Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for M. Wilkinson > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by M. Wilkinson
Top Reviewer Ranking: 133,677
Helpful Votes: 1083

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
M. Wilkinson (Portsmouth, Hampshire)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
pixel
Nino Rojo
Nino Rojo
Offered by groove_temple
Price: £13.36

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerily beautiful folk music with a modern twist, 2 April 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nino Rojo (Audio CD)
The modern twist is maybe half in the actual sound which goes for a kind of intentional dissonance, almost to grab your attention (which it does) and the other half is in the lyrics which seem very much up to date but at the same time you can imagine many of the themes being timeless. It certainly has a retro feel. I can imagine hippies in the 70's aspiring to sound like this but not quite being able to do it since all the music of the time was so different than now.

Little Yellow Spider & At the Hop will be known to many British people since they have been included in recent television commercials - 'little white monkey staring at the sand...' Yep - thats Devendra Banhart.

A lovely little album to mellow yourself out on a summer afternoon.


V for Vendetta [DVD] [2006]
V for Vendetta [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Natalie Portman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.94

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent modern version of 1984, 24 Oct. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: V for Vendetta [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
The movie is set in 2020 and shows an England under the oppressive thumb of a fascist, oppressive dictatorship. It draws a lot from dystopian stories of the past, notably George Orwell's 1984.... IN the movie 1984 John Hurt played the ordinary man oppressed by his government trying to beat the system - in this he plays the fascist dictator forcing the system down everyone elses throats as High Chancellor Suttler. What gives the book a modern flavour (and arguably weakens the message) is that the situation is not hopeless. Fight the power is the message V takes to his heart. I must confess I fell deeply in love with the character V after he'd only said about 3 sentences as he is an intelligent and educated hero. No 'hasta la vista, baby' here, just shakespearean quotes and clever linguistic gymnastics - other people have mentioned the famous alliteration speech (nearly every word starts with V in it) - you can find it it online, it really is amusing. Other reviewers mentioned that its stylish though empty though I found it otherwise, V makes good points, listen carefully to his speech when he hacks his way on to the airwaves to broadcast what the propaganda machine later calls a message of hate, he expertly sums up how politicians hoodwink the masses through psychological sleight of hand. Listen to his explanation of how symbols are given power by people.

Hugo weaving plays V with class and humility - I say that because the character never reveals his face, in the book he is even more mysterious as its hinted that he might not even be prisoner number 5 (roman numeral V) from the Larkhill concentration camp. Natalie Portman's performance is strong despite her imperfect accent.

The action is fast paced and without giving anything away, if you haven't read the graphic novel there are parts of the movie that will blow your mind. I watched the movie several times in the first week I'd purchased it and its hard to praise it highly enough. Its amazing. An interesting aspect is how an oppressive government can gain power by offering freedom FROM terrorism (very relevent for the current political climes) and FROM things like homosexuality and religious extremism, just remember that a good healthy government offers freedom TO do things, not freedom 'from' things.

The acting is superb, stephen rea as police chief finch elegantly underplays his role as the besieged policeman trying to do whats right in a world gone wrong, Weaving is chivalrous but dark as V and natalie portman shines as Evie. Sublime. Magnificent. A modern classic with a lesson for our times.


Howl's Moving Castle [DVD] [2005]
Howl's Moving Castle [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Chieko Baishô
Price: £10.83

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Miyazaki's finest!, 24 Oct. 2006
If you dont know who Hayao Miyazaki is, you're in with a treat with this movie though you need to go get some of his other work 'My neighbour Totoro' and 'Spirited Away' (won an oscar) at the very least as soon as possible! These are Japanese animated movies and as such are a little more sophisticated than the typical US fare which is aimed at young children. The animation and art in this movie really is spectacular, sharp with vibrant colours. The background music is quite pleasing to and the drama of how its been storyboarded, well you just have to see it. I'd recommend you watch the subtitled version as the Japanese voice actors in my humble opinion do a better job than their american counterparts - having said that the US team did a good job with such luminaries as Billy Crystal playing the fire demon Calcifer (see now if they made it in the states what would the fundamentalists say about a cute demon as a hero?) This really is a must get and even ranked among Miyazaki's other films, it stands out as one of the masterpieces. Enjoy.


Close-up on Insects: A Photographer's Guide
Close-up on Insects: A Photographer's Guide
by Robert Thompson
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but it has been outdone by the same author, 4 Feb. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book after already having bought Robert Thompson's much newer book 'close-up and macro photography' and wanted to see more of the same. The first thing I noticed was that the pictures in this book are not as good as in the more recent volume. Not that they are bad pictures by any standard, they just arent as breathtaking as what the author has seemed to achieve in the years since. As for the information, much of it is very similar in both books, discussing the variety of close-up kit, extention tubes, macro lenses, bellows etc.
I was again slightly put off by his selling of Mamiya cameras who seem to sponsor him in some way so dont look for an appraisal of many different brands.
It is a good, helpful book on close-up photography but it is not half as good as his most recent book and if you have that one - you don't need this one too.


