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Mr. A. Whiteside "tonyjackie3" (uk)
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The Wire: Complete HBO Season 5 [DVD]
The Wire: Complete HBO Season 5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dominic West
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £10.94

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fond farewell, 21 Feb. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first thing I have to say about series 5 of 'The Wire' is that it isn't the strongest series in the collection. There are a few too many times when events occur that I wasn't convinced about. I will talk about them later without giving away too much but I must add that even 'The Wire' slightly under par is just about better than anything else on TV.

The things in this particular series that niggled me were the behaviour of certain character's. Lester and Sydnor helped McNulty out in a way that seemed to stretch imagination a little which felt out of place with the reality of the previous seasons. Perhaps my biggest gripe was the way one of the most popular character's was killed off (if you have already watched this series then you know exactly who I mean). It seemed rushed and perhaps strange and even the aftermath of their killing was dealt with in an anti-climatic way. I can understand why the writers did it like this but it did bother me for a while. A couple of weeks later it does make more sense but it did feel a shame that it seemed such an anti-climax. For all of my doubts though there are moments of brilliance to be had.

One of the very best segments involves Clay Davis in court and it is a treat when he takes the witness stand. It is funny and a real highlight as he has the court eating out of the palm of his hand as he faces corruption charges. The character of Bubbles has a much better time of it and that was pleasing to see. As usual, the acting is excellent throughout and how this brilliant drama hasn't won a truck load of Emmys is a complete mystery.

So although I don't honestly think series 5 is the best it still deserves five stars simply because it is such an outstanding piece of television. There are so many character's that will linger in the memory...McNulty, Bubbles, Omar, Bunk, Avon, Stringer Bell, Bodie, Snoop, Chris, Prop Joe, Marlo, the list is pretty much endless and there are many more beside those listed. All five series can be watched over and over and that is the best compliment I can pay to 'The Wire', one of the finest TV dramas of all time.

Taken (Extended Harder Cut) [DVD] [2008]
Taken (Extended Harder Cut) [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Liam Neeson
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £1.43

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars " Are you focused yet? ", 7 Feb. 2009
The first thing that I would recommend when watching this movie is to suspend a hell of a lot of belief. It is very far fetched and almost impossible to believe. For all of that though, the film does work and it is entertaining.

One of the main reasons that 'Taken' works is because of Liam Neeson in the leading role. He fits the part very well and convinces you that he is indeed a one man army. The action cranks up pretty quickly and never lets up until the end. Many of the fight scenes will make you wince as our hero takes no prisoners in the quest to rescue his daughter. The movie isn't overlong and it never flags. In fact it may well leave you breathless!

If you want an action packed and ultimately rewarding film experience then this just might be the movie for you. It isn't for the faint hearted and it does have it's flaws. But I think that the director doesn't take things too seriously and on the whole this is worth four stars. I also believe that Liam Neeson might just surprise a lot of people with how well he does with this role.

Wilfred Owen: A New Biography
Wilfred Owen: A New Biography
by Dominic Hibberd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 30 Jan. 2009
When I received this book last Christmas I was slightly shocked at how many pages there appeared to be. I admit that I knew very little about Wilfred Owen apart from the fact that he wrote poetry during World War 1 and he died very young(25 years of age). I immediately thought that there was no way that his life story could fill almost 500 pages but I was wrong. This is surely the definitive biography about him and a brilliant job is done by Dominic Hibberd.

Pretty much the first half of the book is about his pre-war years and the times that Owen spent at school, as a teacher, a vicar's assistant and the time he lived in France for a while. At times I did feel a little impatient as I really wanted to know what occured during his wartime experiences. I must admit though that Hibberd has done a staggering amount of research including trying hard to disect Owen's brother Harold's at times brutal censorship of the letters written by Wilfred. It was interesting to learn about Wilfred's weaknesses such as being a Mother's boy, a hypochondriac and the slow realisation that he was gay. As you read this book you do become aware that it all leads up to the horrors of war and the author takes you there slowly but very surely. When we finally arrive at 1917 and the true reality of what Owen and many thousands more went through it is chilling and makes for a rivetting read.

The true strength of this book is without a doubt the descriptions of the fighting, killing and pure fear of what so many men went through as they battled against the odds. At one time Owen's CO accused him of cowardice as he cracked under the strain of constant shelling and spending the night next to a colleague that had been blown to pieces. The fact that he was eventually awarded the Military Cross showed how ridiculous the accusation was but it was something that haunted him as he took several months to recover. This excellent book makes you wonder just how you would react in dreadful situations that so many brave men had to encounter. I won't go into all the detail about Wilfred's war experiences but suffice to say he did have a torrid time and it is because of this that he left us with his beautifully written poetry about war.

