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Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain)
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Blood [DVD]
Blood [DVD]
Dvd ~ Paul Bettany
Price: £4.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Falls short of its potential, 23 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Blood [DVD] (DVD)
Blood attempts to be a stylish psychological thriller, a la Nordic noir, but set in the north of England. A young girl is murdered and a pair of detectives - brothers - are sure they know who killed her. When their investigation falters they take radical, irreversible action. And then they're caught in the loop of those consequences...
Blood was enjoyable and reasonably unpredictable, with a few moments of powerful performances and intense emotions. But it felt more like a long episode of a British TV drama, and not much like a 'proper' film. Nothing like the quality of shows like True Detective or Ray Donovan.
It struggles to live up to the promise of the plot and cast - perhaps because of actors playing the pivotal roles. Brian Cox is brilliant as the bullying patriarch, losing his faculties along with his temper. But Mark Strong and Paul Bettany - both of whom are excellent in general - feel misplaced in their roles. Strong seems unlikely for the quiet loner who's always been intimidated by his brash superior. And Bettany simply doesn't seem right as Brian Cox's laddish son; he's too intellectual, not enough of a boor. As the plot hinges around these relationships, it all loses steam somewhat.

Despite that, Ade Edmondson puts in a great cameo as a distressed OCD witness. And there's some powerful filming of the coastal seascapes. It just doesn't match the majesty of, say, Wallander.
7/10


Second Life
Second Life
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Midlife Melodrama, 23 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Second Life (Kindle Edition)
No doubt this will be another blockbuster best-seller and a bad movie to boot. It’s a preposterous, page-turning pot-boiler, in which dull middle-class people do dumb things for the wrong reasons. It indulges the readers’ worst appetite for twist and turns by contriving impossible coincidences and implausible scenarios. It achieves a keep-em-guessing-to-the-very-end atmosphere of uncertainty, a ‘trust no one’ mentality, although most of the ‘shocking’ moments are telegraphed a mile off.

Second Life dips an uneasy toe in the muddy waters of slightly strange sexuality and, after suitably titillating its straight-laced audience, scampers back to safe ground with that age-old message: you have an affair? Then your lover is bound to turn into a scheming psycho nutter-stalker who will ruin your cosy bourgeois existence, bring your suburban idyll blazing down in flames, and probably boil your bunny for an encore (note: no actual bunnies are boiled in this book).
Second Life will inevitably sell millions. It’s carefully choreographed, written without any particular panache but with enough expertise to hook even the most jaded reader (that would be me) with its central mystery. But to find out whodunnit, I had to plough through an almost endless mire of middle class angst, of dinner parties and house parties, of sulking teenage sons and the problems of parenthood, of bored hausfrau seeking solace from the drudgery of, err, the school run and chopping pak choi, in the arms of her seductive / sinister lover.
There's more detail - if you can stand it - over at murdermayhemandmore.net

So while I soldiered through to the unfulfilling end, this wasn’t a book I enjoyed at all. The blend of banal mundanity and impossible stupidity left me completely cold. I rarely read mainstream ‘thrillers’ and this has reminded me why.
5/10


Nightcrawler [DVD] [2014]
Nightcrawler [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly (and nastily) close to perfect, 17 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Nightcrawler [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
This is an ugly film about an ugly subject, made all the more powerful for its beautiful performances, razor-sharp script and stunning cinematography. It’s a bundle of brutally honest observations about modern society, honed into verbal shrapnel, delivered with absolute conviction by Jake Gyllenhaal whose extraordinary performance captures the attention for almost two hours.
Ostensibly a story of an amoral young man who’ll stop at nothing to succeed as a freelance news hack, Nightcrawler actually condemns every single person who appears in it. Each and every character is complicit in the moral corruption summed up by the central character – even down to one of the first incidental bit-players we meet, a scrap metal merchant. He won’t employ a thief – but he’ll happily buy stolen goods from him. That moral hypocrisy is reflected at every stage in the film, as Gyllenhaal’s character progresses way beyond mere larceny and sordid voyeurism to manipulation, complicity and eventually murder. But the film never lets us get away with thinking that he’s the only person to blame, here: the nightcrawler is only part of a system which exists to feed the desire of the masses. He doesn’t create the need for nasty, invasive, demeaning news coverage – he’s just a quick learner who rapidly understands that he can be successful by fulfilling that need. It’s the American dream, skewed through a glass, darkly.
Think on that next time you click on a lurid headline.
Brilliant film. Hard to watch: not your average thriller. Reno Russo as the struggling TV news producer plays a superb supporting role to Gyllenhaal; in one scene where he offers her appalling footage of an actual shooting you would believe she’d have his babies on the spot. And Gyllenhaal himself as the sociopathic, self-taught, buzzword businessman is riveting, if considerably unsettling.
Hard to find a flaw in the whole film, so (unusually):
10/10
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2015 8:57 PM BST


