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Andrey Kirillov (Samara, Russia)
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Downton Abbey - Series 1-3 / Christmas at Downton Abbey 2011 [DVD]
Downton Abbey - Series 1-3 / Christmas at Downton Abbey 2011 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Bonneville
Price: £24.54

0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 2.0 Stereo..., 8 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I should have stayed with what my friends advised me - a pirate rip with full 5.1 sound. Instead I went my usual legal way and ordered this. To only get 2.0 Stereo soundtrack. C'mon, people. How can you release and sell DVDs of modern series with mere 2.0. People will stop buying films on DVDs at all if you continue cheating like that.

I am sure that buyers of blu-ray will get five varying full surround sound options. But in my experience this (together with Episodes) is the first modern TV series DVD without a 5.1 sound. This is ridiculous and even outrageous. It's like I've been cheated. I feel as if I have thrown money away and have to find place for this old-sound junk.

Amazon should label sound info on all DVDs clearly and fully instead of meaningless Dolby or Stereo.


Episodes Series 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD]
Episodes Series 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt LeBlanc
Price: £11.80

0 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just 2.0 Stereo, 8 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I should have stayed with what my friends advised me - a pirate rip with full 5.1 sound. Instead I went my usual legal way and ordered this. To only get 2.0 Stereo soundtrack. C'mon, people. How can you release and sell DVDs of modern series with mere 2.0. People will stop buying films on DVDs at all if you continue cheating like that.

By the way, it appears that the US edition has 5.1 stereo. So I'll have to order it instead and consider money paid for the UK edition thrown away.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2014 4:52 PM BST


Gay Happening Vol.15
Gay Happening Vol.15
Price: £12.62

5.0 out of 5 stars A Correction, 25 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gay Happening Vol.15 (Audio CD)
This is a good dance music compilation for both gays and straights with lots of high energy and positive material. Despite Amazon description, there is only 1 CD. The video bonus is included into the enhanced portion.


Enjoy the Ride
Enjoy the Ride
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.20

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sugarland No 2, 29 April 2007
This review is from: Enjoy the Ride (Audio CD)
"Sugarland"'s second album "Enjoy the Ride" consists of 11 tracks, most of which gradually almost blend into one music piece. This is one of the feelings it leaves on first hearing. It sounds like Sugarland No 2 is weaker than Sugarland No 1 ("Twice the Speed of Life"). But things are not that bad when you listen to it again.

After their successful first album we'd expect the same joy of both upbeat and intimate music from the trio. But here comes just upbeat music from the duo. Fortunately, the lead singer is still there, her voice too, her energy and style of radiating positive energy with music seems to be there too. But practically gone are the soft, intimate, quieter notes and tunes. Maybe only in "Stay" there is something left of that side of "Sugarland"'s signature art.

They have two 'signatures' though. And the optimistic, filled with energy, loud, pushing signature is there in most of the tracks. You would especially like "Country Line", or "Want To" where the pushing is not overly-loud or overly-pushing, though they are still far from the appeal of several biggest hits of the group's first album. Some other tracks are just a continuous loud exhibition of Jennifer Nettles' vocal potential and instruments that can make the packed stadium dance and cheer, but might be just a tiny bit much for other occasions. Still, tracks like "Happy Ending", "April Showers", and "Sugarland" manage to balance between energizing and desire to sing along. This saves the album. And this CD is also great to listen to while riding a car in an open road (especially titles like "Settlin'"), which fully justifies the title of the whole album. You can still hear artistic attitude to voice and music in most of the album's material. And surely in some pieces you cannot but enjoy the rock-ish country sound ("One Blue Sky", "Mean Girls", and many others). Though "Mean Girls" is a bit over the top of the country/rock'n'roll boundary.

Fans and listeners would certainly like the album, maybe after the second or third go at it, when the time for listening to universally positive and loud music is right. But "Sugarland"'s producers should think hard to make the third album great on first hearing, not to leave the group in a big contemporary country music pool floating among numerous soundalikes. Hopefully, Sugarland No 3 leaves us without any doubt about the group's sure future in the charts and, most importantly, hearts of listeners.


Whatever We Wanna
Whatever We Wanna
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £9.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'd certainly 'wanna' this album, 29 April 2007
This review is from: Whatever We Wanna (Audio CD)
Here comes a new album from LeAnn Rimes. Surprisingly, it is an import from Europe, not released in the USA. Still, listeners and fans on both sides of the Atlantic would certainly 'wanna' this CD as it would give plenty of joy and positive thrills. We know LeAnn Rimes to be a country star, who sometimes goes crossover, like on her "Twisted Angel" album (strangely shunned by critics), which was in the vast majority a pop thing. Then she returned to country with her previous "This Woman", which was to the vast majority a country thing. We know LeAnn Rimes to successfully go between the two styles, playing on both fields.