This is a superbly written book. Yes, I did wish there was more of Wilfred Owen's poetry and at times I did have a chuckle at the apparant pomposity of the circle of poets that shared a part of his life like Sassoon, Graves and Monro. The story of Owen's life is varied, interesting and ultimately very moving especially as he writes to his Mother about his hopes for the future. His future was to be cut tragically short but he left a legacy with his poetry that will last a lifetime and is still very relevant today.

WALL-E (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
WALL-E (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Burtt
Offered by kurekro uk
Price: £7.98

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great to look at but not Pixar's finest, 24 Jan. 2009
This movie has rapidly become a firm favourite with many critics describing it as the finest piece of animation ever seen. While there is no doubt that 'WALL-E' looks absolutely fantastic it wasn't a film that lingered in my memory for too long. As much as I liked the look of the scenery and as clever as most of the animation is I found that around half way through the film I had begun to lose interest.

The highlights are the little touches such as the items that WALL-E has stashed away in his 'home' and the way he interacts with some of his gadgets. I thought that the scene where he is in space with EVE was very well done with the spray from the fire extinguisher fitting in with the stars in a clever way. Where I started to lose interest was when onboard the spaceship when things stared to get frantic and a bit on the cheesy side at times. EVE's constant cries of "WALLEEEEE" started to grate on the nerves as well towards the end of the movie.

This is a movie with many plus points but also not one that I consider to be Pixar at their best. I would put it above ' Monster's Inc ' and ' Ratatouille ' but way below ' Toy Story 1 & 2 ',' Finding Nemo ' and ' A Bugs Life '. I would most likely give this 3.5 stars but will settle for 3 as it isn't a movie that I would watch again.

The Wire: Complete HBO Season 4 [DVD]
The Wire: Complete HBO Season 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dominic West
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.14

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing but brilliant, 17 Jan. 2009
Many people have written about just how good this series is and for what it's worth, this is my take on the fourth season of ' The Wire '. I won't give anything away about the plot apart from the fact that this time the story revolves around the education system in Baltimore and the lives of four students in particular. How will they end up? Is there any hope at all for any of them? It is always compelling watching their progression but it isn't always any easy journey. You are with them all the way and gradually begin to realise just how much this programme makes you care about certain character's.

The four young actor's are all excellent and indeed the acting as a whole is fabulous. Special mention must go to Andre Royo as Bubbles who has been with us all the way but excells in this fourth series and reaches levels of brilliance with his acting. Poor old Bubbles really has a hard time of it throughout and it is a wonderful portrayal. I have to say that what makes this series so special is the way it shows just how many talented black performers there are and if this series leads on to bigger and better things for these actor's then we should thank our lucky stars. To be fair though I can't think of anyone that fails to hit the mark.

At first I felt flat at the end of the series as it was pretty bleak and it seemed that there was very little that could be done to improve matters in Baltimore and a lot of decent kids are left with hardly any hope of a decent life. I even felt that the shows makers had gone just too far this time in their doom and gloom outlook. A couple of days later I realised what a naive fool I had been as ' The Wire ' isn't meant to be seen as a sugar coated soap opera with an inevitable happy ending. I think what it is a cry for help from people that care that there are many things wrong with Baltimore and they need fixing and fast. Quite simply, the makers of this series dare to show the underbelly of corruption, greed and pure evil. There is a glimmer of hope but things have to be done. It is brave and essential programme making.

You just have to take my word that ' The Wire ' more than lives up to the hype that surrounds it. It is a series that stays with you long after the finish and is full of character's that you genuinely do care about. If you want acting and television at it's very best then you should look no further.

The Quest For The True Cross
The Quest For The True Cross
by Carsten Peter Thiede
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Initially engrossing, ultimately hard going, 13 Jan. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First off, I must pay tribute to Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew D' Ancona for the truly astonishing amount of research that has gone into producing this book. The amount of historical detail and investigation is a credit to both of them. 'The Quest For The True Cross' is a book that is always interesting but ultimately wore me out which is a great pity.

I have to say that I was initially engrossed with the story of the True Cross and found the sections about Helena and Constantine to be full of historical interest. The descriptions about Helena finding the cross and the Titulus Crucis at Jerusalem were by far the best moments of the book. I have to say though that gradually my interest started to wane as I found it increasingly hard to digest all of the information thrown at me. I became a little confused when it was decided that the Titulus was most probably given to Mary the Mother of Jesus after his crucifiction. However it was allegedly later found with the cross by Helena. Why were the two together? I don't think this was properly explained. I also got completely lost when the authors began talking about the different ways that Greek language could be written in their efforts to prove that the cross as a symbol had been around way before Helena's discovery. These sections in particular strayed too far from the original idea behind the the book, at least in my opinion. I also felt at times that the authors explained the way that ancient text could be interpreted in many different ways a little misleading and it did seem as if they just wanted to add weight to their findings. Maybe I am being too harsh but I did find this book to be very hard going towards the end.

