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Because I Said So (Widescreen Edition)
Because I Said So (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Diane Keaton
Price: $6.49
221 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Girl acts like a Tramp, January 12, 2011
... is how this film should have been titled.

I should point out that I am a man and I like films like Conan the Barbarian and most recently Solomon Kane. I do watch other things occasionally and this was one of them. My charming fiance loves a good rom com chick flick and she persuaded me to watch this. If either of us were going to like it it was going to be her. She didn't.

Its well acted but the characters are rubbish. We are expected to care about Mandy Moore's character. She's pretty, she's bubbly, hell, she's Mandy Moore, we should like her, yeah? She is basically conducting two romantic sexual relationships at once with two guys, one of whom she should actually be with.

So why should we like her or care about her? She's a dirty cheat, seemingly without a conscience, regarding these two men. When her dirty secret is finally revealed, she bleats "I didn't mean to hurt you, it was an aberration! No, don't be like that!" I was reminded of Sliding Doors and the line "You have to admit it, you are a morality free zone." The character that that was aimed at was not supposed to be sympathetic. The harm he did through his own stupidity and lack of morals was incalculable. So why does this film treat the Mandy Moore character with such lightness? She deserves misery, but all she does is pout a bit and things resolve for her.

Diane Keaton does a marvelous performance of a mother who would be fun to beat around the head with a heavy sand filled draught excluder. Not that I'm advocating violence towards women. No, another woman should do it. My fiance's feeling was at the end of this: Gosh, these women are really in love with themselves, aren't they? And so they are.

Anyway, I watched Solomon Kane again and it kicked arse. My fiance thought so too, though she wants to show me The Notebook. :(

Van Diemen's Land [Region 4]
Van Diemen's Land [Region 4]
DVD ~ Oscar Redding
2 used & new from $26.98

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exciting tale given dull treatment, October 31, 2010
This review is from: Van Diemen's Land [Region 4] (DVD)
This is one of Australia's more gruesome stories from ye olde times. As a schoolkid you get to hear about the cannibal convicts of Tasmania and you shiver with excited horrified glee. So why is this film so pretentious and ultimately dull?

Like many Aussie films, it's well shot, well made, well acted, and well, who cares? Telling comment overheard: Hmm, saw this, the documentary was much better. How can that be?! This is purely a dramatization, it should rock! Well, it doesn't.

The story is linear. X number of 1820s convicts escape into the wilderness and rapidly descend into cannibalism until only one (Pierce) is left. A true horror story. The faults of this kind of lie with the fact that it takes too long to tell, and some of the more interesting parts of the story are summed up in three written lines before the end credits roll. Pierce was recaptured. No one believed him. He escaped again and ate somebody else, the naughty monkey. But the film makers don't show you this. Perhaps they fear you will be entertained and maybe enjoy yourself on a base level, like those wretched Bad Boys films.

Ultimately, it is hard to know who this film is for. It's not a date movie (unless it's with that German cannibal dude), it's not a horror film (virtually no tension, you don't care if any of them will make it, and anyway, you know how it goes), and it's not a historical film (there are no establishing shots of 1820s civilization, no real sense of the era and contrast between the wilderness of colony life compared to the actual Tassie wilderness). So what is it?

Do yourself a favour: see Ravenous instead. Certainly not based on a true story, but at least its a laugh. Or else see Cannibal the Musical, by the South Park boys. That IS based on a true story!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2013 5:41 PM PDT

Man Of The West
Man Of The West
DVD ~ Gary Cooper
Price: $7.90
51 used & new from $3.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark western, October 28, 2010
This review is from: Man Of The West (DVD)
This is a western a bit off the beaten trail. It's almost a bit film noir with its flawed hero and tension filled plot. While there is action in it, it is more about the delicate balance with in the criminal gang thrown into chaos by the return of Link (Gary Cooper). It is a well told story, well worth seeing!

Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy
Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy
by Michael Moorcock
Edition: Paperback
39 used & new from $0.01

17 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars People who live in glass houses..., September 12, 2010
I write this as a person who has read and enjoyed many of the works Moorcock despises. I don't say that they are perfect by any means, or above criticism; they are not. I think the genre of fantasy is broad enough to accomodate many sub genres, reflecting many different tastes.

I used to enjoy reading the works of Michael Moorcock. I read Wizardry and Wild Romance when I was much younger (in a bookshop, I didn't pay for it) and I have to say, it left a bad taste in my mouth. By rubbishing many of my favourite books, I felt he was rubbishing me. I love Lord of the Rings! I love Watership Down, the Lord Peter Whimsey detective stories, and Narnia! Like I said, they ain't perfect, but what is? The works of Michael Moorcock? Hmmm, let's see...

