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Reviews Written by
Christopher Long "Phone Monkey" (Rugby, UK)
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Absalom: Ghosts of London
Absalom: Ghosts of London
by Gordon Rennie
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book was not only brilliant but it's going to end costing me a fortune, 17 April 2016
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This book was not only brilliant but it's going to end costing me a fortune. You see, for a long time, I've been a DC and Marvel guy. I'd long ago turned my back on my Brit comic roots. Until I watched the 2000 AD documentary Future Shock that is. It brought back so many memories of the wild, twisted comics I used to love it. US, mainstream comics had been feeling a little dull while the latest crop of 2000 AD comics looked like the particular cup of tea I was craving. But where to start? Instead of heading back the classics I followed some advice and went for this interesting offering.
Absalom shares its heritage with the likes of Constantine, Hellboy, Mike Carey's Felix Castor and Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series. Grim and ghosts. The stories are fast moving. The humour is dark and the characters are strong. There's a lot to enjoy here and clearly a lot more to come.
It's just a shame that it's shown me I've got a lot of catching up to do. Thanks for nothing, Tharg! I was meant to be saving.


Mission Impossible 1-5 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Mission Impossible 1-5 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Price: £24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More than just a catchy theme tune, 17 April 2016
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There was a time when I'm pretty sure I'd have rather caught the Chimera virus than own all the Mission Impossible movies. I'd forgotten Misson Impossible 3, with Philip Seymour Hoffman playing a new flawless villain. Ghost Protocol, which embraced the adventure genre and ran with it. It was last year's Rogue Nation that really got me playing attention. I still can't believe how solid a blockbuster Rogue Nation is. It didn't try and throw too much CGI in your face. It didn't over complicate the plot and the ending was a great pay off. Looking back now I can see, for me, that MI2 really was the only weak link in the chain. Another John Woo on America half successful attempt. Beyond that there are some great directors at the helm and some truly iconic summer movie moments. Even the slightly dated original movie is stronger than I remembered and still pulls off hell of an audacious twist. The equivalent to Captain Kirk turning out to be the bad guy. So, all in all, this is genuinely entertaining boxset. It's full of car chases, high tech heists, Simon Peggy embracing Hollywood and Jeremy Renner channelling his surprisingly capable everyman.
Apologies, if this is a little jumbled. I think I'm still getting used to enjoying a Tom Cruise movie. Long story short, accept your mission and roll with the punches. For the most part, you're in very good hands


Screaming Blue-City Murder
Screaming Blue-City Murder
Price: £1.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blue City is a place on Earth, 19 Feb. 2016
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Slick, sick and funny. What more do you need from a great horror book? These stories are fantastic reads. The atmosphere drips off the page and the characters will stay with you long after you step away from the page. Let alone the devious twists and turns.
A brilliant and chilling read!


Lucy [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Lucy [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Scarlett Johansson
Price: £5.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Luc Besson still can make a good movie. Who knew?, 3 Feb. 2016
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I can't decide if this is a really smart dumb movie or if it's a really dumb smart movie. Lucy never quite lands in one camp or the other. It's enjoyable. That, for me, is the winning ingredient here. It's around 90 minutes and it doesn't overstay its welcome. It's fast, it's strange, it's a little bit mad in places. There's talk of evolution, wildly sped up sequences of human evolution and all manner of madness. It rewrites the rules of an action movie but it never quite holds still long enough to be anything else exactly. It's really just a ride, I guess. It's an hour and a half rollercoaster that makes no apologies and goes its own way. You'll know within the first few minutes if this is for you, but I say it's worth a try if you're not sure. It might just catch you off guard.


Inside Llewyn Davis [DVD] [2014]
Inside Llewyn Davis [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Oscar Isaac
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Davis, I like the way your mind works, 3 Feb. 2016
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Oh my god, how I love this movie. I love this movie so much that, the minute, it finishes, I consider putting it on again. I have pretty much always been a Coen Brothers fan. With a couple of exceptions, the likes of Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers. They are total masters of their craft and they have created so many weird and wonderful worlds. I love their comedies, I love their dark dramas. I don't mind they made me listen to bluegrass music. You get the idea. This, though, for me is one of their best. The cast is fantastic, the tone is spot on, the music and the dialogue and the feel of the movie just work together near perfectly. There are sections of it that feel like they're set in a world of parables and subtext, like the sequence featuring another classic performance by John Goodman. This movie really is one of my all time favourites.
If you're not sure about watching this I won't lecture you and, if you don't like it, I won't break my back defending it. I love it too much for that. I'm blinkered by it. What I would suggest is this; watch the trailer. If you like the look of the trailer they ran in cinemas before it came out, then you will like the movie.
Man, I may just have to watch it again now.


