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T. Bobley "Tibley Bobley" (UK)

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The Chronicles Of Riddick [DVD] [2004]
The Chronicles Of Riddick [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Vin Diesel
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 2.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That Riddick! He just can't help being a hero!, 23 Aug 2006
Riddick's on an entirely different adventure to his run-in with the dark monsters of 'Pitch Black'. In this tale, a vast armada is sweeping the inhabited planets for people to kill or convert to their strange death cult of the 'Necromongers' and they're making for their 'promised land', 'The Underverse'. One of Riddick's old associates, a man he rescued from the monsters of the 'Pitch Black' adventure, sends some unwelcome mercs to find and bring Riddick to him, because he believes Riddick is one of the last of a hardy and stubborn race, the 'furyans' - and the man prophesied to kill the Lord Marshal of the Necromongers. So the story begins and it's an action-packed, high-speed, violent, dangerous tour of the worst places and characters the universe has to offer, right to the end. Riddick, of course, presents himself as a terrible ogre, but he just can't seem to stop himself from helping the people he's trying hard not to care about.

I see the film has many critics and as it's one of my favourite films I can only say that everybody is entitled to their opinion. I would however suggest to anyone who feels that the plot has gaps or the characters are insubstantial, you might find the gaps nicely bridged and the characters more bulked out in the Alan Dean Foster book of the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's well written and it gives a wealth of extra information about the characters and the very nasty situation in which they find themselves. It certainly enhanced my enjoyment of the film, which I already enjoyed very much. Now I'm waiting impatiently for the next part of the chronicles.

The House of the Wolfings: A Book that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien: A Book That Inspired J.R.R. Tolkein
The House of the Wolfings: A Book that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien: A Book That Inspired J.R.R. Tolkein
by Michael W. Perry
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.95

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The kindreds of the Goths defend themselves against the rapacious predations of the Romans, 20 Aug 2006
In William Morris's "The House of the Wolfings", a community of Goths is under attack by the Romans. These seem to be the Eastern or Ostrogoths judging by the fact that Rome is attacking from the south and there's mention of previous strife with the Huns. The Goths of the Mark comprise many families living along the banks of a river in the forest of Mirkwood, concentrated in three areas they call the Nether-mark, the Mid-mark and the Upper-mark. The families of each Mark join forces to repel their enemies and they democratically elect two War-dukes to lead them in battle, one from The House of the Wolfings and one from The House of the Laxings. Thiodolf, the War-duke from the family of the Wolf, has a lover (The Wood Sun) who is related to the gods and he, himself seems to have mysterious origins - possibly divine. Their daughter (The Hall Sun) is similarly well-connected. There are a number of seers among the kindreds who foretell the course of the battles, perceive news from afar and generally raise and lower the spirits of the folk by telling them in advance that, for example, the battle will be won or the great hero will be lost. The Markmen might easily remind you of Aragorn's Rangers or the Riders of Rohan, but there is this difference. The Goths in this tale worship Odin and Tyr and they sacrifice their beautiful horses: "twenty white horses, that stood wreathed about with flowers within the ring of the warriors, and these were for the burnt offering to be given to the Gods for a happy day of battle". If the Riders of Rohan worshipped anything, it was their horses and you could only imagine their reaction to anyone suggesting making burnt offerings of them. Even so, the Markmen of the Goths have this in common with the knights of the Riddermark: they are brave and bold and fight heroically to preserve their families and their freedom. There is no evil ring to deal with but there is a cursed dwarf-wrought hauberk that has been given to Thiodolf and threatens to disrupt his heroism unless he recognises the danger it poses for him.

Apparently Tolkien was a great admirer of William Morris's work and owed some of his own ideas for The Lord of the Rings to Morris's tales of The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains. I can quite believe that. This is a wonderful book, written in an archaic style - an imitation of old English I guess - and generously interspersed with song and verse. It was first published in about 1887. Morris is credited with writing the first fantasy stories and therefore of inventing the genre and this appears to be the very first one he wrote, making it the foundation for all the pleasure and wonder that was to come later, as the popularity of fantasy grew. Morris's fantasy stories really deserve a lot more attention than they get. I found this a thoroughly gripping read and recommend it to anyone who enjoys heroic adventure and fantasy tales.