I loved what I've read of Moorcock's early stuff, Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, et al. It's great fun. Should be filmed one day. He then hit a point in his writing career, where I felt he was trying to be too clever, but only succeeded in being boring. This I felt was a pity, but then remembering Wizards and Wild Romance, I thought 'serves you right, you pompous lefty git.'

I still enjoy reading Moorcock, but I only buy second hand copies, so that I know that he isn't getting any of my money. That's what this book did for me!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2014 5:38 PM PDT

The Forest of the Railway (Original British Title: The Forest of the Boland Light Railway)
The Forest of the Railway (Original British Title: The Forest of the Boland Light Railway)
by Denys BB Pseud.) Watkins- Pitchford
Edition: Hardcover
2 used & new from $45.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gnomes and steam railways, August 13, 2010
I grew up with this book and it was one of my favourites! 'BB' is almost forgotten now, and I haven't met a single other person of my generation (X) who has read any of his books or knows who he was.

'Forest of Boland Light Railway' is an enchantingly odd little tale of forest gnomes who build a steam railway to aid them in their mining activities. They are threatened from without by evil Leprechauns and this bubbling conflict eventually boils over into all out war between the two peoples. BB illustrations are beautiful and atmospheric, conjuring up a wild and scary forest world. In style, they are reminiscent of Arthur Rackham.

What is odd about the storytelling, is that there is very little written dialogue between any of the characters. The narrative is almost historical reportage for the most part, decribing the world of the forest, the principle gnomes and their ways, the invention of the railway and the machinations of the villainous leprechauns. It is only around the middle that a main character emerges, a gnome named Sneezerod who must step up to the mark to save his people. It never bothered me as a kid reading it, but looking back on it, it is an unusual way to construct a story.

So anyway, get this little old school children's fantasy gem if you can!

Robin Hood: Season 3
Robin Hood: Season 3
DVD ~ Jonas Armstrong
Offered by discountedmediaoutlet
Price: $19.89
32 used & new from $10.13

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who is this show for really?, July 12, 2010
This review is from: Robin Hood: Season 3 (DVD)
Most people who tune in to watch a TV show entitled Robin Hood probably fall into three groups. The first two are closely related: people who like Robin Hood and medieval junkies (like myself). The third group are people who just want a fun show to watch and who don't care about period accuracy or the legends at all. This show is aimed at the latter group, which doesn't much real sense.

Season 3 of this new incarnation looks much better than 1 and 2, but there are still daft choices which might be OK if the show was set in a fantasy land. A female sheriff of Nottingham (??), a black Friar Tuck (???!) and the odd ninja weapon (?????!!!!). All this makes it very hard to take seriously.

For me, this show will always be squarely in the shadow of the old 1980s Robin of Sherwood TV show, imperfect as it was. One thing both versions have in common are the arbitrary decisions to write out Maid Marion in unsatisfactory ways.

The Lady and the Highwayman (1989)
The Lady and the Highwayman (1989)
DVD ~ Emma Samms
Price: $9.99
5 used & new from $2.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Dumb, July 11, 2010
I was attracted to the cover because I like period action flicks, especially ones with the promise of swordplay and a bit of romance. I thought 'Hmmm, good cast, should be alright, surely?" WRONG.

This is without doubt, the dumbest period flick I have ever seen. I can jusify this, because I have made it a practice to watch every film about the three musketeers ever made (including the awful Disney thing with Tim Curry). I guess I should have been warned by Barbara Cartland's name on the cover.

Why it is Dumb: It's the Reformation. The Royalists have won. Hugh Grant's character runs around as a highwayman trying to root out Parliamentarian plots that might unseat King Charles II. HOW?! He's a highwayman. He robs stagecoaches. He's not going to have any idea of what plots are going on. Surely, get a job at court and maybe engage in some espionage?

Anyway, its pretty clear here that Royalist equals GOOD and Parliamentarian equals EVIL. I don't want to pick sides, but I do know that Charles I did bring the whole civil war on himself by being difficult, and that Charles mark 2 wasn't the perfect monarch either. Not saying they were EVIL mind, just not really GOOD. Cartland clearly views differing political opinions on this subject as the work of cackling cloaked conspiritors, sacrificing virgins in dungeons. Actually, she should have put that in.

OK, so this is supposed to be a romance of the 'sweet' variety, not a genuine look at the reign of Chuck 2. The romance sucks as well. The two leads spend hardly any time on screen together and when they do, it's about as passionless as a brick. Nothing happens between them.

I don't blame the cast (actors gotta eat) but I do blame the writing. It is woefully stupid.


Alien 3
Alien 3
DVD ~ Sigourney Weaver
Price: $9.99
53 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Crash after Aliens High, April 26, 2010
This review is from: Alien 3 (DVD)
Much has been written about the troubled production of Alien 3 and the problems that director Fincher faced at the hands of the studio. I only remember being extremely disappointed with this film as a sequel to Aliens, one of my most favourite of all sci fi movies.

