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Reviews Written by
John Stedman ( (Greece)

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Duel [Import]
Duel [Import]
2 used & new from CDN$ 27.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing low-budget thriller with attitude, Nov. 3 1999
This review is from: Duel [Import] (VHS Tape)
When he was only 23 Steven Spielberg persuaded a studio to let him make "Duel", and the result is a classic. The director always claimed that this is nothing more than a simple thriller - 'man in car chased by maniacal truck', but most critics read far more into it than that. Weaver is superb as a first-world man coming to terms with his demons, the action sequences are a real part of the story and the dialogue is mercifully sparse. What is "Duel" really about? Form your own conclusions as you marvel at this little gem of a movie.

Love and War
Love and War
by James Hewitt
Edition: Hardcover
85 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Still cashing in on tragedy, Oct. 30 1999
This review is from: Love and War (Hardcover)
Even worse than Hewitt's first (ghosted) book, Love and War stands out as one of the most insensitive tomes yet to publicise the private life of Diana Spencer. The writing style is self-congratulatory and amateurish, the author's point of view is erratic and much of the content is crashingly boring. Hewitt may have been in the best position to write about Diana, but wastes his last chance here.

Nat'l Geo: Search for Battleship Bismarck [Import]
Nat'l Geo: Search for Battleship Bismarck [Import]

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but plodding mini-documentary, Oct. 30 1999
Robert Ballard finds another wreck, and makes a rather boring documentary about it. The subject matter is certainly interesting, but it is unfortunate that the tired format of intercut historical footage and 'will they find it' video is so predictable and unimaginatively done. Not very inspiring, and makes the mistake of assuming that the modern explorers are more interesting than the history. If Ballard finds more wrecks let's hope he finds a better director for the video.

Walkabout (Widescreen)
Walkabout (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jenny Agutter
Offered by torontomediadvd_com
Price: CDN$ 42.88
19 used & new from CDN$ 20.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Roeg makes a mainstream art movie, Oct. 23 1999
This review is from: Walkabout (Widescreen) (DVD)
Nicolas Roeg's career has been a rocky one, and recently his work seems to have been ignored. 'Walkabout' was probably his masterpiece, since the extraordinary outback locations fit his artistic approach to film making perfectly. This film does not have the gravity of 'Don't Look Now' but it still manages to linger in the mind and conveys layers of powerful messages through its young cast and simple storyline. See it on the biggest screen you can find.

500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend
500 Ways to Beat the Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend
by Jennifer Lerch
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.79
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Informative but overbearing advice and dated methodology, Oct. 23 1999
Jennifer Lerch obviously knows her job, but unfortunately she appears to have some difficulty in writing about it. To a non-american reader this book is overbearing in its 'can do' attitude and is weighed down with overstatement and brashness. Much of the advice will be obvious to any budding screenwriter with an intelligent outlook, although there are certainly some interesting and thought-provoking points hidden away. The main criticism is obvious - that this book is firmly established in the 'status quo' school of writing for the screen, and many recent successful films have moved away from this concept, even ditching the three-act structure in many cases. The fact remains that a good story will always beat a mediocre one, and to suggest that presentation technique is all-important is rather misleading. Potential readers should perhaps first consider what their favourite films have been of the past few seasons, and then muse on whether they fit the formulas suggested in this book. For the more forward looking screenwriter this will probably be an inhibiting read and could well cramp their style. Studios are looking for killer new ideas, not formulaic throwbacks, and unknown inexperienced writers will not achieve much if they think otherwise.

by Peter Cook
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 51.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and captivating projects, Oct. 20 1999
This review is from: Morphosis (Hardcover)
Morposis are one of the most interesting of the recent clutch of US architects. This book and its sequel are well crafted and capture the feel of the practice well. The accompanying text is excellent, and the reproduced drawings are fascinating. Definitely one for the bookshelf

Aliens (Special Edition)
Aliens (Special Edition)
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 50.78
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Cameron and Weaver at their very, very best, Oct. 16 1999
This review is from: Aliens (Special Edition) (DVD)
Tremendous sequel that has it all: entirely believable characters, gripping action, multiple levels of meaning and solid story. Cameron leaves no room for doubt that he is simply the premier action director of our age. The blending of humour and tragedy is perfect, and the squad of Colonial Marines are the best depiction of a military unit yet seen on screen. This film was made before digital effects got a stranglehold on Hollywood, and the models of the Sulaco, the Dropship and the APC are beautifully integrated into the sounstage and location setups. The cinematography, production design and wardrobe all help this film to achieve its deserved cult status. Certainly the best of its kind ever made

Ronin (Widescreen/Full Screen) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
Ronin (Widescreen/Full Screen) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 8.94
60 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Dynamite and damp squib, Oct. 11 1999
John Frankenheimer is at his strongest when combining human endeavour with automated weight, as "The Train" and "Grand Prix" showed. In Ronin he tries more of the same, but with patchy results. Nothing wrong with the casting, or the fundamentals of the plot. A collection of strong actors strike sparks off each other as they establish interrelationships prior to a big heist. Shades of "Reservior Dogs" perhaps, but here although the director adheres strictly to a real chronology we soon become aware that we are as much in the dark as the protagonists, and that treachery and double-dealing can only be just around the corner. DeNiro seems to be reprising his role in "Heat" and Reno is as reliable as ever as the film gets into gear. The first set piece, a bungled exchange of cash for a cache of arms on the rain-slicked banks of the Seine, sets the tempo and begins to expose the strengths and weaknesses of the characters. We are then quickly brought to the main heist itself, a protracted and violent sequence which includes bravura car stunts done without digital effects, front or back projection and with very little undercranking. Cinema at its gripping, visceral best. But as the plot begins to twist and develop, Ronin seems to lose its edge and quality. Some questionable performances from Jonathan Pryce and others, very uneven pacing and a rash of storyline quirks combine to stall the movie just when one expected more. Perhaps as a traditional three-act structure this would not have happened, but such devices are no longer fashionable. Here, the director has mismanaged foreshadowing, undermined believability and failed to develop the character arcs sufficiently. A second car chase is superficially spectacular but overlong and cliched, borrowing heavily from "To Live and Die in LA". Worse is the lamentable climax at an ice rink, of all places, and a lame coda for DeNiro and Reno that really lets down the ending. The DVD contains an alternative ending which is slightly better. Fans of the genre and the director will admire Ronin, and it is a good film. What a pity it did not aspire to be a great one.

Titanic S Lost Sister
Titanic S Lost Sister

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating glimpse into the depths, Sept. 22 1999
This review is from: Titanic S Lost Sister (VHS Tape)
Titanic had two, almost identical, sister ships. The Olympic sailed on into the mid 1930's and was scrapped, but the Britannic was sunk in the Aegean Sea during the first world war when she was acting as a hospital ship. Can Robert Ballard find the wreck, and solve the mysteries of how the ship met her doom and why she sank so quickly?
This video is fairly typical of its genre, covering as it does the history of the ship, the search and discovery and trying to draw conclusions. Overtaken by recent research, the findings are nonetheless interesting and the visuals are superb. A haunting story well told

Rough Guide Crete 4e
Rough Guide Crete 4e
by Rough Guide
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.44

4.0 out of 5 stars The best guide to Crete, but flawed, Sept. 10 1999
This review is from: Rough Guide Crete 4e (Paperback)
The largest Greek island is well described in this entertaining book, which is very thorough in its coverage of all the major and minor sites. An essential aid for any visitor, it is marred only by some out of date information which should have been checked before this latest edition was published

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