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m.bison (Cheshire, UK)

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If You Don't Love Me
If You Don't Love Me

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, Overlooked Break Up Song, 17 April 2007
This review is from: If You Don't Love Me (Audio CD)
I first came across the song from the 'Dumb and Dumber' soundtrack when I was a kid. I only really appreciated it about 10 years later when I was in my twenties and a long-term girlfriend left me. It's not a ballad; it's not emotional; and you won't get Celine Dion covering it. Despite its heavy/deep sounding title, it actually comes across as a tongue-in-cheek, lighthearted and droney. But if you ignore the way the song is sung and look at the lyrics in black and white, it's really quite tragic and it captures the heartbreak of lost love very well. The protagonist isn't seriously considering suicide, but rather using it as a bargaining tool to make someone love him. I wager that is a more common thought than most broken-hearted people would publicly admit.

Roger Dodger [DVD] [2003]
Roger Dodger [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Campbell Scott
Offered by Annikhali
Price: £3.02

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're unsure about buying this film, don't be....., 31 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Roger Dodger [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Sadly, this isn't the biggest and most well known film out there. If you've somehow come across it now, be glad that you did. It is a brilliant character-driven film with crisp, flowing dialogue that's so good you laugh and shake your head when you hear it. The verbal sparring between the characters is of a similar quality to something like `The West Wing'. Except in this film, there is no discussion about important global issues ... all the talk here is about sex and picking up a member of the opposite sex in a bar.

Campbell Scott (Roger) has a great time with a great script. He gives some wonderful speeches about what goes on in the battleground of every pub and club during a Friday and Saturday night. Until now, all those home truths about the eternal struggle of going on the "pull" had never really been articulated.

As Roger tells Nick - his 16-year-old Nephew - how to meet women like a player on a Friday night in New York, everything is laid bare. All the things you are meant to know, but no one ever told you. They are explained clearly and, in a way, the film even becomes a self-help, instruction video for single people who struggle to approach strangers.

To "reduce" the film down to this, however, would be wrong. As Nick comes to realise, Roger is a tragic, bitter character - a one-dimensional person who, despite his silver tongue and his many, many years of experience, doesn't do half as well as his underage, sensitive nephew on his first night on the town. Moreover, Roger may or may not have strong (unreciprocated) feelings for his female boss, but he can never admit them because he has to wear the guise of a live fast, too-many-lovers-to-remember kinda guy.

The only slight criticism of the film would be the camerawork. Occasionally, the characters are obscured by passer-bys in the street or vehicles on the road, although this is obviously deliberate. The audience is assuming the role of an unseen observer to Roger and Nick, but with such rare, high quality dialogue and acting on show, it would be nice if it was front and centre and not partially hidden. Nevertheless, this is only a very, very minor complaint about a film that is five stars through and through.

Down In The Valley [DVD]
Down In The Valley [DVD]
Dvd ~ Edward Norton
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.98

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to place this in a genre ..., 10 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Down In The Valley [DVD] (DVD)
Annoyingly, Edward Norton hasn't made many films recently and I was waiting a long time to see this. Thanks largely to good performances from Edward Norton and the very busy Evan Rachel Wood this is an entertaining enough movie. It will pass the time amicably enough, but I feel the script could have been stronger.

The film teeters near the edge of a fish-out-of-water comedy/melodrama as we have a cowboy out of place in L.A. Then it comes close to being a much sinister and darker film. It never can quite make up it's mind what it wants to be. Also, you have no idea what is motivating the main character to do what he does in the final third of the film. He may be a little unstable and a little strange, but, as a non-mainstream, character-driven film, you would expect a little more character study and some insight into his actions.

As in `Primal Fear', Norton displays his acting range by switching from an innocent, out-of-place guy to a threatening menace, but the director (who also wrote the film) cannot commit to either side of the character. He flirts with the idea of Norton as an innocent and as a menace, but never takes the story fully in that direction.

It is good, however, to see two great actors of our generation - Norton and Wood - in the same film together. And all in all it is a solid, entertaining film.

