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Boswell (UK)

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Two Days, One Night [DVD] [2014]
Two Days, One Night [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Marion Cotillard
Price: £5.99

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less really is more, 2 Nov. 2014
A simple premise, small budget and a beautiful study in what can be done with good acting (the ever-excellent and compelling Marion Cotillard) and direction to match. The premise, 16 workers opt for a 1000 euro bonus each at the expense of their co-worker (Cotillard) losing her job unless she can persuade them to change their minds. And on that moral conundrum the whole film rests and still manages to be more gripping and compelling than films with 10 times the budget. What I liked particularly was that this problem was not just presented as a simplistic choice between right and wrong, but that the circumstances of the co-workers were fleshed out such that your sympathies were, to some extent, with both those who opted for the bonus and those who were persuaded to forego it to preserve their co-workers job. As such it serves as a philosophical reflection on how our moral choices are influenced by the circumstances we find ourselves in.

An excellent film that is certainly worth your time.

I Give It a Year [DVD] [2013]
I Give It a Year [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Rose Byrne
Price: £2.59

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sporadically funny- ultimately soulless, 20 Jun. 2013
In places very funny (essentially whenever Stephen Merchant is on screen) this is a mildly entertaining, if formulaic, romantic comedy. I liked the two leads (Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne) and thought that it was a fundamental flaw in the film that the chemistry between them was, ironically, very good and convincing. They seemed made for each other. Hence the flaw. The biggest problem, however, was the story's slightness and contrivance, and that it's over-arching take on marriage was bitter and cynical. It is a product of its time. In places cruelly funny, but empty of a core of humanity.

Prometheus [DVD] [2012]
Prometheus [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.28

4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ho-hum, 8 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Prometheus [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
A lot of sound and fury signifying not very much.
On the plus side Charlize Theron looked good in her space suit.
If Kate Beckinsale had been in it I'd have given it 2 stars.

The Cabin In The Woods [DVD]
The Cabin In The Woods [DVD]
Dvd ~ Chris Hemsworth
Price: £3.00

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eminently plausible, subtle and nuanced... and then Sigourney Weaver turns up and it just gets silly, 28 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The Cabin In The Woods [DVD] (DVD)
My oh my
It's a blood bath.
A little too knowing and clever for it's own good it's a mildly entertaining diversion which is not at all scary despite the scenes straight out of Hieronymous Bosch.

Shanghai [Blu-ray]
Shanghai [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ John Cusack
Price: £5.23

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It should just doesn't, 20 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Shanghai [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was intrigued by this film which has never had a cinema release outside China despite the impressive cast and big budget. Why did Harvey Weinstein leave it on the shelf? What went wrong? It has appeared on DVD almost without trace with narey a professional critic's review to be found.

I love the whole notion of pre-war Shanghai. The glamour. The intrigue. The danger. The whole notion of the International Settlement and the various nationalities plotting and scheming over cocktails and cabaret.

The cast is great. It should be a great film. It just isn't. It somehow contrives to be tedious and I can't quite figure out why. The dialogue is plodding. The storyline uninspired. And a lot of the time you simply can't make out what a lot of the actors are saying.

It failed to grip me and by the end I was left bemused by a film that ends up significantly less than the sum of its parts.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 30, 2012 9:05 AM GMT

Bel Ami (DVD)
Bel Ami (DVD)
Dvd ~ Robert Pattinson
Price: £2.88

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch adaptation of the book, 27 July 2012
This review is from: Bel Ami (DVD) (DVD)
I came to this film seeing that it had a terrible rating on rottentomatoes and some mixed reviews generally . I have to also confess to hating Twilight.

But, but. I have read the book a number of years ago and thoroughly recommend it. It is a story of nasty people using other people to get what they want. If you don't think this is relevant to your own life then open your eyes and look around you. Or look in the mirror. The author, Guy de Maupassant, by all accounts does not seem to have been a terribly nice fellow himself and I believe (I'll need to check later) died of syphilis. The importance of the novel is the questions that it poses, essentially all the big ones: is there another life or is this it? What would you do to advance your own position in life? How do you treat people depending on your perception of their use to you? How much energy do you spend in exacting petty revenge for wrongs done to you? Do you fear death? These are big questions, and they are questions wrapped up within the story of a vain, self-pitying, ruthless, talentless 19th century Parisian toyboy and his manipulation of women and, their manipulation of him. Read the book. In particular, the description of the death of Charles Forrestier is one of the most terrifying descriptions of dying and death I have ever read.