Tusk [DVD] [2014]
Tusk [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Michael Parks
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A good Tusk review. A horror in itself?, 3 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Tusk [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Oh, Kevin Smith. There were days of my life when I thought you were the greatest thing in the world. Then there were days when I sort of forgot about you and I'm not sure why. I mean, I liked Zac and Miri. I liked Clerks 2. Maybe, it was Cop Out where we started to drift apart. Which, for the record, is on me. I didn't see it. I wasn't convinced by it. I left it alone. Then Red State came out and got released in like one cinema per country. So it took me a while to see it. And, to be honest, I liked it. So, again, there's no reason why I should have drifted away from you. I think it might've been a Kevin Smith overload. A lot of comics, a lot of region 1 special edition DVDs, a few too many live shows.
Red State felt fresh. I remember that. I liked the fact Mr Smith was trying something different and he wasn't holding back. He really went for it and, in all truth, that's what I love about Tusk. You don't have to listen to the commentary to see that this is a man embracing an idea and just running with it. Part comedy, part dark comedy and part strange horror. I found it so much fun to watch. Don't get me wrong, this is not Citizen Kane, but very few movies are. Very few horror movies in particular. The FX are bit shaky in places, sure, but that doesn't really matter. This is not a movie aiming for total reality. It's going for entertainment and I think it lands it. I also love the juxtaposition of Smith's acerbic dialogue and a growing sense of atmosphere. I'd never have seen it working back in the Jay and Silent Bob days but I think both Red State and Tusk show a new side to the boy from New Jersey.
All of that said, I can see why it's not for everyone. Kev has been whittling down his fan base a little, movie by movie and podcast by podcast. Also this is not the movie a lot of people are going to expect. This is not gore or torture porn horror. There are not centipedes here. Some people are going to come to this as Kevin Smith virgins and not quite see what this movie is supposed to be.
Still, glad I watched it and glad I bought it. Glad I can watch it again. There's so much for a Kevin Smith fan to enjoy here, as long as you don't expect the fat man in the overcoat and his blonde haired, foul mouthed friend.


Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally
Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Andy Kaufman - Man or Not-So-Mighty Mouse?, 3 Feb. 2016
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There was a time in my life when I was unaware of Andy Kaufman. It's embarrassing, but it's true. Then there were the Taxi years. There were the years when he got mentioned in a song and then, of course, there were the Jim Carrey years. Man, I watched that movie to death and, as I did, the interest in the legend of Kaufman grew. I started to look more and more into this strange oddity of a man. A true one off. The movie was a good start. Or a good restart. It got me paying attention. The books were better, though. I had soon read Lost in the Funhouse and Andy Kaufman Revealed, which I loved. Zmuda's style and humour helped show me Kaufman in a way I'd not experienced before. It let you in on the joke. You could feel their friendship over the prank style of their humour.
When I saw Bob had written a new book, I figured it had to be worth a look. Now, in some respects, I wish I hadn't bothered. Don't get me wrong, there are some good moments here, but this book just feels oddly dated and a little tragic. For the record, I don't mean tragic in the sense of Andy's tragic death. No, I mean it feels a bit pathetic. A little too desperate, a little too forced and whiny. Either that or Zmuda is having a breakdown in front of you, page after page. His instance over Andy's idea of faking his own death just gets overworked here. It's too much. At first it's funny, then it's annoying, then it just gets, well....tragic.
If you're a Kaufman fan then you'll find something here, but I warn you it's wrapped up in quite a lot of bile and quite a lot of overly long anecdotes that really feel like they've been dug deep out of the past. There are scores settled here that I just didn't care about and there are stories that just seemed to go on in order to fill up the pages. The fact most of them revolve around life after Andy seemed a bit pointless as well.
I guess a lot of Andy and Bob's ideas worked on the idea of going on just that bit too long. This book definitely feels like it's in keeping with that theory. Which is a shame really.


