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G. Thomas (Canterbury UK)

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The Dark Worlds Of H. P. Lovecraft, Volume 2: v. 2
The Dark Worlds Of H. P. Lovecraft, Volume 2: v. 2
by H. P. Lovecraft
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bed and Breakfast at the Gilman House., 11 Jun. 2008
I absolutely love "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" I think it's one of the two best stories that Mr Lovecraft wrote (what's the other one?.....well it's on volume 6 ^^)
I had to order volumes 3,4,5 & 6 direct from Audiorealms because this very site you're on couldn't source them even though they were listed as available......

..but moving on.....

Wayne June, who reads all six available volumes, has once again done a magnificent job in bringing this audiobook to creeping, slithering life.
Lovecraft's prose can sometimes be intimidatingly dense and complex but Wayne June paces the readings perfectly, allowing for all the charged emotional gravitas that these stories require.
"Shadow Over Innsmouth" is a tale of earth-shattering psychological horror set in a shunned and decaying coastal fishing town. This story could easily be destroyed by an over-the-top or uncommitted reading but Mr June convincingly conveys the narrator's growing unease and eventual blind panic as he slowly uncovers the grim secret of Innsmouth and pieces together the horrid truth of Obed Marsh's legacy.

"Dagon" is a very short tale but is an extremely relevant and atmospheric companion piece to the main presentation.

These readings from Audiorealms have proved to be exceptional and seriously deserve shelf-space in the home of anyone who appreciates high quality tales of fear, apprehension and (mostly) unseen terrors.

And Soon The Darkness [DVD]
And Soon The Darkness [DVD]
Dvd ~ Pamela Franklin
Price: £5.75

66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in misdirection, 5 Jun. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: And Soon The Darkness [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this on the strength of the other reviews here and I was certainly not disappointed.
After the curiously jaunty title music I was not really expecting such an atmospheric and subtle piece of film making.
This is a master class in misdirection, apprehension and general red-herring-ry without any of it seeming at all out of place within the narrative. You are truly left guessing up until the very last scene (even though you may have your suspicions)

The language barrier between Jane and the locals was an excellent touch, completing the sense of isolation so nicely built by the beautifully bleak and empty locations in rural France.

I have one major gripe with the story but to air it here would be too much of a spoiler. Suffice to say that even a small amount of disclosure can actually enhance trust.... but even so the high-quality of this film's other facets more than makes up for this.
Unbearable tension and a cracking atmosphere make this film a real treat for anyone in search of a quality thriller.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2009 2:15 PM GMT

Replica Sun Machine
Replica Sun Machine
Offered by MasterDVD
Price: £4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be too hasty..., 14 May 2008
This review is from: Replica Sun Machine (Audio CD)
After their magnificent and defining first album I have waited for this second release with excitement and trepidation in equal measure.
The Shortwave Set have definately moved on musically and production-wise but have certainly not sacrificed their unique sound which still lives at the heart of each and every track.
I was initially wrong-footed by Replica Sun Machine. I'ts slightly less "hurdy-gurdy" than "The Debt Collection" and has a distinct flavour of psychedelia about it. As I listen to it I keep visualising outdoor festivals, flowery dresses and relaxing on scorching hot sunny days while watching the clouds drift by. At times I'm very much reminded of the "The Mamas and the Papas"
Please don't judge this album too hastily, especially if you're a big fan of their first release, Replica Sun Machine is a definite step away from their previous sound. It may take a little time to get used to this new fuller sound but if you give it the time to mature you'll see it compliments the songs without becoming overbearing.

Each track delights equally and I'm only too happy to leave the whole album on repeat without getting tired of even one second of it. The more you listen the more beautiful it becomes and it's 100% destined to be the soundtrack to my summer I just discovered in July they're going to be performing in a cow-shed less than 1/4 mile from my front door
Life just keeps on getting better.

May I be so bold as to say "well done" and a big "thank you" to all involved ?

