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Ian C. Rawlinson "ianr" (London, England)

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Nintendo Wii Fit U Meter - Red (Nintendo Wii U)
Nintendo Wii Fit U Meter - Red (Nintendo Wii U)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £14.07

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic motivator, 23 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been using my fit meter for nearly a year now. It's been with me up and down mountains (small ones), on two half marathons, round New York and up an awful lot of stairs. It has really helped maintain my motivation and helped make losing weight fun. The targets it's set have encouraged me, as have the other people in the wii fit community too. Helping me go from borderline obese to ideal weight in a few months, and then helping me stay the same weight.

It's not perfect by any means. On those half marathons it didn't credit me with quite the distance I ran. But it is basically a very good pedometer, it was never going to cope with a vigorous run all that accurately (my Garmin's hardly perfect either and that's using GPS). Walking is a different story, as is the altitude, for both it's really accurate.

I have some problems with the physical sync of the meter, not sure if that's just my meter. But the pros completely outweigh these small cons for me. I did think about giving it four stars for these minor issues. But it really has helped transform my fitness, so that's got to be five stars for me.

Japanese Popular Music: Culture, Authenticity and Power (Routledge Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia)
Japanese Popular Music: Culture, Authenticity and Power (Routledge Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia)
by Carolyn S. Stevens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, thorough, easy to read, buy it!, 16 Nov. 2013
This is one of the best books I've read on Japanese pop culture in general, and easily the best on Japanese music in particular. The fact that Carolyn Stevens worked in the Japanese music industry adds a non-academic understanding and helps fuel the writing with some very obvious enthusiasm for the subject. While her academic skill and understanding provide a rigorous approach and organisation to dealing with the subject, this personal background means that she never lets her academic approach turn this into a dry exercise. This is so well writen that both students and fans of Japanese pop music will get so much out of it. You will learn things from this book and enjoy learning it too!

Offered by MasterDVD
Price: £4.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect but, strangely, still 5 out of 5, 7 May 2011
This review is from: 101 (Audio CD)
This is a tough record to pin down. I'm not sure I even like all the songs on here. I think I don't like "My Name is Trouble", I'm more sure I don't like "Sugar Mama". That's two out of ten, so I should give the record 4 out of 5. But. If I don't like songs on an album I'd usually skip them, but I can't here. It is weirdly compelling. These two songs still definitely have their place, it wouldn't sound right starting from "Run with you", "My Name is Trouble" sets the scene. And "Sugar Mama" skips off in a different direction in the middle of the record which makes for a good change of pace and tone.

The production is terrific. It reminds me a lot of Air's soundtrack to the Virgin Suicides. A great record and one, based on "101", that would've sounded a lot better if Keren Ann had produced it. This has a full, lush, soundtrack feel, like for some vaguely 70s folky film noir with a sense of fun. Her voice sounds really rich too, a huge improvement on her previous record, every vowel feels beautifully upholstered, no expense spared. For me her previous records have suffered now and then as she doesn't have the most expressive voice, over an album there can be a sameyness of tone (there's a fine line between understated subtlety and blandness), but she's never sounded better than here. There's nothing bland about "101".

I didn't really get much of a connection with "Keren Ann", her previous album. It just felt flat. Maybe I should go back and listen again. "101" feels very different. It's not often I get to the end of a record and want to go back and listen again straight away. Best record so far this year.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (Wii)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (Wii)
Offered by Bonkers4Bargains!
Price: £34.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rotten, 26 Oct. 2009
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
The first Ultimate Alliance was lots of fun, big enough to run around for hours. The levels got shorter as it went along but the openning levels made up for that. A good sample of locations across the Marvel universe kept the variety up. It had atmosphere and felt like someone had taken some care, even if it did show it's Gauntlet heritage.

This one is just short. The finale feels like you've played about 20% of the first game, it comes as a total anticlimax. I half expected another story to take over and the real game to begin. You can play as pro or anti but they're almost identical so it hardly doubles the game length. The locations are very samey and lack atmosphere, the negative zone corridors are particularly dull. The henchmen you beat up are similarly generic.

