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S J Buck (Kent, UK)

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Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol [DVD]
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £3.70

4.0 out of 5 stars The only MI film to see, 27 Aug. 2012
This surprised me a lot. I wasn't that keen on the first Mission Impossible movie, only watched the 2nd for the motorbikes, and absolutely loathed the 3rd one (it doesn't deserve the title movie). Here though we get something that, I think, maybe unintentionally captures what was so good about the TV show.

The plot has been done before, nuclear missiles/launch codes are about to be launched/go missing via a dodgy meglomaniac. However its all done with such verve and style that I couldn't not like it. Crucially for me, some of this verve and style is a litle tongue in cheek and there are some very funny moments.

The sequence in the Burj Khalifa tower is probably the movie's high point (ha ha), and where it feels most like the TV series. Rooms and floors are swapped around and the IMF team pull off a classic sting (well maybe - no spoiler here).

The cast are all good, with Simon Pegg adding that element of humour that the previous films needed. And its the team element of the film, rather than it purely being a vehicle for Tom Cruise that allow you to care a little (and a only a little) about the characters.

Sure its still a piece of fluff, based on very flimsy/old story, which is held together by some amazing special effects. But full credit to the director Brad Bird and to Tom Cruise for realising that if you're going to make a big budget popcorn movie, it still needs to have more than just special effects to be a decent movie.

Magic Moments - The Definitive Burt Bacharach Collection
Magic Moments - The Definitive Burt Bacharach Collection

5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime songwriting, 17 Aug. 2012
On 3 CDs, with 75 tracks this is the best Burt Bacharach compilation available by far. Just how many great songs did Burt Bacharach write? Well the answer is far more than you will probably realise. As I listened to the first disc (28 tracks), there were so many that are now already acknowledged as classics. And as I expected a few that I didn't even know were Bacharach songs; such as "Wives and Lovers", which on this set is covered by Jack Jones, but was recorded by Sinatra, which is the ultimate accolade for any songwriter. Its also worth mentioning that across the set there are 7 of Dionne Warwick's great recordings. You should really get these as a collection in their own right!

Elvis Costello provides some interesting sleeve notes, and perhaps most tellingly says that Bacharach's music should not be considered easy listening. This is so true, even though now some of the recordings would seem to fit in that category. As an arranger, melody and harmony writer Bacharach has few peers and this collection provides ample evidence of his great talent.

Bunkai-Jutsu: The Practical Application of Karate Kata
Bunkai-Jutsu: The Practical Application of Karate Kata
by Iain Abernethy
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Real Karate - not sport, 17 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Iain Abernethy's bunkai jutsu is an excellent book that explains how Karate kata can be applied in real life combat situations. What the teaches you is the principles you need in know in order to make them work for you. There are a number of examples given using the Heian/Pinan and Naihanchi kata which demonstrate this via the text and the use of photographs.

Each chapter in the book is devoted to a kata related topic, such as Atemi or Tegumi. The text is well written and explains everything in a straight forward style, although in my opinion the book is really not for beginners, I think you need a few years experience before you approach a book like this.

Finally, in case there is any confusion amongst potential purchasers of this book, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the performance of kata for competitions. That should be obvious from the title! But we all make mistakes.

Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Digital Camera - (14MP, 18x Optical Zoom) 3-inch LCD
Fujifilm FinePix S2950 Digital Camera - (14MP, 18x Optical Zoom) 3-inch LCD

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars in due course...., 24 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well I've had mine for a few months now, and its worth was shown in a recent holiday I had in the Rocky Mountains.

The good:
1. The panoramic facility produced some amazing pictures. Very clever use of technology.

2. The picture quality/resolution is fine.

3. The ability to change between 4:3, 16:9 image sizes is very useful.

4. Battery life seems very good. I was in the USA for a week and took 300 photos over that week. The batteries were not recharged or replaced in that week.

The Bad:

Not much really. About 1 in 30 of the pictures I took were out of focus. But I think this is down to me not really knowing how to use the camera properly.

Also there are lots of facilities that I haven't tried yet.

Highly recomended.

Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
by Christopher McDougall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Running, evolution and no nike, 14 July 2012
I read this from cover to cover in a very short space of time. Its a fascinating story about a tribe of little known people who are brilliant runners. This in itself and the lead-up to the big race at the end of the book make a great true story. With a larger than life cast of real characters, its very easy to read and extremely well written.

However the jewels in the crown of this fabulous book are its insights into the way running may have been critical in the history of human evolution and the great running shoe rip-off. These insights take the book to a different level. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Paranormal Activity [DVD]
Paranormal Activity [DVD]
Dvd ~ Katie Featherston
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Paranormally average, 10 July 2012
This review is from: Paranormal Activity [DVD] (DVD)
Saw this tonight and as soon as it started I was irritated by it. The continuous use of the held held camera being very annoying. Sure you want to capture whatever it is thats haunting you on film, but walking round the house using the camera light rather than turning on the lights really isn't logical if you're scared by something and its dark.

