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I. Craft (UK)

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Battle Royale [DVD] [2001]
Battle Royale [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Tatsuya Fujiwara
Offered by streetsahead
Price: 4.37

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Itchy & Scratchy, 23 Dec 2013
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I am shamelessly stealing a comment from another reviewer who said, "It's like an hour and a half long 'Itchy & Scratchy' cartoon, but without the humour."

I was going to write something longer but that about sums it up for me.... though in the longer cut, it's closer to two hours.

Cutting For Stone
Cutting For Stone
by Abraham Verghese
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars flawed gem, 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: Cutting For Stone (Paperback)
Like others on here, I was given this to read through membership of a book group. It wasn't one I would have chosen. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrative for much of the book drove you on. The twists and turns of the plot were fascinating. I read great swathes of it at a time. Some of the coincidences were too much. However, if you allowed yourself to sink into the special world of this story, they were mostly excusable. There is a great story-teller at work here.
Whilst some of the medical descriptions were indispensable and brilliantly woven into the narrative, it increasingly began to feel that either this was a doctor writing or someone who had carried out so much research he didn't want to waste it (I didn't know the author's background until I finished reading). Ultimately there was too much information as opposed to devices to move the story or to create an atmosphere. I wanted to read a novel - not a medical magazine article. Similarly, the coincidences - particularly around the time in the States - became overdone to the extent that at that point I was no longer able or willing to suspend disbelief.

Somewhere in that book and in that writer there is the potential for a great novel/story-teller. It didn't quite reveal itself in "Cutting for Stone".

I'd like to give more than three but less than four stars .... but I can't. So, with reservations, it has to be 4stars for the comparative success of the novel that aimed so high and, in spite of its flaws, pulled me in to enjoy a good read.

The Last King Of Scotland [DVD] [2006]
The Last King Of Scotland [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Forest Whitaker
Price: 2.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whitaker 5*s. Film 3*s., 6 Oct 2011
Forest Whitaker is outstanding, totally convincing and deserving of all the honours that came his way. Quite superb! I could give the film 5*s based on his performance. However....

James Mcavoy struggled hard with a weak character. It was hard to believe that someone so naive could have risen so far in such a government. His motivation seemed to be little more than sex, adventure and fun. There were odd nods to an idealism in trying to build a new nation but, as Amin later says, "Did you really think you could come here and play the white man?" (or words to that effect). At that point I had more sympathy with the Ugandans than I did with Dr Garrigan (McAvoy's character). That is not to knock McAvoy at all but what he had to work with was weak.

I too felt, as some others have suggested, that more cut-aways of what really was happening elsewhere in Uganda would have given the story more substance. Perhaps it relied too heavily upon either our knowledge of the Amin/Uganda story or our preconceptions about African dictators. None of the other characters, including Gillian Anderson and Kerry Washington, were at all rounded. They were merely extras to the main characters of Amin & Garrigan. The ridiculous device of including the Entebbe rescue in the plot was at best unbelievable - at worst insulting. A weak but nevertheless dramatic & compelling story if you suspend disbelief.

But what a towering performance from Forest Whitaker!

Terms Of Endearment [1983] [DVD] [1984]
Terms Of Endearment [1983] [DVD] [1984]
Dvd ~ Shirley MacLaine
Price: 3.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weepy, 7 Sep 2011
If you want subtle - don't bother. If you want major performances that stand the test of time - don't look here. If you want a story that provides great insights into human existence - look elsewhere.
But if you want a solid, straightforward tear-jerker with some excellent performances (especially from the inestimable Debra Winger) buy this film immediately. It is fun. It is heart-warming. It is a damn good film.

Price: 17.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharing my enthusiasm, 3 April 2011
This review is from: STALKING JULIET (Audio CD)
I saw her and Gilad Atzmon a short while ago. They were absolutely marvellous - exciting, driving, witty, fun and superb musicians. I bought this album and ... add to the previous comments delicate, incisive, intelligent, melodic, catchy and .... more. It grows on me after every hearing. Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! She deserves to go on to bigger things.

Bizet: Carmen -- film version [DVD] [1985]
Bizet: Carmen -- film version [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Julia Migenes
Offered by Digizoneuk
Price: 29.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Carmen!, 11 Jan 2011
This is a magnificent production. The cinematography is sublime. The performances are superb. The casting is perfect - Migenes Johnson is a sexily believable Carmen; Domigo is a suitable stiff & ultimately anguished Don Jose. I am entranced every time I watch it. It is breathtaking!
Where, oh where, can I get a reasonably priced dvd to replace my ageing VHS?

by Ian McEwan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.19

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The end is nigh, 19 Dec 2010
This review is from: Solar (Hardcover)
I have read, and enjoyed, several of McEwan's books. From the superb intricacies of "Atonement" through the brief, touching, awful comedy of "On Chesil Beach" to the tautness of "Saturday", they have held my attention. His are books I look out for. "Solar" is a good read but ..... I finished and thought, "I've finished........" That seemed almost the whole of my response. That's clearly not enough. It's not enough from any novelist and certainly not from one as talented as McEwan. I have recognised that a number of his novels often grab you with the force of their opening and tend to leave you somewhat unsatisfied by their endings but this novel does not have the benefit of one of his trade-mark engrossing openings. Neither do any of the characterisations or events around them pull you in deeply enough during the novel to care about what happens to any of the protagonists in the end. I kept waiting for one of the many sub-plots to become significant but they don't. It feels to have been a novel put together in haste and the parts never seem to hang together enough to form a satisfactory whole. People and events seem to come and go without linking into a coherent thread other than their constellation around Michael Beard. I certainly did not care about the central character, Beard - as unpleasant a 'hero' you are likely to find. He cheats, he steals, he abuses, he destroys lives. His deterioration throughout the book leaves you unmoved as does his implied end.
Symbolically we may see in Beard mankind's greedy despoilation of the planet. The cynicism with which he pursues his first wife (presented as an innocent, hopeful child of the 60's who dies) continues throughout all his relationships in which he takes from them what he wants and gives only enough in return to ensure that he gets what he wants. His avaricious sexual consuming of all he can, irrespective of its impact on others is a theme as is his literal growing fat on his indiscriminate gluttony. He is profligate with his energies. He is profligate with his abilities. The message, presumably is in the parallels with our profligacy with the environment. He consumes like there is no tomorrow and that may well be the message. The introduction of a child and her role in the endgame further adds to the symbolism but ultimately I was left mostly cold and unmoved.
A book worth reading? Yes, an engaging light read to take on holiday. But don't expect anything more than that.

PURE Chronos CD Series II, DAB/FM/CD Stereo Clock Radio - Black
PURE Chronos CD Series II, DAB/FM/CD Stereo Clock Radio - Black
Price: 94.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars compact kitchen system, 27 April 2010
Very pleased with this. It has a superb sound for its size. Ideal for listening whilst at work in the kitchen, it also would be OK for more focussed listening elsewhere in the house. Tuning is easy. The range of options offered is impressive.
One minor quibble is that finding buttons on the front of the machine is a bit fiddly (but that might also be down to my clumsy fingers).

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