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Tim Bentley (UK)

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Homebrewing for Dummies
Homebrewing for Dummies
by M Nachel
Edition: Paperback

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what it says on the cover, 7 Aug. 2006
Homebrewing for Dummies, reviewed by a self confessed homebrew dummy. The book as a whole is pretty good. it starts simply and continues slowly building on the information already imparted in the early chapters using easy to follow plain english. If you're starting from the position that you know nothing (except for the fact that you don't want to pay supermarket prices for beer) then this is the book for you.

There are some problems for UK readers in that the measurements are in US, i.e. a pint is sixteen fluid ounces rather than the British Imperial 20 oz, and the knock on effect is that the quart is 36oz and the US Gallon is 22oz (a pint and a bit) less than a standard UK Imperial Gallon. To be fair, the author does point this out very early in the book, but the conversions offered are in milliliters, not necessarily workable if you're brewing 20 litres of Ale. All of the temperatures are in Farenheit to complicate matters further and some of the measurement of weights are in 'cups'. A quick tip from me is to get some decent scales that can convert between imperial and metric, a decent thermometer that does Farenheit and Celcius, and a 'cup' measurement from a decent kitchen supplies store. Further, I suggest that you write down your conversions so you can repeat the recipes if they work well, or blame your math for the failure rather than the brew.

The book covers the basics of brewing using kits, the intermediate grain brewers, and the full on from scratch for the advanced brewers. It has a most important section, something that many brewing tomes forget, the bit about drinking the beer - dispensing technology, the best glass for a specific beer, and even the suggestion that you imbibe your own product while bottling and fermenting to while away the boring bits.

I liked this book, unit conversions aside, and have found the recipe section to be inspiring. My neighbours can look forward to being experimented upon!


The Truman Show [DVD] [1998]
The Truman Show [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Jim Carrey
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You think *you're* paranoid??, 20 July 2006
This review is from: The Truman Show [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
The Truman Show, a movie about a ratings busting TV show all about one guy, Truman Burbank. Truman doesn't know he's the star, in fact Truman doesn't know he's on TV at all. You see, Truman lives in an artificial environment, a town and environs created inside a gigantic dome with engineered weather. It is the mother of all movie sets. Throughout the course of his life the Show's producer has guided and adapted his environment into the ultimate in reality TV.

But Truman has his suspicions.

I won't go any further into the plot as you really need to see this movie to appreciate the scale of the story. The movie is one of those poignantly funny films that makes you think about the nature of life and reality (well I did) and leads you to wonder, am I on TV? The paranoids amongst us will say "I knew it!".

I really enjoyed this film and the performances were excellent with Jim Carrey as Truman and the marvellous Ed Harris as the reclusive Christof, the TV producer. Jim Carrey gurns and mugs with the best of them, but I would seriously rate him as an actor now rather than a clown.

A great movie with much to think about. Five stars from me.


Manchurian Candidate [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Manchurian Candidate [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £5.56

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once again with feeling., 19 July 2006
As modernised remakes go, this is by no means bad. Washington as Major Marco puts in a good if a little wooden performance against Liev Schreiber's vice-presidential candidate and platoon sergeant. The plot is a thriller and typical corporate America conspiracy with perhaps the nastiest performance I've seen in a long while from Meryl Streep.

I'm not sure that this movie needed to be updated and remade as the original was so damned good, however, it was timely and caught a wave. On the whole the production stands, it is a good movie in its own right, well set, flowed well and kept me on the edge of my seat. At the low price it is currently being offered at it is probably cheaper to buy it and watch it than rent. I liked it, I've watched it a couple of times, and I'll probably watch it once or twice again before I pass it on.


Manchurian Candidate, The [DVD] [2004]
Manchurian Candidate, The [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Denzel Washington
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £1.26

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once again, this time with feeling, 19 July 2006
As modernised remakes go, this is by no means bad. Washington as Major Marco puts in a good if a little wooden performance against Liev Schreiber's vice-presidential candidate and platoon sergeant. The plot is a thriller and typical corporate America conspiracy with perhaps the nastiest performance I've seen in a long while from Meryl Streep.

