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Robin A. Marshall

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1066: The Year of The Three Battles
1066: The Year of The Three Battles
by Frank McLynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Three battles, four kings, one crown, 26 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If history is your thing, and if Anglo-Saxon history in particular is your thing, this is for you. Frank McLynn demonstrates yet again why he is such an accomplished expert in the field, and combines all that knowledge with some fine story telling, revealing the complex web of interconnected claims on the English throne, and the near year-long struggle for a victor to emerge; a period which would bring the last major Viking incursion into England, see the last Saxon sunset, and the rise of the Norman monarchy.

Catch Me If You Can [DVD] [2002]
Catch Me If You Can [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Catch it if you can., 26 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Two fine leads, ably supported by a good cast (particularly Christopher Walken as Leo's dad), and working to a great script. Well paced film, based on a true, if barely believable, story. While it is true the world has changed a lot since the time in which this was set, and you may feel it couldn't happen today, a good con man will always be a good con man (or woman), because the ultimate default setting for most people is to want to believe what they are told.

"You probably get this all the time, but you have the most beautiful eyes."

"Yes, I do get that all the time. How do you want this, 10s or 20s?"

The Xenophobe's Guide to the Hungarians (Xenophobe's Guides)
The Xenophobe's Guide to the Hungarians (Xenophobe's Guides)
by Matyas Sarkozi
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Hungarian-on-Hungarian humour, 4 Nov 2013
This is a book every expat coming to live in Hungary should read before they get here. But to really appreciate it, you have to have lived in the country for a while.
And before anyone gets too uptight about bloody foreigners rubbishing the Hungarians yet again, the guide is written by two Magyars, Miklós Vámos and Mátyás Sárközi. That is the beauty of Xenophobe's guides, they are all written by people from the specific country. The back cover says it all.
"Xenophobia - an irrational fear of foreigners, probably justified, always understandable.
"Xenophobe's Guide - an irreverent look at the beliefs and foibles of nations, almost guaranteed to cure Xenophobia."
The book has a nice, light-hearted approach and is full of little anecdotes used to buttress sweeping generalizations. The section on persecution complexes, for example, ends with an observation by Arthur Koestler: "To be Hungarian is a collective neurosis." This is also the book that produced the statement, "With Hungarians, pessimism is a state of mind. The majority are Olympic champions - the remainder are runners up." Vámos and Sárközi do not take themselves or their countrymen too seriously.
It has some useful explanations for the first timer in Hungary, particularly about greetings and etiquette, and does try to debunk some popular myths.
"Whenever Hungarians are mentioned, goulash and gypsy violins are the two things that crop up: They eat nothing but goulash and they cry their eyes out every time they hear gypsy violins. Hungarians find these caricatures exasperating."
A section entitles 'How They See Others' manages to insult most of Hungary's near neighbors (exceptions being the Poles and the Austrians), but 'How Others See Them' seeks to lay some ghosts: "There is a general misconception that the Hungarians belong to the Slav family. Hungarians find this deeply offensive, especially since they dislike most members of that huge family, in particular those who inhabited territory of the ex-Soviet Union." Britain and the United States do come in for some praise, the Brits mainly for being mad traditionalists, and the Americans for being a long way away. The Xenophobe's Guide to the Hungarians is only a short book (64 pages long) but highly entertaining and well worth the money.

Tristan And Isolde [DVD]
Tristan And Isolde [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Franco
Price: £3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Medieval love triangle tragedy, 3 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
The story is far from original, of course, but this is a well executed re-telling of the tragic love triangle. Good cast, though I wasn't entirely convinced by James Franco as Tristan (I'm told that the ladies like him, a lot). Ridley Scott had planned to direct this after his debut feature in the late 1970s, but other things came along (Alien, actually). Eventually he came back to the project as executive producer, and you can see that this is the type of story he loves to tell, one that gives him the chance to imagine and execute the world in which it is set, be that in the past or the future.

Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro MD103B/A (Intel Quad-Core i7 2.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA GT 650M, OS X Lion)
Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro MD103B/A (Intel Quad-Core i7 2.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA GT 650M, OS X Lion)

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully designed, beautifully versatile, 3 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Always been a fan of Apple Macs, but hadn't bought one for 12 years, as was still using my venerable PowerBook G4 laptop. Eventually a burglary forced me to update. The differences in what the new OS can do are tremendous, and iPhoto is almost unrecognisable compared to my Stone Age version. I do a lot of writing and editing onscreen, and some page design, and this is more than enough for the job. Great keyboard, which is important. The one thing I miss from my old machine is the size of its screen; it was a 17-inch laptop, but I couldn't afford that this time round. That said, I don't miss the extra weight of the bigger machine. I highly recommend this is you are a professional writer/designer or a serious hobbyist, come to that. If it lasts as long as my last Mac, I'll be very happy indeed.

