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I found a home made rip / burn copy of this in the charity shop the other day, with what looks like a cut down VHS cover fitted in a CD jewel case...

...Knowing what it was, and certainly with no clear memory of ever having seen it, even back in the day, I grabbed it, to see what all the controversy was.

The copy I have seems to be at least DVD quality, possibly moving toward Blu-Ray quality, in terms of sharpness and clarity, so I don't think it came from a VHS rip.

(I believe it was released on Blu-Ray in Spain, at least, so half suspect this is from that source, ripped from that disc, then burned to DVD)

Now of course, I'm not really going to go into all the sociological issues with this, being neither capable or qualified to do so, and this not perhaps being the appropriate forum for that debate - after all you start a discussion along those lines and very soon we have to get our heavy modding wellies on! - Except only to say, that the principal sin committed here is that it makes the time, place and circumstance a litlle more... rosy than it should be.

...That said, there are certain hard-wired circumstantial elements that no amount of varnishing can clear away - the big house plantation is owned of course, by a white family, and the the servants, are, of course, black, and everyone knows their place without having to mention it (and don't), and everone seems of course, Disney-chipper about it... So yes, anyone can see how this would be "problematic".

I cannot say, however, that, given all the furore, there was anything over and above this that was in danger of prompting an outrage based aneurism, nor did my jaw hit the floor in incredulity... As there is nothing here really that doesn't exist, and indeed, persist in other movies and content elsewhere - eyebrow raising, certainly.

(Django Unchained, it ain't... Nor 12 Years a slave)

Looking for a moment (if possible) beyond these issues, just at the basic plot, in terms of the movie as a story, it is a pretty good one:

Undefined tension between Mummy and Daddy causes them to escort their young child to Grandma's house, where Mummy intends to live with him, while Daddy moves back home without them... child is bereft, and doesn't understand, feeling lost, and so intends to run away back home to be with dad... here he meets Uncle Remus, raconteur and teller of fabulous tales about Br'er Rabbit and his run ins with the fox and bear, who want to do horrible things to him - These tales being, of course, analogies containing little tricks and life lessons for the kid to learn from, and learn to cope, in the best traditions of the fable.

I can't help thinking the solution to this problematic movie might be something that Disney is doing already with their back catalogue whether asked for or not:

Remake it.

...And indeed, refurbish it, re-position it or do whatever to make it less troublesome.

(In fact, while watching it, I frequently thought of the Coen brothers for some reason... just a thought!)

As is though, as my find demonstrates, both in the finding, and the fact that I was aware of this movie because of all the bother about it, if you ban something, you are likely to create a mystique about it, even if it is not any more deserved than others of it's kind.

Had I not known about this, I would have simply left it on the shelf, rather than be prompted by curiosity.

After all, as I said at the start of this ramble, the principle sin is that it seeks to ignore or rewrite historical realities in favour of making things a little more rosy...

...But then, isn't banning a movie outright because if this, doing exactly the same thing?

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Cinema:
Men
Rated 7/10 by zabadak
Guardian review :read:

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This album is a credit to Poynton Brass Band and its director Alan Lawton.

One number that caught my ear in particular was Praise Ye The Lord, which is an arrangement, Carol 66, taken from the Salvation Army 1994 carol book "New Christmas Praise", of the hymn Hail, Smiling Morn, composed by Reginald Spofforth. You can find some good examples on YT of this being performed by various brass bands.

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a novel of a relationship under pressure as a couple decide to abstain from sex during a countryside stay as the rich, dilletante husband attempts to write a novel; things are complicated when the wife reveals that her husband's barber has tried to molest her sexually...

- definitely not ''a romance category'' novel in the mills & boon/harlequin romance tradition.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
One of those films that's so bad that it's....AMAZING!

Yup, this one really lives up to it's cult status. The film opens with a Zombie member of the SS growling and butchering motorists but this is no straight ahead Slasher or Zombie movie. Instead it throws up a ghost pirate ship, a Mummy, a mysterious Black Cat which miaows A LOT and it repeatedly cuts to scenes of an old French fella in camouflage failing to shooting a Black horse from close range. He's either the worst shot in France or the horse has magick powers but you will never know as like everything else in the film there's NO EXPLANATION whatsoever.

Very little dialogue, very little narrative and yet this film certainly has....something!

It's also pretty damn gory and it's a mercy the low budget means the gore is more comic book than horrific otherwise the Mummy squeezing the guts out of one poor victim could really haunt you.

The repetition and the feeling that absolutely anything could happen at any point makes it a truly surreal watch.

Get some nice cheese and wine in for a French themed movie night and enjoy your Psychedelic Nightmares!!!!

4 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
climactic novel of two of the main themes of the darkover series,q.v.;

the relationship between the expanding terran empire, mainly benignly and protectively inclined towards darkover, but very interested in the power of the darkovan mental gifts or talents, and the privileged mentally talented darkovan aristocracy, jealous of their wealth, position and political power, for which they have paid a high price over generations, not least in the selective breeding to produce and concentrate particular laran powers, originally the sole guarantee of human survival upon this planet, as well as of these immense, albeit somewhat specialised mental powers.

this hard-won over many years, and sometimes very unstable balance, such as it is, is undermined by a powerful commercial corporation seeking to gain control of these powers and their potentially extremely profitable exploitation, without any understanding of, or interest in, the risks involved - whatever the human or environmental costs of achieving this might prove to be -

- including to the young regis hastur, newly come into his lordship of one of the most powerful families of the comyn aristocracy, full of noble ambitions and idealistic plans to improve the lot of ordinary darkovans, to promote talent whether it be found in the comyn or the common, "ordinary" people, and facing opposition from the more traditionally-minded and entrenched conservatives.

