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My Summer of Love [DVD]
My Summer of Love [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nathalie Press
Price: 4.86

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly British romance story, 28 April 2007
This review is from: My Summer of Love [DVD] (DVD)
I sought this film out having seen Natalie Press in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House and being curious to see some more of her work. I personally found her performance in My Summer Of Love to be a particularly honest and endearing portrayal of a working class Yorkshire girl, her desire to escape from her somewhat bizarre home life and her pursuit of happiness with Tamsin.

It's essentially a romance story but there are some truly unnerving moments towards the end of the film as the summer draws to a close and the characters true motivations are revealed.

I found My Summer Of Love to be a compelling, watchable movie but it is unlikely to encourage repeated viewings and the finale leaves the viewer somewhat lacking in closure. Overall though a particularly enjoyable piece of British cinema.

Crackdown (Xbox 360)
Crackdown (Xbox 360)
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: 5.73

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Defnite 'must-own' material, 26 Mar 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Crackdown (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Although many will be tempted into purchasing Crackdown for the pure joys of getting a quick peek at Halo 3 before release, it would be nothing short of criminal to overlook the true gem that is Crackdown.

My first impressions, gleamed exclusively from the marketplace demo, were underwhelming but ultimately premature. I saw the semi cel-shaded graphics (which later became one of my favourite, stylistic aspects of the game)as too simplistic and completely missed one of the most ingenious and addictive elements of the game, namely the pursuit of orbs. It may sound ludicrous but once you start collecting the cleverly placed balls of light from around the expansive environment you'll find yourself hooked for weeks.

Upon purchase I became fully aware of the full compliment of things to do within Crackdown and it remains one of my favourite 360 games to date. Frequently described quite accurately as a 'ramped-up gta' the game manages to exceed it's predecessor in many aspects. You are given a number of ways to interact with your environment, from the range of agency and civilian vehicles and extensive collection of weaponry including a fantastically addictive homing rocket launcher.

But of particular note is the combination of superhuman abilities combined with the games heavy focus on free-running and scalable geography. Not long into the game you will find your abilities strong enough to be jumping and swinging between skyscrapers like a pro.

The criticisms leveled at Crackdown such as the ease of boss kills are mostly fair but in no real sense do they impede gameplay as those story elements ultimately play a small part when considered alongside the sheer wealth of other things to do in this game.

I've been playing for a long while now and am still as firmly hooked as I was on the day I purchased it.

Band of Brothers
Band of Brothers
by Stephen E. Ambrose
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid but sadly sparse, 26 Mar 2007
This review is from: Band of Brothers (Paperback)
Having quite recently thoroughly enjoyed the HBO series of the same name, Ambrose's book comes as pleasantly familiar territory, acting to fill in gaps and flesh out characters I had encountered in the series.

The story of Easy Company is an extraordinary one and Ambrose has clearly done them a great service in delivering this history in a reasonably accessible format but before I place too much praise upon the late Ambrose, the book is somewhat flawed in places.

When I watched the Band of Brothers mini-series I found myself extremely moved by the intimate bond that these real comrades in arms build as they progress from their training at Curahee, through their battles at Normandy on D-Day, Carentan, Bastogne and others to finally arrive at Hitler's Eagle's Nest. The book however, whilst providing the basis for the series, feels much sparser and is written in a much more matter-of-fact style that very rarely evoked an emotional connection to those same soldiers.

I found it disappointing that some significant events were covered in very little detail and almost glossed over completely, for example the discovery of the concentration camp. Ambrose's style comes across as almost self-congratulatory and is occasionally brazen enough to quarrel with his interviewees over the fairness of their statements which somewhat diminishes his credibility. Also, for someone who has written a good number of books the level of grammatical accuracy was considerably lacking and I often found myself re-reading sections because an obvious slap-dash attempt at spell checking and too little proof reading had left the wrong words in place which by professional author standards should be considered a particularly unforgivable error.

Overall, whilst somewhat disappointed that I was given a more diminished insight into the lives of Easy company than expected, I should note that I was often glued for several chapters at a time and read the book in a short space of time as I felt drawn back to these real accounts of American soldier's experiences of WWII. I would recommend this book to anyone who, like myself, has seen the series and wishes to learn more but would caution complete newcomers that the experience may be less than overwhelming.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2014 10:54 AM BST

Adept (Adept Series)
Adept (Adept Series)
by Robert Finn
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.52

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and well-paced, 21 Mar 2007
This review is from: Adept (Adept Series) (Paperback)
Although often lumped in with the current swell of Da Vinci Code wannabes, Adept is a well written, often un-put-downable chase novel that ticks all the right boxes.

