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Peter Parker-Penn "Well I never!"

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L'Aventura
L'Aventura
Price: 9.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Is it something in the water?, 11 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: L'Aventura (Audio CD)
My copy of 'L'Aventura' has a sticker on the shrinkwrap proclaiming 'The Maestro goes Brazilian!'. That, and the short gap of time since ST's last release 'Confection' made me worry that this album might be some hastily put together World Cup cash-in. My fears were immediately put to rest when I opened the gatefold sleeve and gazed at the stunning artwork. Just looking at it you know that a lot of care has gone into this release.
No-one is better at appropriating the musical styles of the past and incorporating them into something that is not only completely 'of the moment', but also sets the musical trends of the future than French 'dance' acts (eg Air, Daft Punk). Sebastien Tellier's influences on 'L'Aventura' are sometimes hard to pin down. As you listen to it, you may find yourself thinking 'That was a bit prog-rockish!' or 'That sounds like something from a Morricone score'. However, I would say that his major influence on this album is seventies AOR (adult oriented rock), so that he often comes across as a sort of gallic Christopher Cross. All the tracks are infused with gentle latin rhythms and the strings are arranged and conducted by cult Brazilian composer, Arthur Verocai.
'L'Aventura' is the perfect album to put on during balmy summer days or nights. Just lie back and let the tropical melodies wash over you! The centrepiece of the album is the epic 14-minute-plus track 'Comment revoir Qursinet?'. However, for me, the standout track is the brilliant 'Aller vers le soliel'. The different elements of the song come together so perfectly that it's almost magical. However, the whole album is fantastic and I actually rate it as one of the best new releases of the year.


47 Ronin [Blu-ray] [2014]
47 Ronin [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Keanu Reeves
Price: 10.00

29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrills Ahead! Excellent Adventure, 28 Dec 2013
First the negatives: I recently read that one of the reasons '47 Ronin' cost so much to make is that the director insisted on filming it with 3D cameras (rather than adding the 3D in post-production), which is surprising, as the 3D in the movie is so subtle (for 'subtle' read 'virtually non-existent') that in my opinion, it's not really worth paying the extra to see the movie in that format. Apart from some good fire effects, there's not much added to the film by the 3D. In fact, watching the movie wearing those 3D specs actually detracts from the experience, as the fantastic colour palette of the sets and costumes in the first half of the film, consisting mainly of vivid reds, yellow and orange, appears muted through shaded lenses. Also, if you've seen the trailer and you can't wait to see Keanu going mano-a-mano with the huge armoured bloke, apart from a brief fight at the start of the movie (in an exhibition for the Shogun) he never does!
However, those criticisms aside, I'd definitely recommend '47 Ronin' to anyone looking for a good action adventure. Keanu Reeves plays Kai, a 'half-breed' raised by nobleman Lord Asano in feudal Japan. Asano is tricked into killing himself by evil Lord Kira, and his samurai are decreed by the Shogun to be 'ronin'(masterless samurai) and commanded never to seek revenge for their master's death. However, they are determined to get revenge on Kira, even if it means their deaths, or teaming up with Kai, who is generally despised by the men (got that? phew!).
A lot of the second half of the movie is taken up with characters going on various quests, first to free Kai from captivity in 'Dutch Town' (when it all goes a bit 'Pirates of the Caribbean'), and then a journey to a haunted forest to obtain mystical swords from an order of demonic monks.The film culminates with an assault by Kai and his band of men on Lord Kira's fortress, where they have to take on both men and monsters.
I really enjoyed '47 Ronin'. The sets and costumes are fantastic, and there are plenty of exciting action sequences. The ending is quite downbeat, but also inevitable. A solid 3.5/5 and definitely worth seeing on the big screen, although it should look fantastic on blu-ray.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2014 5:44 PM GMT


