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Spies Like Us [DVD] [1985]
Spies Like Us [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Chevy Chase
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny as I remember, but one of the poorest DVD transfers I've seen..., 5 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spies Like Us [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Great film, another classic from the '80's stable of Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, John Landis and others. Amazon as ever were good value, and it arrived quickly even with free delivery.

Disappointing DVD transfer though, picture is grainy, washed out colour, mediocre sound and overall (if anything) worse than when I last saw it on terrestrial broadcast. Very surprised, frankly, but can't blame Amazon.

Also, no extras. Didn't look for them when I ordered, so no biggie, but would have been good to see outtakes or commentaries.

Come on, big studios. Spend a little and give us proper picture and sound (and extras) on films like this.

Aluminium Metal Flight Case Lockable Triple 3 Pack Small/Med/Large
Aluminium Metal Flight Case Lockable Triple 3 Pack Small/Med/Large
Offered by Maplin_Webdeals
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal, amazing value, 21 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Needed a range of cases to cart music stuff around (cables, leads, mics, pedals etc). This was ideal, and amazing value. Tough enough, but not heavy. Smart looking too.

Fly From Here
Fly From Here
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £14.46

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Yes, but Maybe. Maybe the Buggles?, 30 July 2011
This review is from: Fly From Here (Audio CD)
As a long time fan, I was prepared to give this unorthodox Yes-team a try. And I'm sadly disappointed.

In the past, Yes have thrived even though the 'classic' line up of Anderson/Wakeman/Squire/Howe & Bruford have only been combined for precious few records. Over the years, a range of new talent has been brought in, but it has nevertheless retained a core of Yes-ness that's stayed mostly true (there have been a few wild exceptions) to the original idea, soundscape and ambition. In Bruford's absence we had the mighty Alan White, in Wakeman's absence we had Moraz, Khuroshev, Downes and others. But in no previous incarnation of Yes have we lost Bruford, Wakeman AND Anderson. And sadly, that's what this album is all about.

At every turn, despite Trevor Horn's genius at creating an expansive and involving sound, I miss the sparkle, the unexpected, the surprising elements that rise magically from the better of the Yes albums. Without Wakeman, the magical seques from section to section have lost their lustre, and the glorious analogue organs are sadly missing. The orchestration/arrangements are competent but ordinary, the instrumentation broad, but unimaginative. More importantly however, the wonderful insanity that Anderson brought to the procedings is totally absent, and it is here that this album really disappoints.

I hadn't realised in the past what a unifying force Anderson had been - the harmonic content, the lyrical content and the structure/theme development all seem to be woefully lacking here. Lyrically, this album is embarrasing - whilst Jon's lyrics have frequently been critised for their opacity and mystically confusing content, the lyrics here are near-pointless, and sound like they were written very quickly. Having seen Jon recently in concert (incidentally in a joint performance with Rick...), with his spark, zany-scattalogical but ultimately creative approach, his lack of involvement with this project is glaringly obvious.

What is also obvious and a surprise, is that the majority of the writing credits are due to Horn/Downes. I have huge respect for both of these individuals as musicians, composers and (in Horn's case) production. But they are not Yes, even though they have both had long associations with the band. They are the Buggles. And essentially, this is an expansive, complicated, well-produced Buggles album. It is a tribute to Yes, but A Yes album it is not. Sorry.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2011 11:11 AM BST

300 [2007] [DVD]
300 [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gerard Butler
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £2.88

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive, techically brilliant, but not inspiring, 11 Feb. 2008
This review is from: 300 [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Weak on character development, plot and (unfortunately) enjoyment. Whilst I appreciate that this is meant to be a cartoon-like blood-fest, I was expecting more engagement of the brain and of the emotions - this was not a film that challenged the 'higher' senses, and indeed I found it a bit boring.

"Cartoon-cool" does not forgive this plotless, dull going-through-the-motions pastiche of Gladiator, Spartacus, with vague nods in the direction of Cleopatra. At times, this felt like watching two rugby teams you know you vaguely recognise, but can't get excited about slugging it out (fairly gruesomely) for a trophy that doesn't really matter. I expected a clever plot-twist (as the film is narrated by someone who wasn't there at the crucial moment towards the end, he could have been imagining what "must have happened" and then reality would be different to the narration....) but no. What you get is a bit of an anticlimax, that is either a set-up for a sequel, or just a weak-ending.

