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Reviews Written by
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England)

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The Homesman (Le Chariot des damnées) (Bilingual)
The Homesman (Le Chariot des damnées) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Tommy Lee Jones
Price: CDN$ 14.99
9 used & new from CDN$ 13.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and Moving Western, April 19 2015
Directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones this is a western in the tradition of ‘True Grit’ and those that deal with the lees than glamorous side of ‘the wild west’. Hilary Swank plays a single farmer, Mary Bee Cuddy who agrees to take three women to a safe refuge after they have lost their sanity through personal grief.

Then a chance encounter means she crosses the path of George Briggs (Jones) and she enlists his help for the arduous journey to which he agrees in exchange for payment. What follows is basically their trail through the winter wilderness.

Now after writing the above I realised that it hardly sounds like a ‘must see’ film. However, it is beautifully filmed, the acting is superb and the inter play with all of the characters is so well done that this is a film you will be hooked on almost from the start. It is a ‘warts n’ all’ type affair too with real people suffering real dilemmas and the day to day struggle for basic needs. I am a sucker for westerns and really appreciate the recent resurgence in the theme, this is one that fully augments the genre and I find easy to recommend.

DVD ~ Not Available
Price: CDN$ 19.85

4.0 out of 5 stars True Life Supremacist Story, April 18 2015
This review is from: Supremacy (DVD)
Based on actual events (so a bit of licence has deffo been taken) this is about Garrett Tully (Joe Anderson) who has just done a fifteen year stretch for armed robbery. He is the sort of guy who has a modicum of intelligence all designed to back up his racist philosophy and more tattoos than a Colombian drugs cartel. He is also one of the White Supremacists and the brotherhood or what ever they want to call themselves, arrange for some cheap trailer park trash to pick him up on his release. This is Doreen played very convincingly by Dawn Olivieri (‘American Hustle’).

Then things go South very quickly when Tully guns down a cop. They then high tail it to a local house where an extended African American family live and they take them hostage.

Danny Glover plays the man of the hostage house here and he does so with a gravitas and vulnerability that actually raises this film up a level or two. It is an indie effort but does not suffer from that. Some of the police procedures are a bit questionable, but as ever are done for dramatic effect rather than accuracy. It has an air of menace and panic and for all its minor flaws remains a strong film with some very credit worthy performances and the direction is to be commended too. Not action packed either; much more psychological so if that is your thing then this will be one you may want to watch.

Land of Storms [Import]
Land of Storms [Import]
Price: CDN$ 31.86
16 used & new from CDN$ 18.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Original and Surprising Hungarian film of gay love., April 18 2015
This review is from: Land of Storms [Import] (DVD)
Two boys are talented football players in Germany Szabolcs is from Hungary and his best friend Bernard is German. Then after a particularly unfruitful game, Szabolc decides to return to Hungary and live in the broke down farm that he inherited from his grandfather.

Whilst he had rejected his homosexual urges in Germany – once he gets home he meets Áron and for him it is a game changer. The thing is it is also a game changer for the whole community. To say any more may be veering in to plot spoiler territory. Needless to say there are depictions of homophobia here. Some may say that we have seen it all before, but films like this need to be made to address the still pervading attitudes in many countries and communities towards LGBT people.

Filmed in Hungarian, German and a tad of English with good sub titles. This is done using an original story line, a group of talented actors and a lot of warmth. The decisions that some of the characters make may be questionable, but I am pretty safe in saying that we all have made mistakes in our lives. I found this to be engrossing, sensual – in parts – and ultimately moving; this is for lovers of gay cinema in all its parts.

Bracoo Thermal Therapy Belt(with 6 Inch Ice Hot Bag) - For Joint and Muscle
Bracoo Thermal Therapy Belt(with 6 Inch Ice Hot Bag) - For Joint and Muscle
Offered by Comfytopia Inc
Price: CDN$ 17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice non intrusive muscle and joint relief., April 14 2015
If you work out or just lead a hectic life then at some point you are going to strain yourself. I do a lot of gadding about and also am a regular gym user and swimmer. I occasionally get a twinge in my knees, elbows and some muscles. So when I was offered the chance to try and test this new product and jumped at the chance. Please note it was a free product.

