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Made In Dagenham
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Another brilliant British film this year. Surrounding the real-life events of the fight for equal pay in England, it is a determined and thought-provoking crowd pleaser.
The script is sharp, and a plethora of interesting characters propel what could have been something pretty bog-standard into something magnificent.
There are excellent turns from Sally Hawkins in the lead role, Bob Hoskins as seemingly the only male character to support her fight, an emotional turn from the ever luminous Rosamund Pike and surprisingly Jaime Winstone impresses, as does Angela Riseborough.
However, there is one who owns this show. Miranda Richardson stuns as the real-life politician Barbara Castle. It will be an outrage if such a talented performer, isn't rewarded with an Oscar in the Supporting Actress category next year for her brilliant performance.
Packed with wit, charm, but never losing sight of the serious issues at hand, Made In Dagenham is a glittering triumph. I defy anyone to not be smiling once its finished.
20 New from
I didn't know what to expect, and was completely blown away!
I'm not even an expert on Leigh's films, this being the first I've seen (bar Abigail's Party) but will now definitely check out his past films. I thought how this was split into the four seasons was very interesting.
It is a simple story about life, and how satisfied we are with it. The acting is brilliant, especially from Manville. I didn't expect her character to develop as much as it did, I didn't expect to like her, and feel sorry for her but I did. I think Manville conveyed SO much emotion especially when she wasn't speaking, but thinking, it is a CLASS performance which deserves to win Best Actress at next years Oscars.
Overall its a funny, touching but ultimately sad and poignant study of our lives and the importance of the people in it.
The Platinum Collection
Russell Watson - CD
21 New from
A simply splendid collection of songs here, I was blown away!
Russell for me has a wonderfully rich, and memorable voice amongst tenors. He's probably my favourite and this Greatest Hits definitely does him justice. I actually can't put my finger on a favourite.
So yes, I'd highly recommend this to anyone as a gift this Christmas or anytime, his chocolatey voice could charm any bird from any tree!
A Christmas Cornucopia
Annie Lennox - CD
28 New from
I don't know anyone who doesn't like either Annie Lennox and/or Eurythmics. I don't know anyone who differs in the opinion that Lennox is one of the finest female voices Britain has to offer. What better perfection for her to finally release a festive album?It is a wonderful collection of personal Christmas songs for Annie. Her voice is as beautiful as ever and you can feel the passion she brings.I really couldn't recommend a better gift this year, after all it captures the Christmas spirit so well and will warm even the coldest hearts.It is truly a cornucopia of delights, and sets the bar for festive albums this year very high, I've waited a while since the brilliant Songs of Mass Destruction for new material and this is well worth it, the best Christmas album since Tori Amos' Midwinter Graces.
The Milk Of Sorrow (2 Discs)
15 New from
Saw this at a special screening at my local and loved it. I'm a fan of foreign cinema and this was a feast for the senses and emotions.Following the story of Fausta, the viewer is treated to a wonderful array of culture rich vignettes amongst stunning and colourful cinematography. Suffering from 'The Milk of Sorrow' an 'illness' passed down in Peruvian tradition by the transfer of her mother's breast milk rich with her fear and suffering at the hands of men during guerilla warfare.She is thought to be a coward but isn't, as she struggles alone, seeimingly afraid of most around her, as she endeavours to get her mother buried honourably.The acting is tremendous from Magaly Solier, the music is a delight and overall a very bittersweet delight which should not be missed by and film fan.
17 New from
I really didn't know what to expect with this which is probably a good thing!Anyone who is interested in history should enjoy this film. It gives an interesting scope of an evolving society obsessed with religion and knowledge. This was a time where your beliefs could mean life or death, and for Hypatia it is a story of survival and courage, where her faith lying in astronomy, mathematics and scientific fact as opposed to practicing a religious faith results in her downfall.I found it quite difficult to watch at times but very interesting, thought provoking and enjoyable for most. It is mostly solid in terms of script and pace and the cinematography is wonderful.Weisz is an excellent actress and gives a subtle, beautifully nuanced performance (which I found very moving especially when she nurses her father) and she carries the film well in a lead role, she doesn't make the mistake of going over the top thankfully.Oscar Isaac and Max Minghella give similar, strong performances.A moving and thought provoking effort from a marvellous director, which I feel was somewhat underrated and under-exposed. See it for Weisz's performance alone, you won't regret it!
