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All reviews - Movies (46) - TV Shows (1) - Books (2) - Music (2)

David Copperfield review

Posted : 3 years, 10 months ago on 3 September 2014 07:13 (A review of David Copperfield)

Just pipped by Lean's Great Expectations as best screen Dickens adaptation, this is a thoroughly involving film with some memorable character turns by the likes of irrepressible W C Fields as Micawber, Edna May Oliver as redoubtable aunt Betsey, Basil Rathbone as young David's dastardly oppressor Murdstone, and a suitably slithery Roland Young as "be 'umble" Uriah Heep

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Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 23 August 2014 12:07 (A review of Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo)

This wonderful book contains 118 (not 100) very large and simply magnificent full-page colour reproductions of Hiroshige's series of woodblock prints which depict the waterways, bridges, blossoms, buildings, people, seasons, gardens, temples, ceremonies (and more) in mid-19th century Tokyo. The accompanying text, neatly arranged on each facing page, is informative, accessible, well-written and enhances appreciation of the subject.

I've spent countless rapt and contented hours contemplating the extraordinary variety of vivid, atmospheric, delicate, witty, bold, striking, lyrical, serene, original and lovely compositions- each carried out with remarkable technique and beautifully evoking a world now largely lost to concrete.

The book should appeal greatly to anyone with a sensitive soul, an interest in art (the prints were a major influence on Van Gogh), or admiration for Japanese traditions. If you have someone special in mind for a gift (i treated myself!), but the price seems prohibitive, fear not. Much more than simply money well spent, it's an absolute treasure.

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Art of Amalia review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 23 August 2014 12:02 (A review of Art of Amalia)

This collection, spanning 1952-1970, has the best of the legendary Amalia Rodrigues and her Portuguese fado songs of love, longing, sadness and the sea.

Amalia's voice is incredibly expressive; rich, pure, tender, mysterious and aching with feeling. The songs have such romantic depth and melancholic beauty they'll caress you like silk, bathe you like moonlight and pierce you like lightning.

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Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 23 August 2014 11:34 (A review of Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS)

I'm an Elton fan but wasn't sure whether to buy his first book. It's not an autobiography, but a book about AIDS; its impact on Elton (and friends tragically lost), the work that his foundation and others have done to combat the disease- in the face of obstacles- and what needs to be done to erase it.

Elton describes movingly how his life was turned round from a low point of drugs, alcohol and bulimia by Ryan White, a boy with AIDS he befriended who was atrociously treated in his home town in the USA. It was only with Ryan's death that Elton cleaned up his life and made a belated but significant effort to combat AIDS, setting up the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Elton is proud of its work and the many international projects it has funded, but goes beyond self-congratulation to address issues of stigma as well as social, governmental, institutional and corporate responses. He praises various heroes in the struggle as well as criticising some (in politics, religion and business) whose bigoted, ignorant or greedy attitudes have exacerbated the problem.

Since for Elton "AIDS might as well stand for "Appalling Indifference to the Disenfranchised in Society"" the cure for the problem involves a wholesale shift from stigmatising various marginalised groups to compassion and love for fellow human beings- a cure that is certainly achievable with genuine will.

I'm very glad i've read the book. It's not the work of a self-serving celebrity dabbler, but of someone who is highly informed, involved and committed to the cause. Elton is to be commended for being so articulate, persuasive and finally inspirational on a subject dear to his heart.

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Worrisome Heart review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 22 August 2014 05:31 (A review of Worrisome Heart)

What a peach of an album! Smooth sultry bluesy jazz with a delicate beautiful soul. Even as you unwind of an evening, pay close attention and you may find yourself purring in a place of deep contentment.

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Ballet Adagio review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 21 August 2014 05:56 (A review of Ballet Adagio)

A rapturous, graceful and tender short Canadian ballet film, in slow-motion, to Albinoni's beautiful Adagio

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Imburnal review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 20 August 2014 05:42 (A review of Imburnal)

Imburnal achieves the rare feat of being a lyrical, contemplative and audacious 21st century masterpiece.

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Le cochon review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 20 August 2014 05:41 (A review of Le cochon)

As many people are now cut off from the reality of where meat comes from, this film may have value if it deters some from eating meat. But it's been described by critics i've read as generous, graceful and beautiful in its depiction of the pig being slaughtered and then butchered. It's admired for being appreciative of the honest work done by the group of farmer-slaughterers. Hard cold critics, the pig the beauty.

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School for Scoundrels review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 20 August 2014 05:39 (A review of School for Scoundrels)

An enjoyable old-fashioned comedy. A very upper class English lesson in how to shake off being a loser and instead win at tennis, get the smart car, the fine lady and become a smooth cad and bounder. As a teen I used the dirty rotten gamesmanship model at tennis to beat a much better player, with the help of two Chinese friends as spectators. And i look back now with not an ounce of regret or shame.

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Wuthering Heights (2011) review

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 20 August 2014 05:38 (A review of Wuthering Heights (2011))

A far cry from the lush romanticism of Wyler's version, this gets down to the bare bones of nature and of harsh lives filled with racism, brutality and pain. It loses its way a little towards the end- flashbacks are unnecessary- but it's a worthwhile distinctive take on the classic in which the treatment of mixed parentage Heathcliffe holds a powerful message for today's society.

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