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Tommy Dooley "Tom" RSS Feed (London, England)
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Angels Crest
Angels Crest
DVD
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Aftermath of Loss in a genuinely moving film, January 24, 2015
Ethan is a young father to Nate who is a three year old. The mother is a lush who has fled the family home and left Nate to the sole charge of the father. Then on the first day of snow Ethan decides to take Nate to the forest and see the real beauty of nature. Once there Nate has fallen asleep in his safety seat, so Ethan goes off to deer watch for a few minutes.

On his return Nate is gone and after a frantic search, involving most of the town- his dead and frozen body is found. Why the father did not follow the child's tracks in the snow is never answered though which I did feel was odd and has been seen by a lot od commentators as a bit of a plot hole. In the aftermath the whole town has to take a look at itself and how it truly is and accusation, recriminations and bigotry are high on the `to do' list.

This is a quietly confident film with a great performance from Thomas Dekker (`Kaboom') as Ethan and is more about social relationships and the threads that can unite and sometimes tie us together and what happens when those threads unravel - it is far from a `feel good' movie but it has its moments all the same. It also is filmed with a great eye to the location (Alberta and Calgary, Canada) and gives fair treatment to all of the players. One to make you think and one I can recommend, but bear in mind the plot hole that I mentioned. Seven out of ten rounded to four stars.


Desire to Kill
Desire to Kill
3 used & new from $7.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Death is the best doctor, January 24, 2015
This review is from: Desire to Kill (DVD)
This Korean film (aka `Enemy at the dead end') concerns two men, one has had a stroke Min-ho and the other has had surgery to save his life - Song-Up. They are both in recovery and have both suffered a degree of amnesia. One thing is certain though and that is that Ming-ho knows that Song-Up has done him a wrong in the past and he is going to kill him.

The plot unfolds mostly in the treatment room, but we also have interactions from the medical staff and a few flashbacks to put meat on the bones of the story. As their memories return - so does the past come back to haunt both of them.

This is one of those films that took its time to warm up and have me fully engaged. For those who like their humour dark and enjoy a psychological thriller this will be one to enjoy. The whole point of the film is in the reveals so this is not one you will want to watch more than once - but it is still made well enough to keep you guessing right till the end and I have to say it was worth the wait.


The Keeper of Lost Causes ( Kvinden i buret ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Denmark ]
The Keeper of Lost Causes ( Kvinden i buret ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Denmark ]
DVD ~ Mikkel NÝrgaard

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Nordic Noir from Denmark,, January 24, 2015
Carl (Nikolaj Lie Kaas - `The Green Butchers') is a homicide officer who, after acting on his own initiative, gets himself and his colleagues shot up. Once back at work he is told he is no longer fit to do his old job and because he is somewhat irascible, no-one is prepared to work with him. However, he is told he can do a new job; this is the head of the stylishly named Department Q.

What it is in reality is looking into cold case files going back over twenty years and he is located in the basement - desk bound in the semi light of a career that is truly over. He is given an assistant - Assad - who is keen as a pup and has the exact opposite of a personality to Carl. They are told that theirs is a desk job, but once Carl gets his interest piqued in a five year old case; he decides to put his detective skills to use. What he and Assad start to uncover will take them both on a nail biting ride of twists and turns and had me wearing out the edge of my seat.

These Nordic Noir's are all generally very good and some are way above that and this is one of the latter. Once again not a very well known cast, but all showing acting ability in the excellent to outstanding range. It is from a novel and was originally released as `Kvinden I buret' and it has all the hallmarks to make it a corker of a film. In Danish, Swedish and a smattering of Arabic - with very good sub titles and is a film I can highly recommend.


A Most Wanted Man
A Most Wanted Man
DVD
Price: $12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly gripping thriller, January 24, 2015
From the novel by John Le Carre's novel `A Most Wanted Man' - we get one of the last films from Philip Seymour Hoffman. We have a refugee arriving in the German port of Hamburg. He is half Chechyan and half Russian and has suffered some full on torture. He also has a claim to a mountain of money that has been bequeathed to him by his father. A man he had little time or love for - he is also a convert to Islam.

This arouses the interest of both the German and US governments. With funds flowing to terrorist organisations they want to ensure that he is not going to be a conduit for more of the same. Hoffman plays a counter terrorism officer Günther Bachman and he has a team of agents who excel at playing the players in what turns out to be a classic game of cat and mouse.

