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A. Broadhead "andrewbroadhead"

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The Christopher Guest Collection (Waiting For Guffman / Best In Show / A Mighty Wind) [DVD]
The Christopher Guest Collection (Waiting For Guffman / Best In Show / A Mighty Wind) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Coolidge
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £14.99

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, Waiting For Guffman available in the UK, 22 Sept. 2006
The fact that you can now buy Waiting For Guffman on Region 2 DVD should be enough to make you part with your cash. Having Best In Show and A Mighty Wind included in the box-set as well, and being able to get all three for under twelve quid, makes this a no-brainer. I paid fifteen quid to import the Region 1 version of WFG from Canada four years ago, when I realised you couldn't get it on Region 2 at the time.

All Chris Guest films follow a similar theme - a documentary style first introduced in This Is Spinal Tap, concentrating on a group of people who all feel very passionate about the subject of the movie. In this case, we have an amateur dramatics scenario, where residents of the Missourri town of Blaine are putting on a show to illustrate Blaine's history in celebration of it's 150th anniversary (WFG). We have a dog show (BIS), with the cameras following the owners and their dogs as they make their way across country to Philadelphia, for the US version of Crufts. And we have a folk music festival (AMW), where the son of a recently passed-away record producer and band manager decides that as a tribute to his father it would be nice to put on a show, starring three of the acts that his father represented.

The castlist in all three movies pretty much stars the same people, Guest himself, along with Eugene Levy, Fred Willard (hooray), Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Catharine O'Hara, Bob Balaban, Don Lake and Larry Miller appear in all three, and many many more appear in two of the three. All the actors are exceptional improvisers, and all three movies include deleted scenes, a commentary by Guest and Levy, and extra features such as a full show of the concert in A Mighty Wind. And it's nice to see the three Spinal Tappers together again...

Offered by Japan-Select
Price: £15.17

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the most original band in the world..., 24 July 2006
This review is from: Rise (Audio CD)
...but then, neither were Led Zeppelin or Free or AC/DC or The Black Crowes, the most obvious influences of this hard rockin' four-piece. As some of my fellow reveiwers have picked up on, they are currently out supporting Whitesnake on their British tour, and audiences up and down the country are loving them. I spoke to lead singer Cormac Neeson in Sheffield after their support slot, and told him that I'd never seen so many people in the crowd watching the support act, and he said he thought Sheffield didn't like them because he'd spotted some empty seats. Anyway, on to the album.

The first track, Under The Sky, is an excellent opener. Short, sharp, punchy lyrics, great guitar work and a heavy rhythm section grabs you by the short and curlies and doesn't let go. Never Too Late and Come Follow Me don't quite have the same impact, though there's nothing wrong with either of them, whilst Be What You Want is one of the band's favourite live tracks, as the three other members of the group get to sing along on the chorus. Memphis Water could be renamed Muddy Waters, it's the first dip of The Answer's toe into the Memphis Blues that they so obviously admire, though for total blues wait until you get to track 10, Preachin'.

And then you're on to the two best songs on the CD - No Questions Asked is pure Led Zeppelin from start to finish, Jimmy Page guitar riffs, Cormac doing his best Robert Plant impression, but there's a feeling of recognition that makes you love it. And the next track, Into The Gutter starts with a Paranoid guitar sound, moves into Bon Scott era AC/DC for the verses (Walk All Over You, that kind of feel), and finishes sounding like the little brother of Aerosmith's Toys In The Attic, but again, you recognise the influences all the way through, and can't help but enjoy it.

One track lets the album down, the closer Always On Your Mind. It's like the last song on the first Darkness album, you can imagine it was written purely to give the listener one of those overblown ballads that you can hold your lighter in the air to, but really, The Answer don't need songs like this. They've got enough sharp rock songs, and emotional bluesy songs, to keep the listener happy, and I for one press fast forward on my CD player once track 10 has finished, and jump to the start of the album again. But apart from that, a marvellous debut album.

