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Stop the Pounding Heart
Stop the Pounding Heart
DVD ~ Sara Carlson
Price: $26.96
5 used & new from $15.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intimate study of adolescence in an insular community, June 23, 2015
This review is from: Stop the Pounding Heart (DVD)
Sara is fourteen and has been homeschooled with her eleven siblings. She has been raised in accordance with the teachings of the Bible and has been brought up to believe in subservience to male authority. She is a loving young woman who has an affinity with the goats that they farm for a living and takes care of the younger children.

Then she meets Colby who is an amateur bull rider and all of a sudden she begins to questions her long held beliefs and attitudes.

This is a film from Roberto Minervini who has been described as an ethnographer in is films. It is easy to see why, as he uses the camera to observe rather than to dictate what happens on screen. It has the feeling of documentary rather than film. It feels as though everyone are just being themselves and there is no actual `acting' taking place. The scenes have a casual beauty in how even the mundane is captured and there is no attempt to make judgements on any of the things that take place.

This is a film for those who like to savour their cinema; that do not need to be rushed or told what the message is. It is gentle and even poetic in many ways and fans of `action' movies should probably avoid. I found it to be almost mesmerising in many ways, you just go along for the ride and never expect what will take place next. This was part of the official selection at Cannes and you can see why. This I can wholeheartedly recommend to people who like something different yet rewarding from films.


Canopy
Canopy
DVD
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Australian Art house War film with very little art and even less War., June 21, 2015
This review is from: Canopy (Amazon Instant Video)
Length:: 2:37 Mins

*May contain `plot' spoilers*
At least it does not have the word `war' or `battle' in the title but once again we have misleading artwork (in the UK only at least the US one is more realistic) which aims to sell this as an action war film - which it is not. It is about an Australian airman - Jim - who bails out during the Japanese taking of Singapore and gets caught in the canopy of the jungle. He meets a Chinese soldier and they try to evade capture.

Well that is about it, the acting is mostly very good, the photography is actually excellent and the CGI is above ok, but so little happens. This was obviously done on purpose and some have commented that it is meant to make you think of the human condition and to try to get inside the mind of a person put into such straits. All well and good if it posits itself as that - this did not.

I should have realised when the only film advert in the trailers was for the lamentable `Battle Over Normandy' that this was not going to be a keeper - I am happy to say this is nowhere near as dire as that effort - if you do want a bit of a war treat I made a rubbish video with my action men and a Pound Shop Barbie doll - only watch if you really do have nothing better to do - a bit like this film really. I am still giving 3 stars for the acting and camera work, but I am in a generous mood.


The Dead Lands
The Dead Lands
DVD
Price: $6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maori Action Packed Historical Revenge Tale, June 19, 2015
*Please note Mild Plot Spoilers*

Set in pre colonial times we are taken back to a time when Maoris ruled New Zealand. Two tribes have had an ancient rivalry that has been put to rest but a young war chief - Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka) wants to gain glory in battle by reigniting the enmity. He attacks the other village and the Chief's son is one of the few survivors. This is Hongi (James Rolleston) and he goes after them - hell bent on revenge.

Only they decide to travel through the `Dead Lands' where it is known that a warrior spirit lurks and will kill and eat any who trespass - but they decide to tempt the spirits anyhow.

Now what follows is a pretty full on action packed ride, with a lot of martial arts fighting and blood splatter carryings on. The landscape is show cased here too in some beautifully realised shots and the music is all done very well - with a mix of genres to reflect the on screen action. There are a couple of plot holes or stretches of the imagination, but they are minor and will only detract from your enjoyment if you let them. The acting is all pretty solid, but Lawrence Makoare as the `Warrior' carries the role excellently with vim, pathos, cynicism and pure stage presence.

This is also filmed entirely in Maori with sub titles and was sponsored by the New Zealand Film Board and runs to around 100 minutes. If you like an action film with good old fashioned warriors but some modern fighting thrown in then I can seriously recommend this one.


Love Is Strange
Love Is Strange
DVD
Price: $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very warm and human portrayal of two men's lives, June 19, 2015
I am a big fan of both John Lithgow and Alfred Molina - so I was always going to be seeing this. They play Ben and George a gay couple who, after living together for nigh on forty years, decide to tie the knot. George though works for a faith school and once the Bishop hears of it he loses his job.

