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Filthy Raider "Filthy Raider" (Dorset, England)

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How To Train Your Dragon - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD)
How To Train Your Dragon - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD)
Dvd ~ Dean DeBlois

5.0 out of 5 stars Actually It's How To Train Your Viking ! - Blu Ray Review, 12 Feb 2013
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I did the usual 'Dad' thing and picked up the film for the kids and then did the usual 'Dad' thing and sat and watched it with them - on the Blu Ray downstairs knowing they could later watch the DVD when they wanted.

And it was great. I have to admit that some animated films have left me cold, but this one just works. Like Shrek and Ice Age it has its heart in the right place.

Funny, exciting, well voiced, well animated and just a damn good story. The fact is it is really about Hiccup the Viking training to be a dragon slayer but finding out that their is a bigger secret behind what goes on. Nuff said!

Blu Ray quality is very good picture wise. Sound is good, although it seems to be one of those 'quiet' discs that you have to turn up a little higher.

Loved the music, which is by John Powell who did Ice Age amongst many others.

Roll on 2 & 3!

Commando [Blu-ray] [1985]
Commando [Blu-ray] [1985]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Price: £7.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Arnie Does It Rambo Style - BLU RAY Review, 1 Feb 2013
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There was a point in the 80s where these sort of movies came out, we watched them, enjoyed them, then moved on. Then they sort of fell out of favour. On Blu Ray, Arnie is back!

Commando was never Arnie's best film. He moved on from this to Predator directed by John McTiernan, who actually passed on this, and that was surely better directed, better acted and had the better premise. This was Arnie trying a Rambo.

If you watch it with a critical eye you'll see the continuity errors, ask yourself has Bennett (the bad guy's bad man) got a Freddie Mercury thing going on, scoff at the 'Secret Seven' way he and Rae Dawn Chong 'discover' the baddy's hideout by finding a map, co-ordinates AND a photo of the seaplane.............and we all know the yellow Porsche that gets dented, then fixed then dented again...............

You can go on and rip it to shreds.

But watch it with fresh eyes and you start to understand why you enjoyed it. The 'Promise to kill Sully last' is possibly one of Arnie's defining moments. The simplicity is now what makes it a classic joy.

Blu Ray - for a film around thirty years old the picture quality is very good. An early shot let's you see not only Arnie's muscles but the beads of sweat on Arnie's muscles. Sound? I'll be honest and say it's not that brilliant, but we all know this was the point James Horner went all steel drums for a while. Trouble is as the sound systems we have have got better, the foley work (the sounds added after) now start to sound like sounds added after.

He wasn't back: Never spoilt by a mind numbing sequel, Commando does just what Arnie does. Sneaks in, makes hell of a blast, then moves on. Proper pop corn, beer swilling action.

Beverly Hills Cop [Blu-ray] [1995] [Region Free]
Beverly Hills Cop [Blu-ray] [1995] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Eddie Murphy
Price: £7.10

5.0 out of 5 stars A Murphy Classic - BLU RAY REVIEW, 19 Jan 2013
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It's often worth checking out Eddie Murphy in Raw and Delirious when he was a young stand up. Quick, fast, excruciatingly funny.

John Landis summed it up when he directed Murphy in Trading Places (1983) and then again in Coming to America (1988) and he admitted he felt Murphy was almost a different person. Fame changed him.

In Beverley Hills Cop you see Murphy in what was probably only his third leading role. As some of the extras show in interviews, this was a Mickey Rourke vehicle then Sly Stallone came in and it was only when Sly's action fest changes took the script over budget that they bought in Murphy.

Today Eddie is synonymous with Axel Foley. I wish the same could be said with the title song - my kids yelled 'Crazy Frog'.

In this you see Murphy almost at his best. As shown in the Extras a lot of the key 'gags' and 'Murphy bits' were ad libs. What is just as interesting is how much of the Taggart and Rosewood interaction is also from ad libs at the auditions.

So this is a step back into the 80s. How does it fare? Well as a film, surprisingly well. Especially well considering there was a lot of rewriting when Murphy came on board just two weeks before shooting started.

As a Blu Ray the picture is good. Better than I expected from a film that will soon be THIRTY YEARS old, but don't expect it to stand up to anything HD released today. Sound - strangely better with the pop music soundtrack than with normal dialogue which seemed a bit quiet. A whack up on the volume sorted that.

Let's just say I finished watching and wondered why it had taken me so long to buy it. Hopefully No.2 will appear on Blu Ray in the UK soon. Not sure about No. 3. Never seen it.

Sucker Punch [Blu-ray]
Sucker Punch [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Emily Browning
Price: £6.10

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Little Too Much - BLU RAY REVIEW, 18 Jan 2013
This review is from: Sucker Punch [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
You might as well be honest when looking at Sucker Punch as a bloke. There is an attraction in seeing five attractive girls crawling round in fairly tight short outfits. But does it spoil the story or is it needed?

And there lies the issue. Too much or too little? I mean the story appears to be told through the eyes of Emily Browning's "Babydoll" character - but why did she imagine all the action scenes with her friends in sexy outfits?