TALES FROM THE GRAND BAZAAR
TALES FROM THE GRAND BAZAAR
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 9.90

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one for late nights and headphones, 14 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although Bombay Dub Orchestra's eponymous debut album is a fantastic downtempo listening experience, it didn't always deliver on it's promise/premise of a fusion of orchestral music, Indian music and dub. tracks veered one way or the other, with only a light sprinkling of dub. On 'Tales From the Grand Bazaar' the three elements of the band's music are far more successfully integrated, with the dub element taking a far more central role. While the band's debut suggested influences (well, at least to me) of acts such as Enigma and William Orbit, 'TFTGB' is far more reminiscent of Massive Attack, whilst also retaining it's own unique individuality (I haven't heard '3 Cities' so I can't say how the band's music might have evolved between that album and this one). 'TFTGB' is the perfect album to wind down to at the end of the day. At times, the music is incredibly moving, particularly on the tracks 'A Time of Beauty' and 'Air Like Velvet'.

'Tales From The Grand Bazaar' is an album I'd definitely recommend to fans of downtempo music.


The Wolverine [Blu-ray]
The Wolverine [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: 7.77

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars less is more, 31 July 2013
This review is from: The Wolverine [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
To be frank, I hated 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' and wasn't that keen on going to see 'The Wolverine' either, but to say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. It's actually one of the best comic book movies I've seen. Wolverine is persuaded to visit Japan, to see his dying friend Yashida. Whilst there, he gets involved in a boardroom battle over who will succeed the dying man as head of his mega-corporation, which soon turns bloody, putting Yashida's granddaughter's life in danger. In order to save her, not only does Logan have to take on other mutants, but also the Yakuza, and even a clan of ninjas!
'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' tried to shoehorn as many mutants as it could into the movie, but in 'The Wolverine', apart from Logan there are only two other mutants, a young Japanese woman named Yukio, and a villainess who may or may not be called 'The Viper', and who dresses like a character from the videogame 'Mortal Kombat'.
Early on in the movie Logan loses his invunerability, which makes his many fights much more involving for the audience, as, without his ability to basically shrug-off bullet wounds, he actually faces the risk of being killed. The best of these battles is a fight on top of a speeding bullet train, which is both exciting and funny. The Japanese setting is quite novel (most blockbuster sequels set overseas seem to send their characters to the UK), and actually put me in mind of old James Bond movies.
I don't know if the 3D was added post-production, but it doesn't really add anything to the experience of viewing the movie, so I'd suggest sticking to the 2D version, and saving yourself some money.
There is an additional scene about half-way through the end credits.
I wouldn't be surprised if there is an extended cut of 'The Wolverine' on blu-ray at least: in the trailer there's a brief clip of Wolverine in hand-to-hand combat with the ninja clan (including ninjas on motorbikes riding over rooftops!) which isn't in the theatrical version.


Pacific Rim [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Pacific Rim [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Idris Elba
Price: 9.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars robots and these guys, 13 July 2013
'Pacific Rim' starts with a bang, with an account of the first Kaiju attack ('Kaiju' being the name given to the monsters in the movie), and then proceeds to top that scene with a succession of ever more spectacular battles on land, sea and air. By the point in the movie that Charlie Hunnam's mech picks up a tanker to use as a makeshift bat, I was totally hooked. The trailer for 'Pacific Rim' promised giant robot vs giant alien monster combat, and for once, a movie delivers on it's promise. Yes, the main characters are all pretty generic (the gruff commander, the hero haunted by his brother's death, the zany scientists etc), but believe me, when you're sitting in the cinema or at home, watching a giant robot punching a monster in the face, or slicing one lengthwise in half with a giant sword, you won't give a damn!
I didn't see the film in 3D, so I can't tell you how good the 3D is, and although I didn't stay right to the end of the credits, there is an additional scene about half way through the credits which is worth staying for.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2013 7:18 PM BST