Given the style with which this film was put together - the special effects and the slow-mo battle scenes are incredibly impressive, and the lengthy build-up to the 'main event' battle sequences, I expected so much more. The cast do a reasonable job, but the dialogue is woeful, and the one female speaking part really isn't enough for any sort of emotional development, and insufficient to counterbalance the masculine-dominated procedings. Where (e.g.) Gladiator, or Lord Of The Rings score is in the (1) character development, and (2) that what they are fighting against is evil. With 300, you get neither of these things. There are so many great ideas in this film, but some of them feel rushed in order to get to the next one, and that is a huge shame.

A victim of it's own hype? Perhaps. Does it score on the gore-fest front? Well, nearly. The battle scenes are certainly stylish, and the sepia-toned slow-mo scenes are highly effective. But I found them a bit life-less and mechanical - like machines fighting machines, rather than men fighting monsters (like in Lord of The Rings) or men fighting machines (say, Terminator) - and it was a bit unengaging. I found the sepia-toned colours (constant throughout the whole film, pretty much) and very appropriate in places (create an aged 'history-book' other-worldly feel), after a while took away some of the human-connection and added to the mechanical-feel - and the battle scenes needed more colour - more red, more blue, less grey and faded scarlet.

The special effects are great, up to the point where the CGI blood is spurting everywhere, but somehow none of it sprays on to the soldiers... who after all the hacking and limbs flying in all directions are fairly blood-spatter-free. It's an annoying technicality that makes the carnage less-real. This may have been done for the censors etc... a shame if so.

Overall, a demonstration in technical prowess, but unmoving and unsatisfying. 3-stars, for technical excellence, some great (if rushed) ideas, and a cast that did the best they could.

Ben Folds Five
Ben Folds Five
Offered by westworld-
Price: £6.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Folds best work, 2 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Ben Folds Five (Audio CD)
An energetic raw introduction to this eccentric trio. An unusual combo of piano & vocals (Ben Folds), bass and drums works surprisingly well, with Folds hammering-chords more than compensating for the lack of guitar. Many pianists out there will be trying to play his cunning riffs... Put this in the car and you'll soon be bashing the dashboard rather than playing air-guitar at the traffic-lights.

Whilst their later offerings have been more polished, none have been as frantically engaging and down-right fun as this little stormer. Everyone seems to like this stuff, but they don't know who it's by. Lyrically funny, musically inventive and absolutely great fun. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Nine Lives
Nine Lives
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nine lives? these guys used up 4 or 5 just making this..., 2 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Nine Lives (Audio CD)
Along with the Rolling Stones, no-one has taken the core-roots of rock laid down by Led Zeppelin, Yardbirds etc, better than Aerosmith. Recorded at a time in their lives when normal people think about slowing down, this is a stunningly fresh and energetic album that rocks possibly harder than they ever have done. Despite it's very difficult writing and recording (the band swore they'd never make an album like this again) this, somehow, miraculously, hangs together very well indeed.

This album spawned two hit singles which now sit comfortably alongside the rest of their back catalogue in their live shows ("Hole In My Soul" and "Falling In Love"). Even better are the rest of the tracks, especially "Nine Lives", "Taste Of India", "Kiss Your Past Goodbye"and "Pink" with the lighter-waving anthemic "Fallen Angels" to close. What strikes most is that this album is not overshadowed by their more famously good albums ("Pump", "Toys In The Attic", "Grip" & "Rocks") - the sound is unmistakably Aerosmith, but somehow different, more experimental, and even heavier than earlier efforts.

