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m "macey" (United Kingdom)
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3D Thrillers: Sharks (3D Thrillers)
3D Thrillers: Sharks (3D Thrillers)
by Paul Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars great 3D introduction for the little ones, 25 Mar 2009
My two love these books (there is also a dinosaur one in the series) - it's a great way to give them a scary monster thrill in the safety of the lounge. The cardboard glasses are a bit flimsy, but strong enough to last, at least for a while. The book is short, but there are plenty of 3D pictures sprinkled throughout.


Demons: Series 1 [DVD] [2009]
Demons: Series 1 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Philip Glenister
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £7.40

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Half-baked budget Buffy, 25 Mar 2009
I don't usually take TV programmes to task, but if the concept is going to be a teenager suddenly realising that he is the latest in a long line of demon slayers, surrounded by a group of friends/helpers who each have their own "issues" well, do you really need me to spell out the comparison?

Problems abound - a lead who is far too moody and unengaging, supporting characters who are disproportionately too interesting by comparison. Worst of all for me though was the lack of imagination in the writing - several times they seemed to get close to the kind of territory that Joss Whedon really used well, only for things to take odd tangents and miss, it seemed to me, the more interesting paths which could have been taken.

To be fair, there are some good performances, but they cry out for some really meaty story to play out against - there are one or two moments (e.g. Mina's 'family' sub-plot) but it's not enough.

Sorry guys, but you're a decade too late here - the bar was raised for this kind of stuff long ago, and we the audience deserve better.


Che: Part One [DVD]
Che: Part One [DVD]
Dvd ~ Benicio Del Toro
Price: £2.77

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A radical film for a radical character, 18 Feb 2009
This review is from: Che: Part One [DVD] (DVD)
As I understand it, this film almost didn't get made. Mainstream studios didn't really want to touch it, even given Soderberg and Del Toro's involvement, and they didn't like it that it was all in Spanish!

I think there are probably three types of people who will come to the experience: those who know nothing about the man, those who know nothing except that famous picture (I'm in this group) and those who live and breath every biographical fact. I think all will come away happy.

Now, getting the tough stuff out of the way: it's a bit of a demanding watch. If you don't know who's who, it's a bit of a struggle to start with. The story plays out over several time periods, so you have to pay attention. Also, the pace is slightly off-putting at first because the usual 'plot points' and 'act crescendos' have been abandoned altogther. Soderberg had said he wanted his film to be like all the other scenes a conventional biography would have left out or chopped down.

If I am completely honest, I did find it a bit hard going in places, but reflecting now, it feels all the richer an experience because, somehow, the simple unfolding style allows you to really take in the nature of the main people and circumstances involved. As always with a biog film, you wonder how much is accurate and true, but Che the character comes across as very compelling. Straightforward in his belief that imperialism and capitalsim was at the source of much of the world's woes, he committed himself to bringing it down.

A great performance from Del Toro, not overplayed, but with beliveable steadfastness of a man who is intent upon doing what he feels is right. There isn't any shying away from the fact that the revolution was obviously a violent time, and Che clearly played his part in that.

It's easy to see how this film could have been made much more conventionally (epic soundtrack, lots of english actors in supporting roles etc etc) but it goes off in another direction completely, and I find that to be a great thing, in the end. It all feels much more akin to a documentary, sort of 'spending some time with people', rather than a full in-your-face production and that leaves, I think, a lot of room for personal reflection - almost a space in the film for the viewer him/herself. A chance to consider what YOU feel about the film and it's subject matter: was the revolution right? Were Che and Castro right? Do their views still matter today? For me personally, the thing which most came across was the question of personal committment: that if one person believes in something completely, then really anything at all can happen, and actions can continue to resonate long into the future.

And finally, a brilliantly quirky ending which sort of cuts the end of the tale short, but in such a way that you don't mind.

Well worth checking out - I'm looking forward to seeing part two.