Extras : Complete BBC Series 2 [2005] [DVD]
Extras : Complete BBC Series 2 [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ricky Gervais
Price: £2.94

9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The High Standard of Gervais' Body of Work Continues ..., 28 Jan. 2007
As a big fan of Ricky Gervais' work, I couldn't wait for the second series of `Extra's.' While the first series got generally good reviews, such a high profile follow-up to the runaway smash `The Office' was always going to attract some critics. And, as expected, there were some who said that each episode was just an excuse to show off Ricky's new celebrity friends. I didn't think so, although I have to admit that, as funny as the show was, it didn't strike a chord like `The Office' did with its commentary on being imprisoned from 9-5 in a dull, sterile office.

This minor drawback is fixed in series 2. In episode six of series 1, the main character was getting his own TV show on the BBC - much like in Seinfeld where we have a `show within a show.' This plot vehicle is very clever and it makes a show that was already very funny into something much more rounded.

You can imagine that the powers-that-be at the BBC were pressuring Gervais into making a show like `When The Whistle Blows' (WTWB) when he was trying to green-light `The Office.' WTWB is a take on what is wrong with modern British TV comedy - too reliant on catch phrases that people can quote to their friends, canned laughter, one-dimensional characters and unrealistic plots, story arcs etc. It is to Gervais credit that not everyone is in on his joke when they say "Are you havin' a laugh?" at any opportunity and muse that WTWB would make a great show by itself.

While the show makes this statement about your typical British comedy sit-com, it also continues to impress with hysterically twisted takes on the public personas of several celebrities. Indeed, the celebrity guest stars are extremely funny (especially Chris Martin), as is Gervais' knack for creating very funny scenes out of cringe worthy and awkward social situations. A special mention must also go to Stephen Merchant as Andy's inept Agent - and, as his recent comedy award indicates, he is very wisely given much more screen time.

Adrift [DVD]
Adrift [DVD]
Dvd ~ Susan May Pratt
Offered by 247dvd
Price: £3.30

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The film that Open Water should have been, 14 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Adrift [DVD] (DVD)
I'll be honest - this is a much better film than I expected. Of course, there will be many comparisons with the fairly recent `Open Water' film. There is a similar concept - a group of people abandoned in the middle of the sea - but `Adrift' has a much, much better concept. This is because with `Open Water' there was no chance of rescue unless another boat wandered by or unless the people on the original charter boat realised their mistake. With `Adrift' salvation and rescue is agonizingly close at hand; it is about 5-6 feet above them on the deck of the yacht. Indeed, with `Open Water' the two characters may or may not be saved - it is down to chance. With `Adrift' (which I think has been promoted as a sequel to Open Water in the U.S.), the characters just need to use their heads and think of ideas to get themselves out of peril.

I'm sure you know the plot by now - a group of twentysomethings and thirtysomethings jump into the ocean without dispensing the ladder of the yacht. With a small baby back on deck, you may think this is far fetched, but it happens in a realistic manner and, instead of saying `this would never happen in real life', you think to yourself `it just shows how dangerous it is to mess around and neglect the little things.' Once they are in the water, it is this set-up that makes `Adrift' a really good film. This is because you naturally put yourself in the same situation and try to think of what they should do. They come up with some very creative solutions for getting back onto the yacht, and, as you watch the film, you're thinking there has to be some way of getting back on the boat. There is - and it is very clever and I'll admit that I didn't think of it.

Like a lot of films with people in jeopardy, the situation is made worse by panic and not working together. As it says in the 1997 Anthony Hopkins film `The Edge', in extreme situations people succumb to panic and indirectly kill themselves. This is the case here and these scenes are handled very well, as is the agony of not being able to help your child who is in need and so close by. There is a slightly silly moment where one of the characters throws a mobile phone away. Apparently it is damaged by the water, but I thought they could have made that a bit clearer and not been so hasty to discard the phone. I hate to keep referencing other films, but it is like when the guy throws the map away in Blair Witch.

