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J. Powell "Jimbo" (United Kingdom)

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NFL 2K5 (PS2)
NFL 2K5 (PS2)
Offered by CDandVinyl
Price: £22.95

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 years old and still the best gridiron game on the market for Ps2, 25 April 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: NFL 2K5 (PS2) (Video Game)
This is far better than Madden NFL. I love that game and play Madden 08 all the time as well.... but ESPN 2005 has better graphics, sounds, in-game control options, more complicated playcalling options, ease of use/gameplay, playbooks, a much tougher CPU mode for playing alone, and all round attention to detail. If, like me, you love pro football, its a far superior alternative to Madden.

There is everything for the Gridiron fan in this game. If you really know and understand the game, the playcalling options alone are worth buying the game for. you can use and design fairly complex plays, tweak them, change pre-and post-snap coverages, use last minute audibles sensibly and generally control the game far easier than Madden. If you like your X's and O's as well as actually playing gameday, then this game gives you the options than Madden just can't pull off. lets face it, the gridiron is all about strategy and gameplan, and Madden makes a total mess of that side of the game.

I love this NFL 2K5 game, it's highly addictive and fun fun fun as well as being more intelligent than the Madden series. You can even play all-time classic teams and try to replicate the greatest games and plays in NFL history such as the immaculate reception or the Ice Bowl in Green Bay v Dallas from 1967 etc. The weather conditions and stadiums are replicated perfectly. it's great fun and unlike Madden, constantly challenging.

Highly recommended for serious NFL fans, you just won't be able to get enough of it. You won't regret buying ESPN, regardless of the fact its a few years old now, somehow its still better than the latest version of Madden (08). I can't wait for a newer 2009 version of this fantastic game.

Red Rock West [DVD] [1993]
Red Rock West [DVD] [1993]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £17.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem for any thinking movie lover, 22 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Red Rock West [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
This is one of my favourite movies ever. Nick Cage has the classic talk and demeanour of James Dean or an early Marlon Brando as he swaggers silently into a bar in the desert and finds himself in the middle of the most incredible plot and cast of characters.

This movie has such a rich and thoughtful plot that it is a wonder to me why it never made it into the Hollywood hall of fame. The story will be spoiled if i was to expand on what happens in the movie, but the twists and turns keep you hooked until the very end, always guessing. In classic 50's style, Red Rock west has an enticing feel of the expanse of America and the lure of opportunity. Itinerant Wanderer Nick Cage finds himself at the mercy of strangers in Smalltown U.S.A all playing a game of hidden identity, corruption and greed. Cage finds himself trapped and just wanting to get out alive. He has opened a Pandora's box of intrigue and faces the consequences of someone else's making. This is a true hidden gem and the excellent writing alone make this a rarely credited modern classic.

The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1992 (Short Oxford History of the Modern World)
The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1992 (Short Oxford History of the Modern World)
by Maldwyn A. Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.20

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many stats and not enough depth, 28 Jun. 2007
I was not overly impressed with this. It's hard to get a one volume history of the USA, they don't even have them available in the USA. So it is either this or the truly dire Penguin History of the USA by Hugh Brogan. These are your choices for beginners on the road to learning American history. I do my degree in this subject, so thought this was an ideal book to start with in my first year. I was only half correct in this choice.

The book is extremely Anglocentric, all that is covered is 1607 onwards, as if America did not even exist before that date! Where pray, are the hundreds of years of Native American history? Ditto the Spanish colonies and conquest, Slavery is not mentioned too often, the West Indies etc. these are vital factors in the growth and History of the Nation. How you write a book on America and barely mention them?

