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A. Provan "Bolt Vanderhuge" (Scotland)
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PowerDirector 9 Deluxe Edition (PC)
PowerDirector 9 Deluxe Edition (PC)

2.0 out of 5 stars Not Great, 18 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As someone who edits a lot of videos I was keen to try a different piece of software from the decent but not great one I was already using. Sadly Power Director 9 won't be replacing that one. I found it clumsy and and a little too basic, especially for the price it reportedly goes for.


Claymore Vol 1 & 2 [DVD]
Claymore Vol 1 & 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hiroyuki Tanaka
Price: 19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Series, 18 May 2012
This review is from: Claymore Vol 1 & 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As someone who hadn't read the manga beforehand I found the animated series of Claymore to be a thrilling and surprising experience. It lost its way a bit in the final few episodes but for the most part it was excellent.


Sennheiser HD 428 Closed-Back Stereo Headphones With Dynamic Bass
Sennheiser HD 428 Closed-Back Stereo Headphones With Dynamic Bass

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Headphones, 5 Aug 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've had these for a couple of weeks now and have been trying them out with different players and types of music to get a feel for them. At first I was a tad underwhelmed by them. They're aesthetically pleasant and appear to be a decent build, for the cost you'd expect that. But the sound felt a little thin, especially in relation to the drums and the bass. The CD I was playing was Divine Madness. What I began to realise though is that it may have been the CDs fault. Further listening has thrown up that older CDs, ie quieter recorded ones, don't fair well when played through these headphones. They also make glaringly obvious the flaws in those dreadful stereo remasters of older music like Cream and The Beatles.

I've had much better success with other types of music. Heavy bass laden stuff such as Dubstep or Jungle sounds really good through them. The bass feels just heavy enough without drowning out the other instrumentation. They also perform well with music that employs many layers to its instrumentation such as Cocteau Twins. The headphones do a good job of revealing lots of the subtle details contained within this sort of music. As such they also work well with more ethereal types such as Brian Eno and Stars Of The Lid.

Rock doesn't fair quite as well, at times songs can feel a little flat and lacking in punch. It's not a dreadful problem but if you plan only to listen to rock then these might not be for you.

All in all these are pretty good headphones. They're comfy to wear and look good. Most importantly they perform well for the price.


Mark Steel - Vive La Revolution [2007] [DVD]
Mark Steel - Vive La Revolution [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mark Steel

4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Revolutionary Stand-up Comedy, 7 Jan 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been a fan of Mark Steel's lectures that were shown on BBC4 for quite a while now, so the chance to get hold of a DVD of him doing historical-based comedy proved a very tempting proposition indeed.

The Mark Steel Lectures were one of the finest shows on telly when they were shown, mixing a lecture on the importance of a historical figure with well judged comic interludes and funny recreations of said figure's life, usually transporting them into a modern context, Beethoven as a spoiled punk, Mary Shelley as a Goth and so on. It proved to be very entertaining but also very insightful, providing a guide to the figure's life and a presentation by Steel as to why their contribution mattered. It was a brilliant way to teach, the viewer being entertained while at the same time informed.

Vive La Revolution is in a way a live version of the lectures taking in a full period of history. Steel presents a lecture about the French Revolution and why it matters to society. It's not dry though as he infuses it with great humour and introduces many of the characters that were involved, often allowing them to speak in their own words thanks to readings from letters.

While doing this he sometimes breaks into a straight forward stand-up routine. it can be a bit jarring, but it is funny nonetheless. Steel is a very funny stand-up, but be warned, he has a habit of swearing, so if you were planning on using this as an educational tool then it's best to check the age of your audience.

It's not perfect, some of the historical events feels a little skimmed over, although that is understandable, and the show itself seems to be a little confused as to what it is. It's as if Steel decided he wanted to present this lecture but was a little afraid that it wouldn't be entertaining enough so injected bits of his normal stand-up act to spice it up a bit. That said it is very funny, and presents a case for a period of history that is too often overlooked that is very compelling.