De-Lovely [DVD]
De-Lovely [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin Kline
Price: £4.94

5.0 out of 5 stars De-Lightful, 13 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: De-Lovely [DVD] (DVD)
Fairly warts and all biopic of the live and loves of Cole Porter, given real depth by Kevin Kline. Music to die for, of course, but given an interesting twist (and some interesting arrangements) by having modern pop stars singing many of the tunes. An intriguing look inside a marriage that was a true love match, if not a lust match.

Monteverde Medium Ballpoint Soft Roll Refill for Parker Pens - Green (Pack of 2)
Monteverde Medium Ballpoint Soft Roll Refill for Parker Pens - Green (Pack of 2)
Price: £4.20

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works just fine!, 13 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Was a little worried about buying a product that wasn't from Parker and by a company I hadn't heard of, but I needed the green colour and couldn't find anything from Parker. Good ink delivery, though it can get a little splotchy if used constantly for long periods (i.e. several hours). It does the job, and I'd buy again from them if I needed an unusual colour.

The Trench [DVD] [1999]
The Trench [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Paul Nicholls
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.56

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trench lacking in depth, 23 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Trench [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
For Daniel Craig fans eager for an early pre-Bond outing, or as an introduction to First World War history, this isn't bad, but the mixture of Irish, Scottish and northern accents might make it a little hard for non-Brits to follow.
Be warned though, the language is strong and there are the occasional very bloody scenes. But then, it would.
On 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 60,000 British troops were killed. It remains the bloodiest single day of slaughter in the history of the British Army.
The Trench is set against that backdrop, though at times it seems a million miles away.
A pre-requisite of a war film, one would have thought, is action, but vast chunks of this one are spent dealing with tedium.
In that respect it is quite accurate. From the British side there was a long build up to "the Big Push" including a days-long artillery bombardment of the German lines.
The heroes of our story are "holding the line", manning the front-line trenches less than 400 yards away from the Germans, while the reserve area is filled with more and more men.
The British "tactics" such as they were, involved a week long barrage (to blow away all the barbed wire and scare the living daylights out any Germans lucky enough to survive). Everything else hung off that one criteria.
Because most Germans were presumed dead, the British soldiers would advance, at a walk, with bayonets fixed. At 7.30am, in broad daylight. The Generals who dreamed up such follies predicted their brave boys would suffer only 10% casualties.
What went wrong, of course, was that the wire was not blown away and most of the Germans had survived because they built trench dug-outs deep enough to avoid the shelling. Once that almighty barrage finally came to an end they rushed back up to their positions, manned their machine guns and rained down a murderous hail of bullets.
In the build-up to July 1, many soldiers and even some junior officers, began to have doubts about whether this could work. That aspect does comes across, but while there is good acting from much of the cast (notably Paul Nicholls, Daniel Craig, Julian Rhind-Tutt and James D'Arcy), the writing makes them one dimensional.
Nicholls (Pte Billy MacFarlane) is the 17-year-old naive lad who lied about his age to join-up with his brother. D'Arcy (Pte Colin Daventry) is the educated, intelligent trooper who can see it all going wrong long before the others and goes "over the top" sobbing with fear. Rhind-Tutt (Lt Ellis Harte) is the inexperienced young officer who would have been on the family cotton farm in South Africa had it not been for the war. He can barely cope and gets through the day by swigging whiskey from his hip flask.
Craig (Sgt Telford Winter) arguably turns in the best performance, but even his character, the professional soldier shouting at the men to keep them in line, is barely developed.
The trench warfare of the First World War is synonymous with mud and No-man's Land was a bomb-cratered hell-hole. Here the trenches are virtually bone-dry and in the final, climatic battle scene, the lads advance over a brilliantly green unscarred field. Blackadder Goes Fourth, despite being a comedy, was much more realistic in its portrayal.
The film blurb on describes it as "tense and original" but in truth it is not especially either of those. A play called The Accrington Pals, despite being mostly about the women left behind at home during the First World War, covers the tensions leading up to the first day of the Somme much better and the film All Quiet on the Western Front and the musical Oh What a Lovelly War! both dealt more effectively with its insanity.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2013 10:02 AM GMT

House - Season 4 - Complete [DVD]
House - Season 4 - Complete [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Laurie
Offered by Top of the Charts
Price: £7.99

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Universal discrimination, 6 Oct 2009
House is what House is, an excellent medi-drama, well written and well acted. But you kind of expect that. This is a DVD review rather than a performance critique, and Universal Pictures fail hands down in one regard: if you are hard of hearing, or a none-native English speaker who relies on subtitles to keep up with the authentically rapid jargon-filled dialogue, don't buy this box set. In what was either a cost-cutting decision, or simply overlooked (and inexcusably dumb in either case), Universal has seen fit not to supply any subtitles at all. Boo hiss!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2010 9:50 AM BST

Pinocchio : Special Edition [DVD] [1940]
Pinocchio : Special Edition [DVD] [1940]
Dvd ~ Dickie Jones
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £24.99

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disney gets tied up in strings, 12 Jun 2009
One of my least favorite Disney creations, not least because I found the boy-puppet so bloody annoying. Good sound and color reproduction, though, as you'd expect from Disney.

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