"Whatever We Wanna" is certainly on the pop field, with practically no country, although some tag it in this category. It again showcases LeAnn Rimes' strong vocal mastery and her songwriters' strong grip at what should be good music. The voice is always strong and good, and we all know that it handles both pop and country with equal power, vibrations and exquisite style. Personally I would single out "Headphones" and "Break Me Down", but all the others are equally great. The last track "Some People" is also on her other album ("This Woman"). You will hear the voice telling stories from a powerful woman in "Strong", who leaves us "Satisfied" not "For the First Time", "And It Feels Like" you get "A Little More Time" through your "Headphones" or stereo of "Whatever We Wanna".

Some of you may say that some of this material sounds like much of what is now playing on contemporary country charts. Some may note that this is quite a fresh look on the pop music as known in Europe. Some may even be wondering if this music can be classed at all. Some of you may find little notes connecting songs from this album to other albums of either LeAnn herself or other artists. Well, music is a big melting pot of today, and LeAnn Rimes surely knows her way of cooking some good sort of cake according to her own recipe.

This import is double the price I am regularly prepared to pay for a CD on Amazon, but it is worth every penny or cent, as you would return to it again and again. LeAnn Rimes did her best here to ensure that there are no doubts or frustration with even a single track. What you get is what you'd 'wanna' listen to today because it is amazing music from an amazing artist.


Hope Springs [DVD] [2003]
Hope Springs [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Colin Firth
Price: £3.99

25 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hope for a Good Movie Springs Down, 5 Dec. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hope Springs [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
"Hope Springs" is a new romantic drama from Touchstone Pictures, starring Colin Firth and Minnie Driver. I was first attracted to this video by the picture of Colin Firth on the box; then I liked the blurb, saying that it is a charming Hollywood-style and witty British style romantic comedy. But my best hopes quickly sprang to bewilderment and scepticism.
A British artist, Colin (Colin Firth), is dumped by his girlfriend, Vera (Minnie Driver) and takes refuge in a tiny New England town of Hope. There he meets a nurse, Mandy (Heather Graham) and they presumably fall in love. Then in the middle of their young relationship Vera comes to claim her former boyfriend. A series of encounters between the three principal characters follow and end quite suddenly with Colin opting for Mandy.
Colin seems to be the typical, if not exaggerated, product of Western civilisation: he almost dies after a five-hour flight to the States, is indecisive till the end, too nervous at some point (especially against a background of calm Vera). He only feels sure in his craft of drawing portraits. Mandy begins as a psychotic provincial chicken, drinking alcohol straight from the bottle, then driving a car, and then undressing before Colin without any invitation or encouragement on his side. She ends a quieter and more positive character though. Vera is a composed, determined self-made woman; still she smokes so much during her appearance in the film that you begin to understand Americans who ban smoking from any public place.
The film may be also called a lollipop advertising the ideal image of America: with not a single obese person, with hotel managers coming to spiritual rescue of their customers (complete strangers) by sending a woman to soothe the heart sores of a newcomer to town, such woman entering a stranger's room without permission and starting by massaging the temples of a jet-lag wreck. Taking into account the really beautiful backdrop of New England fall, the picture of small-town American paradise seems to be complete.
Minnie Driver's acting is better than of anyone else in the film. Colin Firth would hardly be remembered much by his role in "Hope Springs". His personal charm saves the picture sometimes, but is not enough to save the script. The musical score is often better than the film itself, though you won't find anything beyond the ordinary.
If you believe in badly-written fairy-tales, or if you are a fan of someone from the cast; or if you need another portrayal of fall leaves in the cinema - then "Hope Springs" is for you.


Lonely Planet : Australian Phrasebook
Lonely Planet : Australian Phrasebook
by Paul Smitz
Edition: Paperback