So, the important thing is, given that the filmakers have set themselves the task of interpreting the book, does it succeed?

Emphatically , yes. I was very impressed by Robert Pattinson (and I hate Twilight) who succeeds brilliantly in conveying the emptiness, inadequacy and rage of the central character, who loathes himself, and the women he seduces, in equal measure. Think "what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his own soul", and you've got the general point. The supporting cast were all equally impressive.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2012 8:13 AM BST

The Grey [DVD]
The Grey [DVD]
Dvd ~ Liam Neeson
Price: £2.91

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleakly beautiful, 8 July 2012
This review is from: The Grey [DVD] (DVD)
A terrific film that is certainly worth your while viewing. I'm not a great Liam Neeson fan, and if anything the fact that he was starring in this was a disincentive for me to watch as I had the impression this might have been a plodding action movie vehicle for an established star content to coast along and collect the cheques. How wrong I was. Neeson gives the best performance I've seen him give surrounded by a uniformly excellent supporting cast in this part-thriller, part meditation on grief, loss, failure and the struggle to survive. As a thriller it succeeds brilliantly. As a human drama/ tragedy there are deeply moving scenes that will surely linger in the memory : Ottway's comforting a dying man and later his crying out to heaven, Diaz's final goodbye. I think this is probably a man's film for men, and says more about what it is to be a man specifically, and secondarily what it is to be human. But I was struck that whilst being a film about men, the mens reminiscences together, and the photos Ottway retrieves from their wallets, indicate a truth that men's most complete happiness in this world resides in their relationship with women and in having children, and that the greatest pain that men experience is to be without either.

With regard to Ottway's flashbacks/visions of his wife, pay attention to the end. All is not as it seems.

The Descendants DVD
The Descendants DVD
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.00

8 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dear God, when does it end?, 21 May 2012
This review is from: The Descendants DVD (DVD)
So painfully slow you want to cry. A soporific snooze-a-thon, at the beginning the wife was in a coma and I joined her by the 60 minute mark. What was it about? I stopped caring just before I'd lost the will to live. I don't know if it was the film-makers intention to actually put me off visiting Hawaii (the music alone would drive you up the wall) but they certainly succeeded with this cinematic Propofol infusion.

So here's the synopsis: George Clooney plays some bloke whose wife is in a coma and he has two daughters who swear a lot and he finds out his wife had been knocking off some dozy twonk and that's about it and I really don't care, seriously. What else happens? Nothing, literally nothing. If they forced the inmates at Guantanomo to watch this Amnesty would go ape, and rightly so.

I'm off to bed.

The Awakening (2011) [DVD]
The Awakening (2011) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dominic West
Price: £3.00

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars does what it says on the tin, 16 April 2012
This review is from: The Awakening (2011) [DVD] (DVD)
As reassuring as a digestive biscuit or apple crumble, after a short while you realise you've seen this film before- except last time it starred Nicole Kidman. You can imagine the development meetings as the scriptwriters thrashed this one out- it must have been like word association : 'ghost story' - '1920s' - 'boarding school' - 'family tragedy' - 'romantic sub-plot' -'marvellous!' "Now we need a mad old bat? Anyone think of a mad old bat?" "Ooh! Yes, I've got Imelda Staunton's number on speed-dial under "M" for "Mad Old Bat".

I'm being cynical. I quite enjoyed it. Best with a mug of Ovaltine, tucked up under a duvet!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2013 8:08 PM BST

Another Earth [DVD]
Another Earth [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Mapother
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all!, 15 April 2012
This review is from: Another Earth [DVD] (DVD)
I've seen some negative reviews describe this as 'pretentious' but it's certainly worth a viewing and has much to commend it. It suffers a little for coming out around the same time as the superior 'Melancholia' - unfortunate to have two "new planet arrives in close proximity to earth" movies coming in quick succession. It is, of course, a ludicrous premise but the appearance of a second earth is utilised to reasonably good effect as the basis for a meditation on all the tiny decisions and chance occurrences that combine to cause lives to veer off from a seemingly secure and well-signposted path. Brit Marling, it has to be said, is a little erratic in terms of her acting ability but at least in one crucial scene towards the end, she and Mapother carry things off with sufficient depth of emotion that a tear is likely to be shed!

If you like dreamy, reflective films (and I do) then you'll enjoy this although, be warned, this is one of those films where the trailer sets you up to be just a tad let down - primarily because the beautiful, dreamy music from the trailer ('That Home' from the album 'Ma Fleur' by 'The Cinematic Orchestra') is sadly missing from the film!

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