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D. Wright "GrumpyGeezer" (Scotland)

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Doctor Who - The Three Doctors [1972] [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - The Three Doctors [1972] [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Offered by somethinginmyeye
Price: £11.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Tribute to the First 10 Years of "Who"., 6 Dec. 2008
"Doctor Who" is a show with a unique format that enables us to enjoy classics like the "The Three Doctors"- can you name another show that has survived so many different portrayals of its central character by so many different actors?

"The Three Doctors" is a ripping yarn about the Timelords uniting the 3 incarnations of the Doctor to solve a a potentially cataclysmic situation caused by an attack on our universe from beyond a black hole. Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee deliver great performances and the central villain Omega is a great foe for them. Okay, this story is really just a chance for fans to indulge in nostalgia but remember: video recording was rare in that era and repeats and novelisations were the only normal route to enjoy "Who" again.

I will concede the adventure isn't perfect: Stephen Thorne gives a bravura performance as the betrayed and bitter Omega but it is a portrait painted in broad strokes that erodes the role's potential capacity for pathos,sympathy and subtlety; Patrick Troughton is pushed to the sidelines of the action for the central segments of the story; the "Cell Guards" look like walking X-rays of Amy Winehouse's liver and the extremely frail William Hartnell is confined to sitting in a plastic container and thus has only a cameo role.

But this adventure is great and far better than "The Two Doctors" ...(..Not much of an achievement, a 100 minute film of paint drying is more thrilling than "The Two Doctors".) Troughton slowly steals the show and Nicholas Courtney is great as "the Brig". The extras are solid: a typically informative set of production subtitles/text commentary; an intriguing and fun film of Pertwee, Manning and Courtney at a "Who" convention and short clips from "Blue Peter" & "Pebble Mill". The latter is car crash TV at its finest:- the citizens of Birmingham look resolutely unimpressed with Cybermen and Daleks strolling about and includes a painfully clumsy interview with Troughton. (Alan Partridge is clearly not too much of an exaggeration of certain BBC presenters of that era.)

Overall, a quirky anniversary adventure that has far more to offer viewers than mere novelty value.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
by Max Brooks
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Try To Be A Hero ..........Or You'll End Up A Snack., 23 Nov. 2008
"The Zombie Survival Guide" is a funny but informative spoof defense guide to surviving an attack of the walking dead. I devoured it within a day of buying it as it's a rivetting read.

Within its pages you learn: the physical cause of zombification; the strengths and weaknesses of the infected; the best weapons, tactics and defenses if you are forced to face ghouls; the best forms of transport in a zombie outbreak zone; the best places to escape to and avoid; the skills you need to live in a world where zombies are top of the food chain.Also Brooks ends his book with "historical" examples of human triumph and catastrophe in the face of the undead menace.
Max Brooks is a former "Saturday Night Live" writer and there are a subtle satirical points throughout: gung ho Rambo-esque survivalists are starters for the undead or targets for the police, cooperation is better than rugged individualism, humans' stupidity and selfishness are as big threats as the pizza delivery boy's gnashing jaws,don't trust your instincts as we are all just cattle who live comfortable lives disconnected from basic survival skills and, crucially, surviving is the only form of victory when civilisation collapses.

Brooks' research and imagination both are great and this is a exciting read read but it could never happen, could it? .....That guy on the underground was just drunk ... and chewing on a roast chicken wasn't he? Or he had rabies ?......... I'm off to buy a moped, a 2 storey house in the Artic tundra and some archery lessons.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2010 4:29 PM GMT

Shaun of the Dead [DVD] [2004]
Shaun of the Dead [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Simon Pegg
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.78

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, Hilarious, Scary & Crammed with Extras, 23 Nov. 2008
Quite simply this the best movie British movie of the first decade of the 21st Century.Okay it won't look as impressive on your DVD shelf as "Atonement", or give you as much "cool points" as "Casino Royale" but after a bad day at school/college/uni/work this movie will lift your spirits despite being set in the midst of a plague of zombies in London.

Great acting and a deceptively clever script mean this DVD is actually an accomplished piece of movie making by Pegg and Wright and not just a collection of gory scenes nor a cobbled together mish-mash of gags. This "zom-rom-com" is really an essential purchase is its commentary is enlightening and entertaining and the rest of the extra are superb.

Buy, devour and enjoy!

And It's Goodnight from Him . . .: The Autobiography of the Two Ronnies
And It's Goodnight from Him . . .: The Autobiography of the Two Ronnies
by Ronnie Corbett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Candles, ...Sorry, 4 stars for Autobiography of 2 Stars of Comedy, 4 Nov. 2008
This is a wonderfully entertaining look at the lives of 2 legends of British comedy and both their working and personal relationships with each other. The book gives a short autobiographical introduction to both Ronnies and cleverly describes how their partnership ticked.

Ronnie Corbett is modest, and open about what he sees as his lesser talent compared the late Ronnie Barker; he is, in fact, too modest - it is hard too see how Barker could have been as funny with any other partner plus Corbett's monologues are superb.

