Profile for Philip Solo > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Philip Solo
Top Reviewer Ranking: 440,896
Helpful Votes: 177

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Philip Solo (UK , Japan, or Thailand)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Dune [DVD] [1984] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dune [DVD] [1984] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Kyle MacLachlan
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: 4.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I set my mind in motion, 4 Oct 2007
Dune is an enigmatic movie, drawing from a literally huge series of books by the late Frank Herbert portraying a vast human space faring universe, bristling with rivalries and brimful of intrigues, wars, conflicts and political machinations. The drama centres on 4 planets.. Caladon, home of House Atreides (the `good' guys), Geidi Prime, House Harkonnen (definitely the `bad guys') and Planet Kaitain, home of the modestly self-titled `Padisha Emperor of the Known Universe' rather unfortunately named `Shaddam IV' . The movie opens with a brief narrative summary by Princess Irulan the emperor's daughter `Know now that it is the year 10,194...' who thereafter plays no part in the movie.

The focus and title of the movie is the fourth planet, the desert world Arrakis or Dune, origin of the spice Melange and the only place in the `known universe' where the powerful compound exists. Rivalry for the spice-mining contract is intense and we join the movie at a conjunction; the reluctant hand over of the spice-mining contract from the Harkonnen's control to that of the Atreides dynasty.

Next to Blade Runner this is probably my favourite movie, although so much has been already said about how it does not do the world of Herbert's visions justice and what might have been etc.To me, like the Harry Potter movies this is the best we can get to realise a world dream painted in one's head. Dune arrived for me as a young boy reading the books, the movie transforms it into a visual reality of imagination and I therefore I value it immensely as my one chance to enter the Dune universe.

Dune has a solid pre-occupation with the ongoing and eternal world of human politics; a classic example of the syndrome that whatever the century, wherever the planet, human kind will evolve a society dedicated equally to all that is good and all that is bad. As ever, the barriers and boundaries between these will be fluid, vague, and subject to ruthless manipulation by those who have power or those who can take it from someone else. Plus ca change !

Power in the Dune universe is rooted just as ever in status, commerce, influence, territory, resources control, and the ability to inflict retribution or policy by force or arms, and of course that old `universal leverage' called `fear'. The movie embodies all these concepts in stark racial characterisations based on Herbert's acute and detailed-to-the-bone portraits of the opposing key societies. On Caladon we see inherited nobility, sacrifice, duty, discipline, honour, formality of being, and contro. We see `heaven and hell' contrast between the two worlds. One would not wish for an ordinary (disposable) citizen's life on Geidi Prime, where preoccupation with torture, forced bodily mutilation, cruelty, voluntary infection and disfigurement rule the day. All this in a bleak and foreboding landscape tyrannised by a truly mad bad and dangerous ruling family.

Dune's visual strength is of an all-encompassing universe. It has monumental scale, an intriguing mix of dark industrial and grandiose vault like palaces and a merge of Elizabethan / Arabian design including combat tech fashions which would make Jean Paul and Versace weep.

Dune is packed with wonderful character types and clans, the Spacers Guild who alone possess the power to manipulate space and time using the mutations of the rare Melange spice dominate the galactic power scene and even the Emperor fears them.The black robed `nun like' Bene Gesserit `witches' train for generations to enhance their acutely managed empathic and mental force skills, nano level bio-physiological and endocrine control, and amazing `voice' command power over other minds. The elusive and enigmatic Fremen warriors roam the vast Arrakian deserts at will like Bedouin worshipful of `Shai Halud' miles long sand worms about which little is known yet much is rightly feared. They hold a prophecy that ` a man will come, a Messiah to lead them into freedom' You have archaic combat merged with futuristic sonic-mind warfare, samurai-like dedication and training, alliances and treacheries, nuclear tactical weaponry and `folding space' on a vast scale without moving. The Mentat race featuring less strongly, have accelerated their minds by drug use. They work for all sides.. but again have their own sinuous interests...Rituals abound, secrets breed and fester, old ways endure.