The plot revolves around two central characters who are unwittingly drawn into a conspiracy of epic proportions surrounding ancient relics and the secret societies that covet them. Sounds familiar I know but this is really the sensible extent to which the similarity to DVC extends. There's a unique and original storyline to be had here that unfolds at an enjoyable pace. Whilst not edge of the seat stuff, you do find yourself invested in the plight of the characters; both altruistic and malevolent.

It is a testament to the author that this book quite often gave me a chuckle and the lead characters demeanor toward each other progresses realistically as they become more familiar with the passage of time resulting in some well-placed comic relief when a lull in the action arrives. The relationship between the two main characters is subtle enough to be believable but intense enough to be exciting especially when the action pushes frayed tempers and sexual tension to its limits.

Overall the book is a fine example in a less than original genre and while you may not be gripped throughout, it will almost certainly entertain and intrigue you enough to investigate the sequel.

by Kate Mosse
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.03

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly awful..., 6 Mar 2007
This review is from: Labyrinth (Paperback)
This book is easily the most unnecessarily drawn out piece of literature I've read in a long while. People make very obvious comparisons between this title and the Da Vinci Code due to their shared 'grail-chaser' theme. In truth they couldn't be more different. Although quite broad in appeal and hardly a stretch of the readers mental muscles, Dan Brown knows how to write a well-paced page-turner. Kate Mosse does not.

There are many criticisms that can be leveled at 'Labyrinth'. Firstly Kate writes with an irritatingly condescending and patronizing style which betrays both her own ideas of her standing as a writer but also exposes the lack of ability she has to combine factual research with her own narrative. Occitan dialogue is haphazardly used amongst english and Kate is only too happy to translate even the most basic of Occitan terms, every single time they are used! I've never spoken a word of Occitan in my life and even I didn't need such frequent sign-posting.

The book is based in two eras, ancient and present day with the most lurid of connections made between the two (i.e. the protagonists of each era; Alice and Alais. Shameful). Although basing a plot across different time periods is not unheard of in popular literature, it appears to have been far too ambitious for Kate Mosse to perform adequately. The book switches painfully between these eras spending 4-5 chapters in one and then a roughly equal number of chapters in the other but for the best part of the book these stories have nothing to do with each other. This boils down to a feeling that just as you're getting a handle on the themes and characters of one period, everything grinds to a halt and you are thrust into what may as well be a completely different book only to suffer the same fate a few chapters later. The overall effect is confusing and leaves you feeling uninvolved.

The plot itself is confusing and the uninspired supporting cast have been given peculiarly similar and flamboyant names contributing to the overall confusion of events caused by Kate's constant spelling and grammatical errors. It appears the names are even too confusing for Kate herself as she herself uses the wrong name at one point. Ultimately, the exciting conclusion the reader is forced to wait for never arrives and more questions lie unanswered than are resolved. Relationships between characters are shallow and uninteresting leaving the reader uninvested in the events that unfold. It is also of note that a very obvious point in the plot exists where, possibly in a rush to finish the book, the story skips a whole 30 year period in less than a few chapters with the most basic of premises.

For these reasons the book feels like a lot more hard work to endure than it should be with little reward. How Kate Mosse garnered such universal critical praise for this is a mystery except for her garish self-publicity and connections within literary circles. The idea that this author teaches creative writing is quite frankly laughable. Avoid!

Archer Maclean's Mercury (PSP)
Archer Maclean's Mercury (PSP)
Offered by Go2Games
Price: 2.93

23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shiny but Shallow, 29 Dec 2005
Mercury was one of the range of titles released to coincide with the launch of the PSP. As is common with launch titles, it showcases the technical and visual capabilities of the machine excellently.
In Mercury, you are required to guide one or more blobs of Mercury from a start to a finish point/s within a 3-dimensional maze. Often it is necessary to change the colour of your blobs and combine them together to access further areas of the maze in order to complete it. Unfortunately that's where nearly all the game's focus is. Whilst very pretty, the game gives you an overbearing feeling of 'is this it?' after extended play. There is really only one single player game mode with multiplayer available over the net via wi-fi (but not gamesharing or local multiplayer).
The difficulty level starts off easy enough but as soon as you hit the second group of puzzles (of 6 groups or 'worlds') the difficulty begins to ramp up significantly until it is nigh on impossible to continue and with no alternative game modes to distract the player momentarily you'll soon find yourself frustratedly turning off the console.
Each puzzle contains a hi-score table but even the most seasoned of gamers will struggle to get off the bottom slot with pre-programmed hi-scores that are just too high to be realistic.
So if you want a pretty game that will certainly challenge the most hardened gamer then go for Mercury. If however you want a puzzle game that's going to continue rewarding the player with additional modes and unlockables then I'd recommend Lumines.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2009 6:03 PM GMT

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