Jun. 2004
When watching this charming installment of the adventures of the Last of the Woosters and his gentleman's gentleman, one has the suspicion that the Major from Monty Python's Flying Circus is going to turn up and say 'No - stop it now - I warned you. It started off as a perfectly sensible story about a man with daft aunts who didn't want to get married, but now you've just made it silly.' And he'd be right. Another series and the reputation of these glorious productions would have been spoilt, but as it is, they just escape with their dignity intact. While there is something quite Woosterian about jumping off the side of a boat in the mid-Atlantic to escape an impossible social situation (this is the man, after all, who cannot avoid being engaged to someone unless someone else gets engaged to them, because refusal is simply not an option) it does show an element of daftness that is not quite the mannered, weirdly logical daftness of Wodehouse. It is also a little disappointing that some of the sets have been changed, so we are no longer in the familiar Berkeley Mansions of the first three series. That said, the combination of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and P.G. Wodehouse is infallible. There was no possible way it could be bad. Thus, while very enjoyable, it does leave a strange aftertaste of dissatisfaction. Please don't let my criticism put you off it, as it is really quite wonderful. Just be certain to watch series 1-3 first.

Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder
Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder
by Evelyn Waugh
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

114 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waugh! What is it good for? Well..., 3 Jun. 2004
Forgive the flippancy of the title, as this is, without a doubt the greatest novel I have ever read. The central theme is that of stringent religious values and breaking away from, or returning to them. I am an extremely committed atheist and Waugh was a fervent Roman Catholic. This surely proves Waughs sublime vision, insight and, above all, his splendidly non-preachy way of writing. Beyond that, it is one of the greatest love stories ever written. We may not mention Ryder and Flyte in the same breath as Rmeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, or Dido and Aeneas, but as a study in humanity (in my humble opinion) they exceed them all. The sheer beauty of Waugh's prose which is, at times, scarcely believable (see 'A blow, expected, repeated, falling on a bruise') is coupled with the outright hilarity of many passages (see the Belgian who feels as if it is his duty to oppose the lower classes everywhere). Amazon also sells (at a rather decent price) the 1981 BBC adaptation of the novel, starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews, which is unusual in that it is faithful to the letter and the spirit of the novel, and is really rather splendid. The novel, however, remains a towering acheivement, a heart-rending tale of loss and rejection, as well as acceptance and redemption. The finest novel of the Twentieth Century. You owe it to yourself to read it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2012 7:33 PM BST

Intolerable Cruelty [DVD] [2003]
Intolerable Cruelty [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £0.98

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's gonna nail your ass, 12 April 2004
This may not be the finest acheivement of the Coen brothers (that accolade goes either to Fargo or Miller's Crossing, in my opinion) but it is certainly their funniest. Never having rated Catherine Zeta-Jones very highly as an actress, I was pleasantly surprised by how perfectly she complements George Clooney's hilariously narcissistic lead. The supporting cast is wonderful, especially Cedric the Entertainer, whose every line will draw a giggle. The comic timing throughout is impeccable. Frankly, those who have given poor reviews to this film on this website are either morons or have recently had a humourectomy. The only slight quibble with the disc is that it automatically begins with a charity appeal for famine relief in Africa presented by that smug goon Robbie Williams, but even that cannot spoil the enjoyment of this beautifully conceived and infinitely witty and subtle film. If you do not fall off your chair with laughter, there is no helping you, but I sincerely hope you will.

Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] [2003]
Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Daniel Brühl
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.98

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A German film with a sense of humour. Who'd have thought it?, 17 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I beg of you not to be put off by the fact that it is subtitled, because this film is truly exceptional. Despite having more than its fair share of laugh-out-loud moments, it possesses a poignancy that few recent Hollywood dramas have come close to. It is, in effect, the story of how the devoted young Alex keeps communist East Germany alive, for the sake of his fervently socialist mother who was in a coma when the Berlin Wall fell and is therefore unaware that anything is wrong. It's really quite beautiful, despite the undeniable weirdness of the story. The struggles that Alex must go through to recreate the old communist way of life (staging fake news reports and the like) are utterly hilarious, but it never loses sight of the powerful image of a young man running an entire country for the benefit of one old lady.

Monolithic Baby! (Ltd. Cd+dvd)
Monolithic Baby! (Ltd. Cd+dvd)
Offered by hotshotrecordsgermany
Price: £6.81

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most convincing argument for becoming a stoner, 27 Feb. 2004
Exclamation marks. Don't you just hate 'em? When people use them three at a time, when there's nothing exciting about the statement!!! There are far too many in the world today, but the one on the end of Monolithic Baby! seems entirely justified. The sludgey groove of 'Slut Machine' gives way to the supercool 'Supercruel' before the eerie, Superjudge-style riff of the third track kicks in. Every song here is uniformly awesome, in every sense of the word, as heavy and menacing and groovesome as anything the Magnet have produced in the past. It is time for the garage rock poseurs to give way to the monolithic might of Monster Magnet, and their terrifying stoner rock 'n' roll genius

Love Actually [DVD] [2003]
Love Actually [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Alan Rickman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.75

26 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crap Actually, 27 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Richard Curtis is a very funny man. He wrote 'Blackadder', for God's sake, but he has made the most almighty mistake by putting even a word of this script on paper. It is not a great deal more cheesy and predictable than his masterpiece, 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', but it simply lacks the jokes that made that film so enjoyable. It's just not funny. The over-riding message of the film - that 'love is all around us'- is so saccharine as to induce vomiting and every remotely clever or witty moment is lifted wholesale from a better film, but what really grates is what he has done with his cast. The plot-line involving Bill Nighy and Gregor Fisher, as an aging pop star and his manager, respectively, manages to raise a few laughs, but there are some obscenely talented actors attached to the project who have clearly decided that their bank balances are of more impoortance than keeping the cinematic world free of dross like this. So who is this film for? Seemingly, pubescent girls who still believe in Prince Charming, and young men who hope to get some action as a result of pretending to like it. Sick bags at the ready, folks, and let's hope Mr. Curtis can do a little better next time.

Death In Venice [1971] [DVD]
Death In Venice [1971] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dirk Bogarde
Price: £4.99

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can only be described as indescribable, 27 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Death In Venice [1971] [DVD] (DVD)
This is as close as any film can come to being a truly timeless work of art. The slow-burning story of a terminally ill composer who falls in love with a beatiful Polish boy from afar is as gripping and stifling as the Sirocco that pervades the setting. This is not a film to be watched casually, on a rainy afternoon but one that demands the total attention of the emotions. If, by the final scene, of the dead Von Aschenbach lying in his deckchair, the make-up streaming down his face, you are not in floods of tears, then you are to be pitied. The most intriguing and painful study of beauty, desire and decay that is ever likely to be made.

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