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Mr. R. M. Brown (Canterbury, England)
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Trust SP-3600A 28W 2.1 Speaker System
Trust SP-3600A 28W 2.1 Speaker System

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trust SP-3600A Speakerset, 7 Oct. 2005
Like the reviewer above, I too bought these speakers to take with me to University as they are the ideal size to fit on or around a desk, and they are also stylishly designed. I've got no complaints.
For a relatively cheap set of speakers, they easily out-perform every other 2.1 set in this price range, so much so that they can't really be called entry-level models, but exist in a class of their own. They also credibly match upto expensive alternatives. The sound is sharp, rich and deep, the subwoofer gives a beefy undistorted bass and the dynamic use of three mini speakers on each tower creates a wider sound environment. Listening to some music it was easy to pick out instruments and effects I'd never heard before.
I use these speakers with Winamp on my computer for music, and they sound great with no Equalizer settings applied (although I nudge the bass down low for late-night music!). A slight issue on some types of songs is a little distortion/fuzz on some types of notes if the music is played loud - the speakers can be heard to fizzle a little at the points. However this occurs fairly rarely and is easily ignored. I wouldn't count it against buying this product, for example.
The speakers are at their best when watching films - either on a computer/laptop (I use the latter) or plugged into a TV as extra outputs. The stereo effect is awesome, the sound seems to fill the whole space in front of your seat, not just the left and right channels.
Another thing to mention is, like the previous reviewer said, the cables being fairly short - although I had no issues with the length when I set them up on my desk, the power cable probably limits use to that kind of environment, and you may well need a plug extension depending on your room layout.
Other than what I've mentioned I have no complaints, and for this kind of price you literally cannot go wrong with this quality set of speakers.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2012 9:54 PM BST


Blade Runner
Blade Runner
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £3.49

29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete., 5 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Blade Runner (Audio CD)
Well, this soundtrack is good for a quick listen, but for film fans who adore the film it's not going to whet your appetite. The themes are either cut short or present in an edited form, and the majority of the music from the 117 minutes runtime (which was almost constantly underscored) is not on this CD. I would recommend avoiding this purchase if you're looking for a musical experience to match that of the film.
The best solution at this current date is to hunt down the Esper Edition bootleg, released recently (either late 2004 or early 2005 depending on who you believe). This is not the first bootleg of the Blade Runner music - 20 such versions exist, thanks mostly to the untimely release of THIS soundtrack some 12 years post the release of the film itself. Vangelis himself has at points given support to such versions, even going so far as to release an extended 'private' soundtrack with around 200 copies (which of course was swiftly copied and distributed amongst the hardcore). However, the Esper Edition is somewhat definitive - it has excellent sound quality and takes almost all of the music used in the film.
Hopefully someday this will be released officially, but until then it would be a waste of money to purchase this rather limp stop-gap.


Doom 3 (Xbox)
Doom 3 (Xbox)
Offered by multimedia-online
Price: £12.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Hated the PC version.. love this!, 30 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Doom 3 (Xbox) (Video Game)
On the PC, the single player was lacklustre in comparison to Half-Life 2, despite the fact that it was - and is - technically the most advanced game on the market. I sold that game within a week of Christmas because I found it clunky and plagued with stop-start gameplay. I was very disppointed.
Yesterday I rented this and have spent countless hours since playing the online co-op play over Xbox Live with a friend. It is quite simply one of the greatest gaming experiences I've ever had. Not only has the gameplay been superbly ported to the Xbox (this is a 700MHZ CPU with a GeForce 3, let's not forget - an equivalent PC would struggle) but it's also been significantly adapted. In the online coop, there are no cutscenes and there are no side missions, and there is no intro sequence - what is left is a killer run-and-gun storyline which never lets off the tension, with harder and more numerous enemies to dispatch with your partner.
Xbox Live has been the making of this game for me. If you're able to play it over Live then it's an experience not to miss out on - hearing the tortured screams of your friend alongside your own is a unique pleasure!