Raising Arizona [1987] [DVD]
Raising Arizona [1987] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Price: 3.80

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously funny and very bizarre, 16 Aug 2006
This review is from: Raising Arizona [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
A smooth talking recidivist convenience store robber, falls for the police photographer who takes his mug-shot whenever he gets incarcerated. They marry, she gives up police work, he tries to go straight, they plan a family, she finds she can't have children, she sends him out to steal a baby from a couple whose fertility treatment resulted in a spectacular multiple-birth - quintuplets. They get a visit from a couple of his prison chums who tunnelled out, and who formulate their own plans for the baby. Then they get a visit from his employer and his wife and hellish kids, and they also have designs on the baby. Then some sort of spawn of the devil rides in on his Harley to "rescue" the baby. It all sounds very ordinary, doesn't it? Just every day stuff. I should also mention that it's incredibly funny though it may not sound like that from my pale and inadequate description.

I've become a fan of the Coen Bros films over recent months. There's something so twisted, delicious, irresistible and unexpected about their humour that once I'd watched three or four and noticed that all these gems were coming from the same two writers, I started scouring Amazon for more. I highly recommend this film and if you like it, then you'll probably like the others. My favourites are this film, The Hudsucker Proxy, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Big Lebowski and The Man Who Wasn't There. There are a couple that I've yet to see so that list could be shuffled later. If you haven't tried any of these films, do try one and you might find that you too become a Coen addict.

The Water of the Wondrous Isles
The Water of the Wondrous Isles
by William Morris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 22.27

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful old fantasy, back in print at last, 12 Aug 2006
Out of the great forest of Evilshaw there came a witch, searching for a girl child to steal from the nearby town of Utterhay. She found a poor widow woman with a beautiful little baby girl, and pretending kindness and sympathy, she tricked the woman and stole her child. Her purpose was to enslave the child and grow her into a temptress to trap men for her. She called the little girl Birdalone and treated her roughly and called her "thrall" - that's an unpaid servant, a slave. They lived in a small cottage between the edge of the great forest and the shore of a great lake, dotted with islands. Birdalone grew strong, clever and beautiful. She was secretly befriended by a lady of the Faerie who loved her and taught her and worked against the dark purposes of the witch. She advised Birdalone on how she might escape her enslavement and start the adventure of her life.

This is one of William Morris's last books. Most people who have heard of him just seem to associate this author with lovely wallpaper designs these days but he was actually a man of many talents - as it says in the blurb on the back cover of the book, he was "master of all trades and jack of none". And all we lovers of fantasy novels, whether we know it or not, have William Morris to thank for the genre because he started writing magical/mythical stories set in some imaginary, northern European, medieval, space/time. The heroine of this story was not typical of story-book heroines back in 1896 (or 1897), when the book was published. She's sweet and feminine (typical), but she's also strong, courageous and adventurous. Even though she's terrified of the witch and the witch's evil sister and the dastardly red knight and so on, she defies them all and puts herself at risk to help her friends and maintain her own integrity. She dares every adventure, launching herself into unknown dangers all alone, learning each lesson life has to teach and growing in wisdom. This was not so typical of female characters in 19th century literature. From Morris's treatment of Birdalone, I have the impression that he probably liked and respected women. He wrote his fantasies in an old style designed to suggest a medieval origin (the period from about the 5th to the 16th centuries AD) to the stories. Even so, it's much easier for the modern reader to understand than, say, Chaucer or Shakespeare. Still, it might put some modern readers off a bit. Here are the first few words of the book, to give you an idea whether you might like it: "Whilom, as tells the tale, was a walled cheaping-town hight Utterhay, which was builded in a bight of land ...". It looks a bit difficult at first glance but 'hight' and 'bight' occur fairly regularly and they are about the most alien-seeming terms you'll come across and it's usually pretty clear from the context what they mean. If you want the precise definitions, you may not find the unknown words in a small modern dictionary but I had fun searching for and finding them in my favourite internet dictionary - one that actually speaks the word when you click on a little speaker icon next to the word definition. (Any good search engine should be able to find this excellent dictionary if you search for 'thefreedictionary'.) The prose style suits the story wonderfully in my opinion. I recommend that anyone who enjoys fantasy should read this book at least once. I've just read it for the second time, having hunted for it since first reading a borrowed copy about 30 years ago. I thank Wildside Press for bringing it back into print.