- and the human costs most certainly will not be low, as the simplest, quickest - and, most importantly, cheapest - method would seem to be by selective assassination of the controlling comyn aristocracy;

- selective assassination - or, if needs be, their wholesale slaughter.

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Cinema:
Alien 3 (1992)
Rated 7/10 by Magic Marmalade
Never understood the hate for this one...

...Granted, it had a lot to live up to, in the wake of the masterpiece of claustrophobic space horror of the original movie, and then the more actiony sci-fi franchisement of sequel: Aliens, which I think did a lot to skew expectations of this, which, of course, a return to a more claustrophobic space horror origins would fail to meet: "Hey, where's the zap and pow, and action etc!?!" ...and so forth.

...But I thought it was a very strong character study, and found it thoroughly engrossing in the cinema on release, and no repeated viewings over the years have dissuaded me from that.

Yes, the set-up is a little contrived, where Ripley's pod crash lands on an all but deserted planet which happens to be a prison planet, full of bad dudes, and absolutely, the ending (will say no more) is a mite toe curling and overblown in concept, but everything in between is solid stuff in my book.

Also, I did try something the other day which seemed to bring even more out of this, and gave the movie an extra dimension, which you may wish to try: I messed about with my colour settings in order to make this completely Black and White, removing all colour, and making the blacks and whites in high contrast to each other, and it was great!

So it seems there's a great black and white horror creature feature trapped inside this already grim palleted movie.

Anyway, food for thought.

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Joshua Rifkin describes how, as a young music graduate, he found himself writing the complete set of parodies of the Beatles hits which were taking the USA by storm in 1965, and being rewarded by the hiring of some of the best session players in town; I would love to know a few of their names.

This starts with an attractive Baroque Ouverture:
[YouTube Video]

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Turned up to see The Buzzcocks on 'A different Kind Of Tension' tour and took in an eery performance by Joy Division. Sat high at the back of the now demolished concert venue I was behind a crew of smartly dressed Manchester lads wearing flannel pegs and knot knitted jumpers and buttoned down grey shirts [Peter Hook like]. The southern Buzzcocks audience were mostly still at school and looking like the weekend punks they probably were. Things were already different and a taste of how the 80s would unfold. Joy Division made a racket. Their live set was uncompromising jagged shards of sound. Some of the songs were familiar from Peel sessions and the appearance on Something Else [BBC2]—'She's Lost Control'. Sumner removed his guitar to assume synth duties for what would become Decades on Closer and then the set came to an abrupt halt as Ian Curtis collapsed and had to be helped off stage. As the Buzzcocks started their evening Pete Shelley asked the audience to make sure the ambulance could make a clear path as the singer of Joy Division was being taken to hospital. From my perspective The Buzzcocks made a good fist of it but it was Joy Division who burned into the consciousness that wet November evening near the sea.

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Tight solid performance just post London Calling release billed as the 16 Tons. The Stateside was a venue in an underground bowling alley formed in early 60s concrete on Redfern Road in the Village Bowl complex. Sonically hard on the ears, very loud with a hard floor and sweat condensation forming on the low ceiling and walls—a perfect setting. The south coast crowd of aging prog converts, teenage punks, the odd mod [hurling phlegm and racist abuse at the support act Mickey Dread] and assorted musos. Mr Dread appeared solo toasting over a sound system soundtrack based on African Anthem and the imminent World War 3 Long Players. Many non-plussed non reggae heads in the audience but appreciated by those in the know. The venue went dark and on came assorted roadies and then moving lit cigarettes in the dark as Jones [band's right], Headon, Strummer [centre] and Simenon [left] burst into the opening number, Clash City Rockers. Hard guitar rock'n'roll, Loud, raucus and on track with the first album in terms of rawness, the band held it together for well over an hour with a short encore and then they were gone. Strummer led the band playing hard rhythm guitar stabs across Jones abrasive lead and moody death stares—'offering out' the schoolboys on the left in the audience... "wanna fight mate?". All the great first three album songs got an airing along with a couple of average tracks that in this setting became stellar. The Clash. The only band to follow... Stateside Bob

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In a small English seaside town beset by xenophobic prejudice, Irish woman Rose arrives with her fatherless daughter and black boyfriend, but her outgoing friendly personality soon endears her to her neighbours, until some start receiving insulting and obscene letters. The offences are referred to the police, who are at the heart of all the prejudices, including against one of their own staff who is not only of Indian origin but worse, a woman.

Woman Police Officer Gladys Moss becomes the 'Harry Bates' of the story, contesting the injustice of the accusation. Will justice prevail? Tension to the very end, concluding with a glorious outburst of very wicked words.

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A philosophy of love...

...And relationships, and how they change.

So I finally caved in on this one, as it just wasn't turning up in the charity shops, and decided to just stream it, to round out the trilogy.

Got to say I was dreading it, as I didn't want to spoil the magic of the first two, as I kind of had a hunch that reality would come crashing in at some point, and here it is.

However, the reality, is a well considered one, and is just as well written as the others, this has not just been tacked on to finish the trilogy...indeed these may be among the finest screenplays ever written, the kind that I should image any actor would hack off a limb to be a part of...

...And from this perspective, this may be the best written, and possibly best acted of the three, due to the actual drama and contention that now exists between the two lead characters, now living together with twin daughters, and on holiday in Greece... and the tension of unspoken, and as yet unsaid acknowledgement of trouble having grown in paradise over the intervening years... Jesse, torn between a desire to have deeper relationship with his son from his previous marriage, and being with the love of his life, and their daughters in that new life, while Celine doesn't feel how "present" he has been in their lives because of this, leading to her stifling the complaint she justly has about this...

...A storm is brewing, and the tension will surely cause it to break at some point.

What these movies do well, is the unspoken things, as well as the spoken, and what lies behind them, as the first two thirds of the movie seems to be moving along ok. with the idyllic life, with only apparent minor "quibbles", which only in the final third, you find out that what they were both really thinking about the situation, and everything they did prior to this section of the film, was not what they were saying, or how they were acting or behaving at the time.