The hero in Dune is Paul Atreides the Ducal heir, a son born out of love and defiance from his Bene Gesserit mother, concubine to the Duke, and whose evolution into something more than human in Dune is just the start in the books of a vast dynasty, a warped progression covering centuries which changes the face of worlds.

Yes I wish now someone would do it again, do it better, using better special effects better script and acting, and yes I am sure as others have said casting could be better. We devotees (the Faithful as the Fremen say) should be fortunate anyone made the effort to create this world visually in our minds even if it's not the best it could have been. The one film just cannot cover the vast imaginative universe Herbert imagined for us. How many Harry Potter movies are there now?... but there is only one Dune. Timeless...

Never one drop of rain on Arrakis....

Ambient (Jack Womack)
Ambient (Jack Womack)
by Jack Womack
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything not 'AO', 3 Oct 2007
This review is from: Ambient (Jack Womack) (Paperback)
I read Jack Womack longtimeways and was mind affected, Womack is a speculative fiction/cyberpunk novelist with unique visions of a `near-future' lateral side stepped a la Phillip K Dick, yet curiously Womack's work hasn't been taken up by Hollywood as the PKD creations (Blade Runner, Minority Report etc.. ) have been,

Womack wields an even more bloodied brush, sketching out a nightmarish evolved vision of a New York future, believably predictable in the immortal words of Frankie Howard ` and so, it came to pass..' His twisted aggressive society is divided into the archetypal ` haves and have-nots', bleak life resembling a gene spliced hybrid of medieval cruelty and third world exploitation and suffering. The world sucks to corporate dynasties who routinely `conference' formally and bloodily (Battle Rollerball style) for control of each other's assets and territories, the loser CEO going out hara-kiri style with close family and all who serve him sure to follow.

The protagonists are a close working group, employed by the top dog Dryco enterprise who own almost everyone who owns everything else. The young Mr Dryden glowers in the shadow of his maniacal ruling father. His motley crew of hired staff live or die on his whims as does anyone who displeases him. The storyteller is OM (O'Malley) the genetically modified Dryco bodyguard protector who harbours a not so secret love for young Mr Dryden's current concubine (Proxy). Avalon is a stunning exhibitionist, minimally dressed sex-on-legs combat-model pleasure companion and has been `indentured' in sexual service since pre teen age (literally, as all proxies' teeth are removed to aid performance and to prevent predictable `revenge' against their owners). Womack's dark tale was written in less neurotic times thus escaped the flak that would erupt nowtimes from a vision in which pre-pubescent girls are company-owned, trained to provide companionship and sexual pleasure as `lalas' before evolving their older `proxy' status. Old Mr Dryden senior's lalas are literally life saving, as one of his matching pair spots a devastating bomb when pleasuring him under his desk. A clear case of `last night a BJ saved my life!' to parody the old disco song. Womack takes you a step or two darkly thru the glass. His world isn't nice but it's the sort we humans could easily still make and so often have done before.

Most of the world near starves, or is fed Soylent Green style while the privileged and power hungry live like corporate kings hurtling thru guarded private traffic lanes. Womack's world is dark crammed, terror tainted and threatening, death is moment's beat away from riot, insurrection, street gangs, corporate displeasure and revenge. His future pulses with dangerous clubs, underground labs, biogenetic adaptations, privilege's war upon the helpless in profit's name. He stretches the present and takes the worst of it and you're mindreeled at the way things could be. Futurewise shock awaits doorway crouched, loaded and menaced. This is the world of hungry street rats, public gang rapes and murders, firebombing and torture burnings, social chaos and an environment of decay and destruction that makes old Beirut look like a holiday camp. The Church of `E' (Elvis) is the only socially binding philosophy. Interspersed amongst this heaving shameful world are the circus-like communities of the Ambient.

Children of the USA's biggest nuclear disaster they are the living `freak show' in dreamstate carving out alternative genetically perverted existence. Deformity becomes art soon street admired. Emulation fashion builds cultwise, `normal' humans surgically identify and `drop out' to join their strange cousins. Womack both advances and warps spoken `American English' to a mish-mash amalgam of patois, jive talk, slang and textspeak. He loses prepositions, squeezes conjunctions, adjectives and adverbs and crushes personal pronouns until the mere essence of minimal factual speak remains like Homer Simpson's plaintive `beer me!'. Ambient speech is florid, a silken adaptation of romantic Shakespearean poetic. It's masterfully intertwined with the stripped down `fastspeech' into a bewildering, confusing yet heart rendering amalgam of staccato impact, immersed in swirling poetic phrasing and touching emotional memory pictures, encapsulated into verbal constructs.