The couple can then no longer afford their Manhattan apartment and so have to ask their friends if they can live with them until they get sorted. However, we all know that hell is other people and even the people we love can be great only for a short time.

This is a very warm film, there are some lovely scenes, and Lithgow is, as always eminently excellent. The story though is a simple and gentle one and so that may give this film a feeling of being a bit light weight for some, but for me I often like a simple film. It is also a film that needs the `reveal' for impact and as such is not one that many will want to see too many times, as such will be one that is probably best to rent - either way you chose this is still one that fans of either Molina or Lithgow will be pleased to have seen.


Wild Tales
Wild Tales
DVD ~ Ricardo Darín
Price: $22.89
16 used & new from $20.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Dark Tales of Revenge from Argentina, June 19, 2015
This review is from: Wild Tales (DVD)
From director Damián Szifrón comes six stories of revenge. They cover all aspects of the emotion from the classic `slow burn' to the more immediate reaction and they are all excellent.

They include a plane based story then one in a roadside café. Then a case of `road rage' that redefines the term. Ricardo Darin makes an appearance as a man who has had enough of his car being towed by City hall. The whole lot culminates in a true `wedding from hell'. None of the above are plot spoilers by the way as there is so much more to all the stories.

There is so much crammed in here and it is all done so well that you will not notice the two hour run time. Some amazing performances here too but the real strength is in the actual stories and the feelings of déjà vu that some are likely to engender.

This is a film that has a bit of everything but with a common theme holding it altogether. It is beautifully shot too and the CGI is excellent too, in Spanish with good sub titles this is an absolute corker.


Attila Marcel
Attila Marcel
4 used & new from $28.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and Imaginative French Comedy Drama, June 15, 2015
This review is from: Attila Marcel (DVD)
Paul is in his thirties, he is mute having seen his parents die when he was but two. Since then he has been brought up by his fabulously eccentric aunts and has become something of a virtuoso on the piano. Then a fascinating neighbour tells him that she can help him by using a concoction of herbal tea.

He soon starts to see this Madame Proust regularly and starts regression therapy of sorts. She says that `you can drown bad memories in a flood of tiny joys' - which is sage advice indeed. The film deals with the cycle of life, the past and a host of human issues.

What unfolds is a beautiful film in terms of style and sentiment about his life and those around him, with so much thrown in that it seems to be endlessly inventive. Guillaume Gouix as Paul and Attila (his wrestling father) is superb - even more so when you consider that he is unable to speak. Everyone plays their roles to the limit and no one goes over the top to lose believability. This is just a wonderful film with music, taxidermy, tree hugging and a whole lot of love besides - one for French film fans and for those who like something a bit different, but in a really nice way.


Still Life
Still Life
DVD
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Loneliness as art in a poignant and moving film., June 13, 2015
This review is from: Still Life (Amazon Instant Video)
Eddie Marsan plays Mr. May who worked for London Borough of Kennington as the man who traces the relatives of people who have died alone. He then arranges for their `send offs' often being the only person in attendance. He has no family and struggles to understand those that have what he does not have and yet readily shun it.

Then his obnoxious boss tells him they are `downsizing' the department and merging with a neighbouring council. He is told to close the case on his last assignment and clear out. He decides he will find out who this lonely man was and he sets out on a journey to discover this man's past and in so doing he starts to live himself.

This is just a wonderful film - full of hope, loneliness, pathos and even love. Marsan is always excellent and here he carries the film, but is supported by a cast who are all excellent too - Joanne Froggatt as Kelly Stoke brings real warmth and humanity to a role which sees her with limited screen time - so is all the more noticeable for it. This is a film for people who think, who care and who want to understand more about life and death - absolutely recommended.


Things To Come - 1936
Things To Come - 1936
DVD
Price: $1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Film that still resonates today, June 13, 2015
I finally got round to seeing this and am ashamed that I left it so long. This is what the golden age of cinema is all about. Based on the legendary sci-fi classic by H.G. Wells who also wrote the screenplay, this is set originally in 1940 and an unidentified enemy is about to unleash war on `Everytown' which is a substitute for London - complete with the Underground. This was released in 1936 when the Germans were helping the fascist Franco unleash a wave of terror on Spain and air raids on Guernica not to mention what was unfolding in China. As the scenes of aerial bombardment begin they are strangely prophetic of what is to befall London within five years, so the impact of this can only be imagined on the audience with the benefit of hindsight.