So, quite masterfully, the scenes later, lend a new context, and meaning on what you saw before, and call to mind those previous scenes and make you reflect on them while you watch.

...But also, this applies to the trilogy of films as a whole, as there are both overt, direct references to their previous experiences in those other films, as well as subtle allusions... "easter eggs" which those who have seen them will understand, and so feel the poignancy of.

In fact, rather than simply ruin our daydream of that first, perfect romance, this, I feel, may have the effect of shedding a new light on the other two... knowing what is to come, may add to the power of the experiences of the first movie, and the second, just as each of those has a very powerful affect on how you view this one, which, if you didn't know the romantic past they share, may casue you to view this as a more purely bitter experience - there is, therefore, a kind of cross-chatter between the movies in this trilogy, as you recall events previous as you watch this, and as said, I expect may affect the I view the others in future when I watch them again... giving, together, a "God's eye view" of a whole relationship, and complete working diagram of love, and how it changes over time.... for better, and worse.

This, like the others, is also constructed around the prolonged set piece conversations between them, as they by turns, talk in a car for a good twenty minutes, talk at a dinner party table with friends for another twenty odd minutes, then talk while walking through the local town and surrounding landscape, before the final scene in a small hotel room. So it has all the familiar look and feel, and makes a perfect circle of movies.

Whether you like this one or not, will very much depend on what kind of person you are, and your own appreciation of the experiences they have, based on your own, as well as if, like the two protagonists, are idealistic, cynic, or realist, or any of those things (sometimes together) at different times.

I'm pleased this exists, and it does add a lot, to make this one of the all time great trilogies, as well as each part having a claim to being among the best romantic movies ever made...

But...

Once I've watched the three together in sequence once again, I will mostly only watching the first two (especially the first ) in future... I guess I just want to believe in the romance more than the reality. :)

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Meer! Meer! Meer! (More, More, More) is a book about us: collectors, crate-diggers, hoarders, archivists, completists but above all about music lovers and record (cd, cassettes, 78's, vinyl) cabinets.
Compiled from over 200 articles that were issued in Dutch music magazine "Platenblad" (Recordmagazine) it gives us a rare view in basements, lofts, annexes, sheds and man caves of other persons and at the same time holds a mirror to the reader him/herself. And yes there is also an interview with three Dutch moderators of 45Cat from more than 10 years ago. How we've grown....
A very pleasant read.

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They remind me of Motörhead quite alot, but with a female vocalist, she also made the cover drawing. I like Motörhead, and Marias voice, so this record will remain in my collection.

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A very good 77 punk product, Sounds like early Black Flag alot, High energy on all tracks. this is about as raw as 77 punk gets.

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A rarity in The Astronauts' catalog is this mostly original set of Beatles-meets-Beach Boys pop and rock songs with two of their signature instrumentals as part of the shindig. These guys have a terrific sound and their efforts to write in the vein of Lennon & McCartney or Jagger & Richards are solid--even if their influences do show in spots. Dig how "You Gotta Let Me Go" uh, um, "borrows" from the melody of The Beatles' "I'll Be Back." Yet they're so good they get away with this wholesale plagiarism and make it riveting.
Their shoulda-been-a-hit version of "I'm A Fool" and its Stones-flavored original flip "Can't You See I Do" are highlights, but every track has something of value. Their surf-guitar take on Les Baxter's exotica anthem "Quiet Village" is clever and compelling, and on vocal sides like "Little Lover," the almost-psychedelic title track and the smartly written "My Sin is My Pride," their skill in harmony singing is impressive, as is their sharp instrumentation.
With a clean, clear sound common to RCA Victor LPs of the mid-1960s, this is 26 minutes and change of first-rate pop-rock, with some touches of folk-rock and a reminder of their capability as surf instrumentalists. This is all-round entertainment at its best. I wouldn't lose a track on this album--a claim I cannot make about many of their other 12-inchers. Sounds powerful and compelling in mono!

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This was the record issued in 1971 as the show, "Young Talent Time" went national. The month of issue(July) is a guess on my part. The original 6-member team consisted of three girls and three boys who were part of an earlier show called "Brian & The Juniors" hosted by then-HSV-Melbourne newsreader, Brian Naylor. That show ended in 1970. YTT began as a Melbourne-only show on Saturday, 24th April, 1971 and was hosted by former Pop star, Johnny Young, who was also junior partner in the Lewis/Young Productions company with Kevin Lewis as senior partner.
The "Team" was Vicki Broughton, who, in spite of what the rear sleeve says, was actually 17 years old as of the debut of the show(born in 1954). She was partnered with Rod Kirkham, who would turn 16 in October, 1971. Then came Debbie Byrne who was 14 years old, 10 days older than Jamie Redfern. She was partnered with Philip Gould(who appeared in the Mick Jagger movie, "Ned Kelly" as an altar-boy). He was 14 at the time as well. Then came Jane Scali at age 12 was the youngest and barely into high school. She was paired with Jamie Redfern who turned 14 a little over two weeks prior to the show's debut. Incidentally, the boy who would replace Jamie in 1972, was blowing out the 12 candles of his birthday cake on the night the show began. That boy was Trevor Hindmarch.

The criticism I made of the Vol.2 album applies here as well. The glossy front cover is let down by the flatness of the rear sleeve and its black & white photos, and those "backyard shed job" labels.

The bulk of the content is in stereo except for Jamie's two tracks, which are in mono(the two sides of his debut single, as it happens) and Johnny's "All My Loving" which is, in fact the original 1966 Clarion label recording. Why Jamie's tracks were in mono is anyone's guess. Johnny would go on to record a newer version of "All My Loving" which became the closing song as the credits rolled.

