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Filmically Challenged "madloverci" (Dundee, Tayside, United Kingdom)

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Births, Deaths and Marriages: Series 1
Births, Deaths and Marriages: Series 1
Offered by Audible Ltd

5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely love this comedy from Radio 4 and often find myself ..., 14 Jan. 2015
I absolutely love this comedy from Radio 4 and often find myself chuckling out loud while walking down the street listening to it.

The New Avengers (8 Disc Collector's Edition Box Set) [DVD]
The New Avengers (8 Disc Collector's Edition Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Macnee
Price: £22.25

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SUCH a disappointment!, 21 Oct. 2014
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I had such hopes for this. I used to love it as a kid when it was repeated in the 80s and was sure I'd still love it after seeing one episode on TV recently. But it seems that particular episode was one of the few half-decent episodes made.

The problem can be broken down into 5 categores: plot, writing, acting, dialogue, and production values. They all let the episodes down in different ways. Firstly, many of the episodes are simply boring. I find myself willing some episodes to come to an end. The writing is absolutely dire, with no subtlety at all. Characters are completely unable to read emotions, cue endless scenes until something gets cleared up. And there are more plotholes than you can shake a stick at. Then there's the sexism. Seen through today's eyes it's unbelievable. Any excuse for Lumley to disrobe or show off her legs. And obviously, it being the Avengers you have to suspend belief (quite a lot), but one episode features Lumley defeating the baddie through... ballet. While he tries to tap dance his escape! Some of the dialogue that Purdey and Gambit have to spout is cringeworthy to say the least, but it seems people in 1976 were willing to look past it. The acting - perhaps because of the dialogue - is wooden from all concerned. Nobody has any reason to be proud when it comes to this show.

But really it's the production values that really scupper this show. Each episode apparently cost £120,000, which in those days I suppose was an awful lot ofmoney, but looking at it now, I really have to wonder where it went. Sets so obviously look like sets - everything from the walls, the furniture, the set decoration and the props, they all scream fake (even the graffiti is obviously fake). When not on a set, too many of the episodes are set in abandoned or derelict buildings. In one episode, an MP actually lives in an abandoned fairground. They run around endless forests, car chases take place on the same streets over and over again, and then there are the filters on the cameras to deceive us until thinking that something shot during the day it meant to be night. They don't deceive us, it's very obvious it was shot during the day.

Someone mentioned the sound and picture quality as being excellent. That's far from the truth. The picture quality is terrible. All of the episodes are grainy, and many of the episodes have bars running up the left hand side of the screen - sometimes orange, sometimes blue (see attached pictures 2 & 3). On a little laptop screen it could be forgivable, but on a proper sized TV it's very distracting. The image quality of the opening scene of the episode Hostage (series 2, episode 1) is so horrible I actually thought I was watching one of the extras (there are none) of long lost footage restored for our enjoyment. No such luck. And then there's the stock footage. In the episode called Obsession, they use footage of the RAF, however, it's obviously taken from an RAF promotional film as you can still see the title card on it (picture 1). If you're someone who easily spots continuity errors you'll have a field day with this show. The audio isn't great either. There's one episode (Three Handed Game) where the beginning 10 or 20 minutes is full of the audio running at varying speeds. I initially thought it was part of the plot, but it turned out just to be poor quality.

In the first few episodes of the second series, Lumley is hardly used at all. It's like she really was just there to look pretty for the lads. Meanwhile, Gambit often comes across as a sleaze. And as for Steed, there's one episode where someone is trying to kill him because, at school, Steed had been the best at absolutely everything. Literally everything.

I couldn't wait for this to arrive and stick it in my DVD player, but the whole thing has turned out to be one big disappointment. The only saving grace is all the cameos from actors who are recognisable today ("Oh, it's him off Bergerac!", "Is that The Professionals?!")

So, if you do intend to buy this, be warned, it won't be as good as you think.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 29, 2015 8:38 PM BST

Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4)
Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4)
Price: £3.66

2.0 out of 5 stars This book should be called "What Dan Brown Learned on a Trip to Italy", 2 Jun. 2013
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I'll start off by saying that I did actually manage to finish this book, which is more than can be said of The Lost Symbol, his previous effort.

There is a paper thin plot here that wouldn't even stand up in a Bond film - evil madman wants to destroy the world. It starts off with Robert Langdon waking up in a hospital, suffering from amnesia. Over the course of the next few chapters he finds out that everybody is against him, including his own government. The only person he can trust is the beautiful, blonde doctor who treated him in the hospital. Together they outrun assassins and government agents.

