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Mr. S. Carlin "arca20" (England)
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Doctor Who - The Complete Series 5 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Doctor Who - The Complete Series 5 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Matt Smith
Price: 21.66

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who - The EDITED Series 5, 22 Aug 2011
Back in the 1980s, BBC Video began to release Doctor Who on video - edited into feature length editions. It would appear this practice has returned, albeit the editing of the Next Time previews at the end of the episodes. This may seem unimportant to some, but the fact remains that over 9 minutes of footage is missing from the fifth series on blu-ray. Viewers should have the choice ie there should be an option to watch the episodes with or without the Next Time sequences. I am concerned that this key piece of information was not displayed on the cover and so I intend to bring the matter to the attention of 2Entertain.

For that reason, I give the blu-ray box set 2 stars.

Series 5 itself, I would rate at 4 stars. From the start, Matt Smith quickly cements himself as the Doctor, easing into the role and making it his own. Karen Gillan is wonderful as Amy Pond: to those who berate her accent, she can be understood and these remarks are just short of racism.

Arthur Darvill as Rory is another wonderful addition to the case. At first he seems to be little more than window dressing but as the series progresses he comes into his own and his importance to Amy is never understated.

As to the stories themselves - the usual mixed bag. There are standouts and gems such as Amy's Choice, Vincent and the Doctor, Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone; there are the average and above stories - The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below, and even the season finale The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang; then the average and below average stories - Victory of the Daleks (and not just because of the Dalek redesign, its just not that good a story), The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood (good first half then a rather directionless second half which seems to cop out) and The Lodger.

Its interesting to note, on watching again, that there are story elements which are being picked up on and continued during the sixth series: Moffat has gone for a proper story arc, spreading it across the series rather than the previous "where's wally?" type clues of RTD's time.

The extras do not compare with those on the original series DVDs: there are two, optional "extra" scenes (tagged on the end of The Eleventh Hour and Flesh and Stone) which don't really add anything to the stories; there are featurettes on some of the monsters eg Daleks, Weeping Angels and the Silurians - which are confined to recent years rather than the whole series from 1963 onwards; and a host of trailers (surely the Next Time "trailers" could have been put in here at the very least?).

Its down to the buyer - if you have no objection to the editing out of the Next Time trailers at the end of the first 11 episodes, then buy the DVD or the blu-ray boxset, if you do object - let 2Entertain know.


The Early Bird [DVD]
The Early Bird [DVD]
Dvd ~ Norman Wisdom
Price: 4.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good film, bad DVD, 1 May 2011
This review is from: The Early Bird [DVD] (DVD)
I have always loved this film. I first saw it as a child in the 1970s and would watch it every time it was screened. None of the other films that Norman Wisdom made have been able to make me laugh or care. From the brilliant introduction based around the characters stumbling around half asleep, through the byplay between Norman and various other characters including Mr Grimsdale, all the way to the finale at the dairy, I enjoy watching this film time and again and so the chance to buy it on DVD was one I welcomed.

I would rate the film 4 stars.

Sadly, the DVD release disappoints on two, major issues.

The first issue is the aspect ratio. The film begins in widescreen and then shifts to pan and scan for the bulk of the feature. I had thought this kind of appalling treatment of films was something left behind during the 1990s. To find it still rearing its head in the 21st century and on DVD is unbelievable.

The second issue is that its a vanilla release. Okay, so I don't mind if all I get is a film on DVD - but surely a talent such as Norman Wisdom warrants a documentary?

So be warned - if you want this film in the wrong aspect ratio, then dash out and get this DVD. If you, like me, want the full picture - avoid it.


Doctor Who: Ten Little Aliens
Doctor Who: Ten Little Aliens
by Stephen Cole
Edition: Paperback

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tiresome, 29 Nov 2003
There is very little to this book at all. A group of soldiers on a training exercise make an assault on an asteroid interior. They find the bodies of some aliens and three travellers - the Doctor, Ben and Polly. Predictably the asteroid and the exercise are not what they seem and something begins to affect the soldiers.
This is a dreary book which comes across as part of a video game. The characters are dreary, the story is dreary, the writing is tedious. Why do people persist with the delusion that if you present a group of hard-nosed grunts, armed to teeth, and brimming with all sorts of technology (with lots of technobabble) that this makes for good storytelling? There isn't enough material for a short story, never mind a novel. It just plods along, never really drawing the reader in. There was nothing entertaining about this book at all - it was nothing more than an overblown comic strip inspired by too many shoot-em-up computer games.


