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Thespionic "Thespionic" (West Country)

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Good Morning, Vietnam [DVD] [1988]
Good Morning, Vietnam [DVD] [1988]
Dvd ~ Robin Williams
Price: £3.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A Beer At Jimmy Wahs., 29 Mar. 2015
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I have just watched ‘Platoon’ and ‘Full metal Jacket,’ which were different, but both essentially ‘Nam fighting’ movies. This was the last of the trilogy that I bought about ‘Nam.’
The film scored well on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, but less so than the aforementioned ‘Nam’ films. I would go along with that consensus. About 3.0 to 4.0 stars would be my pitch.
I quite enjoyed it and found it very watchable, a nice change from all of the blood & guts of war. The film has plenty of Interesting characters; I just adored the bar owner - Jimmy Wah, he was an absolute hoot and I could have watched him all night!
An interesting film for sure but not one for me that will linger on the memory for too long.

Once Upon A Time In America [DVD] [1984]
Once Upon A Time In America [DVD] [1984]
Dvd ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Gangster Films That Never Got its Due Rewards, 29 Mar. 2015
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This Dvd had been sitting on my shelf for months on end, as I couldn’t bring myself to sit through over thee and a half hours of film !
Well, I managed it in the end, and thank God that I did – it turned out to be one of the best films that I’ve seen! It’s right up there with The Godfather and Goodfellows imho, - yes, without a doubt.
I just love the jazz age / roaring twenties, the styles, Scott Fitzgerald, flappers, white-walled tyres on the limo’s – it was such a stylistic age.
The first thing that struck me was how good the film quality is (easily HD) and the wardrobe soon had me purring. The cinematography was so atmospheric – just wonderful. I have the non - Bluray version!
We all know now that the film was suicidally cut to ribbons to accommodate the cinema audiences, this led to several things, firstly, the film lost 25 million dollars, but it also cheated it actors and its makers out of numerous Oscars! Thankfully, the only sane way to watch this film now is on DVD!
DeNiro & Wood are both terrific but there are many other very fine performances to enjoy, even if Joe Pesci is limited to just one very brief scene.
There are some superb scenes here and some quite harrowing ones too – the rape scene is particularly difficult to watch. The film has just enough violence and is also quite sexually explicit, but then, this was a very hedonistic period.

Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition) [DVD] [1987]
Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition) [DVD] [1987]
Dvd ~ Matthew Modine
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Yes Sir, Drill Sergeant, 28 Mar. 2015
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Before watching this I’d watched ‘Platoon’ the previous evening, more on that later.
Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed this film which scored very highly on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, though not quite so well on Roger Ebert’s site.
The film won no major awards though it was nominated. The highlight for me (and many others I would guess) was the Marine, drill sergeant, Hartman – played by R L Emery. That was some performance, (it deserved an Oscar IMHO), and no one else in the film gets near to that level, though they all do a first class job.
The role draws an immediate comparison with ‘Emil Foley,’ the drill Sergeant, in ‘An Officer and a Gentleman.’ However, this was five years earlier in 1982, which goes to show that you can reprise a hit role quite quickly, but it has to be very, very, good!
Emery is now 71. He had four children – all very well behaved apparently!
On a more serious note, he was in fact a drill instructor in the Marines and toured Vietnam – no wonder he was so damned good!
The first half of the film is just brilliant, as the young marines are put through their paces by the uncompromising Hartman. There’s a lot of humour in here too. The second half doesn’t quite keep to that high standard but is never less than totally watchable. The fighting is a snippet of the ‘Tet offensive, which was about halfway through the war.
I think I enjoyed ‘Platoon’ a little more. Maybe it was the jungle warfare as opposed to the fighting in the City? Maybe it was because of the ‘seen it all before’ syndrome? Maybe ‘Platoon’ had a wider scope about what happened in Vietnam and therefore covers more of the salient points? In any event, It was Platoon that won the Oscar?
They are both very good films for sure and great viewing.

