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Andy Norton "Andy" (Oxfordshire, UK)

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The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003]
The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Natascha McElhone
Price: £3.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Other Version of The Other Boleyn Girl, 4 Feb 2012
The Other Boleyn Girl, the popular historical novel from Phillipa Gregory, has a feature film adaptation with Eric Bana et al going a bit Tudor on each other. Nevertheless, this version, a BBC TV movie, was made 5 years before that mainstream 2008 film, and it certainly shows.
This TV movie strips the tale of two sisters, who both end up being married to the notorious Henry 8th at one point in their lives, to nothing more then sibling rivalry of the Tudor extreme, love, sex... and of course, sex! Maybe because the director could not find something more innovative to pitch this screen adaptation, set during an eventful period of Tudor-reigned British history then with - you guessed it- sex.
With more handy-held camera work then the average Blair Witch Project fan film, the camera work is a bit hectic, where the camera operators seem to be told to go off and make shots of some castles interesting. Even the application of some infrared camera work seems laughable, for one running-girl-in-the-night scene. The sound operators must have had problems throughout the tight scheduling of filming dialogue, before being punctuated by a sex scene, in this so-called costume drama, as in places you felt that you can hear the countryside more then the uninteresting dialogue.
The performances are noteworthy, taking into account that the script is generic at the best of times, particularly Jared Harris portraying Henry 8th as- um- any screen representation of Henry 8th. So Harris plays this king as the greedy jerk, who all he wants from his wife is a baby boy- so, for those that have any knowledge about this Tudor king, can work out what Anne Boleyn- played by Jodhi May without much distinction- can work out then Henry doesn't enjoy Anne's babies that much.
Whilst this adaptation is at best- if you dare put it- a watchable screen adaptation of the popular novel, it is forever flawed with cheap and nasty production values. You are best seeking out the 2008 film that had a more entertaining approach to this Tudor love triangle, without relying on the sex scenes to tell the story.


Now That's What I Call Music! 67
Now That's What I Call Music! 67
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.65

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Good and the Dodgy of What that Year had to Offer, 3 Feb 2012
2007 may now be half a decade ago, but we are still getting the same kind of music polluting our charts, Now 67 proves, with that cliché that the better tracks are on Disc Two, this assumption down to a tea.
Disc 1 contains every single earworm that was forever played into our bleeding eardrums back on commercial radio, from a lot acts that are still dominating our musical tastes still. It probably come as a shock that some of the more solid tracks are present from about halfway listening to Umbrella and Shine for the billionth time ever since its birth. Kelly Clarkson will defy sceptics of reality shows, which something good does come out of them, with Never Again. Justin Timberlake proved that something good could be spawned out of a boy band, with his catchy craftiness of LoveStoned/I Think She Knows. Robin Thicke finishes the disc on a dodgy kind of a high with the excellent Lost Without U.
Disc Two paints a more positive picture of 2007 music scene, ranging from Maroon 5's Makes Me Wonder to The Chemical Brothers' Do It Again giving hope that there was musical life coming out of the stuff-that-didn't-top-the-charts scene at the time. Whilst not every track can be herald as a masterpiece- The Twang's Either Way, and Jamie T's Stella bringing up the rear on the ground of just sounding as annoying as it ever did back then- the disc gives great scope and variety to keep even the most picky of pop music fans happy.
So while Now 67 provides the listener with the good and the dodgy of what that year had to offer, it will provide debate over why on earth they compilation people at Now can just produce two separate compilations to accommodate two very different tastes of compilation. Disc One can be called Now This is What Polluted the Pop Charts, with Disc Two being renamed Now This is the Stuff Worth Listening To. That way people can choose whether to listening to same pasteurised pop music repeatedly or material that has a bit more substance to its credit.