Lost River [DVD]
Lost River [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christina Hendricks
Price: £5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, strange art-house cinema, 17 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Lost River [DVD] (DVD)
Although Lost River is described as a thriller, and certainly has its gory moments, it falls into the psychological, slow-burn category. It's most definitely not action / adventure, and the pace will feel way too slow for many viewers. This is art-house move-making, at times presenting a surreal series of disconnected images, riffing on the theme of urban decay, desolation, and characters mired in social deprivation by the unremitting grip of their miserable pasts.
It contains moments of visual brilliance, nuanced performances, outright weirdness and freakery and no small amount of sadness. You can definitely feel the influence of other film-makers with whom Gosling has worked (especially in the kinky club with its retinal-searing red light). But Lost River also demonstrated a soul of its own.
Not mainstream. Not predictable. But with a surprising core of integrity and optimism.
8/10


Master of Blood and Bone
Master of Blood and Bone
Price: £4.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full-on dark fantasy, 15 Jun. 2015
Shocking and gripping from the get-go, this tightly wound tale of gods and monsters had me hooked from the opening pages. The writing veers from slick, Tarantino-style dialogue and rapid narrative to surreal, bewildering sequences, which gradually coalesce into an ambitious plot involving ancient deities, their appalling servants, demons of the abyss and the apocalypse itself. In the midst of all this we meet a father and daughter; no ordinary parent and child. They see dead people… among other things, and they’re more than capable of standing up to an insane god.

Yet ‘Blood and Bone’ tells more than a simple tale of confrontation and magical battle. These aren’t flimsy, stereotypical tropes of fantasy fiction; they have the feel of real (if extremely weird) people. We’re not weighed down by acres of exposition or establishing back=story, we simply join the cast of characters at a pivotal point in their mutual life stories.
Amid the scenes of brutal, blood soaked carnage and sexual rampage (if books had rating then this would definitely be an R/X), there’s a truly inventive story-teller at work, weaving a new mythology from strands of age-old stories. The writing is razor-sharp and wielded like a deadly weapon; there’s no hackneyed clichés in these pages, but plenty of wince-inducing visualisations of abominations.
There's more thoughts on the plot and characters at murdermayhemandmore.net

The final payoff is a treat. Ditto the epilogue. And the special guest appearance by Charon was a rare delight, too. ‘Blood and Bone’ is a near-note-perfect adult fable; a squealing, squirming blood-black nightmare with a solid core of potential redemption. Not for the squeamish, but oh-so satisfying.. and more than good enough for me to immediately order more from this author.
9/10
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2015 9:21 AM BST


By The Gun
By The Gun
Dvd
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Second rate gangster flick, 13 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: By The Gun (Amazon Instant Video)
This is very much a wannabe B-movie. It so much wants to be Goodfellas, But it's too smooth, too self-conscious, too modern. It mistakes style for substance. It mimics almost to the point of parody what it worships. No heart. And that's pretty much the sum of the story.
There are some interesting aspects, especially the 'end of an era' storyline. This reveals how the dregs of the old Italian families are on their last legs, out-gunned, out-numbered and out-manoeuvered by a brutal new generation of thugs, crooks and robbers who don't hold to the old code. Harvey Keitel puts in a decent performance as Sal, one of the last men standing - but in many ways his considerable screen presence just underlines the central character's lack of charisma. And one of the subordinate wise-guys, Tony, appears to be channelling the ghost of Bobby De Niro in a painfully derivative scene in a strip-joint.
Afterwards, when you stop to consider the plot, there are holes so huge you could build a casino in them.
So while there are many decent moment in here, there's little to enthral you. Even so, it's far from terrible. Not bad viewing on a rainy weekend.
7/10