Thoroughly Modern Millie [DVD]
Thoroughly Modern Millie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julie Andrews
Price: 5.00

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Millie: forerunner to the "ladette", 7 Aug 2006
Millie moved to New York with a plan. She was going to interview a list of potential bosses, accept employment with the most promising specimen and marry him. Love was not meant to be an issue. Things didn't go entirely to plan however. Her chosen boss, Mr Graydon, called her John and found her jolly efficient but not attractive. The man who did find her attractive, Jimmy, appeared to be a hopeless waster with no interesting prospects. Still, Millie was pretty smitten with Jimmy. He was a great dancer and made every moment an adventure. So she was quite straight with him and told him of her plans, pointed out that she was his equal and intended to meet men on their own terms, learn to talk sports, tell jokes, smoke, drink and (if she really had to) even kiss them back. After all it wasn't the middle ages, it was 1922! Meanwhile, there was shady criminal activity taking place in the hotel for single young ladies where Millie was living. Those young ladies who seemed to be lonely orphans, kept mysteriously leaving the hotel without a word of explanation or farewell to any of their friends. The final disappearance, of Miss Dorothy, finally rang alarm bells so Millie, Jimmy and Mr Graydon (who had fallen in love with Miss Dorothy at first sight) became sleuths and launched a dramatic and heroic rescue operation. It's all a lot more complicated than that really - but you get the idea.

It's a fantastic film. Fabulous costumes, music, songs, dancing and acting. Good story: sweet, funny, touching. Likely to be watched again and again. Bound to cheer you up if ever you're feeling blue. I recommend it.

The Sound Of Music [2 Disc 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition] [1965] [DVD]
The Sound Of Music [2 Disc 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition] [1965] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julie Andrews
Offered by Discs4all
Price: 4.84

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 years on and they're still alive with the sound of music, 6 Aug 2006
Maria and the Von Trapp children still sound good after all these years. There can hardly be a person on the planet who either owns a television or lives within 20 miles of a cinema and who doesn't know the story of The Sound of Music. Although I haven't been a fan of musicals until quite recently, I did watch and enjoy this film when I was a child, several decades ago. It's great fun and I can quite understand its popularity. Watching it again was lovely and very nostalgic. The restoration people have made a fine job so that the picture and sound quality are excellent. The special features are a considerable bonus and there's a long list of them as you can see from Amazon's 'Product Details' section above. The item on disc 2 that I found especially interesting was the 'Biography' programme about the real Von Trapp family. The real Maria was an astonishing character and far more complicated than the film version. It seems that she had an absolutely hellish childhood and the horror of it furnished her with a couple of darker facets to her personality than might be guessed from a familiarity with the film version of Maria - which all just adds to the fascination of the Von Trapp story.

If you haven't seen the film or haven't watched it for some years, give yourself a treat: watch it and get soppy, sentimental and uplifted ... and have a bit of a sing too.