You're Beautiful [CD 1]
You're Beautiful [CD 1]

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Beautiful, 27 Jan 2012
This review is from: You're Beautiful [CD 1] (Audio CD)
There is usually one song, in a pop singer's repertoire, which will forever be associated with a singer for all the wrong reasons. James Blunt has `You're Beautiful', with its uninspiring lyrics, and his vocal approach sounding as if he is singing the song in the wrong octave. You're Beautiful lacks any substance or source to make it worth listening to, that not even aging the song by half a decade can erode.
Luckily, the CD single does have a more palatable song, Fall at Your Feet, done in an acoustic set-up. However, even that gives you the impression that Blunt is a capable of his surprising rise to pop stardom, but you might want to find something more substantial from him to support such a claim.
This single of You're Beautiful is not beautiful, mainly as the edited version makes you want to make a tasteless coaster out of the CD itself, then endure this limpid chart-topper from yesteryear. You will love to hate this single, as the acoustic Fall at Your Feet gives a well-deserved comfort to the ear-bleeding blows from `You're Beautiful', but nothing to make you want to revisit this disc again. If you are a fan of this, then we can hope you gain a speedy recovery from the aftermath of this single, and find some better music from Blunt's back catalogue very soon.


Kelis - Tasty
Kelis - Tasty
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Overtly Freudian in Places, But Worth A Listen, 18 Jan 2012
This review is from: Kelis - Tasty (Audio CD)
Kelis' album, Tasty, probably propelled here into that sexual pin-up stratosphere, with those provocative tracks like Milkshake, Trick Me, and even the title track giving that kind of innuendo humour which is present throughout the album. Whilst this album might be Freudian in places, particularly with its sexually comic lyrics, the rest of the albums sound like vintage R&B, which is a common musical observation that many popular albums from that decade tended to do.
Millionaire provides an interesting collaboration with Andre 3000, of Outkast fame, and Sugar Honey Iced Tea can probably be played to death but still have that funky R&B vibe to it to make such a refreshing joy to revisit that track.
Tasty might be overtly Freudian in places, but worth a listen if you are a fan of R&B music from the early 2000s, and Kelis is certainly one of those R&B acts that deserves her place as a popular performer, known for her broad catalogue of musical capability.


St Trinian's 2 - The Legend Of Fritton's Gold [DVD]
St Trinian's 2 - The Legend Of Fritton's Gold [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Price: £4.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Stupid in the Good Sense That These Films Do Well In, 15 Jan 2012
St Trinians 2 is not rocket science. For those that have tolerated the first rehash of this franchise based on the late Ronald Searle's cartoons may not be surprised that this is rather the same kind of comedy material that made the previous film remotely enjoyable. Nevertheless, with its cringe-worthily clichéd dialogue, and set pieces that keep the simple treasure-hunt main story flowing, the film has that kind of stupid in the good sense that these film do well in.
Rupert Everett certainly hams things up- or should that be camping it up- reprising his role as the headmaster/leader-of-the-gang-of-feminine-misfits Camilla. David Tennant proves that his career in feature films is not as creditable as his TV work, as he too hams up as the cardboard-cut-out-villain Lord Pomfrey, who wants his mitts on a ring that has been in Camilla's family for over 400 years. And- insert some expression of shock horror here- does get hold of the ring, which results the rest of every single, archetypal, group of girls, under that moment in time- geeks/people-that-are-computer-whizzes , Emos/ Goths/ chicks-that-were-black, posh women/love-to-exaggerate-'OMG'-like-some-kind-of-mime, chavs/street-wise girls, et al- to go and hunt down the other half of the ring before Pomfrey does.
If you can predict what can happen, then you will be right in thinking that this film goes into familiar territory. So expect jokes just to keep the 'cool kids' quiet with such moments as flash mobbing in the train station, or calling everyone a 'tit' in a graveyard, as well as some element of grown-up humour to keep the adults remotely entertaining.
St Trinians 2 might not have aged too well. Yes, you heard me; 3 years can age this kind of family comedy pretty badly! Especially with visual jokes to Amy Winehouse and all the 'trendy' smart phones they're all using, but there should be something remotely funny about seeing Everett and Firth try and act a convincing comic routine out of their rocky relationship. Therefore, if you enjoyed the first one, you might as well complete your taste in this kind of family 'fun' in giving this one a go too. Just do not be surprised when you start face palming every time the writer attempts to write chavette slang into the corny dialogue.


