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Grace Poole (Manchester, UK)

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Robin Hood - Extended Director's Cut [DVD]
Robin Hood - Extended Director's Cut [DVD]
Dvd ~ Russell Crowe
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.51

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turkey Flop !, 27 Dec. 2010
Oh dear, Oh dear, where to begin.

It was a bad start, when we put the disc in and you couldn't see the highlight button on the menu. Writing was black and highlight was black. It was great once you pressed it, bright yellow! but that just highlighted that we had selected the wrong button! Ah well, it's a minor design fault...

I am a big fan of Ridley Scott and love most of his films. So despite some bad reviews, I was looking forward to this one. Rather wish I hadn't watched it - especially as I watched it at Christmas. But then, what better time of the year for a turkey!!!!!

I can forgive a few goofs, and a few historical inaccuracies, and even a few continuity errors, if - and this is a big IF. If the plot is good, the acting is strong and there is some good action and romance thrown in, then it doesn't matter.

But this film was abysmal - apart from the above errors, it was very hard to follow partly due to it being difficult to hear with all those dodgy accents flying about. Russell Crowe's accent goes from Geordie, to Scouse, to Welsh, to Irish, to Scottish, to Brummie, in fact every accent was covered apart from Yorkshire, which I rather suspect was the one he was aiming for?

The fight scenes were rather boring, not sure whether this was because I didn't understand why they were fighting, or whether they were badly coreographed?

Robin and Marian had about as much chemistry as a failed rocket on bonfire nght!

In it's favour, as with all Ridley Scott films, the film did manage to capture the atmosphere of olde worlde england and the costumes and production side of it was quite good.

For me, Robin's horse stole the show, oh and the owl. Queen Eleanor's owl was outstanding! A shame then that this is probably inaccurate as owls were not used for falconry as they hunt by sound rather than sight! Should have been a Falcon!


Frasier - Best Of Christmas [DVD]
Frasier - Best Of Christmas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kelsey Grammar
Price: £5.85

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Festive Frasier, 25 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this in the run up to Christmas at bargain price. Seven Christmas Episodes from various Series.

Even if you have box set, it's nice to have all the Christmas episodes together so that you can just stick the dvd in and enjoy the festive fun. I had seen some of them before but they are so funny you can watch them over and over.

Definitely a bargain and I'm sure I will watch it every year - classic comedy!


Angels
Angels
by Sky Real Lives
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Book!, 25 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Angels (Paperback)
I bought this for my mother for Christmas. It arrived Christmas Eve and I was going to wrap it but began reading it. I couldn't put it down and ended up reading it through the night from start to finish.

There is a touching foreward by Gloria Hunniford, who tells of her belief in Angels after the death of her beloved daughter Caron.

Then the book goes straight into the stories of ten individuals who believe they were touched by angels. The stories are fascinating and all very different.

Whether you believe in angels or not, this is an amazing book with some really inspirational stories. Yes, some may say that the people who saw angels were hallucinating, or put the experiences down to miraculous co-incidence, but personally I found most of these stories went beyond that and couldn't be down to just chance.

One thing is for certain and that is the people who had the experiences all found their lives changed forever.

Fascinating book! Once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down!


The Box of Delights [DVD] [1984]
The Box of Delights [DVD] [1984]
Dvd ~ Patrick Troughton
Price: £3.80

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Magic, 23 Dec. 2010
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The Box of Delights was transmitted in six episodes on BBC in 1984, in the run up to Christmas. The final episode was on Christmas Eve, as the climax of the story is centred around Christmas Midnight Mass at the Cathedral.

If you are able I would highly recommend reading the book by John Masefield before watching, as it is wonderfully written and will help you get to know the character's in the plot. If you can't read the book though, it won't spoil your enjoyment of this classic drama.

The story centres around Kay Harker, a public schoolboy in the 1930's who is travelling home by train, for the Christmas holidays. At the station, Kay meets a Punch and Judy man, (wonderfully played by Patrick Troughton) who later gives Kay a magical 'Box Of Delights'. What follows is a magical adventure to defeat the evil Abner Brown who is determined to get his hands on the magical box.

The special effects are not bad for the time, when you consider that in 1984, computer technology was really only in it's infancy. Also after reading the book, I can imagine that it was quite difficult to adapt to screen visually. So all in all, I think Renny Rye did a great job in directing this adaptation.

The music is wonderful, and in case you are wondering - it is by Victor Hely-Hutchinson, A Carol Symphony: Andante quasi lento e contabile.

Kay Harker is superbly played by Devin Stanfield and he manages to get the balance just right, showing surprise and wonderment but never going over the top. Excellent acting.

There are some nice Extra Features, one being an interview from 2004 with Devin Stanfield and Renny Rye, the Director. They look back 20 years and reflect on the production, acting etc. It really is an interesting documentary. Also there are some fun clips of the publicity promos from 1984, where the actors, cast, crew were on Blue Peter and Pebble Mill. Also a quiz which would be good for children. And a documentary biography of the author, the poet John Masefield.

Personally I would say it is suitable for children of about eight or over, depending on the child. But young children might find some scenes a bit scary, for instance the wolves.

It's a great classic drama for both children and adults. It really captures childhood and Christmas. It will definitely get you in the mood for the festive season!