All in all, however, this is a highly recommended film. With no big names in the cast, you have no idea who will survive and, if you're watching the film with someone, you'll be asking each other `What would you do?' over and over again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 24, 2014 10:43 PM BST

The Podcasts
The Podcasts
by Ricky Gervais
Edition: Audio CD

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like to laugh and feel good, buy this..., 26 Dec. 2006
This review is from: The Podcasts (Audio CD)
This isn't really the 'Ricky Gervais Podcasts' - it's the Karl Pilkington podcasts. As funny as I find Ricky Gevais, Karl is the true star of the show. Whenever I listen to the podcasts, Karl never fails to have me in stitches. I listen to the show on my long drive home from work and, just before I downloaded the third series, I was genuinely worried about going into an extreme laughing fit and crashing my car. That's how hysterically funny Karl is.

To be fair to Ricky and Steve Merchant, they add a lot to the shows. As well as providing the most amazing laughter track to the things Karl says, Ricky Gervais' reactions to Karl's inane stories and theories heighten the humour. Moreover, Steve's own stories about incidents in the sea and his dance moves being the subject of interest by the Daily Mail is also very funny.

In case you don't know, a Ricky Gervais Podcast is half an hour of random dialogue between him, Steve and Karl. They talk about everything from amazing animal facts to Karl's outrageous and almost Naziesque methods of population control to the cheeky massages that Ricky gives his spoilt cat. There are some great features like Monkey News (please bring it back) and readings from Karl's diary, which, again, would not be as rib crackingly funny without Ricky's reactions. It's a simple set up - three guys in a room essentially - but it really does work.

This CD features the highlights of the first three seasons. If you are unfamiliar with the show, then this is a great introduction into something you've probably heard about through word of mouth. Like any other greatest hits collection, there is the obligatory bonus material; and like any other greatest hits collection, it unfairly forces the loyal fan to buy something they already own just to get to the new stuff.

The Office - An American Workplace: Complete Season 2 [DVD]
The Office - An American Workplace: Complete Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Carell
Price: £8.42

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Season When It Became It's Own Show ... and The Funniest Thing on Television, 20 Dec. 2006
This is the Season when the American version of `The Office' really hits its stride. Like most people, I didn't hold out much hope for the Americanisation of Ricky Gervais' hit show. The fact that a lot of people weren't sure if the UK Office was really a documentary or not is what made the show so unique. There was no canned laughter; no one-liners; no slick, flowing dialogue (instead people spoke with the um's and er's you get in real life) - and I think the show struck a chord because of that. To turn a show like this into Friends or Cheers - where there is an excitable studio audience, a fake, three-walled set and an obligatory not-very-bright character - would surely have ruined everything that made The Office so good to begin with. Thankfully, with the input of Gervais and his co-creator Steve Merchant (who are Executive Producers), the show abandons the traditional format of your average U.S. sit-com.

The first season of `The Office: An American Workplace' was six episodes long and the pilot episode copied the first episode of the original Office nearly word for word. I think this put a lot of people off when they were watching the show for the first time. After all, no one likes a carbon copy, "Psycho"-like remake. However, the other 5 episodes did their own thing and came up with new storylines. This continues in Season 2 (which is 20+ episodes long like you'd expect in the U.S.) and you get a sense that the actors and writers of the show have broken free of expectation and baggage that came with the award-winning UK show. For me, the show has become the funniest thing on television at the moment. This is largely down to Steve Carell who plays the David Brent character. He's a very different comedic actor to Ricky Gervais, but you still get the twinges of familiarity from him as he plays the office boss. He's also so funny it hurts - I've literally been crying with laughter watching him in this show. Indeed, as Carell's movies get bigger and bigger (40 Year Old Virgin and the Bruce Almighty sequel); it seems that everyone is discovering just how funny he is. Credit must also go to the actor who plays Gareth - he is extremely well cast and he, too, cracks a few ribs as the pedantic and annoying guy you find in every office.

I don't want to spoil the shows for you, but whether you have withdrawal symptoms for the UK Office or not, please give this a go. I just cannot describe how funny it is. But even when I've not been laughing and gasping for air at the same time, the show can resonate on a more personal level, as you recognise and see very familiar things from the grind of everyday office life. You'll be amazed at how many creative scenarios the writers can come up with for a group of people who sit at a desk and stare at a computer all day.

