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J. Lynam "john_madwolf_lynam" (UK)

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April Rain
April Rain
Price: £14.76

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lightning strikes twice with this April Rain Storm, 26 July 2009
This review is from: April Rain (Audio CD)
April Rain is by far and away the best album I've heard in a long time. I discovered Delain on a compilation album, Beautiful Voices 3, and was inspired on the strength of two songs,one audio the other video, to purchase Lucidity which quickly established itself as my favourite album in 2008. Its Within Tempation heritage and influence blended with Nightwish inspired tones was a solid foundation onto which they built their own style and with great success. April Rain doesn't suffer from second album syndrome and for me totally eclipses its predecessor.

Musically this is a more ambitious,complex, multi layered affair than Lucidity and on the whole is almost pure Delain though I heard a tiny Lcuna Coil influence in Stay Forever and a bit of Jethro Tull in Start Swimming but that's no bad thing. It is a superbly balanced sounding album, soaring up and down, perfectly blending hard rock with orchestration notably some haunting cello notes and some calms within this tempestuous storm of an album. Charlotte Wessels vocals are more confident with a greater range of ability on display and a timbre to her voice that was evident in Lucidty but is overtly on display here. Lyrically this is a more poetic and prophetic collection of songs than before. If I had to pick one track that perfectly encapsulates almost everthing this album has to offer it would be I'll Reach You.

I can't fault this album and it has elevated Delain to the status of my favourite group knocking Within Temptation into second place. This is perfection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2011 12:34 PM BST

Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009]
Red Dwarf - Back To Earth - Director's Cut [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Chris Barrie
Price: £6.30

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A star is reborn - back in orbit by being back on Earth., 28 April 2009
The triumphant return of Red Dwarf to television with it's record breaking viewing figures for a digital channel, was a stellar TV event nothing short of a cosmic supernova and a star has truly been reborn. Red Dwarf is well and truly back in orbit by being back on Earth! Although this show has polarised fan opinions more than those that love or hate yeast based spread, there is common ground and much hope that it will herald at least another series perhaps with a more nostalgic flavour, hopefully with a decent budget, longer episodes and a studio audience. Any Dwarf is always most welcome for me.

Back to Earth is best seen all together and improves with repeated viewing with the benefit of hindsight and being accustomed to the style. The original transmission over three nights interrupted its natural momentum and contributed to some knee jerk reactions later retracted that it was sub standard. Episode 1, set in a modern looking grey Red Dwarf, is slower in pace than previous series but nicely re-establishes the characters using the old established and familiar humour tempered with a bit of pathos. Episode 2, which I admit I didn't enjoy the first time I saw it although it seemed to find more widespread favour than episode 1, sees the cast back on Earth in 2009 in a bizarre and surreal situation. Episode 3, the funniest in my opinion, particularly the scene set on Coronation Street makes sense of the situation and is cleverly executed to an optimistic conclusion. Debate rages on the absence of any audience laughter to accompany the episodes. I'm easy either way and hopefully to placate those that want or need it the option will be available on this DVD.

Having watched Red Dwarf since first broadcast in February 1988, I never gave up hope that it would be back in one form or another and Back to Earth was for me worth the wait. My original attraction to the show 21 years ago was that it was a sci-fi sitcom rather than just a sit com,so the darker tones visually and plot wise in this mini series appeal to me and perhaps much more to those who also don't regard it simply as comedy. I've always appreciated the visual improvement to sets and special effects with each series (except series 8) as they enhance and give a bit of credibility to the fact that this is set on a 5 mile long spaceship, a flying industrial city with all amenities on board. I've never seen the appeal of confining it all to a grey bunk room.

I've always thought Red Dwarf was at its best when the comedy and sci-fi were in relatively balanced proportion with a dramatic story. Back to Earth achieves that in its own way and sits somewhere between the styles of series 7 and 8. Although I don't regard it as funny as episodes from series 2 to 6 inclusive it engaged me in the same way that the novels do. It looks like series 7 which I thoroughly enjoyed, but with a lighter mood, and borrows a little bit but not too much of the slapstick but thankfully none of the bodily functions humour that marred my total enjoyment of series 8.

Whilst paying homage to, but not trying to emulate and recapture the shows glory days of the 1990s, it successfully and foresightedly developed a new standard for the future and I'm very confident that this evolution in chronicling Red Dwarf as comedy drama has many more light years ahead of it. May the Dwarf be with us.

