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Customer Reviews: 8
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Gregory Mast RSS Feed (San Jose, CA)

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Killing Them Softly
Killing Them Softly
DVD ~ Brad Pitt
Offered by American_Standard
Price: $7.74
34 used & new from $1.56

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be titled "Killing Them Slowly"., March 31, 2013
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This review is from: Killing Them Softly (DVD)
I wanted to like this film. I tried to appreciate this film for what it is rather than what I wanted it to be, but ultimately I was left with disappointment. Before I go any farther, I will issue a general warning that spoilers may lie ahead. If that presents a problem then you probably shouldn't be reading these reviews in the first place.

On the positive side, the cinematography is striking and most scenes are composed beautifully. The film is a visual treat. The dialogue can be clever, if largely pointless and time wasting. The pace is inconsistent but when it works, it works very well. The actors bring a genuine quality to their characters. "Nuanced" is a description that is overused, in my opinion, but it is an apt description for many of the performances on display here.

On the other hand,the single most damning criticism of this film is that it is boring. Really, really boring. As previously mentioned, the inconsistent pacing is part of the problem, along with self indulgent dialogue and pointless plot elements. One case in point is Gandolfini's character, Mickey.

If there is a prime example of what is wrong with this film, it is Mickey. His dialogue seems to last forever as it dwells on pointless detail, going nowhere to advance the plot and, ultimately, his introduction into the story yields nothing more than the mob accountant complaining about misspent money. Huh?

I will keep the DVD for archival and research purposes, as I doubt I will ever watch this film again for any other reason than research or background information. Damnation by faint praise, perhaps, but I simply cannot recommend anyone purchase this DVD unless it is under similar circumstances.

Sony DVP-SR500H 1080p Upscaling DVD Player
Sony DVP-SR500H 1080p Upscaling DVD Player
9 used & new from $24.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT A REGION-FREE PLAYER, October 12, 2011
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This model is not a region-free player, despite the fact that it was among the search results for "region-free". Caveat Emptor.

Trigger Men: Shadow Team, Spider-Man, the Magnificent Bastards, and the American Combat Sniper
Trigger Men: Shadow Team, Spider-Man, the Magnificent Bastards, and the American Combat Sniper
by Hans Halberstadt
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from $1.75

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Wars and Old Games, March 19, 2008
In the spirit of full disclosure, I've known Hans Halberstadt for nearly 20 years. He and I worked on a couple of books together and I followed his progress as he put this book together over the past two years. When I got my advance copy of the book I was, even after all the hours of discussion with Hans about the content, thoroughly engaged by the stories inside "Trigger Men". In particular, the stories from Iraq drive home the point that the ancient craft of sniping is rapidly adapting to the dynamics of a new type of war.

Hans strips away the delicate Pentagonese that is often used to describe a sniper's job, the sanitary euphemisms that cloak the brutally efficient task of killing people, one bullet at a time. This is not a glorification of murder but an honest account of what happens when a country asks men (and sometimes women) to take up the difficult and isolated task of eliminating specific targets with a well aimed rifle shot.

I can recommend this thought provoking book on several levels but I found it most interesting as an oral history of a topic that is not often covered.

[This review was edited to correct spelling errors]

DVD ~ Daniel Craig
19 used & new from $2.14

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For Daniel Craig Fans Only, May 7, 2007
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This review is from: Obsession (DVD)
Take good looking actors, add an incoherent script, throw in a handful of picturesque Euro locations and you have "Obsession". This film is recommended only for those who wish to have a complete Daniel Craig collection, albeit a bizarre addition to the library.

This film's worst offense is that it is boring, deadly dull despite a capable cast. The story is riddled with jaw dropping inconsistencies and the kind of stupidity one associates with Lifetime movies. For instance, Daniel Craig's character is supposedly from Zimbabwe, yet his accent is from Kansas not Rhodesia. WTF? Even DiCaprio was able to carry off a credible Rhodie accent in Blood Diamond.

If you simply must own every movie that Daniel Craig ever made then this will be $6.99 well spent. Otherwise, give this film a wide berth and in the unlikely event that you are invited over to a friend's house to watch this insult to your intelligence then you would be well advised to fabricate any excuse, however farfetched, to avoid wasting 110 minutes of your life.

