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Kill Bill, Volume 1 [DVD] [2003]
Kill Bill, Volume 1 [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Uma Thurman
Offered by 101Trading
Price: 1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very violent, but very entertaining., 7 Jun 2004
I'm happy to say that this film works just as well on DVD as it did at the cinema, perhaps more so as one can pause it occasionally during the foreign language sections rather than blinking and missing some dialogue.
The DVD transfer is superb and both sound and vision are crisp and clear (ie What you'd expect, but sadly not always what you get).
As with LOTR, it is difficult to assess this as a completed work. It clearly isn't and won't be until Vol2 has been released. However, as a first instalment it is a joy.
There are some typical Tarantino elements (the non-linear storytelling, the effective use of music) but Tarantino also stretches himself by taking on new challenges (the stunt and wire work and the anime sequence). The old stuff is as good as ever and the new stuff proves Tarantino is more than a one-trick pony.
Only the dialogue is below par. I suspect that Tarantino has altered the style of his dialogue to more closely resemble the Spaghetti westerns and Asian action/revenge movies that this film was inspired by, and they generally had lousy dialogue. Tarantinos is certainly better than that, but none the less a little stilted.
The action sequences, particularly the huge set piece in the House of the Blue Leaves, are really well choreographed and done more in the style of the 'Babycart' series of Lone Wolf and Cub movies than John Woo. There is little gun-play, but plenty of hand to hand and sword fighting with suitably bloody results.
It is a blessing then that a five minute sequence in the HoBL fight is in black and white as it makes the graphic and brutal details of the slaughter a little more cinematic/fantastical.
It is certainly a lot easier to watch than Ichi the Killer (say).
As a single film, Kill Bill Vol 1 probably isn't as good as Pulp Fiction, but is good enough as a first chapter to make you reserve judgement until after Vol 2 .
The DVD extras are nothing to write home about. The documentary is interesting enough but I doubt I'll ever look at it again. The trailers are kind of pointless given that one has the movies although it's obvious from at least one of them that the decision to split the film in two happened after the trailer was completed. There are no deleted or extended scenes and no commentary. Given that they're the extras I personally enjoy most, I was a little disappointed.


PASSENGERS
PASSENGERS
Offered by mecodu-uk
Price: 10.93

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best yet, 7 Jun 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: PASSENGERS (Audio CD)
This album features a more seasoned and self-assured band than previous outings
and contains a number of excellent folk/prog songs. Some are rocky , others more introspective, but the overall quality is excellent.
Mostly Autumn are a difficult band to pigeon hole. They have a distinctive sound which combines elements from 70's progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd with a more folky side than Jethro Tull and feature a female lead vocalist whose voice reminds me a little of Karen Carpenter.
On previous albums the lead vocals were shared between Heather Findlay and the guitarist (Bryan Josh) and I always felt this was a weakness. Bryan Josh has an interesting voice, and one that works well on the right song, but he lacks the range and expressiveness of a more natural vocal talent. That said, the element of choice of lead vocalist does allow the band to explore a broad range of moods and tones than either singer would be able to provide alone.
The end result is a much better balance than on earlier studio album "The Last Bright Light" and Heather Findlay's vocals on Bitterness Burnt and Caught in a Fold in particular are far better than anything I've heard from the band before.
Vocals aside, the quality of the musicianship was always a plus point and this album is no exception.
The guitar work and keyboards complement and compete with one another in fine progressive style without overdoing it or spoiling the songs and the rhythm section do a fine job keeping things tight and on track. The flute is used sparingly but to good effect on a number of songs and adds another dimension to the bands already rich palette.
The band have moved label since their last studio album and seem to have benefited from this particularly in relation to the production/sound quality on the album which is very good indeed.
Overall this is a fine album with a number of instantly likeable tracks and enough intriguing details to keep you coming back for another listen.