Eurovision Song Contest - Athens 2006
Eurovision Song Contest - Athens 2006

3.0 out of 5 stars Indecisively Ecletic, 3 Jan 2012
Back when Greece can afford hosting an extravagant event, the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest is remembered only for Lordi winning with Hard Rock Hallelujah, thus propelling them into some kind of stratosphere that made people aware of that kind of Finnish metal music... until next year's contest came around.

So, I hear you cry, what about the rest of the entries; are they worth listening to again, of are you better off, like the average music listener, and forget the existence of any songs from that contest? Well this compilation is a bit indecisively eclectic, for every track that is probably worth hearing again (Vocal Group Cosmos' I Hear Your Heart), there is often a catchy guilty pleasure (LT United's We are the Winners) or just something embarrassingly bad (Daz Sampson's Teenage Life). So it depends on what kind of popular music you are into, but if you are a fan of disco-pop, of a catchy camp manner, then you might revisit this compilation for some kind of Euro-centric disco party.

The compilation also has the flaw of having some better tracks onto Disc 2 then on Disc 1, not that major compilation series are vulnerable to that kind of problem- oh wait, those NOW compilations do! But, in all honesty, Disc 2 has a more solid mixture of music that does make a memorable listing to get your party going, with Anzej Dezan's Mr Nobody or Elena Risteska's Ninanajna being the major pop tracks that can be enjoyed, or at least tolerated, in a dance party context.

So, `Eurovision Song Contest - Athens 2006' is worth a listen just to get some European flavour of the music scene from 2006, including the good, the bad, and the what-the-hell-were-they-thinking kind of music to get you into that kind of groove.


Monkey Business
Monkey Business
Price: £7.09

3.0 out of 5 stars A Hit-and-Miss of an Album, 3 Dec 2011
This review is from: Monkey Business (Audio CD)
Monkey Business from the Black Eyed Peas is an album of two halves. One-half has the kind of commercial rap-pop that the group are best known for, particularly in the singles chart. "Pump It" might give Misirlou a new sampled lease of life, by giving it some lyrics. "Don't Phunk with my Heart" is the kind of pop tune that is easy to listen to, particularly on a pop radio station. My Hump is either going to be enjoyed or hated in equal measure, with its catchy lyrics, which provide perverse imagery for Fergie to sing about- at least some demographic will like that kind of thing.
The other half has some more melodic offerings, which has cameos from pop music's past, ranging from James Brown (They Don't Want Music), or Sting (Union). This gives a more interesting pallet to the table, as it provides more depth into what the group can really do. Do What You Want is an excellent example of how they have achieved a catchy rap vibe, without trying to emulate material for the lowest common denominator.
In short, Monkey Business is the kind of a hit-and-miss of an album, and at 75 minutes, has a lot of material to go through. Some will please others more, whilst others will get bored from the same generic stuff they expect from the group.


I Created Disco
I Created Disco
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars He Created Disco that is Not Worth Banging On About, 29 Nov 2011
This review is from: I Created Disco (Audio CD)
Calvin Harris is probably best described as one of those musicians who have found better exposure in collaborating with other performers over the years, creating entertaining results along the process. But back in 2007, all we had from him was this album that spawned 2 very catchy chart hits (Acceptable in the 80s, and The Girls), which are still quite popular pieces of dance pop to this day- the number of times we hear Acceptable in the 80s for a documentary about the 1980s is countless.
The rest of I Created Disco does not hold up, unless you are really a hardcore fan of electro pop. The vocals are not interesting, the beats sound like homage to classic electronic from the late 1970s and early 1980s, and they just do not make an impact, for the album, as a whole. Trying to listen to the album more then once is inadvisable, unless you do not mind torturing yourself to the same beats repeatedly. However, the last track, Electro Man actually sounds something you can tolerate, let alone appreciate, in what Harris is doing to make you love what he is trying to do. That is the real hit, which criminally deserves more exposure then it did back in the day, amongst all the uninspiring music from this album.
In short, Calvin Harris' I Created Disco is not a statement that will hold up with fans of electro in the end, and it is probably best to sum up that he created disco that is not worth banging on about, particularly with some of his more recent material being more substantial in contrast.


