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Colin Smith (England)

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Swat: Final Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Swat: Final Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by Moref Designs
Price: £27.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 70s cop show - well worth discovering, 29 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
TITLE: S.W.A.T. The Final Season.
RELEASED BY: Shout Factory.
ASPECT RATIO: 4:3, Full Frame.
NUMBER OF EPISODES: Twenty-Two, 50-Minute Episodes (except for "Deadly Tide" and "The Running Man" which are feature length episodes).
REGION ONE. (Make sure you have a Multi-Region Player, as this release WILL NOT play on a R2 DVD Player).

As I've already reviewed the first season, I suppose I could sort of plagiarise myself but I guess I really shouldn't. Anyway, S.W.A.T. is an Aaron Spelling (and Leonard Goldberg) production, but in all honesty it doesn't really feel like your typical Spelling cop show. A decidedly more grittier offering than Spelling's more celebrated productions, the 70s tales about a tough group of crack LA police marksman led by Steve "The Baron" Forrest, called into the dangerous fray when a simple caution from the law won't suffice, seem to have sadly, to all intents and purposes, drifted into relative TV obscurity. (It even takes some digging out on Amazon!)

Okay - it doesn't have any of the glossy charismatic appeal of "Charlie's Angels" or the cheesy camaraderie of the characters in the 80s "TJ Hooker".... But even when devoid of these attributes, I still find S.W.A.T. even more enjoyable than either. Having now watched (and enjoyed) both seasons, in comparison to the first season, this second season, originally broadcast from 1975/76, noticeably concentrates even more on the action rather than the private/domestic lives of the officers (and IMO all the better for it).... So here we have the second (and final season) before the series was regrettably pulled - nice while it lasted.

La Maison Glass Mixer Tumblers 4 pack
La Maison Glass Mixer Tumblers 4 pack
Offered by Deal Sheal
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressed - Cheers!, 27 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
4 x Glass Tumblers.
Height & Width - 8x8 cm (approx).
Deceptively, each has a capacity of around half a pint.

Can't really fault these. Sometimes you see something you like the look of, you order it, then it's a case of what you expect is what you get. Thankfully for me, this was one such occasion. These tumblers have a chunky base - nicely weighted and balanced, simple and pleasing classic lines - scrubs up pristine whichever way you decide to clean them (hand or dishwasher).

Mine arrived well-packaged - posted in cardboard box, lined with plenty of big bubblewrap. The tumblers themselves were securely held in extremely strong cardboard which prevented them from touching each other - so strong in fact, that extra care was needed to prevent dropping them when tearing it apart. Excellent buy.

Oxygen in a Can 15ltrs with mask and tube
Oxygen in a Can 15ltrs with mask and tube
Offered by Pushback
Price: £29.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Placebo in a can, 27 April 2016
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I stopped posting reviews last year but I'm feeling a bit miffed about this one. Why did I ever think it would do me any good? Wouldn't revive a wheezing flea. A sporty friend warned me these sort of things are next to useless, but like a stubborn idiot I of course knew best. If you have a medical condition, you really should consider seeking professional medical advice before being suckered into buying this. I bought mine after suffering a nasty bout of flu last year - I'm over it but I thought this would give me a little boost, as I still feel a bit breathless now & then. I followed the instructions carefully but with no noticeable benefits. Kept trying but still no noticeable benefits (and I'm still ruddy breathless)... Dear old Mother Earth's atmosphere is made up of around 21% of the stuff & at the moment it's still free - may as well stick my head out the bedroom window and take a few deep breaths, much cheaper & probably just as effective. Like the space between my ears, the damn thing's now empty & I'm stuck with a redundant mask. The canister's just stood there looking a bit menacing... How do I dispose of it - chuck it in the dustbin or call bomb disposal? That's 15 litres of oxygen blowing in the wind (with my 37 quid).. A fool and his money...

Knight Rider - The Complete Box Set (2011 Repackage) [DVD] [1982]
Knight Rider - The Complete Box Set (2011 Repackage) [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ David Hasselhoff
Price: £24.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good series, but only half has subtitles, 3 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This collection has very good picture and sound quality, but please note that subtitles are available on series one and two ONLY. The helpful info already provided elsewhere is correct - the feature-length pilot episode "Knight of the Phoenix" is also included - series 1, disc 7, episode 10 - there in all it's glory. The previous bulky boxset has thankfully been given the elbow, to be replaced by a snazzily compressed repackage consisting of the 26 discs stored in 13 slim cases, and tastefully housed in a 19.5 x 14 x 10cm sturdy box with lid, which looks pretty good wherever you decide to store it.

Looking back, KNIGHT RIDER can be viewed as a sort of microcosm of 80s TV trends and fashions, gathering together the likes of sci-fi (a computerised, talking, hi-tech indestructible car)....action/adventure, crime-busting, cheesy humour, romance ("White Bird" - one for the ladies!)...Pounding electro soundtrack, and of course the big hairdo's!... And all warmly embraced by the assembled cast. Nuff said. So if you have a penchant for 80s TV, you really can't go too far wrong with this one. A warm glow of nostalgia guaranteed!

