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Mr. N. W. Blackford (London, UK)

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The Art of Atomhawk: Volume 2
The Art of Atomhawk: Volume 2
by Cumron Ashtiani
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning concept art bound in a beautiful book., 1 Jun. 2016
I've always loved concept art. I think usually because a lot of it remains to be seen, there's so much amazing work put into movies and games that we never see. Well, there is some really beautiful concept art from Atomhawk in this book. Atomhawk are responsible for some truly stunning designs based on some of the entertainment world's biggest IPs. Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pottermore, Killzone, Mortal Kombat, Dead Island and Thor: The Dark World are just a few properties they've worked on. This book is an extension to the first volume complete with illustrator interviews and insights into the production process.

It's been lovingly put together and you can tell they have a real passion for what they do. But most importantly the artwork is exquisite. A must buy for fans of videogame and movie cover art!

Sasquatch Dumpling Gang [DVD]
Sasquatch Dumpling Gang [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jeremy Sumpter
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.62

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily tops Napoleon Dynamite!!, 24 Aug. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I knew nothing about SASQUATCH DUMPLING GANG before watching it, and even though I enjoyed watching NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, I always felt it was a little over-rated. That's why I was so surprised with how much I enjoyed SASQUATCH.

The movie follows several characters in an intertwining narrative which allows for the kind of great character development fans of DYNAMITE have come to love. The over-arching storyline revolves around a supposed sighting of bigfoot, but it's the individual journies taken by the movie's main characters which makes SASQUATCH so enjoyable; Sophie's struggle with her body image, Gavin's quest for love, Hobie's overwhelming jealousy problem, and Zerk's insane plots to make some money with his strange friend.

DYNAMITE purists might feel SASQUATCH is a poor man's DYNAMITE, but in my opinion the narrative of SASQUATCH wins hands down, Tim Skousen has made a well paced and hilarious movie; something has to be really funny for me to laugh out loud, and this movie had me laughing out loud lots.

It also has a brilliant soundtrack and cameos from John Heder and Jon Gries! Definitely worth checking out whether you're a fan of DYNAMITE or not.

No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Upbeat and catchy, but nothing revolutionary., 23 Aug. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've always enjoyed listening to a bit of the up-beat melody-strong rock delivered by bands such as JIMMY EAT WORLD and THE KILLERS. GO AUDIO are obviously influenced by both bands and have thrown in the kind of electronic synth you'll hear in most tracks from bands like MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK and MAE.

Quite a few tracks are tamer than I like, I'm tempted to say 'wet' but the vocals, bass and synth don't really allow for it. People have drawn comparisons to bands such as PANIC AT THE DISCO and FALL OUT BOY and I can see why, but I think GO AUDIO are capable of a stronger sound, one that sometimes feels as if it's leaning towards something harder (think FINCH without the screaming).

Fans of the genre will get exactly what they want, I just felt that for this reason it feels like a very 'obvious' release. Maybe I need to hear it a few more times, but no tracks instantly stood out for me and I didn't feel the need to repeat a track straight away. Having said that I enjoyed the album and it's stuck in my head after a couple of plays.

The lyrics really arn't thought-provoking but this is the kind of album you put on at a party, when people are too busy having a good time to care. The vocals are good, not weedy or screamy enough to make me cringe - they're just right. Overall it's a good album, very catchy, just nothing revolutionary.

Bullguard Internet Security Version 8: 1 Pack (Jewel Case) (PC)
Bullguard Internet Security Version 8: 1 Pack (Jewel Case) (PC)
Offered by Retro Rebel Gaming
Price: £25.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good start..., 21 Aug. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bullguard Internet Security boasts Antivirus, Antispyware, Firewall, Spamfilter, Backup and Support capabilities. I've always found the idea of software such as Bullguard Internet Security reassuring, but there are lots of reasons why I've never gone out and purchased such a product before (they're usually very expensive, gobble up RAM and make starting up your machine a bit of an ordeal). My machine is a laptop, it's about 4 years old and runs Windows XP pretty well (which this software is designed for) - unfortunately, after a rather long installation process I was given the following error message:

"The software you are installing has not passed Windows Logo testing to verify its compatibility with Windows XP. Continuing your installation of this software may impair or destabilize the correct operation of your system either immediately or in the future. Microsoft strongly recommends that you stop this installation now and contact the software vendor for software that has passed Windows Logo testing".