The Abyss (One-Disc Edition) [DVD] [1989]
The Abyss (One-Disc Edition) [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ Ed Harris
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.49

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Abyss, 24 May 2005
James Cameron's third film proper is a suitably grandiose action adventure about human exploration and development. Where his two previous films (The Terminator, Aliens) had used emotion mainly as a counterpoint to the action scenes that followed, here Cameron manages to sustain an engaging level of emotional content throughout the runtime, drawing a vivid cast of characters (helped by two stand out performances from Ed Harris and Mary E. Mastrantonio) and then pitching them into the deep end. So to speak.
In fact, what makes The Abyss so interesting is the ways in which it differs from the films that he'd already made. If Aliens was all about the idea of species colliding, and Terminator was a unstoppable violence-fest, then Abyss is the total antithesis; it's underlying subtext speaks of fear over unmitigated aggression and all the destructive tendencies of mankind are unashamedly condemned. Where in Aliens Michael Biehn's Cpt. Hicks is totally cool under pressure, severed from his chain of command, and forced to endure a situation beyond his training, Lt. Coffey is forever simmering just below boiling point.
Cameron's other films also talked about machines, and The Abyss is no exception. The other two pitched humans in direct conflict with two forms of mechanical beasts - The Terminator, famously "living tissue over metal endoskeleton", and the horrific xenomorphs of his action sequel which are undeniably mechanistic. In The Abyss, though, all the machines are passive and/or ameliorative forces. Plotwise it would be sinful to give away any more, but as a counterpoint to his previews works The Abyss makes an interesting study.
The Abyss is oft-overlooked. It is overlong, and there is sometimes a mis-balance between the tense buildup periods and the action sequences that follow - both sometimes seem either too long or too short. However, for the most part few audiences will take issue when Cameron's vision is so frequently awe-inspiring, and the polished production provides as many exciting moments as it does. The underwater photography is consistantly stunning, and the director never fails to involve the water when it should be part of the filmic environment - lesser helmers would have worked out numerous work-arounds for tricky sequences, like Ed Harris swimming around bubble-less under the belly of the rig (although the actor has since famously prickled over the making of the film). Because of this, the water maintains a brooding and threatening presence even when off-screen, the sense of the action being many, many metres below sea-level is never lost and adds a terrific subconscious element to the emotional fireworks. The finale is star-gazing film fantasy at its best, (and was later echoed in a similar sequence in Contact).


The Matrix (BFI Film Classics)
The Matrix (BFI Film Classics)
by Joshua Clover
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Matrix - BFI Modern Classics, 29 Mar. 2005
Contrary to expectations, Joshua Clover's analysis of this modern masterpiece is rather excellent. Where other authors have fallen into the trap of focussing on the (pop) philosophy mumblings within the films design (a trap posed by the Wachowskis themselves), Clover rightly sidesteps this and takes it as merely a feature of a clever film concerned with much more than being pointlessly verbose.
By taking this tack, Clover risks offending those who see the Matrix as little more than a philosophical sideshow (a brilliant sideshow in their eyes), which is a brave stance to take and is the reason why this book is worth buying - it offers a reasoned, intellectual analysis of The Matrix as a film about the real world, a modern metaphor, rather than pandering to the fans. Whilst certain philosophical references are focussed on (like the digital disc inside 'Simulacra & Simulation'), the point of these is not only to unravel what they might say about the story, but what they say about the film itself relevant to its 1999 context.
The result is a text that offers up some interesting new angles on a film that has been covered by many, many people already. I personally liked the dissection of Keanu Reaves/Neo as something of a Baudrillardian cipher, or the chapter focussing on the film as a spectacle. Whilst this is an intellectual work, Clover maintains a light, entertaining writing style throughout. The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is that in some areas I would have loved to have read more, and would have liked perhaps closer more detailed reference to certain shots, or more background information - something, for comparison, that Dana Polan's guide to Pulp Fiction did.
But if the only complaint is that I wanted more, I guess that's no bad thing!


"Once Upon a Time in America" (BFI Modern Classics)
"Once Upon a Time in America" (BFI Modern Classics)
by Adrian Martin
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a Time in America - Adrian Martin, 27 Feb. 2005
A revealing and in-depth account of the background behind Leone's last masterpiece Once Upon a Time in America.
The strongest part of Martin's text is his analysis of the central figure of the gangster Noodles as a 'tragic hero' (an idea proposed by Robert Warshow), and he discusses this alongside dealing with the film's criticism for being an apologia for rape - somewhat siding with Leone's assertion that Noodles is a victim of society. He also charts in great depth the turmoiled genesis of the film, using the ambivalence with which the film was received as its general starting point.
The most interesting strand of analysis for me, though, was a thread that Martin starts but never finishes - the film as metafiction, an elegiacly romantic film about past cinema, and a past America, and discusses critics' assertion of Leone as a 'creator of pure cinema' - a backhanded compliment at best. Instead Martin argues for the opposite - a director who proudly stood for all that impure cinema could offer (note the title of the film, a mix of fantasy and reality). However, as mentioned this line of discussion is not completed further along in the book, and as interesting as the other topics covered are - Deborah, Morricone, the final shot of the film - I couldn't help but pine for a lost chapter.
All that said, a thoroughly intelligent analysis of a difficult film.