The novel follows the rivalries, plots and changing loyalties of a cast of characters as OM and Avalon try to escape the nightmare to find some shared peace of mind, but things do not go well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2013 9:36 PM BST

Crucial Slide Guitar Blues
Crucial Slide Guitar Blues
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 6.81

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wet wednesday, 30 Sep 2007
It was 3 O'clock and the rain was comin down.
and nothing to do..but get the blues

I dropped into one of my favorite music and book stores last week on the way back from a long drive in beautiful Derbyshire hills in bright sunlight with the roof down and shades on. I mostly stopped to buy a birthday card for a girl I've never met who would probably only speak to me again, if I forgot to do it, yea I'm crazy like that. The early sunshine had sharply and suddenly faded and a dark brooding storm cloud was fast dropping in with winter chill in tow. A good day for the blues then! I headed out into the rain with the roof back up on the car and this impulse buy CD in the slot..and a bluesy rocky mood cheered me back to work before the day really turned to a grey mess.

Album 4.99, Mood uplift Priceless !

As a traditional guitar player and 'blessed' with a radio voice that translates into gravelly Bert Jansch homage when I sing, I've always been suited to the blues. That apart from my personality, a mix of exuberance and studied melancholy. The blues, like the force, is all around us and sometimes you forget how good it is when you haven't listened to it for a while. Out in Thailand there's always someone in some bar somewhere doing the Gary Moore clone thing (yea that track) I remember a guy every day in La Mai on Koh Samui used to start up every afternoon opposite, I used to sit and listen to see if he's got any better and how many notes he fluffed up.

This is a fine budget album with slide blues tracks opening with the invigorating 'It's My Life' a great sampler album with varied tracks for a knockdown price. I am having a bit of an effort on guitar playing lately and this is a good way to learn some new tracks.

Overall you can't go wrong here, the first half of this being better in my opinion and my least fave track being the oddly keyed (for me) 'When the Church Burned Down' more a song format than a blues one. The vintage Jack O'Diamonds' is a real old memphis riverboat gamblers tune with that single picked note counterpoint, robert johnson type feel. 'Never Miss your Water' has a brassy soul funk mood to it in blues brothers mode, 'Give me back my wig' is boppy and boogie woogie. 'I'm Gone' has a cheeky cockney back beat and brassy instrument mix with an uncannily similar melody phrase to a famous UK comedy TV show theme, which sounds like Dennis Waterman and Chaz n Dave wrote the beats. Try as I might not to, I found my self singing a bit of 'Fools and Horses' lyrics over this, ha ha!

Every type of structure here from classic to 'Taylor's Rock' with its status quo-like tempo, and some good blues lyrics in the songs. I might try another in this budget range soon.

Might have been a wet wednesday for me so if it's rainin in your heart
' The Sun is Shining' and other tracks here will soon lift your spirits.. the blues does can't help but smile..
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2013 9:01 PM BST

The Dice Man
The Dice Man
by Luke Rhinehart
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.83

5.0 out of 5 stars You.. are Number Six, 23 Aug 2007
This review is from: The Dice Man (Paperback)
On the cover of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy are the Immortal Words' DON'T PANIC'. This salient fact of course we all know. Unless you have been living on some immaterial insignificant little world on the outer edge of a little known spiral galaxy.. you get the picture.

A Lesser Known Fact, though one of not one jot less significance is that on the outer cover of the book known as The Dice Man , a comedic novel published in 1971 on the Planet Earth by Luke Rhinehart are inscribed the equally immortal words ` This Book Can Change Your Life'.

This statement of course whilst possibly entirely true does not differentiate between a temporary change and one of a more permanent or lasting nature which crucially can make all the difference about what, if anything will happen to you if you read it. Due to its subversive nature and controversial issues such as rape, murder and sexual experimentation, it was banned in several countries. But as of course so are many of the best books so that merely adds to its appeal.