A Winter's Tale
A Winter's Tale
by Trisha Ashley
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winter Warmer, 20 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: A Winter's Tale (Paperback)
I was suffering from a bad bout of flu, Christmas approaching and virtually snowed in, I wanted some lighthearted, Christmas-Holiday reading and I have to say - this was just the ticket!

In my opinion, it started off quite slow and took several chapters to get going and I have to confess that I nearly abandoned it for another book.

Anyway, I'm glad that I didn't give up on it, because once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. A very light-hearted but interesting plot, great atmosphere and good characterisation. The flirting between Sophy and the two men vying for her attention was sparkling and witty. I think if Jane Austen was alive today she might like this book!!!

It will warm the cockles of your heart.


It's Christmas (Special Edition)
It's Christmas (Special Edition)
Price: £4.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Christmas!, 11 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this last Christmas for my dad and he really liked it. It is now his favourite Christmas Album. In fact the whole family love it.

It has some of the most popular songs and by the best artists. It also has some quite rare tracks that are gems.

It's amazing value. You have some of the best names in show biz. With the likes of Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, The Andrews Sisters and many more, how can you go wrong. There is something for all tastes.

Classic!


The Box of Delights
The Box of Delights
by John Masefield
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic of Christmas, 7 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: The Box of Delights (Paperback)
Written by John Masefield (1878-1967), probably better known as a poet, The Box of Delights book follows on from The Midnight Folk.

I bought the DVD, The Box of Delights to watch over Christmas and a reviewer recommended buying the book and reading it beforehand. I'm really glad that I did and I enjoyed both The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights. They are both beautifully written, almost poetic prose.

The Box of Delights was even more enjoyable for me because it is set at Christmas and evoked many childhood memories. There is one section where Masefield describes the the children going to a punch and judy show at the Cathedral where they are given gifts afterwards. The descriptions of the toys took me right back to my childhood.

For me the Box of Delights was a little more enjoyable than The Midnight Folk and gets five stars. The plot was more exciting, the descriptions of Christmas and the snow scenes were magical.

Both of these books are beautifully bound, nice thick pages like you used to get and with lovely illustrations by Quentin Blake. I shall certainly be treasuring them as classics!


The Midnight Folk
The Midnight Folk
by John Masefield
Edition: Paperback

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic and Magical, 7 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: The Midnight Folk (Paperback)
John Masefield (1878-1967) who is probably better known as a poet, wrote the Classic Children's books The Midnight Folk and Box of Delights.

I bought it purely because I got the dvd Box of Delights to watch over Christmas and one of the reviewers recommended reading the books beforehand.

I'm so glad that I did! They are beautifully written. As mentioned in another review, The Midnight Folk doesn't have chapters. I thought this would bother me, but it didn't and it does have paragraph breaks anyway. The beauty of this book for me was not the plot so much as the journey. It captures childhood and the magical world of invention that kids can escape into. John Masefield had quite a tragic childhood; his mother died giving birth to his sister when John was aged six, then his father had a mental breakdown and died soon after. It makes sense that he escaped into a world of his own, developed a love of reading and then created these magical books and many poems.

I enjoyed it so much I read the book Box of Delights, but that is another story ....


You Rang, M'Lord? - The Complete Boxset Series One - Four [DVD] [1998]
You Rang, M'Lord? - The Complete Boxset Series One - Four [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Paul Shane
Price: £13.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Comedy, 12 Nov. 2010
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I was unsure about buying this as I thought it might seem dated. Well I am pleased to say it doesn't. In fact I should have known, it being by the wonderful Perry and Croft who brought us the classic, Dad's Army. The wonderful thing about their shows is that they set them in an era, You Rang M'Lord being the roaring twenties and so it doesn't matter whether you watch it now or in fifty years time - it won't date!

I remember really enjoying this series on tv. Watching it again, I had forgotten how wonderful and funny it was! The risque script, the characterisation, wonderful storylines, and the whole ambience of the 20's. It's wonderful production, great set and costumes. It really captures the era and you feel drawn into the scenes like one of the family.

I think, like Dad's Army, the series has many layers. Besides the comedy it actually goes deeper and hits on the whole social aspect of living in that post WWI era.

The characters all have their own little idiosyncrasies which I had completely forgotten about. The lovely Lady Lavender who enjoys throwing her food tray at hapless maid, Ivy. The honourable Teddy Meldrum who loves servants with their shiny, scrubbed faces (hilarious), Cissy Meldrum who dresses as a man, Ivy Teasdale the naive maid, (who's comic timing is genius) and poor Henry the bootboy who keeps getting his ears boxed.

It's risque, but never goes over the line, many of the jokes being double entendres.

Wonderful classic stuff!


Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession
Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession
by Elizabeth Norton
Edition: Paperback

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Boleyn in a Nutshell, 13 Sept. 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is beautifully written and flows off the page. I have read other books on Anne Boleyn which are equally good. The Eric Ives book on Anne Boleyn is so excellent and thorough that I don't think it will ever be beaten for an in-depth analysis of her life.

But one thing that I do love about this little book is that it is easy to look up references quickly. It is in chronological order and so easy to flip through and re-find passages. Also, the referencing is second to none. If you find an area that you are specifically interested in the author has listed books containing that information or relevant to it. There are some nice photos in it also.

The author gives her opinion on Anne but doesn't inflict it upon the reader which is nice.

Although the book is factual, it isn't stilted or boring. Plenty of interesting background on Anne's family and childhood etc. It really is a joy to read!


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