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DL07 (London, UK)

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Sean Connery: The Measure of a Man
Sean Connery: The Measure of a Man
by Christopher Bray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Connery Worship, 7 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm normally not that interested in biographies but bought this as a Birthday present for my Grandmother and took the time to read it before sending it to her. Christopher Bray certainly has great enthusiasm for writing about Connery, almost making up for the complete lack of access to the man himself with sheer hero worship. But while I found the opening chapters about Connery's childhood and early career the most interesting, the rest of the book then becomes a kind of case for the defence excusing every questionable movie (and every questionable move) Connery's ever made.

Because Bray is clearly such a fan, Connery can do absolutely no wrong. His infamous defence of hitting women aside (Bray actually makes quite a good case here that Connery's words were taken somewhat out of context and blown out of all proportion), Connery is also credited with "Creating" James Bond. Forget Ian Fleming, Terrence Young, Albert R. Broccoli, etc.- it was all Connery! There would have been no series without him according to Bray and the post- Connery films barely rate a mention.

Bray does briefly- and somewhat grudgingly- praise George Lazenby's physicality, Timothy Dalton's intensity and Pierce Brosnan's looks but hasn't a good word for either Roger Moore or Daniel Craig (tellingly, the two most successful Bonds along with Connery), describing their films as being inferior to the Die Hard sequels as an example.

He also has- to my mind- some funny ideas about Connery's later films. Two of his best- Highlander and The Hunt for Red October- are completely slammed for not giving him enough screen time (making me wonder if he bothered watching them properly at all). Whilst the ugliest height of Connery's ungratefulness to the series that made him, 1983's god-awful "Rival" Bond film Never Say Never Again, seems to baffle Bray as to why it didn't work and failed so miserably (the answer pretty clearly being that Connery felt as he does- that he himself was the only essential ingredient).

So I'm sure it wasn't the author's intent that Connery doesn't really come out of this book very well. His disillusionment with Bond seems to have been more about wanting more money rather than about press intrusion into his private life. His Scottish nationalism seems to be more about being "Unable" to live in his homeland because of his tax avoidance. And his two belated returns to 007 were purely financially motivated (as well as being easily his two worst Bond films).

Don't get me wrong, I'm a massive Connery fan but chances are that unless (like the author) your heroes can do no wrong, you won't come out of this thinking what a nice guy he must be! The main thing I got from it was that the Bond producers should have let him go after Thunderball (another great film Bray doesn't seem to rate- again because other people are occasionally on screen!) which remains his last great Bond performance.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2014 4:19 PM BST


Highlander 3 - The Sorcerer [DVD] [1994]
Highlander 3 - The Sorcerer [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ Christopher Lambert
Offered by MY APPLE
Price: £21.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but Entertaining, 22 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The third Highlander film is a sequel to the first but essentially a prequel to the second so is best viewed between the previous films. It also seems to be set before the television series and the TV movies that followed (which I won't go into here) so is really the last "Major" Highlander in terms of being a relatively big budget, theatrically released, epic and grandiose adventure focussing on the original protagonist.

Highlander III has it's problems but, as with Highlander II, most were already there at the earliest stages of it's story's development. The director and cast actually do a pretty good job with the material. Morahan's flashy, rock video style is perfect and Lambert delivers a solid performance. Deborah Unger makes a good romantic interest and there's good support from Michael Jayston and Martin Neufeld although Mario van Peebles (an extremely talented actor given the right role) outstays his welcome a bit as a villain too closely modelled on the original's Kurgan.

There are several versions of this film out there (under no less than five or six variations of the title for different overseas markets) but this is the UK, 15 certificate version. It's not in widescreen and is slightly cut (though not as badly as some versions) during the sex scenes.

The best deal is probably the Region 1, R rated director's cut (which is the most complete version available and is in widescreen) entitled Highlander: The Final Dimension. Although the film's original title, "Final Dimension" is somewhat irrelevant compared to "The Sorcerer" and the removal of the "III" makes it look like one of the post series DTV misadventures rather than the final part of the original (loose) trilogy of proper films.

Perhaps understandably given all these variations (even between "III" and "3"), both the UK and US Amazon sites are confusing this with Highlander: Endgame in some of the review sections, so make sure you're buying the right film! If you thought Highlander II was bad (the director's cut of that's a vast improvement, actually) you really don't want to end up accidentally purchasing Endgame!