Solaris [2003] [DVD]
Solaris [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by Magic Movies Ltd
Price: £2.29

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solaris, 3 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fairly hard film to summarise, which is a Good Thing. However, when reading this review a rough idea of genre might help- other than the rather bland 'sci-fi', which is too conformist in this case. In elemental terms, Solaris is Vanilla Sky meets 2001 via Sphere, with light seasoning from a number of notable others. That formula of course still fails to describe it adequately, so it's best just to think of Solaris as beautifully unique.
It's also not the case that the film is overtly sci-fi, something which gave the distributors notorious marketting difficulty. It's more a high concept philosophical film which is incidentally set on board a space station. Psychologist Chris Kelvin (Clooney) is sent to the stranded space station through his association with someone on board, the enigmatic Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur). The Promethius had been orbitting the planet Solaris before contact was lost, and when Kelvin gets on board he is greeted with a disturbing trail of blood which he follows to the mortuary...
The film begins as it means to go on, with long, ponderous shots of Kelvin's Athena shuttle making its way through space against the backdrop of the beautiful, oceanic Solaris. These CGI shots of the station and the planet were rendered at 4000 pixels, and had to be reduced for the film (which is less). The attention to detail is unequalled, and on a good quality player it's totally stunning. Once on board the film heads into philosophical/psychological drama-cum-suspense territory, when Kelvin - and the audience - are faced with unraveling the mystery.
Director Steven Soderbergh (with producer James Cameron) has created a beautiful film - a work of art no less - but one that is extremely difficult to write about. There is little more of the plot that can be revealed without spoiling Solaris, so I won't. The rest of the small cast are all excellent, with the nervy Gordon (Viola Davis) and the skittish Snow (Jeremy Davies), as well as the excellent Natascha McElhone, making up the numbers. The film introduces themes of Descartian philosophy, with characters asking what reality really is, and with engrossing, hypnotic flashbacks and hallicinations (we are never sure which) the story is gradually revealed.
Credit too must go to the man responsible for the music, XX- a score which is so in tune with the action on screen you barely notice it, which is always the mark of greatness. The dreamlike quality of the film is enhanced by both this and the frequent use of soft focus lenses- both the visual effects and production design are stunning, creating a believable future, though one that is not too derivative of other films (Blade Runner's rain besides!). If you liked any of the films mentioned in the first paragraph then you'll almost certainly like this too. Top stuff.
The DVD features an all-too-brief, but awesome, 20 minute making-of including interviews and shoot footage, and the script itself which makes absorbing reading.


Pulp Fiction (BFI Film Classics)
Pulp Fiction (BFI Film Classics)
by Dana B. Polan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dana Polin - Pulp Fiction, 3 Feb. 2005
A cogent, entertaining and highly informative analysis of the mid-nineties modern masterpiece Pulp Fiction.
Polin's text offers an interesting angle on the film - Pulp Fiction is a 'story about storytelling', where the characters' hyper-reality and hardboiled dialogue, the director's chronology-eschewing plotting and the numerous references to pop culture make intimate reference to the fact that it is, of course, fictional. The books looks at many crucial scenes, and assesses in detail the ways in which fictionality is key to the message behind the film, as well as tackling the films huge cult following, notably on the Internet.
This is a world where a knowledge about modern trivialites is just as important as any weapon you might be holding. Which probably makes this book a good starting point, then.


Solaris [2003] [DVD]
Solaris [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by Magic Movies Ltd
Price: £2.29

