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Matt Gibson (Liverpool, UK)

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Foundation: 1/3 (The Foundation Series)
Foundation: 1/3 (The Foundation Series)
by Isaac Asimov
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, poor print run, 1 Feb 2013
I can't really fault Foundation, which is a fine novel and some of Asimov's best work. I was disappointed by the actual printing of the book, however, which had a number of typos and once even repeated half a sentence word for word a line below. Basically: great book, shoddy book production.

A Year In The Merde
A Year In The Merde
by Stephen Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painfully unfunny, 4 Nov 2008
This review is from: A Year In The Merde (Paperback)
Stephen Clarke must have been unable to believe the success of this book: he's basically repackaged a bunch of cliches about the French and made a fortune off of it. The characters are completely one-dimensional, the protagonist is entirely unlikeable and the most obvious author insertion I've ever seen in a book like this.

Furthermore, the book is relentlessly sexist in a Daily Mail kind of way. You know, 'Men Are From Mars...' kind of sexism defended by 'oh it's just a bit of fun' and a shrug. Female characters are described pretty much exclusively by what they're wearing and how attractive they are, are completely one-dimensional and obsessed with sleeping with the main character and there are some extremely nasty dismissals of women who don't meet Paul's standard. This being fiction this of course means that they are never main characters (they're all attractive, and fancy him) but instead just background uglies who are good for a put-down and nothing else. The whole thing made me feel very uncomfortable.

Boring, overlong, sexist and childish. No wonder that the Daily Mail thought it was brilliant.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2011 9:32 PM GMT

Children of Men [DVD]  [2006]
Children of Men [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 2.99

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic film, 25 Jan 2008
This review is from: Children of Men [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
A wonderful film, well-acted and very moving in some places. Yes, it's another totalitarian dystopian future film, but at least Cuaron had the nouse to base much of it on an extrapolation on the current extremist fringes of the UK political scene. Thus we get shots reminiscent of Guantanamo, Iraq and other high-profile abuses of human rights. The wonderful ensemble cast means that no character is safe: it's a film where everyone is expendable, and that only adds to the realism.

This is a wonderfully cryptic film too. I've read reviews complaining about the depressing theme and ending (for depressing read realistic, finally a film without Hollywood sheen!) and the lack of explanation about a number of the films main points (for example, why infertility is suddenly a problem). People who need everything explained to the minutest detail are the reason cinema is so bad today: the characters are ordinary people and they don't know, so the audience don't know. To have every mystery cleared up would be utterly unrealistic and a betrayal of the whole point of the film: it's about ordinary people providing hope.

Although in some cases the changes in society seem little extreme for 2027, you have to consider that these characters *know* that mankind is going to be extinct within the next 100 years. If anything Cuaron was too reserved with his depiction of anarchy and societal breakdown.

Anyway: great acting, great direction, an interesting and extremely well-realised vision of the future and a film so utterly brimming with hope and gritty realism (insofar as a sci-fi film can) that it's a joy to watch. Fans of The Matrix beware, *this* is intelligent and character-driven cinema and you will be bored. Everyone else should love it.

Sunshine [DVD] [2007]
Sunshine [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Price: 2.94

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, 11 Jan 2008
This review is from: Sunshine [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
What a good film - well acted, tense plot and to be applauded for trying to simulate the terror and empty horror of open space. Yes the transition into the final act is clunky and fast-paced (including unnecessary bad guy) but surely that's the point. The problem with 'realistic' scifi movies like Armageddon is that the characters explain with mind-numbing detail what is happening even in the most chaotic and time-critical situations. The characters in Sunshine are supposedly the best the planet has to offer and thankfully, they don't waste time explaining what they're doing to the audience, they just get on with it. 'Sunshine' really makes an effort not to break the fourth wall by having the trained scientists tell each other what they're doing in average-moviegoer-simple terms. Thank God for that!

Secondly, how can so many people find the ending confusing? If you're capable on any level of understanding metaphor, allegory or even hallucination then it's pretty obvious. I'm racking my brain trying to think of anything that could have confused people and I'm coming up with nothing here. As to whether the Earth is saved, that (IMHO) is probably the least subtle part of the film and I would have preferred a more ambiguous ending. Great film, great director and about a million miles better than any other sci-fi disaster film ever made (Armageddon, The Core, Apollo 13 et al)

Offered by CDandVinyl
Price: 0.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect sendoff, 13 Sep 2006
This review is from: Left (Audio CD)
As a last single from a truly great band that deserved more success than they saw, Left is HOTS's perfect swansong. Beauitful and swooning, it's a fitting end to a career that could have been much better. B-sides Silent In The Towerblocks and End are fittingly morose, as Sam says goodbye to the band he believed in so much: "show me where the music went to die/let me listen to the tapes as they unwind... won't make the same mistakes again"

Instrumentals Boxes For Particles and Minifigures are flightly electronic pieces that could perhaps point towards a new direction for members of the band post-HOTS, and inspire new hope that such talented people will continue to make music.

