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michael_m

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A Beautiful Mind [DVD] [2002]
A Beautiful Mind [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Russell Crowe
Price: £4.86

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful acting!, 30 Sep 2004
If you asked me before I had seen this film if I thought Russell Crowe was capable of acting this role, I would have had serious doubts. Now that I have seen it, I can only say that Russell Crowe's portrayal of John Nash is one of the most deserving of an Oscar that I have ever seen!
The film is based on the life of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who struggled with mental illness for much of his life. There is a large injection of fiction into the story, but it is done in a way that is wholly believable. As usual, Hollywood insists on adding a love story, but this one is not too sugary, and the excellent performance of Jennifer Connelly makes this a very moving film, with an ending that you spend the whole film hoping for.
Crowe's performance is so believable, especially when he is in the depths of his illness. The rest of the supporting cast do a fine job too, and Ron Howard's direction is the right balance of seeing the illness both from the inside and the outside.
A five star performance from Crowe!


Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits
Offered by Beyond Electronics UK
Price: £8.05

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, 20 Sep 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
Almost, but not quite...the concept of getting the fans to decide which versions of which songs should go on the album via a website poll is inspired, and the only thing that I would have like to see was the songs in chronological order. Still, there are some great songs here.
All of her albums are represented here ('Debut' probably gets the most tracks though), and there are some alternative mixes that aren't the single or album version thrown in for good luck. It's great that 'Play Dead' made it on this CD, as I think this is one of her best songs, although the version of 'Hyperballad' is better with the strings and minus the drums.
Best thing is that 'Oh So Quiet' is missing, as it is one of Bjork's worst effort, even if it was a very popular single.
Great collection of her material, and a must for anyone that loves her singles.


Dark Side of the Moon
Dark Side of the Moon
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £11.89

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See you on the Dark Side of the Moon, 17 Sep 2004
This review is from: Dark Side of the Moon (Audio CD)
I first came across this album in the late 70's, when one of my Dad's friends lent it to him to listen to. My Dad loved 50's music, and so he hated it, but to me this was something that opened my eyes.
People will always argue about who was the first to do this or that in music, and maybe Pink Floyd weren't the first to record using some of the techniques on this album, but they were the first to make a million-seller out of it!
As well as the songs, you also get various sound effects, tape loops, and even the voices of schizophrenics recorded for use on the album (I have NO idea how they managed to arrange that!). This is not a collection of individual songs that are great listening on their own (although that is true for some of them) - it is an album that has to be listened to in its entirety to appreciate it.
Once we get to the first song proper, 'Breathe', it is a change from the previous offerings from this blues band turned psychedelic band. They had been slowly moving towards this style of playing, and this is where they hit the right formula. 'The Great Gig in the Sky' is an instrumental of sorts with amazing vocal improvisation by Clare Torry, 'Money' is in the unusual time signature of 7/8 (try counting the beats), and 'Us and Them' is one of Roger Waters' best anti-war songs.
I would recommend this to anyone with an open mind, especially if you like anything else by Pink Floyd.


Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds: JEFF WAYNE'S MUSICAL VERSION OF
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds: JEFF WAYNE'S MUSICAL VERSION OF
Offered by ALL-MY-MUSIC-GERMANY
Price: £21.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chances of Anything Coming From Mars..., 10 Sep 2004
I first heard this when I was 14 in 1978, and along with most of my friends, it was probably the first 'orchestral' piece of music that we had bought. Most of us hated disco and preferred punk and new wave, but this was something different. We even persuaded our English teacher to spend an entire English lesson playing it to the class as it was based on a work of English fiction!
Perhaps it sounds a little dated to the 21st century listener, and the drumming is distinctly disco, but the appeal is timeless. It is a mix of orchestra, disco, rock and synthesizers that defies classification, and the mix of vocal and narration is perfect (Including the brilliant Richard Burton).
In brief, it is the story of a Martian invasion in the last years of the 19th century, and the events surrounding the life of the narrator (Richard Burton) until the eventual distruction of the Martians. The way in which the 'Heat Ray' of the Martians is translated into music is very distinctive, and the songs that accompany various events like 'Forever Autumn' and 'Thunder Child' are extremely good.
Whatever you do, don't buy the 'Highlights' CD, as it is very poor in comparison to the double CD. Get this one so that you can hear this work in its entirety!


Come Away With Me
Come Away With Me
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.94

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jazz/Country fusion, 8 Sep 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Come Away With Me (Audio CD)
I'm a little surprised that this gets classified as jazz. It sounds like Norah is playing jazz but is backed by a country and western band. As appalling as that may sound, it actually works.
Norah's voice is what really carries this album, gently wafting her breathy vocals over the laid back band who probably never even break into a sweat.
I bought it on the strength of 'Come Away With Me' and 'I Don't Know Why', but there are plenty of other great numbers there too, including such things as a cover of the Hank Williams number 'Cold Cold Heart', but given a bit of a makeover.
There is a bit of filler too, and I think I might have enjoyed this album better if maybe one or two songs had been trimmed. However, it's a great album for a lazy Sunday afternoon or a leisurely drive in the country.