The Black Balloon [DVD]
The Black Balloon [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rhys Wakefield
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £3.50

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strewth - this is XXXX great mate., 20 Jan 2009
This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm no teenager at 44 years of age and I found this to be an absolute gem of a film, one of the best I've seen in a long time along with my other Vine selection this month (Transsiberian). Although an unusual subject matter, I had no expectations of it other than Toni Collete would give a brilliant performance no matter what the material. She did, but what surprised me is that she wasn't outstanding as the whole family were just as good, notably Luke Ford who portrayed the autistic Charlie. Credit must also go to Rhys Wakefield who is the other son, Thomas, coping and also struggling to come to terms with his dysfunctional family life compounded by the upheaval of moving to a new suburban neighbourhood, new school, a sympathetic but understanding new girlfriend and his mother's pregnancy and the new born child. He is a character tormented by his guilt that he just wants a normal brother and a normal life. The acting from the two boys is very convincing and worthy of the Australian equivalent of an Oscar. I think they call them a Bruce.

Black Balloon is an unsentimental and uncompromisingly honest study of a close knit family dealing with their own particular highs and lows over a relatively brief period in their lives. They are fundamentally a happy family who have accepted and learnt to cope with their situation and adapted to the constant demands for attention above and beyond most families call of duty. Their lives are tinged with the usual gamut of emotions;sadness,guilt,anger and joy. This film voyeuristically draws you into their world and you can't help but feel some of their experiences. There is fun in this film notably when Charlie escapes from the house and is chased by his brother, both of them barely dressed and Charlie decides to enter a stranger's house and use the toilet whilst one of the occupants is in the shower. The person in the shower eventually becomes Thomas' girlfriend who comes to be accepted and embraced into their family.

The Australian setting is picturesque canvas on which to paint this rich tapestry. It somehow reminded me of my 1970's with the colours, the house decor and the sunshine when the world was a very different place than it is today. The final scene of the two brothers together in the bath was a heart-warming ending and I left the family contented that despite everything I'd witnessed, it was going to work out for them and that it had been a privilege to have been a hypothetical part of their life.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2009 10:57 PM GMT

Transsiberian [DVD]
Transsiberian [DVD]
Dvd ~ Woody Harrelson
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.42

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All aboard for a first class thrilling ride, 19 Jan 2009
This review is from: Transsiberian [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you want bronzed actors, witty one liners, sun drenched American cityscapes, explosions, car chases and loads of CGI effects then don't bother with this. If you want something that is intelligent, superbly scripted, very well acted, excitingly believable, played out in a country far away from America going east, then this will be just the ticket.

Transsiberian is an exceptional film that oozes class from the opening scenes. It is a low lit film, reminiscent of the first two Bourne films, that superbly captures the claustrophobia of a train from a bygone era and the bleak, austere, winter wilderness of Russia. Anyone who sees beauty in industrial landscapes and desolate, inhospitable landscapes will know what I mean when I say that this canvas gives the film its overall atmosphere and adds to the tension. Fan of world cinema will possibly appreciate this more than those who only bother with Hollywood's contribution. This is a a superb hybrid of Hollywood production values and pace with a modern European cinematic style.

The casting is spot on with all of the main characters and support convincingly portrayed. All of the main characters hide surprisingly unexpected dark secrets and are not who they seem on the surface of their masked public personas. Whilst there are predictable situations they develop into unpredictable ones keeping the pace and tension from the beginning of the journey to the satisfying conclusion.

Serif Desktop Publishing Suite 2009
Serif Desktop Publishing Suite 2009

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Publishing made easy, 10 Jan 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I chose this product because every other member of my family had a use for it from professional business reasons to simple homework so it would get a good road test. Without exception they have found it simple to use with outstanding results and would recommend it without hesitation. This is going to get a lot of use in our house.

I'm about as IT savvy as a Viking and even I can use and understand the software. I can't compare it with other similar products as I have no experience and neither did any of my family of other publishing software, but this is tremendous good fun and value for money and produces exceptional results.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [DVD] [2006]
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Mamoru Hosoda
Price: £4.75

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High School Manga, 10 Jan 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This has had a lot of rave reviews and won numerous awards and if you're an established anime or manga fan you'll probably understand why and would rate this 5 stars. As someone who has little or no exposure to the genre,I've little to compare with and perhps don't appreciate the subtle nuances and would rate it 3 and half if I could because it's better than average as a story. The attraction for me was the sci-fi time travel element and a desire to experience and appreciate a film art form different from my usual tastes.

This isn't Disney Pixar animation and for anyone new to the genre is the first bridge to cross. At times the anmation is incredibly detailed, quite realistic particularly some of the clouds, but other times it is very simplistic. However once you become accustomed to it you can settle down and realise what's really important is the story. The plot is engaging and well told and suitable for most ages though not very young viewers. I finished the film satisfied and hungry for more and have gone on to watch Ghost in the Shell, both the movie and some of the TV series.

Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict
Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict
by Seb Hunter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars SentiMETAL journey down memory lane, 10 Jan 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
July 1979, last day of term 3rd year (year 9 nowadays) aged 14. This is when I heard Paranoid by Black Sabbath and so began my love affair with heavy metal and heavy rock. The world was a much simpler place in those days, music was on big vinyl discs and the release of an album especially in a gatefold sleeve was an event that is so far removed from the unemotional downloading of tunes today. This book is a simple and honest narrative that brought back a lot of memories for me of the groups I used to worship, sometimes still listen to most notably AC/DC and the World around and my life in it. The black and white photo's were particularly evocative of that time PERIOD for me.

The great thing about the metal/hard rock genre was, and still is,that it encompases so many sounds;from the ballads of Journey to the soul and ear threatening noise of Trivium. There was and still is something for every taste and fans can and do appreciate the broad spectrum.

I was never drawn to actually pick up a guitar and become a member of a band but this ia an intersting insight to the success and failure of a dream and a way of life.

Although so many of the bands I used to love I no longer listen bacause what they're singing isn't relevant to me, I have stayed connected to Journey, AC/DC,Thunder amongst others.Older,more mellow I listen to many other different types of music too with my preference for female singer/song writers. June 2003, MTV, Bring Me To Life by Evanescence reignited my passion for heavy rock. The female fronted symphonic gothic genre led by Within Temptation and Nightwish encapsulates everything I want from my music. I don't agree with Seb Hunter that metal died, it's still very much alive, it just evolved and re-invented itself for a new generation and fell out of the mainstream which was probably a good thing. Just put heavy metal into the search box here at Amazon for proof of life.

The Mayan Prophecies for 2012
The Mayan Prophecies for 2012
by Gerald Benedict
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dont judge a book by its cover!, 2 Nov 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
reviewed by Andrea Lynam

Its a shame that the content wasnt as interesting as the book cover and title suggested. If you are looking for an easy read then continue looking, I found this book complex and tedious, and rather than being compelled to read from cover to cover I found myself being forced to dip into random pages to generate any real interest in it. There are other books on the subject that I have read which are much more engaging.

Having an interest in all things paranormal, spiritual or anything "weird" I was looking forward to delving into how the prophecies written many hundreds of years ago related to our present day life. I was very disappointed, it was boring, long and hard to read.

You may still be trying to read this book in 2012.

Babylon [DVD]
Babylon [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brinsley Forde
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £4.33

2 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Of limited appeal., 2 Nov 2008
This review is from: Babylon [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If nothing else this film gave me a bit of a laugh at the colours of the cars - were we really driving vehicles like that in the 80's? I may have got a lot more out of this film if it had subtitles because I genuinely couldn't understand much of the dialogue and consequently the plot was lost. This therefore makes it impossible for me to review the film objectively.Visually it was the usual concrete London vistas which I find very unappealing and the 80's were probably my least favourite decade so nothing in this film has any real appeal to me.

Mad Detective [Masters of Cinema] [2007] [DVD]
Mad Detective [Masters of Cinema] [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lau Ching Wan
Offered by rightpricediscs
Price: £16.99

3.0 out of 5 stars He is !, 29 Oct 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is my second foray into Chinese cinema courtesey of the Vine programme, the first being Triangle which I rathered enjoyed up until the last 30 minutes when it went peculiarly mad. This film is a little more balanced by being consistenly unhinged all the way through. The premise is intriguing and has merit and I can see potential for a Hollywood re-make. However I couldn't fully engage with this version partially because I'm relatively unfamiliar with the film style of this particular country and on the evidence so far it's an acquired taste. As with Triangle, it was nice to see something set in unfamiliar physical territory because not everything interesting in the world happens in New York, Los Angeles or London. Overall it was well acted and nicely framed but some of the dialogue appeared banal or unnatural. Again this is probably due to cultural differences, although it's something new to me, Chinese cinema is well established and I would need more exposure to too fully appreciate. I enjoy world cinema but haven't really strayed outside of mainland European films.

It's a slightly complicated film which can be a little confusing to follow and perhaps best seen a second time to fully comprehend. For some reason it reminds of something I saw on television in the early 1970's, but what it was I don't know. To be honest I think that may be some of the hurdle I couldn't get over that it looked dated for something supposedly happening now. Not a film I'd entusiastically promote but if the opportunity arose I'd suggest worth looking at for the experience.

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