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All reviews - Movies (5) - TV Shows (4) - Books (10) - Music (3)

Kes - imdb review

Posted : 9 years, 10 months ago on 30 September 2007 12:22 (A review of Kes)

Kes adapted from the Barry Hines novel 'A Kestral for a Knave' is absolutely amazing. The review on imdb says it all for me, so am repeating that review here:

If you are not from the north of England you may have difficulty with the dialogue in this film but don't let it put you off this is a masterpiece. The story of a teenage boy with no friends and no hope set in the mining heartland of Yorkshire in the sixties is absolutely authentic. He finds salvation from the grim reality of his existence when he rears and trains a young kestrel, which is the only thing in his young life that has any meaning. David Bradley who plays Billy Casper in the leading role is superb. There are many scenes from the film that are absolute gems, but here are a few that warrant a special mention. Brian Glover playing the role of Billy's physical education teacher is out of this world, why he was never nominated as best supporting actor for an Oscar I will never know. Colin Welland (later to become an Oscar winner himself for screenplay of Chariots of Fire) was also brilliant as Billy's form teacher. The film reaches out to you on many levels. In me it stirred horror, anger, humour and tears. I am quite sure it will also do the same to anyone who views this timeless masterpiece.


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Thraxas

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 31 August 2007 10:39 (A review of Thraxas)

Martin Scott two takes of my favourite genres, detective and fantasy fiction, mixes them with a pinch of satire and social comment, and comes up with a series based around Thraxas - a cynical, heavy drinking gumshoe with a beer gut who plies his trade in the mystical city of Turai. Much of the city is a skanky hell-hole of scoundrels and cheats, and Thraxas lives in the grimiest quarter. He's a disrespected ex-soldier with a doubtful past and a gambling habit he can't shake. And thrown into the "Everybody Hates Thraxas" mix is Makri, his only friend, a multi-racial Elf-Human-Orc whom Thraxas has to constantly defend against Human/Elf prejuidice, but only verbally, since Makri is a tough-girl ex-gladiator with a mean line in weaponry.

On the face of it, none of this should work and it took me several goes to get into it - but I'm so glad I persevered. Thraxas is a blast. A comic adventure full of dark humour and snappy one-liners. Some of the jokes come at you like a clown in a tutu they're so obvious, but in general the humour is wry and ribald, and Thraxas is a really likeable 'asshole'. His platonic relationship with the vibrant and moody Makri is well drawn, you really believe in their friendship, and their caseload is a busy mix of light-weight capers and darker more gruesome adventures. In this outing there's a drug bust to handle, the rescue of a not so innocent princess, and struggles with angry warrior-monks who fuel some great jokes.

There are eight books in the series so far and they're definitely worth your time if you're into comic fantasy.
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The Black Album

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 31 August 2007 10:21 (A review of The Black Album)

Had this on repeat from day one and it blows me away. Lucifer, What More Can I Say and 99 Problems are the stand-out tracks for me, but all of them are good - really good. And I'm not getting into the debate about Jay's lyrics or where this album stands in comparison to his others. All I know is the production is genuis - Just Blaze, Timbaland, Rick Rubin, the works. Ranks high in my best of the best.


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The Madness

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 30 August 2007 01:27 (A review of The Madness of King George)

Excellent costume drama set in 1788 that tells the story of King George III during his periods of ‘insanity’. The king’s courtiers and loyal Prime Minister William Pitt – beautifully played by Julian Wydam, do their best to disguise the loveable king's ‘madness’ from his enemies – one of them the king’s own son, a very unpleasant Prince of Wales – played with relish by Rupert Everett who’s hungry to seize the throne. There are so many layers to this tale, the desperate and poignant relationship between the king and his queen (Helen Mirren), the savage intrigues at the royal court and parliament, and the snotty references to the ‘New World’. But the best bits by far are the king’s bizarre behaviour and his battle of wills with the good doctor (Ian Holm). The amazing scene where the doctor and his assistants strap the king to the chair really gets to your gut, and you’re rooting for the king to get better and retain his throne. Nigel Hawthorne who plays King George thoroughly deserves the plaudits he got for his performance and it’s a shame he didn’t win the Oscar. That went to Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump.
And as a sidetrack, in the 1970s two psychiatrists looked through the king's medical records and noticed a telling symptom: dark red urine, a classic sign of Porphyria – a rare blood disorder that in acute form causes severe abdominal pain, cramps and seizures. Other investigations have confirmed the diagnosis and have added poisoning by arsenic which causes mental derangement. The king was exposed to acute levels of arsenic which at the time were common ingredients in skin cream, wig powder, and in the king’s medical treatments.


