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ArmitageShanks (UK)

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Gravity - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2014] [Region Free]
Gravity - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2014] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Price: 27.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense film. Average Bluray., 12 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is certainly one of the best disaster/survival films out there, so its unsurprising that it collected a heap of Oscars. I won't bore you with the story details - it needs to be seen. And it kept me on the edge of my seat on more than one occasion.

In terms of the Bluray itself, I was left rather disappointed by the picture quality - it certainly isn't the "reference" or "demo" quality that most reviewers claimed, and I have seen far better from other titles in my collection. For a recent film that is mostly CGI and shot digitally, I found the picture soft and lacking in fine detail. On the 3D front, it also appears flatter than I would have expected, not being helped at all by the narrow aspect ratio (ironically the final scene looks far superior to the rest of the film in terms of clarity and depth). Soundwise however, it sounded fantastic on my system.

Looper [Blu-ray]
Looper [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Price: 7.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, average disc., 10 July 2013
This review is from: Looper [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Enjoyed this title, no question one of the better sci-fi/time-travel yarns I've seen in recent years.

As for the Blu-ray, well, some things are not quite as they should be. Picture quality is very good indeed, maybe a little over-exposed in some scenes but probably down to the source material. The audio on the other hand is dynamic...maybe too dynamic for my tastes. Dialogue was often too soft, and the score and sound effects are way too loud - I was frequently reaching for my remote to adjust the volume between scenes.

Extras consist of the usual promotional fluff, nothing to get too excited about. There's also an annoying Maltesers advert to contend with before the menu comes up - this sort of rubbish on a non-rental disc is unforgivable. At least it's easily skipped (unlike some other titles), but it places Entertainment One on my list of UK distributors to avoid in future, along with Optimum.

So a five-star film on a three-star disc. If you have a region A-capable player, get the Sony release instead, if only to avoid having to watch tacky TV adverts on a disc you paid for.

Source Code [Blu-ray]
Source Code [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Price: 5.00

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Adverts....beware., 20 May 2013
This review is from: Source Code [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Great film presented in a shoddy product.

The picture quality is distinctly average for a Bluray disc (especially for a recent film), the sound fares much better. However, the forced adverts at the start....unacceptable. One star.

Casino Royale [Blu-ray] [2006]
Casino Royale [Blu-ray] [2006]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Price: 9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A standout Bond episode!, 25 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I remember all the doom and gloom surrounding Daniel Craig's appointment to the 007 title. I was sceptical too, but his first outing as Bond soon put everyone's fears to rest - Daniel Craig is easily the best Bond since Connery, and will undoubtedly surpass him if he keeps up in this vain (Quantum of Solace was distinctly average, but Skyfall rectified that mistake...and then some!)

Picture quality on this Bluray is simply outstanding. Maybe not quite the polish of the more recent Skyfall disc (which had the advantage of being filmed digitally), but pretty damn close. Audio quality is good as well, although a handful of lines of dialogue sounded slightly muffled and indistinct at times.

Well worth the money, especially now that it is uncut!

The Complete Matrix Trilogy [Blu-ray] [1999] [Region Free]
The Complete Matrix Trilogy [Blu-ray] [1999] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Keanu Reeves
Offered by dealhouse de
Price: 20.07

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bargain for the price!, 5 Jan 2013
For under 10, this must be the Bluray bargain of the year! OK, it's not even a week into January yet...but still.

The films are what they are: one brilliant opening act, followed by two questionable sequels which, much like Lucas's dreadful Star Wars prequels, ultimately killed the franchise and forever tarnished its legacy.

As for the Blurays themselves, well, they're good, but definitely not reference quality as some would claim (I'm watching this on a 59" panel). Some scenes (especially facial closeups) exude the crisp fine details you'd expect from an HD transfer, while a handful look surprisingly soft and out of focus (the frozen long shot with the "girl in the red dress" scene comes to mind). Excessive grain also rears its ugly head on a few scenes to the point of actually being distracting. But for the most part, this looks and sounds way better than the DVDs ever did to the point where the CGI effects and compositing are unfortunately showing their age (e.g. the sentinels in the first film never looked "right", and they look even worse in HD).

Extras are a little thin on the ground, but to be honest, watching endless back-slapping interviews and making-of documentaries has lost much of its charm over recent years. The only extra I actually wanted was the Matrix trailer with the Enigma soundtrack...which thankfully IS included in this set.

So there it is: some great-to-average films with generally good HD transfers at a terrific price.

Robocop [Blu-ray] [1987]
Robocop [Blu-ray] [1987]
Dvd ~ Peter Weller

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, average bluray release, 11 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Robocop [Blu-ray] [1987] (Blu-ray)
This brought back a lot of memories! Younger generations weaned on PlayStations and dubious CGI-laden movies with minimal plot will probably not be impressed by the 80s practical special effects or the underlying dark satirical violence and tones of this film. Which would explain why they're doing yet another unnecessary "reboot" in the next few months. I doubt it will get anywhere near topping Verhoeven's classic.