The White Plague
The White Plague
by Frank Herbert
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A World Without Women, 19 Sep 2003
This review is from: The White Plague (Hardcover)
An American scientist is visiting Dublin with his family. When his family are caught in the blast of an IRA car bomb, he plots a terrifying revenge. His revenge is not just against those who planted the bomb, his revenge is against those countries which created the terrorists behind. He blames Ireland, the UK and Libya for this crime and using his skills he engineers a virus that is specifically coded for female DNA. When the virus is unleashed its effects are felt all around the world and not just in the target countries.
This is an interesting novel which explores the characters and the scenarios created by the unleashing of the virus. We are shown the search for a cure, the manner in which some people go to protect the very survival of their communities, even the paranoia that one country might find a cure but withhold it from other countries.
It is a chilling story, even more so in the world today. As with any terrifying weapon - once it has been invented there is no going back.
Herbert's characters are well drawn, we see their innermost thoughts although perhaps its hard to understand the prime character's motivation for sentencing humanity for the crimes of a few.
This might be an excellent start for anyone wanting to read a non-Dune book by Herbert. A good page-turner and very thought-provoking.


The Haunting [VHS] [1963]
The Haunting [VHS] [1963]
VHS
Offered by londonstorehouse
Price: 14.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's that sound?, 3 Dec 2000
I was first introduced to this film as a teenager, it had been on television one night and my dad taped it to let me see what he called a really scary film. Of course, no film had ever scared me and I thought this would be another such film. After all these years I still find it as scary as I did on that first viewing.
This film builds on all those childhood fears of noises in the dark, the way that shadows distort everyday objects so that at night they look much more sinister. You never really see anything and that is the film's power. Instead of blood and monsters, it preys on the viewer's own imagination, reminding you of the things that terrified you as a child.
Is that the house settling down or is there someone, some thing walking around outside? Why has it suddenly got cold...? This is a genuinely scary film and it is well directed by Robert Wise.
Subtle and intelligent, the film tells the story of Eleanor Lance (known as Nel), a lonely spinster wanting to run away from her life who willingly accepts the chance to spend a few nights at a haunted house. Together with Dr Markway, the man running this experiment, Theodora (Theo), another recruit, and Luke (related to the family who own the house and with an eye on what he can with the property), Nel soon learns that whatever walks the corridors of the house is quite terrifying. Yet her fear soon transforms into something else.
Forget the 1999 remake (or, if you thought it was scary) - track down a copy of this version and watch it. As long as you don't watch it alone in the dark...


Haunting, The [DVD] [1999]
Haunting, The [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Liam Neeson
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.86

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in subtlety, 3 Dec 2000
This review is from: Haunting, The [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
I must begin by saying that I saw the original years before I saw this version so its hard not to make comparisons.
The first thing in the film's favour is that it takes what was a scary story anyway and tells it quite well. Secondly, there are a few spine chilling moments in the film - all borrowed from the 1963 film.
Unfortunately all this is undone by unsubtle effects and horror moments. I came away with the impression that Jan de Bont felt that the audience would be unsatisfied if they didn't see anything so threw in an effects driven finale...which spoils the ethos of the film.
Lines have been added to the story which are tainted with the usual Hollywood belief that audiences are esseentially stupid and points have to be reinforced.
The cast manage to make a good job of the material but at the end of the day Jan de Bont should not have been let near this. Its interesting to note in the accompanying featurette that the producers felt that the things you imagine can be much more powerful than what you see. I can only presume that this was why they wanted to make the film but somewhere along the line this idea was subverted.
In recent years, ghost story films have all been given "happier" endings, aiming for a redemption concept that tends to undermine the power of the story. This is no exception.
On a plus side, the transfer is excellent - the picture quality is clear and sharp. The sound is excellent even if some of the effects lack subtlety. The features are rather sparse comprising a short documentary and two trailers.
My advice - track down the 1963 original, expertly directed by Robert Wise. It is far superior. The 1999 remake is entertaining and has a few spooky moments but is disappointing overall.