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Transformers

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 30 August 2007 01:17 (A review of Transformers)

Lovers of the cartoons have complained that it’s nothing like the series or the animated movie. Haters of Michael Bay have nagged on about stereotypes, caricatures and music video movie-making. Me? I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. I was happily entertained by the goofy antics of Sam Witwicky trying to impress the girl, Mikaela. Liked the scenes where the Autobots are hiding around Sam's house, and loved the bit where a fat kid with a camera-phone comically shouts something like 'I think this is armageddon!'. And the massive fight at the end is truly spectacular. The bots are breath-taking and there are plenty of those stylish motion-slow action shots that I love - but it all came a bit late. There should've been much, much more of the bots in battle and much less of the human interplay. Otherwise, great entertainment.


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Magic

Posted : 10 years ago on 15 August 2007 09:55 (A review of Magic)

Very, very creepy – the story of Corky Withers, a successful but weak-minded ventriloquist who tumbles into insanity and projects his madness onto Fats, his vicious side-kick dummy. Initially, Corky tries to master his inner demons by returning to his home town. He leaves behind an unhappy agent who has designs on his success, and he returns to a fond welcome from Peggy Anne, a childhood sweetheart who owns the local motel. The signs look decent for Corky’s recovery but his darkside – the one that brings Fats to life, isn’t having any of it. Eventually, Corky succumbs to Fats and ends up being controlled by him. Most of their psychological battles and dark deeds take place at the motel, the kind of dim-lit haunt that makes your skin crawl - shadowy rooms, awkward corridors and dark stairwells that look as though they descend into a crypt. And in the background the soundtrack is either silent or jarred with bits of discordant music that tag onto Fats - especially in the horrible moments when he turns his head or when he bangs around in the box. It’s really disturbing. If you haven’t seen it, Anthony Hopkins stars as the ventriloquist who slowly frays and falls apart, and he supplies the voice and personality of the maniac killer dummy Fats.


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Pimp My Ride - is it over?

Posted : 10 years ago on 15 August 2007 09:49 (A review of Pimp My Ride)

Have just heard that this show is coming to an end which is a shame because it’s one of my favourites. The format is straight forward – owner of rundown car tries to convince the team why his/her car needs to be ‘pimped’, the host – usually Xzibit, pops round and gives the car a thorough dis, and then drives it away to get it a much needed make-over. The make-over edits are fast and chirpy, and the garage team have great fun turning the rust-buckets they get into groovy little numbers. Am not a driver and wasn’t bothered either way until I got sucked into the enthusiasm for rims, and the whole ‘customize your ride’ situation. Hope the show gets the chance of a comeback.


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Jamaica Inn

Posted : 10 years ago on 13 August 2007 11:42 (A review of Jamaica Inn)

A cold winter's night. A bleak and desolate moor, and a terrified driver racing his stagecoach through the dark towards Jamaica Inn. He doesn't want to go there, doesn't want to be seen, but his only passenger, Mary Yellan, insists on going. Shaking with fear the driver dumps Mary at the doorway of the Inn and then races away, glad to be leaving with the skin on his back... The first chapter of Jamaica Inn is dark and deadly with the bite of cold and the smell of real fear. And it just gets better and better. If you haven't read it, watch out for Francis Davey, the albino vicar. He's unforgettable.


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The Red Balloon

Posted : 10 years ago on 13 August 2007 11:36 (A review of The Red Balloon)

One of my all time favourites. A child befriended by a mysterious red balloon that follows him through the streets of Paris. You can go on and on about the levels and layers of meaning in this magical short, but for me it's about the amazing scenery - the rundown back ways of Paris, and the beautiful way that red balloon floats through it like a guardian angel.


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Eminem Show

Posted : 10 years ago on 13 August 2007 11:32 (A review of The Eminem Show)

Love this album - great beats, genius lyrics. Favourite track 'Till I Collapse.


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