Windows Logo testing ensures that software doesn't harm your machine, software that brings up messages like the one above can be capable of causing damage to your system and open your machine to all sorts of problems (including viruses)! I didn't want to go ahead with the installation (even though I was given to option to continue) after reading this and was shocked that software that looked so capable would conflict with Windows so badly and bring up such a worrying message.

Silent Hill Origins (PS2)
Silent Hill Origins (PS2)
Offered by GamersCorner
Price: £12.99

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, but Origins lacks originality., 24 May 2008
Silent Hill Origins (the fifth title in the series) was originally developed and released for the PSP (Playstation Portable) and has been ported over to the PS2. So graphically the game doesn't match up to a new PS2 release, but it's certainly not a bad looking game.

This is the first game in the series not developed by Japanese developers Team Silent; instead Origins has been created by US/UK developers Climax. They've done an amazing job ensuring the game retains the feel of Silent Hill fans have come to expect. Although character design has certainly changed, the town, monsters, maps and sound have all been perfectly reproduced. The music has even been composed by series veteran Akira Yamaoka.

The game is a prequel and the story in my opinion is perhaps the weakest element of the game. Origins doesn't actually shed much light on the events of the first game. I like the Silent Hill games because of the journey taken by the game's protagonists and the exposure of their inner demons. It's a great concept and one not fully realised in Origins. Travis's story to me felt thrown together and his encounters with other characters (from Silent Hill 1) are very brief.

Considering such obvious work has been put into recreating the visuals of Silent Hill, it's a shame the game doesn't contain more scares. There are some eerie moments but many of them feel recycled from previous entries in the series and are nods to other titles. For example; the character of "the butcher" is an obvious nod to Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2 but he could feature in the game a lot more.

The playable locations in Silent Hill are great and perhaps the title's strength. The idea of using mirrors to enter the `Otherworld' is interesting, but I found it removed the tension associated with its unpredictable arrival in previous games. The `Otherworld' no longer suddenly `happens' and that terrible siren is also gone, which is a great shame. I found it annoying that I couldn't direct my flashlight at things also; it's a big oversight and a simple touch that would have improved the game's interaction with darkness; something I've always felt is integral to the series.

The game is long enough, but it certainly felt shorter than other entries in the series and I found the final act to be rather abrupt.

Origins is great effort considering it is a PSP port created by new (and Western) developers. However, its main flaw is that it doesn't build on the series enough. There is nothing new or daring here. The combat system has been tweaked with on-screen button actions getting you out of grapples with baddies (think Resident Evil 4) but this isn't enough to bring any freshness to the title.

It's as if developers have tried too hard to give fans what they expect. Most fans will call it a return to form following Silent Hill 4's unsatisfying departure from the series. This feels very much like Silent Hill 2.5 and for only £19.98 it'll keep fans of the series happy. The problem is that it doesn't really bring anything new to the table and because of this newcomers to Silent Hill will find it a very dated gaming experience.

Shrooms [DVD] [2008]
Shrooms [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Paddy Breathnach
Price: £1.82

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic example of clever marketing., 10 May 2008
This review is from: Shrooms [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I have to admit that it was the trailer which got me interested in this movie. The movie's concept also appeared to be something slightly original. The idea of people tripping out and getting picked off one in the woods is exciting.

Where this movie falls totally flat is having a lead character who can "see the future" through visions brought on by the shrooms she has taken. This totally removes any tension from the movie. We are told what is going to happen only minutes before it does. For me this alone rendered Shrooms a totally pointless experience.

I didn't sympathise with the characters (and I can't remember any of their characters' names, which I always think is a sign of a bad movie). The gore was minimal - why was this rated 18 by the BBFC? I think perhaps all glorified drug taking is the reason.

With the opportunity for some real gore and spectacular trip sequences totally ignored I found this movie to be a perfect example of a terrible horror movie cleverly marketed. It will no doubt rake in plenty of money within what is already a saturated market. A total waste of time.

Photoshop Elements 6 & Premiere Elements 4 Bundle (PC)
Photoshop Elements 6 & Premiere Elements 4 Bundle (PC)

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING, 29 Mar. 2008
Why has this amazing software package increased by £15.00 on amazon? It was listed for £99.99 yesterday. Without it being on sale before it seems unreasonable for AMAZON to simply up the prices like this...