The premise of this potentially life changing book (enhancing is not an automatic expectation) is deceptively simple. Life being too short to waste time on agonising over choices ruled or diminished by the sensibilities and restrictions of others, our hero or nowadays correctly labelled `anti hero' decides to `let the die decide' his every move. This is based on a series of pre-determined (hastily thought up or deeply considered) options with a `result for every number occurrence'. What the die decides.. you do.. like it or not, and hang the consequences.

This uncannily simple device does, as expected, lead to a number of startling, exciting and, one has to say risky conclusions. Our hero becomes:

- ever more adept at thinking up interesting, scary and rewarding options
- increasingly ruled by the dice and the dice man life to the exclusion of all else
- a cult leader attracting others to the same risk and sensation driven existence
- an outlaw from `normal ` society and idealogically isolated in the extreme
- a criminal based on his actions as a result of many dice choices which are illegal
- an expert in the Way of the Dice, a guru and philosophic leader and rebel

Whether he becomes a better person or not depends on your own sensiblities.

This book breaks barriers and one of those might be the reversed advice of `DO try this at Home !' At sushi graze level you can read this book and then `try the idea' in the form of some RP / fantasy play with a willing partner along the classic `Vanilla Rules' scene so beloved of modern day fetishists. I don't suggest it will `change your life' badly or that we might be reading about your exploits in next year's News of the World or on Sky News (hopefully not in their outrageous sub title spelling!!). But you may find the idea amusing. A former Fluff and I based a good year or so of a life shared in the archetypal 80s on moderate use of the Way of the Dice for all manner of decisions.

Lessons for me learned from that included classic thinking outside of the box, reaffirmation of my `samurai' thought structure and disciplined ways due to the purity of observance of cast fate, and a frivolous disregard for the priggish sensibilities of many of the rest of the world or as I term them, the `wallpaper people',. It helps you re-evaluate your own life. The DiceMan is Management Guru meets Actions On at times, presenting a series of immediate options, palatable or not and encouraging a heightened disciplined response. The era in which the book was written (1970s) shows clearly in its delivery of free-swinging, anti establishment tones and scenes but in essence the idea itself is cross generational and well pre-dates the nice-taste-not-so-nice-taste of the Nine And a Half Weeks fridge scene.

Read this classic book. Find a fun partner and read this book together. Make a list, add some fun options and one or two mildly unpalatable one(for each of you). Take the I-Ching Express and see where you end up but be warned... you can end up like James Bond in Casino Royale ` that last hand... almost killed me'

Private Dancer
Private Dancer
by Stephen Leather
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.42

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Know When You've been Tango'ed!, 23 Aug 2007
This review is from: Private Dancer (Paperback)
I never did like the `hit' Tina Turner single PRIVATE DANCER. Funnily enough, and ironically I have never heard that track played out in Thailand either. Yet the title of action adventure writer Stephen Leather's book on the Thai go-go bar scene has become an icon and `valued artifact' - the definitive `warning' guide book for generations of male tourists to the eponymous `Land of Smiles' that is Thailand.

What Hitch Hikers Guide did for wannabe space farers, PRIVATE DANCER does for what in accepted internet forum terms have become known as `Bar Mongers' or BMs.. western males in search of the delights offered by S E Asia's entirely different female-male equation and radically different female mind perspective.

Leather's novel exists now as an archetypal `salutory tale' based (as are the best of many novels) on that enduring and appealing mix of the apocryphal, the banal, the horridly and sensationally truthful and the legendary all rolled into one `joint' perspective. Potent stuff that reels the brain. Having been elevated from mere ` cracking good read' to the now legendary `requisite preparation' for all about to embark on any kind of relationship with Thai girls, Leather's sensationally written tale amounts to a new `BM's Bible' , the `old hand's warning', a roadside tale of old embodied into its pages that ` all who go here must beware' .