The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen - 2 disc Special Edition [DVD] [2003]
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen - 2 disc Special Edition [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: 2.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A clever graphic novel is transformed into big dumb fun, 7 Jun 2004
When reviewing a film based on an intelligent and critically lauded graphic novel by Alan Moore and the mad genius of Kevin O'Neill its not surprising that the critics found this film both disappointing and confusing.
In fact to say it is based on the graphic novels is a bit of a stretch as the plot is in reality an original screenplay based only on the premise of the GNs.
That premise being the creation of a 19th Century 'superhero' team made up of popular fictional characters.
In the original work the team consisted of The Invisible Man, Allan Quatermain, Jeykll & Hyde, Capt Nemo and Mina Harker.
The movie adds Dorian Grey and Tom Sawyer and mutates Mina Harker from the brains of the outfit into a sultry vampire.
None of these changes really detract from the fun though and are in keeping with the normal rules of book to movie conversion.
The plot however is another matter, James Robinson (who wrote the screenplay) is a talented comic writer himself and I really expected better than a 2nd rate James Bond style story.
There are moments of wit and some nice in-jokes (the posters on the walls in one scene hint at a possible sequel and name-check Moore and O'Neill).
The acting and special effects are good enough for the most part but still patchy.
Good performances are turned in by Sean Connery in fine heroic form as the aging Quatermain, Stuart Townsend is haughty and mysterious as Dorian Grey and Jason Flemyng is a convincingly tortured Jekll & Hyde, Shane West also puts in a convincing performance as the young buck Tom Sawyer.
As for the others, Peta Wilson (Mina Karker) and Tony Curran (The Invisible Man) are ok, but Naseeruddin Shah is dreadful as Nemo and Richard Roxburgh is almost embarassingly bad as M.
The special effects for Hyde are pretty good, Mina Harkers vampiric transformations are quite well done and the scenery is mostly ok . The invisible man is a quandry though. Some of the effects are excellent but at other times all but non-existant. From one scene to the next he is portrayed either as a very intriguing floating face with a coat on, then with his whole head visible (white grease paint having supposed to have been applied in both cases). I'm prepared to go with the flow and accept that the budget didn't stretch to doing all the scenes with the fancy computer graphics, but the glaring continuity error is somewhat distracting. The makeup effects for 'The Phantom' are also dreadful.
The DVD extras are ok, with some deleted and extended scenes, but nothing to suggest that a better film ended up on the cutting room floor.
The commentary from the producters and actors is pretty interesting.
Compared to the other superhero movies on the go, its certainly no X-men and doesn't have the mass appeal of Spiderman but it can stand up alongide Blade, Daredevil and the Hulk which all had their flaws as well.


Made In Japan
Made In Japan
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 9.00

5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Deep Purple album, 7 Jun 2004
This review is from: Made In Japan (Audio CD)
If you only want to own one Deep Purple album it should be this one.
It featues the classic line up of Gillan, Glover, Blackmore, Lord and Paice playing a set based mostly on their In Rock and Machine Head albums.
From the first CD the versions of Child In Time, Highway Star and Smoke on the Water are better presented here than on their original albums.
From the second (which features the encores) Black Night, Speed King and Lucille are also excellent.
I have knocked off a star though because half of the tracks on CD 1 have aged pretty badly.
The Mule is the kind of song that makes you never want to hear a drum solo ever again. Lazy is a substandard album filler, Space Tuckin has been extended to a 20 epic that is just too self indulgent and the Guitar/vocal battle on Strange Kind of Woman hasn't stood the test of time either (although I thought it was really great in 1977 !)

But these are harsh quibbles when you can own a genuine slice of rock history.


Adaptation [DVD] [2003]
Adaptation [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage|Meryl Streep
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: 3.74

12 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever, but ultimately empty, 7 Jun 2004
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufmans previous film "Being John Malkovich" was a rollercoaster of mad ideas brought brilliantly to life
Adaptation is a film about not having brilliant ideas, about not living up to expectations and about the fear of failure that success brings.
It also explores the the parallel theme of nature and artists adapting and responding to the world around them in order to survive .
For all the cleverness of the direction and the actors performances (which are in part excellent) , I felt no sympathy for the characters so that as a viewer I was neither moved, informed nor ultimately entertained.
Much like the worst excesses of 1970's progressive rock , this film is very clever and technically demanding but it didn't touch me emotionally, resulting in an empty, intellectual exercise.