Fowler: My Autobiography
Fowler: My Autobiography
by Robbie Fowler
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best football autobiography I've read, 2 Jun. 2006
Finished it this morning. I've read quite a few autobiographies from players and managers, and this is definitely the funniest. Tony Adams and John Barnes were just boring, Harry Redknapp was quite good, Kevin Keegan was good up to where it got to (just left Newcastle, not yet joined Fulham, long before England and Man City), but of course he's done much more since, but this has even been updated with a little epilogue written at Christmas 2005 after Robbie had rejoined Liverpool on the six month contract, which as we all know has now been extended.

As the other reviewers have said, he professes his love for all things Scouse (except Evertonians), his admiration for Dalglish, Souness and Evans, his dislike of Houllier, Thompson, Hoddle and Eriksson, and goes into some, but not much, detail of his family life, his relationship with Macca and other ex-Liverpool team-mates, and his life since he left Anfield (the mis-management at Leeds, the lies he was told at Man City).

And some of the silly little anecdotes he throws in show that he really is just like you imagine him to be, a silly little Scally chuckling away to himself at the stupid tricks and daft adventures he has got up to, with other players, with his old mates, and on his own. He goes out drinking and nightclubbing, he used to attend lap-dancing clubs and strip-shows, he fraternised with the Spice Girls and with Robbie Williams. He's injured himself doing stupid stunts in training, he's been beaten up in hotels, he's been stitched up by rogue journalists and photographers, he nearly got killed in a car crash on the M62. He freely admits he did not achieve as much as he could if injury had not struck him down over and over again, if he hadn't fallen out with the management at Liverpool and England, and if he had managed to curb his enthusiasm and his temper, but you get the feeling that if he was to do it all over again he wouldn't change much.

Only one section wallows in self-pity, the last six months at Manchester City, other than that you get the feeling he was having a good time, even if he wasn't playing, was being criticised by his superiors, the press, the other players and the fans, and he sets the record straight on lots of things he has been accused of, some true, but an awful lot not true.

Think I'll get the Phil Thompson one next, and see how he paints his side of the story. And see whether the "Robbie was kicking footballs at me so I got him dropped" story appears in his book as well. But as for this one, very very good.

Jabra BT250v - Bluetooth Headset With In Car Charger
Jabra BT250v - Bluetooth Headset With In Car Charger

37 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could be as positive as other reviewers..., 19 May 2006
...but unfortunately I can't. When it works, it works well. The speaker is very clear, and the microphone is at least as clear as the mike on my mobile phone. And the voice tag usage works a treat. Press the button on the headset, say the person's name, it repeats the person's name back to you, dials the number and hey presto, you can have a conversation with them without touching your mobile phone. Brilliant when you're in the car. It's the niggly little things that are beginning to annoy me regarding this headset.

One, if you accidentally leave the headset switched on but don't intend to use it, you can't speak into or hear from your mobile, even though you can answer it. I've lost count of the number of times I've left my headset in the car but forgotten to switch it off, then my mobile phone rings and I can't speak to the person at the other end. And when my car is parked on the drive, in relation to where I put my mobile when in the house must be right on the 10 metre limit between being in range and being out of range, because my phone beeps every two minutes, one to tell me it has disconnected from the headset, then to tell me it has reconnected to the headset. And this can go on all night!!!!

Two, even if I do remember to switch the headset off and put it on charge, when it has finished charging it automatically switches itself on. So, one minute you can be having a conversation into your mobile, then the Jabra becomes fully-charged and bursts into life, and that's it, you can't use your mobile anymore until you go to where you left the Jabra charging and switch it off again. And if that's out in the car, and it's chucking it down with rain at the time, it can become pretty annoying.

Three, it seems to take a long time from switching the Jabra on to being able to use it. If I'm in the car and my mobile phone rings, ideally I'd like to switch the Jabra on, put it behind my ear and answer the phone. No chance, or at least not before my phone has switched to Voicemail. It can take anything up to thirty seconds between switching the Jabra on and being able to use it, which is far too long to be of any use.