To be fair though this is an extremely educational read and it's just a pity that I didn't have the brain power to take it all in. It is interesting but my conclusion is that by cramming so much information into the book I ended up being a little dazed by it all. Does the True Cross exist? I'm still not sure but if incredible historical detail is your thing then this is the book for you.

Nearest And Dearest - The Complete Series Collection [DVD] [1968]
Nearest And Dearest - The Complete Series Collection [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Jimmy Jewell
Offered by The Heron Bay Trading Co.
Price: £45.99

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's just funny, 29 Dec. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
How best to sum up 'Nearest and Dearest'? It's overacted to the hilt, you can see most of the gags coming a mile off, many scenes look under rehearsed, the actor's forget their lines and there are many occasions when Jimmy Jewel especially can't keep a straight face. Throw in wobbly sets, Hylda Baker clearly struggling with her memory in the last two series and a few of the jokes repeated several times. So to sum up....It's flaming hilarious!! It's hard to explain just why this series works but it does.

I had this box set bought for me and did wonder if I would find 'Nearest And Dearest' funny anymore. I was laughing within seconds and it was actually funnier than I remembered it being. I think that it is so typically British in it's approach and even so very Northern. That's not to say that it won't appeal to anyone down South because it will. It has that almost endearing quality about it, the feeling that it was cheap to produce but done with vigour and warmth. It has a fine cast that give it their all and a few catchphrases thrown in for good measure.

This is a lovely comedy from a time when you could get away with a lot more things than you can today. It is a gem and this box set is sure to have you giggling. I say well done to all concerned and thank's for the memories.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2014 8:41 PM GMT

Rising Damp - Complete Collection [DVD]
Rising Damp - Complete Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Leonard Rossiter
Price: £9.99

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 22 Dec. 2008
This is British comedy at it's finest. 'Rising Damp' features a superb cast and many memorable moments. Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale, Frances De La Tour and Don Warrington each play their roles to perfection. Every single episode and even the feature length movie are included here and the price is very low for this fantastic DVD box set.

To give this brilliant series anything less than five stars would be an insult. It is up there with the likes of 'Dad's Army', 'Steptoe and Son' and 'Hancock's Half Hour', it really is that good. An essential purchase and a comedy that is just as funny now as when it was first shown.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2011 7:54 PM GMT

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.73

32 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A star is born, 13 Dec. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Faryl (Audio CD)
I know that many people get angry about reviews being written before the item in question has even been released so I do ask for your patience as I spout off here about this very special talent. The reason I am writing this three months before it's release is purley to make people aware if they have never heard of Faryl Smith. She was on a talent show called 'Britain's Got Talent' and I believe that she was about 12 years old at the time. She opened her mouth to sing and it was simply a stunning moment as this rich mature voice sang 'Ave Maria' superbly. It quite literally made the hairs on the back of your neck stand out, she was that good.

She didn't win the talent contest but I felt that it didn't matter as her wonderful voice would ensure a fantastic career. As for this album, well I can't comment on it really but it is sure to feature 'Ave Maria' which is reason to buy the album for that song alone. So I am sorry for writing this review so early but if you are a fan of opera or indeed want to witness a rare talent at the start of a wonderful career then buy this as soon as it comes out. Trust me, Faryl Smith will blow you away and you will find it hard to grasp just how young she is.

So this is a very sketchy review I admit. I just hope that when this is released that many of you will agree with me that I was justified in my early praise. I have never written a review like this before but felt I had to this one time.

Ok, I have now heard the CD in full and it does showcase a very promising talent. If I am totally honest, I did find a couple of the tracks a bit twee, namely 'Brahm's Lullaby' and 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square'. She does sing them very well but they just aren't to my taste. For me the standout tracks are 'Annie's Song', 'Mother Of God,Here I Stand' and 'Calon Lan'. Faryl proves that she really does have a massive future if she handles things in the right way. This is a very impressive debut and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2011 2:43 PM BST

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Collector's Edition (Offered Exclusively by Amazon)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Collector's Edition (Offered Exclusively by Amazon)
by J.K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid collectable, 10 Dec. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was lucky enough to order this collector's edition just in time and although there is no doubt that it is expensive, it is a truly excellent item and very well presented. The prints are obviously well worth the etra cost but what is truly superb is the edition of 'The Tales Of Beedle The Bard' that is included. It looks fantastic and it is a work of art in itself with the metal clasp,metal corners and skull.

I have hardly looked at the book as it is a present for my much better half and I am sure she will be delighted with it. Another plus point is the way the book is hidden away in a much larger book that looks as though it could have come off a bookshelf at Hogwarts. There will not be many left now but if you do get the chance to purchase this I have no hesitation in recommending it. Expensive but worth it.

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