Enough reviewers here have delved into the plot for me to avoid repeating this, but instead to affirm and assert the importance of Leather's novel as a communally accepted vision of `all that is good and bad' in the Thai bar scene. That scene itself changes constantly as we visitors and those fortunate expats living in Thailand know only too well but PRIVATE DANCER hooks into those key and seminal (or is that semenal?) occurrences and patterns that embody the `Falang-BG' interaction in all its phases.

The book paints a picture of an out of control driftwood tide-cast newbie, a sensation-vulnerable bar hopper. Agonisingly naive he falls helplessly and yet willingly into the turbulent emotional tumble dryer that comprises the Thailand nightworld and becomes a tragic 'target' or as me and my Old and Bold mates used to say in the trade (which Stephen knows well) 'Tango One' . The Thai world of the night is comprised of pure excess and `make it so' dreams and can easily overwhelm the unprepared western male psyche used to the staid social correctness and overbearing legal restrictions on male entertainment especially in the UK. Some writers think that this imposed restraint culture and the `feminazi' dominance into which many western men have allowed themselves to be submerged without resistance makes them poorly equipped to cope when thrust into a world where there are seemingly `no more rules' other than `he who pays wins' . PRIVATE DANCER takes the `no-choice' ordinary English bloke into this supercharged pitfall saturated world of sensation and `freedom' in what's almost lovingly referred to as the P4P (Pay for Play) environment and it shows us `how deep the rabbit hole really goes'

The book's protagonist is of course the luckless hapless and ill fated patsy, foolishly deaf to the advices and pleas of his more `Soi-wise' local friends and companions who are way more versed in the Thai melting pot and know their way up the ladders of opportunity and can spot the snakes in time.

Those of us well versed in the total `different planet' of SE Asia as opposed to what we often refer to merely as "The World' understand with fondness the impact of this book, whilst clinging to our secure knowledge or bravado that we will never `hit those snakes' in the same way the book's Pete does, or that from previous encounters or those vicariously learned through the `brotherhood support grapevine' we shall not repeat our thankfully lesser mistakes. Those of you new to the delights and perils of SE Asia and Thailand in particular would do well to read this book, and draw from it the essential Do's and Don'ts then immerse yourself in the relevant forums.

In the great university of life, this is the starter module for the `Bar Mongering Level 1' course - required reading...enjoy and learn....As the Jamaican Guy says `Sh** Happens Man' But as they say on that UK TV show this is an unusual occurrence and such events happen a lot less likely than you think. So sleep well, and don't have nightmares!

Buy PRIVATE DANCER at the airport - if you want to live dangerously throw a dice Luke Rheinhart style to determine if you read it on the way there or the way back...!!

Fracture [DVD]
Fracture [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anthony Hopkins
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 3.72

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Slyness of the Lamb, 23 Aug 2007
This review is from: Fracture [DVD] (DVD)
Whoa!! .how to transform an `open and shut case' into Jagged Edge!. Plot simple and brooding, man shoots wife, apparently confesses, and bored indolent up and coming new job lawyer gets instant brownie points - wrong!

Gosling's vacuously disappointing baby faced new recruit to major law practice is carelessly lazy and arrival stressed. He unknowingly and lazily is soon out of his depth as he accepts what appears to be a `facts-obvious' case with Hopkins as the seemingly 'hands-up-I-did' it wife shooter. From then on he is amusingly manipulated with `Seven-like' ease by Hopkins' character who veers alarmingly from Celtic to Gaelic vocals and becomes more and more Hannibalised as the frames click by.

A great novel evidence twist of course, which I won't do a spoiler on, but Hopkins has it all worked out to escape justice and commit the perfect murder. The problem with the movie being..reversal.. One identifies almost immediately with the pastiched Lecktor/Hopkins character and revels in his cleverness. Set against the smug, pasty looking, overworked over-reaching and thoroughly unadmirable mega-salaried legal suit stepping out of inwardly neurotic 'Model man's advert land' he scores instant audience points - you want Hopkins to win !

And predictably he does - up to a point. (beware partial spoiler!!) The film should have ended there with its bleak and cold hearted message that clever people can often `get away with murder' because.. well they planned well and the opposition set against them was inadequate.

