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Caballero del febo (Antony, France)

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Deadwood : Complete HBO Season 3 [DVD]
Deadwood : Complete HBO Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ian McShane
Price: £14.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Endgame, 26 May 2011
Those who loved this series will have lamented its untimely demise, and will surely attribute the weaknesses of season 3 to HBO's failing to give creator David Milch the time he needed, or the money, or something ...

It's a pleasure to see beloved characters again, played by actors who've grown into roles that fit them like a well-worn pair of boots. And the baroque speech patterns, blending ornate syntax with high-dosage profanity remain one of the show's distinctive appeals. Not to mention the most beautiful opening credits in the business.

But this season, our endearing community of hard-drinkin' degenerates and flamboyant sociopaths is disturbed by the intrusion of a foreign body which throws all into upheaval. No, I'm not talking about brutal George Hearst, he causes less mayhem in the entire season than the camp's power broker Al Swearengen does in an average week. I'm refering to a troupe of itinerant players who show up in town. Soon the entire cast becomes given to emoting and soliloquizing like so many ineffectual Hamlets. The characters talk endlessly about how they're going to have a meeting in order to make a decision; or how they're going to move the schoolchildren from one building to another; or, in the case of the actors, how they're going to, maybe, prepare for a play. Very little comes to pass, and watching these formerly reckless creatures of impulse dither about waiting, waiting ... for what? one feels that the series has fallen under the spell of a certain Irish playwright. Existentialist Western, anyone?


Dexter Season 2 [DVD]
Dexter Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael C. Hall
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £11.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked by now, 18 May 2011
This review is from: Dexter Season 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Season 2 keeps up the Soprano-style tension between your affection for this lovable serial killer and the nagging voice of your conscience telling you there's something wrong about rooting for a compulsive murderer. For girl-watchers, there are now three (count 'em!) skinny, sexy girls involved in the proceedings, establishing a clear trademark look for the series (newcomer Lila is a bit phony at the onset, but begins to make more sense as time goes by). The black humor remains at a constant high, with plot twists galore to keep you on the edge of your seat. Michael C. Hall's understated acting would be enough to carry the show, but I have to admit Erik King as his nemesis, Sgt. Doakes, is my favorite character (despite an illogical trip to Haiti, what were you thinking, man?!!!). Good show.


Dexter - Season 3 [DVD]
Dexter - Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael C. Hall
Price: £11.80

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creative slump, 18 May 2011
This review is from: Dexter - Season 3 [DVD] (DVD)
In its broad lines, Season 3 carries on the formulas that worked in the previous seasons, but there's a lot of treading water here. First of all, the main concept of the season is too reminiscent of Season 2: Dexter finds a kindred spririt. Except that this time, the confidant is a guy instead of a sexy girl. This raises the question: is Dexter a moron? Why does he bond with this guy after the betrayal of his trust last season? The writers also seem to have lost sight of the character's essential strangeness: Dexter seems to be a serial killer the way some people are stamp collectors. Despite some lip service to his "dark passenger", we see a guy in a pretty normal relationship (the weirdness of Rita in Season 1 is totally over), showing little sign of pathology other than some killing to "take out the trash". The clever conceits of Season 2 (Dex as superhero? Dex as subject of an investigation?) are not matched here (the hazy "investigation" of Quinn is pure filler); there's very little to distract from the tedious friendship storyline. Other minuses: Deb's new haircut is awful, it's still a mystery why she is considered a competent cop, and Jimmy Smits as Miguel Prado is convincing as a small-time politician (chummy, phony, pushy) but not particularly interesting as a character (impenetrable without being intriguing). Disappointing.


Swingin' With Santa
Swingin' With Santa
Offered by soulsearchingplus
Price: £17.85

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quaint, 12 May 2011
This review is from: Swingin' With Santa (Audio CD)
A strange time-warp voyage back to the days of disco (though the packaging gives no precise idea of when this was recorded). A collection of mostly pot-pourris of Christmas carols and American patriotic tunes (what the ?), blended together with a metronomic beat that seems a bit outdated. Not as catchy or exciting as the cover photo.


Hed Kandi World Series: London
Hed Kandi World Series: London
Price: £11.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mechanical, 12 May 2011
This music could be generated by a computer. The beat just drones on and on, with little to distinguish one song from another. Yet another 3-disc set with no stand-out tunes. But I admit I'm biased: I loved the "Serve Chilled" Hed Kandi Presents Serve Chilled [Digital Kandi], "Beach House" Beach House 04 04 and "Winter Chill" Hed Kandi - The Winter Chill 06.04 series Hed Kandi used to produce, more than the straight dance collections. I guess that's why I keep taking theses discs off my player before reaching the end.


Old English: A Linguistic Introduction (Cambridge Introductions to the English Language)
Old English: A Linguistic Introduction (Cambridge Introductions to the English Language)
by J. J. Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next edition, 31 May 2009
The strength of this guide to Old English is Smith's ability to summarize the basic concepts for total beginners. He assumes no previous knowledge of German, Latin, philology or phonetics, and proceeds to lead readers by the hand through all the elementary points needed to describe language and its evolution. Chapters 1-3 are particularly pedagogical, covering basic ideas which will be dealt with in more detail in chapters 4-7.