I was gob smacked at how accurate it was. The Characters in this surround John Cabal (the absolute legend that is Raymond Massey) who is a spirited pacifist and the coterie of inhabitants. Once the war comes it does not stop. The film is set in three time zones, the initial out break of the war and then taking us through decades of fighting, where mankind is quite literally bombed back to the dark ages. Then we hit 1966 and with the ending of everything except aggression, medicine is all but non existent and a strange plague befalls the Earth, this is `The Wandering Sickness' and as the previously mentioned Dark Ages, this is like the Black Death and wipes out half of humanity. Everytown is now in ruins but is used as a microcosm of what is taking place in the rest of the World.

Soon the disease burns itself out and what emerges and dictatorial leaders that rule their fiefdoms, in this case it is Rudolph, played completely over the top by the marvellous Ralph Richardson who is now at war with neighbouring tribes. The future comes in the shape of a strange aeroplane which leads us on to the final of the three parts of the film and the existentialist dilemmas of progress versus contentment.

This is visually stunning especially given when it was made, depending on the version you get, the sound quality is a bit dated too, but a fully restored version is available which is umpteen times better, so if you are buying then that is the one to go for. There are some brilliant touches in this, almost iconic shots, such as the child buried under the rubble, the cinema blowing up, the Rolls Royce being pulled by horses and the scenes of the future where fashion has been lost along with old world architecture - marvellous.

This is for all serious fans of cinema and especially those with an interest in the history of cinema, I was transfixed and I know this will be one of those rare films that stay with me for a long while I utterly recommended.


Senfloco Men's Low Rise Slim Fit Tie Swimming Shorts
Senfloco Men's Low Rise Slim Fit Tie Swimming Shorts
Offered by Senfloco
Price: $10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice, Comfortable and stylish swimming trunks, June 11, 2015
I have used these a number of times as I do a fair amount of swimming and I really do like them. They do look really good, the quality is surprisingly good considering how well priced they are. They seem to stand up to chlorinated water pretty well – but the test is always time and I will expect some fading.
*Please note I received a pair in exchange for an honest review.*
They are machine washable too but at 30⁰C so don’t put in as high heat wash. I found the sizing to be about right too; these are Asian sizing and usually come up on the small side, but I am a 30 inch waist and so went for the medium and they are actually on the spacious side. That said I am on the svelte side too, so there is not that much of me to fill these out to be honest.

I got mine in green and yellow and the tie string for the waist is bigger than the picture above – but is functional. They have two pockets on the front but as you can tell from the picture above you will not get a great deal in them. All in all a very nice, affordable and comfortable pair of swim trunks that I hope to get a lot of use out of.


Life of Riley (Aimer, boire et chanter)
Life of Riley (Aimer, boire et chanter)
DVD
Price: $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Swansong from French Director Alain Resnais in an Aykbourn adaptation., June 6, 2015
Resnais brought us the likes of `Hiroshima Mon Amour' and has collaborated with Alan Aykbourn in the past. Here he takes Aykbourn's very English play - sets it in Yorkshire and does it in French. It is about three couples who are all am dram enthusiasts. They are rehearsing a play and find out that a mutual friend - George - is terminally ill and has only mere months to live.

They decide the play must go on but they will all rally around for George - whom they all have great affection for. The play unravels the motivations of all the players in a slow reveal that can be amusing and at times stylistically `stagey'. It is also filmed on artificial sets to give the added feeling of being am dram and an actual play which will please or annoy depending on your taste. Thespians will appreciate the homage to the theatre.

The performances were all good, and the story is fine, but I felt it dragged a bit in parts, and it is only 109 minutes long. Still this is a fine swan song for Resnais who we sadly lost after he made this film. He was a marvellous talent of the French film industry and will be very much missed - if you are a fan of his work then I am sure you will not be disappointed in this - his last film.


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