The movie offers more stereotypical but nevertheless real glimpses into the money power ego culture of American law firms. Our intangibly supported hero is driven by his new `have to impress' fee-driven culture where moderation of loss of face and maximisation of chargeable time is the god of the day. Marginally explored sexual dynamics abound as the delectably sophisticated Rosamund Pike, socialite and partner level lady lawyer, loses her well suited managerial overview to the inevitable body to body appeal of the fresh faced young potential star. She plys her political trade to save his job as he digs himself further into the mire as the movie unfolds.

Hopkins character borrows heavily from his archetypal criminal psychologist as the perfectionist physics-obsessed meticulous murder planning villain let loose in a visually pleasing film noir environment. He smiles and menaces his way through as only he can, evoking the `chess piece' feeling of a master mind easily outpacing and controlling every stage of the lesser antagonist. This movie therefore reflects much we have seen in previous `courtroom duels' mind against mind, mano e mano and Gosling's character would be an unworthy winner that anyone with an eye for daring and excellence would be unlikely to want to support. He doesn't deserve to win. One yearns for Hopkins v Lt.Columbo to see a decent matched pair slug it out.I'm taking bets now!

In the end which again I won't spoil overtly I was heartily disappointed as Hopkins triumphant villain falls into the worn to fragments cliché of `going back for an ego boast and losing it'. The premise that after all that meticulous and skilful planning and legal manipulation he doesn't truly understand one simple legal differentiation of circumstance and didn't take that into account is truly abysmal and made me groan with that ` crap ending ` ..` is this the best they could think of?' feeling.

Weak Hollywood ending with the wolf going to the slaughter instead of the lamb!

Moral is as ever, ( as he would have known) when you win, walk, win, reflect on your victory alone when you are away in safety. Don't look back, don't feel the need to boast about it, and get the hell out before anyone wises up. As James Woods was famously told in another movie ` You sold it once son, don't buy it back !'

Oh and my reviewer award vote goes to Amanda Richards for the best title `Double Jeopardy for Dummies' and the unique novel device of setting the plot to the score of Eleanor Rigby -brilliantly inventive stuff !
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2012 3:51 PM BST

Making out in Thai (Making Out (Tuttle))
Making out in Thai (Making Out (Tuttle))
by John Clewley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.91

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't be Confused by the Title, 23 Aug 2007
Yes a useful and small sized tall pocket book published in Singapore and aimed at UK and USA markets, but also distributed in Japan, brimming with useful modern-ish expressions but don't let the title confuse you. It's cheap so you won't waste money even if you do but if you are an American and your brain lights to the 'Making Out' phrase which means something entirely different to you then be warned there's only one chapter of 11 (no 10) which is really about those 'in the clinch' moments.

OK, it's suitably androgyne for all preferences in that section, but it's pretty tame stock phrase stuff so if you are expecting a micro karma-sutra phrase book or the 'hot stuff' current words for all that, look elsewhere. The rest of the book is packed with simple and sensible normal stock phrases a little less of the 'tourist track' - 'where is the station' than most phrase books and generally useful in person to person chat. A lot is personal everyday useful material,with the chapters cutely headed up with simple phrases , 'let's go' 'eat and drink' ' did you see' etc. Learn these on top of regular grammar.

If you are a single guy and looking for that 'instant guide to BG (bar girl) negotiations and what do they mean translator, this isn't it as it doesnt cover those moments or that scene but it would be ok for regular dating though you are unlikely to get that unless you speak thai well and live or work there. It really just isn't that 'street smart' or up to date to be classed as a guide to 'modern thai that they don't want falang to know' as intimated elsewhere.. it doesnt have that newness about the language at all. No real secrets in this book but many useful basic stock phrases and everyday expressions.

In many IT software install folders there is usually a file called 'Unwise' which bears the doom alert label and is for 'emergency use only'. The name and purpose lend themselves well to Chapter 8 headed 'Mind Your Mouth' which essentially contains the instructions on how to make grievous / swearing insults in thai. Though to their credit the writers have laced the section with basic ' don't try this on holiday' warnings and indicated the consequences of using them 'might annoy' I feel this section in the hands of the unwary and less travelled could land many an unseasoned traveller and non or minimal thai speaker in serious hot water.