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This album was intended as a promotion for the TV show, "Young Talent Time". This was, in fact, the second such LP. While the performances of the team members cannot be faulted(the team truly lived up to its name), the same cannot be said of the presentation of the record itself. The team, and Johnny Young himself, deserved FAR BETTER! The greatest failure is in the label. The recordings are top-quality but the labels make the record look like a backyard shed job.

Festival had two budget labels and either could've carried this album and its predecessor, either on Calendar with an SR66-series catalogue number or on Horizon with an SH66-series catalogue number. This album is, in effect a Volume 2 though this is not stated on the sleeve or labels. The Young Talent Team was(as of 1972):
Rod Kirkham; Debbie(now Debra) Byrne; Philip Gould; Trevor Hindmarch(who was Jamie's replacement); Jane Scali, Jamie Redfern(who left early in 1972 to tour America as Liberace's protoge); Vicki Broughton; Greg Mills and Julie Ryles(sadly now deceased from a brain tumour).

Track A6 was the opening & closing theme to a half-hour featurette, "Caravan Holiday" produced over the Xmas/New Year holidays, 1971/72 and featured the team with Jamie still as a member, and including Addie Black and Buster Fiddess(who passed away after completing his role) with a cameo role for Evie Hayes(show judge) and a guest spot for Johnny Farnham(interacting with Jamie). Johnny Young played a few different parts through the feature which was produced to promote the Caravan & Camping Industry. The featurette was the curtain-raiser to the Barbara Streisand/Ryan O'Neil comedy, "What's Up Doc" in several Australian cinemas.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
The presentation of this double-LP set leaves a great deal to be desired, particularly with the failure to include composer credits on Record 1/Side 1. Another GLARING omission is Kenny Ball's name credit for Tr. A5, "Samantha", which I had to find by referring to the cover notes.

The little dots next to the tracks in the contents table are mine, I made my own CD copy some years ago, replacing mono with stereo recordings(ripped from another CD) where I could find them.

The composer credits for Side A won't stay as "Not Listed" for long, I intend filling in those gaps using 45Cat.com for the relevant info.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
I have the same record on Vocalian. Same matrix number as the Decca

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Still a wonderful, charming and magical family movie, with a great plot, fantastic, evocative score.

The essential plot centres around a knight, in who's charge is a young prince, son of a medieval tyrant king... The king is killed in the opening scenes by the local oppressed peasantry when they rise up against him. This leaves the young Prince - Einon - king, but he is also mortally wounded in the battle, so his mother, accompanied by the knight, take him to a dragon, to get healed, by taking half the dragon's heart, also in the hope that the purity of the dragon heart will purify the young Einon's soul, and make him a more merciful and benevolent king for the people than his father was.

... Alas, it doesn't work out that way, and the knight, blind to Einon's fundamentally bad nature, blames the dragon for corrupting his young charge, and vows to hunt him down and kill him.

It pitches the tale well in a pseudo-medieval "historical"/ mythical Celtic world, and captures the sense of wonder people now have for that period, even though it is a pretty generalised confection... Inspired by that time, rather than trying to replicate it in any sort of historically accurate way... And it does so through excellent locations selection, and broad mix of English and American casting, great cinematography, a light yet evocative Celtic adventure score, and an early CGI dragon which, although a little dated in it's effectiveness, still holds up well enough to convey a sense of character.

A couple of inspired casting choices too round this out, in the shape of the distinctive Sean Connery as the dragon, and Julie Christie as Einon's trapped and rueful mother, and friend of the dragon (she really brings a note of gravitas to proceedings).

But overall, it's a very warm, joyous, swashbuckling adventure yarn made of the best bits of everything from stories of times if yore, and it was a pleasant, and unexpected surprise at time if release, and still holds a place in my heart, principally by virtue of it's aspiring to virtue, if the old fashioned, knightly kind.

If you've not seen it yet, but like, say: The Princess Bride, or some of the old eighties children's fantasy movies, you'll love this too.

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I've had this album in my possession for close to 49 years, having bought it at a shop that sold records and clothes, located on High Street, Maitland NSW(Australia) way back in 1975.
As compilations go, this was one of the better ones with a total of 28 cuts spread across two LPs. Originally though, this set is actually made up of two different volumes that had originally been issued separately as single discs. This album contained a number of rare tracks, one of which was Jr. Walker & The All-Stars' treatment of Neil Diamond's Holly Holy, well worth the price for that track alone!

As far as I'm aware, I don't know if this compilation saw the light of day in Britain but it had certainly been marketed elsewhere in Europe. What a pity EMI(Australia) didn't issue it!

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Event horizon... For kids!

... In fact, watching this for the first time after many years, this screams Event Horizon inspiration through and through.

I just remember this scared the crap out of me as a kid...

(In fact, it's amazing how many movies if my formative years did that very thing)

... Very disturbing for a young mind, very... Off, very... Not Disney!

Imagine a hybrid Frankenstein, Dracula, zombie movie set in space, next to a black hole, on board a giant Cadillac/green house/ Victorian gothic mansion/space ship, narratively working it's way towards a William Blake style vision of heaven and hell, and you have to double take to see the Disney name on the label.

The casting is inspired, principally in the choice of Norman bates as slightly creepy idealist scientist, the effects are still hugely impressive, as much now as it was then, as well as the production design, robot design and especially cinematography.

... In fact, it's more than just Event Horizon this has inspired... As you can see this movie has undoubtedly had a huge claim to inventing the sub-gene of sci-fi horror, which many movies of the type have been influenced by.

Still too much for younger kids, and certainly still quite chilling for adults, in site of the limitations of the times, as it has in many respects, aged quite well, if not in others...

... A lovely thing though, that this even exists, testament that even Disney could colour outside it's own lines once in a while.

If only they were still as brave!