Wanted Bank Safe Electronic with Sound and Lights
Wanted Bank Safe Electronic with Sound and Lights

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super, 11 Feb 2009
I bought this for my eight year old son who is just starting to grasp the concept of saving, and wanted somewhere safe to keep his coins. Running on batteries you can select your own code and it even has a pretend "opening door creak" sound once the right code is put it.

Quite chunky, with a small sliding door at the top of the inside for...other stuff. Sits nicely on the bookcase. Worth the money - a real 'boys present.'


Crocodile Dundee 1 & 2 [DVD] [1986]
Crocodile Dundee 1 & 2 [DVD] [1986]
Dvd ~ Paul Hogan
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "That's not a knife...", 30 Jan 2009
Amongst many 80s films deserving of a millennium rediscovery, this must rank very highly. A triumph of characterisation by actor (and partial writer) Hogan the simple tale of the country mouse brought to the city has lost none of its charm in the 20 plus years since it came out.

It was an all-or-nothing gig for Hogan - he owns the part so well and of course it was a huge success worldwide. The really great thing about the film is its sense of twisting our stereo-typing of people from other countries and - more importantly, other mindsets. Mick Dundee is not just a foreigner in terms of where he comes from, but also the way he thinks, and it's THAT element and it's effects upon the other characters that make this so worth the ride. The collision between his home-spun attitude and often, passivity, against the hyped-up reality of the modern in-your-face culture is something that really gets a full work-out.

It's not just great comedy (and there are lots of wonderful moments - some of them now classics) but it has such a streak of humanity in it, and whilst being funny enables us to take a look at ourselves and recognise that we could all use a little bit of Mick Dundee blue-sky thinking once in a while.
And, a special mention for the fantastic musical score - none of which featured on the soundtrack if I remember rightly (it was the 80s!!)

Given all this, plus the huge hit that the film was, the poor quality of the disc a real let down. Virtually no extras belie the fact that this must have been a film with a great story behind it. Hogan inhabited and had developed the part so well that it became his Superman, his Luke Skywalker role. Obviously hoping it would kick-start his Hollywood career, it just didn't pan out that way. Maybe the problem was that the whole ethos of the `quirky Australians' and endless beer adverts playing up to that got in the way of the real thrust of the film, which for me was always this: despite what we may think, and despite what we are sometimes told, people are pretty much the same underneath wherever you are in the world.

Sadly, there were two sequels and really, the least said about them the better. I don't think you can blame Hogan for wanting to move forward, but all the things which made the first film so great, charming and surprising are totally absent from the sequels which come off feeling contrived and many times, just wasteful.
There was simply no need - the first film was perfect and whilst we of course loved Dundee, it was probably one of those instances where we needed to be strong enough to just let him go after one glorious encounter.

A great film, with a lot of heart - which makes it all the more needed to remind us that the 80s weren't all completely self-obsessed.


Byrds
Byrds

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as rubbish as people would have you think, 28 Jan 2009
This review is from: Byrds (Audio CD)
The consensus is that this 'reunion' was a let-down and missed opportunity record, but I disagree. What it definitely is NOT is a Byrds album like 'Younger Than Yesterday' or 'Notorious' but there is still some of the old magic, enough I think to keep even casual fans happy.

Firstly, the sound is mostly excellent. The whole thing has a country/acoustic tinge to it and the recording sounds great. Although in terms of songwriting presence Crosby is jostling for position, he clearly had a hand on the tiller. This is evident on the song choices - one each from his mates Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. Gene Clarke also gets some kudos for his lovely 'The Circle' but surprsingly the Byrd's version of Crosby's 'Laughing' - one of his best songs (and already released a couple of years earlier by the time of this album)comes off as half-baked.

By this time, perhaps there was just too much band politics for them ever to able to reallt get things going again, but at least this shows there was still a willingness to try, and that great music could still be made.