It is basically a reservoir which you fill with hot or cold water and then attach to the place where the pain is afflicting you using the belt which has a Velcro sticking point. You can wear it for as long as you like and it does actually work. I have had a knee twinge – post gym for three days. I applied a hot compress of this for two hours and most of the ache has dissipated. It is also light weight and compact so easy to carry around in case you get caught short whilst out and about. And as all you need is access to a tap it should not be too difficult to be able to use under most conditions.

It is made of 15% nylon and 85% neoprene and is actually quite comfortable when wearing. Because of the reservoir part though it is not the sort of thing to be worn under trouser legs or sleeves so not a product for all occasions. But it is non intrusive, relatively straight forward to apply and it works – so all in all a product I would recommend.

The Other [Import]
The Other [Import]
DVD ~ Uta Hagen
Price: CDN$ 18.41
25 used & new from CDN$ 8.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow what an under acclaimed little chiller., April 11 2015
This review is from: The Other [Import] (DVD)
Made back in 1972 this remastering by Eureka films does total justice to this film that never got the accolades it fully deserved. Set in the Connecticut summer of 1935 we meet twins Niles and Holland Perry. They live in an extended family but their mother seems to be dealing with some sort of mental breakdown. Their paternal grandmother has taught them a ‘game’ that she brought from her native Russia which seems to involve outer body experiences.

Then a series of things start to happen around the farmstead and as the evidence starts to unfold it becomes clear to Niles that his twin is responsible - even though he really knows that Holland does not mean to be bad. What unfolds is a chilling game of life and death.

This is one of those films that will get the hair on the back of your neck to rise – for all the right reasons. Played absolutely straight by a stellar cast this is just quietly horrific; but it is all done in good taste. It has aged really well and has extremely high production values with a story that will hold you right until the end. It is also so well done that you would have no problems watching it again – which is quite rare in such a genre of film making. If you have never come across this one before then you have a treat waiting for you – absolutely recommended.

Only Lovers Left Alive (Sous-titres français)
Only Lovers Left Alive (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Tom Hiddleston
Price: CDN$ 26.98
24 used & new from CDN$ 19.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Vampires have feelings too, April 11 2015
Jim Jarmusch is hardly prolific, when it comes tom output, and when he makes a film it is always going to be interesting. Here he delves into the lives (or deaths) of three vampires – though the use of that word is strangely absent in this film. Tilda Swinton plays Eve – she lives in the laid back idyll of Tangier. She is a modern vamp and she relies on Christopher Marlowe (yes The Marlowe) –John Hurt - to get her ‘the good stuff’ from an apothecary.

Meanwhile her husband Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is living the life of a rock and roll recluse in the decaying wasteland of Detroit. He has a gofor to do his bidding but also has his ‘supplier’ while he makes music on ancient guitars. Now Eve decides to visit and their reunion is given a rude awakening when her estranged sister turns up.

Now the plot is pretty simple in that you could have told the whole lot in a short film and this lasts just under two hours. However, as with all great journeys it is the actual travelling that will often be the best part – with the destination often a foregone conclusion. This is ‘lyrical’ and I read one review that said it moved at a ‘glacial pace’. Well to some it will seem like that but the performances from all concerned have to be relished to be appreciated. This will not be to everyone’s taste but it certainly managed to keep me pleasantly occupied for the duration – but not too pleasant – which I think is the whole point.

If You Don't I Will (Version française) [Import]
If You Don't I Will (Version française) [Import]
Price: CDN$ 31.15
21 used & new from CDN$ 17.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Absurdist, surreal – one that requires patience., April 8 2015
Mathieu Almaric plays Pierre who is in a stale relationship with Emmanuelle Devos (Pomme) – they have what ‘Tindersticks’ called ‘a lazy love’. They try to inject some life back into the relic of the relationship by sharing experiences and relying on the confirmation of friends.

They also do rather a lot of hiking in the woods – communing with nature and having picnics – with wine. Now not a lot happens here but that is the point. It is the meaninglessness of a failing relationship that is being exposed and being seen for how pathetic it really is. The interactions are always filed with spikiness – the sort where all are either preludes or post mortems to a row. The humour is the sort that is an acquired taste. That is you have to have a wry Gallic smirk at the ridiculousness of it all.

All the acting is fine and there are some exquisite moments here, but it is ‘lyrically paced’ and an understanding of France and the French will not be a handicap here. One for Francophiles and those who like a bit of surreality served up with the decree nisi.