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Still good fun... but with a twist.

Seeing this after all these years, and having watched it back in the day at least a hundred times, I had wondered if it would hold up, or if perhaps, being a comedy variation on the buddy cop genre, the humour might have dated a little...

...Fortunately, the light bubbly wit and humour is still good fun, with nothing really that would date it, or make it cringe worthy to modern eyes and ears.

Indeed, the story of a couple of Chicago cops chasing down a local drug lord, and getting embroiled in a game of cat and mouse with him is still hugely entertaining, and the story and dialogue is first rate - Jimmy Smits gives a good performance as a stock villain / bad guy, and the ever reliable Joe Pantoliano has a small but memorable supporting role...

...But it's the brilliant camaraderie, repartee, and flat out chemistry between Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal that is the heart of this story, and what gives this movie huge personality, and charisma. In fact, the movie, in essence, is the back and forth banter between them with a detective / action story on top, which mostly serves to showcase their relationship.

But there is a problem here I've noticed, and it consists in how I watched it, in contrast to how I originally watched it, which detracts somewhat from it - and it's quite an odd thing too:

I originally watched this, first of course, on TV, then on my overworked VHS copy, in 4:3 ratio, so it was a fairly meat and potatoes movie with a kind of dingy look and feel, in how it presented the Chicago city-scape of the time, which the VHS and ratio only served to highlight, and feed into, in terms of look and feel of the production design etc.

...What hit me immediately, when I set my newly acquired DVD copy of it playing, was that the aspect ratio was 16:9, and this revealed a truly startling fact: The cinematography is stunning, and the production is incredible to look at this way... But that's a problem (for me, at least).

Being shot, and presented like a more upscale movie, like The Godfather, or a Kubrick work f cinematic art, doesn't chime with the character and personality I spoke of earlier, it seems, in fact to make the comedy banter (heart of the story) out of place a tad, smaller, and diminished a little, like those warnings you used to get on CDs, to the effect of: "CDs can reveal the shortcomings of the original recordings...etc.", and also put me in mind of the whole Mono / Stereo debate in music, whereby some original music sounds better in mono, as the music was recorded with the intention of maintaining that mono focus, and to have that kind of impact, and where stereo versions of such music can sound... off, or just plain wrong for what you're hearing. Here, the interaction between Hines and Crystal, is the focus, and the addition of all this extra screen, and sharper, more modern DVD quality only serves to distract, dilute a little, and draw away that focus.

Well, that's me, anyway. Objectively, if you have not been conditioned to see it this way, you might feel differently, but still find a movie to enjoy here...

(Does make me wonder though, if original screenings in this (presumably) original aspect ratio may have negatively coloured some critics view of it, in the manner I suggest, whereby, they may well have had a better opinion of it had they seen a 4:3 VHS copy later, it being more at home that way, and having that greater emphasis on the central pairing's comedy duo.

I'm glad to have a DVD copy, but honestly, I think 4:3 VHS is the one for me, so I'm going to make a point of getting one of those, as it does seem to impact on substance of the movie, and my impression of it.

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Cinema:
Broken Arrow
Rated 7/10 by Magic Marmalade
I'd forgotten how much fun this movie was!

A straight-up, meat and potatoes, mid-nineties action flick, notable for being one of the movies after Pulp Fiction that helped continue the revival of John Travolta's career (Here cast well as a baddie) and casting, seemingly against type, Christian Slater as an action hero... And all under the very stylised whip-crack direction of John Woo.

John Woo's stylisation often goes way overboard for me, into the realms of the cartoonish, but it works well here.

Basic plot:

Two bomber co-pilots come to blows when one of them tries to steal the two live nuclear weapons they happen to be carrying on a training flight...

(Dear God, I hope they don't actually do this in real life!)

...Leaving the other to try and stop him.

..And bang! that's it, off it goes from there at a very brisk pace as a modern military style western showdown action adventure.

Not reinventing the wheel, in terms of plot or anything, it's just a great example of it's kind being done well... hugely entertaining.

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Cinema:
Wild Rose (2018)
Rated 10/10 by zabadak
Pretty amazing film this! Jessie Buckley's performance is just eye-wateringly on it the whole way through. Seemingly hell-bent on self-destruction AND self-empowerment at the same time, she owns every scene to the point of it being almost a one-woman show. And that is before we even get to her singing talent!

2 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
The movie I hate to love.

OK, so I'm afraid I'm ging to have to be "that guy" who doesn't like this movie... or rather, I do, but against my will, or better judgement.

The reason is, in the initial instance, I grew up watching the original, first Terminator on TV, who's atmosphere, tone, concept, and story totally entranced me, fitting nicely in with the lower budget, performing miracles on a shoestring movie making ethos that John Carpenter made, along with others who made such sci-fi on meagre budgets because this genre was more marginalised back in the day - not so much main stream - and as such, you'd only catch these kinds of movies - Scanners, Terminator, Brainstorm, and others - late at night, on one of those secondary tv channels, so it felt like you'd slipped into some twilight netherworld of your own when watching them...

(I had a 14" colour TV next to my bed then, my second tv, after my Dad's 10" black and white portable one)

...The glow from these small, curious movies being the only light illuminating the room, and drawing me in in such a truly immersive way that no amount of modern big screen TVs, 3D, Imax, and all that jazz could ever hope to match subsequently.


...And along comes this, when I was in my teens, early movie-going years...

...Already dubious, as Arnie already looked too old to play a Terminator - they shouldn't age, surely! - and much less forbidding, formidable, and scary than he did in the first, somewhat detracting from the concept of this character before I'd even set foot in the cinema - and the movie "production values" and budget, had obviously been vastly upscaled, thereby removing most of the things I loved about the first one... this was just too slick.

And then, we get into all the reasons I really dislike this one, as it has a whole lot to answer for!