Worth investing in, it's a grower.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2011 3:52 PM BST


Becoming a Partner (Young Solicitor Guide)
Becoming a Partner (Young Solicitor Guide)
by Young Solicitors Group
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and thorough, 22 Jan 2009
For a topic which is potentially so wide, this little book covers the essential ground very well. Concise, which chapters on all the important aspects. A very worthwhile investment if you are in the position of needing it's help - there's no other comparable book available at the moment, although this edition is a few years old now and could do with updating.


No Title Available

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money, 22 Jan 2009
How many times have you been at the supermarket and had your little one plead for a big carboard box to play with as a rocket? I know, me too. So when my five year old daughter wanted 'a big pink space rocket' for Xmas, I thought I was going to be in trouble (she isn't easily fobbed off.)

So well done Amazon then for this great product. I thought the price was a bit high but it is a sturdy thing once you have assembled it, and it isn't too hard to put together - once you have done the first fews bits it gets easier. It is important to lay everything out on the floor and understand the shapes first, that's my tip. Once assembled it is quite tall - probably over 5 feet, so make sure you have space set aside!

It comes all flat packed, and it is plain cardboard brown, so for me I had to buy red and white paint to make the pink but emulsion takes to the surface really well - two coats and it looked like it had always been pink.

She loved it and it does still get use - plus she can draw pictures on it or put stickers wherever she likes. So all in all, a great treat for them if you can afford it.

The last point I would make is that I did search on the net, and I think Amazon is actually the cheapest supplier of this currently.


The Search For Robert Johnson [DVD]
The Search For Robert Johnson [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Hammond Jr
Offered by ClassicMovies
Price: £19.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An hour well spent, 12 Jan 2009
If you are a blues fan then Johnson's name needs no introduction from me. This DVD is the Channel Four documentary that was shown at least ten years ago. John Hammond Jnr goes on a road trip to try to find people who knew him and the places he visited.

Now, the bad news (apart from the lack of special features for a disc whose runtime is just under an hour)is the picture quality, which is not that great, but given it's an old TV documentary perhaps I shouldn't complain.

Where it triumphs massively is a)Hammonds likeability and gentle interviewing manner and b) the chance to hear first hand from people who actually knew and played with Johnson. In case hardend blues-o-philes might worry that in someway the magic and mystery is unwound, forget it: there are at least two explanations put forward of what acutually happened to him, and no less than three possible burial sites!

The lovliest moment for me was Hammond's finding of Betty, an old girlfriend of RJ for whom he wrote 'Love in Vain'. She has never heard the song and Hammond plays her a tape and the camera holds on her face for a couple of moments, and suddenly the voice and guitar that we fans know so well becomes slightly more human, slightly more tangible.

Yes, it could have been longer - but this must be the 'plainest' DVD I own which I have watched the most - you never tire of the atmosphere and the stories which evoke such a fascinating man and his wonderful music.

One star knocked off for no speacial features and for under-par picture quality, but that's no refelction of Mr Johnson. Long may his voice be heard.


The Complete Guide to the Music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (The Complete Guide to the Music Of...)
The Complete Guide to the Music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (The Complete Guide to the Music Of...)
by Johnny Rogan
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fans, approach with...a bit of caution, 5 Jan 2009
I bought this for two reasons: firstly Johnny Rogan is a great music writer and I love his biog of the Byrds. Secondarily I love the band.

Whilst this is probably value for money, it's fairly thin. Also, a lot of the comments and quotes from CSN&Y can be found in the 4 disc box-set which contains what is probably as detailed a song-by song breakdown, although not of each and every album.

Now, fairs fair to Rogan because he does manage to round up peripheral stuff like the various solo albums (lots of those to think about if you are a Stills fan) live releases (several of them you are a Crosby fan) and the information there is very useful if you are thinking of expanding your CSN CD collection beyond the obvious choices. So, in the end, probably worth a fans while, but 'Revolution In The Head' it isn't.


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