The Internship [Blu-ray]
The Internship [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Vince Vaughn
Price: 8.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars google males, 7 July 2013
This review is from: The Internship [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Long review: Despite the 21st Century spin, 'The Internship' is a classic fish-out-of-water comedy. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play two unemployed salesmen who apply for internships at Google. When the applicants are divided into teams, no-one picks them, so they are forced to form a team with the other 'outcasts', to undertake a series of tasks to determine which team will get the jobs.
Will the group have to face humiliation at the hands of nasty brit Max Minghella before coming together as a team? Will Vaughn and Wilson teach their tech-savvy but unworldly team-mates to live, laugh and love? Will the pair finally win the respect of the crusty dean/law professor/Google head honcho?
Of course they will!
This is Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson's first team-up since 'Wedding Crashers', and, as in that film, Owen Wilson gets to be the romantic(ish) lead, while the 'broader' comedy is centred around Vince Vaughn. Although 'The Internship' is nowhere near as raunchy as 'Wedding Crashers' it does feature a scene in a lapdancing club, and enough swearing to push it close to a '15' rating (in my opinion).
Although I enjoyed 'The Internship', I never found it 'laugh out loud' funny. However, it's certainly better than the reviews suggest. It may never be considered a classic, but it's a fun, feelgood movie.
Short review: 'Revenge of the Nerds' meets 'The House Bunny'.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2013 4:21 PM BST


After Earth [DVD] [2013]
After Earth [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Will Smith
Price: 5.00

9 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent action-adventure, 9 Jun 2013
This review is from: After Earth [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
The plot: 1000 years in the future, super soldier Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) crash land on Earth, which, due to pollution has been abandoned by the human race. Raige Snr being somewhat incapacitated by the injuries he has received in the crash, it's up to Kitai to save them by retrieving and activating a distress beacon from the torn-off tail of their ship, a task which involves a trek through a world now filled with creatures both terrestrial and extraterrestrial which would like nothing better than to eat him, or in the case of the Ursa (an alien creature which they were transporting in the hold of their ship, and which tracks its prey by their fear), impale him on a tree(!).
I really enjoyed the movie: Kitai's journey is both exciting and emotionally involving, and Jaden Smith does a really good job of portraying his character's many emotions; his guilt at his sister's death, his frustration and anger at his dad's apparent coldness towards him, and his terror at being stuck on his own in the middle of a hostile wilderness. To be frank, for a summer blockbuster, the movie is fairly downbeat, but there are plenty of action sequences to keep viewers entertained. Fairly explicit parallels are made with Melville's classic novel 'Moby Dick', and at the end of the movie Kitai is forced to confront the monster that has haunted his dreams, in an exciting battle.
'After Earth' is a proper family movie. I can imagine younger viewers identifying with the young hero on his quest, while older viewers should enjoy the surprising emotional depth of the film. As I said, I really enjoyed it, although I was left wondering why Kitai's survival suit, with all it's advanced capabilities, didn't have anything built into it to keep him warm!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 8, 2013 6:12 AM BST


Jack The Giant Slayer [DVD + UV Copy] [2013]
Jack The Giant Slayer [DVD + UV Copy] [2013]
Dvd ~ Stanley Tucci
Offered by Discs4all
Price: 7.50

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars big fun, 25 Mar 2013
I can understand why people suffering from Potter/Narnia/Hobbit fatigue might decide to give Jack the Giant Slayer a miss, but if you do, you'll be depriving yourself of the pleasure of seeing a really excellent fantasy movie, and what's more, one that isn't setting itself up to be a series (a rarity in itself).
Thomas Hobbes famously described the life of man in it's natural state as 'nasty, brutish and short'. Well, the giants in this movie can be summed up as 'nasty, brutish, and extremely tall'. Although giants feature in all the recent franchises, this is the first film I've seen where they seem truly menacing. Although they are not the smartest of monsters, they are cunning, and their huge size means that they are able to throw windmill blades like frisbees and hurl flaming trees at their enemies. To get round the fact that the giants could simply squish any human opposition underfoot, the film climaxes with the giants laying seige to King Brahmwell's castle, rather than a big fight on the battlefield, which is gripping, but may disappoint some viewers.
I don't think it's essential to see the film in 3D, which works best when you have scenes featuring big giants and little humans. The best of these is the scene when Jack and his party first encounter a giant, which in it's setup (a trek through a green forest, the sound of birds all around, the sheeps terror as the giant approaches, and then our first sight of it as it crashes through the trees) reminded me of Jurassic Park, with a giant instead of a t-rex.
Jack the Giant Slayer is one of those movies which, when you see it on tv, you say to yourself 'I wish I'd seen that at the cinema', Certainly, just to get a sense of the size of the giants, you should try and see the movie on a big screen, even if it's not a cinema screen.