And that is the book in a nutshell. All of the information above comes in the first few chapters, but Dan Brown ekes it out for over 100. And how does he fill those 463 pages? With pointless description upon pointless description. But it's ok, because he signals these boring chunks with the phrase, "And Langdon realised..." So you know you can skip over the next few paragraphs, because, honestly, they really do add NOTHING to the story. A bit of description to paint the picture of what a building or street is like - ok, that's fine. But giving historical context to a point which was giving historical context?! Forget it. It really is like Dan Brown went to Italy, paid for a guided tour, and wrote down these golden nuggets he felt he had to share. If you wanted, you could buy a Rough Guide to Venice or Florence, and every few paragraphs tell yourself that someone is being chased by somebody else, and nobody knows why. The effect would be much the same.

That said, you actually do want to keep reading, despite the style. Apart from the superfluous descriptions, Brown also puts things in italics. Sometimes it's what someone is thinking. Sometimes it's not and you're not quite sure why it's in italics. But it happens a lot. What also happens a lot is that people do things "reflexively". I've rarely come across this word in other books, but here it happens every few chapters. Looking up at the ceiling reflexively, checking his watch reflexively, touching an amulet reflexively. It's like he did a "search and replace" in Word, and changed every instance of "instinctively" to "reflexively".

Which brings me to another point, the proofreading. Was there any? From typos like the Bosporus instead of Bosphorus, to tense mistakes and just bizarre phrasing, it's almost like the publishers are too scared to offend their star writer by making suggestions. But they really should have done.

So, I've given this book 2 stars. As I said, you DO want to keep reading despite the style and despite the descriptions.

Ready, Steady, Bake!
Ready, Steady, Bake!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It couldn't be simpler!, 6 Dec. 2012
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The recipes in this e-book are both easy to follow and produce lovely food. Even a rank amateur like me was able to produce something that looked not bad (if I do say so myself) and tasted pretty good too. What I especially like about these recipes are the "ring the changes" after each one, Holly's thoughts on how you could add a little twist to each one to stop you getting bored. This e-book is written is a lovely, informal style - almost chatty - so it's a nice little read as well.

I've spent more on books in a jumble sale, so this is DEFINITELY worth the price.

A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher, Book 17)
A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher, Book 17)
Price: £5.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as people are saying, 24 Sept. 2012
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Like probably most reviewers on here, I've read all of the Jack Reacher novels and short stories. While I loved the earlier ones, I felt the last few were disappointing (although the short story Deep Down had some potential for a good novel). I read the other reviews and prepared myself for another disappointing novel. People said that the style was different, the "real" Jack Reacher didn't appear until almost the end, and it just generally wasn't a good story.

Well, I have to say I disagree. I thoroughly enjoyed the build up to the finale, and while one "twist" was obvious, I was predicting ahead to what I thought would be twists, but turned out not to bed.

My only disappointment came within the last 15% (I read it on a Kindle). Once the final sequence gets underway, I thought there was far too much superfluous detail about the building (I'm not giving anything away here). Single blue dots, double blue dots, corridors, chambers... blah blah blah. The geography of the building got muddled in my head, and it all turned out to be a waste of time anyway. Maybe Lee Child was doing this just to bump up the word count, I don't know, but it certainly didn't add to the story.

I thought the plot was good, and it certainly held my interest more than some of his books from the past few years. There was less violence in this book than in previous ones, and there was no love scene either, but I don't think either of those things are necessarily bad. Just different. I'm now looking forward to the next Jack Reacher story (be it short story or novel).

So I'm giving this 4/5. Good, much better than the previous few, but not as good as his earlier ones. If you go in knowing that the style is different then it's not so bad. And if this is your first foray into Jack Reacher territory, you'll probably really like it.

White Angel Murder - A Thriller (Jon Stanton Mysteries Book 1)
White Angel Murder - A Thriller (Jon Stanton Mysteries Book 1)
Price: £2.32

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow, dull and badly in need of some proofreading, 5 Jun. 2012
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I bought this last week as it was in an e-mail with offers from Amazon. I thought I'd give it a try. I at least finished this book, which is more than can be said of the other one I bought, but that is no recommendation.

The story, of a retired detective investigating a cold-case murder, is very slow to get going. At one point I thought, "When is it actually going to start?" and I realised that I was already 40% of the way through the book (there are no page numbers in this Kindle edition). Things seem to stop and start, details are introduced for no reason and then not followed up, and characters seem to come and go. Then all of a sudden it's all over. Seriously. And you're left scratching your heading wondering, "What just happened?" At 91% we were none the wiser, at 92% development 1 happens, at 96% development 2 happens, and at 98% things are wrapped up with a nice, neat bow.