Corbett's assertion is that the 2 Ronnies' similar upper-working/ lower middle class background and the fact that neither one studied at University meant they had a different approach from the Oxbridge or "Gifted Amateur" approach of Cook/Moore or the Pythons: both Ronnies were experienced performers before they even reached TV. As Corbett points in this book the Oxbridge performers could have returned to medicine, teaching, etc.... if their careers stalled but the Ronnies had no such luxury. This maturity and professionalism meant they could accept collaborative working styles and this explained their longevity as a double act as they were both mature enough to respect the other. (Compare this with Pete'N' Dud who were ready to throttle each other within a few years.)

They had an "open marriage" of a partnership: they weren't jealous of each other's outside projects. Also, we read of how they had very different personalities- Corbett:, extrovert, a performer; Barker: private, shy, a writer as well as actor. This book is a tribute to Barker and there is genuine warmth in Corbett's recalling of the tributes made to the retired Barker that re-ignited his desire to perform that was one of the reasons that lead to the reuniting of the pair.

Touchingly we read of how Barker's declining health lead to both his premature retirement and, ironically, perhaps another reason to come back for the "Sketchbook" series as he knew his time was short.

There only a few minor quibbles I could make; I think Barker & Corbett over-reacted to a "Not the Nine O'Clock News" parody of them and their seaside postcard humour and why do need a bit of comtemporary history to precis the scene every few chapters?

Overall, a warm, generous and thoughtful book in an age of spiteful, cash-in biographies.

QI Presents: Strictly Come Duncing [Interactive DVD] [2007]
QI Presents: Strictly Come Duncing [Interactive DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Stephen Fry
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waltz off With this DVD ....., 10 Oct. 2008
This DVD is slightly more interactive than the first DVD game and is just as much fun.


QI - A Quite Interesting Game [Interactive DVD] [2005]
QI - A Quite Interesting Game [Interactive DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Stephen Fry
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting!, 10 Oct. 2008
I found this DVD game to be a lot of fun. Yes, it can be frustrating when you accidently stumble into a cul-de-sac by giving a correct but boring answer but if that is enough to frustrate you perhaps you should instead go to bed early with a milky drink forthwith ....

Play along, learn, laugh and enjoy.

Doctor Who - The Talons Of Weng Chiang [1977] [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - The Talons Of Weng Chiang [1977] [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £14.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Talon-tastic, Clawed Classic., 29 Sept. 2008
If there is one genre the Beeb does well it's the costume drama and perhaps this is why this eccentric gem is the peak of classic Who. It is set in the foggy streets of Victorian London where the deerstalker-wearing Fourth Doctor and Leela are searching for the abductor of young women; okay, so far so cliched. What is lurking in the sewers? But what connects the dark plot to Li H'Sen Chang, a Fu Manchu-like leader of a Tong group and a sinister illusionist? How can Chang get Mr Sin, his ventriloquist's dummy, to appear so alive? Is the Doctor the only time traveller walking the 19th century's most important city?

This is a simply superb story written by Robert Holmes the series' greatest writer and script-edtor plus its the last story directed by the great David Maloney who promptly left to be involved in "Blake's 7" and the last adventure to be produced by Peter Hinchcliffe who masterminded many Who classics,a golden era misnamed "gothic" by Whovians, so this is both a great story and a momentous milestone in the series' history.

Maloney cleverly shot a lot of the adventure on location and therefore we get a tangible sense of atmospheric tension so the wild set of plot influences (Conan Doyle's Holmes, Rohmer's Fu Manchu and Laroux's Phantom) are grounded into as much reality as any story which features a pig-brained midget oinking like a pig at its climax can possibly hope or strive for.

Baker would never be so consistently brilliant again and arguably the show would be caught in a tailspin for many years in the Williams and Nathan Turner eras. But Louise Jamieson is also superb as Leela at her bravest and most heroic. Add in great roles for John Bennett as the honourable but villianous Chang, Christopher Benjamin as the lovable theatrical fraud Jago and Trevor Baxter as the delightful old buffer Professor Lightfoot. But Michael Spice and Deep Roy both deserve special praise for portraying menace purely through gestures and voices under bulky masks as Greel and Sin.

The extras are good- a chatty commentary, an overly earnest documentary and a nostagic Blue Peter selection of "makes" - a Doctor Who puppet theatre and a truly naff lesson in sound effect by series stalwart Dick Mills.But the oddest extra is the poor quality backstage footage - why?

Overall, perhaps the best Who adventure ever and a great piece of work in its own right. Essential viewing,my dear Watson.

The League Of Gentlemen: The League Of Gentlemen Are Behind You [DVD]
The League Of Gentlemen: The League Of Gentlemen Are Behind You [DVD]
Dvd ~ Reece Shearsmith
Offered by Not2day Media
Price: £3.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Panto of Two Halves: Poor First; Great Second. So a bit Wishy Washy., 27 Sept. 2008
An adult panto is not a novel idea as the odious Jim Davidson has produced a few but the League give it a new spin. The first half is sold to us as auditions for Legz Akimbo's Communo-Nativity .... it is really nothing of the sort! Actually what you get a few leftover scenes that have been harvested from the wastepaper bin.Not all the scenes seem to lead anywhere and its quite an undisciplined first act. Notice how the audience seem a bit underwhelmed and,to be fair, the League mention it in the commentary. (Act 1- 3 stars, just. Their poorest ever work.)