To sum it up, its OK, a bit too verbose and wordy with far too many statistics. I read this as a starting point in U.S history for my degree, but I could have learned in a simpler way - buy the Oxford History of the United States series. I recommend you to do the same, don't make my mistake and start with this book. The subject is too big for one book anyway.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2012 11:59 AM BST

Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
by Barack Obama
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Obama what the world needs now? I'd like to think so but..., 22 Jun. 2007
We worry for the future security of the western Nations. We worry about where the world is going. George W Bush is the most unpopular President with the British people and is universally despised and ridiculed. Personally, I have yet to meet one British citizen who has any view other than hatred for this President. Many, many people felt cheated and disgusted when he was elected in 2004 and angry that the American people had elected this man again. So what can anyone do to stop this cynism and hope for a better future for the U.S and for the security of Nations like ours? Well, vote Democrat for a start. Will Obama be a good choice? I'm a U.S history and politics student, so I read this book to try to find out.

This book is titled under various chapters that deal with specific issues facing the future President. i.e.

1. Republicans and Democrats

2. Values

3. Our Constitution

4. Politics

4. Opportunity

5. Faith

6. Race

7. The world beyond our borders (foreign policy)

8. Family

I have to say that with the exception of maybe two chapters, Obama is not giving much away regarding any plans for the Presidency or his policies. Like many people tired of the Bush administrations lies and incompetence, I would love to see this man be elected to office. I have always been a democratic liberal and agree with basically everything he has to say. But although I can't vote in the U.S of course, even if I could, Obama has not convinced me too much of what he plans to do in steps towards making the world a better place.

Senator Obama is an eloquent and educated man, with a seeming humility and forthright honesty rarely seen or heard since the days of Truman and JFK. This is refreshing to hear and gives me hope for the future, but he is not really saying very much in particular and offers no visions other than a kind of; let's do the right things, be nice and it'll all work out fine. I realise politicians give little away before elections for fear of alienating a proportion of voters, but Obama has told us hardly anything at all. He is in the mould of JFK (no bad thing I admit) and he reminds me of him in many ways. He is the kind of all-things-to-all-people type of politician. Like JFK, he appears to be the kind of President you would like to get a beer with and is regular nice guy, but would be a bit short on firm action or firm policy as leader of the free world. Like Mr Kennedy, he's likeable, it's all inspiring rhetoric and good news, but dude.......where's the beef?

Having said this, it's an enjoyable read and full of inspirational words. it's well written and cohesive in its arguments for change. I do hope that he stands a chance of winning but i doubt it. In my opinion America will never have a black President, at least not in my lifetime, no matter who he is or what he stands for. Its sad but true, the hard-right, Christian, white, wealthy majority rule America and the rest of it can hang for any chance of a real say in how the USA and (consequently our world) is run. It makes me sad to say this but its true.

Good Luck Obama. And good luck America 2008!

The Good Shepherd [DVD]
The Good Shepherd [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.20

22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST VIEW OF CIA LIFE AND HISTORY EVER MADE, 28 May 2007
This review is from: The Good Shepherd [DVD] (DVD)
Please ignore the negative reviews on here! The people reviewing this film were obviously looking for the usual espionage thriller with guns, explosions and car chases, e.g The Bourne Supremacy. Well, you are not going to find that style of film at all. This is real life CIA stuff. This movie is not a thriller, its real, the story of the faceless, cold and detached lives of the powerful men who really run International Politics and The United States, the Central Intelligence Agency. The Good Shepherd is a rarity these days, as it has a beguiling and intelligent plot, which may require some to watch it two or three times. This is always the mark of a great movie for me.

This film is an excellent study of the sad and rather tragic life of a foremost CIA operative/Director of Plans/Chief of Station, not the usual tired cliche movie-fodder field agent (i.e Spy). Here is a man high up in the Agency hierarchy, dedicated to his job and country above all things, even his own family and happiness.
Though the main story is the birth of the CIA, the story predominantly and often disturbingly, looks at a man's private life and also his one true passion - protecting and defending his country at all costs. The lead charcter is a cold, highly intelligent calculating schemer, always one step ahead and aloof from anyone who dares get near him, except one girl, his teenage sweetheart. His aloof, cold, unemotional character is absolutely perfect for intelligence, but hell for his family life...ultimately leading to dire consequences.