Attica! by Wussy [Music CD]
Attica! by Wussy [Music CD]
Offered by JnP Store Canada
Price: CDN$ 41.16

4.0 out of 5 stars Indie Rock with a heart, April 6 2015
Wussy have made four previous studio albums and seem to be hiding their light under a rather large bushel. Hailing from Cincinati they are fronted by founder Chuck Cleaver ex of ‘The Ass Ponys’ and Lisa Walker – they bring a wealth of musical experience and influences to this their latest offering. Opening with the melodic ‘Teenage Wasteland’ that has a piano refrain that makes it instantly lovable.

The next two tracks are distinctly punk influenced and I was taken back a few decades when I heard them – bit of ‘Buzzcocks’ going on and a nod at grunge. Then it’s back to the melodious stuff with ‘North Sea Girls’ and Lisa takes on the vocal. Cleaver slows things down with a fairly stripped back ‘Acetylene’ and there are some wonderful harmonies going on here. ‘Lightning’ has both feet in the school of rock and a full on sound where the band make the best use of Joe Klug on drums and proper use of cymbals too.

I don’t think there is a duff track here but there are some absolute stand out stunners and if you want a rabble rouser to sing along too then ‘Gene I dream’ is just stompingly good. The vocal is clear and has the sort of resonance that is oft lacking these days and the drum patterns give this a wall of sound with great jangly guitar and a driving rhythm that grabs you and takes you for the ride. This is just a great album and received a lot of praise in the US but sadly has been ignored in the UK; I hope that is a situation that is about to end.

The Butcher
The Butcher
DVD ~ Eric Roberts
Offered by Vecosell
Price: CDN$ 15.86
2 used & new from CDN$ 15.86

4.0 out of 5 stars Old style shoot em up, April 6 2015
This review is from: The Butcher (DVD)
Eric Roberts plays Merle Hench; he is a guy who used to be a boxer and has spent the last twenty years being an enforcer for a San Fernando mob outfit headed by Murdock. He has a bit of a gambling problem and is running out of usefulness to his erstwhile employer.

Then the new guy on Murdock’s team sets him up and all bets are quite literally off. With nothing to lose he goes for broke and decides to take on all comers and get the heck out of it – with as much loot as he can carry and a girl - if possible.

Now this is a film that is about as subtle as a brick – the plot is so old it too is due for retirement, and some of the dialogue is cringe worthy. But where this scores really well is in the action. It is one hell of a shoot ‘em up and they really do go for broke on the hardware. Without the action this would be a bit of a fail, but with it we get a film that keeps you for the most part wanting to tag along for the ride. If you want subtle, plot and character development then look elsewhere if you want a good old fashioned guns going mental action flick then sit back and enjoy.

Space Station 76 (Bilingual)
Space Station 76 (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Katherine McGregor
Price: CDN$ 13.85
2 used & new from CDN$ 13.85

2.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea that fails in every aspect as a movie, April 5 2015
This review is from: Space Station 76 (Bilingual) (DVD)
Liv Tyler plays a new First Mate arriving on some space station to aid the closeted, alcoholic Captain (Patrick Wilson). The idea is that this is made in the 1970's but set in the future and so we have sexism, smoking, flares, groovy music and as many clichés as they can cram in. The sets too are reminiscent of the brilliant `Space 1999' - no other comparisons apply - sadly.

Once on board it becomes clear that everyone has `issues' and at first what seems like quirkiness - especially from `Misty' soon becomes one long monologue of irritating self interest guff. The joke, if you can call it that, wears thin pretty quick. I can not remember even smiling at any of this. The acting is so stylised as to not work either. Everyone ranges from unlikable to uninteresting. The film is supposed to be about the similarity between asteroids and humans (I think) and we see an asteroid belt starting to break up at the beginning with the inevitable sign post that the space station will get hit etc. This being a metaphor for human relationships or something that I lost interest in trying to work out.

I keep trying to find something good to say about this chunderthon and the only one I can think of is that it does actually end - eventually. You will want an asteroid explosion by about half way through, but don't hold your breath. There is no plot worth talking about, no humour and objectively speaking no ruddy point to this total waste of everyone's time - theirs for being in it and yours for watching it. We all know that in space no-one can hear you scream but we can see when there is an arse of a film made there- avoid.

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