Subway [DVD] [1985]
Subway [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Isabelle Adjani

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Style's Supposed to outweigh the Substance!, 11 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Subway [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
From it's opening car chase (with it`s loud soft rock soundtrack and brightly sunlit look it could have been shot by Tony Scott), it's fairly clear that Luc Besson's quintessentially '80's Cinema du Look classic is going to be a film about style. And from there on, daylight's hardly seen again at all as we enter a dark world of smoke and neon. A quirky, offbeat New Wave gem of a movie, Subway is intentionally plot- lite but extremely heavy on stunning imagery. British and American critics often entirely miss the point and bemoan it's shallowness, but that's kind of like complaining about an instrumental piece of music for having no vocals.
It's important to remember this is a Besson film, the man whose previous picture, Le Dernier Combat (1983) featured a grand total of two words of dialogue, so it's fairly safe to say Subway too is about doing, rather than saying (out of it's five screenwriters listed at the start, only one is credited with "Dialogue", although the whole idea of any kind of story was an afterthought to all the super- cool music video visuals).
Christopher Lambert, in probably his best French film before Highlander convinced him he had to become a Hollywood action star (and ultimately end up languishing in DTV hell after a few ultra- violent misadventures too far), plays Fred, a blonde, spiky- haired punk in a tuxedo that's probably not his. A kind of anarchic James Bond, Fred's stolen some important documents from the rich husband of young trophy wife Helena ( a gorgeous Isabelle Adjani) and gone into hiding underground, quite literally, in the Paris metro system.
Various cops and hitmen are then sent after him but Fred finds time to flirt with Helena, befriend the subway's other strange inhabitants in his bizarre (but of course, beautifully shot) subterranean world and even start a band, recruiting various buskers (including Besson's regular composer Eric Serra on bass and a young Jean Reno with hair on drums) and staging their first gig at a metro station.
Watching Subway is immensely enjoyable as long as you don't try to take it too seriously, although for anybody with an aversion to 1980's fashions and music it's probably not recommended, it may be just what Beeson was going for, but on this evidence the French seemed to take the decade's extremes even further than most. It's an incredibly offbeat, whimsical, almost fairytale- like movie (Fred refers to Helena as "Cinderella") that seems to take place just the other side of the real world, kind of like watching Goddard by way of John Carpenter or Walter Hill's The Warriors or Streets of Fire. It's no coincidence that other filmmakers generally seem to be on the "Love" side of this "Love or Hate" movie.


Black Stone Cherry
Black Stone Cherry
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good stuff!, 18 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Black Stone Cherry (Audio CD)
I was massively impressed with this record. No, it's not the most original album ever recorded but Black Stone Cherry are obviously pretty good at what they do- heavy southern rock in the same vein as Corrosion of Conformity and Down- there's a bit of Black Label Society and Clutch in there too. Looking forward to seeing them in England this summer (supporting Def Leppard and Whitesnake- they'll probably be the best- and certainly most energetic- band on the bill considering the four of them probably have a combined age of David Coverdale!)
This has also been my first purchase after splitting up with my girlfriend of the last year and living alone again and it truly is a great one to start a new single life to! In fact these songs will make you feel pretty much invinceible! Lyrically it's all about these southern rock stars in the making breaking out of their small town lives, leaving girls behind ("Maybe someday we'll be together but now I'm gonna rule the world you'll be just another pretty girl that crossed my sight and for now I've got to rock and roll!") and stuff. It hasn't left my car stereo for weeks- does make you drive like a nutter though.


