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Blood Will Tell (PS2)
Blood Will Tell (PS2)
Offered by total-gamer
Price: £34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite PS2 video game, 2 April 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Blood Will Tell (PS2) (Video Game)
Of all the video games that I purchased for my PS2, Osamu Tezuka's Dororo (not Blood Will Tell, please. It's a horrible title) is my most precious for several reasons.

One, it is an adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's original manga, done by an artist who is the founder of the modern manga and anime and one amazing storyteller. Having read the original book, and having read several series that he has drawn and did in anime, I felt that the game's screenwriter, which also happens to be Tezuka Productions, really respected Tezuka's vision. Why, even though he put a great importance to certain characters that didn't exist in the original story, and added an impressive twist in the game's last chapters which never was in the original manga, I thought those additions were extremely true to Tezuka's vision of life and to his storytelling techniques. A great applause to the screenwriter!

Two, the visuals of the game. Though they are not in high-definition and in high quality like Mass Effect of Final Fantasy, that didn't make anybody I know stop playing it. The artists really gave a great atmosphere to the game with the colours, the landscape and the cut-scenes. A great idea from Sega to put some behind the scenes for the motion capture they used for the in-game cut-scenes.
And finally, I also loved the music, which definitely sets the best mysterious atmosphere this dramatic story deserves.

However, my only let-down was that the camera was sometimes confusing to use, but I got along with it by pressing one of the buttons to refocuse it behind my character. At least it wasn't that much of a bother and it didn't stop me to play this game.

A great purchase for everybody who loves to play a game with a great story. And I highly suggest to people to buy the original mangas which the Vertical editor has translated into English.

Ken Russell at the BBC [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Ken Russell at the BBC [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Huw Wheldon
Price: £33.94

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The kind of documentaries that make you love documentaries, 2 April 2012
A great DVD collection to buy for someone who knows about Ken Russell's movies and who wishes to learn more about his television work for the BBC. Although made for a television documentary program called Omnibus, Ken Russell's work show both documentaries on famous musician composers, but also pioneering biopics.

Though I loved all of these documentaries, the most fascinating is The Debussy song for various reasons. For one, it is made like two films within a film, both on the composer and on the crew filming the documentary which seems to have the same traits and stories than the characters they play. For the other part, it also made me impressed by Oliver Reed's incredible acting talent and persona. For in the two documentaries that he played, Dante Rosetti and Debussy, traits of his real-life personality emerged on the screen.

An excellent choice to buy for those who want to see more of Ken Russell, a great way to discover that director, and a great way to fall in awe with the amazing artists covered on those dvds.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2014 1:02 AM BST

Prince of Persia (Xbox 360)
Prince of Persia (Xbox 360)
Offered by FUN-N-MORE
Price: £17.90

5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising great game. And an excellent soundtrack, 2 April 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Although this was a surprise to me for I had loved the original Sands of Time trilogy and had doubt about the quality potential of this game, I just loved this game. I was pleased to see that they were ready to give a different prince, more positive, charming and sympathetic, but with enough human depth to have feelings of doubts and of fear. I was pleased that the princess in this universe also had a more important role to the plot and I loved the idea that the player could combine her powers and create great combos with the Prince. Even the idea of putting various discussions between the prince and the princess really gives more depth to the story. A great job not only from the producers and artists of the game, but also to Rihanna Pratchett, the screenwriter to the game who also worked on EA'S excellent Mirror's Edge. Not only that I loved the soundtrack. An excellent job they did for it gives to the game a magical atmosphere of greatness which makes the castle, in which you travel, much more impressive.

Although different from the original trilogy, a great game to play.

Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling
by Adriana Hunter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the real world!, 2 April 2012
This review is from: Fear and Trembling (Paperback)
Once upon a time, a year after the start of the 1989 Japanese recession, a new employee came to work at the Yumimoto company in Tokyo. Having been born in Japan, and having left it for several years before coming back there in 1989, Amelie's dream is finally going to come true. She is going to work in this wonderful country as a translator for this company. Although she tries to do her job as best as she can, which is with honesty and dedication, she unfortunately has to deal with certain hypocritical employees, including one of her superior who doesn't hesitate to employ certain unethical favors in order to put Amelie back to her place, and remind her that although she knows how to speak and write Japanese, she is not, and will never be, welcomed among them and that she has to kneel before them.

There have been ardent fans of Japan and Anime, tourists, and other Japanese who wrote very rude letters to Amelie Nothomb, accusing her of racism or that she probably deserved what she had to suffer. Which I disagree for I got to spend time with some Japanese and I agree with many things that Amelie wrote in her book. it is evident that this author, who based her book on experiences she lived in a Japanese company, wrote down something that some hardcore fan of Japan or Anime would not want to hear. That deep down, the country that they dream, and almost worship, is not as wonderful and open-minded as the Animes, Mangas, and Japanese movies they love to watch which tend to present Japan as this Wonderland. Although there are some good Japanese who live there, like the wonderful Mr. Tenshi who works at Yumimoto company, not all of them are yet ready to accept foreigners among their employees. And this was an opinion that has been shared by other Japanese salarymen who wrote to the author and defended her novel, and what she wrote, as a very truthful account of what it is to be a Japanese salaryman.