A more convincing return to form than the Rolling Stones "Bridges To Babylon" (or indeed any album released by the Stones since the 1970's) this album shows the extent of the Toxic Twin's rock n roll committment and determination to continue creating. This is the heaviest album Aerosmith have ever (will ever..?) made, and shows truly awesome musicianship, especially from Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton (guitars and bass, respectively). Parts of this album are truly savage, raucous and chaotic, but there's an unmistakable Aeromsmith 'grind' to the riffs, and a wink in it's eye. Lyrically as perverted as ever, Steven Tyler puts down some truly incredible vocals - his inimitable screech on "Nine Lives" (combined with his cat-hissing [you'll have to hear it to know what I mean here] is probably the best introduction to what follows.

"Just Push Play" is arguably a better, more rounded album, but somehow Nine Lives is more interesting. Probably because it was born out of chaos, mayhem, legal wrangling, fights... Its more of a "second childhood crisis" than a "second childhood" -gloriously screwed up, but having great fun...

Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £3.97

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recklessly good, 2 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Reckless (Audio CD)
Despite it's age and 1980's AOR image, this album still has a lot to offer. Memorable for it's singles rather than as an album, it's worth has been perhaps dimished by the plethora of "best of's..." both of Adams, and of the 80's themselves, on which the singles feature strongly.

That said, rock was never more radio-friendly than this, and marked the refinement of the American-rock sound spawned by Bob Clearmountain, RJ "Mutt" Lange and Bob Rock, producers of Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and (latterly) Metallica. Perennial favourites such as "Summer of '69", "Heaven" & "Run To You" will be around for a long time yet...
A great driving album, or a retro-party album, and a fantastic boiled-down-to-its-essence example of 1980's rock.

Living Under June
Living Under June

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Restrained power, 2 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Living Under June (Audio CD)
Arden has here put together a collection of songs which uplift and move. The stand-out tracks "Insensitive" & "Unloved" are two of the finest heart-broken love songs of the 1990's. Other fine tracks include "Gasoline" and the delicately-powerful "Demolition Love".
What really stands out is Arden herself - when she sings you get the impression that she has such a wealth of emotion and power in reserve - and this adds to the album, giving it a mature, hard-working feel, from someone in control of their emotions and their talents.
The rest of the album is not as stunning, but it has some great touches. I like this album a lot. This album sits well alongside Marc Cohn & Randy Newman in my collection, and if you like either of those two guys you'll like this too.

Little Earthquakes
Little Earthquakes
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A little work of art, 2 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Little Earthquakes (Audio CD)
A desparately good debut album, with emotion & maturity normally associated with a life-time of broken hearts and injustice. Her brittle-strong voice is complimented by beautiful piano, which is often haunting and mysterious. "Happy Phantom" & "Silent All These Years" are the most accessible tracks here, though get more sinister on each listen, as indeed does every track, laden with tender subtlety and savage-honesty in equal measure: her real-life rape is re-lived in "Me And A Gun", a heart-wrenching vocal-only track.
This album will last - its one you just keep coming back to time and time again, although its sinister overtones seem to grow as one gets older... Unfortunately the promise shown here was not realised on her follow-ups albums.

Appetite For Destruction
Appetite For Destruction
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The best metal album. Full Stop., 2 Feb. 2008
Guns & Roses exploded on to the world stage in 1986/7 with this rock-monolith. Every track is aggression and angst filled long before grunge gave us the same anthems. The combination of sheer awesome savagery in playing, singing and production is breathtaking even today, 20 years later - it still makes the spine tingle. That unmistakable G'n'R sound has been often immitated, but here it always sounds fresh - sharp, taut and yet gloriously sleazy at the same time. Despite the band's age when they recorded this this is a serious piece of mature metal-hardware - they clearly stumbled across something very, very special indeed. Like Dr Frankenstein, it's unlikely they knew exactly what they were creating... and they created a full-on, pedal-to-the-metal rock masterpiece.
Everyone knows that "Paradise", "Jungle" and "Sweet Child" are fantastic, but what are often overlooked are the remaining tracks, most of which are equally good. If an album is judged worthy by how many bands it's influenced, styles it created or air-guitarists it inspired, then this is certainly a great album. Rock was never the same after this album.
The "Illusion" albums tried (perhaps too hard?) to equal this historic slab of metal, but not even it's creators could match the original and best. As relevant now as when it was first released, this album has outgrown and outlasted Guns n Roses. Truly remarkable.
The best metal album, ever. Full Stop.

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