Never before in a crime story have I come across a character who pees himself when faced with a gun. It happens 3 or 4 times here. Does the author have some sort of fetish? The main character is a mormon. Does this add to the plot? No. Do we learn useless facts about the religion? Yes.

My biggest gripe about this book, however, is the number of mistakes I came across. Spelling and punctuation are clearly not the order of the day. I suppose one of the advantages of going with a publisher - instead of self-publishing as this guy has done - is that there's a team behind you. Left to his own devices, Victor Methos clearly doesn't know what those blue and red squiggles underneath words mean in Microsoft Word. His favourite phrase is "What'dya", clearly unaware of what the spelling is or where the apostrophe goes. For the record, it's either "What d'ya" or "Whaddya". But definitely not "What'dya" and most certainly not "Wh at'dya" which appears a few times. "What'd" makes a few appearances as well, in place of "What did".

Apparently this is his 3rd full-blown novel, and the first in a series that will feature the Stanton character. The author has the basics of a good story, but he just needs (quite a lot of) help polishing it. Some parts should have been cut completely, some reduced in length, while others should have been expanded. As I said, a publisher would have helped with these things, but the author clearly thinks he knows better. He doesn't, and I won't be buying another one of these poorly written e-books.

Vanishing Point (DI Jack Brady Book 2)
Vanishing Point (DI Jack Brady Book 2)
Price: £2.09

80 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Aiming for amateurish, but even that was too high, 30 May 2012
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This book is shockingly bad. I'm not referring to the plot, as I have long since given up on that, rather to the style of writing. The author loves her adverbs, dropping them in wherever she feels like it, no matter how inappropriate they are.

A sample sentence:
"Directly below him, a tight inner circle was in force, stringently controlled by SOCOs clad head to foot in white, who were painstakingly moving in and out of a large white forensics tent."

How do you move PAINSTAKINGLY in and out of a tent?

In other places, her writing is just shockingly bad.

Another sentence:
"His deputy's erect, stiff figure stood out from the crowd; for all the right reasons."

"They were the antithesis of each other. Brady was six foot two and lean with muscle, whereas Conrad was a few inches shorter with a heavier, muscular frame."

What is her definition of antithesis?

"Jimmy'd found himself locked inside Durham Prison, ..."


I bought the Kindle version of this book for the bargain basement price of 99p, and I'm giving up after 3% - no idea what this is in page numbers, but I'm guessing not a lot. So far, nothing in the plot has encouraged me to plough on with this book, and it's simply because of the way that it's written that I'm stopping. Yes, it really is that bad.

I can see that there are quite a few 4 and 5 star reviews here, so I guess her poor writing style doesn't put everyone off, but I've also noticed quite a few references to her wordsmanship. If you care at all about how a book is written then give this one a miss. If you don't mind things being written with the flair of a semi-literate teenager, go ahead, you might enjoy it.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2013 8:14 PM GMT

Afterlife: Series One & Two [DVD]
Afterlife: Series One & Two [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lesley Sharp
Price: £8.40

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revisited, it's a bit of a disappointment, 7 May 2012
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I remember watching this on TV when it was first shown and really enjoying it. I was talking about it recently with a friend, and decided I'd see if it was available on DVD.

Some things have remained just as good, for example Lesley Sharp's acting. Some things now grate, and other things are as bad as they always were - Andrew Lincoln's acting being a prime example.

Starting with the good, the premise of the show is excellent, and Lesley Sharp does a great job as Alison Mundy, the medium who battles with the spirits who haunt her. This is no Psychic Sally. Each episode deals with a completely different kind of case, from a murder victim to a young man haunted by another version of himself. There's also an arc featuring Robert Bridge's (Andrew Lincoln) son trying to get through to him. Despite the ridiculousness of some situations, everything is entirely plausible, due in no small part to Sharp.

As I said earlier, the show isn't perfect. Alison Mundy too often flies into a hystrionic rage. Having lived with her "problem" for so long, surely now, in her 30s, she'd have found a way of dealing with things in a more rational way. It would certainly have a better effect on those she's trying to convince. What is also grating is Bridge's absolute insistence that any psychic ability is absolutely impossible. Similarly, he too often accidentally turns up where Alison is talking to a parent or friend of a victim, and then instructs her to leave, as if they are some sort of team and he's her boss. The first time it happened it was frustrating. Each subsequent time it gets more infuriating.