Roxio Easy Media Creator 2009 Ultimate (PC)
Roxio Easy Media Creator 2009 Ultimate (PC)
Offered by BitsAndBobs4U
Price: 29.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not much different from the last Roxio, but that's a problem, 4 Nov 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using Roxio 10 for over a year now and have to admit that I haven't had many problems with it, something that according to the reviews makes me quite lucky. It does some things well, but it has problems. Obviously the first thing I was looking for with this next version was if it had kept the good stuff right and fixed the bad. They've gotten it half right.

A programme like Roxio is a strange beast. It does so much that the average user probably won't use half of the things it can do, myself included. The other problem is that with so much crammed in for the price it can never be the top option in anything it offers. What you can hope is that if top range product isn't something you absolutely need then it will do what you need easily. In most respects then Roxio 2009 does just that.

The interface is easy to use, although 10's may have been a little simpler. One of the main problems is that whereas in the previous version all of the features were listed by name, 2009 lists them by description. This may be a good thing for new people but if you already know what you're looking for it can actually be a bit vague. The video editing application Videowave is the thing I use most on it. As I said it's not the best, but does its job well and I prefer it to the Windows one. Like everything in this a dedicated, expensive piece of software will be better, but in this case especially it works well enough. I have read in reviews of this about how slow it is, and I can't say I've had those problems, but at the same time it doesn't appear to be any faster than 10's version of Videowave, despite claims to the contrary. One thing that is impressive is the amount of file types it supports. It's a huge list. Thanks to this the file conversion application's are pretty good too. Another that is similar to Videowave is the Audio Editor which allows you to do just that, creating continuous mixes and adding effects. Again it's not incredible but does its job to the level you can hope, which is still pretty good.

The thing is is that these applications are pretty much identical to their equivalent versions in Roxio 10. They don't really seem to have been tweaked at all, beyond the odd labour saving thing such as the window not closing when adding files or there being an option to sync what you've done straight to an MP3 player. It means that the things Roxio did well have been left alone, but any niggles also remain for the most part. In some cases that's not too bad but in the case of, say, burning CDs it means frustration for myself. When using 10 to do this the burning process would often fail. This is still the case with 2009. Also in the CD Creator the problem of crossfading hasn't been fixed. In 10 no matter what option was selected the next track would fade in instead of starting instantly. This again seems to be a problem.

CD Creator also highlights what needless tweaking can do. Instead of fixing what was wrong, Roxio have added a beatmatch feature that is poor to say the least. And again using it means the fading problem happens. There's also something annoying about the Sound Card Capturer. In 10 it worked really well. 2009's appears identical, apart from those little things added that I mentioned earlier, but for some reason when I have used it it has struggled with louder sound. I'll continue messing with it to see if I can fix it, but so far 10 done this better.

Shamefully I can't cover everything in Roxio 2009 as the amount of applications on offer is staggering. This means that it's pretty huge and takes an age to install and also that there hasn't been the time to try everything in it. As most stuff appears to be pretty much the same as 10 then I'd say that for the most part Roxio 2009 is a decent option if you're looking for a media suite that won't excel in anything but will do a good job if required. Too much hasn't changed to recommend it if you already own 10 then don't bother. The stuff 10 done well hasn't really gotten any better but shamefully the problems haven't either. At the price it is good though. just don't expect miracles.


Triangle (Tie Saam Gok) [DVD]
Triangle (Tie Saam Gok) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tsui Hark
Offered by Direct-Offers-UK-FBA
Price: 2.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing Entertainment, 22 Oct 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'll admit it before I start but I've never seen any of the three director's films, not being overly familiar with Hong Kong cinema but I'd heard a couple of positive reviews of Triangle so I thought I'd give it a go. As previously stated the film is split into three half hour segments each directed by one of the three. It's no shock then that this is uneven, confusing and at times quite messy. The fact that it also features five scriptwriters can't help.

Essentially Triangle is a heist movie that isn't concerned about the heist, it is shown as a brief montage, but rather with the bizarre goings on that follow it thanks to the myriad connections between the main protagonists and a bunch of supporting characters.