Life in the Wild: A Photographer's Year
Life in the Wild: A Photographer's Year
by Andy Rouse
Edition: Paperback

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A helpful guide but it could have been better, 4 Feb. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Looking over the other sparkling reviews I feel there are going to be many who disagree with me but I hope I can justify my luke warm respons to this book.
I did not know much about Andy Rouse but I had seen his name in various photographic magazines and a photo of his 'surfing gentoo' I think it was titled in the latest portfolio of the wildlife photographer of the year competition.
The book does give a great deal of useful information and advice about wildlife photography but many of the photos I didnt think were quite perfect. Maybe the light a little off or just not framed ideally, it made me think that Mr Rouse was forced to put in more than just his A material to fill the book. Another grip is about his eccentric views with fill-in flash. Some of the chimpanzee pictures which would have been perfect seem spoiled to me by the unnatural lighting of using flash in broad day-light - in Africa!
The style of writing I find a little too informal, some readers may appreciate the friendlier and informal approach but I found it a little offputting. Trying to be a professional photographer myself, I want to read the works of professionals being professional.
If you are looking for a guide to fieldcraft and techniques you could probably do a lot worse and even if you disagree with Rouse's approach you could certainly learn a lot from it. If you are mostly looking for wildlife pictures to inspire you, you might do better with one of the above mention wildlife photographer of the year portfolios.


The Cat Returns [DVD]
The Cat Returns [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hiroyuki Morita
Price: £12.49

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful escapist fantasy, but not quite there..., 4 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Cat Returns [DVD] (DVD)
I did not expect too much when I bought this film, it had not received the publicity of Hayao Miyazaki's other titles - if you dont know who he is you need to go watch 'My Neighbour Totoro', 'Princess Mononoke' and the academy award winning 'Spirited Away' right away! The story is that a young girl, Haru saves the life of a cat who turns out to be Lune, Prince of the Cat Kingdom, and the results of this become more complicated and form the plot of the film. There are some lovely touches, the King of Cats is an amusing character, the Baron is an excellent creation, a dashing, charming hero like Sherlock Holmes in his prime, while the view of the cat kingdom from air which turns out to be a giant paw print almost makes it worth watching the film on its own.

So why not the full 5 stars? OK well for one, it was too short, it came in about 80 minutes which is probably about average for a lot of animated features in the west but from Studio Ghibli it was disappointing since some of their other films have been pushing two hours, and the way they fill that time makes them feel like epics. The style of the animation is pleasant, although the tiniest bit bland, with pastel shades and nothing that could really offend anybody. If you liked other films from Studio Ghiblie you're probably going to like this as well but if you haven't then this might not be for you.

A nice, pleasant animation. Good, not great. Must keep an eye out for 'Howl's Moving Castle'...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2008 7:02 PM BST


Close-up and Macro: A Photographer's Guide
Close-up and Macro: A Photographer's Guide
by Robert Thompson
Edition: Paperback

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful guide to close-ups and macro photography, 19 Dec. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having taken up photography as a serious hobby only a year ago I found myself naturally gravitating to wildlife photography and particularly insects. True macro means a magnification of 1:1 where the subject appears as big on film (on on many modern cameras - the ccd or cmos sensor) as it is in real life. Robert Thompson shows he really knows his stuff. The book is fantastic just as a coffee table book with the many sharp and vibrant photos of butterflies, dragonflies, flowers and fungi.
Although the author says he has deliberately not included work impossible for the average person I could not help but feel that some more exotic species would have made it more interesting to leaf through but that is a minor complaint. The text itself is very good, and although Thompson himself is a fan of medium format cameras this does not stop digital or 35mm users from getting the most of it. He discusses in detail all the equipment one can use for such work, close-up filters, macro lenses, extension tubes, bellows and it is all useful information, though I was left a little vague on the explanation of how extension tubes altered the focal length and magnification.
Another small complaint is Thompson's choice not to include any picture information aside from the equipment - f stop, shutter speed, iso etc. For an aspiring close-up/maco photographer, this is important info to have, as knowing how and when to increase shutter speed to compensate for a smaller aperture (to give greater depth of field) is useful info, the digital user also has the option of changing ISO and this is not really discussed. It would have been nice if he could discuss more camera brands and not focus on mamiya who he is paid to represent, still they do make nice cameras but out of reach of most amateurs. Some of his work features on the mamiya uk web site.
The pictures alone make it a splendid book and the style is clear and eloquent. It will make you want to grab your camera with a macro lens and get out there turning ordinary flora and fauna in to incredible alien scence - and all you have to do is get in close.


