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P "KA50" (UK)

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I Am Soldier [DVD] [2014]
I Am Soldier [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Ronnie Thompson
Price: £3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars For heaven's sake do not bother, 27 Sept. 2014
This review is from: I Am Soldier [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
This is astonishingly bad. Direction, production values, script, acting, nothing good. It's rather like watching a film about a computer game without even the pleasure of playing the game yourself. At times at is cringeworthy. It can only appeal to 13 year olds.
The remarkable regiment that is the SAS deserves far better than this adolescent claptrap.

Gravity [DVD] [2013]
Gravity [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Sandra Bullock
Price: £4.87

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Expected so much more, 23 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Gravity [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Big disappointment

Visual special effects good but ruined by terrible over-the- top music. Sandra Bullocks character early in the film says the best thing about space is the silence. How ironic . Most of the film is horrendously loud. The plot was slow.
The "the world is beautiful and life is precious" message is presented in a very unsubtle and obvious way.
The performances were OK but I expected so much more from this.

A film needs more than good 3D effects to work.

Mongol [Blu-ray]
Mongol [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Tadanobu Asano
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 28 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Mongol [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
If you are looking for a historically accurate account of the early years of Genghis Khan, don't watch it. If you want to watch a superb, beautiful film, I can't recommend this highly enough. Though gory in parts, it is not really a war film but a love story - the main character with his wife and also in a brotherly-love way with a fellow Mongol leader. Hope they make the rest of the planned trilogy.

by Robert Harris
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent (unless you're a Caesar fan), 10 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Lustrum (Hardcover)
This novel brilliantly brings to life the dramatic true story of the final decline of the Roman Republic. Cicero is the perfect choice as the central character and the picture drawn of life in Rome is accurate and interesting. This is a great read both for those familiar with the period and for those new to it.

The account of events is mostly pretty accurate and well-researched, with the inaccuracies generally of a minor nature. Perhaps the largest divergence from truth is in the depiction of Caesar as the villain of the piece. Certainly he was very ambitious and power-hungry but this was hardly a rarity in Rome in this or any other period (or, for that matter, anywhere at any time). He wasn't the only one trying to achieve personal supremacy, but just happened to be the best at it. Several of the actions and indeed motivations attributed to Caesar in this book are not supported by historical evidence. Caesar was renowned for his personal charm and generosity (not always towards the wives of other Senators!) and his clemency to beaten opponents. The offer of a 'job' to Cicero to help him in his great crisis is a good example of how an act of generosity is twisted round to appear as something else.
To imply that Caesar destroyed the Roman Republic is like saying that the Battle of Berlin decided the 2nd World War. Having said that, it is quite reasonable to accept this as a dramatic device: every good story needs a good "baddie".

All this does not alter the fact that this series of novels (so far) is probably the best fictionalised account of the period that you will find and I strongly recommend it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 4, 2010 8:11 PM BST

Empire: Total War (PC DVD)
Empire: Total War (PC DVD)
Offered by Digitalville UK
Price: £6.02

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor design, poor execution, 13 July 2009
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
I have all previous Total War games and rate them all highly. This game however is a major disappointment.

The things that have been omitted from previous games are mostly the good bits. The new features that have been introduced to this game are not particularly interesting and do not enhance the gaming experience.

The game's bugs will eventually be repaired but this will not rescue a product marred by poor design and execution. Admittedly the battle graphics (once the bugs have been fixed) are very impressive. However the campaign map graphics are actually worse than previous games.

The different factions within the game have virtually no national characteristics. The naval battles are a waste of time. The economics are not well balanced. I could go on. It is simply not an immersive experience.

The game, as indicated by many other reviewers, was clearly rushed. Although the technical difficulties are being resolved, the fundamental design flaws are unlikely to ever be fixed because so much of the game would require a re-write.

If you want to buy a Total War game, buy the superb Medieval 2, the finest strategy game I have ever played. And it will be cheaper.

As for Steam, it has some advantages, but it is rather frustrating that it sometimes prevents me from playing the game I have bought due to its 'servers being busy' whether I am logged on to the internet or not.