And none of this is helped by Andrew Lincoln's acting. He is absolutely dire, wholly unbelievable as a psychology lecturer, a grieving father, or an ex-husband. His delivery of lines is flat, and his mannerisms wouldn't seem out of place at a school play. They really should have chosen someone else, someone more believable as a sceptic, someone who could bring some dimension to the character of Robert Bridge. As it stands, Robert Bridge disbelieves, end of story.

And if they had hired a different actor, they might have found one willing to stay on for more than 2 seasons. Andrew Lincoln is the reason the show was cancelled, as he said he didn't want to continue doing it.

The show could have continued, with someone else taking the place of the resident sceptic. The story with Bridge's son could have been wrapped up, and he could have walked off a changed man. However, as it's ITV, this was obviously out of the question. As is so often the case, they get a good show and let it die, meanwhile they recommission the same dross year after year.

I'm only giving this 3/5 as I really have to take 1 star off for Lincoln's acting. Yes, he is that bad. And I'm taking another star off for the characterisation of Alison Mundy. Less hystrionics could have elevated this show to "classic" status. As it is, I'm happy it's in my collection, and I would recommend it, but with a caveat.

Agatha Christie's Marple - Series 1-5 Complete [DVD]
Agatha Christie's Marple - Series 1-5 Complete [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julia McKenzie

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very different to the Joan Hickson versions, but that's not a criticism, 9 Feb. 2012
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I grew up with the Joan Hickson incarnation of Miss Marple, and for me she was the very essence of what the character should be - ageing, a little frail, seemingly befuddled, yet sharp as a tack.

Then along came ITV's new version with Geraldine McEwan and I was horrified. What had they done to the stories?! Characters were invented or dropped without rhyme nor reason, plotlines introduced (lesbians sell, apparently), and in some cases, Miss Marple was there where no Miss Marple had been before! And then there's the pacing - these stories fly along at breakneck speed with hardly a second to pause for breath. What was going on? But I persevered with them and found them to have a certain charm. Geraldine McEwan, although a fine actress, is by no stretch of the imagination Jane Marple - she's too sprightly for one thing - but I warmed to her. Then she left and Julia McKenzie took over, and I was immediately charmed by her take on Miss Marple.

I then revisited the old BBC versions with Joan Hickson... and how SLOW they seemed! Yes, they were wonderfully filmed, and yes, Joan Hickson is a fine Miss Marple, but I began to long for the modern versions. This Miss Marple now seemed a bit TOO old, a bit TOO slow, and I was frustrated at how long it took to reveal things. The acting from the other actors also seemed to be hammier than I remembered.

Comparing the two versions, I appreciate the Joan Hickson stories sticking closer to the original stories, but with the modern versions, I actually like that they spend less time on exposition and more time on action. They're more fun, they're beautifully shot, and the list of co-stars reads like a who's who of the British TV industry. It's often as entertaining trying to work out where you've seen this or that actor before as it is trying to workout whodunnit. Joanna Lumley's Dolly Bantry is a personal favourite - especially compared with the dull as dishwater version from the 80s. Joan Collins also appears, along with Martine McCutcheon, Jamie Theakston, Alan Davies, Dervla Kirwan, whatsisname from whaddyamacallit, whatsername from that thing with that other guy, and a whole host of other stars.

Despite my initial reservations when the series first started, I'm now a convert. Julia McKenzie is great as Miss Marple (still not sold on Geraldine McEwan, I'm afraid) and while the writers have played fast and loose with the stories (even the murderer changes!), it's a great, modern take on stories we know so well. While the Joan Hickson stories are all very nice and good, and great for a rainy Sunday afternoon, these new ones are 90 minutes of fun. I wholeheartedly recommend them - just don't expect them to follow Agatha Christie's lead.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2015 8:56 PM GMT

TP-Link TL-PA211KIT AV200 Nano 200Mbps Powerline Adapter - Twin Pack
TP-Link TL-PA211KIT AV200 Nano 200Mbps Powerline Adapter - Twin Pack
Offered by BESTBUYIT
Price: £28.99

5.0 out of 5 stars They just work!, 31 Jan. 2012
I don't think I've ever had a bit of kit that was so simple to install. I plugged one in, connected it to the router (with the supplied cable), then dashed upstairs, plugged the other one in (with the supplied cable), connected it to the computer... and voila! It worked immediately.

I bought these in Comet and asked if they had to be connected directly to the socket or if I could use them with an extension. The guy told me they had to be installed directly into the socket, but I thought I'd take a chance. Both of them are connected to extensions and the connection is absolutely fine. In fact, when using to check the speeds, the comp upstairs has a faster connection with these things than my laptop downstairs connected via wifi 1 metre away from the router. I can thoroughly recommend them.

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