People like the lead character in the film (played by Matt Damon) made the CIA the most powerful organisation on the Earth, and due to this cold skill and dedication, nobody even knows just how much the CIA influences our politics and lives. These are secret people with secret lives, that's the whole point. Like the film, Intelligence is all understated and anonymous, otherwise it wouldn't work and achieve its objectives. You get a really strong sense of the life of the CIA and its workers during this film. This is a work of immense power and subtlety, like the field of intelligence work itself.

If you understand and appreciate the history of the CIA, you will recognize the charcters portrayed in this film (all are loosely disguised fictional pseudonyms for real people involved in the conception of the CIA after WWII). The film looks at real events and you will probably need to understand the history of the USA and the CIA a little bit to appreciate what the films main thesis is. If you don't you will struggle a bit, which is why some reviewers and movie-goers probably criticized the film - they didn't fully understand it in it's historical context.

Without giving too much away, the film is both a charcter study of one man and of the Agency itself, from his enrolment in the Agency, through the second World War, Cold War and Bay of Pigs Invasion, culminating in his elderly years as a senior CIA man at the end of the 1960's, he observes the changing times and rules of espionage and arrives at the end of an era as intelligence work moves to become the vanguard of computers and technology. Spies and espionage are no longer the work of secret agents and microfilms, but I.T specialists and analysts in offices. Life has changed, but his work is accomplished at horrible costs. The plot is thick with possibilities and twists as the chronology jumps back and forth over time and place, and the viewer is never spoon-fed any solutions, making this highly appealing to all who read spy novels and history and take an interest in intelligence work.

It is a fairly dark film and the sacrifices and experiences of the job examined are a shock at times. This makes the film quite disturbing viewing, but always incredibly real and authentic. The quiet subtle dialogue and acting performances lend the power to an already entrancing plot, with a fantastic mood of light, sound and colour which is used excellently. The performances are also excellent from vastly experienced and talented actors, including great turns from terrifc actors like Damon, John Turturro, Robert De Niro and Michael Gambon.

This movie will make you appreciate just what the CIA was and continues to be, an immensely powerful organisation that (Like the lead role in the film) we will never truly know or understand fully, yet with a constant grip on the lives we lead, every hour, every day.

A quote from a scene in the film sums it up perfectly. Damon meets a Mafia KingFish to plan the assassination of Castro. The mafia boss (played by Joe Peschi in a brief cameo) notices the different cultures in America by stating-
"We Italians, we got our music, our Church, our organisation. The Jews have their money and businesses, even the niggers...they got their music. What do guys like you have? What do you really have"?
Damon replies quietly to the Mafia Don...."Well, we have the United States of America, the rest of you, everyone else is only here because we let you. You're all just visiting".

American Revolution: One Nation's Rise to [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
American Revolution: One Nation's Rise to [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good overview of the war but a little short on details., 4 April 2007
This 5 DVD set is a pretty good overview of the american revolution, though only 3 of the DVD's are actually devoted to the war. The other two DVD's in the set are biographies of leading war figures; Washington, Revere, Arnold and Ben Franklin. I thought this was pretty cheeky, considering the fairly large price. That said,It's an interesting set, but the many and various reasons for the outbreak of war are very brief. An essential part of understanding any war in history is looking at the reasons why the war broke out in the first place. As a US history student this is essential for me to understand. It was useful for my studies, but I needed to read books to look at the reasons why the war started.

OVERALL-Not bad but a little too brief on the politics and too heavy on patriotic revelling in battle victories for me.

American Colonies: The Settlement of North America to 1800 (Penguin History of the United States)
American Colonies: The Settlement of North America to 1800 (Penguin History of the United States)
by Alan Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MASTERFUL, 21 Mar. 2007
This is history at it's very best.

As a degree student of U.S History I have found this invaluable. The book is clearly written, concise, detailed and coherent. The whole narrative reads perfectly, touching on and encompassing all of the factors that constitute the early history of the USA. You will never be bogged down in names, statistics or rambling waffle like many history books.