The Last Station
16 New from
Something different here, it is a heart warming story of love, passion and pride with powerful performances especially from Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, James McAvoy and Kerry Condon. I went to see it at the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed it, it's not all about doom and gloom either, there are plenty of funny moments with great comic timing.I'd highly recommend this solid film about one of literatures most prolific members twilight years, and could recommend alone for the gripping arguments between the Tolstoy couple. Stunning acting on offer here for those interested in this art.
Katie Melua - CD
22 New from
After the slightly disappointing Pictures, this album is a treat for Melua fans and newcomers. It reminded me of Piece by Piece (her best) but a bit darker.I've had it on about 5 times in a row now it seems to fly by despite being under 50 minutes in length. It flows like a rich, chocolatey dream with poignant lyrics and beats throughout.My favourites are the hauntingly beautiful 'I'd Love to Kill You', 'The Flood', 'Red Balloons', 'No Fear Of Heights', 'Plague of Love', 'God On Drums, Devil on Bass' and the beautiful conclusion 'The House'.Her voice is still wonderful and you can tell it's her but you can also sense growth in a number of the tracks. She seems to be finally evolving as an artist.I would highly recommend this album, it is great quality as one would expect produced by William Orbit who also did the epic 'Ray of Light' with Madonna.My best 5.99 spent in months.
The Lovely Bones
13 New from
I agree fully with the reviewer below. It is a remarkable book and the film had the potential to be magnificent...but unfortunately it isn't near the mark.
There is too much focus on special effects (eg. Jackson showing off) and Susie's heaven which are not the important parts of the novel. There are major themes, scenes and plot lines missed out completely which was a total disappointment (eg. Susie's mother's affair) which is a huge shame. As a result of missing alot out and focusing on special effects as opposed to character development and narrative there seems less to chew on.
What makes this film most disappointing however is the perfect cast is underused. Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz is woefully underrused. I was looking forward to her portrayal, but she isn't given enough screen time. If this adaptation was faithful she would have been brilliant. Wahlberg is impressive, but given too much screen time. Tucci is brilliant and deserved an Academy Award nomination for this role. Sarandon is excellent comic relief and one of the better characters, at least Jackson got her right mostly. Ronan is the best however, effortlessly portraying Susie (it is a disgrace that she wasn't nominated for Best Actress this year), she has been nominated in Atonement for a supporting role, and truly deserved to be nominated again for this if Tucci did. Nevertheless she is very talented and could have an exciting future.
Don't get me all wrong though, I LOVED parts of this film. There is a scene where Susie ends up in her killer's bathroom (which wasn't in the book) which is rather stunning. The acting from Ronan, and special effects here are superb.
The score is awesome too, it is a hauntingly beautiful repetoire which helps the emotional scenes bear weight. I remember especially the scene where Susie's parents are told to fear the worst, it was very dramatic.
So, overall there is excellent acting, and some excellent parts but overall it is a painful disappointment. If Jackson had spent more time focusing on the beauty of the novel, than the beauty of his CGI this film could have been one of the best of the year. Definitely watch it though, I will certainly be getting it as there were some scenes I loved and Ronan is definitely worth watching. Why she was snubbed by the Academy for this I will never know.
The Desert Field Recordings Volume 3 Zola And The Tulip Tree
Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers - CD
2 New from
I feel so blessed and lucky to have received this album by accident as I would never have heard of them...what a gem in my musical adventures!
I ordered Finlay Brown's album from a Playtrade seller and they for some reason or other put this in the package too, and I probably enjoyed this more! Coming under the genre of Americana, the music instantly appealed to me, from my interest in country music but this is more like a mix of blues, folk and country.The multi-talented members Mark Olson, Victoria Williams and Mike Russel sing and play instruments effortlessly, with the latter two acting as characters throughout, Williams vocal is harrowing and hauntingly beautiful, it compliments Olson's sweet narrative perfectly. Both have excellent voices and tone, and Russel compliments throughout on mandolin, violin and bass, along with Olson's exquisite guitar accompaniment.My favourites are the beautiful and harrowing 'Lorna Doone's Garden', 'Skip to My Lou', 'Every Stick of Furniture', the spectacular instrumental 'Onion River Camp' and the excquisitely forlorn and poignant 'Custom Detroit Railroad', where the powers of the main band members come together like lightning in a bottle.Totally sweet, emotional and poignant storytelling, a truly special band and I feel so lucky to have received it by a stroke of luck. I was shocked to see it was recorded in 1999, this is one of my favourite albums and I can't wait to check out their other work, highly recommended brilliance!