Nirvana-Live!Tonight!Sold Out [DVD] [2006]
Nirvana-Live!Tonight!Sold Out [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Kurt Cobain
Price: £6.70

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No kidding, this is the best music video I have seen in my life, 26 Nov. 2006
I remember watching `Live! Tonight! Sold out!' at the peak of being a Nirvana fan and it was an amazing experience. If you are a Nirvana fan, then this is a great watch; but if you are a MASSIVE Nirvana fan, then this is so good it will make you crazy. I was expecting a concert style show with the band playing a set list of songs (which, if you look at the back cover of the case, is what you'll expect, too), but, because Kurt was behind the making of the video (there were no DVDs in 1993), we get something so much better. I get the feeling that Nirvana's record company wanted to cash in on Nirvana's popularity at the time and put out a simple live video to showcase the band live. Nirvana, however, probably thought that if they had to release a live video, then they would use it as an opportunity to make some points.

It starts off with an advert for a group of yuppie, pony-tailed consultants who are supposedly the cogs behind the live shows of any slick, well-oiled, big permed hair, Kiss make-up, big drum, mainstream rock band. This is exactly what Nirvana hated about rock - the commercialisation of it; the way that cutting loose and raging about something had become so contrived and phoney. The concert then looks like its about to get going as we see the band play a great version of `Aneurysm' in a small, intimate venue. At this point, you sit back, get comfortable, and look at the case to see what songs are coming next ... but then, at exactly the halfway point of the song, we cut to the band dressed in women's clothes and playing `Aneurysm' in a huge outdoor arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The vocals and the sound are no way near as good and it's as if the band is using the contrast to say 'this is why we hate playing at huge venues'.

The entire film chops and changes between various live performance of the supposed set list and interviews with the band. With the songs, the band have a number of surprises up their sleeve, and these will make your jaw drop ... and then make you grin. An old performance of `Love Buzz' seems to be going along as normal, but then Kurt dives into the crowd and smashes his guitar in the face of a bouncer. Krist confronts Kurt about this on stage and you see Kurt earnestly trying to get a point across to Krist. If you've read some Nirvana books, you'll know that the bouncer had been threatening him from the crowd all night and Kurt was simply pre-empting an attack. Other standouts include the screaming performance of `Territorial P*******' on the old Jonathan Ross show when the shocked host had just announced that Nirvana would be playing the milder 'Lithium' and the Top of the Pops performance of `Smells Like Teen Spirit' when the band sabotage the song, hilariously change the lyrics and blatantly mime playing their instruments.

The interviews and intermittent footage of the band messing around is equally as funny. No one really appreciated just how funny Nirvana was - for example, you see Kurt playing on his junkie image by frailly entering the Reading Festival stage in a wheelchair and a big blonde overgrown wig. He slowly pulls himself up out of the wheelchair by the microphone stand, faintly sings `Some say love is a river ...' and then collapses. The audience realise he is having some fun when he gets up and rips into `Breed' at full force. There are lots of other funny clips and also some very insightful moments when Kurt talks about the music, the industry and how he likes to write vague, open lyrics.

All in all, this is probably the best and most unique music video I have ever seen in my life. It's sad to think that no act in the music industry today would be creative enough to do something like this and, therefore, it is a great reminder of how special Nirvana was.

The Complete West Wing: Seasons 1-7 (44 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
The Complete West Wing: Seasons 1-7 (44 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martin Sheen
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £79.49

307 of 317 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both inspirational and great entertainment, 25 Nov. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you are new to The West Wing, I cannot tell you how good it is. I remember when I bought the Season 1 box set a number of years ago. At the time, I had no interest whatsoever in politics and I was merely going on a handful of recommendations. I had no idea that I would be buying not only the best TV show ever created, but also the best piece of entertainment ever created in ANY format.