This is an extremely well made film with a brilliant supporting cast that includes the incomparable Willem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl and Robin Wright. There is also a part for one of my fave Germans Kostja Ullmann (`Summer Storm'). This is a production where everyone gives of their best in a story that is at first glance simple, but gets wrapped in a web of deceit and shifting alliances - it is a great testament to the rare ability that Hoffman had and a film that is easy to recommend.


Happy Together [Blu-ray]
Happy Together [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Tony Leung
Price: $18.52
18 used & new from $12.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Relationship meltdown in the Hong Kong Arthouse film, January 24, 2015
This review is from: Happy Together [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a film by Wong Kar Wai (`My Blueberry Nights' and `The Grandmaster') made back in 1997. It has at its heart a very simple plot. Po-Wing and Yiu-Fai have travelled from Hong Kong to holiday in Argentina. Once there, their often volatile relationship takes a nose dive. Yiu-Fai ends up working in Buenos Aries trying to save enough money to get home and trying to forget the past.

Then Po-Wing comes crashing back into his life needing a lot of help after being beaten by his `sugar daddy'. He is taken in and cared for but Yiu-Fai has seemingly moved on emotionally and can not commit further. Things develop and as they do we see a relationship disintegrating - almost in slow motion.

This is an interesting film on many levels. First it is a very honest observation of a relationship (gay or otherwise) in its swan song and of the conflict of emotions that go with it. Also the way it has been filmed adds to the on screen emotion by shifting from monochrome to colour and adds to the feeling of loneliness and isolation that pervade the whole film. It is a film that needs bearing with though and the version I saw did seem a poor quality transfer (VHS to DVD maybe?) that said the quality of the film still managed to shine through.


In Bloom
In Bloom
DVD ~ Lika Babluani
Price: $26.96
5 used & new from $20.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Georgian Teenage Rites of Passage Film, January 16, 2015
This review is from: In Bloom (DVD)
Set against the backdrop of the war in Georgia in 1992 we meet two fourteen year old school friends Eka and Natia. They both have dysfunctional families; one dealing with an absent father and the other wishing hers was as he is an alcoholic. They lead a bleak existence where bread is rationed yet everyone seems to be able to get hold of cigarettes, sexism seems to be rife and life can be quite cruel.

The story unfolds around Natia being wooed by more than one suitor and the consequences of making the wrong decision. This is set against the background of the real World and every day life existence. Told in a kind of docudrama way, we have some upsetting scenes and some show stopping performances from a very young cast. The whole thing has a vibrancy and believability that just grabs you and makes you go with it. It is also one of those films where you may think certain scenes are `fillers', but if you bear with it they always reveal more of the characters and deepen an already thick plot.

In Georginan with good sub titles and a run time of around 100 minutes. This is a powerful and understated film that deserves a wider audience. Co-writer and director Nina Ekvtimishvili has made a big screen debut with a film to be proud of and I think we are going to see a lot more from her and I for one think the next film can not come soon enough - absolutely recommended.


The German Doctor
The German Doctor
DVD ~ ņlex BrendemŁhl
Price: $19.63
12 used & new from $12.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Boys from Argentina (and Brazil), January 15, 2015
This review is from: The German Doctor (DVD)
Set in 1960 we are introduced to a German doctor in Patagonia - Argentina. He is on his way to Bariloche and travels with a family he has met en route. Once there he takes up a job as a cow doctor in genetics and also carries on `practicing' on people as he is into growth hormones to `improve the race'. He is drawn to the young daughter of the family - Lilith - whom he says he can help develop as she was born prematurely and so has retarded growth and suffers bullying as a result. She in turn takes to the charismatic charmer but can't quite put her finger on why.

The family are at first wary of this German interloper, but German influence is quite high in that part of Argentina. Lilith and her brother are both sent to a German school and soon Herr Doctor is a regular fixture not only at their hotel but in their lives. What the family don't know is that they are harbouring `The Angel of Death' from Auschwitz - Dr Mengele.

This was written by Lucia Puenzo who also directs this and as such is a work of fiction, but it still deals with some of the nasty things that Nazi experimentation got up to; however this is still remarkably sanitised - only hinting at the depth of horror - but that is not a criticism. Àlex Brendemühl as Mengele manages to be both expert doctor and spine chillingly evil at the same time and by doing so bring a level of menace that very much brings the tension levels up. The setting is perfect (genuine location) too and most of the period detail is on the money. It is in Spanish and German and a bit of Hebrew with good sub titles. This is one for the story and atmosphere and as such can be recommended, but not if you get hung up on liberty's with history.