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phrasebook for Australia, 5 Dec. 2004
Lonely Planet's "Australian Phrasebook" is a great introduction to the Australian way of life and speaking for foreigners. Whether you are a tourist going on a trip to the land of Aussies, or a person studying English as used in Australia, this can be a good guide and reading supplement. Traditionally to Lonely Planet phrasebooks, this one gives you a short and easy-read introduction to the origin of Australian English. Then follow the sections dealing with present-day Australian English, Australian culture and regional languages.
Firstly, you get acquainted with phonetic and grammar features of Australian English, with British, American and Aboriginal influences, regional varieties of English in this huge country and some borrowings. Here you will also find out how to greet people, get around with Aussie English, and catch the most important colloquial phrases. You will even been able to join the Australians singing their national songs. After you've enriched your general vocabulary it is possible to get to know more about Australian culture and institutions: food and drink, party-culture, sports, urban and rural talk. Whether you'd like to find your way in coffee types or the art of argument "Australian Phrasebook" is helpful enough. It even gives you the recipes of the most popular dishes, so that next time you can throw an Australian party yourself, or just feel sure when ordering damper, pavlova and hedgehog.
The regional section gives you a thorough cultural and linguistic insight into numerous aboriginal languages. Here you will read a lot about the culture of indigenous people, as well as find rather short lists of major words you may encounter during your visit to the inner parts of the country. But, unlike the same sections in "British" or "USA" phrasebooks, the "Australian" one does not let you more or less exchange basic phrases with the Aborigines.
The strong feature of "Australian Phrasebook" is a great number of examples, comprehensive lists of words and expressions, extensive coverage of spoken language. Written in a simple language and entertaining manner, while being very informative "Australian Phrasebook" is a must-have on your next trip to the land Down Under and will certainly be your good companion, which will easily fit in a pocket.


USA (Lonely Planet Phrasebook)
USA (Lonely Planet Phrasebook)
by Sally Stewart
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phrasebook for the States, 5 Dec. 2004
Lonely Planet's "USA Phrasebook" is a great introduction to the American way of life and speaking for foreigners. Whether you are a British tourist going to visit the States, or a person studying English as a foreign language this can be a good guide and reading supplement. Traditionally to Lonely Planet phrasebooks, this one gives you a short and easy-read introduction to the origin and modern state of American English. Then follow the sections dealing with American culture and regional variations.
Firstly, authors give you a few hints on pronunciation, grammar, body language, major musts of conducting a conversation, and insults, all of which in a light practical manner. Secondly, the phrasebook is a cultural studies compilation throwing light on different aspects of American way of life, American society and its dos and don'ts. Various sections tell you about family patterns, dating, weather talk, housing, driving, eating and drinking habits, sports, entertainment, musical tastes, political and educational institutions, influences from US culture on English and international life. Other chapters deal with business or gay talk, slang and jargon (military, surf speak, skate talk and psychobabble). Every chapter tries to give a short introduction, but the main content is delivered through explanation of meaning and usage of numerous words, phrases and sentences. The authors inform you of what can be said and heard, of what can be used or should be avoided. There is also a small section on British-American differences, far from comprehensive but enough to start with. It includes some tips for Brits written in such a funny way that you don't know at first whom to feel sorry for, British or Americans.
The regional section tells you about regional vocabulary in various parts of the country, with separate chapters on the Ocracoke Island phenomenon, Californian, North-West, Central Plaines, New York, New England, Southern English, on the language of African-Americans, Jews, Spaniards, on Pennsylvania German and Hawaiian English. Then come chapters dealing with some Native American languages: Pueblo, Navajo, Ojibway, Mohawk, Lakota, Cherokee, Hawaiian and others. Here you will find both information about the history and culture of indigenous tribes, as well as lists of common phrases and words.
This phrasebook lets you find your way among regional and social varieties, typical words and jargon, geographical and national influences. It will make you understand Americans and their way of life better through the language they speak. Written in a simple language and entertaining manner, while being very informative "USA Phrasebook" is nearly a must-have on your next trip to the States and will certainly be your good companion, which will easily fit in a pocket.


British (Lonely Planet Phrasebook)
British (Lonely Planet Phrasebook)
by Elizabeth Bartsch-Parker
Edition: Paperback

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phrasebook for Britain, 5 Dec. 2004
Lonely Planet's "British Phrasebook" is a great introduction to the British way of life and speaking for foreigners. Whether you are an American going to visit the British Isles, or a person studying English as a foreign language this can be a good guide and reading supplement. Traditionally to Lonely Planet phrasebooks, this one gives you a short and easy-read introduction to the origin and modern state of English. Then follow the sections dealing with British English and regional languages.
The section on British English is, again traditionally, an introduction to the language through British culture, institutions, traditions and way of life. Some chapters open with humorous sketches by S. Hughes that will make you laugh out loud. You will learn how to greet people, how to talk over the phone, how to find your way in the world of slang and cockney (not being a thorough textbook or dictionary of these), how to brace yourself with the features of British pronunciation (not being a course on phonetics), how to tell a British word or expression from an American (not being a British-American dictionary), how to address the Queen or peers (without making you bored with the detailed description of the aristocratic history). But most of the contents are not even the lists of typically British words and expressions. It is an interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes witty, often highly informative yet brief description of British culture (music, sports, food, drink, housing, etc.) and institutions (political, educational, etc.), as well as of ways of travelling, spending your free time and free money. If you need to know the names of high-street shops or intend to watch a report from some cricket match, think of driving a car or going on a train journey, want to read a paper and know what's meant and what's not - "British Phrasebook" is one way of helping you survive in Britain.
The regional section tells you about regional accents and dialects of English with some examples. It also deals with Scottish Gaelic and Welsh. Here (in the last two chapters) there is a true phrasebook letting you say a lot of useful things in the native tongues of Scotland and Wales. Practical transcription enables you to pronounce sometimes quirky letter-combinations of these Celtic languages.
Written in a simple language and entertaining manner, while being very informative "British Phrasebook" is nearly a must-have on your next trip to the Isles and will certainly be your good companion, which will easily fit in a pocket.


