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David Welford (Essex England)
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Windjammer [Blu-ray] [1958] [US Import]
Windjammer [Blu-ray] [1958] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Lasse Kolstad

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Windjammer Blu-ray, 7 Feb 2014
On a recent visit to Oslo, Norway my friend had managed to borrow for free from the local Public Library a Blu-ray copy of ‘Windjammer’. I was delighted, as I had not seen this film since its original release in 1958 at The Casino Cinerama Cinema, London. I do recall that the Christian Radich Windjammer was a very impressive sight on that enormous screen, as was the accompanying music. This film is more a Norwegian documentary film (hence its inclusion of films to borrow) made by the Americans who had the equipment to make spectacular visuals. The vessel was built in 1937 for the purpose of training sailors for the Norwegian merchant navy, and did so for many years. The vessel is a full-rigged three-masted sail ship, with a steel hull, with an overall length of 73 m width of 9.7 m. and a displacement at full load of 1050 tons. From 1999, the ship has been on the charter market as well as sailing with paying trainees to foreign ports on summer trips. She has also participated in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Race and other large sail events in various European ports; she can often be seen docked in Oslo, at a berth overlooked by the famous Oslo Town Hall. The Christian Radich sailed to the United States in 1976 as part of the Bicentennial Celebration, and took part in the Operation Sail parade in New York Harbour on 4 July 1976. The ship also appeared as herself in the 1970s BBC TV series The Onedin Line, as one of James Onedin's ships. The ship has become internationally very well known since the release in 1958 of the film and the ship is till in active use.

The film follows the story of volunteer sea cadets and their voyage from Oslo, out across the Atlantic. The first stop is Madeira, where we see New Year’s festivities. The most memorable to me part of the film is the young crewmen riding in basket sledges down steep cobblestone streets (on a holiday to Madeira in 1976 we experienced this exciting sledge ride though fortunately we did not nearly collide with an Ox cart like the camera sledge nearly did in the film!). Then it is on to Willemstad, Curacao, where the young sailors take part in Dutch festivities. They catch a courtyard performance of Pablo Casals in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and in Port-of-Spain. In Trinidad, native steel bands and Calypso singers greet them. By the time they arrive in New York, the Cinerama cameras offer a kaleidoscopic visual treat of colour and sound. A later encounter with the U.S. Navy Task Force makes for an impressive gathering of ships and a rather spectacular sequence sees a submarine emerge from the depths to reveal the Windjammer on the open sea. Once again I found, like ‘This is Cinerama’, this Cinerama film is overlong, it reminded me of School days and the educational 16mm documentaries we were treated to! The acting/dialogue of the Norwegian Cadets is somewhat stilted, though their English was fine. I watched the Blu-ray version on a 32” TV and sat very close. Once again the SmileBox presentation is used to good effect and brought back memories of seeing it on the large Cinerama Screen. Throughout the presentation the joins in the panels are very noticeable and in many places the colour is not consistent across the three panels, with fringing on the edges. One gathers from the extras, Flicker Alley who restored the film had a limited budget and the master material available was not in very good shape and it shows; picture quality and sharpness is mostly fairly mediocre. The picture quality of the extras filmed in 2012 is really excellent and a stark contrast between then and now. I found these extras, especially the fifty years on retrospective making of the film including interviews with the original Cadets from 1958, now old men, more interesting than the actual film. The package comes with both a DVD, Blu-ray and a facsimile booklet of the original programme. This is currently an expensive package, which has great nostalgia appeal but not very repeatable being far too long, I am glad to have seen it again but would be fairly reluctant to buy it at anything other than a bargain price!


Cinerama Holiday [Blu-ray] [1955] [US Import]
Cinerama Holiday [Blu-ray] [1955] [US Import]
Dvd ~ John Marsh