The Soul of Flies [Region 2]
The Soul of Flies [Region 2]
DVD ~ Jonathan Cenzual Burley
2 used & new from $37.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, funny and an utterly charming Spanish film, January 15, 2015
This review is from: The Soul of Flies [Region 2] (DVD)
Two brothers, Miguel and Nero, are on their way to a funeral - that of their father. He was a bit of a `gad about town' and travelled the World living and loving as he pleased. On his death bed he knew he had not been exactly father of the year and so wrote to his two sons asking if they would attend his last showing on earth - he figured if he could not have given them a father they might like to get a brother instead.

They meet for the first time at a disused railway station somewhere in the middle of Spain. From there they travel across country to the funeral. Along the way they meet an assortment of characters who help to tell the story and give the brothers time to get to know each other. We also have dream sequences and talking to ghosts road bandits and it all seems perfectly natural.

Nero is one of life's fun people; he is full of positive energy and an exuberance that his newly found brother finds irritating - at best. As the journey unfolds they find they have more in common than just a wayward father.

This film has echoes of Luis Buñuel and Emir Kusturica - the music and the general bonkers nature of things are just brilliant. The language is poetic and the scenes are all filmed in such a way as to make even the most empty landscape seem bursting with vitality. It is performed in chapters and one caught my imagination as an alternative title; `the wise words of a thief and the reality of dreams'. This was written and directed as a debut by Jonathan Cenzual Burley and he also narrates and appears as a thief in the film; I can't wait to see more from him - this is one of those films that you feel better for having seen.


Run 3D [Blu-ray]
Run 3D [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ William Moseley
Price: $9.99
24 used & new from $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Free running antics in a somewhat unbelievable film, January 11, 2015
This review is from: Run 3D [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Daniel lives with his dad and he does that free running thing or Parkour and seems to be very good at it. He also breaks into peoples homes and steals things. The synopsis describes this as being both a hero and thief - well I think the cops would just go for the thief option to be honest. Anyway his pops is on the run from some bad guys and so they have to do a Midnight flit again or `run' away - see the title is actually quite clever.

Well they end up with him having to go to a new school and - well you guessed it he meets a girl and the usual happens and they fall for each other. Then the bad guys turn up and this time they decide not to run but do some fighting instead.

Now this film has buckets of macho BS that I found to be a bit boring - no actually very boring, but that is de rigueur these days. Also it reminded me of `Skateboard' which was a film trying to make skateboarding cool in a cinematic way. Well if you have never seen it then your life is much the richer for having not done so. This is no way near as bad, but it is the bigging up of free running antics that stats to wear thin. But if you like that sort of thing then this could be your film Nirvana.

There is an awful body double moment here too - and you don't have to pay too much attention to spot it. The music is all urban stuff and actually works quite well. I streamed this and some would say an actual stream would be a good place for it to end up. But it did pass the time and is far from terrible hence my rating, but I think I saw it on a good day.


Walęsa [DVD] (IMPORT) (No English version)
Walęsa [DVD] (IMPORT) (No English version)
DVD ~ Robert Wieckiewicz

3.0 out of 5 stars Walesa seen as the hero of the people in a film some will say is biased., January 11, 2015
This film is well made, it is also engaging and it purports to tell the story of Lech Walesa and the rise of the `Solidarity' movement in Communist Poland. To do this we get Lech being interviewed by an Italian journalist and through her questions we go on a tour of the flash points of the past. This starts with the Gdansk shipyard protests in 1970 which were cruelly suppressed by the authorities and killed many people - he was arrested and interrogated.

It documents his struggles and the people he worked with both for and against. We also have his wife and six children and the part they played in his work and life. It is all well acted and directed and the use of archive footage with new work is done extremely well. We follow him all the way through to getting the Nobel Peace Prize and his triumphant visit to Washington DC, with an awful lot of ups and downs in between.

All that aside this has been accused of the being `too official' and basically a hagiography of the man. There is no reference to his work after the fall of Communism - but that is the choice of the film maker and there are no allusions to his collaboration - but we do see him sign documents that he does not read in order to be released from detention. So as a film it holds up fairly well but it will be seen as propagandist by those who want to see Walesa as the collaborator `Bolek' that he has been accused of and as a reforming hero by others. As such it will cause a polarisation of opinion. I actually enjoyed watching this two hour offering and so as a filmatic experience it does work -as a factual history lesson it is debatable. Either way I would give 7/10 but am rounding down to three stars.


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