As a film, Aliens is awesome fun, a real nail biting rollercoaster, with fun likeable characters and a triumphant ending. You finish watching Aliens and you feel good. Ripley saved the day, rescued the child and saved a couple of other crew members, cool characters in their own right. As a sequel to the excellent Alien, it is a great success, because it did not try to repeat what Ridley Scott had done. If there was a graph describing the Alien franchise, Cameron left it climbing high.

It crashes down hard with Alien 3. Alien 3 is the cold turkey crash after the heroin rush of Aliens. Everything Ripley has achieved is thrown away in the opening credits of this film. Newt and Hicks are killed just like that. You liked them in Aliens? Tough, they are gone. You are introduced to a whole cast of prison characters who, in addition being hard to identify because they all look much the same, are either unlikeable or tragic. Its like the people who made this film didn't really understand what had gone before it and had no real love for the characters that James Cameron had so painstakingly created. On its own, it might be ok. But it's a sequel to Aliens written by unsympathetic writers.

Watching it is like reading a sequel to Pride & Prejudice, in which Mr Darcy cheats on Elizabeth Bennet (with a man), or a sequel to Winnie the Pooh, where Christopher Robin burns all his toys and laughs at the tears welling up in Poohs eyes as he tries to rescue Piglet from the flames but only succeeds in immolating himself.


Otto of the Silver Hand
Otto of the Silver Hand
by Howard Pyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.85
28 used & new from $2.05

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Artwork, Preachy Yarn, March 31, 2009
I first read this story when I was in late high school, early uni. As an illustration student I was mightily intrigued by Pyle's Durer-esque artwork, especially as I was (and still am) a drawer of pen and ink knights in armour.

Durer's influence is very strong here and if you know his work, you can play 'spot the engraving' all through the book. This is not to say Pyle was copying necessarily, it's more of a homage.

As for the yarn, well, I was a bit disappointed. If like me, you love Conan the Barbarian stories, Fritz Leiber, grumpy old Michael Moorcock, or stories actually written back in the medieval day such as Le Morte d'Arthur, then sappy little Otto is going to be a bit of a let down. The knight characters are good fun, but Pyle keeps reminding you of his dissaproval of their godless ways in rather a preachy manner. This I think was rather typical of children's authors of the time. If you weren't bludgeoning your young audience with a moral message, you weren't doing your job.

So, buy for the pictures (awesome), wake up for the swordfights, doze off during the sermons!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2010 9:43 AM PST

Dungeons & Dragons (New Line Platinum Series)
Dungeons & Dragons (New Line Platinum Series)
DVD ~ Justin Whalin
Offered by Lunch money
Price: $4.92
232 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage, March 19, 2009
Despite the fact that I think this film rates lower than an otyugh's stool (D&D nerd reference there), I have seen it more times than I care to remember. I saw it once on a date at the cinema (she liked it), and a couple of times on video/dvd when I was trying to show just how horrible it was to friends. It is a film that gets worse with every viewing. There is always something new to be appalled by every time you watch it.

Do not own this movie, it will infect other movies you own with its badness. Even milk will go off in close proximity to this drek. If (like me) you are a completist and have to see it "just to see what they did", borrow it or hire it (but then complain that the disc wouldn't play on your machine so that you can exchange it for something else).

This movie commits the cardinal sin of being boring. It has a clunky script, questionable costume choices and as an adaptation of D&D, unforgivable. I know nothing about how to light a movie set, so when I notice that a scene has no atmosphere, there's something wrong.

The cast could or might be OK in other circumstances, but with rubbish lines and a bad director, are left to flounder. I don't think I've seen Thora Birch since. Jeremy Irons, rather than flounder, clearly went insane for the duration of this shoot. His performance is, ahhh... colourful. Olivier's Richard the Third on crack? X 1000?

The extras of this give a fairly good picture of why this film stinks. Yes, I watched them. The director's mummy bought him the director's chair, and he clearly shouldn't be trusted with sharp objects, let alone Jeremy Irons. Although the director professes a love of D&D, he clearly was never a dungeon master or ever read a fantasy book. And therein lies the problem with basing a film on D&D; the game is based on any number of sources and worlds, so what do you choose?

And where were the monsters? D&D if its about anything, is about the monsters! OK we had some 2nd drawer CGI dragons (they're a given), and a beholder very shyly ran across screen in one scene, but what about the rest?! Where were the gnolls, bugbears, gelatinous cubes (OK, they are silly), etc?

See Lord of the Rings. Even see Uwe Boll's In the Name of the King. It's better than this unflushable horror.

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