Sucker Punch's story pinch is actually quite hard hitting. It's really quite serious. But somewhere along the line the 'kinky' visuals overtook the story path, and by the time the story path gets you, you simply might have given up on it. It's like being caught reading Playboy for 'the articles'. Someone will walk in on you watching it JUST at the wrong moment and get the completely wrong impression about the film.

IF (and it is a capital IF) you can get passed that and look at it as a sidestep to the usual action fests with muscle rippling fellas, then you will probably enjoy it.

There are four or five significant action setups - almost dreams in the story - but each one very well crafted, very exciting and more than a match for any big budget blockbuster. Each one is something you could willingly show to anyone to prove what a good film this is, or could have been.

But sit down with your wife or girlfriend or daughter or mother and it can be a case of "Why does she have to be in her underwear?"..............Ah, you see there it is. Then it can be uncomfortable to watch. Don't get me wrong, it's not like you're watching soft porn, but to have a film where women are finally the main characters in a an action setting is always going to let down by the length of their skirts.

Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish are very good. Jena Malone, too, and it's really quite hard to see her as the obnoxious daughter in Stepmom! Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung whilst (yes!) very attractive to look at, are simply side offerings.

Taken as a whole this is a good film, solidly played out with some of the best fantasy action scenes on Blu Ray. Looked at in sections and you do tend to have a film with five attractive young girls running round in short skirts and stockings.

Blu Ray pic very good. Audio can really blast you out. Top notch.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2013 12:48 PM GMT

Far Cry 3 (Xbox 360)
Far Cry 3 (Xbox 360)
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Resident Dead Cause Cry - What?, 3 Jan 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Far Cry 3 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Far Cry 3 I told my lads on seeing the trailers is Far Cry 2 with more water on on the plants. On getting it I discovered I wasn't far wrong, but there are some elements of Red Dead Redemption and Just Cause 2 chucked in for good measure.

None of this makes it a bad game, just don't go into it expecting too much innovation, but what you do get is a well crafted game experience. In single player you can follow the missions, but some of the real fun to be had is sneaking round the island freeing up the radio towers or liberating the enemy bases.

You do get the Far Cry 2 (an under-rated classic in my mind) experience of stumbling into an enemy patrol. And you do get the 'bugs'. In one side mission you have to dissuade a guy from digging up his dead girlfriend to get his ring back. "Shoot the ground at his feet" you are told. And the moment you do the friendly troops start firing at you. In a similar vein you see a group of friendlies being attacked by a tiger - you shoot the tiger and kill it. Are the friendlies happy? No. A stray bullet hit the guy the tiger was killing...............

Anyway, problems aside you have a good firm single player story that has enough side missions for several long hours of playing.

You can't just roll around with guns blazing. The game makes you go out and kill and skin animals to craft wallets, rucksacks (loot bags) and ammo holders. You have to collect your own plants (Resident Evil style) to craft medical and hunting syringes and the like.

Sorry for the detail, and I know it might sound like negatives, but if you aren't into the hunting and collecting along with the killing, then the game ain't for you.

A real improvement on Far Cry 2 but more of a diagonal step than a leap forward. Like the 2nd one, you can walk, run and ride miles, with some incredible detail.

Shoot outs are better and just as fun. Better than the 2nd, better than Just Cause 2 and like Red Dead Redemption without the horses and cowboys.

The business at under £25 if you can get it under that.

by Bernard Cornwell
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Of Hookton (Sir) Returns, 6 Dec 2012
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This review is from: 1356 (Hardcover)
You cannot keep a good man down, or so Bernard Cornwell is always telling us - or should that be, writing us.

Thomas of Hookton first appeared in the Grail Trilogy, a real Cornwell tour de force as the main character searched for the grail. In this one he is looking for the Sword of St Peter, not a relic I was familiar with, but apparently it was the sword Peter drew to defend Christ and Christ cursed it.

Anyway, the only reason for four stars is the book doesn't really cover the search for the relic in the same way the Grail Trilogy did with the grail. A lot of old characters are back, and it is nice to back in territory that you know and loved.

A fitting end to the Thomas Hookton story. Until BC decides there is more to tell!

Employee Of The Month [DVD]
Employee Of The Month [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dane Cook
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.04

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Fish Fighting in a Small Pond, 23 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Employee Of The Month [DVD] (DVD)
If you take Employee of the Month TOO seriously you won't get it. If you haven't worked with someone like Vince (Dax Shepherd) you might not get it. If you are a Vince, you REALLY will not get it.

Set in one of those bulk buy warehouse emporiums in the States (think Macro over here)it's the basic story of loafer Zack trying to get the Employee of the Month award so that he can go out with Jessica Simpson, the new cashier. Trouble lies with the fact he has to beat Vince who has won it every month and will stop at nothing to win the top prize for this month - a new car.

All good fun, Jessica Simpson actually turning in good performance and the two leads showing why they are always watchable.

A very very funny Blooper reel in the extras.

Well worth adding to your collection.

