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Glen1975 "Monsieur Le Sax" (London)

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A World Without Thieves [DVD] [2004]
A World Without Thieves [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Rene Liu
Offered by Get it in a Jiffy
Price: £4.97

5.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Train Romp through China's Beautiful Landscapes, 8 Aug 2010
Nice film, nice simple plot. A morality tale. It could have been easily filmed as a Western. The acting in the film is also rather good - the changes from serious to pantomime are subtle and, at times, very amusing - there's even a nice little swipe at Jackie Chan (very much in context). Some of the pickpocketing tricks are beautifully filmed and so typically Chinese - all fast paced, trick of the eye kind of stuff - cinematic magic. The backdrop to all of this was the varied and most beautiful landscape that China has to offer to offer. We are treated to all forms of it, from desert to tundra. This film is great fun to watch. The acting, direction and photography are so good that you don't have it get any dramatic licence. Great fun, great escapism.


Dog Days [2002] [DVD]
Dog Days [2002] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Maria Hofstätter
Price: £8.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Voyage into the Dark Side of our Humanity, 17 July 2010
This review is from: Dog Days [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
This film takes a voyage around the dark side of the human condition all set on a backdrop of an Austria which has turned in to Californian retail park, this gives the film a dreamlike quality. It feels like an exploration of the nightmare of man's inhumanity to each other and in particular, women. Although there are some highly comic moments, it is not an easy film to watch but extremely compelling. Five stars all the way, this is a quality nightmare.


Dark Hollow (Coronet books)
Dark Hollow (Coronet books)
by John Connolly
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Thriller but Expect Frustration, 11 Feb 2010
This book has much going for it - atmosphere, a fairly good plot, gruesomeness, characterisations, good writing. The pacing is quite good and were it not for this, I would have abandoned the book half-way. The book needs to be heavily edited, there are numerous self-indulgent cul-de-sacs in areas where Parker, the hero, has loved and lost and thus we are regaled with this annoying wallowing in regret which is not related to the plot - needless focus on the love interest - two paragraphs would have sufficed, but there areas where about ten pages go into exhaustive detail of a failed love affair.

The rest of the book, well; what can I say, it's a great thriller.

Let me make things really clear, I enjoyed the book; but there were points when I felt like throwing out of the window of the bus on which I was travelling.

Another point worthy of note is that this book predates Wallander by almost twenty years; another detective plagued by personal demons and who only finds relief in unravelling a gruesome crime. I am hooked on Wallander and I guess that is the reason why, at the end of the day, I like this book.


Polar Star
Polar Star
by Martin Cruz Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.87

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polar Star puts Gorky Park in the Shade, 11 Nov 2009
This review is from: Polar Star (Paperback)
After reading Gorky Park, I learned that there were sequels to this book, Polar Star and Red Square. I thought the sequels would be a hard act to follow. I was wrong. Arkady has to take flight from sinister forces which are out to exterminate him following his investigations in the first book. He finds asylum and sustenance on a Soviet Factory Ship working with the US in US waters in the spirit of Glasnost. there is a suspected murder of a young woman on board; given his record, he is asked to investigate ostensibly that the young woman had died due to misadventure, otherwise it would not look very good to the Americans. Arkady thinks and does otherwise, the powers that be did not reckon on his forensic abilities and skills. That's where the problems start. I do not want to say anymore with regard to the plot.

The book is resplendent with the claustrophobic atmosphere of the ship. You can smell the salt, fish, sweat, cabbage, Russian tobacco smoke with the turn of each page.

His observations of the Russians and Soviet people is magnificent, they are sitting in front of you with friendliness, diffidence, hostility - you can see straight in to their eyes and feel an air of menace.

Martin Cruz Smith knows the Soviet Union, its politics and people so well that you are up against them just like Arkady. Having said that, one can not help feeling that he loves his subject matter. Makes you wonder what the Russians think of him.

Great read!


Enigma
Enigma
by Robert Harris
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Time Machine of a Novel!, 29 Oct 2009
This review is from: Enigma (Paperback)
Enigma is one of those wonderful books that takes you back to the not-too-distant past when people lived in a rather austere world of war-time Britain. Harris' storytelling beautifully integrates the cinematic with the empathetic, not only can you visualise the black-out but you experience it - such as having to make a telephone call in a telephone box in the dark without any means of light. A car interior smells of leather and stale cigarette smoke, a point that he repeats throughout the book not for padding but to give you the sense of olfactory discomfort. All this comes along with the stale sweat of the people, bathing once a week in only five inches of wateer. Harris' descriptions of the food, which he weaves throughout the novel, are not for the squeamish, I found myself smelling and tasting it. The book holds the fine balance between background and plot extremely well.