The camera control in the first one was one of the most intuitive in wii games, tilt the nunchuck to spin clockwise or anticlockwise. Apparently that was a bad idea and it's replaced here with a system that requires reading the manual and remembering which button to press. Lots of sections the camera angle flips around automaticlly and you end up running backwards and forwards, such as trying to get on to a rooftop from a fire escape. In a dizzying whirl you go on and off until you can do it slowly enough. All the while you're attacked by henchmen. You wonder if anyone involved in the game actually bothered to play this through.

There are some nice cg animated cut scenes and some truly awful ones using the games graphics. A particurly poor one seems to have the voice acting of the developers. The voice acting in the game is never going to win an Oscar but when it's not them it does show why you should hire proper actors. Laughable. There seem to be some plot elements missing as it jumps around like crazy and unlocks characters where it makes no sense.

One star for getting to play as Cyclops, Psyloche, Phoenix and the Hulk. There's no other reason to own this. I'm off for some button mashing fun on the first one again...

Avengers West Coast: Darker Than Scarlet TPB
Avengers West Coast: Darker Than Scarlet TPB
by John Byrne
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Painful, 21 July 2009
Continuity is completely lost here. John Byrne is trapped into a knot of gibberish. Characters sitting next to each other in one scene plainly haven't thought to mention to each other about the catastrophic things they've seen happen a few minutes ago. Lots of stuff happens off in the Avengers but you don't get that here. You leap from scene to scene with no sense of what's happening. If they'd packaged it with the concurrent issues of the Avengers maybe it would have made some sense. You'd almost say Byrne is deliberately making the Acts of Vengeance crossover stuff jar. It certainly gets in the way of the story he's really trying to tell.

There is a great idea here around the manipulation of the Scarlet Witch into mental breakdown, but it hardly gets a look in. The art's great obviously, at least until Byrne abandons it all. With the editorial decisions being made it's a surprise he got as far through as he did.

Get Awkward
Get Awkward
Offered by Media Vortex
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Too good to stop, 24 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Get Awkward (Audio CD)
A tremendous fizzing blast of energy. Fantastic songs, great tunes. This record couldn't be any better. It doesn't hang about, short and to the point, no song wastes a moment. There's no point in picking any one track out, there all so good. If you like Paramore give something with a lot more depth a go

So why are they splitting up? No idea. But they've gone out with a fantastic record. Can't wait to see what looks like being their last gig.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age - Limited Edition Sleeve and Free Bookmark (Exclusive to [DVD] [2007]
Elizabeth: The Golden Age - Limited Edition Sleeve and Free Bookmark (Exclusive to [DVD] [2007]
Price: £5.48

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sea sick, 5 Mar. 2008
Odd how the same group of people could make a wonderful film like Elizabeth and then go on to make this awful mess. They're all very talented people (with the obvious exception of Rhys Ifans, bless him), so what happened?

The director seems to have fallen in love with hiding his camera behind windows and things then sweeping in to each scene. It might work once or twice but not all the time. I felt like a bout of sea sickness was just around every corner, no, even worse it was Clive Owen pretending to be James Bond in pantaloons. A brilliant actor reduced to a weird cartoon entirely lacking in charisma. What was the Director thinking? If he'd left the camera alone he might have noticed how the acting was going. He seems more interested in finding new and unusual angles to shoot horses swimming then getting any drama from the protagonists. Maybe he knew the scipt was awful and thought some visual flair would sweep people along. Plainly it does for many.

The love story didn't work for me partly because Clive Owen is this odd one dimensional cartoon character but mostly because Abbie Cornish as Elizabeth Throckmorton is so insipidly dull, she looks like she's thinking about how much she's been paid. With both of them lacking any spark at all Cate Blanchett would have been better off on her own.

The political intrigue stuff that worked so well in the first film is shunted off as a subplot. Rhys Ifans glowering in his comedy way is not a man to bring gravitas when it is needed. He should stick to playing villains in Adam Sandler comedies where he's fine.