African Cats [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
African Cats [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Alaistair Fothergill
Price: £9.74

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disneynature - Back In Business - BLU RAY REVIEW, 19 Nov 2012
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There was a time when Disney just made great nature films. Those were the days when you went to the cinema and the B feature might be a Disney Nature documentary that usually outclassed the animated film that followed you'd actually gone to see.

Two British directors and the camera work of Simon King (of Autumn/Winter/Spring Watch) literally have bought Disney back into the fold. The picture quality is absolutely stunning. The sound quality is amazing - rattled one of my back speakers when the lions roared! And production quality is top notch.

Have they Disneyfied it? Well you could argue yes. But bad things happen. Cubs go missing, other animals get killed and yes the animals mate, but not on camera. On a hunt they show the capture but not the gory kill. You don't have to sit with your kids whilst the lions rut away, but by that you really get a better film, because that is what this is - more than a documentary.

First class stuff, looking forward to getting Chimpanzee and seeing others coming out.

And there lies the issue. Availability.

Considering the rampant desire we have in this country for wildlife documentaries it is curious how long this took to become available. I know they ran it in the cinema, but this is one of those films you need to get to show off your Blu Ray.

Like another reviewer I am partially sighted in one eye, in fact my vision can vary dramatically and I bought a HD TV and Blu Ray so that I could SEE things better. I've even been moved a bit closer to the telly by my missus.

It brings back memories of sitting close to the TV as a kid. And this film makes you feel like that awed child in the cinema again.

Just buy it.

Robin Hood - Prince Of Thieves [Blu-ray] [1991] [Region Free]
Robin Hood - Prince Of Thieves [Blu-ray] [1991] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Kevin Costner
Price: £6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Heart In The Right Place - BLU RAY REVIEW, 4 Nov 2012
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The lead actor is American (and lead actress), no Prince John, the baddie plays it pantomime baddy, actor and director had a fall out...............You can go on.But at the end of the day: It's a film.

I saw this at the pictures when it came out, sort of liked it, and then ended up buying it on VHS. Where it was edited. Why? So many bits cut out.

Anyway, quick update: It is no longer edited. In fact it is extended and there are some VERY surprising additions. Christian Slater's mouth clearly didn't say "Blimey he made it" when Robin and Azeem are catapulted over the castle wall. In this Blu Ray he ACTUALLY uses the F word as was originally the case when filmed, but which was even dubbed for the cinema release.

Add in about 12 minutes of extra footage, which I won't go into as it really expands the Sheriff/Witch story especially. Suffice to say the bit where the Sheriff comically parts Marion's legs with his feet IS back in. I think we all noticed that missing from the DVD and VHS versions.

After reading many of the reviews on here I was worried about the Blu Ray transfer, but that was dispelled in the first few minutes when the camera shot pans across the tapestry and you can even see the pulls in the thread........

The sound is good, if anything a bit quiet, but turning up the surround sound an extra notch sorted that out. For a film made in 1991, returned, nay extended, to its original glory it is a really good picture and sound.

So why 4 out of 5? Because at the end of the day it probably needs a glass of two of wine to iron out the kinks. It JUST misses it in places. This is probably one of the better Robin Hood films but there might just be one more better in the future.

Oh and the missus had a moan because the 'Music Video' in the extras was not the Brian Adams one we all saw endlessly back in the early 90s but him singing it live. Not bad BUT just not the same.

Oh and a final nerdy point: Funny how this film used the James Horner Willow soundtrack as it trailer music. When this came out the Michael Kamen rousing score became the soundtrack for numerous other trailers..............

Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke's Drift
Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke's Drift
by Lieut. Col. Mike Snook
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victory From Defeat, 17 Oct 2012
I have to confess that after the first chapter I was struggling with this and couldn't work out if it was the style (written by an out and out 'military' man) or if it was the fact I needed to read How Can Man Die Better which tells the story of the Zulu massacre of the British at Isandlwana.

Simply put if you, like me, picked up this book because of only having a hazy history of the matter from the film Zulu! ('Fousands of 'em!) then you are the one needing the lesson in military history. And there could not be a better author for it.It is a much better book than it initially seemed as it is a follow on from the first book, and once you get 'established' it becomes that rare thing amongst the history section - a great book.

Putting to rest many popular myths raised by the film - notably there was no 'ordered fire' from the start so everyone was basically firing at will (so forget the line in the film when given the order to fire at will 'That's very nice of him!'), and also there was no close harmony singing to raise morale.

So forget all that and, without giving anything else away, what you have is a well written book, that drags you into the soldier's boots, puts you in the mind of the officers and shows the sheer terror, valour and ferocity of the fight.

Mike Snook also lays to rest some long held beliefs about the roles the men played based on simple facts and his own military thinking. You cannot deny that it was a brave and amazing effort that allowed them to hold out, but you also cannot deny that it would never have been such a great stand if it had not been for the out and out disaster that was Isandlwana.

With the simple addition of some excellent plans, some really good photos and a final chapter that actually tells you what happened to the men in the years after this is a fully rounded and, yes, 'filling' account of Rorke's Drift.

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