Oliver! [DVD] [1968]
Oliver! [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Mark Lester
Price: 3.00

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poverty and squalor as you've never seen them before, 3 Aug 2006
This review is from: Oliver! [DVD] [1968] (DVD)
The young hero, Oliver, starts life in the Workhouse, where the children dream of food and the luxury of experiencing indigestion. The over-nourished adults who run the place feed the poor little mites on short rations of some grey bilge they call gruel. After committing the unforgivable sin of requesting some more of this revolting slop, the old devil in charge tries to sell Oliver. A funeral director takes the boy on as a mourner for children's funerals because of his solemn expression. Oliver escapes from the undertaker's establishment after a disagreement over the virtue of his mother and makes his way to London, where he falls in with young Jack Dawkins (the artful dodger) who introduces him to a den of thieves run by an old villain called Fagin. Here he meets the lovely Nancy, who tries to help him and the sinister Bill Sikes who tries to ruin him. Charles Dickens' wonderfully clever, intricate and grim novel is a real tear-jerker but the musical version is more likely to make you sing than cry. The sets are amazing - from the disgusting pest-hole of Fagin's den to the beautiful terrace where Oliver's great uncle lives. The songs and dances are brilliant. The acting is masterly, especially the menacing Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed), the corrupt but kindly Fagin (Ron Moody), the terrible Mr Bumble (Harry Secombe), the drunken undertaker, Mr Sowerberry (Leonard Rossiter) and, of course, Oliver (Mark Lester) and the artful dodger (Jack Wild). I did notice that however filthy and raggedy the kids looked, their hair was always clean and tidy. Ah well, I guess even the youngest actors can only tolerate so much muck and perhaps filthy hair is just taking authenticity a little too far.

A thoroughly enjoyable film and highly recommended.

by Hope Mirrlees
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.82

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic fought the law and magic won, 30 July 2006
This review is from: Lud-In-The-Mist (Paperback)
Lud-in-the-Mist is a small town nestled in a rural idyll, between the mountains and the sea. One of its two rivers, the Dapple, runs out of the Debatable Hills, the boundary between the normal, mundane world and Fairyland. Strange and exotic fruit occasionally floats down that river. The Ludites have assiduously avoided this fruit for centuries - ever since booting out the fairy-fruit eating Duke Aubrey and establishing a republic, thereby swapping a system of magical chaos for the rule of law. But the denizens of Faerie haven't given up on Lud. They have agents working to smuggle the fruit (which induces weird and disturbing mental aberrations in those who eat it) and feed it to the unsuspecting citizens of the republic. Mayor Chanticleer has a tricky job on his hands, finding the culprits and solving an old murder mystery. In the meantime, the promoters of magic are having some success and the law is fighting a losing battle.

About 30 years ago, when I was working in Spain for a few months, a friend lent me a couple of books from his fantasy collection. We couldn't easily get hold books in English so all we Brits passed round whatever we had, treated the books with great reverence and returned them promptly. These fantasy books were particular treasures and their owner lent them only very reluctantly. The other book was William Morris's "The Water of the Wondrous Isles". I've been looking for the books for years. It was hopeless. I couldn't remember the title or the Author of this book. I could remember the cover picture (red fruit floating on water) and I remembered two names from a little ditty that's haunted my mind since first reading it: "Before the cry of Chanticleer, Gibbers away Endomyion Leer". Putting the two names into a search engine found me this book - back in print at last, as is Morris's book (that's now ordered). Mirrlees is such an elegant and witty word-smith, it's no wonder this book has stuck with me all these years. What a pleasure to read it again!

I would say a little something about this particular publication: the Wildside Fantasy Classic version. I'm too grateful for having found the book again to be very critical but I'll warn you in any case that this edition seems to have been copy-typed rather badly from an earlier version. It's full of typos and other mistakes and was filtered through an American spell checker. Clearly, it wasn't proof-read before going to print and even though Hope Mirrlees used British English, this book has been "translated". Also, there's no list of contents or introduction. My 5* rating is for Mirrlees' book (still very readable and enjoyable as long as you can ignore the typos etc), not for this particular Wildside version.