Use the worst phrases incautiously in Thailand and you are likely to find yourself receiving a serious hospital level beating from the person you shouted them at and every other thai male within curiousity distance even if they didnt hear it. There's absolutely no one-on-one out there if you are a foreigner and get into a fight, ever. Best to say 'mai pen rai' (sorry no problem, it's nothing, don't worry about it' etc.. and walk away.

My serious advice is that once you get past the schoolboy humour you do not attempt to learn most of the Chapter 8 phrases let alone use them. I'd personally advise NOT taking this book into Thailand unless you cut one or two pages in Chap 8 out, (Maybe it sells there I don't know) or at least never showing that Chapter to any Thais you know if you want your stay and your image to be untarnished. But, As they say in the Land of Smiles ' up to you '

Otherwise a useful book for starter level thai learning

The Fifth Element Special Edition [1997] [DVD]
The Fifth Element Special Edition [1997] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by Jasuli
Price: 3.95

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Die Hard meets Star Wars, 17 Aug 2007
Bruce Willis plays himself admirably amidst a comic ' save the universe ' plot and even manages a Die Hard reminiscent orange vest designed by master outfitter Jean Paul Gaultier who lends a future Fellini-esque element to the bustling cast of eccentric characters. Bruce's indolent, malcontent ex-special-forces resignee turned taxi driver ( I know the feeling ) seeths with urban survivalist irritation and takes no prisoners. He gives us tongue in cheek 'frozen-then-revived John McLean style' see the scene 'anyone else want to negotiate?' for that revelant comparison!

Luc Besson's high-octane film is beautifully thought out and set against the classic french futurist visions of two French comic book artists, Jean Claude Mezieres and Moebius, who inspired, and ultimately worked with writer/director Luc Besson, on the film's overall production design creating a stunning 'comic book' influenced grande-scale series of sets.

The seething future-vision multi layered city with its nestling protective smog layer, flying cars, vertical monorails and lifts and urban sky level walkways echoes and precedes scenes from Blade Runner and Minority Report but is tinged with the yellow/reds of Marvel Comic land. Yes in this movie the future is predominantly Orange at times! Bruce's insouciant action hero taxi driver excells as he daredevil pilots his adapted classic NYC Yellow Cab thru multi level city sky traffic in scenes worthy of John Dykstra's Star Wars breakneck speed hoverbike and Tie fighter chases.

Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) is the mysterious personnified 5th Element loaned sacrificially by a visually circular metallic alien race of robot-like creatures Modoshawans, who clearly have a Stargate feel about them. She comes in an unconventionally curveless real life mere 19 year old girl-package with a hint of underfed lower-teen-androgyne. Of course this being 20th Century family Hollywood such a perilously ingenue creature is ludicrously but interestingly costumed for the sake of cinema modesty. At least Jean-Paul's minimally creative 'bandaged car crash victim' outfit is a change from the usual silver bikini of futurist fems.

Emmanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) is an unlikeable posturing villain in comically non frightening Lex Luther mode reporting to a dark, unearthly never revealed planet-killing force. The best characterisations are the shape-changing assassins, Mangalores, which were the prosthetically challenging special effects triumph. They are the grunts - storm trooper type stock enemy troops who were actually pretty cool-looking in the film, but dumb as they come.

Sexiest creatures in the movie are the sky-blue outfitted Gaultier dressed scantily-clad stewardesses on the interplanetary flight liner who fit all out many male notions of what flight attendancy should be all about!

The rest is villainy, comedy interchange, laser battles, huge explosions, and all the usual Die Hard cliches transferred to a spacefaring environment. If you are looking for the va-va-voom element it's all provided by the camply outrageous multi-media show host presenter, the idiotically vain and narcissistic Ruby Rhod. This skillfully realised annoying yet ultimately watchable pastiche character gives Jar-Jar Binks a decent run for his money as he/she can talk-sing non-stop like a 20 to the dozen future version of RuPaul on speed. Jean-Paul went to town on the looks and costumes for this mega-camp media star and Bruce's visible action-male discomfort and bemusement is a treat to observe when first cornered by the outrageous over the top Ruby, who makes the UK's Lily Savage look like a shy retiring wallflower.