Awesome!!
Awesome!!
Price: £15.10

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably 'Awesome' at the Time, 20 Nov 2011
This review is from: Awesome!! (Audio CD)
Calling any compilation 'Awesome!!' is going to leave in a debatable heartache on whether these tracks are at all worthy of such a title. So do these tracks from 20-odd years ago are worthy of being called awesome? Depending on your own musical taste, or nostalgic viewpoint on pop music back in the early 1990s, some were probably `awesome' at the time, but you may not want to be blaring this compilation out, to make your point, as this is one dated compilation.
Some have become great guilty pleasures, like MC Hammer's Can't Touch This, or radio-friendly 'classics', such as Seal's Crazy and The La's' There She Goes. Even some are worth listening as relics of what was going on back then, like The KLF's 3am Eternal, or A Tribe Called Quest's 'Can I Kick It?'), but there is not much to make it worth any repeat listening, either on your aging CD player, or ripped onto your now-trendy MP3 player of choice. Vanilla Ice's 'Ice Ice Baby' just does not cut the mustard, when it comes to hailing it as a pinnacle in rap music. It is no Rappers Delight, nor does it hold off to such contemporary gems, like Pass Out, as anything credible. It sounds like a bum note, and should always remain that way. The rest of the track-listing is as more welcoming as a documentary about Youth TV- it might have been a good idea at the time, but now is probably an embarrassment to ever describe such tunes as 2 in a Room's Wiggle It as being hip. Although that seems harsh over some of the tracks that are still enjoyable to this day (The Farm's All Together Now, Dream Warriors' My Definition of a Bombastic Jazz Style, or The Beautiful South's A Little Time) as pieces of popular music, but EMI have probably learned their lesson in proclaiming that these 20 track are all awesome.
'Awesome!!' does not do what it says on the tin, unless you like your music from the 1990s sounding remotely like this.


Wicked
Wicked
by Various
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars More Peculiar then Wicked, 16 Nov 2011
This review is from: Wicked (Audio CD)
1992 must have been an eclectic year for pop music, if this compilation from that very year is anything to go by. Some are now standout classics in their own right (The Smiths' This Charming Man, Snap's Rhythm is a Dancer). There are covers that work well (Erasure's Lay All Your Love on Me, Messiah's I Feel Love) and some that does not (Undercover's Baker Street, KWS' Rock Your Baby). Whilst other are real obscurities from acts better known for more popular tracks- anyone remembers 2 Unlimited's The Magic Friend, or Shakespeare Sister's I Don't Care?
`Wicked!!' is probably more peculiar then wicked, with some tracks that are not always on the tips on everyone's tongue when it comes to considering their favourite hit from the early 1990s. Although the Perfecto mix of U2's 'Even Better than the Real Thing' deserves the accolade for one of the best dance remixes from that era, by a country mile. Whilst most of these tracks give a real dance vibe to the compilation (George Michael's Toofunky), there are few tracks that stand out for being a bit too mainstream pop that spoil the early 90s dance vibe. Kylie's What Kind of Fool (Heard All that Before), and Take That's I Found Heaven, are probably the most major culprits on this compilation. Some tracks on the R n' B side of music actually blend in much better- En Vogue's My Lovin' and Bobby Brown's Humpin' Around being the best examples to clarify this.
`Wicked!!' is certainly a real oddity when it comes to collecting compilations from the early 90s, and is worth a listen to hear the mixture of dance, R n' B, and rock-pop from that year.
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