Emergency/Landslide [DVD]
Emergency/Landslide [DVD]
Dvd ~ Glyn Houston
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Well, I enjoyed "Emergency" that's for sure!, 3 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Emergency/Landslide [DVD] (DVD)
EMERGENCY (1962/60 mins) has clear & clean B/W picture quality with good sound. LANDSLIDE (1937/61 mins) has slightly grainy but OK B/W picture quality with adequate sound. There are no extras or subtitles.

Yet another movie plucked from the Butcher's Film Studios archive, EMERGENCY is a compact and well-sustained little B-movie, very much in similar vein to the earlier "Emergency Call" which starred Jack Warner. A simple and uncomplicated but entertaining plot: little girl is knocked down by a lorry, then desperately needs a blood transfusion. Problem then is, the prospective compatible donors have to be rounded up pronto, two of whom include a stubbornly indifferent criminal on death row, as well as a top footballer. Naturally, the race against time doesn't run smoothly, with the focus shifting between the search and the estranged, desperate young girl's parents (played by Zena Walker and the splendidly coiffured Dermot Walsh) gathered around the poor mite's hospital bed. A well-paced portmanteau-ish drama with solid performances from a number of familiar faces. Very good & enjoyable B-movie fare.

LANDSLIDE is a very dated & creaky melodrama, perhaps most notable now for the inclusion of youthful Dinah Sheridan and Jimmy Hanley. "Creaky" being the operative word: creaky script & dialogue, creaky old theatre traps & seals off a motley collection of creaky & eccentric characters (with some annoying bloke crowing like a cockerel)...then half the film passes by before anything even remotely interesting happens. Possibly a film more of interest to collectors and film buffs. Buy it for "Emergency" and consider this one a bonus (if you happen to enjoy it!)

The Extra Day [DVD]
The Extra Day [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Basehart
Price: £5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty lacklustre portmanteau movie, 9 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: The Extra Day [DVD] (DVD)
This Network release has very good colour picture and sound quality. The extras are the alternate US title logo, an Image Gallery and Original Promotional Material PDFs. There are no subtitles.

I enjoy many portmanteau movies (those dating from the 70s and rewinding) so I ordered my copy with eager anticipation. Big disappointment. This happens to be a generally light-hearted, gentle, and at times twee 50s movie. It is a well-produced film that looks good, but the problem is many of the characters just aren't particularly interesting and for the most part the 'stories' happen to be pretty bland and dull. The excellent cast deserved far better, with a prime example being scenes in the story involving the fledgling romance between Simone Simon's leading lady and George Baker's military officer, which unfortunately are a sure-fire cure for insomnia. Sid James' washed-up boxer along with wife Joan Hickson was for me the pick of the bunch - not too bad, but there again I feel this relatively short segment could have been developed a little more - then contrast that with scenes towards the end of the film, with hoards of young ladies screaming and swooning over crooner Dennis Lotis which seemed to go on forever in comparison.

Very disappointing to see so many class acts let down by what was pretty drab material. Adjectives such as "period charm" "whimsical" or "product of it's time" are sometimes used affectionately when describing many vintage movies. Unfortunately, none of these descriptions could disguise what IMO is a weak example of the portmanteau genre. I must admit I was relieved to see the end credits roll.

The Birthday Present [DVD]
The Birthday Present [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tony Britton
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good Network release, 3 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: The Birthday Present [DVD] (DVD)
This Network release has excellent B/W picture and sound quality. The extras are an Image Gallery and Promotional Material PDF. There are no subtitles.

It's been so many years since I last saw this film on TV, and it was only by a chance reading of the synopsis in the product details (which gives you a fair summary) that my fading memory of it was jogged. The title THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT (and pink case cover) may have an innocuous enough appearance to them, but don't allow that to mislead you, as this is actually a well-crafted low-key drama. You may find it hard to fathom why a guy in a good job who happens to be very successful at it would want to risk his career and livelihood by smuggling an expensive watch through customs. A foolhardy thing to do and of course breaking the law, but you can't help but sympathise with Simon Scott's (Tony Britton) fate as the salesman who then faces the full force of the law, with the subsequent fallout leaving him facing the prospects of paying a very heavy price for his offences.

Clocking in at 95 minutes, the movie actually seems considerably shorter, thanks in no small part to Pat Jackson's excellent direction which keeps the whole thing moving along at a brisk pace without a lull. All the performances are good, including glamorous Sylvia Syms as Scott's devoted wife and Geoffrey Keen as the sympathetic boss. It would have been nice to have Howard Marion Crawford in it longer than he actually was, while Harry Fowler puts in a cameo appearance as one of the prison inmates. A strangely overlooked 50s drama that manages to put across it's moral message without over-sentimentality very well. I will certainly be dipping into this again in the not too distant future. Well worth a look I reckon.