I'm not sure that this movie needed to be updated and remade as the original was so damned good, however, it was timely and caught a wave. On the whole the production stands, it is a good movie in its own right, well set, flowed well and kept me on the edge of my seat. At the low price it is currently being offered at it is probably cheaper to buy it and watch it than rent. I liked it, I've watched it a couple of times, and I'll probably watch it once or twice again before I pass it on.


Love, Honour And Obey [DVD] [2000]
Love, Honour And Obey [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Sadie Frost
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £3.45

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Mack me off like a two bob!, 19 July 2006
No I don't know what that means, and neither does Ray Kreed, Daddy of the North London boys. Facing Ray across the river is Sean and the South London boys, a man of taste with his decent champagne, his classy bars, and his tendency to make up words as he goes along.

Love, Honour & Obey is a gangster movie following the progress of Johnny (Johnny Lee Miller) in joining his mate Jude's gang (Jude Law) headed up by Ray Kreed (Ray Winstone - who else). They run scams, they fight with South London and throughout it all Fat Alan gets stabbed, beaten up, drugged, forced to eat dog food, and blown up until he thinks it's about time he gets another line of work.

A London Gangster movie with an edge overlaid with some highly funny moments, particularly the boys disguised as arabs trying to knick a load of diamonds after taking some viagra. Clearly made on the cheap - why spend the wedge when you don't need to - and stuffed with cracking one liners and some karaoke performances that stun - Sean and Trevors "Fireball XL5" duet and the opening "Avenues and Alleyways" by the North London Mob musically punctuate a great movie.

Special moments include Kath & Ray (the other Ray) solving his erectile dysfunction and Fat Alan demonstrating his hand to hand combat skills and ending up in hospital. A raft of great performances in a film appeared in, written and directed by Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis, writers of "Operation Good Guys" and "Final Cut".

I loved this film, I've watched it many times and the one liners never fail to make me laugh, especially Ray Kreed to the TV Soap Director "Shut up you, you're fat and I'll throw you in the river" - I suppose you had to be there.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 17, 2012 2:17 PM BST


American Pie Presents: Band Camp [DVD]
American Pie Presents: Band Camp [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arielle Kebbel
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.84

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stale Pie, 19 July 2006
Well most of the seriously funny franchises slowly degenerate until they're but pigmys walking in the shadows of giants - take a look at National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation II, need I say more. American Pie Presents Band Camp unfortunately is no exception. Like all of the weaker siblings this too maintains a character or so from the originally success, the hilarius Eugene Levy reprising his role as Jim's Dad, this time he's a camp counsellor (I wonder what happened to Jim's Mom?) and of course Stifler's little brother.

The idea seems to be sound although the majority of the Band Camp gags seem to have been played out in full in American Pie 1 & 2.

Poor on the whole with the odd flash of high comedy, and on the whole pretty forgettable. As one or two of the other reviewers have demonstrated it will probably appeal to the younger more adolescent audience for its girls and basic humour.

Not a slice of pie that I'll bother to keep, so second hand shop here I come.


The Producers [UMD Mini for PSP]
The Producers [UMD Mini for PSP]
Dvd ~ Nathan Lane
Offered by marxwax
Price: £7.51

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Springtime for Hitler and Germany, 19 July 2006
What a fantastic idea! Making more money from a show that bombs than from a successful one. The question being what show is guaranteed to flop. Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) and Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) find that show - Franz Leibkind's "Springtime for Hitler", a Third Reich Romp. "The Producers" charts their progress in finding the show and putting it on.

The story though is not new as Mel Brooks made the original (non-musical) back in 1968 with Zero Mostel (Bialystock) and Gene Wilder (Bloom). Having been a fan of the original, I wondered about the whole remake culture and how generally remakes suck. That having been said, I first went and saw "The Producers" in London's West End and saw a revitalised but still very recognisable romp with the best production number of "Springtime for Hitler" that I've ever seen. I had a great time, but returning to the DVD, the first thing that struck me was that the run was truncated and the second number of the show relagated to the Deleted Scenes section of the disc. Disappointing.