The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969]
The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969]
Dvd ~ Gillian Hills
Price: £10.75

99 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood revisited, 6 May 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was reading "The Owl Service" on holiday in Wales (1978) when, as a total coincidence, I first saw this series. At the time it seemed otherworldly and slightly confusing to an impressionable 13 year old boy. The phrase "She wants to be flowers and you make her owls" has haunted me for 30 years. Finally I can see it all and appreciate that which I was too young to fully understand at the time.

I'm glad to say that the passing of time has not diminished the slightly off-kilter atmosphere of this classic series. Unlike much of "children's TV drama" these days, "The Owl Service" keeps you off-balance and intrigued as to what's actually going on.
This is an intensely claustrophobic story of relationships within a very English (step) family and the staff of their holiday home. Set in an oppressive Welsh valley it focuses specifically on the experiences and tensions between three teenagers who are forced to relive an ancient "mythical" conflict. Using a tale from "The Mabinogion" as the basis for the conflict it explores the difficulty of growing up and dealing with attraction, jealousy, alienation, the pressures of family, responsibility and even national identity but places it all within a subtly creepy supernatural setting.

The acting may now seem slightly stilted and the patronising "Granada-enforced" recaps do somewhat spoil the deliberate ambiguity of certain events but the meaning and power of the story has survived intact and "The Owl Service" provides some of the most "adult" children's TV you will ever have the good fortune to see.

edit: A special honourable mention must be paid to Roger's shorts :)
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 22, 2014 9:25 AM GMT

Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3)
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3)

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All good things come to those who skate, 21 April 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
It's been a good few years since I last hopped on a deck and ground my way around Alcatraz Island collecting S.K.A.T.E, ollie-ing over prison warders and getting "big air". Frankly I thought those joyful days were over.
Circumstances continue to surprise me.
Firstly I won a PS3 in a competition where I actually wanted to win the car or holiday. Secondly I spied a pre-owned copy of "Project 8" in a well known DVD rental shop. A moment of weakness and all the pieces came together.

The old magic is still there.
From my embarassingly shaky start in the tutorial mode, when I suddenly realised my fingers had forgotten how to pull off a 3 trick combo, I gradually improved and progressed into the first true game area and last night opened the final area of the game. The learning curve is perfect. From the initial horror of just trying to land a flip without bailing to the sublime experience of racking up my first 150,000 pt combo this game has been an absolute delight. You learn and improve without ever being conciously aware that you are.
Every aspect of the game is so much fun. Just sit back and experience the game, don't push yourself too hard and I promise you'll be skating like a pro in no time. Complete one of the hundreds of amusing mission goals or just free-skate for your own enjoyment. There is never a point when you have nothing to do. The huge next-gen enviroments are fantastically realised and you do find yourself wondering just how to reach that next roof or if you can grind all around that massive rail without ever feeling that the game is pushing you into it.
This is classic Tony Hawk gaming and it's better than ever. I also love the fact that, on top of all the new challenges, every area has one NPC who opens all the familiar "classic" goals from the first 4 Tony Hawk's games.
I'm never going to be a THP8 elite player but I don't care. "Sick" scores are the next challenge I have to face and also finishing off all those spot challenges.

So much about this game is so much fun that I can do little else but strongly urge you to buy it. Don't listen to the "instant gratification crowd", this game is not "hard" or "tricky" but in fact is perfectly paced and intelligently's a thoroughly rewarding experience and as near perfect as I could have ever possibly imagined.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2008 5:31 PM GMT

Torchwood: Complete BBC Series 2 [2008] [DVD]
Torchwood: Complete BBC Series 2 [2008] [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Barrowman
Price: £14.70

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Torchwood- Lite, 11 April 2008
It is with a truly heavy heart that I find myself writing this review.
I loved season 1.
It was unpredictable; it was fun and most of all it was nearly always truly original. Every episode was full to the brim with new ideas, inspired plotting and rich characterisation. (Even the much maligned "Cyberwoman" showed some initiative). It was intelligent science fiction for an older audience.