...Firstly, the addition of "personalitly" to the Terminator, killed that character stone dead for me, and then adding some throw-away cheesy humour got me really disliking it.

I'll admit, Seeing that opening sequence, with the Robot Terminator head looming through the flames on the big screen then is a movie going experience indelibly etched in my mind, and truly brilliant.. along with the development of Sarah Connor's character, and of course, a brilliant performance by Robert Patrick, now deservingly Iconic, and many other details besides, but all of the cons I've mentioned, plus the truly insufferable, obnoxious hysterical squeaky teen John Connor really set me against it in a big way.

The final insult, which is beyond cheese - but which seems to get everyone else emotionally - and is a total deal breaker for me, is shall we say.. a total Thumbs Down!

I personally trace everything that I consider wrong in modern cinema to this movie: Self referential, treating your own world building lightly, and buggering about with it, over commercialization due to mega budget bastardisation of something previously good, that had it's own integrity - "rebooting" and the beginning of the age of flogging a once live horse beyond dead, until it's all but fragments... this movie seems to show the way to that, due to it's massive commercial success, and set the trends we now have to suffer.

Objectively, I suppose, it's a very good film, and exceptionally well made, and all that, but it's a bit like that thing people have with rock stars - if you knew them before they were famous, and accepted, it's very difficult to look at them as the icon they have become, especially, with the compromises they have made to get there.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Well that was three weeks of my reading life I'm never getting back!

Can't honestly say, having now read it, I could tell you anything about it, or even what it is "about".

Like an fantastically over-long satirical literary joke that wears out it's welcome after even the first three hundred pages. let alone seven hundred!.

Poo.

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Brilliant sunshine indie rock-pop.

Essentially, this is the best Squeeze album you've never heard.

Wonderful melodic, tuneful story-telling in indie rock-pop format, which absolutely reeks of Squeeze, in the style of Difford & co.

I'd listened to a little here and there since ripping it to my mp3 player a while back, and was already familiar with the song: "I Wanna Stay Home" via the version by EG (White), rendered on his album merely as: Stay Home (But much more dynamically, and not as languid and laid back as this original version) but as I had a lot of weeds to dig out from the garden today (it being the first really dry day to do it), I put this on, and listened all the way through, and was pretty much whistling while I worked.

I think this is going to grow on me in a big way in the coming months.

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Not a bad film per se, despite often being featured on many worst films lists.

Mackenzie Astin plays Dodger a young lad who is constantly picked on by bullies who are considerably older for unknown reasons. He works in Manzinis antique shop for Captain Manzini, a fantastic Anthony Newley who manages to come across as likeable, fatherly and avoids all the creepy dirty old man tropes that plague some father figures in family friendly films. We also never see Dodger's parents or him go to school. Is he orphaned? Is it bank holiday? Is his name a reference to street urchin, the artful dodger? I've no idea.

The Garbage Pail Kids are little people with animatronic masks and they look pretty decent. Sadly the film suffers from the repetition of unfunny fart, vomit and pee jokes. Kids love gross out humour, but there's no wit to it. The bullying scenes are also unnecessarily mean with no charisma to any of the bad dudes. Compared to Hank and Marv in Home Alone who are not only funny and likeable but also menacingly enough to be a threat. In GPK Dodger just comes across as being abused by 20 year olds which is just plain weird. Gorgeous B-movie actress Katie Barberi plays older love interest Tangerine. It's sort of difficult to like the character, money obsessed and as much of a bully as the other gang. Phil Fondacaro who plays Greaser Greg is kind of fun clearly modelled on the Fonz and possibly Andrew Dice Clay.

I don't think the film is unsuitable for children, but the bullying scenes are downright mean spirited. With something like Karate Kid or Monster Squad or Diary of a Wimpy Kid it works as there is more heart to it. Who knows with a better script, some hilarious jokes and some better plotting we could have had something special. What we ended up with was a strange curio that obtained cult status by accident. Real disappointment is just how much better Gremlins, Ghostbusters and Legend are at doing something which is cute but scary while maintaining a broad appeal.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Independent review :read:

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Good Stuff!
The first album from Dublin 5 piece "Melts" has a wall of guitars/keyboards/echo vocals/rhythm, think Joy Division/early New Order with a hint of Echo & The Bunnymen, although comparison is unfair as the have thier own sound.
The second album "Field Theory" due 12.04.24 is available for pre-order here.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Cinema:
Dark Star (1974)
Rated 7/10 by Magic Marmalade
You don't have to be stoned to enjoy this pocket-change budgeted movie... but it helps! :)

3 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Cinema:
Happiness
Rated 6/10 by Magic Marmalade
Grim, Bleak, overly absurd at times, and largely bland, in comparison to others who have done this kind of movie better.

It's a comically surreal look at the mundane lives of apparently ordinary people, or perhaps a mundane look at the comically surreal mundanity of their lives... Coming form the same sort of place as Magnolia, or American Beauty, in showing lots of broken people, who are outwardly normal or fine, occasionally giving a Woody Allen movie vibe, and is therefore a very "actorly" piece, which probably got actors of the time excited about the script in how daring, shocking, and meaty it was, but it does go too far over the line with one specific element, or character thread of the ensemble story, that of a family man / predatory Paedophile, which is frankly stomach churning, as well as profoundly uncomfortable to watch -

- I frequently grimaced, and even looked away from the screen, even though it's not graphic, just nauseating in it's study of this character, and there's no on screen come-uppance for him, or resolution, which leaves a bad feeling for this movie -

The occasional interesting parts of the story, those following other characters, which even make you chuckle on occasion, are completely overwhelmed by this thread, as you are constantly dreading that part coming back on the screen and having to find out what happens next.

If you are in any way sensitive to this topic, avoid like the plague.