Cannery Row (Penguin Drop Caps)
Cannery Row (Penguin Drop Caps)
by John Steinbeck
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.78

5.0 out of 5 stars What a Great Read - Give Me More!, 25 Mar. 2015
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John Steinbeck was clearly brought up to appreciate nature and the many facets of the countryside. ‘Of Mice & Men’ included puppies, rabbits and of course mice. It was set in the countryside, with a dream of owning a little homestead there.
Here we have a menagerie of animals in focus: sea creatures, rats, rattlesnakes, sea lions, frogs, dogs, cats & puppies, even gophers! Steinbeck talks expertly about marine life and living on the coast near a fishery, which in fact, he did!
The character of ‘Doc’ is based on a soulmate of his - Ed Ricketts, who was indeed a marine biologist. He clearly taught Steinbeck an awful lot?
The storyline is simple and the main characters are well documented on here, so I won’t duplicate. The tale is never less than interesting to fascinating, with the outcomes never certain? There are so many add ons, tangents, twists and turns that there’s always a nice surprise around the corner.
It is an art form to write in a compelling way, drawing the reader in, deeper and deeper, and yet add the addition of a clever humour or biting wit. I promise you this read will make you smile.
One of the main storylines is that of ‘loneliness,’ or those without partners? Only the Malloys – who live in an old boiler, are married. The rest by and large are now single. Even the gopher finds no joy here!
Aside from the main characters, we have several others who drift in and out, and add greatly to the piece - the mysterious Chinaman, who only appears briefly at dawn and dusk! Then there’s William, who is the bouncer at the brothel. Poor Frankie, the backward kid who wants to be a waiter! Henri, whose boat is taking longer to build than the Titanic… and so it goes on!
The yarn is far from straightforward; we come across a ‘Basic Instinct’ moment with an ice pick. A suicide, a dead body, an incarceration, a gopher that bumps into a ‘gopher mobster’ … and so it goes on! Did I mention all the parties, the Model T Truck and the roof top skater … I think you get the picture!
This is a great little read and I just loved it – 5 stars all the way, and I’ve just ordered Steinbeck’s, ‘the ‘Wayward Bus’ - Can’t wait!

Raging Bull (20th Anniversary Edition) [DVD]
Raging Bull (20th Anniversary Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Need to Know about Jake LaMotta., 24 Mar. 2015
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A lot of people feel this is De Nero’s best film, and though I prefer Taxi Driver, who am I to argue? Most certainly the tale of Jake La Motta, is an action – packed, real life epic. Jake is still going strong at 93!
Raging Bull was not a big box office success; time has been more than kind to the film, now of course it’s regarded as a classic.
De Nero had already won his first Oscar in Godfather 11; this became his second - to date.
The story is very true to LaMotta’s career. He fought Sugar Ray Robinson an incredible six times!
De Nero, with his nose job, actually looks a little like LaMotta. For the latter part of the film, when Jake was fat, De Nero went away for several months of eating, and put on nearly five stones!
Excellent film – I love the De Nero - Joe Pesci combo's – all great films.
And finally, according to his biographies, LaMotta, was, as the film shows, a brute to his women. He’s been married six times and remains a very popular character in America.

Road to Perdition [2002] [DVD]
Road to Perdition [2002] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Price: £2.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Top Film with Outstanding Cinematography, 23 Mar. 2015
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The very first thing that strikes you is the wonderful cinematography, especially the colour palette. It’s very atmospheric and pleasing on the eye. It reminded me immediately of Terrence Davies – ‘Distant Voices, Still Lives’ & ‘The Long Day Closes’ in its colour and the warmth that it brings to the viewer. You know, like those post war photos of mum & dad that looked almost painted on?
Tom is his usual pragmatic self in what is a lovely story amid all the shooting and violence. The costumes from that ‘Great Depression’ era are just great; we even get to see the flappers wearing their cloches and those lovely flowing dresses at a jazz rave. The film deservedly won an Oscar for its cinematography.
Paul Newman plays but a fleeting role compared to the baddy Daniel Craig. The film is very much about the relationship between father and son and is very touching without ever getting in any way sentimental.
This is a high calibre film – beautifully shot, great wardrobe, superbly acted all round, a gripping storyline and a good finale. I recently viewed 'The Departed,' and felt this was far superior film in many ways.

