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Purplish Knitted Dress LITTLE OWLS DRESS 9001 Black S
Purplish Knitted Dress LITTLE OWLS DRESS 9001 Black S

2.0 out of 5 stars Wrong size, 19 Sep 2014
I thought I was lucky when I found there were just two left in stock and ordered this for my daughter's birthday. Obviously there weren't two left in stock as what arrived was six sizes too large and clearly labelled as such both on the garment and its packaging. Someone had stuck it inside a bag with a 'small' sticker on it, presumably just to fulfill the order which was pointless and irritating.


Black Beauty (Penguin Popular Classics)
Black Beauty (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Anna Sewell
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wait till they're a little older, 9 Nov 2006
This book did for horses what Charles Dickens managed for workhouses, boarding schools and several other of the less laudable Victorian institutions. Like Dickens, it has survived the test of time and remains on most "Children's Classic" lists. Although there are plenty of horsy adventures for the hero, Sewell manages to avoid almost all of the traps of anthropomorphism and sickening sentimentality that infest most kids' books that touch upon matters equine. This book should however come with a warning: it can be quite brutal, as was the Victorian's treatment of working horses and, when I first read it as a child of six I found it harrowing and desperately upsetting (although it does have a reasonably happy ending). At 44, I still can't read it without a tear and a lumpy throat so this is probably not one for the nursery bookshelf; however, it remains on my list of essential reading for children. My eight-year-old son is studying Victorian history as his school project and has put down Harry Potter in favour of this; trying to prevent my six-year-old, horse-mad daughter from picking it up may prove problematical.


Domino [DVD]
Domino [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keira Knightley
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £2.74

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly different and good in parts, 8 Sep 2006
This review is from: Domino [DVD] (DVD)
I find it hard to understand why this above average action thriller managed to upset quite so many people in quite so many ways. It is certainly a cut or two above the typical Hollywood formulaic bang-bang flick and has deliberately set out to be different ... so, if your idea of a buzz is Arnie, Sly or Bruce with no requirement to engage brain cells, this probably isn't your type of film; similarly, if you're expecting Keira Knightley to reprise any of her other, more typical, roles you're going to be disappointed.

The main beefs seem to be at Miss Knightley having to audacity to play a hard-bitten action role; in fact, she does so rather well. In part, this is because she is a good actress but there is a delightful incongruity between the extremely posh background from which she longs to escape and the brutal world into which she does. It would have been very easy to script the role as a hard-nosed, kick-ass, all-American, gun-tottin', apple-pie lovin', tough as nails but with a heart of gold, archetypal Hollywood female action role but Knightley's character is actually far more interesting and her attempts to fit in to the role to which she aspires deserve to have been better developed. As it is, her plummy tones and naivety contrast delightfully with Mickey Rourke's jaded cynical world-weariness and the rage flowing from Edgar Ramirez's emotionally dysfunctional psyche.

The cinematography and directorial style are also decidedly different. Whether you love or loathe the jump shot, stop motion, sample/mix effects is a matter of personal taste; personally, they grew on me: the style is somewhere between Tarantino and Baz Luhrmann (William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) and help fuel the otherwise rather uneven pace of the movie.

Having said that, whilst the film tries hard in all departments, it doesn't always succeed: the character development is hit and miss, the Knightley/Liu exchanges leave you feeling strangely unsatisfied, the plot is occasionally obscure and I still don't know how she got out of the lift ... but it's still worth the rental fee and will pass a pleasant enough evening when the TV channels draw a blank.