For those of you who want more proof that the author is not racist, read her books "The Character of Rain", "Biography of Hunger" and "Tokyo Fiancee". Those books have wonderful Japanese, all people that Amelie met during her life and whose stories she's ready to share.

Bad Guys: True Stories of Legendary Gunslingers, Sidewinders, Fourflushers, Drygulchers, Bushwhackers, Freebooters, and Downright Bad Guys and Gals of the Wild
Bad Guys: True Stories of Legendary Gunslingers, Sidewinders, Fourflushers, Drygulchers, Bushwhackers, Freebooters, and Downright Bad Guys and Gals of the Wild
by Andrew Glass
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good start to get your facts straight, 2 April 2012
If you want a good summary on the lives of a few desperados and gunslingers that became popular legends of the Wild West, then this book is a pretty good start. Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Black Bart, Belle Starr, and other legendary lives are explained and illustrated by Andrew Glass in this 48 pages book.

For its content, the author takes the time to explain how those gunslingers' lives were influenced by incidents from their lives that made them who they became, so that we can have a sense of empathy for them and understand why they did what they did, whether or not some readers will agree with this.

As for the illustrations, Andrew Glass's pastel drawings are lively and show both a portrait of the gunslinger/desperado, along with some of the incidents that occurred in the lives of those people.

As a side-note, I would have liked to see in the final pages a bibliography of all the books, documents and institutions that the author consulted or visited to make this book. That way, we could be certain that what Andrew Glass says is 100% straight-facts and it would be a good way for the readers of this book to have an idea of what other documents or institutions they could consult if they want to learn more about the Far West and its people.

Popcorn (Charlesbridge)
Popcorn (Charlesbridge)
by Elaine Landau
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars To know what you always wanted to know about popcorn, 2 April 2012
This book is a great way to learn what you always wanted to know about this favourite treat that moviegoers love to eat either at the cinema or at home while watching movies or playing video games. The author take the time to explain how corn grows in a field, how a popcorn kernel gets to become a popcorn, and how to best preserve the kernels from the heat and the cold. Finally, they get to explain the history of the culture of popcorn, how it has been used by the Aztecs, and the American culture during the Great Depression and World War 2.

The information in this book is written in a simple and summarized way, so that readers, whether or not they are adults children, can learn the most important information about the culture and history of popcorn. If they want to learn more, the bibliography, which consists of book and websites, are other resources that readers can use in their "popcorn" studies.

Lady Chatterley [DVD] [1993]
Lady Chatterley [DVD] [1993]
Dvd ~ Joely Richardson
Price: £10.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Great adaptation of a controversial novel, 2 April 2012
This review is from: Lady Chatterley [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
A very good job Ken Russell did by adapting another novel of D H Lawrence. Not only did he directed and co-wrote an adaptation from a very controversial novel which exists in three different versions, though the third is the most common in bookstores, Ken Russell combined elements from the second and from the third version, mixing together only the best elements and keeping the same story together. Like he said in an interview for a previous DVD release, he tried to remain in the spirit of the novel. Even his ending, completely unique to the novel, makes sense since it has parallels to DH Lawrence's relationship with his wife Frieda Lawrence. Something interesting since many of his characters were based on him and people that he knew.

Great compliments go to all the actors, including Joely Richardson and Sean Bean, whose chemistry is perfect. Thanks to that, it makes the relationship between those characters believable.

Though the music soundtrack is not the same as the one used during the original broadcast, apart from the music played on the piano or other instruments by the characters which has been kept, I found the public-domain music used on the dvd very good. Though it would have been nice to know from Ken Russell's interview which english composers' tracks he used for his original broadcast, though I now know that he used many from Elgar and Delius. For the latter, Russell used his Appalachia as the intro theme to the episodes.

It would be nice if someone could poinpoint on some website which music tracks Ken Russell used for which scenes or if the BBC could ever release a proper DVD with the original soundtrack.

Anyway, an excellent tv series to watch and to have, even though it lacks its original soundtrack.

No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls
No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls
Price: £8.48

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One must not judge a book by its cover, but then again!, 1 April 2012
During the last couple of months, I heard of this French-Canadian group called Simple Plan that has been, over the last decade, very successful in the music industry. Wondering what the fuss was all about, after seeing a couple of their video clips and promotion spots on YouTube, I decided to listen to their first CD, entitled No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls, even though the CD cover didn't impress me. Indeed, it sort of made the group selfish and extremely immature as you see them acting like teenagers partying all the time and making a mess out of some hotel suite. Of course, one must not judge a book by its cover, but still, the cover gave me pretty good hints to the contents of this album, especially in the lyrics which revolve around three main topics: "getting the girl, "every day is the same and life sucks", and "my parents don't understand me". If those themes clearly reveal that the group targeted by this album is teenagers, their upbeat, and very repetitive, soundtrack doesn't go at all with the dark lyrics of tracks like "The Worst Day ever" and "Meet you There". Those songs would have been, according to me, more moving had they been accompanied with the proper music to follow those lyrics.