Bruce triumphs in the end (natch!)and doesnt say Yippe-kay-yay Mofo even one time....and the bad guy meets the usual just fate and the universe is saved in the nick of time in true Capt Kirk/Flash Gordon style. Hoorah !

The films scores for me for sheer fun value and the comic book comedic action and dialogue is balanced against the superb futuristic detail and grandiose set visions. My favourite moment of the entire film is the start when Bruce is buying noodles from the wonderful old chinese man in his 'floating red-sailed' sky junk steaming away in the breakneck cluttered traffic snarled sky. This makes the opening of the film reminiscent of Deckard at the noodle stand in Blade Runner. I loved the homage and incongruity of that scene.

All in all I like this film and have watched it many times. Although it's a comic romp and lacks the gritty drama of my other favourite movies, for many reasons the overall futurist 'dream' of it and the fun exuberance of seeing Bruce play his favourite action hero cliche out on the future sci fi stage make it a regularly revisited DVD.

Guitar Bones
Guitar Bones
Price: 22.96

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars no bones about this talent!, 5 April 2007
This review is from: Guitar Bones (Audio CD)
Great album this - I was given it as a birthday present and his style is fast accurate, melodic and complex fingerpicking acoustic guitar. This is an all instrumental album, no songs. At times reminiscent of another complex and fast guitarist Gordon Giltrap in style, as on the opening track, and the speedy 'Ghost in the Hills' he also plays blues fast and accurately on 'Jam Tomorrow' with overtones of John Renbourn's neat blues playing mixed with the 'string-pull' notes used by Bert Jansch... Track 3 'The Elderly Jig' is a traditonal style slow rolling piece again, such as Renbourn would turn out. Slide guitar blues fans will love the atmospheric Dobro tones of 'The One Eyed Turk' with echoey slide coupled with some nice bits of 'down south USA pickin'..

on 'O Malley & Delacey' we get a real grasp of how complex he can pick thru chords and bounce along at a rate that makes you wonder just how many fingers he has going at once.. some wonderful speed picking here, interpreting the traditional USA sound I have liked on songs like 'Hard Times' and 'Buffalo Skinners' done on the John Renbourn albums...Other compositions delight with complexity and accurancy being his serious skills, the recording is perfect and bright with wonderful bass strings and some really complex playing. 'ST Mary's' has a 'brass band' style horn overture accompanying the Northern England 'Hovis Advert... eee by gum i were only 8 when I walked up t'hill to shop' flavour of the piece, a superb scene creating track ! 'Jam Today' is a neatly done electric guitar sound, smooth jazz-blues run with some expert playing.

'Old Friends' contains a lot of interestingly toned working around the 'Auld Lang Syne' tune with some interesting reverbed interpretations, I even caught a minute reference or two to Davy Graham's classic 'Angie' in one phrase, very clever. The closing track is that fast and well played even my ultra talented guitar playing friend Joolz was impressed.

If you are a guitar instrumentalist fan and want to hear a talent that is very very good, intricate acoustic arrangements, played on lots of hand made guitars, ( see CD notes) then this is a great CD for that.

Beginner's Guide To Asian Lounge
Beginner's Guide To Asian Lounge
Offered by RevisionNet
Price: 5.16

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star of India, 31 Mar 2007
this is great stuff, great value from bar, chill to dance club sounds of the eastern genre.. partner to the others in the series, like Arabian Lounge this ultra value 3 CD set gives you hip hopping sitar driven tunes and dance tracks, tabla to turn your head and enthusing eastern songs and tunes to transport you out of the predictable western pop charts... winner of the best artist and track name just has to go to the tongue in cheek 'Tandoori Shakeaway - Kamel Nitrate' ... I fully intend to use this springboard sampler to look up the source albums and further expand my listening of this fabulous genre..incredible value and worthwile stretching of your hidebound musical horizons. if you love the sound of beats strings and sitars and some cracking tabla beats, rythyms and dance tunes get into this..

'Cor blimey, it ain't arf hot, mum'

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4