It starts off well but soon descends into a confusing jumble of characters and a convoluted plot that relies a little too much on coincidence. Then the second act becomes a totally different picture, a sort of psycho romance art picture, a move that jars and may put some off. Keeping in mind how this film was produced goes some way to explaining it, but it's still a strange move. Thankfully the third act is a cracker and features a great final confrontation and some confusion over plastic carrier bags that just about makes the first hour worthwhile.

So three legendary directors working separately a great film does not make as it ends up an uneven, confusing mess. But it's an entertaining uneven, confusing mess. I'm just unsure who this really is going to appeal to, including fans of the three directors. As i said I don't know their separate works but Triangle doesn't really give them a chance to flourish.


Origin - Spirits of the Past [DVD]
Origin - Spirits of the Past [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keiichi Sugiyama
Price: 4.10

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Particularly New Or Exciting, 27 Aug 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Origin Spirits Of The Past - The Movie

Origin Spirits Of The Past is one of those movies that initially seems to offer a lot. It looks stunning, with the design of Neutral City in particular something to behold. But it becomes apparent very quickly that the story is the same old man vs. nature bit with a boy having to realise his destiny to save mankind and so on and so on.

It's a shame as Origins looked like it could have been something approaching the brilliance of Hayao Miyazaki. As it stands it's nothing of much interest to anyone besides animation buffs.


Onclements
Onclements
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: 26.56

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Rare As You'd Think, 13 Jun 2008
This review is from: Onclements (Audio CD)
Just a note for anyone looking to purchase this album by Ovuca, do not pay the prices being charged by sellers on this site. This album is available from Warp Records at the time of writing for about 12.

Just thought I'd give people the head's up!


Lupin the Third: The Secret of Mamo [DVD]
Lupin the Third: The Secret of Mamo [DVD]
Dvd ~ Yasuo Otsuka
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: 7.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The secret is it's not that great, 26 May 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Back in the mid-90's Manga Video decided to release three Lupin III films, there are quite a few out there. Of these three only one has gotten any attention recently, the rather wonderful Castle of Cagliostro. The main reason for that is because it was diredted by the great Hayao Miyazaki, of Spirited Away fame. The other two, Goodbye Lady Liberty and this, The Secret Of Mamo just kind of disappeared. Until now that is.

At the time I saw Castle and was blown away by it. This made me want to see the other Lupin films, but for whatever reason I didn't. Seeing Secret Of Mamo now about a decade later leaves me utterly disappointed. This is because Mamo is no where near the quality of Castle of Cagliostro.

Whereas the character of Lupin had been toned down In Castle in Mamo he is at his goofyist, a sex-crazed simpleton incapable of dreaming. Think Jim Carrey playing him in a live-action version and you'll get the idea. This makes him quite unlikeable and unlikely as the genius master thief he's supposed to be. The plot's also pretty ridiculous. What starts as a fun crime caper quickly becomes bogged down in over-the-top sci-fi nonsense. The animation is also quite poor at times, but the lush beauty of Castle may have spoiled it a bit.

That being said there is some fun to be had with Secret of Mamo. It has a very good sense of humour and some of the set pieces are fantastic. The highlight of these being the chase near the start of the film that involves a huge truck on a mountain road before somehow ending up in the sewers with a helicopter, all the while our heroes are taking all this on in a crappy wee car.

Having read only little of the Lupin III manga I can say that this film is close in tone to what I've experienced, but sadly that leads to a sub-par effort for the gentleman thief. Fans of the manga or the other films may really enjoy this, as may newcomers to the series. But if you are coming to Lupin III through Castle of Cagliostro be warned, this is an entirely different kettle of fish.


The Golden Age
The Golden Age
Price: 10.04

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American Music Club as you've probably heard them before, 19 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Golden Age (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Golden Age is one of those solid albums that sounds a lot like many other things you've heard before (American Music Club's previous albums mainly) but that's not always a bad thing. The best thing about this album is the familiarity. From the great musicianship to Eitzel's voice and lyrics you know what you are getting and if you are a fan of the band that's what you want.


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