There were a few good moments in the bedroom scenes, particularly when she is just standing by the bed for an hour or more at a time. That was a little creepy. But apart from that I wasn't scared by the film and in fact missed one of the best moments as I fell asleep. I also found the dialog difficult to understand, especially the leading actress. Now I do have bad hearing, so thats down to me. But I think the sound is deliberately made to sound tinny like a camcorder.

Overall I think they were trying to recreate a Blair Witch Project type movie, and the ending sort of confirms that. But this isn't a touch on that earlier film. Not recommended - see it first before parting with money.

Authentic Dud
Authentic Dud

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Dud, 7 July 2012
This review is from: Authentic Dud (Audio CD)
This lovely album features Dudley Moore doing what he did best - playing the Piano. And as a pianist he was one of a rare breed that played both Classical Piano and Jazz Piano; and did both very well. Here hes playing with his long standing Jazz trio. The recordings date from around 1966 and the album presents a selection of Moore originals and standards.

The playing from all the musicians is always high class and generally swings like hell. My two favourite tracks are "Straight Life" and "Blues for Boots".

"Straight Life" is a tune by Johnny Mandel, played as a burning slow blues groove, with Dudley digging in deep to get into the cracks of the blues. You can hear Dudley shout a couple of times; I guess in ecstasy at the; dare I say funkiness of the whole thing.

"Blues for boots" is a Moore composition, so named because you can hear Dudley's foot tapping to the time and this is if anything even better than Straight Life. After a spiky statement of the brief theme the trio then switch into infectious swing. You can certainly hear a little bit of Oscar Petersons influence on this track, in some of the licks Dudley plays.

The rest of the album maintains a very high standard. This is a one of two albums released under the title Authentic Dud. Search them both out, as they capture a very gifted man, who is sadly no longer with us, doing what he loved doing the the most.

The Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall Concert
The Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall Concert
Price: £7.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He plays and sings, 3 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So what more could you ask for? I bought this as a present for somebody else but had to sneak a listen before passing it on. It reminds me of the After Midnight album. The quality of the recording isn't as good as that studio session, and there aren't any guest musicians except for one track, but Nat King Cole doesn't need guest musicians! The trio is superb and Nat's vocals are as sublime as ever. Has anybody ever sung with the clarity and diction that he did. I can't think of anyone. The fact that he was also a brilliant Jazz pianist, which is my main interest, is frequently forgotten these days. Well this album has ample proof of his talent. Highly recommended.

Stephen King - The Shining [DVD]
Stephen King - The Shining [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rebecca De Mornay
Offered by Revival Books Ltd
Price: £15.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Kings's The Shining, 30 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This double DVD set contains the 1997 version of the Shining that was shown as a mini series on TV. So in that sense its very similar to the TV produced version of Salems Lot (David Soul/James Mason). And crucially like that earlier adaptation this is also rather good. The script is written by King himself and filmed at least partially at The Stanley hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which was his original inspiration for the story. As its scripted by King it sticks pretty much exactly to the story in the Book. The first filmed version (which I like) directed by Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson deviated substantially from the original story, and King was never happy about that.

The cast are very good in this version. I initially had some doubts about the boy playing Danny, but as the film progressed his performance grew on me. Rebecca De Mornay perhaps steals the acting honours, but Steven Weber (who I've never seen before) does a great Job of portraying a man descending into madness, and manages to do it without copying Jack Nicholson most of the time.

In total this runs to 4hours 20 mins so as you get one double sided DVD and a 2nd single sided DVD, it makes sense to split the film into 3 sections. The extras include a commentary by Stephen King and the cast. I just need to find another 4 hours to fit it in!

Blitz [DVD]
Blitz [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jason Statham
Price: £4.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Blitz IS good, 17 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Blitz [DVD] (DVD)
Blitz is a superior British crime thriller about an non-pc Policeman and his investigations into a cop killer. Statham is the Policeman and as you'd expect he is as hard as nails. But unlike the Transporter films (which I like) and The Expendables his character is much less of a caricature.

He certainly has some problems, as indeed do a number of other major characters in the film. And its this human element that makes Blitz a better film than many other similarly styled films. Paddy Considine and Aiden Gillen are the other main actors and both provide a nice contrast to a Statham's performance.

The film is written by Nathan Parker who wrote 'Moon', and a decent script is another reason why this film is a cut above your average thriller. So, as long as you don't expect The Long Good Friday and/or Get Carter, you will be entertained, in a pretty violent way, by this above average film.

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