When season 2 was announced I was dutifully excited but experienced my first twinges of concern as I saw and read interviews with cast and crew that suggested Torchwood had been somehow overhauled. They kept using phrases like "matured", "sleeker", "fast-paced", "all-action" and regularly referred to a "new format" one that improved on the "flawed" series 1. Still, I ignored the alarm bells and pressed on.
I felt slightly let-down by episode 1 but was pretty sure that was just because my expectations were too high.
Settling in for the rest of the series I became gradually more deflated as episode followed episode.
Where was the new dynamic series with improved writing, coherent structure and better characterisation I'd been promised in all those sound-bite interviews and previews?

What had happened to Torchwood?
I slowly came to understand that the sense of adventure and fun I loved in season 1 had been stripped away as collateral damage while attempting to deliver wider appeal to a much larger demographic.

Several episodes in season 2 were still exceptional and kept the spirit of season 1 intact; "To the last man", "Something borrowed", "Adrift" and "Fragments", but others seemed like missed opportunities.

"From out of the rain" and "Adam" had so much potential yet none of this was realised in the finished product. Murderous, breath-stealing, circus freak-show people from an old film coming into our reality should have been a license to create something truly terrifying but totally failed to capitalise on its existing strengths.
As I watched "Adam" I loved the initial concept but the plot structure was handled in such a plodding and uninspired manner that I began to lament the lost possibilities for what could have been a truly great episode. They even had the "reveal" so ridiculously early on in the episode that it must have been to hand-hold viewers who might be confused.

I enjoyed the cameos by several British TV stalwarts not forgetting appearances by "Jim Robinson" and "Spike". I really enjoyed the glimpses of "Old Torchwood" and can see massive potential in following that direction. I still love the concept and characters and will definitely still tune in for season 3 (if there is one) but sadly I felt that, overall, this was Torchwood-Lite, dumbed-down and heavily diluted in some parts to pander to a wider audience. I'm not saying that, as a viewer, I'm any more important than the "wider audience" but I certainly found my enjoyment was lessened by so many compromises.

Resident Evil 3: Extinction [Blu-ray] [2007] [2008] [Region Free]
Resident Evil 3: Extinction [Blu-ray] [2007] [2008] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Milla Jovovich
Price: £4.69

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Third time lucky, 3 April 2008
I'm not entirely sure whether I liked this because of the film itself or because it was my first experience of watching a Blu-Ray film.

I certainly think RE3 is better than the first film in the series and almost infinitely better than that "number-two" of a sequel. No longer trying to recreate the game atmosphere was a very good move although admittedly it does revert to type in the final sequence.
To be honest I found both of the previous films reasonably dull and barely cared who lived or died or if they would even escape. Somehow the whole zombie/desert/Mad Max 2 scenario gives the franchise a real adrenaline kick which it sorely needed.

The reproduction on interiors was little different to the visuals on my old upscaling DVD player but the outdoor scenes are a real testament to the power of Blu-ray. I particularly enjoyed the desert vistas, the small detail of the shifting sands blown across the dunes and the truly gob-smacking "crow scene" (Somewhat borrowed from Hitchcock but still amazingly well done)

If you're going to see one of the RE films then make it this one and preferably make it high-density if you can.

Seventh Tree
Seventh Tree
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.89

40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm honey and goosepimples, 29 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Seventh Tree (Audio CD)
I really should have trusted Goldfrapp more.
From the genius of Felt Mountain, via the gorgeous Black Cherry to the fantastically stompin' Supernature, they have never let me down.
I've seen them three different times and it's always superb. Their music and their videos always push at boundaries but there I was, having doubts about this album before I'd even heard it.

I guess it was a combination of my expectations and the almost ravenous reception by Radio One of "A&E". I think I kind-of turned off.
The seemingly superficial ballad style of A&E and a host of gushing emails from Jo Whiley's listeners immediately started me on the "sold out" train of thought.
Was I wrong?.. you bet. I guess listening on the workplace-radio didn't do "A&E" justice.
I subsequently heard 2 more tracks "Little Bird" and "Happiness" then saw a late night TV performance.
It's one of those moments in life when you're so glad to be wrong.