Jet Storm [DVD]
Jet Storm [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Attenborough
Price: £10.47

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turbulence ahead...., 31 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Jet Storm [DVD] (DVD)
Good. Now I can retire my decrepit old off-air VHS copy from yesteryear. Please note: this movie is 87 minutes approx, not 82 as advertised in the product info. This Simply Media release has impressive B/W picture quality with OK sound. There are no extras or subtitles.

I can see all the bases have been covered very nicely elsewhere. Suffice to say this is a low budget suspense movie, lifted by a good storyline and a veritable cornucopia of stars from film and TV. A movie which apparently served as a launchpad for big budget disaster movies further down the line, with Richard Attenborough starring as a distraught character out for revenge against one of the passengers on board the titular jet. Attenborough is rather good at portraying troubled characters (as in "Eight O'Clock Walk").

As the crew & passengers become all too aware of the life-threatening reality facing them all, the story then becomes more of a character study - who will remain calm and who will crack under the pressure? The passengers soon begin splintering into like-minded little groups - the would-be vigilantes spearheaded by lantern-jawed Patrick Allen, and the calmer, reasoning characters personified by the likes of David Kossoff and Cec Linder. I also enjoyed the casting of jovial Harry Secombe who tries to mask his anxiety with witty remarks. Real-life hubby & wife, Bernard Braden and Barbara Kelly seem to be in a little world of their own as the divorced couple apparently on the verge of getting back together - nice touch. And of course we have the obligatory romance (in this case, between two members of the cabin crew).

I reckon the passing of time has been kind to this movie. Yes, it may look and feel like a product of it's time - it's not great but it's definitely not bad. But betwixt the two we are left with a charming & cosy little 50s B/W suspense drama. Ideal for those rainy days (or any day for that matter!).... Straightforward, undemanding entertainment from a bygone era. They don't make 'em like these anymore indeed!

Shadow of the Cat (1961) dvd UK Release
Shadow of the Cat (1961) dvd UK Release
Dvd ~ Andre Morell
Price: £11.90

3.0 out of 5 stars Hammer Lite, 28 Aug. 2015
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I have a decent collection of Hammer horrors/thrillers etc, mostly from the 50s to mid-60s, so was delighted when this movie was drawn to my attention while browsing Amazon some time ago. On the face of it "Shadow of the Cat" sounded like it would fit the bill perfectly, with director John Gilling, a stellar cast including Hammer "Scream Queen" Barbara Shelley (though not much to scream at here)...Andre Morell, Alan Wheatley, Catherine Lacey, Vanda Godsell, Conrad Phillips, William Lucas, along with a photogenic pussy stealing the show. A Hammer rarity available at last to own on DVD, so I dutifully ordered my copy & settled back expecting it to thrill and chill me...

It didn't.

Firstly the good points: with good picture and sound quality plus subtitles, the movie is nicely photographed - nothing wrong with the performances either. On paper at least, the story sounds intriguing enough: lady of the big old house is popped off - lady's pet cat seeks vengeance on those responsible - those responsible attempt to dispose of said moggy - some grasping relatives turn up seeking a piece of the action... Sounds good, should be good, but for long periods it's disappointingly dull & slow moving. Whatever defines the term "horror" certainly isn't present here - a few mildly tense moments maybe, but nothing edge-of-the-seat so to speak. Another reviewer used the word "melodrama" which I think is an apt description. Not a bad film per se, but IMO not the great movie some reviews may lead you to believe. An excellent director/cast & cute cat do not necessarily a classic movie make. 5/10.

Trout Mask Replica
Trout Mask Replica
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the effort..., 27 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Trout Mask Replica (Audio CD)
...for me anyway! I already had 'The Spotlight Kid/Clear Spot' but was advised nay warned not to dip even so much as a toe into this too quickly, but curiosity got the better of me and I ordered a 'like new' second hand copy. Around 30 seconds in I thought someone was taking the p, then I started chuckling, then wanted to congratulate the previous owner for showing commendable restraint, then wanted a refund, then along came 'Moonlight on Vermont'.....

I can fully understand the sentiments behind the 1 star reviews. At first, it can hit you as an uncoordinated cacophonous racket with little discernible structure or shape in a conventional sense. There is recognisable rhythm and melody here, but more often than not these are buried within dense layers of jarring, irregular rhythms and oblique, discordant guitars. Unless you happen to be one of the special ones who can 'get' this first time, I would suggest relinquishing any preconceptions of how music should be structured and start with a completely open mind, a clean slate, then try to find a foothold somewhere/anywhere. To be honest, after my first listen I only liked 'Moonlight on Vermont' then like a cake I quartered the album into smaller, more digestible slices, and most of the rest have now followed suit. Will I grow to enjoy the entire album unequivocally?.... I like to think so. I'm struggling with 'Pena' at the moment, but hey, only yesterday the instrumental 'Dali's Car' sounded like the musical equivalent of 'flatline' but today I detected a strengthening sinus rhythm! And besides, seeing as I've only been listening heavily to this for little more than a week, I reckon I'm not doing too bad! Thanks for taking time to read my review.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2015 10:25 PM BST

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