Four, it seems to be a little hit and miss as to whether the Jabra identifies that you have answered a call on the mobile. The phone rings, I press answer on my phone, or answer on the headset, and I don't hear anything, and the person at the other end can't hear me. I do it again five minutes later, with the phone in exactly the same place as it was before, and the Jabra still lodged behind my ear, and it works perfectly. No consistency at all.

So, if you are going to switch your Jabra on long before you intend to use it, if you always remember to switch it off as soon as you walk away from it, and if you only ever put it on charge when you are going to be more than 10m away from it or your mobile is switched off anyway, and if you accept that sometimes it just won't work, it's very good. If that is not the case, I suggest you look elsewhere.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2007 11:34 AM GMT

Holy Diver - Remastered
Holy Diver - Remastered
Price: £5.21

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Dio album without a doubt, 31 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Holy Diver - Remastered (Audio CD)
So little Ronnie got sacked from Sabbath by Tony Iommi, same as he'd been sacked from Rainbow by Ritchie Blackmore, and decided to go it alone. He rounded up a couple of old mates from his Rainbow and Sabbath days (Jimmy Bain and Vinnie Appice respectively), found himself a hotshot guitarist who had just started to make a name for himself, and released an album that would firmly identify Ronnie as being the heavy metal equivalent of a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
Witches, sorceresses, kings, knights, minstrels, wolves, elves, rainbows, pots of gold, demons, nightmares, tigers - it's like a game of Talisman on your CD player.
The songs, of course, are fantastic. The band were surprisingly tight, given Jimmy's reputation as a hard drinker, but then revelations made by the musicians since they left Dio have indicated that RJD might be a bit of a tyrant, or at least a hard taskmaster.
In the interview at the end of the CD, Ronnie talks with fondness about the making of the album, the search for a guitarist (a toss up between Viv and John Sykes), his unfair dismissal from Sabbath, and the inspiration behind the songs on the album. And he claims that he hates Rainbow In The Dark. Come off it Ronnie, you wrote it to let us know how you got to where you were at the time (Rainbow is Rainbow, Dark is Black Sabbath). And you used to perform it live with gusto, grinning and skipping around like a munchkin on acid.

Death On The Road
Death On The Road
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £6.50

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good album, but..., 24 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Death On The Road (Audio CD)
First, got to argue with my two fellow reviewers. Shotgun Blues says that this CD is as good as seeing Maiden live at Hammersmith Apollo - get real mate. A CD is one thing, but it is no comparison to seeing one of the best live bands ever, at one of the best rock venues in London. Steve Barrow says that you can't copy it to your MP3 player - don't know what software you use Steve, but Roxio Audio Central has no problem in converting every track on both CDs into individual MP3 tracks, and also has no problem copying the CDs direct onto blank CDs (not that I know anybody who'd ever do that!!!).

Now, on to the album. It's good, in fact it's very good, but that's because the songs chosen for this tour are very good. But Bruce's usual between-song banter is non-existent, he never talks to the crowd at all, which is definitely not the norm. And the wisdom of going overboard promoting the First World War battle at Paschendale when performing live in front of a German crowd also leaves a question mark. What's Steve Harris going to do next, write a song called "We Sank The Belgrano" and reserve the playing of it live for the next time they tour Argentina??

Dunno about you, but I think they should have included at least one song from Powerslave - it's in most people's top three regarding Maiden studio albums. I can live without yet another live version of Wrathchild and Fear Of The Dark (and to tell the truth I've got enough live versions of Hallowed Be Thy Name to last me a lifetime), but obviously the Maiden-men still like to play them. The number of songs also seems a bit stingy - only sixteen songs, which when you consider Bruce isn't chatting either leaves the length of the two CDs a bit short. On the Rock In Rio CD, they played nineteen songs in the set, and Bruce was chattering away like a mynah bird between tracks as well.