That's where the going gets rough, however. There's a gulf between the ignorance assumed in the opening chapters and the abilities required to follow the later ones. Reading the brisk discussion of "sound-change" in "e>i", for example, neophytes will wonder what is changing to what in "helpan" (what was the Indo-European? the Germanic? the West Germanic?). Presumably, teachers are supposed to fill in the blanks.

The inclusion of literary excerpts with an extensive glossary help make this book a course in its own right, and Smith has an impressively artful way of acknowledging controversy over certain points while leading students to the essential information they need.

There are a few misprints, but Cambridge offers a website with additional resources, so we can assume they will be progressively corrected.


Serve Chilled
Serve Chilled
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.82

3.0 out of 5 stars A few gems stand out, 29 May 2009
This review is from: Serve Chilled (Audio CD)
It's getting hard to sense what distinguishes one Hed Kandi series from another. What is Serve Chilled supposed to be about? Previous editions featured laid back beats, but also finely crafted oddities, and a good dose of latin tang, somewhere half-way between "Winter Chill" and "Beach House". Not disco, not anonymous background music either.

It's hard to define how boring I found this compilation, which I played several times without being able to remember a single minute, until finally I made a copy keeping less than half of the songs. Suddenly I realized I really loved some of these tunes when extracted from the filler.

This is subjective, of course, but I keep "Northwest", "Watersong", "Hide Me", "Fragment Two", "Koop Island Blues", "Give Me Loving" (a guilty pleasure), and especially "One Love" (irresistible Sara Tavares (Balancê) who brings the much-needed Latin touch), with a few others. On one disc, this is a great collection.


As You Like It [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] [US Import]
As You Like It [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Sir Laurence Olivier
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £2.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost in the fog, 14 May 2009
As the other reviewers have pointed out, sound quality is dismal. You often can't make out what the actors are saying. I regret paying a bargain price for this unwatchable film.
The Image Entertainment DVD (pressed from a Blackhawk Film Collection print) gets high reviews on US Amazon. As You Like it [DVD] [1936] [US Import] [NTSC] Perhaps it's worth trying.


A World of Poetry
A World of Poetry
by Michael Rosen
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Four legs good, two legs bad, 4 May 2009
This review is from: A World of Poetry (Paperback)
There are plenty of wonderful poems in this book (authors run from Michael Palin to William Wordsworth and anonymous poems from various cultures). But the main factor presiding over choice seems to be politically correct moralization. The book starts with a two-liner called "Slavery", and moves on to denounce the rich, the militaristic, the modern and the white with depressing regularity -- try the selection from Chief Dan George's "My Heart Soars":

"I see my white brothers
Going about blotting nature from his cities" (sic), etc.

"US Flies in Hamburgers" also seems indicative of Michael Rosen's politics. The "Topic List" at the end of the volume lists as many poems about "Pollution" as about "Beauty", more on "Injustice" than "Death" or "Stars, Moon & Sky", etc. You can guess the moral of the four "Hunting" poems.

On the whole, the collection is mainly composed of free verse -- rhyme and meter being mainly the province of limericks, a fair number of mischievous child-oriented lyrics and a handful of folk-songs. This means that much of the "poetry" (a great deal in translation) stands or falls on the merits of its imagery or the moral it is trying to convey. Having bought this for my children as a sampler to read out loud, I found much of the content too demoralizing and too far from recognizable poetic rhythms to pursue it very far. A really joyless collection.


Das Boot - The Mini Series (2 Disc Uncut Version) [DVD] [2004]
Das Boot - The Mini Series (2 Disc Uncut Version) [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Jürgen Prochnow
Price: £8.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a great format for viewing this excellent film, 4 May 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent film on life aboard a submarine in wartime. The fact that the heroes are Germans during WW2 is negotiated with discretion, and probably constituted at the time a way for Germans to pay homage to their soldiers while dissociating themselves from the ideals of Nazism (the sub commander is intelligently portrayed as a cynical critic of official propaganda, leaving aside questions of ideology).
The problem I'd like to raise here is the format of this "uncut" version. In fact it's a re-cut, taking a six-episode TV miniseries and turning it into a "seamless whole" without opening and closing credits. Regardless of the merits of the original division, what we're left with is a 4:42 film. If you have nearly five hours to devote to watching it, good for you. Otherwise, you might find it difficult, perhaps even annoying, to look for the episode you stopped at last time, since the "scene selection" function only gives you a series of nearly interchangeable photos of men in the sub at calm moments, stormy moments or being-bombed moments. A printed menu with episode headings would have been helpful, as would an even arbitrary division into -- for example -- six episodes that you could watch individually or continuously. I loved the feature-length film when it came out originally, and wonder whether I shouldn't have bought that version on DVD.


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