Part of what Goldfrapp have, over more pedestrian bands, is a willingness to change, adapt and experiment.
They still have the unique style you already love but it's here in a different form.
All the good things that make Goldfrapp Goldfrapp are there in Seventh Tree you just have to unwrap the new "packaging" and then you'll see it.
Seventh tree is still envelope-pushing, edgy, inspiring, warm, inviting, blissful and retains that glorious oddness that has always defined Goldfrapp for me. Listening to this feels like taking a shower in warm honey whilst having a violent attack of the goosepimples.

Another triumph for re-invention and yet another 5 gold stars for Alison & Will.

Terrific stuff.

Year Of The Dog [DVD]
Year Of The Dog [DVD]
Dvd ~ Molly Shannon
Price: £4.17

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must-see for dog people, 27 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Year Of The Dog [DVD] (DVD)
Here's a very brave and distinctly laudable attempt to show one of life's misunderstood and less mundane paths.
Without revealing any plot points it's safe to say that Peggy (Molly Shannon)is one of those people who relate more to animals than to people.

Within this film all the subsidiary characters doggedly follow their own narrow lifestyle choices as "worker-drones", "breeders" or "nestmakers" without even recognising the validity of Peggy's way of being. When disaster strikes all they can do to comfort Peggy is promote their own well-meaning but ultimately alien lifestyle choices with absolutely no real appreciation of what she is actually going through.

Strangely this film is actively promoted as a comedy, even on it's own cover but I feel this stems from a total inability to shoehorn it into any convenient genre cul-de-sac. Be warned, this is not a cosy rom-com or laugh-out-loud throwaway farce. Underneath it is a reasonably serious film making a very valid minority point.

Where this film succeeds is in it's depiction of the lack of understanding of the "herd" for anything but their own selfish needs and how they thoughtlessly devalue, trample or ignore the needs and desires of those who believe that animals are just as important as people.
That's not to say the "animal-folk" are given a free ride here. Peggy makes some dreadful mistakes of judgement and her grief initially spirals into a kind of ill-considered tragi-comic crusade. Well intentioned she may be but she's also irresponsible and rash.

It's really refreshing to see this kind of character given a sympathetic treatment within a movie for once and not just relegated to the usual cameo or supporting role as the wacky or nutty friend.

I found that elements of the "comedy" jarred slightly within the context of the rest of the film and I felt that maybe the film stops slightly too short of taking a much braver stand. Ultimately, maybe this a good thing and that stops it becoming too preachy but it's still the reason for the missing 1 star.

Overall: A film for animal-people, especially a film for dog-people and one that offers something pretty much unique in today's cinema.
Just make sure that you're willing to get hurt along the way.

Vacas [DVD] [1992]
Vacas [DVD] [1992]
Dvd ~ Emma Suárez
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £19.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely Moo-ving, 31 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Vacas [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
Well it looks like we're gonna have to raise the star score for this absolutely beautiful film; so here I go.

I first discovered Medem's work in The Red Squirrel. I didn't think he could possibly better that surreal gem but came very close to eating my words when I finally got round to seeing Vacas. What appears to be cosy pastoral drama about two intertwined families is so much more than it initially seems.

Spanning over 60 years from the Carlist Wars to the Spanish Civil War this film is a dreamy study of major events in spanish history and how they disrupt the interminable cycle of rural life.
This repetition of growth, birth and death is cleverly portrayed through use of the same actors playing the successive generations. This serves to make the characters shifting allegiances all the more poignant.
Whatever happens, you can be sure it all looks the same to the cows who are the only truly objective witnesses to the complex intricacies and social upheaval that surround this small corner of Spain.
There is a sustained slightly magical atmosphere which makes much of the story seem somewhat dreamlike but occasionally the jagged edges of a grim reality force their way into this deceptive idyll.

This is totally gorgeous film making with real heart and I urge you to see it.

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