Home (Repackage With Bonus DVD)
Home (Repackage With Bonus DVD)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Dixie Chicks offer on sale, 4 Dec. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This limited edition of the Dixie Chicks' "Home" is the best double CD offer in country music section. It includes an audio CD "Home" and a DVD "An Evening with the Dixie Chicks". The audio CD also contains three bonus tracks. So, this compilation is really a super value for the Chicks' fans and not only for them.
The audio CD features "Home" album with its 12 compositions. The Dixie Chicks' third album does not cross the country borders, yet it is pleasing to the ears of a general listener. Most of the tracks are meaningful lyrics and great music combined with the superb singing by the three Chicks and masterful playing by the band. The CD opens with the very-country "Long Time Gone" as if telling the story of the girls recalling their rural Texan childhood. The trio returns to business fresh after the legal battles with their label record Sony. They are also having a few comebacks to their Texas. The title song "A Home" is full of reminiscences about the long-gone past and mistakes of the youth. Emily Robison's dobro solo really makes everything tremble to the core, if you are not already shaken by the rest of the songs. Some of them tell the stories, like a tear-jerker "Travelin' Soldier" about the love between a barmaid and a Vietnam War soldier; or "White Trash Wedding" about a girl marrying a poor man because she's pregnant; or "Tortured, Tangled Hearts" with an insight into what might happen after marrying the wrong person. Some songs tell us of love as a simple but important human feeling: "More Love" is, as Natalie Maines put it, the Dixie Chicks' answer to militaristic Toby Keith's lyrics; "I Believe in Love" is a very heartfelt confession of a person who has suffered but is still sure that true feelings exist. There is also one instrumental track "Lil' Jack Slade" where the Chicks let their hands do the job and voices take a rest.
And finally "Home" includes three songs previously recorded by other artists. They are Stevie Nicks' "Landslide" telling us the story of the band that realised its true potential and struggled with blocks on its way to world recognition and popularity; and two Patty Griffin's remixes - "Truth No. 2" with the country beat and "Top of the World" with a more lyrical tune. But this is not all. As already mentioned this double package is full of bonus features. One of them is three additional audio tracks: Sheryl Crowe's remix of "Landslide" with Sheryl Crow playing the bass guitar; the Greg Collins remix of "Top of the World", and a breathtaking re-record of "Travelin' Soldier" whose acoustic flavour makes it slightly less country but greatly more appealing to wider audiences, it certainly adds more feeling to the story of a faithful love.
In general the overall lyrics and tone of "Home" is more philosophical and serious than that of their previous "Fly" album. In the number of ballads they came closer to their debut "Wide Open Spaces" CD. But this seriousness would not scare their true fans off. The Chicks now show their maturity and confidence in their talents and popularity, no matter what Natalie happens to say about politics. If the band used to be banned from American radio waves some time ago, it surely cannot be banned from our hearts.
The DVD contains the recording of the concert "An Evening with the Dixie Chicks" made at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. This DVD can be purchased separately, but surely the present double package is a true saver as you can enjoy both the audio and video disks. The Chicks sing all the songs from their "Home" album and a few more of their hits ("Wide Open Spaces", "Cowboy Take Me Away", "Goodbye Earl" and "Sin Wagon"). The DVD recording without a doubt will let you feel the great uplifting atmosphere of the live concert. Great shots, camera sliding all around the auditorium and showing how much the public likes and supports the band, perfect sound, no flaws in the picture - these are just some of the features making the DVD worth having and playing. However, the major thing worth our attention is the Dixie Chicks and their music. They really rock and move you with Natalie Maines' clear vocals, Emily Robison's charm and Martie Maguire's fiddle solos. They sing live, they play live, they make the audience sing and dance with them, they'll make you sing and dance with them as well. What you get here is an hour and a half of authentic country that easily captivates even those who do not consider themselves as country fans.
The only drawback of this edition is that the booklet does not have the lyrics of the songs. Yet it has additional pictures of the Chicks in comparison with the original "Home" CD booklet. But surely after listening to this audio CD and watching the DVD you will know the lyrics by heart and want to watch the concert again and again. The spirit of joy, love, unity, compassion, the words and the music will remain with you forever.


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