If you want to start learning the history of the USA, start here and move on to the Oxford History of the United States series. You will know all there is to know about how and why America became the most powerful and wealthy nation on Earth. Everything is so crisply explained, it's wondeful. His breezy and clear prose puts other historians to shame. I am hoping he will write several more books on later US History. A fantastic introduction to America.

The Penguin History of the United States of America
The Penguin History of the United States of America
by Hugh Brogan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

28 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars is this the dullest author in history? read the phone directory instead, it would be more interesting., 21 Mar. 2007
THIS AUTHOR IS A LECTURER IN U.S HISTORY, WELL....I WOULD NOT LIKE TO BE SAT IN A LECTURE THEATER FOR 4 YEARS LISTENING TO THIS DULLARD! WHAT A CRASHING BORE ! The author obviously has some kind of talent because somehow Hugh Brogan has managed to make the perenially exciting History of the most thrillingly dynamic nation on Earth's about as interesting as being locked in a padded cell for a decade. That was basically how I felt reading this truly abominable book. As a BA degree student of U.S History, I thought it might be useful and informative to read this. Sadly however I felt like commiting suicide several times during the course of reading this book. It just went on and on and on and on and on and on and I finally gave up 2/3rds of the way through. I COULD ABSOLUTELY TAKE NO MORE!

The reasons why I say such criticisms are as follows;

1. Sentences are far too long and rambling. By the end of the sentence you have forgotten what started the sentence and what the author is talking about or what the point is. You'll care even less.

2. AWFUL grammar. Did anyone proof read this? or did the proof-reader take his own life when he could stomach no more at page 463?

3. Presumes that anyone reading the book is, as he, a professor of U.S History. *hint for the future-WE READ HISTORY BOOKS TO LEARN THINGS WE DON'T KNOW PAL! WE WEREN'T THERE AT THE TIME, WE WEREN'T ALIVE !


5. No mention of Spanish history and other factors in the history of the U.S, for example slavery in the West Indies, South America etc.

6. NOTHING in this book is simply outlined and explained for the uninitiated. NOTHING.

7. Using long words and being verbose DOES NOT MAKE YOU INTERESTING OR INTELLIGENT.

8. Disjointed, incoherent lecturer waffle takes the place of quotes from history, documented facts and anecdotes from the times he is "explaining".

9. You get the point.

If you just want an introduction to U.S History or want to read this subject matter for simple entertainment and self-education just forget it. You need a Ph.d in history to understand what this guy is waffling about.
If you want to learn, get The Limits of Liberty by Maldwyn Jones or the Oxford History of the United States series. An excellent introduction to American history is American Colonies by Alan Taylor. Don't buy this book. You have been warned.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2012 1:38 AM GMT

Bus 174 [DVD]
Bus 174 [DVD]
Dvd ~ José Padilha
Offered by FilmloverUK
Price: £5.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reality of life in Rio for too many people., 25 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Bus 174 [DVD] (DVD)
This is quite simply the most powerful documentary on the reality of life in Rio. I have been in a favela in Rio and although hardly an expert, I have seen firsthand the reality of life in Brazil for millions of people. ie. hungry, desperate and hopeless. Behind the media image beauty of copacabana and all the holiday brochure stuff, Rio is a VERY dangerous and poverty stricken city.

This documentary beats any fictional film you can imagine. Its completely engrossing and the tension couldn't be matched by Alfred Hitchcock.

The ending left me speechless and numb. An incredibly powerful film that I think will never be beaten by anything Hollywood would ever invent.

An absolute must-see for anyone interested in Brazil.

The Story Of The Weeping Camel [2004] [DVD]
The Story Of The Weeping Camel [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Janchiv Ayurzana
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £4.95

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simple and beautiful, the ultimate feelgood movie, 26 Nov. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
a pure and simple story and a pure and simple life. looking at this movie makes you question what we have lost in our modern western civilization. I loved this film and i often wonder why i can't live like these people. Life is far too complicated with things we don't need. a truly heart-rendering film, wonderful.

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