We have Tom Jericho, a code-breaking whizz-kid becoming as heroic as John Hannay of Thirty Nine Steps fame; even some of the scenes described took me back to the old John Buchan novels. Tom, a rather demure, goes all gung-ho.

Pure escapism, a time machine of a novel!


Berlin Game (Harper Books)
Berlin Game (Harper Books)
by Len Deighton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating but Rewarding, 21 Oct 2009
No spy novel is ever easy, it twists and turns and one finds oneself having to review the previous pages to get a handle on on the plot again; and just when one thought you got that bit right, one finds oneself doing the same thing again, again and again. Such was my experience with Berlin Game. Such are the devils in the detail! I had to give it four stars for that sheer frustration, personal annoyance; but then, that is what is espionage and counter-espionage is all about - checking, rechecking, doubling-checking, going over old territory to pick up on something one has missed.

Five stars for the characterisations - horrible snotty spotty bureaucrats and apparatchicks like Dicky Cruyer whose experience of the field was minimal but whose expense account and allowance would put any British MP to shame. Fully developed characters like Bernard Sampson and his German friends. Bernard lives and dies for the 'field', it's his raison d'etre.

Deighton's humour and dialogue is wonderfully droll throughout.

It's hard work but rewarding; it would not be spy novel otherwise.


The Personal Feng Shui Manual: How to Develop a Healthy and Harmonious Lifestyle (A Gaia original)
The Personal Feng Shui Manual: How to Develop a Healthy and Harmonious Lifestyle (A Gaia original)
by Kam Chuen Lam
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feng Shui is Just Common Sense, 6 Oct 2009
This is a really nice book with some nice illustrations. Ever wondered why you may feel uncomfortable in your bedroom? Ever wondered why your home and garden are not given you a satisfying and peaceful home life. This book may not have all the answers, but it has some useful and common sense suggestions. Feng shui was all the rage a few years back, now that the dust has settled, you can have a look at this book again. Don't worry, there is no interior design rubbish and the alterations that you would have to make will not involve a house makeover nor you will have to shell out huge sums of money. Master Kam's writing style is light, easy to follow and enjoyable to read.


Schoenberg: Complete String Quartets 1, 2, 3, 4
Schoenberg: Complete String Quartets 1, 2, 3, 4
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £14.13

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Work but Worth It!, 6 Oct 2009
When I first heard Schoenberg's work, I had real difficulty in understanding what all the fuss was about with atonality. It had no rhyme or reason for me, it was just sounds which were devoid of any comfortable structure, ie harmony and consonance. With the progress of time and becoming more educated in music, I realised that both harmony and consonance were very confining - there is only so much one can do within certain key signatures. Schoenberg thought outside of this convention and focussed on note and rythmic structure, rather than within the confines of a certain key. These string quartets are a fabulous introduction to his experimentations with atonality. Not only that, they will educate your ear to appreciate music which is composed outside the usual harmonic conventions. It involves much hard work, but it's worth it.


Explorer Series: Java - Court Gamelan
Explorer Series: Java - Court Gamelan

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Musical Dream, 6 Oct 2009
I first heard this in the 1970's, I was impressed by the dreamlike quality of the music. Forms and structures weave and interweave like a vast silken cloth. This music is more contemplative than its frenetic and highly energetic Balinese counterpart. It's music to take you to another world.


Bandstand
Bandstand
Offered by Townsend Records
Price: £9.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Packaging Captivated me to Family, 30 Aug 2009
This review is from: Bandstand (Audio CD)
I was fourteen at the time when this album was released. The child in me demanded that I buy the album sleeve rather than the album. I did not care about the music inside, I wanted the cover! The ancient tv set, with a plastic see through cover, gatefolded to the innards of the tv. Sublime. When I got the album, it had to go for a spin, the opening guitar riffs of "Burlesque" just grabbed me, it sounded like a saxophone. Roger Chapmans gravelly voice buzzed out the fragile speaker on my mono record player. Wow! Bolero Babe is another favourite, completely beautiful and dreamy, brought down to earth with Coronation Mug. Broken Nose rocked out the first side. The album has a nice finale in "Top of the Hill". My sixteen year old demanded to own the said album because she liked the sleeve - an heirloom. So I bought the CD. Don't let the appearances of a great sleeve deceive, the music is equally good!


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