The Departed (2006) [DVD]
The Departed (2006) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Very, Very Watchable ... but No Goodfellows, 22 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Departed (2006) [DVD] (DVD)
With a cast list to die for it was not a surprise that that Joe public loved this offering. Both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb scored it very highly. Plenty of awards were given for the film itself. The flick made a 200 million dollar profit, so Brad Pitt as one of the producers, would have been rubbing his hands
I really enjoyed it – it was action all the way. Some of the plot was a little soft or overly done IMHO? The ‘moles’ gave more chances to be caught than Peter Sutcliff, but the Mob were just as culpable as the West Yorkshire Police! I am not sure about Wahlberg’s role and his rather ranting & overly aggressive persona? Why does any modern gangster film have to have Ray Winston playing exactly the same role that he’s played in his previous 25 gangster roles? It was also a little OTT that both ‘moles’ fall for the same girl – oh come on – what odds on that Ray? And, don’t get me started on the ‘wipe out’ conclusion! The only one spared a bullet was the broad!
I thought Jack was very watchable as usual and he was one of the highlights for me. Most of the stellar cast did a pretty good job, in what is a very good film and worth two and a half hours of anyone’s time.
Is it up there with the Godfather, Goodfellows & Casino etc. - No, not anywhere near that league.

Sea Of Love [DVD] [1990]
Sea Of Love [DVD] [1990]
Dvd ~ Al Pacino
Price: £4.20

3.0 out of 5 stars Very Watchable - Especially Ellen!, 21 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Sea Of Love [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Sorry ‘Al’ fans but this for me was a typical later ‘Pacino’ movie – he’s a little wooden and hammy. I don’t know who writes his scripts but they do him no favours at times. I much prefer his early stuff.
The overall film isn’t too bad, it has a reasonable story line that keeps you locked in - I quite enjoyed it. Both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb gave it 6.5/10, which I feel is about right.
The highlight for me was Ellen Barkin, as Helen Cruger, who I thought was first class, she had a figure to die for – to use New York parlance, her legs went right up to the 23rd floor! John Goodman was also very watchable. The film (1989) was nearly 20 years into Al’s career. It was very successful financially, costing 19 million $ to make and taking in 111 million $! It failed to lift any awards but I do feel Ellen Barkin should have received something for having pins as good as that!

A Night To Remember
A Night To Remember
Offered by soulsearchingplus
Price: £3.45

4.0 out of 5 stars A Legend, Of That There is No Doubt, 20 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: A Night To Remember (Audio CD)
What can you say about Jonny Mathis? 350 million records, the third most successful singer of the twentieth century! Its mind boggling, is it not?
I think people liked him don’t you?
This album is super smooth – what else would you expect? The song choice is lovely. My only regret is that, ‘Too much, too little, too late,’ is not included on this lovely album.
This album reached 29 in the charts in 2008. It was his highest entry since 1986!
Johnny is nearly 80 now; he’s made 100 albums and 100 singles. Now if that’s not a legend I don’t know what is?

Platoon [DVD] [1987]
Platoon [DVD] [1987]
Dvd ~ Charlie Sheen
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.56

5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of The Vietnam War, 20 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Platoon [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
This is possibly the definitive ‘Vietnam’ war film, along with the likes of Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and The Deer Hunter? You can put those in what order you wish? Some would add Private Ryan I guess?
The Vietnam War was an American disaster, they have recently admitted that it was a war that they wished that they’d never gotten into and it was a mistake. A very costly one at that, spread over the 19 gruelling years. America suffered huge casualties. . America threw its full military might at the Viet Cong but they were ultimately beaten, or more accurately, couldn’t win? The after effects of this war are now ingrained in American history.
The film does a great job in bringing home the horrors of war and just how men are dehumanised in these situations. It is superbly shot.
The film clearly tries to cover as many of the salient points of the war as possible - the jungle warfare and how difficult it was to put the the ‘very savvy’ enemy down in their own back yard? It covers the drug abuse (and eventual addiction), the ‘fragging’ of officers, the disharmony in the ranks and the racism that clearly existed. The atrocities that occurred (very common in most wars) are also covered, and so is the ultimate will to get the hell out of there in one piece and back home!
The film does a great job in all of this and thoroughly deserved its academy award. I found it a great watch I have to say.

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