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P43 Digital Camera [4MP]
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P43 Digital Camera [4MP]

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool camera!, 31 Aug 2004
I got one of these for my birthday, and have to say what a great camera it is! It's small, easy to use and produces some good pictures.
The size is great, as it fits easily in my pocket, and when it's switched off, the lens is covered by a shutter automatically. It has plenty of features, and I've found that it takes some great black and white photos. The flash goes off just when it is needed, and quality of night photos is pretty good.
There's only really one annoying thing about it, in that I have to switch it off to move between photo taking mode and photo viewing mode. Why this is I don't know, but it's not a major issue really.
I love this camera!


The Silmarillion (Deluxe Hardback)
The Silmarillion (Deluxe Hardback)
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early History of Middle Earth, 27 Aug 2004
Before I say anything else, I have to give a word of warning - if you have never read any Tolkien before, don't start here. Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit is a good starting place, but this really is neither going to be an easy read nor make complete sense without reading Lord of the Rings first.
That aside, for the Lord of the Rings reader, this will flesh out a lot of the detail that is missing from Lord of the Rings (yes, that weighty volume does skip detail in places!). Some of the early events of Middle Earth's history will be revealed, and you will be amazed at how very simple explanations in Lord of the Rings had been written in great detail by Tolkien.
For example, 'The Lay of Beren and Luthien' is mentioned a few times, but in the Silmarillion, it is told in its full glory. Also, we find out a little more about Gandalf's origins (you'll be surprised!), why the star 'Elbereth' is so important to the elves, what members of the fellowship and the elves are sailing west for, and many other things that will delight and amaze.
The style shows Tolkien's love for the old European epic, and has elements of Nordic, Shakespearean, Homerian and Gaelic story forms. Don't be put off by this however, as he has put it all in a very 20th century writer's perspective, and it is not too much different from Lord of the Rings in that respect. Where it is different is in the content.
The Silmarillion is full of dark, sad tales, and most of the happy moments in it are tinged with sadness or lead to tragedy. I found it enthralling as a Lord of the Rings Reader, and it was probably this book that prompted me to read Beowulf, The Illiad, Le Mort D'Arthur, etc.
A bittersweet experience, but one that I would wholeheartedly recommend to the Lord of the Rings reader.


Apple iPod mini 4GB - Silver [M9160B/A] (discontinued by manufacturer)
Apple iPod mini 4GB - Silver [M9160B/A] (discontinued by manufacturer)

8 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing piece of equipment!, 27 Aug 2004
I had one of these on order for a while, and when I got it I was amazed at how small the box was. The iPod itself is tiny, and the first thing that struck me was how cool the aluminium case is compared to the shiny plastic of standard iPod. This thing just oozes style!
I connected it to my PC and put the CD in the CD drive. It installed iTunes and the iPod software with no hitches and then configured my iPod at the same time. Once I rebooted I was informed that there was a never version of iTunes which I updated and then I was ready to go!
It has a bunch of features other than playing mp3's, but the clickwheel does make some of them a little difficult. As for navigating the menus and playing music, the clickwheel works fine - it just takes a few seconds of getting used to, then you're using it as if you've used it all your life.
I have yet to load any music onto it as I have been charging it, but I am so impressed so far that I'm willing to give it 5 stars!


All Things Must Pass
All Things Must Pass
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £15.38

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beatle's THIRD great songwriter, 26 Aug 2004
This review is from: All Things Must Pass (Audio CD)
Most people think of Lennon and McCartney as the Beatle's songwriters and often forget that George Harrison wrote some amazing songs like 'Something' and 'Here Comes the Sun'. He also produced the first solo album (if you exclude John and Yoko's sound collages) after the split.
Apparently some of this material was offered up during the Beatles recording sessions but was not used due to the limit put on the number of songs that George was allowed on an album. It's amazing to think that some of these songs were not used!
OK, so everyone knows 'My Sweet Lord', but there are some other fantastic songs here like 'Wah Wah', 'Isn't It a Pity' and 'If Not for You', all given the Phil Spector Wall of Sound production. The whole 3 album vinyl is put onto these 2 CD's along with some alternate takes from the sessions. There is one bad inclusion, which is the 2000 re-recording of 'My Sweet Lord', which is really dreadful, but it's at the end of CD1, so you can stop it without missing any more tracks if it gets to you too much (it does to me!).
This really is testament to the great songwriting talent of George Harrison, and out of the shadow of John and Paul, he produced this masterpiece!


The Very Best of 10CC
The Very Best of 10CC
Price: £3.99

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It almost makes me produce my 10cc of you know what!, 25 Aug 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Very Best of 10CC (Audio CD)
It's amazing that a band named after the volume of semen that a human male produces in one ejaculation could go on to so much success, especially as bands were still being banned for pretty innocuous things at the time. However it happened, I'm glad it did.
This best of covers the whole career of 10cc and other projects, from the dreadful 'Neanderthal Man' by Hotlegs (why on earth it is on this album I don't know!), through the first real hit, the cod doo-wop of 'Donna', through to the best songs recorded by Godley and Creme.
Their 3 UK number ones are here, amazingly each one with a different member of the band on lead vocals - 'Rubber Bullets' (Lol Creme), 'I'm Not In Love' (Eric Stewart), and 'Dreadlock Holiday' (Graham Gouldman). Also there are all the other hits they had - you just don't realise how many until you listen to this.
In addition you get a couple of album tracks. I wish there were more, but every song here has one of those tunes that sticks in your head after very few listens. Great stuff!
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