So, probably as good as it could have been, but I wanted a bit more...

LiteOn LVW-5002B Multi-region Capable DVD Recorder
LiteOn LVW-5002B Multi-region Capable DVD Recorder

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the box, 3 Jan. 2006
You can't really complain about the limitations of this machine too much - for the price paid, what do you expect? The only problem I've come across, which several other reviewers have also picked up on, is the high-pitched whine, not only when recording but also when playing back discs, either recordings made on the LiteOn or commercially available DVDs. The only thing I can suggest is turn up the volume on your telly or amp.

Other than that, it's been fine. Yes, the recording quality does drop as you increase the amount you can fit on a blank disc from one hour to two hours to three hours to four hours to six hours, but a DVD at six hours is still far better picture quality than VHS. Sound input is through the scart or aerial connection so is only stereo at best, but I think that's pretty much the case of all low-end DVD recorders at the moment. So, while Sky Movies are playing Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, I can only record in stereo. It's easy to make it multi-region too, and it definitely works - I tested it with a region 1 DVD that I bought from Canada a couple of years ago, and have never been able to watch on my old Pioneer DVD player.

I think it could have done with a second scart input on the back - at the moment I've got my Sky digibox plugged in to the back of it, but if I wanted to record from something else (say my DVD player, or my VCR, or my built-in Freeview on the telly) then I have to scrabble around at the back of the box and start unplugging leads and plugging other things in. It can certainly cope quite happily with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS output from commercial DVDs, has an easy to use menu, has an easier-to-use remote than the Pioneer, has had no problem writing to the blank DVDs that I bought (Hyundai DVD+Rs, ten quid for fifty) or to the re-writable disc that came with it, and it was a doddle to download the firmware upgrade from LiteOn's website, burn it on to a CD, then upload it onto the machine. Okay, it doesn't play MPEGs and doesn't have picture zoom like some of the more expensive machines feature, but hey, if I wanted to do that I'd watch the DVDs on my PC anyway. It won't record to DVD-Rs, but it will happily play them, and blank DVD+Rs are as cheap to buy as blank DVD-Rs anyway. Just find a brand that the machine is happy with, and stick with them. As I said earlier, it's not had a problem with the Hyundai's I bought a while ago (which is more than can be said for my PC). It can also take a while for a blank DVD to speed up before it starts recording, so press the record button while the programme is being introduced, rather than as the credits start, or you'll miss the beginning of the programme, but apart from that it's been very good. Now, if I could just get rid of that whine...

Peter Kay: Live at Manchester Arena [DVD] [2004]
Peter Kay: Live at Manchester Arena [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Peter Kay
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.25

9 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says on the box, 19 Dec. 2005
The box that this DVD comes in says that it is the final night of his "Mum Wants A Bungalow Tour", and that's what it is. The Bolton Albert Halls DVD is from the same tour, but recorded in Bolton rather than Manchester. Why would the people who saw this show at the Nynex, or whatever it's called nowadays, feel ripped off anymore than the people at Bolton, or at Hammersmith, or at any of the other venues where he performed this show? The only people who are feeling ripped off are the ones who couldn't be bothered reading what they were buying, so bought two DVDs, of two shows, on the same tour.

I saw PK live at Hammersmith on the same tour, so by the time the Bolton DVD came out I had already heard the majority of the material on the disc, but it didn't make me think I'd been ripped off. If I bought a DVD or tape of a band playing a concert, then bought a copy of the same band playing a different show on the same tour, I wouldn't feel cheated. I'd know exactly what I was buying. Pity the people who rushed out and bought this just because it had the words Peter Kay at the top didn't bother reading the rest of the box.

