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Junebug [DVD]
Junebug [DVD]
Dvd ~ Amy Adams
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.60

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars She should have run a mile..., 27 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Junebug [DVD] (DVD)
The crux of this film comes when George, Madeleine's husband, is invited to stand up and sing at a church-organised meal. At this point, anyone with any sense would have run a mile, or at least, that's what I imagined was going through Madeleine's head when it happened. But does she? No, instead her eyes, and the eyes of all present fill with tears, in the great tradition of American schmalz, and from there on the film is doomed. Of course the baby has to die - there has to be some crisis in the film, and it isn't Eugene cutting off his fingers with a circular saw. But despite George realising he loves Ashley much more than he loves his wife (with whom his relationship is clearly only one of lust), he "forgives her" and they go back to Chicago together. What is worse is that she forgives him for dumping her with the old artist with no way to get home, and doesn't have a clue that this deal is as important to her as the baby was to Ashley. As for the idiot brother, what does he say? No, not "Thank God, now I can get out of here!" but "Why don't we try for another?" Is he nuts? The parents are too unpleasant for words - I'd have run a mile after the first five minutes with them. But what do you expect? It's American ain't it? Therefore it's unlikely to be anything but pure corn. The music accompanying the end credits said it all. For "querky" read "irritating".

The Pianist [DVD] [2003]
The Pianist [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Adrien Brody
Price: £3.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant, 16 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Pianist [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Just brilliant. This film should be watched by everyone, but especially schoolchildren learning about the War, and by anyone with any leaning whatsoever towards racism. Faithful to the book, and faithful to the facts, it is hard-hitting without being overblown or unrealistic. I find it hard to find fault with this film. Only two minor problems spring to mind: first, my confusion of the two blonde-haired women (I thought they were the same person); second, my uncertainty as to the identity of the man at the end of the film who brings news of the German officer (had we seen him before?). But these are utterly minor and probably my own fault: for the rest, I think this film is as good as any other war film I have seen.

Silence Of Lorna [DVD] [2008]
Silence Of Lorna [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good film, disappointing ending, 11 Aug. 2010
There is nothing to lose by revealing the ending - the other reviewers have already done so. I enjoyed (if that's the right word) this film right up until Lorna refuses to believe she's not pregnant, then it lost me. I have heard that women's brains get addled when they get pregnant, but really! This was too silly (and she wasn't pregnant anyhow). I suppose her experience was enough to send anyone doolally, but even that didn't seem to merit her final self-delusion. The final bit was a complete cop-out. I suppose we know she won't last five minutes in that forest before matey sees the smoke and homes in on her, gun in hand (and why didn't she have the sense to push him out of the car and drive off? Couldn't she drive? I wouldn't fancy running through a forest in those heels). But the rest of the film didn't spare us, so why should the end? What a pity - such a good film otherwise.

As for acting, she seemed to have the same expression throughout, i.e. no expression at all. Which is in keeping with French films (sorry, francophone films), where the heroine must at all times look beautiful. And didn't she speak French well for an immigrant? She could even pronounce her French "r"s.

As for the ending being "religious", as one reviewer said, well, talk about bringing your own baggage to the film. Did he mean "moral"? If so, morality and religion aren't the same thing - you CAN have morality without believing in God.

Un de Baumugnes
Un de Baumugnes

5.0 out of 5 stars If you loved Jean de Florette, you will love this., 6 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Un de Baumugnes (Paperback)
This is a beautiful book. It is written in dialect, so I found it quite hard to read even with a degree in French, but it's well worth the struggle. If you loved Jean de Florette, you will love this. It's a love story, but not the usual slushy romance, although some say Giono romanticises the French peasant. I don't think so. He does not shy away from describing the hardness of the peasant life, but he makes its purity an ideal. Albin, the "one from Baumugnes" personifies that ideal, so do Philomene, the farmer's wife, and Saturnin, the farm labourer. It is not hard to see the classical influences once you reflect on them, but read it without those in mind, and it is a wonderful story in its own right. I won't give away any of it: it should be read with no preconceptions, so that the surprise of discovery is not taken away.

After I'd put it down, I thought, "This should be made into a film, with Gerard Depardieu as Clarius, the blackly despairing father." In fact, it was made into a film (Angele, 1934) by the author of Jean de Florette, Marcel Pagnol. From what I can gather from the tiny clip available on websites, the role of Saturnin is enhanced; but the girl doesn't look remotely as I'd imagined her. As always, read the book first. Then, if you can, see the film.