Unleashed [DVD]
Unleashed [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jet Li
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! If only there had been a little more action, though!, 10 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Unleashed [DVD] (DVD)
Everyone knows Jet Li is an astonishing master of various styles of kung fu but in trying to get in to the Hollywood main stream he has had to accept a number of bad roles - Romeo Must Die, The One, Cradle 2 The Grave? All horrible, and in all but the middle of those 3 Jet Li is giving a supporting role under the black gangster heroes (DMX should never have been put on the big screen) who its hard to get interested in. In Unleashed, which I first saw in San Francisco (also known as 'Danny the Dog') he finally gets a role where he can do some acting - and he's not bad as it turns out. The naive, scared and wounded hero seems perfect for Jet Li with his broken English and he is amazingly suited to it, even though he is pushing 50. The supporting performances from Bob Hoskins as the manipulative and ruthless villain and Morgan Freeman as the wise, blind pianist (who manages to 'see' the real Danny underneath the brutal attack dog) are exemplary.
Of course most people watch Jet Li films for the action and this does not disappoint - it opens with an incredibly energetic fight scene showing how well trained 'Danny' is and when ordered to attack by his master, well the sparks really fly. The pit fights later on are pretty good but the climax is somewhat disappointing as there is only the one master for him to get his teeth in to, martial artist Michael Lambert.
For those who are looking just to see what Jet Li could do, I would recommend The Last Hero in China, which often sells very cheaply or one of the 'Once Upon a time in China' series - if on the other hand you're wanting to see an action movie backed up by quality acting (and actors!), a solid plot-driven story, then you wont be disappointed as there are few better ones than this.


Close-Up and Macro: A Photographer's Guide
Close-Up and Macro: A Photographer's Guide
by Robert Thompson
Edition: Hardcover

76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful guide to close-ups and macro photography, 9 Dec. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having taken up photography as a serious hobby only a year ago I found myself naturally gravitating to wildlife photography and particularly insects. True macro means a magnification of 1:1 where the subject appears as big on film (on on many modern cameras - the ccd or cmos sensor) as it is in real life. Robert Thompson shows he really knows his stuff. The book is fantastic just as a coffee table book with the many sharp and vibrant photos of butterflies, dragonflies, flowers and fungi.
Although the author says he has deliberately not included work impossible for the average person I could not help but feel that some more exotic species would have made it more interesting to leaf through but that is a minor complaint. The text itself is very good, and although Thompson himself is a fan of medium format cameras this does not stop digital or 35mm users from getting the most of it. He discusses in detail all the equipment one can use for such work, close-up filters, macro lenses, extension tubes, bellows and it is all useful information, though I was left a little vague on the explanation of how extension tubes altered the focal length and magnification.
Another small complaint is Thompson's choice not to include any picture information aside from the equipment - f stop, shutter speed, iso etc. For an aspiring close-up/maco photographer, this is important info to have, as knowing how and when to increase shutter speed to compensate for a smaller aperture (to give greater depth of field) is useful info, the digital user also has the option of changing ISO and this is not really discussed. It would have been nice if he could discuss more camera brands and not focus on mamiya who he is paid to represent, still they do make nice cameras but out of reach of most amateurs. Some of his work features on the mamiya uk web site.
The pictures alone make it a splendid book and the style is clear and eloquent. It will make you want to grab your camera with a macro lens and get out there turning ordinary flora and fauna in to incredible alien scence - and all you have to do is get in close.


Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another
Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another
by Philip Ball
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philip Ball's Masterpiece, 9 Dec. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Yes, without a doubt, Philip Ball's greatest book to date. He is probably better known among scientists than laypersons as he was for a long time editor at Nature one of the worlds top multi-disciplinary science journals. He has a degree in chemistry and a doctorate in physics but he seems to know a great deal more, when he mentions literature he sounds like an english professor but enough about the man - what about his book?
The joy of Ball's erudition is that he can speak intelligently on any subject which must have been useful at Nature and is essential when he tackles popular science books such as this. His books are not for the lazy but curious person, to get joy out of Ball's books you must be prepared to think hard, concentrate a little and then the rewards will come. In this book, Ball discusses the startling results that physicists have had when applying physics to social phenomena - war, business, traffic. People are particles is a common theme. Obviously classical physics or even quantum phenomena are not going to predict a single persons actions, but what about a million? As it turns out there are parallels which we run in to again and again. One fascinating analogy - and it is more than just analogy really, thats the whole point - is how traffic slowing to a jam is much like water freezing. Phase changes and critical points come up repeatedly. Reading this book was absolutely fascinating. I looked forward to my bus rides to work so I'd have another chance to read some more.
The diagrams ease comprehension and the writing is lucid and entertaining throughout. There is even some dry humour which I found refreshing. I'm not sure I can praise this book highly enough, I've read popular science, and many academic titles and this is probably the one I've enjoyed most - it is one of those books that will make you look at everything differently.
Five stars without a doubt. A stimulating, exciting, fascinating read. 1st rate popular science, 1st rate writing.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7