If I was going to complain about anything it would be the fact that the show itself is identical to what was shown on Channel 4 just over twelve months ago, only forty minutes of material. The real show lasted nearly two hours including interval, so there is material from the actual show that was not included on either the Bolton DVD or the Manchester DVD. But that is Peter Kay's prerogative as to what to include and what to not bother with. Top and bottom, it's from the same tour so of course the jokes and stories will be the same (big video recorders, Granny's sheltered housing, Rich Tea biscuits being renamed as One-Dips, dirty phone-calls, DJs at weddings, Connie's funeral, different height chairs on Christmas Day, Bullseye, Uncle Knobhead), and the performing of Danny Boy at the end is the same. It's just up to the discerning viewer whether he wants to watch the show from Bolton including Shelley and Gina from Coronation Street, or watch the show from Manchester in a big arena rather than a little concert hall. At least this one hasn't got the annoying Mr Bee taxi-cab bit on it.

By the way, all the people who claim that this show includes material from the Blackpool tower show are lying. Blackpool was recorded two years earlier, this is not from that tour.

National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983]
National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983]
Dvd ~ Chevy Chase
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £4.76

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every kid's nightmare - a holiday with Clark, 9 Sept. 2004
I can only echo what other reviewers have said about this movie. Hotwire complains that it isn't in the same league as Hot Shots. Well, that's right, it's a totally different kind of movie. Hot Shots is built on the continual visual gags and movie piss-takes that have been apparent since Airplane, and include Top Secret, Naked Gun, Spy Hard, Dracula - Dead And Loving It, and a million and one other Zucker and Zucker movies. To compare this film with Hot Shots would be like comparing Psycho with Scream - they're both horrors but they aren't meant to be in any way similar.

This movie is one of the John Hughes feelgood films, and plays on the fact that Chevy Chase, as everyday hero Clark W Griswald, is what American and English kids find more embarrassing than just about anything else - the enthusiastic Dad. He's bought the station-wagon from Hell, he's got the holiday mapped out to the N'th degree with no room for deviation, he tries to get on with gangsters in Harlem as much as he does with Ellen's cousin's husband (who he obviously despises), he flirts with Christie Brinkley and ends up taking a midnight dip with her in a motel pool, and he kills Grandma's dog in the most hilarious way you could ever imagine. And Ellen, Rusty and Audrey back him up to the end. They might be irritated, annoyed, tired and angry. But if somebody takes a pop at Clark, they're right behind him all the way.

Slapstick humour, with John Hughes' usual touch of empathy (not apparent in European Vacation certainly), is the order of the day here. I love it. The only thing I would agree with Hotwire about - the actual Wally World section at the end isn't as good as it could have been. But until they get to Wally World - it's fantastic!

Waiting for Guffman [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Waiting for Guffman [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Best In Show than Spinal Tap, 3 Jun. 2004
Christopher Guest's directorial debut has still not been released on DVD or video in the UK, and to my knowledge has never been shown on TV (terrestrial or digital) either. I don't know why, as it is surely more aimed at the ironic, sarcastic nature of the British viewer than it is the in-your-face, slapstick humour of our friends across the pond. Anyway...
If you liked Best In Show, or A Mighty Wind, you'll love this. If you didn't, you won't. That's it, in a nutshell. The same cast, the same style, the same everything. Replace a dog show, or a folk music festival, with an amateur dramatics scenario, and it's pretty much same as before.
Christopher Guest plays Corky St Clair, a "resting" actor, who has settled in the Missouri town of Blaine, which is currently preparing to celebrate its 150th anniversary, and Corky has been asked to direct a play starring some of the town's residents, to illustrate Blaine's history. Cue Eugene Levy as the town's Jewish dentist, and Fred Willard and Catharine O'Hara as the town's travel agents, who each think that they are better actors than their chosen professions. Include an old-timer and a young mechanic, plus a girl who works at the local fast food restaurant, and you've got a bunch of actors who dream of appearing on Broadway. And when Corky gets a telegram to say that New York talent-spotter Mr Guffman will be in town, the stage is set.
The first part of the film concentrates on interviews with the cast, the town dignitaries, and Corky and the musical director, the second part is the show itself. And what a show. You have to see it to believe it...

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