Dog Day
Dog Day
DVD ~ Tina Louise
Offered by Online Shopping Lane
Price: $8.45
28 used & new from $1.35

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Must be seen to be (un)believed, February 11, 2007
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This review is from: Dog Day (DVD)
This film is unbelievably bad, a product/relic of the French film industry at its low water mark in the early 1980's. Lee Marvin, in his penultimate role, appears to be drunk and nearly dead throughout most of the film. Tina Louise (yes, "Ginger" from Gilligan's Island and still sporting the same hair style) is cast at Lee Marvin's "moll", presumably because the producer/director found them in the same nursing home. The sound is terrible, the dubbing is unintentionally hilarious and the film is presented in full screen (pan and scan).

So why did I give it three stars? This is a "party" film, to be enjoyed while inebriated with your friends. That and the fact that Lee Marvin was a better "action hero" with one foot in the grave than most of today's crop of wannabes.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2011 12:59 AM PDT

DVD ~ Helen Mirren
Price: $12.21
23 used & new from $8.99

76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Astonishingly Bad Film: Destined for Cult Status, August 1, 2006
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This review is from: Hussy (DVD)
This relic from 1980, a soft porn disco melodrama about hookers working a seedy British nightclub, is destined for cult status. Helen Mirren portrays a prostitute raising a small child, with no cliché left unmolested. Standard soap opera stuff, sprinkled with dreadful "musical" numbers at the night club, containing just enough nudity to make the enterprise bearable. This film is full of unintentional laughs, many from the ultra-cheesy fashions and conventions of the era. However, it is almost worth watching just to hear Helen Mirren repeat the line, "Make love to me!" at random intervals whenever some gratuitous nudity is in order.

The quality of the DVD transfer is barely adequate and is presented in full screen format. For fans of Helen Mirren and bad films only, this film is a rare instance where the two converge.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2011 4:23 PM PST

Cameroon: The Bradt Travel Guide
Cameroon: The Bradt Travel Guide
by Ben West
Edition: Paperback
32 used & new from $0.71

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, but very dated info, January 17, 2006
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I have just returned from 3 weeks in Cameroon and this book made the trip with me. My trip was not the usual tourist excursion, as I traveled with expat Cameroonians and lived exclusively with africans. I could go for days without seeing another european and when I did they were usually zipping past in a tour bus or in an NGO vehicle.

First, the positives. The book is well organized and the local Cameroonians were usually impressed that someone would write so much about their country. The advice presented in the book is generally sound and the descriptions accurate. Douala is an "armpit": shrouded in smog during the dry season, scented by the smoke of burning garbage, and made all the more enjoyable by sweltering heat and oppressive humidity. On the basis of the positives, I would award the book 4 stars.

The negatives? Much of the information regarding accommodations is quite dated. For instance, the description of the Skyline Hotel in Bamenda is at least five to seven years old. It has been years since the pool had water, the night club is closed, the hotel is frequently without electricity and is in a general state of disrepair and decay. Of course, this is merely symptomatic of the overall decay prevalent throughout Cameroon. Do not rely on the phone numbers listed for the hotels, as many may have changed. On the basis of the negatives I would award the book 2 stars.

Overall, however, I can recommend the book as a serviceable resource for planning a trip and as a useful tool while in country.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2007 11:11 PM PDT

The Holcroft Covenant
The Holcroft Covenant
DVD ~ Mario Adorf
4 used & new from $2.34

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crappy DVD Transfer, May 1, 2005
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This review is from: The Holcroft Covenant (DVD)
OK, so I wasn't really paying attention when I pre-ordered this movie. I was surprised when I checked the invoice and noticed that the movie cost about 5 USD. However, it is fair to say that even at five dollars this DVD is grossly overpriced.

Why? Because this looks like the worst kind of 4th generation bootleg VHS transfer. The video is crap and the audio is worse. This is, without a doubt, the worst DVD in my library (and it won't be there long). I actually checked the packaging to see if in fact this was a studio release.

If you are an afficianado of Mexican bootleg DVD's then this is for you. Otherwise, ZERO STARS .(...)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2014 7:30 PM PST

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