4 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Cinema:
Oppenheimer (2023)
Review by zabadak
Independent review :read:

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If the Beach Boys previous LP "Sunflower" has been described by some as Dennis Wilson's LP, this one should be called Carl's album. I thought this was the record where Carl really came into his own. But that's not all that's happening on this very fine record, one of their best of the 1970's.

3 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Are you shifting uncomfortably in your seats? Good, then I'll begin...

Wow, what a movie!

...Don't even know how to begin to review it properly at the moment, as there's so much in there, both explicit and implied, that I haven't fully gotten my head around yet, but to find yourself sympathising with, even empathising with, let alone rooting for a serial killer is quite a feat of film-making!

(Must emphasise though that it's not the serial killer, or his activities you root for, but the man, who is as much a victim, not least of himself, as anyone here)

I think this is probably the principal reason this seems to have drawn all the vitriol from the critics I've been hearing about, as, especially in this time when it was made (straight laced fifties - although released in 1960) this was asking questions of an audience we'd be uncomfortable with today! - perhaps the critics didn't like being made to recognise certain things about themselves, as much as anything.

>The old: Damn it to hell, and make it go away, that way, we can keep on pretending all is rosy in our respective gardens, and nothing will disturb this illusion.<

It's beautifully shot, in a kind of technicolour of the time, that looks like a contemporary rom-com, Hollywood might make (made me think of Breakfast at Tiffany's in this regard), but with a normal every day quality - but the visuals exceed even this.

There's lots in it as social commentary about voyeurism, of course, media, art, psychology, and movie-making in general, especially media and what it is to make a film, as well as us, as an audience.

All deftly, and sublimely handled, without whacking you over the head with obvious explanations, so asks you to think, to what extent you want or can, about what it is showing you.

(I think only Taratnino's Inglorious Basterds, recently, has been this profound about turning the camera, and the gaze of the audience on itself, and like that, this is doomed, to a great extent, to be severely misunderstood - seldom doth the subtle wit prevail, when all about you weep and wail!)

You can see the influence of this on everything from horror, to thriller for years after.

Needs a rewatch, and a further ponder or two every now and then, I think.

3 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Not into "martial arts" movies in general, but this popped into my head again after all these years the other week, and I remembered it being a little better than the standard fare, so ordered a cheapo second hand copy on Amaznonia...

...And in some ways, it still is, but it does have the odd issue on second viewing:

The story of a Cop from China coming to collaborate with the French police in a sting on a Chinese drug lord operating in Paris, only to discover the French head cop and his crew are bent, and looking to take over the operation themselves, leaving a trail of bodies in the process, and our cop: Mr Li, alone, hunted, and fending for himself in the city after they try to pin it all on him, is a great premise for a story, as is the conflict he feels between getting himself out of the situation, and the impulse to help an American woman (Bridget Fonda), trapped in servitude to Tchéky Karyo's menacing (occasionally cartoonish) villain head cop as a prostitute, recover her daughter from him, whom he is using as the leverage to keep Fonda in line.

It is, as it looks and feels, a Luc Besson scripted and produced movie, so has that edge to it, and there are some good fight sequences from peak Jet Li (Who's story idea this is), but without being wholly at the expense of drama, and the story.

The one gripe I really had, is that the look of this film, in how it was shot, is largely dark, dingy, and grimy, which doesn't really help you in seeing what is going on in these action / fight sequences, but a minor quibble.

Burt Kwouk also has a small, but significant role as the owner of a small noodle shop in Paris, who is Li's contact, and gives solid stoic performance.

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unremarkable milsf; there's a reliable market for ''the merkin army in space'' fiction.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Apex eighties melodrama.

Of all the John Hughes era "Brat pack" movies, this one has aged the worst I think, as these people are mostly obnoxious, and do not have the excuse of highschool naiveté as those in other movies of this time have.

(Still a key part of my growing up, so still a slight affection for it, but it is painful to watch in places).

2 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Cinema:
Midsommar
Rated 7/10 by Magic Marmalade
Not as good as I thought it was going to be, but better than I thought it was when I was watching it.

I think the reason I expected so much is because of the obvious comparisons it drew to the classic: The Wicker Man...

(Original - not the other nonsense with Nicolas Cage)

...And also, it our man Ari at the helm of an A24 film, which, after seeing the quite singular: Hereditary, made me expect great things.

...But that also turns out to to be the baggage this cannot quite live up to... This is slow, and a lot of the plot devices are contrived, so as to make the story move the way Ari wants it to, even though 99% of humanity, at multiple occasions in this story, would have acted to the contrary without thinking about it:

...Go to Swedish "commune" way out in the sticks?

Hell no!

...Upon arriving, seeing this lot prancing about in the field around buildings you are not allowed to go in:

Goodbye!

And everything therein and thereafter, at almost every point:

Not on your nelly chum!

It has a couple of disturbing concepts, and few (quite weak) gross horror effects, but I didn't really feel it was excessively graphic, in comparison to many other horror films - in fact, quite tame (I even laughed out loud at a particular scene involving a mallet - which was not the intended effect they wished to have on an audience!).

The group of friends traveling to this woodland based am-dram pantomime, in true horror style, are a bunch of boneheads: smart enough to go to university, but not smart enough to see where this is heading from the outset, apparently - so I didn't really care to what end any of them came.

And all the while, at the back of my head, watching this, was the overly large shadow of The Wicker Man, and the expectation created by Hereditary - it lived up to neither.

It is, only on reflection, the central, and to a great degree, subtextual story of Ms Pugh's grief, that is the story, and the only element of this story that really is it's own, but it sags under the weight of those comparisons.

So in the end...yeah, it's OK, even quite good, but not anything like the classic it promised to be, and I don't feel the need to see it again.

2 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Cinema:
Dead Man (1995)
Rated 8/10 by Magic Marmalade
Weird and brilliant.