As for the Bluray itself, it's a mixed bag. The audio is clear, although somewhat lacking in bass. The video is what I'd call average-to-good in terms of quality, but given the age of the material and the production budget for this film it's hardly surprising. Certainly better than the DVD release, but it's not something that you'll use to show off your shiny 60" HDTV. Only one extremely brief additional scene (during Clarence's demise) really stood out as being noticeably awful and inconsistent in terms of picture quality.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 8, 2013 7:37 PM GMT

Logitech MK260 Wireless Desktop USB Keyboard Mouse Combo
Logitech MK260 Wireless Desktop USB Keyboard Mouse Combo
Offered by Shoplet-UK
Price: 25.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good for the price!, 7 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?) under 20 I really wasn't expecting this keyboard and mouse to be this good!

The keyboard has a very standard layout which I like. The keys have just the right amount of firmness and give, with minimal rattle. The flip-out feet have rubber soles which allows the keyboard to stay nicely planted. Only downside is the lack of CapsLock/ScrollLock/NumLock indicators, but these days that's really not a huge issue as you typically get these notifications reported on-screen by the OS drivers.

The mouse is very responsive and accurate, while the scroll wheel has a subtle notchy feel to it. My only complaint is the lack of weight, even with the single AA battery loaded. Definitely not in the same class as my Logitech V450 laser mouse I use at work, but at this price I really can't complain.

The dongle isn't the nano-dongle that Logitech supplies with its more expensive devices, but it's not overly huge either. Personally I wouldn't use it on a laptop (unless you plan to plug/unplug it constantly), but for a desktop or laptop docking station it should remain unobtrusive. On Windows 7 (64-bit) both keyboard and mouse were recognised instantly, no drivers seemingly required.

Batteries...well, they come supplied and according to the documentation the mouse should last about 5 months on a single alkaline AA, and the keyboard should last 2 years on two alkaline AAAs. If that's even remotely accurate, I really wouldn't bother with rechargeables which typically won't hold their charge anywhere nearly as long.

Offered by Maplin_Webdeals
Price: 14.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than I expected!, 3 Oct 2012
This review is from: OSRAM LEDStixx (Kitchen & Home)
Bought this as an impulse buy at Robert Dyas. They're very versatile: the metallic rod can be placed in the base stand vertically (held in place by a magnet), or clipped into the stand horizontally. The rod is well-constructed with a brushed aluminium finish. The internals slide out to reveal the LEDs and the AAA batteries required to power them.

The base itself is magnetised - very convenient for clipping to the metallic back of my plasma TV to add some ambient lighting around the screen! For non-metallic surfaces, the base can be applied with the adhesive pad or screwed into place.

Intend to get a few more of these! My only (minor) complaint is that I wish there was a simple way of connecting these things up in series so that one switch will turn them all on.

Marvel Avengers Assemble (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray) [Region Free]
Marvel Avengers Assemble (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray) [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Price: 14.00

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missing special features and altered scenes? No thank you., 24 Sep 2012
Disney must still think their UK customers are ignoramuses in the internet age. Anyone interested in this film and not living under a rock must now know that this UK release is substandard compare to its US counterpart (as seems to be the case with a number of recent Disney Bluray releases). Firstly, the altered title is just daft (as it was at the cinema). Secondly, they change a key scene (some might see this as a minor unnoticeable alteration, but it smells of censorship). And then to add insult to injury, they strip the package of some key extras.

So apologies to UK retailers and Mr Osborne, but I'll be ordering this title from the US instead.

Real Steel [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Real Steel [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: 5.85

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real entertainment, 26 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On the surface this has all the potential makings of a really bad film: stupid CGI robots fighting each other in a jumbled blurry mess, an annoying kid, a predictable storyline, inappropriate Danny Elfman score, and a comedic director.

But somehow this isn't the case at all. The robots look terrific and completely believable, and have a fluid motion to them (none of that crappy Michael Bay editing). The would-be annoying kid is actually not annoying at all and can act. Danny Elfman's score is unrecognisable as a Danny Elfman score and is subtle and moving. The story is still predictable right from the start, but it's been highly polished. Hugh Jackman gives a solid believable performance which I liked, and Evangeline Lilly provides the slightly underused romantic interest. The ending...yes, it's schmaltzy (as was always going to be the case), but not in a bad way.

It's hard for me to fault this film. If I was nitpicking, I'd say the performance of the "bad woman" (Farra Lemkova, played by Olga Fonda) was campy and over the top. There are also a couple of obvious continuity flaws in the editing department (mostly around Hugh Jackman's hand and face positions between cuts). But none of this detracts from the sheer enjoyment of watching this movie. I expected a lot worse, and was pleasantly surprised. I like that when it happens.

Technically, this Bluray gets full marks across the board. The film was apparently shot digitally, and it shows: the picture quality is crisp and clean, the colours are vibrant, and the details are just staggering - this is probably one of the best live-action transfers I've seen to date. Soundwise, no complaints either. I really couldn't imagine seeing this on DVD, it just wouldn't do the visuals any justice.

Highly recommended.

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