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cinerama Blu-ray, 7 Feb 2014
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A friend was very keen to see once again ‘Cinerama Holiday’ which was the second of the original, 3-panel Cinerama travelogues, released in 1955. We agreed we would share the cost of approximately £25 for the dual disc package. I would keep the Blu-ray and he the DVD. The film is a parallel documentary that follows a Swiss couple on their first holiday to America, landing in Kansas; and an all American couple from Kansas who take the return flight to Switzerland for a European holiday. Betty and John Marsh visit St Moritz, the fabulous Swiss Ski resort; there are plenty of superb panoramic views and perhaps the highlight of the film, a ride on St Moritz’s bob sleigh run, which to my mind is equally spectacular to that the roller coaster- ride in ‘This is Cinerama’. They move on to Davos to experience the thrills of skiing and discover the joy of singing and “fondue” in a Swiss tavern! Can you imagine what a severe culture shock to the Americans when they discover that the Swiss don’t provide bottles of Ketchup with meals! Meanwhile, Fred and Beatrice Troller visit Las Vegas and then onto Arizona, famous for the westerns filmed there. In San Francisco, Fred and Beatrice appreciate how different America is to Switzerland, and then head east by train to New Orleans and the experience the home of Jazz!

In the second half Betty and John travel to Paris, where they meet real French people and visit some of the city's most famous sights. Meanwhile Fred and Beatrice visit Washington and from their travels take them onto New York. The finale of the film comes when the couples meet and swap stories of their travels and watch a spectacular air show, over and around an American Aircraft carrier.

This parallel travelogue works really well, though rather biased towards America. Unlike’ Windjammer’ and ‘This is Cinerama’ there are no overlong sequences and you are not left with a feeling that the film is too long! The picture quality is mostly fairly good for a film that was made nearly sixty years ago, though no where near as good as ‘How The West Was Won’. There is still an issue on the panel joins most noticeably in bland blue-sky scenes; one somehow imagines these could have been eliminated on the computer. On the extras, we see the famous film critic Leonard Maltin introducing a digital screening of this restoration in the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood 2013, at which Betty Marsh and Beatrice Troller were present (sadly their husbands were dead). Of this restoration, he commented that he thought still seeing the panel joins was part of the charm! Particular good was Return to Cinerama (22 min), which included a recent video interview with Betty Marsh York and Beatrice Troller talking about their memories of the film, interlaced with plenty of clips from the film. The other extras and behind the scenes stories are well worthwhile watching, there is even some 8mm Home Movie footage. Also a documentary, on how the restoration and reconstruction of the film from the original negatives, which were in a poor state was achieved. This is another one of those discs where the extras are almost better than the film! You also get a 28-page reproduction of the original programme. Most important of all is that it is a Region-Free release. This film looked fine projected on my 8ft wide screen and if you sat close the smilebox presentation gives the illusion of Cinerama in your own lounge. Expensive, but a really good souvenir and undoubtedly the best of the Cinerama titles I have seen from Flicker Alley.


Cinema Paradiso 25th Anniversary Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
Cinema Paradiso 25th Anniversary Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Philippe Noiret
Price: £14.41

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinema Paradiso 25th Aniversary Remastered Two Disc Blu-ray (just released Dec 13), 21 Dec 2013
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`Cinema Paradiso', this new 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release from Arrow Films arrived just before Christmas and what a wonderful Christmas present from the wife that didn't quite make it to the tree! Though the other reviews are useful they are misleading and do not apply to this vastly superior product.Most of you will be familiar with the storyline of this highly acclaimed Italian film. It comes in a two-disc version `The Directors Cut' 170 mins rated Cert 15 on one disc and a 124-minute theatrical cut rated PG version which has the sexual content, removed from the story on the other disc. Also on the Theatrical disc is an excellent selection of extras. Many may find The Directors Cut a bit over long and some of the sexual content, perhaps rather unnecessary to what is a very moving romantic love story set around a cinema in Sicily, in the period just after the war. This release was delayed presumably to allow for a theatrical showing at a few selected Cinemas. The previous UK Blu-ray release of the theatrical cut was only marginally better than the DVD, and I kept my DVD of The Directors Cut pending this release; incidentally I sold it on Amazon the day I listed. The original negatives have had a 2K scan and though the new version is not perfect, there is still a small amount of damage and some of the dark scenes have noticeable grain, but it really looks gorgeous projected on my 8ft screen and a very noticeable improvement on the previous releases. Also the musical score adds to the romance and nostalgia for an age gone forever. Having been to Sicily on holiday this year it was lovely to see the beautiful scenery and the soak up the vista of the typical Sicilian atmospheric villages. This is really an excellent two-disc package that comes with a thirty two-page booklet, which has high repeatability. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves this film and to those few who have never seen it!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2014 12:06 PM GMT