Doctor Who - The Robots Of Death [1978] [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - The Robots Of Death [1978] [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Offered by somethinginmyeye
Price: 3.75

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Who, 25 Nov 2000
Up until a year ago I just rated this story as okay. My taste seems to have evolved slightly and on recent viewing (prior to buying the DVD) I found this story to be much better than I had recalled. Naturally I bought the DVD as soon as it came out.
This adventure gets better with viewing, using a familiar Who plot, which is perhaps the best loved plot of any SF or horror story - a small group of people, isolated in a confined area and at the mercy of some seemingly relentless menace.
The picture quality of the DVD is excellent, far superior to most other TV series transfers I've seen. The sound quality is excellent too, although I found the extras a bit disappointing. The commentary is interesting though - its always nice to hear the makers talk about their production.
One for Doctor Who fans to buy and maybe even show to those who doubt that the series was good at any time.


Blackadder 2 - The Entire Second Series [1986] [DVD]
Blackadder 2 - The Entire Second Series [1986] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rowan Atkinson
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 6.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second time right, 20 Nov 2000
I remember watching some of the first series and being uncertain about it. I was intrigued enough to sit and watch the first episode of the second series and found it to be a vast improvement.
For me, this is the funniest of the Blackadder series, but I enjoyed them all.
The first episode, Bells, introduces us to the new Blackadder dynasty as he falls in love with his manservant, Bob (short for Kate). Head has to be one of my own favourites with Edmund appointed Lord High Executioner. Who can forget Tom Baker's portrayal of Captain Rum in the wonderful Potato?
Blackadder's attempts to avoid the Bishop of Bath and Wells' hot poker delight in Money. Equally unforgettable are his dual parties in Beer as he tries to keep his puritan aunt and a drinking binge apart. The final episode seemingly brings the Blackadder dynasty to another end as Edmund finds himself in Chains.
A welcome addition to the BBC's DVD catalogue. The picture quality is generally excellent (an improvement on the transfer for the first series). On a down note there are no extra features on the DVD.


On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Special Edition) [DVD] [1969]
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Special Edition) [DVD] [1969]
Dvd ~ George Lazenby
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 5.67

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten or Ignored Bond, 8 Nov 2000
I suppose like most people I came to this film with a number of expectations. Others treated this film with disdain since it did not feature the definitive Bond (Connery). Not forgetting the popular myth - Lazenby was so poor he was sacked.
The first time I saw this film, some ten years ago I was surprised at how good it was. With each viewing it improved - some of the best action scenes in a Bond film and a memorable ending also made it stand out.
Part of the problem surrounding the film could be that this was the first non-Connery Bond film. Another problem could be that poor old George Lazenby is dubbed for his scenes as Sir Hilary Bray.
In spite of all those, Lazenby does turn in a good performance and it is a pity that he chose not to continue in the role. It would have been interesting indeed to see what he would have made of Diamonds Are Forever (BTW - I'm not criticising Connery). With hindsight it is also noticeable that a lot of later Bond films steal bits and pieces from this one.
With each DVD release of a Bond film, MGM/UA add some excellent features, this one is no exception.
An excellent transfer (and finally I have a copy of the film featuring that 6 minute scene in Grunwold's office!) - the picture and sound quality are excellent. A worthy addition to the Bond collection.


You Only Live Twice (Special Edition) [DVD]
You Only Live Twice (Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 6.90

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Live it again, 8 Nov 2000
Often cited by some critics as the finest Bond, this fifth entry in the series is not one of my favourites. There are too many instances of Bond narrowly escaping death by some fluke rather than skill for my liking. That said, though, its still an enjoyable Bond film but is much more slowly paced in some scenes than any of its predecessors.
This is the first film to put a face to Bond villain Blofeld, as well as being Connery's last regular Bond film from the Eon stable (before a one-off reappearance in film number 7. Connery is still in fine form and delivers as good a performance as ever. Considering the first four films this is perhaps the first one to feature more fantastical elements.
An enjoyable jaunt with some memorable scenes such as the pre-credits sequences and a rooftop fight.
The extras on the DVD are a delight, giving an insight into the film and its production. An excellent transfer, the picture and sound quality are magnificent.


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