I'd convinced myself that I had seen this... even heard of it before, but I think I was lying to myself.

...Anyway, now I have done both, and as anyone who has seen this, could not help but be taken aback by this dazzling monochrome hallucinatory journey onto some kind of western based mystical underworld...

(Not entirely black and white, as there are very light blues, which mess with your head when viewed next to the greys, and make the mind see pinks on occasion)

...And having looked a little online after, seeing Jarmusch himself describe it as a psychedelic western, I'm inclined to agree.

it's shot in this black white blue monochrome in an almost documentary looking style, and is loaded with short cameos and appearances from an incredible array of well known figures, from actors to Iggy Pop!

As Johnny Depp's character: William Blake journeys into a town called Machine to get a job that isn't there, then gets into trouble with the company's boss and flees, setting forth thereafter on this Odyssey into an almost "up-river" journey onto the heart of darkness or light affair, guided for extended sequences by a Native American shaman like character who goes by the name of: Nobody... All the while, pursued by gang of three ruthless, yet hapless bounty hunters / killers.

"Nobody" believes Depp's character is the reincarnation of the English poet and namesake: William Blake, and seeks to help him get to where his spirit truly belongs.

You'll not see nothing like this.

(Neil Young provides big solo grungy guitar soundtrack to this trip too :)

4 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
One of those bands that if you like one thing they do, you'll like everything they do...

...And I do like what it is they do, I do!

Wasn't sure what to expect when I found this, but one of those occasional nuggets you find, which is great throughout:

...Erm... New wave punk-ish semi goth type of high energy frenetic rock, which put in me in mind of Devo, The Clash on occasions, The Jam, and with occasional vocals reminiscent of Public Image Ltd. era John Lydon vocals when he hits the higher end of things. (Even the odd note of foreshadowing of Radiohead hues in the beats and use of instrumentation).

Lots of riffs with big crunchy guitars, undercut with squealy repetitive rhythm guitar stabs nice bass lines and solid thumpy drums- quite melodic in places too.

A side is only slightly more tending toward the "pop" end of this this spectrum. in terms of song duration and feel, and b side is a little more open, languid, and experimental sounding - one of the songs opens in such a way (a clearly sampled and looped vocal synth "chant thing") as to place it squarely dated in the eighties, so as you suddenly think it's going into Howard Jones type territory, before the crunchy guitar comes in and normal service is resumed, thankfully.

The recording is very good, with nice spacious and separated sound, albeit quite skinny and floppy piece of vinyl, and only a suggestion of the typical, signature "eighties echo" effect around the vocals, but not so much as to scare off the true new wavy punkoids among you :)

A nice find for this new year, and already thinking I'm not likely to find better this year.

2 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Probably the most perfectly realised Captain Beefheart LP, and the one that is the most accessible. Definitely the starting point that I recommend for anyone interested in discovering the great man.
The LP pretty much covers his wide range of styles incorporating elements of blues, rock, ballad, and of course his signature Beefheartian style. Every track is a winner and the LP includes the fabulous Big-Eyed Beans From Venus which is just about everyone's favourite song, and the difficult Golden Birdies which will help you decide if you really do want to venture onto Trout Mask Replica.

2 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Dark therapy.

(If I may borrow an apt title from an Echobelly song)

As this, quite cheap, TV looking production by one of the masters of the wholesome family horror movie: Joe Dante (Who I consider in this vein along with Tim Burton), sets out as a fairly standard new family of mum and two sons moving into new house with something not altogether natural in the basement... But towards the end becomes more of an exercise in therapy for those brought up in a home with an abusive parent.

,,,After all, where's "dad" in this family equation?...hmmmmmm...


As I said, the production looks more TV than cinema, like an episode of a creepy Twilight Zone type series, but that's not to say it doesn't look good by that standard... just lower budget.

However, everyone here klnows exactly how to get the most out of what they've got to work with, and the story is spot on, the script tight, light and lively, and the visuals are in the best tradition of Tim Burton style weirdness, appropriate for the subconscious dreamscape themes, brilliantly designed and executed, so as to have an almost archetypical power.

Without offering any further info for those who want to watch it, which I recommend, all I'll say is that one of the features of this experience is of a small toy jester / clown, which may be one of the most creepy things I've seen in recent years :), and an almost Ringu style little girl ghostie, so a couple of elements which are going to give younger viewers night horrors (perhaps a couple of adults too!).

But I thought this was a great little film, which I'd made a mental note of to see when it came out, but forgot about it until I found the DVD the other week, and it exceeded my expectations.

Great creepy fun!

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If you enjoyed the riddle that was Cronenberg's "Crash" you should get the same sort of enjoyment from Poor Things. Everything seems to be some kind of a metaphor, around the nature of love, control, and ageing. As in Crash there is a lot of "strong sex" throughout the story but non is pornographic, it is there to serve some intellectual purpose.
No spoilers, but the final dénouement is amusing enough, though probably not worth sitting through the previous two hours for.

2 people found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?
Nobody's finest hour.

Ouch...

...They don't come much more overly acted, hammy and lovey than this wildly melodramatic cringe-fest.

Not seen it since way back when, and had only a vague memory, or impression of it, and it has aged very badly indeed.

A good idea at heart, of a man inviting his old school type friends to his mansion over new years, having not seen them in ten years, and seeing how all their lives have changed - mostly for worse, each with their own brand of baggage...

...But the acting, script, and characters are all obnoxious in the extreme, as they portray a ludicrous series of scenes as this "drama" unfolds.

The excessive use of pop songs of the time is grating, especially through the first two thirds of the film, and the only saving graces are the (almost) good-ish final ten minutes, when everybody dials it down a little, and the peripheral character of Vera, the housemaid / cook, who is the only solid character, played with the only solid acting in this movie.

Otherwise, just awful.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?

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