The Wave [DVD] [2008]
The Wave [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Jürgen Vogel
Price: £9.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 30 July 2010
This review is from: The Wave [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Others have already said how good this film is and why. What surprised me was that it was made in Germany - that gave me cold shivers down the spine, especially as our (British) understanding is that the Germans "Don't talk about the war". You could see the ending coming, but it was powerful all the same. Full marks - it makes a change from all that Hollywood dross. Why can't more films be as good as this?
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2011 7:45 PM BST

Into the Wild [DVD] [2007]
Into the Wild [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Emile Hirsch
Price: £2.96

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the same person, 26 July 2010
This review is from: Into the Wild [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I read the book a while ago: the film didn't seem to be about the same person. Yes, it's got all the same ingredients, but the character created for the film seemed all wrong to me - just a handsome kid actor (Emile Hirsch) going through the motions, not a real adult with plenty of knowledge about what he was getting himself into, but not quite enough.

Leaving aside the fact that this film does exactly what Chris would have hated (it makes money out of his story), it seems to be heavily weighted in favour of the family Chris turned his back on, and in places (e.g. the chat with the father figure on the mountain), descends into pure American corn. I suppose for me, the film's only redeeming feature is the beauty of the landscape (they must have had a ball filming it in all those wonderful locations)- but you can get that from a wildlife film. And it was much, MUCH too long.

The final part was a caricature: you knew the end was approaching by the amount of hair gel used - Chris's hair just got bigger and bigger. By contrast, the book's ending was inescapably real. I guess I'm not used to American overacting, and expected something more subdued, as it must inevitably have been.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2010 10:30 AM GMT

Conspirata: A Novel of Ancient Rome
Conspirata: A Novel of Ancient Rome
by Robert Harris
Edition: Hardcover

104 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware! Conspirata=Lustrum., 26 Jun. 2010
I bought this book from another website, having read the first two books in the trilogy and very much looking forward to the third. I was very disappointed to discover that Conspirata was only Lustrum by another name - an expensive mistake.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 30, 2013 11:17 AM GMT

The Aviator [DVD]
The Aviator [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christopher Reeve
Offered by Black Wolfe
Price: £3.71

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, Bear Grylls wouldn't have been pleased!, 30 May 2010
This review is from: The Aviator [DVD] (DVD)
Spoiler alert (as if a film so predictable needed one) - do not read until after you have seen the film. It is a well-intentioned film, and with Christopher Reeve and Rosanna Arquette in the leading roles, you want it to succeed. But it is soooo yawn-makingly predictable, and (as if it isn't enough trying to imagine Tyne Daly as anyone other than a New York cop), loses all credibility when the silly little girl behaves even more stupidly than seems possible, smokes near a recently crashed aircraft which reeks of fuel (even after being warned not to), and then manages to fall down a rock face and not just twist her ankle, like in all the Victorian novels, but breaks her leg just when they are about to hike twenty miles to safety. He's an idiot, too, taking her advice to set off when there are only two hours of daylight left. If that were not enough to test my credulity, the old railroader whose hut he happens upon threatens him with a gun and tells him to 'git' because planes mean the death of sending mail by rail (mind you, I have a neighbour who would probably do the same). However, there are beautiful aeroplanes for those of you that like to see close-ups of old engines, and the wolves were worth a look, too. But what a shame it turned out to be so much tosh!

Lost [2005] [DVD]
Lost [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Justin Henry
Offered by wantitcheaper
Price: £2.50

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost - 86 minutes of my life., 30 May 2010
This review is from: Lost [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
If you want to spend nearly two hours watching shots of a very unpleasant man who is obviously in love with himself driving a car, this is the film for you. Utterly predictable, don't know why I watched it to the end, nor why I am wasting even more time writing a review of it.

Vanity Fair [DVD]
Vanity Fair [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gabriel Byrne
Price: £3.57

4.0 out of 5 stars A visual feast, 30 May 2010
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
I put off watching this DVD for a couple of weeks because I thought Reese Witherspoon couldn't possibly pull it off unless they'd set it in modern America. But I was wrong - she was magnificent (accent and all). I wasn't hampered by having read the book (though I always regret not reading the book first, and in this case am curious to know the real Becky Sharp). Therefore I was able to take the film on face value, and found it very good. Visually it was an utter feast: the costumes and colours were beautiful, and it was worth watching as a sumptuous visual experience alone. As to the story, I did find it confusing in places, particularly when she announces her marriage. It is always hard to cram long, subtle books into films, which have to be much simplified. I don't think I got the message that Becky Sharp was a social climber until well over half way through; up till then she came across more as a heroine in the poor, hard-done-by orphan mould. Maybe the director had overdone trying to understand her motivations, and thought to understand all was to forgive all. The rest of the cast all delivered admirably, of course - and with such a cast, one would hardly expect less...perhaps with the exception of Rhys Ifans, who was, I thought, the wrong actor for the role. The ending was not happy, as some other reviewers have claimed, nor is Becky a feminist. She is a woman who takes without giving back, and who puts money and class above all else. But who cares? It was simply a very enjoyable film.

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