Blue Planet : Complete BBC Series (Special Edition 4 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Blue Planet : Complete BBC Series (Special Edition 4 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Attenborough
Price: 8.50

351 of 357 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best of the best of tv nature documentaries, 26 July 2006
This special edition of The Blue Planet contains the following:

4 discs, running time 10 hours and 40 minutes. The first 2 discs have the 8 episodes of The Blue Planet. Disc 3 has a couple of very interesting and worth-while documentaries, "Making Waves" which is about the making of The Blue Planet, and "Deep Trouble" which shows and warns of the consequences of plundering our oceans for food and the fish that are caught for pet shops. Disc 4 has 3 separate documentary programmes that are not really connected with David Attenborough's Blue Planet series. They are "The Abyss" that takes us down for a look at the deep sea creatures and geology (including volcanic activity) of the deepest parts of the Atlantic, Caribbean and the Bay of Monterey, "Amazon Abyss" that takes us to meet some of the extraordinary creatures that live in the deeps (and shallows) of the River Amazon, and "Dive to Shark Volcano" where we can admire the sharks around Cocos Island, 300 miles from Costa Rica.

The 8 amazing, 50 minute episodes of Blue Planet are: 1) "The Blue Planet" which gives a comprehensive overview of our oceans; 2) "The Deep" that pushes the boundaries, showing creatures that have never been seen before, deep in the least known parts of our planet; 3) "The Open Ocean" takes us to parts of the ocean where signs of life are scarce - unless you know where to look; 4) "Frozen Seas" looks at life in the hostile environments of the Arctic and Antarctic; 5) "Seasonal Seas" follows the seasons of the seas round the planet's temperate zones; 6) "Coral Seas" shows us ocean life in the tropical paradise regions; 7) "Tidal Seas" follows the fortunes of the plants and animals where the Moon's pull is great; 8) "Coasts" features the permanent residents of the coasts and those who have to return to the shore to breed.

The first 3 discs are the real stars of this package. I can't think of any documentary series that comes close to the scope and quality of this - except other David Attenborough series (where in every case the programmes are bound to be watched over and over again). Where this particular series is slightly ahead of the other Attenborough wonders, is the technical advance in the photography since, for example, "Life on Earth". You only need to compare the documentaries on disc 4 of this bundle (where the photography is brilliant but the presentation could leave you wondering whether the programmes are about the wildlife or are they really about the personalities of the programme presenters and their whiz-bang technology) to "The Blue Planet" series on discs 1 and 2, to be appreciate what a superior production Blue Planet really is.

Highly recommended!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2012 7:49 PM BST

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) [DVD]
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Billy Bob Thornton|Frances McDormand|Michael Badalucco|Adam Alexi-Malle
Price: 5.00

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The domino effect, 23 July 2006
Ed's a barber. He doesn't say much. He's bored - or would be if he could be arsed. He has no ambition until a couple of events coincide and coalesce into a glimmer of hope for a bit of a change: first, he thinks there are clear signs that his wife and her boss are having an affair and that bothers him a little and second, a man comes in for a haircut and plants the seed of an idea for a venture capital investment. He hasn't actually got any spare cash but there is someone he can blackmail. It's a simple plan. What could go wrong? ... everything goes wrong. A cascade of unforeseen consequences follow and his world comes tumbling down. It's a disaster.

I first came across this film after I'd tracked down one of my favourite films, "The Hudsucker Proxy". Unbelievably that film isn't available in an unbundled state for Region 2 DVD players. So, disgusted and defeated, I had to buy a whole box of films called "The Coen Brothers' Collection" because it happened to have "The Hudsucker Proxy" in it. It was like a happy accident. There were three other films in the box that I probably wouldn't have watched if I hadn't had to buy the lot in order to get the one film I wanted. "The Man Who Wasn't There" wasn't in the box but after I'd watched those films, I looked for more Coen Brothers' films and found this. A couple of days after the first time I watched it, I was driving home after an exceptionally awful day at work, feeling grim and grumpy and, in an effort to relax and stop grinding my teeth, I started thinking about some of my favourite parts of this film. By half way home I was laughing.

The story is dark, occasionally weird and (if you share the Coen sense of humour) very funny. The acting is just about perfect and the black and white photography is gorgeous. It has all the elements of a favourite film. Highly recommended.

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