There are plenty of comments about the historical inaccuracies here. So no point going over them. I can see why they would want to make stuff up if it made things more dramatic, in this case though it doesn't. I could also see the point in simplifying things to fit the time limit. This film falls into that trap by simplifying too many different strands of plot so that it all feels flimsy and unconvincing. The writer Michael Hirst seems to have lost sight of what makes Elizabeth's story so dramatic.

Cate Blanchett does her best. The scenery is lovely, but then given the number of plasterers and carpenters involved in this film (watch the credits) it's not that surprising the film looks lovely and solid. Cate and the builders get a star to share. Do your self a favour though, pretend there never was a sequel, just watch the first one again.

Petra Haden And Bill Frisell
Petra Haden And Bill Frisell

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet record, 1 Jan. 2008
This is a sweet record, nothing ground breaking, just quite lovely. It's a shame Petra didn't act as a bit more of a restraining editing force on Bill Frisell. Her old band That Dog at their best were always more about being concise and focused. That can work in jazz too but it's plainly not Bill Frisell's thing. His playing is nice enough but not overflowing with character. It could have done with more of Petra's violin to spark more life into him. Her singing is as lovely as ever.

One star off for him not putting as much into this as he might. The other one off for the Cold Play cover. Neither of them have ever produced anything so empty and souless that i've heard. What was the point? A joke? But they both seem to take it so seriously.

Civil War
Civil War
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

6 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good art but woeful stuff, 11 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Civil War (Paperback)
I stopped reading Marvel in the late 80s/early 90s. With all the reprints etc I've been tempted back recently. Avengers Disassembled was great and House of M better, but I always was more of an X-Men fan than Avengers. Brian Michael Bendis is a talented writer, sadly Mark Millar is not.

Thin parodies of regular Marvel characters rob this of any drama. Compare Millar's writing for the Fantastic Four with anyone else's, in particular this Reed Richards. One dimensional is being generous. Spiderman also seems to be an entirely different character and I could go on. Now ok, I've missed a lot of what's happened in the last 15 odd years but not all the current Marvel titles are this badly written.

The plot is yet another rehash that has it's roots in Days of Future Past. Is it too much to ask for some originality? Everyone's got to be licensed or their forced underground and hunted down? Clarement and Byrne knocked that out in a compact two issues. Here we are years later and we've gotten no further. I hope Millar is paying Clarement and Byrne for this shameless knock off. I won't go too near the story catalyst of blowing up a school full of small children, it's just so pathetic.

I feel sorry for the artist who does a good job and is the recipient of the one star. Dealing with so many characters can't have been easy and he does it wonderfully. But the hackneyed plot, the terrible script, the now standard death, and the self important sense of "an event" have to take away the other four stars.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2015 11:51 PM GMT

Under The Blacklight
Under The Blacklight
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £8.67

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only all bands had a spirit of adventure, 22 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Under The Blacklight (Audio CD)
Succulently sleazy with a wicked spirit this is a tremendous surprise. There's a lot to be said for the shambolic bits Rilo Kiley left in their first two albums, but there's a lot to be said too for them cutting it out and streamlining everything to this sleek wonder. You can, after all, always go back and listen to the old records when you're more in that sort of a mood.

They sound like they were having fun when they made this. The soulful backing singers are a great move, presumably inspired by the Watson Twins. Breakin' Up should be a hit, Moneymaker has a fine groove and deserves a good remix, same for Close Call. There's a directness and a bounce to these songs that's so infectious when compared to too many bands replicating their old efforts and getting deeper into introspective angst. But if you do prefer their older stuff then there are still tracks like Under the Blacklight, 15 and Give a Little Love, but they too have been given a shiny new gloss.

I've got to say these songs made more sense live than on record but that was true of Rabbit Fur Coat too. Smoke Detector in particular benefits a lot from seeing Jenny's little shimmying dance. But their sound is a much harder now, and a lot more focused.

It's not perfect, Dejalo is filler and The Angels Hung Around is slightly better but still filler. Blake's song Dreamworld is ok, if only he had a stronger voice to give it more character. It's trying to be a light Fleetwood Mac type number, he's obviously been listening to Tusk and Mirage.

In the main, though, it's wonderful stuff. Who knows it may even get you off your arse and dancing, possibly even doing the Smoke Detector.

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