If you're not a fan you won't want this, but if you are you can't miss it. "Here comes the ending, the predictable ending of it all" -- RIP Hope Of The States

Empire [2 Track CD]
Empire [2 Track CD]
Offered by Townsend Records
Price: 1.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Kasabian at their best, 14 Aug 2006
This review is from: Empire [2 Track CD] (Audio CD)
Big, stupid and glam-stompy, it's not what you'd really expect from Kasabian but it's still a great song. It retains the driving bass of their earlier stuff and (of course) has a video that tries to make some kind of statement but ends up just being an entertaining diversion. At heart, "Empire" is just one of the epic, singalong tunes that Kasabian do so well and it has all the swagger and arrogance of their previous singles even if it doesn't sound like them. Even the production makes everything they've done before sound tiny in comparison. If the rest of the album is like this, Kasabian will be totally justified in booking stadiums for their tour this year.

Not Accepted Anywhere
Not Accepted Anywhere
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Totally nondescript, 14 Aug 2006
This review is from: Not Accepted Anywhere (Audio CD)
Everyone will by now have heard "Monster" and I'll admit that I do love that song - while not big on lyrics or invention it's the ultimate catchy pop song, with a great chorus and a tongue-in-cheek sense of fun that I like to see in a band. The thing is, once you get past that, and brilliant debut single "Recover", you start to notice that a lot of songs on this album are pretty samey. Quite a few have shouty acapella bits, and the constant! Emo! Yelping! of keyboard player Pennie just grates after the first few songs.

It's hard to sit and listen to a whole album of it to be honest, and I wouldn't be surprised if they turned out to be another Bravery - releasing a couple of successful singles and then fading into obscurity.

Offered by MasterDVD
Price: 3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Streamlined follow up to 'The Lost Riots', 22 Jun 2006
This review is from: Left (Audio CD)
I don't know exactly how I feel about the new direction Hope Of The States are taking. "Left" lacks the kind of epic wide-eyed terror that made "The Lost Riots" such a classic album, and I feel like I should be annoyed at this new, mainstream sound. But I can't do it, it's just too good an album. Before they had the vision and the soundscapes, but few actual tunes - now they have some real chestbeating anthems to go alongside their post-rock roots.

Opener "Seconds" may not have the same shocking impact as "The Black Amnesias" but instead it kicks the album off to a more mellow start. The fires of anger and rebellion that powered HOTS through their debut has been streamlined to a smouldering bitterness that pours out in call-to-arms "Blood Meridian" and the stream-of-consciousness of "Industry".

Moments of glittering beauty ("Little Silver Birds", "January") merge with colossal angry anthems ("Bonfires", "Forwarddirektion", "This Is A Question") and uplifting choir-assisted hope ("The Good Fight", "The Church Choir") to form a wonderful and fitting second album for the band that lost it all, and are on the way back up. Hopefully this will give them the success they deserve.

Fill My Little World
Fill My Little World
Price: 4.21

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great summer song, 17 Jun 2006
This review is from: Fill My Little World (Audio CD)
There's nothing about this that I'd usually like: it's pretty dull, the lyrics are stupid and the melody is pretty insignificant. And yet, when the sun's out, it's the perfect song to relax to. Will be forgotten by winter, but enjoy it while it lasts!

Steady, as She Goes
Steady, as She Goes
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: 6.35

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly mediocore, 9 May 2006
This review is from: Steady, as She Goes (Audio CD)
"Steady, As She Goes" is one of those songs. Instantly catchy, you're humming it for a couple of weeks and then you realise it actually isn't that good. The lyrics are poor (what exactly is "the point of stable glue"?) and the music is pretty pedestrian. It's a conventional rock song without the bluesy edge of The White Stripes, or anything to make it stand out amongst the raft of new bands out at the moment. They only reason it's gotten airplay is because Jack White is in the band and it's a "supergroup".

"Store Bought Bones" is a much more interesting prospect, with it's weird scratchy sounds and frantic pace. This should have been the lead single, not "Steady As She goes", but it's not enough. There's nothing special about The Raconteurs, and with their debut album apparently only ten (!) songs long you get the sense that they might not have many original ideas to offer

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