For the rest of the movie I suppose I felt two things:

(1) - Wow a fantastic job Corey English and Reece Shearsmith did on stage when compared to Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in the movie, and..

(2) - Some of the gags and songs fall kind of flat without the atmosphere of the theatre and the live audience.

Nevertheless the 2005 release of the updated musical version of the original has some inspired performances and wonderful set pieces. Specifically noteworthy are Will Ferrell as Franz Leibkind and Desperate Housewives' Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia.

Stage shows always have their difficulties in moving to the silver screen and "The Producers (2005)" is no exception, however, in my opinion it still works. The DVD extras, especially the out takes are hilarious, and make sure that you watch the credits all the way through for the very last song.

While watching, make sure you have your blue blankie handy just in case!


GEAR4 PowerTrip II - 12V Car Charger for all iPods inc Shuffle, Nano and Video - White
GEAR4 PowerTrip II - 12V Car Charger for all iPods inc Shuffle, Nano and Video - White
Offered by GRAND GADGETS
Price: £13.99

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must for those long journeys, 19 July 2006
I got this product free with the GEAR4 iPod charger and it is one of the best freebies I've ever had - to be honest I would have bought one anyway. It just plugs into the cigarette lighter or a 12v power connector in your car and charges your iPod. A word of advice though is that I'd unplug before starting the engine to avoid any surging and risk of popping the inline fuse.

This has become a permanent accessory in the car. It is cheap and it does what it says on the label.


War Of The Worlds (2 Disc Special Edition) [2005] [DVD]
War Of The Worlds (2 Disc Special Edition) [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.94

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Tripods but overly simple story, 19 July 2006
An interesting movie dependent on what you're looking for. Action, oh yes, plenty. Special FX, more than you can shake a mechanised tentacle at. Story? Hmm, okay so there's this guy who has some kids and when the aliens come they run for it and try to get to the kids' Mom.

Heavyweight Sci-fi? Not even vaguely, strange bearing in mind the pedigree of the movie with HG Wells as the creator and Spielberg as the movie maker. Even so I felt that Tom Cruise actually put some acting effort into this film for a change and Dakota Fanning was as ever excellent as his on screen daughter. The Tripods were fantastic, if a little lacking in history and explanation, and the limited adherence to the original story wasn't bad.

The film was above average and at these prices pretty good value. I enjoyed it but only because I didn't look too closely at the Sci-Fi as a big chunk of the movie seemed to be missing. If you like Tom Cruise and action movies then go for it, otherwise rent it / borrow it and if you like it, buy one.


The Constant Gardener [DVD] [2005]
The Constant Gardener [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Ralph Fiennes
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.70

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real "Out of Africa", 16 July 2006
The Constant Gardner is a story woven about the life and death of the wife of a British Diplomat, Tessa Quayle (Rachel Weisz), and the unmasking of a conspiracy that threatens to cripple Anglo-Kenyan relations. Ralph Fiennes as the diplomat, Justin Quayle, exhibits classic, even stereo-typical British cool in investigating the real reasons for his young wife's demise, while showing an insight into the strains and pressures of ex-pat officialdom. Weisz appears throughout the film in flash back, but brings the 'right-on' Tessa to life.

Some truly undesirable notions are brought to the audience's attention, and the film doesn't particularly rose tint them, which just emphasises some of the realities of how we in the developed 'west' salve our guilt about sickness and poverty in Africa. Perhaps a mite condescending in the way it was depicted, maybe even a little patronising.

The novel's ending stopped a little short and left me wondering what would happen next, particularly in London, however, the movie takes Le Carres work and extends it a little to provide that information. This is a film I enjoyed and certainly appreciated being given it as a present. Not an easy movie by any measure and probably not the one to watch if you want light entertainment, but it will challenge your preconceptions and show you an Africa that falls between the old empire and pleas for foreign aid.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2011 12:47 PM BST


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