Purina ONE My Dog Is Food Lover Turkey & Rice Dry Dog Food 800g (Pack of 4)
Purina ONE My Dog Is Food Lover Turkey & Rice Dry Dog Food 800g (Pack of 4)
Price: £13.96

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly rated by starving scavengers, 12 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This may be the strangest dog food review you read today.*
I don't actually own or live with a dog. I did have a cat. It died.
(Bear with me. We do get to the dog food review eventually)
When the cat died, we had a stack of dried cat food left over. Didn't want to waste it, and we live in the country, so we started leaving it out for the wild things. Pretty soon, we'd developed a bit of a regular clientele for the kitty-kibble feeding routine. Among the many wilde beasts who, it turns out, appreciate dried cat food, are Foxy Lady, a spring-heeled vixen; Mrs Kibble, a feral tortoiseshell feline; magpies various; robins ditto, and quite possibly a hodgepig or two. We don't quite know. We leave the food out in the evening and every morning it's gone, gone, gone.
Of course, pretty soon the leftover cat food was all used up. But the menagerie kept coming, so we kept feeding them.
And so it is that I'm delighted to report that Foxy Lady and Mrs Kibble have given the Purina One their seal of approval. In fact, they seem to like it more than the Iams they got last time around, as they made a special point of dropping by to pester for extra helpings.
This may be of use to you if -- by some strange chance -- you're looking for a dried food to leave out for foxes and feral felines and the like.
Or not.
Sorry about that...
At least it keeps well, doesn't smell too awful, and hasn't attracted rats. Well. I don't think it's attracted rats. Ulp.

*or maybe not. Maybe you have very interesting reading habits. Who knows?


The Terminator [DVD]
The Terminator [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £5.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The start of something relentless, 10 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The Terminator [DVD] (DVD)
At 30 years old, Terminator can definitely be considered a cult classic.
You can't hide the age of this film, and its SFX haven't survived as well as those in Blade Runner or 2001. But the pace and plot still feel pretty modern - it's not like some old action flicks where it's painfully slow. Arnie hadn't quite refined his mannerisms as the ultimate 'borg, but delivers all the memorable lines (including the first 'I'll be back') in relentless, robotic fashion. And watching him uncurl for the first time after the time-travel lightning storm is still... impressive.
The sequel is undoubtedly more polished, and has way more bang for your bucks. This is surprisingly low-key. But it was also ground-breaking in it day.
Definitely worth watching before you see the new interpretation of the franchise. Still a great film for a Saturday night on the sofa. But a shame there were no special features on our rental copy.
7/10


The Terminator
The Terminator
Dvd
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The start of something relentless, 10 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Terminator (DVD)
At 30 years old, Terminator can definitely be considered a cult classic.
You can't hide the age of this film, and its SFX haven't survived as well as those in Blade Runner or 2001. But the pace and plot still feel pretty modern - it's not like some old action flicks where it's painfully slow. Arnie hadn't quite refined his mannerisms as the ultimate 'borg, but delivers all the memorable lines (including the first 'I'll be back') in relentless, robotic fashion. And watching him uncurl for the first time after the time-travel lightning storm is still... impressive.
The sequel is undoubtedly more polished, and has way more bang for your bucks. This is surprisingly low-key. But it was also ground-breaking in it day.
Definitely worth watching before you see the new interpretation of the franchise. Still a great film for a Saturday night on the sofa. But a shame there were no special features on our rental copy.
7/10


3 x Hotties FirePack - The Easy solution for a fire
3 x Hotties FirePack - The Easy solution for a fire
Offered by BBQ Land
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good alternative to wood for log burning stoves, 8 Jun. 2015
Very good heatlogs (but this can be an expensive way of buying them. If you get them in bulk then you can find them at £6 or even £4 per pack of 10 logs). Much better than most wood for raising the temp of a fire, and help to warm a room quickly.
They're physically quite small, ideal for smaller log-burning stoves, and burn around two hours. If you close down the air flow, a couple of logs can keep a fire 'in' for the night.
Produce very little ash so low on mess. They only 'flame' for a short while, and then glow like coal. Unlike some heatlogs, they don't expand massively when burning so don't put pressure on the side of a stove, or 'grow' out of the grate.
They are very susceptible to damp however, so should only be stored in a dry place. Keep them in their plastic wrap until the day you intend to burn them.
Useful product if you have somewhere dry to keep them.
8/10


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