First and foremost, the writing is of the absolute highest quality. The only thing that comes close to the intelligent and often hilarious writing is Aaron Sorkin's (creator of the show) other work, i.e. A Few Good Men, The American President (which is like a condensed, movie-version of the show). Sorkin wrote nearly every episode of Season 1-4 and I think he is the closest thing we have to a modern day Shakespeare. The fast paced, overlapping dialogue that he penned is simply sublime, as brilliantly crafted, heavyweight characters spar with each other over colossal issues that impact millions of people or over the day-to-day banality of working in the office (albeit the most important one in the world). Sorkin has taken the senior staff of a White House Administration and created a unique and endearing character for each position. The pitch perfect casting of these characters is the second thing that makes the show so special.

I can praise the standard of writing or the exceptional acting forever, but perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay is to reveal how inspirational this show has been for me. Before I bought The West Wing, I was languishing in my final year at University, simply going through the motions of trying to briefly memorise facts and figures for exams. After watching this show, I developed a thirst for knowledge and a desire to become more dynamic. I wanted to debate two sides of an important issue by calling upon a body of knowledge and citing numbers from `three sources'. I wanted to be this informed and resourceful individual who could delve into his college work in an organised `what's next?' kind of way. I stopped reading my textbooks simply for the sake of reading them and I even based a vital university assignment on the first year episode that dealt with a delivery company strike over two-tier hiring. The pros and cons of two-tier hiring were superbly argued in this episode and, by expanding on the points raised, I received a very good mark for my `Strategic Human Resource Management' assignment. Please don't be put off, however, by talk of mundane things like two-tier hiring. Even if The West Wing did an episode on wheat prices in Russia, it would still be an outstanding piece of smart and funny entertainment.

For those of you who didn't know, this complete box set contains the region 1 extras that aren't available on the individual box sets. This includes deleted scenes and features - a whole wealth of bonus material that has never been available to region 2 DVD owners before.

It is a big investment to buy all 44 discs and 154 episodes at once, but I couldn't imagine spending all this money on any other show. The series is understandably affected when Sorkin departs at the end of Season 4, but I would give anything to discover The West Wing again. I had to wait for several agonising months before I could see what happened after the amazing season one cliffhanger - I am green with envy to think that you can switch discs in a matter of seconds to find out what happens next. Then again, you never got that great feeling I did on the day when the old `Season 2, Part One' box set was FINALLY released.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 15, 2014 4:02 PM BST

Belkin Tunecast 2 Fm Adapter Black F/ iPod Pda Cd
Belkin Tunecast 2 Fm Adapter Black F/ iPod Pda Cd

21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent for the price... but with flaws, 10 Nov. 2006
I spend at least 2 hours every weekday commuting to work and I had been itching to listen to my iPod in the car for ages. So I took a gamble and bought this item as soon as I saw it. When I handed over my cash, I wished I had known what I'm about to tell you.

One, the two AAA batteries start to go after around 5 hours. Therefore, you really need to buy rechargeable batteries; otherwise you're going to be buying a packet of batteries every week or two. To be fair, it does come with a cumbersome cigarette lighter connection, but I didn't want to use that because it seems to use a lot of power and I was mindful of it draining my car battery.

Two, I found it very hard to get a high quality reception on my FM car radio. Don't get me wrong, I got an okay reception that was reasonable ... but if you wanted to listen to a low, quiet acoustic song on your iPod, for example, then you would hear the flaws in the reception ... and it might annoy you after a while. This product is more suited to loud rock songs with a modern, big production sound ... this way, the slight levels of the static and distortion are less obvious.

Maybe you'll find a better FM reception in your area and get a clearer sound, I don't know. I'm just telling you what I found. Moreover, the reach of the transmitter frequency (for example, lets say from 107.9 FM to 86.5 FM) didn't match that on my car radio. I found a perfect FM frequency with no faint radio station in the background and I suspect that I would have got a crystal clear sound with this ... but the transmitter for some reason wouldn't extend to this FM frequency.

All in all, this is decent product for the price. But if you are going to spend a lot of time listening to your iPod/MP3 player in your car, you may want to do what I did and spend a little more money on a transmitter that doesn't need batteries (i.e. powers itself directly from the iPod), has no niggling wires and gives you a clearer sound.

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