Pink Floyd: In Concert - Delicate Sound Of Thunder [VHS]
Pink Floyd: In Concert - Delicate Sound Of Thunder [VHS]
VHS

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated live film with several tracks you'll only find on video here, 9 Feb. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having owned the Delicate Sound album for several years I've found it's always one you return to for the Momentary Lapse of Reason tracks- most of which weren't played live again on the Division Bell tour. Although I'm a fan of Roger Waters- era Pink Floyd and his solo work, being 25 my introduction to Floyd was through the David Gilmour- led last days of the band and I still count Momentary Lapse, Delicate Sound, Division Bell and Pulse among my favourite records.
This video should certainly be rereleased properly on DVD (it's currently only available on DVD in a very pricey and hard to find box set also including the CD's), perhaps remastered with some new extra features. Actually as I've just spent £30 on an 18- year old VHS tape EMI will probably release it next week!
Obviously, the main reason people will be interested in this title is for the tracks you can't get on video anywhere else (On The Turning Away, Dogs of War, etc.) but as with Pulse there are a few differences between the album and video tracklistings. The biggest disappointment is that Yet Another Movie and Round and Around are left off but instead you get Signs of Life and One Slip. Shine On is actually only the intro of the song rather then even the shortened "Concert Version" on Pulse but then it is a track Floyd played a lot and you can get it live anywhere (apparently Echoes was also occasionally used as the opener instead on this tour which would have made a much more interesting inclusion). Money is also absent but considering it's on the Pulse video as well as Waters' live In The Flesh DVD that's no great loss and the less overplayed On The Run replaces it anyway.
The style of the concert film (in an American arena rather than Earl's Court) is very different to Pulse too, directed as it is by Wayne Isham- anyone familiar with his flashy live DVD's for Metallica and Def Leppard will be familiar with the director's style- which is often more like watching a music video (some sounds and images intentionally don't match up- although that's not as bad as it sounds) than a live show. But at this point in their career Floyd seemed to be trying to get back to Meddle- era anonymity after The Wall tour so that's probably exactly what they were going for. There's no friendly talking to the audience like in the Pulse video, the band are backed by a massive cast of additional musicians (including a spectacularly mulleted saxophonist) and there's much more emphasis on the light show and some inspired Storm Thorgerson images on the video screen. It's also cool to see Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason looking so much younger. Also look out for the brilliant p*ss- take credit the band give an R. Waters for "Original Pig Concept" at the end!
Considering there is now a visual record of every other era of Pink Floyd (the '60's Syd Barrett days with the Live in London DVD, the experimental Meddle era with Live in Pompeii, the Waters years with The Wall film and Gilmour's version of the band with this and Pulse) it would be truly great if somebody could unearth some concert footage from the band's truly greatest (and democratic) years between Dark Side of the Moon in '73 and Animals in '77 when Waters and Gilmour worked so brilliantly together and even let the other two write the occasional song. Numerous sources have said over the years that at least audio recordings probably exist from that time so how about a massive, officially released CD/DVD live box of stuff from the golden age?


Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Summer in the City?, 31 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Only Fools and Horses (Audio CD)
Once again the one track you can't find anywhere else is also the one missing from the soundtrack album. The inclusion of the Gutter Brothers' cover of "Summer in the City" from the episode "Miami Twice" would have made me buy this. As it is it's just a collection of your average late 80's / early 90's middle of the road stuff you could hear by tuning into a commercial radio station anywhere in the country.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2012 12:45 AM BST


The Likely Lads [DVD]
The Likely Lads [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rodney Bewes
Offered by BAZZMEDIA
Price: £5.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not up to the stadard of the TV series, 16 Aug. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Likely Lads [DVD] (DVD)
Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads? is a classic TV series. I bought this film as it is the equivalent of three further episodes as well as being Terry and Bob's final appearance. Unfortunately, it doesn't work quite so well as any of the TV episodes. A lot of the jokes are recycled from the series (and writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais' other works) and the story feels a bit directionless. Personally, I think Clement and La Frenais learnt a lot from this picture though. A few years later they made probably the best ever TV sitcom to movie transfer with the Porridge film- which actually has an effective plot to provide it's humour. The Likely Lads film is interesting to see what finally became of the lads. There are a some great moments- Terry announcing "The end is nigh, Ferris!" and "Not my fault" on the megaphone, Bob and Thelma's last very public row, Terry getting hit by the vase thrown from his flat window and the cinema format allowed more classic comedy swearing than the BBC would have. As I say though, the whole thing just seems kind of forced and aimless. But it's still worth seeing for completists and- like all of the writers' work- is valuable as a great document of British social history. Interestingly, they again end with someone leaving the country for an uncertain future- just as in the original '60's Likely Lads series, the first ending of Auf Wiedersehen Pet and the ending of the recent Auf Pet revival. For the best of Terry Collier and Bob Ferris though, get the "Whatever Happened To" series on DVD.