Roll on Medieval 3 or Rome 2 because Empire is a costly mistake.

Naxos and Small Cyclades: Walking the Greek Islands
Naxos and Small Cyclades: Walking the Greek Islands
by Christian Ucke
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let down by poor directions, 9 July 2009
This is a very nicely presented book with plenty of photographs and with a map for each suggested walk. Unfortunately it is let down by rather weak and vague descriptions of the actual routes to be taken. The maps are not detailed enough to give anything other than a general idea of the required direction.
In short I got lost several times and found that simply buying a decent map of Naxos was a much better option for finding my way around.

The Blind Man of Seville
The Blind Man of Seville
by Robert Wilson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive, 3 Oct. 2006
My only previous Robert Wilson book was a Small Death in Lisbon. I thought this was a very good thriller without any real depth. The Blind Man of Seville is a different matter.

While still being a rippingly good read, the murder hunt for a particularly vindictive killer, it has many interesting literary themes which give it a thought-provoking depth that makes for a very satisfying novel.

There is psychology, history, poignancy, heart-rending family dramas. The journals of Falcon's father were I thought the best parts of all. The city of Seville is also a star in its own right : you can almost smell the air and taste the food. Mr Wilson, please write more Falcon stories please!

If you want an easy to read page-turner with the usual formalaic twists, look elsewhere. If you want to be made to think while being enthralled and (despite the occasional gore) entertained, read this.

The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels)
The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels)
by William Brodrick
Edition: Paperback

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, 10 April 2006
I thought this book was superbly well written. It has an engrossing plot and grabbed me from the very start. As a first novel, it shows an enormous amount of promise and I'm pleased to see that another novel involving the same main character has already come out.
The quality of the prose and the author's descriptive and observational powers are what struck me as most impressive about this book. Liking books which hark back to the past is not a pre-requisite since this novel has a very contemporary feel and relevance. If however you do enjoy novels with a historical poignancy then this tale of an old lady's memories of her earlier years which shaped her whole life will be unforgettable, as it was for me.

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas
by David Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 11 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Cloud Atlas (Paperback)
Not the easiest book to read since each of the 6 stories is written in a very different style, but well worth the effort. A damning verdict on man's chances of true and lasting progress. One thing it emphasises is that when people work together they have a chance to succeed and that when they don't they are doomed to fail. Ants appear everywhere in the book, the hint obviously being that they are successful because they work together.
A brilliantly written and thought-provoking book, it will reward the effort you have to put into it. Read it and it will be in your mind for weeks afterwards.

The Cryptographer
The Cryptographer
by Tobias Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but flawed, 27 July 2004
This review is from: The Cryptographer (Paperback)
Having read and greatly enjoyed 'Love of Stones' by the same author I didn't hesitate to buy 'The Cryptographer'. While enjoying it in many ways and not regretting reading it, I still felt it could have been so much better.
First the good news. The prose is beautiful, evocative and poetic and reveals an author of insight and great imagination. The plot, set some decades into the future, offers up an exciting and thought-provoking view of what may be not far around the corner for all of us. There is much that strikes home especially relating to the nature of integrity and sincerity and the role of money in our lives. The cryptographer himself is a Great Gatsby style of character with much of his enigmatic allure.
The not so good. The book struck me as rather sparse. The future world is drawn in outline rather than detail. The relationships are sometimes simplistic and not fully explored. The plot tended to stretch credulity too much : would the world's richest man's tax anomalies be investigated by a single Inland Revenue inspector going for a chat with the man himself (who then of course is strongly attracted to her) rather than a team of inspectors wrestling with an army of accountants and never getting near the great man? Ultimately (and not without some irony considering the themes of the book) it didn't ring true.
That said, I would in spite of everything recommend this book. Read it and judge for yourself. There is certainly enough to be admired in there, a mixture of beguiling writing and evocative ideas. This is clearly a most talented writer and I will seek out his future offerings. It's just that instead of good it could have been great.

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