Lord Prestimion
Lord Prestimion
by Robert Silverberg
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Silverberg hasn't lost his touch, 4 Jun 2004
This review is from: Lord Prestimion (Hardcover)
This is the 6th novel that Robert Silverberg has written about the fantasticaly large world called Majipoor.
The Majipoor stories are set in the far future on a huge planet populated by humans, aliens and strange indiginous creatues called shapesifters.
The society is almost medieval with lords and ladies holding court over a vast populace. Technology is around in the background, but metals are very scarce an dthere is no industrialisation to speak of, so it plays little part in the stories.
There is one world wide government a non hereditary double Monarchy. The Pontifex is the 'High King' but rules via a civil service and is based deep underground in 'The Labyrinth'. The exectuve arm (as it were) is the Coronal, who lives in a Castle on top the highest mountain on Majipoor. When the Pontifex dies, the Coronal takes his place and appoints a new Coronal from among the courts princes.
In this story (the 2nd in the Prestimion trilogy), we find Lord Pretimion (the Coronal) dealing with the aftermath of the 'sorcery' conducted at the end of the previous novel. In an attempt to erase the horrors of war from the collective minds of the populace, Prestimion seems to have created a new crisis in which many of the population are going mad. In addition, his arch enemy Dantarya Sambail is on the loose and poses a new threat to Prestimions reign as Coronal.
As with most of Robert Silverbergs work, the writing is impecccable and entrancing, though the pacing of the story in the first half of the book was perhaps a little slow.
My only serious criticism of this and other Majipoor novels is that despite the supposed vastness of this world, it never seems to feel that big. Perhaps its because there are only 4 major land masses, though the smallest of which (The Isle of Sleep) is large enough to contain all of the planet Earth. The characters mention it, but as a concept it just doesn't come to life.


Wishmaster
Wishmaster
Offered by groove_temple
Price: 6.37

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting slice of female fronted euro-progressive-metal, 30 May 2004
This review is from: Wishmaster (Audio CD)
I bought this album on the back of hearing the excellent opening track 'She Is My Sin' and have to say I'm pleased that the rest of the album is pretty good as well.
The music is pretty traditional euro-metal with a hint of prog.
Pretty competent and entertaining but not in itself outstanding.
What makes Nightwish a little different is the vocals. The bands vocalist (Tarya) sounds like she was classically trained and her delivery is very much in that mode. Dramatic, assured and occasionally just a little over the top.
The lyrics are pretty much out of the Ronnie James Dio school of heavy metal with wolves, devils, swords and the like being the main source of inspiration.


The Albigensian Crusade
The Albigensian Crusade
by Jonathan Sumption
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good military history, but a little short, 30 May 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book provides an excellent insight into the military and political aspects of the Albigensian Crusades. It focuses primarily on the period 1209 -1218 when Simon de Montford led the crusade and while it covers the later period (up to 1246) in a couple of chapters, the detail is much more sparse and I would have happily read more about it.
Jonathan Sumptions style is very easy to read and he sticks to the facts rather than offering judgements or speculation about the more 'mystical' elements of Catharism and the associated conspiracy theories. The religious situation is obviously mentioned to provide a context, but again I felt this could have been more fully explored. Significant religious figures from the period (ie St Dominic) get a brief mention, but little more than that.
If a good military history of the Albigensian Crusade is what you are after, then I would recommend this book to you.


Mouthful Of Love
Mouthful Of Love
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet, 30 May 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mouthful Of Love (Audio CD)
This is old fashioned guitar oriented rock very much in the mould of the Black Crowes, AC/DC and the like
The lyrics are nothing to write home about (Girls/Rock n roll etc etc) but musically the songs are well crafted and the execution is pretty good without being showy.
But what really distinguishes Young Heart Attack from being run-of the mill rock-radio filler material is the excellent harmony/counter singing between the male and female lead singers.
With the current vogue for guitar rock, YHA may do pretty well, but in any event this album is worth a spin.
Something that is worth noting is that the CD clocks in at a meagre 34 minutes .


Diplomatic Immunity
Diplomatic Immunity
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining space opera/detective story, 4 May 2004
This review is from: Diplomatic Immunity (Paperback)
If you have never heard of Mile Vorkosigan, you are probably at a disadvantage as this is the umpteenth book detailing the many adventures of our space Lord hero. While there is no direct need to read the earlier novels first, I think most of tee charm and depth that the characters can muster comes from familiarity rather than from the pages of this book.
In this novel, Miles is as usual calm & confident , but now has the full, official backing of the Emperor and all of the resources and responsibilities that that brings.
In some ways this is good, because the outsider/underdog theme had run its course in earlier novels. The downside is that there is a reduction in the dramatic tension. There is never any real sense of threat, you know that the hero is going to solve the mystery and save the day and on this occasion you know that he isn't going to get into too much trouble for it either (this being the main difference).
Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Bujold is an eminently readable writer with an easy and appealing narrative style. I'm just not sure if there is much more mileage in the character. On the other hand, at the end of the story, Miles is only 32 so I suspect he will return.


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