Highlander: The Original Scores
Highlander: The Original Scores

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Parts of the first three films' muic scores, 14 Aug. 2006
There are no Queen tracks on this. It's a bootleg of the background scores from Highlander 1 - 3.Are there any plans to (finally) release a proper, official, quality soundtrack album for the original "Highlander". I realise this film's reputation has unfairly suffered because of it's increasingly bad sequels but this is it's 20th anniversary year. The original is a great film with a great soundtrack. Surely it's time for a full album (with both Queen and Michael Kamen tracks). Queen's "A Kind Of Magic" album features 6 tracks from the film but the rest of the album is songs that are not from "Highlander", also the six that are are different versions. while I think 2 of the other Queen tracks in the film (the one playing when the Kurgan hijacks the old couple's car and the cover of "New York, New York") have never been released anywhere. Anyway, I urge anyone who may read this to support a release of a quality, official and ideally remastered soundtrack album for the first "Highlander".
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 8, 2012 5:33 PM BST


Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads - Series 2 [DVD]
Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads - Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Bolam
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £10.45

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN AND ACTED, 14 Aug. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? is a series I continue to find fascinating, extremely well written, excellently performed and very funny. It ended a decade before I was born but being a southern 80's child with northern parents I discovered it through the repeats and still consider it a brilliant document of British social history. There seems to be some confusion as to whether the final episode (the 1974 Christmas special) is included on this release. Well, it is on mine! It's an extra feature on disc 2- although I don't suppose it's very prominent on the DVD sleeve. I must admit it is extremely uncharacteristically generous of the BBC to include it, given that they would usually try to milk it by releasing it separately. I did notice however that they didn't actually include every surviving episode of the original `60's Likely Lads series on the recent DVD release. A couple were left off for some reason. I recommend the Likely Lads film (1976) too, which is the equivalent of three more episodes as well as being Terry and Bob's final appearance.


Strange Days [DVD] [1996]
Strange Days [DVD] [1996]
Dvd ~ Ralph Fiennes
Offered by i want one of those
Price: £4.49

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely underrated and misunderstood, 16 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Strange Days [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Strange Days is a film which has recieved a lot of pretty unfair criticism. One of the main complaints is that this is simply a standard underworld thriller given some futuristic SF gloss. In a way this is kind of true but classic Noirish storytelling is just one of several themes / ideas Bigelow and Cameron explore with this project. Strange Days is an overly ambitious film- but as overly ambitious films go it's probably one of the best there is. Religion, the turn of the millennium, virtual reality, prostitution, police corruption, racism- it's a lot for just over two hours but the fact that this film works is testament to it's makers' talents. Yes, Cameron's gone incredibly rubbish since with the absurd titanic (technically brilliant maybe but without doubt his worst film- including Piranha 2!). As to Bigelow- what problem do other reviewers have with her "Choice of material"? Near Dark, Blue Steel and Point Break are all excellent films (although I admit bad reviews put me off bothering with the Harrison Ford submarine one).
Strange Days also features standout performances from everyone in it. Fiennes is brilliant in one of his legendary transformational performances as the "likeable loser" Lenny (this was the first thing I ever saw him in and still have trouble accepting him for the posh Englishman he really is!) Juliette Lewis is great too- she sings for the first time here (actually two excellent P. J. Harvey covers) and her new band Juliette and the Licks are well worth checking out. Also having done the whole tormented loner/slightly crazy girlfriend thing in the past can tell you Lenny and Faith's story/relationship certainly is real, believable and really quite touching.
Michael Wincott is also very memorable as bad guy Gant. As great as he was in The Crow and Dead Man I think this has to be the best long- haired, mad- eyed villain with a voice sounding like a brick in a cement mixer on his considerable list of such characters.
In summary, Strange Days very nearly is as clever as it thinks it is. Yes, it is a lot of themes/content for one film (but considering you couldn't so much as swear on American TV in 1995 what other medium would have suited the material?) There are a great deal more reasons why Strange Days is a great film- too many to go into here really. Mainly though, it's just cool. It looks and sounds amazing and the soundtrack album's definately worth buying too.


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