The second act is much better: big,brassy,camp and funny. As the panto plot kicks in the show picks up and the audience wakes up. Pauline, Mickey, Tubs and Edward make their appearances and despite the undergraduate level of the jokes it is actually funny. The League in this mode seem to be trying to tap into the audience who like "Little Britain" but after a few glasses of mulled wine you'll forget yourself.
(Act 2- 4 stars. Broader performances and less subtle humour than normal but funny.)

Overall, a reasonable fix for League junkies still awaiting a new project but really the first half is a clunking mess.The commentary is good but a little sad as the League now seems to have gone the way of the Pythons and seem to be a group of individuals who meet to do projects that tap into their fans reservoir of good will towards them rather than a committed troupe of performers.

Basically a satsuma in your Xmas stocking that is half rotten, pick off the first half and enjoy.

The "League of Gentlemen"'s Book of Precious Things
The "League of Gentlemen"'s Book of Precious Things
by League of Gentlemen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Sampler of the Influences on the Gentlemen, 27 Sept. 2008
I enjoyed this book mainly because I already love classic Doctor Who, John Shuttleworth and Alan Bennett. But this book has introduced me to new authors who have inspired the kings of Vasey.

I do rather wonder if anyone outside fandom will be that interested though and, it must be said, the chosen passages are very short so as to leave the reader with "Chinese buffet" syndrome - small very different dishes but not a feeling of satisfaction. For example, you don't really get a full feeling of the majesty of "The Talons of Weng Chiang" in reading a couple of pages of the script.

A bit of an odd pick and mix but still a good read ....... but any chance of another movie or series Gentlemen?

Doctor Terrible's House of Horrible [DVD] [2001]
Doctor Terrible's House of Horrible [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Steve Coogan
Price: £4.75

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Classic - But Not "Truly Diabolical", 14 Sept. 2008
Horror movies fulfill an important role in many adolescent kids' lives as they are obsessed with sexuality and death. So why not write a spoof series that give tribute to Hammer, Amicus and Tigon films?

The problem is that really this another attempt at "Coogan's Run": an unpredictable and uneven anthology comedy series. Just like " ...Run" Coogan plays multiple roles and, inevitably, the quality of the episodes varies.

One constant high point is Coogan's eponymous narrator.He is crude, cruel, snobbish and perverted;he also has his bad points. Actually his kinky and surreal monologues are often the best part of the shows.

The opening "Fearing" episode is a patchy spoof of Amicus anthology horror films and a little too arch for its own good. The coffee table story is especially a little too knowing for its own good with its heavy-handed swipes at reactionary misogyny in British 70's horror.It has to be said that Julia Davis is ,as ever, great at playing the archetypal sex-obsessed lover of feminist pyschobabble and I suppose it does hit the target by pointing out the cruel and crude justice of the morality tales in these movies.

"Tongs" is much better even though I can't ever claim to seen a "Fu-Manchu" style horror movie. Gatiss is great and clearly revels in his role. Bizarrely this is really a clearer, and therefore better, spoof of the "Doctor Who" classic adventure "The Talons of Weng-Chiang". So not really a horror movie spoof per se.

"Curse of The Blood of The Lizard of Doom" is simply poor: an unfunny pantomime with some truly wretched Scottish accents.

"Lesbian Vampire Lovers of Lust" is an accurate and affectionate parody of Hammer's late '60s/ 70's habit of using vampire movies as trojan horses to put out lesbian softcore pornography, witness the Ingrid Pitt "classics" "The Vampire Lovers" or "Countess Dracula." Roni Ancona is a treat as the seductive sapphic sucker and Ben Miller is terrific as the campest er... tool of a vampire you'll ever see. Double entendres are scattered through the dialogue and this cleverly exposes the cowardly and cynical use of sexuality in the Hammer canon.

"Voodoo Feet of Death" is a very poor episode with very little laughs at all.

The series ends on a high note - "Scream Satan Scream!" is a great take on the classic "The Witchfinder General". Coogan is a knockout in his mock Peter Sellers acting style and potrays the pompous puritan as a holy hypocrite.Just like the fourth episode this attacks the wretched and squalid sexual hypocriscy of horror flicks as they are fascinated yet disgusted by women's sexuality.

The extras are okay; some great commentaries and a passable "behind the scenes" documentary.

Overall, a good stab at horror-comedy but not as good as the "League of Gentlemen" Christmas special.I suppose it is guilty of overrelying on the strength of Coogan's input and that's why we have on 75% of a good series as the "Lizard" and "Feet" episodes lack the narrative thrust of a passionate and rounded main character.

In conclusion, terribly funny at times but also horribly inconsistent.

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