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing space-opera., 28 July 2004
This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fairly hard film to summarise, which is a Good Thing. However, when reading this review a rough idea of genre might help- other than the rather bland 'sci-fi', which is too conformist in this case. In elemental terms, Solaris is Vanilla Sky meets 2001 via Sphere, with light seasoning from a number of notable others. That formula of course still fails to describe it adequately, so it's best just to think of Solaris as beautifully unique.
It's also not the case that the film is overtly sci-fi, something which gave the distributors notorious marketting difficulty. It's more a high concept philosophical film which is incidentally set on board a space station. Psychologist Chris Kelvin (Clooney) is sent to the stranded space station through his association with someone on board, the enigmatic Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur). The Promethius had been orbitting the planet Solaris before contact was lost, and when Kelvin gets on board he is greeted with a disturbing trail of blood which he follows to the mortuary...
The film begins as it means to go on, with long, ponderous shots of Kelvin's Athena shuttle making its way through space against the backdrop of the beautiful, oceanic Solaris. These CGI shots of the station and the planet were rendered at 4000 pixels, and had to be reduced for the film (which is less). The attention to detail is unequalled, and on a good quality player it's totally stunning. Once on board the film heads into philosophical/psychological drama-cum-suspense territory, when Kelvin - and the audience - are faced with unraveling the mystery.
Director Steven Soderbergh (with producer James Cameron) has created a beautiful film - a work of art no less - but one that is extremely difficult to write about. There is little more of the plot that can be revealed without spoiling Solaris, so I won't. The rest of the small cast are all excellent, with the nervy Gordon (Viola Davis) and the skittish Snow (Jeremy Davies), as well as the excellent Natascha McElhone, making up the numbers. The film introduces themes of Descartian philosophy, with characters asking what reality really is, and with engrossing, hypnotic flashbacks and hallicinations (we are never sure which) the story is gradually revealed.
Credit too must go to the man responsible for the music, XX- a score which is so in tune with the action on screen you barely notice it, which is always the mark of greatness. The dreamlike quality of the film is enhanced by both this and the frequent use of soft focus lenses- both the visual effects and production design are stunning, creating a believable future, though one that is not too derivative of other films (Blade Runner's rain besides!). If you liked any of the films mentioned in the first paragraph then you'll almost certainly like this too. Top stuff.
The DVD features an all-too-brief, but awesome, 20 minute making-of including interviews and shoot footage, and the script itself which makes absorbing reading.


Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle [DVD] [2003]
Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Cameron Diaz
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.82

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Angelicious, 28 July 2004
Let's get one thing straight before we go on: Charlie's Angels is a Popcorn Movie. It's a sweet dose of saccharine-rich eye-candy with a side order of custardy clichés. It's fun. There are no efforts being made to achieve success at the Oscars, no desire to make it big at Cannes. It's not trying make big political points or wave its opinions in your face. It's not presenting the audience with a philosophical poser. Like its previous iteration it's simply about high-quality low-concept thrills, and on this premise Full Throttle totally, brilliantly, delivers.
From the word go we are well and truly in what Director McG refers to as 'AngelWorld', the make-believe land where three sexy young femmes are an unstoppable force against all-those-who-seek-to-do-wrong. This time they face ex-Angel Madison Lee (Moore) who is trying her hardest to build her own evil empire, stealing the two witness protection scheme rings and enlisting the help of several bands of wrong do-ers to aid her. Okay, so the plot is as silly as they come, but that in itself is a joy and to be honest it doesn't matter at all. The film leaps effortlessly from action sequence to action sequence (claims that McG is a ex-MTV madman are unfounded), with well timed and edited intervals in between. It is sometimes difficult to keep up with the plot, but its impossible not to be swept up in the frenetic pace of it all.
It's also hard not to keep summing up Full Throttle in glib-hyphenated-soundbites, such is the enthusiasm with which it's been created and the feeling it leaves you with. One sequence sees Natalie (Diaz) performing an impromptu dance routine whilst out on a date with boyfriend Pete (Luke Wilson), strutting her stuff with the crowd around her and giving a knowing half-wink to the camera. Naturally enough the piece ends with her falling into his arms.
The soundtrack aids the riotous action on-screen, with no less than three tracks by The Prodigy (Breathe, Firestarter and the superbly ept Smack Your Bitch Up) and even the appearance of Electric Six's Danger! High Voltage! There are of course a large selection of disco choons- cringe-worthy "classics" that raise a laugh when they come on. These aren't just laid on like party pieces, though, they are knowingly placed by a skilled director. And say what you want about his career jump, he certainly knows how to make a brilliant looking picture.
Upon its release, people were quick to criticise this film on the grounds that it's unrealistic. Of course it is. But since when did that matter? Just as Neo is in The Matrix, the Angels are in Angelworld, a conceit that works perfectly well when you think about it (if you care to). Charlies Angels 2 dares to give the real audience - those who watch the film to be entertained, rather than to gain their 'right-to-reply' - what they want. In this world, it seems, people can't be happy with anything, not least a well-executed summer film.
Still, more fool them eh? Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is everything you could want from a popcorn-munching-bubblegum-escapism-girls-in-pig-tails-summer-blockbuster. Et plus. The DVD features a glorious film print, an excellent commentary from helmer McG and some short featurettes.


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