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Reviews Written by
phil mars (WALES--UK)

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Engleby
Engleby
by Sebastian Faulks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.46

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended without reservation, 2 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Engleby (Paperback)
Written in the first person from inside the head of Mike . Full of acutely observed detail, yet we always sense there is something missing . what is it ............. then it finally hits us , ' go over and TALK to somebody for heaven's sake , make some CONTACT. Instead , Mike protects himself trom the grim reality of his life with his dismissive fantasies - lets not call them rich as there's always something missing eg the fantasised love object never includes any sexual desires for one thing. To prevent any feelings or insight penetrating his world Mike drowns himself in a drink/drug coctail.
This complex subject matter is very well handled , and becomes a page turner . The period details are superb . At the end Mike is incapable of perceiving the irony of his criticism of the psychiatric reports exemplifying their view of him.


Harry Brown [DVD] [2009]
Harry Brown [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grim, violent and vengeafull sink-estate drama, 19 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Harry Brown [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Perhaps to say you'll 'enjoy' this film would be making assumptions , but if I you're in the market for this sort of depressingly realistic and violent stuff, then you'll appreciate how well cast Michael Caine is as Harry Brown , the protagonist. It was all quite believeable , unfortunately . The scene with the druggies is just so incredibly tense . For what it is , I don't think the film could have been better done .. and all the better for being in the British style of film-making , still a potent force.


Ice Moon
Ice Moon
by Jan Costin Wagner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reactions to death wrapped up in serial killer hunt., 19 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Ice Moon (Paperback)
This is a serial killer hunt without the almost ubiquitous ' must catch him before he kills someone else' just before they do , which is refreshing . The writing style conveys a thoughtfull , brooding quality to the tale , as it does to the main protagonist .Jan wagner has a good understanding of grief , realistically embodied by Kimmo Joentaa the detective himself bereaved. Interpersonal encounters are understated , even when violent.
Finland provides a suitable backdrop , and although I attempt to pronounce the alien-looking place names as I have been to several of them , there are not so many as to irritate or confuse the average reader.
It can be read as man's varying reactions to death , if one wants to step back from the storyline.


No Title Available

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tormented soul .. music is not just music, 5 Feb. 2010
'A man who has been the indisputable favourite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror' wrote Sigmund Freud .If only one could have had Julia's clearly unconditional love without all the abandonment and ambiguous boundaries.....(it's near to incestuous )

Fortunate for the Beatles that there was only one tormented soul in the band ....John's burden is surely enough . We feel for John here ( Aaron Johnson is well cast ) at the same time as we appreciate the emerging anger and cynicism that must have driven his songwriting later . Is it possible , though , to have two sisters who are so completely unalike ? ........... something amiss in their own origins as well maybe ? ...... but I'm just being playful . On a serious note, I did feel that the awful secret origins of the Mimi-John-Julia love triangle were disclosed a little too easily.
A fine film ... essential viewing for any Beatles fan.... time to go and listen to some songs then .... 'Julia ' perhaps ....?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2010 2:03 AM BST


An Education [DVD] [2009]
An Education [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Peter Sarsgaard
Price: £3.00

29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very funny but poignantly serious as well, 18 Nov. 2009
This review is from: An Education [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
How could anyone not enjoy this film . Authentically set around 1960 it contrasts dull suburbia with the bubbling hedonistic frenzy of life elsewhere , if one is fortunate enough to be introduced to it .......... whether it remains fortunate is what the film feeds on .
The characters are supremely well cast , from Jenny's father as the rigid buffoon , to the vacuous Helene as blond arm-candy . You don't have to be Einstein to spot the character flaws emerging in Jenny's flash new boyfriend ....... I think 'charming psychopath' captures it ....... but it is well handled even at the borders of credulity ( occassionally ).
Overall , a fine fable of a film.


Angels & Demons [DVD] [2009]
Angels & Demons [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Price: £2.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much rushing around with pointless melodrama, 30 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Angels & Demons [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Ok , as a very pacy thriller it's well done on some levels , like the Vatican atmosphere of intrigue and tradition contrasting with the urgency of the situation . However , it's just so furiously overdone ........ be honest , nobody's ever sorted anything out rushing around at that speed , and it's so implausible that ONE guy would be able to get the entire police department to just DO that .
Also , I may be dull , but after finding the first cardinal , why didn't they just put all their efforts into discovering clue number five as to the location of the explosive , instead of leaving themselves with just five minutes ( what a surprise ) to dispose of it ..... totally unbelievable .
A good plot ruined by dumbing down .


The Woman In The Fifth
The Woman In The Fifth
by Douglas Kennedy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Lighten up guys ..... it's a dark comedy., 30 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Woman In The Fifth (Paperback)
Actually I think Douglas Kennedy has become a little formulaeic with some of his other works , so this book was a refreshing change for me . Ok , that Harry would take that suspicious watchman job in the first place is somewhat implausible , but once you're past that you set yourself up for a crime thriller but you are completely taken unawares by the genre that comes along ..... brilliant .
Also , he describes so well those little vigniettes where his entanglements with the immigrants and the police drag him further down ....... and there are those neat comic touches ........ I would read the book just for those .


The Reader [DVD]
The Reader [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kate Winslet
Price: £3.55

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GERMANY CONFRONTS ITS PAST, 19 April 2009
This review is from: The Reader [DVD] (DVD)
This is NOT a tender love story - If the sexes had been juxtaposed and Kate Winslet had played a 15 year old it would have been considered exploitative !
The court proceedings are truly dramatic ......... the subject matter , the victims testimony , and the accused's naievity in allowing herself to be isolated by her peer group .... one feels she genuinely didn't feel guilt ( am I alone in thinking this - at the end of the film when reunited woth her teenage lover she fails to comprehend that he is wanting contrition from her ).
I saw the film with someone else and we ended up in a rich discussion over the meaning of the final 15 minutes.


Do The Right Thing [DVD] [1989]
Do The Right Thing [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ Danny Aiello
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unforgettable - what a way to get a message accross, 6 Jan. 2009
the style is not to everyone's taste, but it's nicely pitched........ however irritating the characters, they put you right there.....if it had been constantly broody it would have been flagwaving too much what was to come, whereas here it just soaks into you, and some of the humour even acts as a counterpoint. The 'urban ghetto' is pretty well captured.I wouldn't call it entertainment but it certainly leaves you affected.


No Title Available

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars please bring back 'Bond....... James Bond', 9 Dec. 2008
Daniel Craig takes Bond, gives him a shot of overeactive thuggery,whilst shaking any remnant of humour and feeling out of him - and any gadgets that might have been lurking anywhere ............ we now have a fairly pacy thriller with lots of action, plenty of violence, and two attractive girls......... but it does not earn its Bond label - the essentials are missing.
There is no twinkle in his eye, surely the hallmark of Bond... this guy is humourless. The lack of gadgets comes a close second. We also are served up an arch villain who eats only two weetabix and leaves off the 'menace' powder.
It's not a second rate film - but it's a second rate Bond film .


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