Kon-Tiki [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Kon-Tiki [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Pål Sverre Hagen

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kon-Tiki Blu-ray German Version, 26 Nov 2013
For sometime my friend in Norway has been saying you must see the most popular Norwegian film for years `Kon-Tiki' made in both English and Norwegian. Most people in the UK are aware of this historic voyage and no doubt the producers were hoping that their film would have universal appeal. In 2012 this film was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. The film originally lasted for 114 minutes, it was released to acclaim in America, there Cinemas showed a shortened version. It is now available on an American blu-ray, which only has the 90mins version and is I believe region `A' coded. The Scandinavian blu-ray omitted the English soundtrack, as it was available before a possible cinema release in the UK, which never materialised! Strangely a Dutch DVD is available, with the full version in English, but my friend said the visuals are stunning, you must see it on blu-ray. Amazon.de to the rescue on 19th November they released Kon-Tiki on blu-ray (it arrived in England on 20th Nov), and I can confirm it is the full version, in English as well as a German dub, but no Norwegian!

The film is the story of Norwegian Explorer Thor Heyerdahl's very well known, expedition from Peru to French Polynesia on a small balsa wood raft with five other people. He wanted to prove that Peruvians (South Americans) were the first to sail to the Polynesian Islands. The crew's exploits sailing across the pacific are a fascinating and compelling docu-drama especially during scenes where the raft is nearly sunk by great white sharks. My friends who have watched the film all agree that the two-hour version was engrossing and did not flag and felt that the shorter version would have spoilt the film. The film is an absorbing story of determination to prove Thor's theory with very believable special effects, as to be expected for a recent release picture and sound are top-notch. On my version one of the extras is in English with German sub-titles, the other was mostly in German but fairly easy to follow as it was very visual. It was fascinating to see how the extensive use of green screen and the special effects were created, according to the End titles no real animals or Sharks were injured in the filming. The trailers are for English films with German dubbed dialogue, it was most amusing the trailer for `Quartet' to hear Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly sprache Deutche! Recently I visited Norway and I spent a Sunday afternoon at the Kon-Tiki Museum, Bygdøynesveien 36, 0286 Oslo. The museum contains the original RaII (from a later expedition) and many of the artefacts collected so I can fully identify with the type of craft and the events portrayed on the screen. Incidentally available on DVD is the original 1950's Oscar-winning documentary about their almost completely successful balsa-wood raft voyage from South America to the South Pacific islands, filmed in black and white with Thor Hierdahl's original voice and an English voice over. I have a Norwegian version (with Norsk, English and French dialogue) of the DVD bought in the museum that appears to be very similar or the same as the American version available on Amazon. Interesting to watch having seen the feature film, but by today's standards the picture quality is poor, even though it was shot on 16mm Bolex three turret cine camera and the content is very amateurishly presented! Incidentally a paper back book of the adventure on which the film is based is available Thor Heyerdahl's `Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft'.


Gone Girl
Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Gone Girl paperback, 7 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Gone Girl (Paperback)
I originally bought this book in March started to read it and gave up after fifty pages, took it on holiday in Oct and as I didn't have anything else to read and forced myself to read it. I was expecting a gripping book ( like Girl With Dragon Tattoo), but alas found the Authors American style of writing not an easy read and several times having put it down, wondered whether I could be bothered to continue reading. One big puzzling flaw, our Hero Nick who is broke in a couple of lines hires a Lawyer for $100,000 , only at the end is their a short explanation that his sister had raised the money! The lead characters are middle class Americans: are they so dumb that they constantly lacking any intelligent vocabulary have to constantly use the F-word and other unnecessary expletives! If you removed this unnecessary language the book would have been a lot shorter and better. I thought the plot was excellent and fairly original and for this reason I have given it three stars. I have donated mine to the local Charity Shop as I certainly would not read another of this Authors books.