As for the content of those lyrics, I soon found myself tired of hearing over and over again stories about guys that want to get laid by girls that ignore them or that their parents want them to grow up, and maybe for good reasons. Especially when you read songs like "God Must Hate Me" where those kids act like irresponsible individuals, something that was pretty relevant through this album.

Now some people would find my comments harsh and ill-founded, considering this group's success and how a certain fraction of teenagers love this music. But that's also another problem of this album. It tries too much to grasp teenagers and doesn't try to connect with other age groups, something that the Beatles, The Smiths, Queen, the Cranberries or Oingo Boingo have managed to do. Now of course those groups have nothing to do with punk music or punk-pop and Simple plan doesn't need to copy their style, but those groups knew how to diverse their subjects, and this is something that Simple Plan should take note. Because one day, the kids who listen to their music will grow up and will have more important things to talk about than getting with the most beautiful girl in school and repeating again and again that life sucks, without saying exactly why it does sucks, and trying to do constructive instead.

In the end, I think that Simple Plan is a band that could have a lot of potential, if they indeed tried to grow up in their music and lyrics, and stop playing like some candy punk-pop music group.

Crimes Of Passion [DVD]
Crimes Of Passion [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kathleen Turner

5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Russell in top shape, 25 Mar 2012
This review is from: Crimes Of Passion [DVD] (DVD)
After having some big problems with his movie Valentino, which he considered a piece of trash, Ken Russell made two of his most fascinating films for the United States. The first was Altered States and the other Crimes of Passion. In Crimes of Passion, it definitely is, like an american reviewer on Amazon said, a plea for honesty as we witness an art designer spending several night hours as a prostitute called China Blue. Then as she meets a dangerous minister and falls in love with one of her clients, her secret identity starts to shatter.

Though I do not want to reveal more of the story, I can say that the soundtrack, composed by Rick Wakeman the keyboardist of the british group YES, really does an amazing job adapting and remixing Dvorak's "New World" symphony. Not only does it reminds of Ken Russell's trademark of using famous classical music for his movies, it also adds on to Ken Russell's movie which denounces the hypocrisy of the American society and breaks its idyllic illusion.

A great job from all the cast and the crew. One dvd Ken Russell's fans must see for the powerful performances from its actors.

Human Target: The Complete First Season (Region 2) (Import)
Human Target: The Complete First Season (Region 2) (Import)
Dvd ~ Mark Valley
Offered by Retro_Foundation
Price: £49.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a treat!, 25 Mar 2012
Inspired by a DC Comics called Human Target, Jonathan A Steinberg offers us a variation of this series. In his show, Christopher Chance's job is to protect his clients from any threats (direct or indirect) not by taking the identity of his clients, but instead by using a fake identity which will allow him to immerse in his client's life. Along with his colleagues, which consist of Winston, an ex-detective, and Guerrero, a hacker-hit-man from Chance's past, each episode involves a different client and a new identity to adopt during the course of this twelve episodes season. Although some people complained about such a short season format when they would have preferred sixteen or twenty three episodes, the chosen length didn't bother me at all. As long as the scripts and visual effects were in great quality, I didn't mind watching a short season action show.

The only things that did annoy me however were the times I managed to glimpse a Canadian post truck and letterboxes in episodes that were happening in San Francisco or in New York. Not only that, at the beginning of the fourth episode, there is also a helicopter shot of that french-Canadian monastery, and by judging the architecture of the building and the mountains, that shot seemed to have been done not in Canada, but in a Californian location. So that simple detail reminded to me that this episode hadn't been shot in that province, and it broke the illusion of the episode. Apart from that, I am amazed how the Vancouver visual artists did a good job in their computer graphic effects, especially in the second episode with that airplane and in the sixth episode with that skydiving introduction. As for the orchestral soundtrack, it is excellent and makes the opening credits, and Chance's missions, epic and unforgettable.

Meanwhile, the scripts' plot lines and dialogues were well written and had enough suspense to keep you in your seat and make you wonder how Chance and his colleagues would get out of their mess. I also appreciated the interactions between the three main characters and I can say that of all the three characters, my favorite is Guerrero. His character is so unpredictable that you are never too sure what he will do if you provoke him. Kudos to Haley's performance which allowed the character to not be a pilot appearance, but an essential character for the series. His interactions with Winston were funny and uplifted the mood of the show. Of the twelve episodes, my favorites would be the second, the eight episode, and the finale. Which concludes in the opening of the second season.

In the end, this show really stands as proof that you can do action shows with both high production values and excellent scripts.

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