Lincoln (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [Region Free]
Lincoln (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
Price: 8.00

29 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars interminable waffle, 1 Feb 2013
As an account of President Lincoln's attempt to pass the 13th Amendment (abolishing slavery) before the end of the civil war, I'm sure that 'Lincoln' is a VERY IMPORTANT MOVIE. It certainly takes itself VERY SERIOUSLY. However, as something you purchase a ticket to see, or buy on dvd, in order to be entertained, it fails miserably. The movie is dull, dull, dull. If you do buy it to watch at home I promise you that as it progresses you will find yourself reading the paper, or having a snooze, or even switching it off half-way through with the intention of watching the rest at some other time...and you never will. In a movie which focuses so heavily on dialogue, you at least want the dialogue to be engrossing, but the formal, archaic language, the constant rhetoric, and discussions on the minutiae of bills and amendments is often difficult to follow, and difficult to maintain an interest in. There are only so many scenes of men with comedy whiskers orating to roomfuls of mutton-chopped extras that a viewer can take (I could almost imagine one of those aforementioned extras turning to the camera at the end of one of these scenes and -in the manner of one of those 'Phones4U' ads-exclaiming 'I didn't understand a word of what Thaddeus Stevens just said...can I upgrade?'). At one point, we hear about the Union's plan to shell the port of Wilmington, and then we have a scene set in Washington where one of Lincoln's aides, desperate to hear how the battle in Wilmington is proceeding, loses his patience with the President as he begins a rambling anecdote, but we never actually see any of the battle, which would at least break up all the jaw-jaw. To be fair, 'Lincoln' is getting a lot of five-star reviews both on Amazon and from the critics, so maybe it's just me, but I found the movie really boring.
Comment Comments (22) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2013 11:23 AM BST


Jaws Limited Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UV Copy) [1975]
Jaws Limited Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UV Copy) [1975]
Dvd ~ Roy Scheider
Offered by Top of the Charts
Price: 31.00

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaws 2012 re-release, 17 Jun 2012
I've just got back from seeing Jaws at my local cinema, and even though I have seen it before, seeing it on the big screen, I was just as gripped by the movie as I was the first time I saw it.
Assuming this restored print is what we'll be getting on blu-ray in September, the picture looks really good, although it isn't as 'pin-sharp' as a new release (in fact, I thought the picture had a certain 'softness' to it). What really impressed me was the sound, which is now a lot more detailed: for instance, at the start of the movie, when the girl is running along the beach, I was never previously aware of her laboured breathing, but now, you can hear it clearly. In 'crowd' scenes such as the town meeting in the mayor's office or the scene on the beach when the boy is attacked, individual voices are much more distinct, so I was picking up comments I'd never heard before. Saying that, during Quint's famous speech about the Indianapolis, I had to strain my ears during part of the speech to hear what he was saying.
I also noticed a number of things which I'd never noticed before: in one shot aboard the Orca, a shooting star can be seen flying overhead. When Quint meets his grisly fate, he stabs at the shark with his knife. I'd also forgotten how short the end credits are: by the time I'd stood up, put my coat on, and reached the exit, the credits had finished and there was a 'board' advertising Universal Studios Tours (was this from the 70's? it looked like it was from that era)!
Finally, why didn't Quint's deckhand accompany them on the trip (I'm referring to that silent guy who followed him around)?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2012 11:21 AM BST


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