Fall Winter
Fall Winter

4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning accoustic melodies., 18 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Fall Winter (Audio CD)
Jon Foreman's voice is perfect for this array of accoustic ballads. If you're familiar with Foreman's band Switchfoot, you may know what to expect. Some of these tracks feel like Switchfoot's more mellow tracks, especially those from their more recent albums Nothing Is Sound and Oh! Gravity, yet they gain enough ground to hold up as their own.

Personally I found the melodies of Fall much more pleasing to listen to than the slightly darker Winter EP. Foreman comments as usual on the fragility of life, questioning the status-quo without being afraid to admit the world's often darker nature. It would be easy to come across as dramatic or depressing but Foreman avoids this with some brilliant lyrics that will have you thinking even when the CD stops spinning.

The CD comes on two CDS and the packaging is prepared in a way that the Spring/Summer EP due out later this year will be attachable.

From Wikipedia:

Switchfoot is often referred to as a "Christian band", mostly due to their involvement with the Christian rock scene in their early days. But the band has always shunned this label. "For us, it's a faith, not a genre", says Jon Foreman. "We've always been very open and honest about where the songs are coming from. For us, these songs are for everyone. Calling us 'Christian rock' tends to be a box that closes some people out and excludes them. And that's not what we're trying to do. Music has always opened my mind -- and that's what we want".[26] Duly, Jon's lyrics steer clear of preachiness, exclusive declarations of faith, or even any mention of Jesus Christ.

by Salman Rushdie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brave creative adventure., 26 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Grimus (Paperback)
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started Grimus. I'd never read a book by Salman Rushdie before, worried about hearing how politically aware and metaphorical his stories are I approached this story with some caution. I realise now that this first novel by Rushdie differs to his later, more popular works.

Grimus follows Flapping-Eagle as he searches for his sister after becoming immortal (as she has). His journey is a long one and along the way he meets a variety of great characters. There is love, violence and friendship admist the harships and fears he must face. I really enjoyed following Flapping-Eagle on his epic quest to find his sister.

Calf Island, the setting for most of the novel isn't what it appears to be however, and Flapping-Eagle soon finds out that there is much more at stake than finding his sister. His entire future and the destiny of those around him is suddenly revealed to be dangling from a thread. Does Flapping-Eagle have the determination to face his fate and save the world? You'll have to read it to find out!!

I was glad the book was so creative, it was refreshing to read something with such an explosion of imagination on every page. There are some wonderful ideas in Grimus. I did find however that some of the concepts were drawn out and over-complicated themselves. Rushdie simply doesn't need to go into the detail with some theories that he did and as a result of doing so, I struggled slightly. I'd advise the reader to not feel put off by some of the more complicated philosophical aspects of the book, it is an enjoyable read no matter how deeply you read between the lines.

Imagine Donnie Darko crossed with The Legend of Zelda and you're almost there. It's a great read, something that everyone should have a go at, just for the sheer creativity it will awaken in you. I'm about to read 'Midnight's Children' and hoping I will enjoy it as much.

Like Vines
Like Vines
Price: £15.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique sound with astonishing talent., 25 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Like Vines (Audio CD)
You know those moments when you suddenly discover a new band but you can't believe you hadn't heard of them earlier? This was one of those bands for me (and it's been a long time since I've been able to say that). The Hush Sound's 'Like Vines' is an amazing album. The tracks harness with exhilerating skill the vocals from all four band members. Add to the mix an incredible use of Bass, Guitar, Piano as well as Drums and the result lands somewhere between Waltz, Jazz, Funk and Rock. It's an amazing sound which lends a beautiful, refreshing and inspiring edge to some stunning melodies. Pianist Greta Salpeter has a sound that reminds me slightly of Nina Persson (of The Cardigans).

There is no better way to introduce yourself to the up-beat sound of The Hush Sound than to listen to the first track on this album 'We Intertwined'. Vocalist Bob Morris's opening line will throw a smile on your face which won't fade until the song ends. Check out 'Lighthouse' or 'You Are The Moon' to experience the slower more elegant melodies the band is capable of when implimenting the vocal talent of Greta Salpeter.

Over all it's a great album. One you can dance to, put on in the background of a social situation, one you can study to or simply put on your Ipod or in your car to travel to. Spread the word, this album is rare musical gold.

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