Bill Hicks - The Complete Collection (6DVDs & 12CDs)
Bill Hicks - The Complete Collection (6DVDs & 12CDs)
Dvd ~ Bill Hicks
Price: £59.03

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bill deserves better, 3 Feb. 2016
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I pre-ordered this item last year, received it on time and pretty much had to send it back the next day. Since then I've wanted to write a review about it but I had to let the anger and frustration die down a little first.
Let me say, to start with, that I am a huge Bill Hicks fan. Since I was introduced to his stuff back in the mid 90s with Revelations both his comedy and his outlook on life have had a huge effect on me. He led to me getting into a lot of other comedians and chasing down a lot of his available material in the process. For a long time it has been split over a pile of CDS, a couple of DVDs and some VHS. I had held off re-buying them in the hope of some new and better release. Scene selection and menus extras do not make! So, you can imagine, when I saw they were releasing this collection I was over the moon. It was what I'd been waiting for. It looks this was the boxset the man deserved. Only, sadly, it wasn't.
The content is pretty much every Bill Hicks fans' dream, sure. The packaging, though, is every the stuff of their nightmares. It's this badly designed and badly put together, fold out cardboard boxset where every disc is only held in place by a small half circle of thinner cardboard and the discs around it. When it arrived every disc was loose and pretty much all of them were scratched. In a moment of desperation I tried to see if the ones I already owned where the only ones that were ruined. That's how desperate I was for this to work. I was prepared to settle for that, but it wasn't to be. Almost his entire back catalogue, some of which I had waited years to watch or listen to, was unplayable.
This is some of the worst packaging I have ever seen and, folks, I buy a lot of boxsets. A lot. I've muttered about plastic slip cases and groaned over those irritating those little corner hold in/pop out things. This, though, takes the biscuit. Whoever came up with this idea was having an off day. And that's being generous. What kills me is knowing that this boxset contains all the Bill Hicks I will ever need but the moment I order it again the same will happen again.
I am begging the people who released this hash to pony up the money and do it properly. Release it again. It's the responsible thing to do here. The last thing you want is a bunch of angry Bill Hicks fans.


Last Chance To See
Last Chance To See
by Douglas Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.18

5.0 out of 5 stars A final trip with a one of a kind mind, 6 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Last Chance To See (Paperback)
I don't know if you're playing the same guessing game as me. Let's see. I had read all the Hitchhiker books. I had read all the Dirk Gently books. I had read Salmon of Doubt and The Meaning of Liff. I had read the biographies and listened to the radio shows. I had watched the Hitchhiker movie and the Dirk Gently series. I thought I was all out of Adams and then I found out about this book. Only, you know, it was a travel book. A possibly environmentally preachy travel book. Which made me start guessing. Did I go for it and hope or did I just wait for another rewritten Adams Dr Who script and pray for more Dirk Gently on TV? In the end I went for it. Do I regret it? Nope. This book is sheer brilliance. It's Douglas at his best. The wit and imagination are there and they manage to capture this world as well as any of the ones he created himself. It's climbing the top of my favourite ever books list and it's not stopping yet. If you are Douglas Adams fan you should own this. In fact you already might. In, which case, carry on. Every time I see this sitting on my bookshelf I thank my weak willpower that I bought it.


Tati Collection [Blu-ray]
Tati Collection [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Jacques Tati
Price: £35.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A master at work, 6 Oct. 2015
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It's funny how your tastes change growing up. I remember being brought up on silent comedies. My parents showed me a lot of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton. They got me into The Marx Brothers. Those movies were my Saturday nights. They were where I went to relax. Only, at some point, it stopped. I'm not sure why. I'm going to guess the word 'teenager' comes into the equation somewhere. It almost always does. The point to all this being that I had forgotten what that style of comedy meant to me. Then, one day, I saw a little animated movie called The Illusionist and heard the name Tati for the first time. I became intrigued by the man and hunted out his work. Well, I say hunted out, this website made it fairly easy. I bought them all on DVD, bar his shorts, and couldn't stop watching them. True, Trafic and Parade aren't quite as strong as the others, but there is always something in his work to make me laugh. Or to maybe tug on some other emotions. Tati was a master and there is so much to enjoy here. Personally I had to buy this for the disc of extra movies but that doesn't mean I won't be watching the others again. There are whole books written on his styles and the themes in these movies. I'll just say this. They reminded me of a kind of comedy I'd shut myself away from and they made me turn back to it again. There is something brilliantly human and, at the same time, almost caricature like about his world. It's, at moments, perfection. There is always something new to see or spot in his work and now you can do it all in HD. What more can you ask for?


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