The Event [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
The Event [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Jason Ritter
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £19.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Event Season 1 & 2 Blu-ray, 7 Nov 2013
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I don't normally like American TV series, often the actors mumble and they are full of unnecessary violence. This is the most exciting nail biting serial I have ever seen, its like a really good book that you cant put down. I watched the whole 22 episodes over four days, it was compulsive viewing. I thought all the lead Actors were extremely good and very convincing in their roles. The idea of aliens amongst us is not new, but the story was a roller coaster of exciting twists and unexpected turns. According to the material on the extras even the Actors did not know which way the plot would be unraveled to the audience. One really identifies with the American President and his horrendous problems on all fronts. The unexpected ending leaves it open for a further Series, which unfortunately is not going to be made.


IMAX: Hubble [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [Region Free]
IMAX: Hubble [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Toni Myers
Price: £12.01

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imax Hubble 3D Blu-ray, 7 Sep 2013
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Though I do appreciate that those with 3D are in the minority, I suspect that it is the back of many of your minds that one day...! Also of course most of the 3D blu-rays come with a 2D version so you can watch now and upgrade later. I have recently bought `IMAX HUBBLE 3D' which everyone I have shown it to have been spellbound by the images in space and the trip via pictures captured by Hubble to the farthest reaches of the solar system and other galaxies. The film is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and follows the 2009 flight of the shuttle Atlantis, and the dangerous final mission to repair successfully the Hubble telescope. Originally shown in 3-D IMAX screens, with much of the footage shot by the astronauts, this looks incredibly good shown on my Panasonic 6000 projector viewed on an 8ft home cinema screen. If you sit really close to the screen you could almost believe you had your own Imax experience at home. The 3D images are superb and it makes you really appreciate the incredibly difficult technical achievement of establishing and maintaining a Space Station. The film also gives a feel of what it is like to be blasted into space and life on-board the Station. The Hubble telescope has given mankind a tremendous leap in knowledge in the search for the origins and extent of the universe. Only complaint, it is at 40mins the film is a bit on the short side. I thought this `Hubble Imax' was a better purchase than the somewhat similar `Imax Space Station', because of the additional superb 3D images from the Hubble telescope.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2013 5:05 PM GMT


Imax: Hubble [Blu-ray] [2010] [US Import]
Imax: Hubble [Blu-ray] [2010] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £34.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Imax Hubble 3D Blu-ray, 24 Aug 2013
Though I do appreciate that those able to watch 3D are in the minority, I suspect that it is the back of many of your minds that one day...! Also of course most of the 3D blu-rays come with a 2D version so you can watch now and upgrade later. I have recently bought `IMAX HUBBLE 3D' which everyone I have shown it to have been spellbound by the images in space and the trip via pictures captured by Hubble to the farthest reaches of the solar system and other galaxies. The film is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and follows the 2009 flight of the shuttle Atlantis, and the dangerous final mission to repair successfully the Hubble telescope.
Originally shown in 3-D IMAX screens, with much of the footage shot by the astronauts, this looks incredibly good shown on my Panasonic 6000 3D projector viewed on an 8ft home cinema screen. If you sit really close to the screen you could almost believe you had your own Imax experience at home. The 3D images are superb and it makes you really appreciate the incredibly difficult technical achievement of establishing and maintaining a Space Station. The film also gives a feel of what it is like to be blasted into space and life on board the Station. The Hubble telescope has given mankind a tremendous leap in knowledge in the search for the origins and extent of the universe. Only complaint, it is at 40mins the film is a bit on the short side. I thought this `Hubble Imax' was a better purchase than the somewhat similar `Imax Space Station', because of the additional superb 3D images from the Hubble telescope.


1 Pack of Compact Stainless Steel Barbeque Utensils BBQ Skewers Needle with Wood Handle for Outdoor
1 Pack of Compact Stainless Steel Barbeque Utensils BBQ Skewers Needle with Wood Handle for Outdoor

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Skewers with Wooden Handles, 10 Aug 2013
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The problem with these Skewers is that the wooden handles have been died with a stain that comes off with washing leaving water an orange colour. Not recommended I binned my set.


Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy)
Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy)
Dvd ~ Suraj Sharma
Price: £20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy) (Blu-ray), 4 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Watched it on an 8ft wide 16:9 screen using a Panasonic 6000 3D projector. The film is excellent as other reviewers have commented. What was superb was the 3D image, the depth and beauty of the visuals in my home cinema set up, it looked equal to seeing this film at the local multiplex. Definitely one of the best 3D discs I have, on a par with 'Avatar', difficult to decide which is Nos 1.


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