Romeo And Juliet [DVD]
Romeo And Juliet [DVD]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by makandmabel
Price: £15.88

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The good isn't Shakespeare, the Shakespeare isn't good., 8 Sep 2006
This review is from: Romeo And Juliet [DVD] (DVD)
Bringing Shakespeare into the current day is always a risky business, at its best it can lend new and modern insights and reach out to a generation that might otherwise remain estranged; at worst it grates and jars. This film manages to do both in equal measure. The film is certainly not for the purist, the original script seems largely optional both in terms of which bits are used and the order in which the lines appear. It is ironic that the films most captivating scenes - the drug trip and the electrifying ending particularly spring to mind - are the ones with which greatest liberties have been taken. Baz Luhrmann seems to have come up with a Shakespearean film in which the bits that are Shakespeare's aren't good and the bits that are good aren't Shakespeare's, which must be something of a first.

The direction generally does not match that of Zefirelli's 1968 classic, and nor does the casting. DiCaprio may guarantee bums on seats but he looks at sea in several scenes and Claire Danes, though competent throughout, seems to lack the sexual chemistry needed to ignite the play in whatever format it appears. The other cast members vary between competent (Brian Dennehy as Papa Montague; Dash Mihok as Benvolio) and cringingly bad - Harold Perrineau taking the homosexual undertones of Mercutio's psyche to levels more camp than the Rocky Horror Picture Show; Mirian Margoyles Spanish accent requiring protective waterproof clothing for her fellow cast members. The one exception is Pete Postlethwaite who, despite having half his part chopped out to facilitate the all-new ending, is a riveting Friar Lawrence; take away all his lines and he would still steal every scene.

This film will never escape its tag of "dumbed-down" Shaespeare, nor does it deserve to: it is. The subtlety and slow burn of the inevitable slide into passion-fuelled tragedy is sacrificed for the wham-bam of the gangster movie and the assumption of the 40-second attention span. This is Hollywood -Shakespeare, done by Americans for Americans, it still is a rollicking good story but, if you really want transatlantic Shakespeare at its best, go see West Side Story.


Three [DVD] [2006]
Three [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Susan Tyrrell
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.96

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No, as best it's a 2!, 7 Sep 2006
This review is from: Three [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This eternal-triangle desert-island-castaway yarn gives itself away on the DVD cover with a rather ridiculous, over-sultry, airbrushed action shot of Kelly Brook and the caption "Kelly finally bares all" (even though she tried suing to stop them showing the bits where she - almost - does). There is even a sticker proclaiming "FREE large Kelly Brook poster inside". This, despite the fact that Billy Zane doing his second rate Jack Nicholson impersonation, gets top billing: the only means to sell this film is that it's a chance to get a glimpse of Kelly in the buff.

Actually, this is a phenomenally astute piece of marketing because the only possible reason that you would want to actually WATCH this film is if you want a chance to get a glimpse of Kelly in the buff, assuming you'd missed her in most of the UK men's glamour mags for whom she's already stripped. If you are a rabid fan of Miss Brook, then you should buy the DVD, add the title of the film to the current star rating, pin the poster to your wall, watch, enjoy and read no further.

For the remaining 99% of the population, you should save your money (even Amazon's bargain rental fee is a rip-off in this instance) and put the poster into the paper-recycling bin. This is a film that could have been a tense, psychological thriller with decent casting, directing and a decent script (imagine Jack Nicholson, Antonio Banderas and Kim Basinger being directed by Hitchcock with a Troy Kennedy-Martin script). In the hands of the Europeans, it would have been dark, sensual and introspective, laced with black humour (think Truffaut or Medem); it could even have been a piece of highly charged eroticism. This tries for all three and comes nowhere near succeeding with any: there is no tension, sexual or otherwise, just a series of largely unrelated events with a ridiculous "deux in machina" plot-line involving a slighted ex-girlfriend's voodoo antics that substitutes for any logical plot or character development. There is no subtlety, one-dimensional characters, verbal and visual clichés and such nudity and frolicking as there is, is done with the cloying coyness that only the American cinema can manage. The lowlight comes when she skips into the evening sea naked (so as not to have to sleep in her permanently pristine white bikini whilst wet) only to walk out obviously wearing the bottoms.

There is so much better to choose from in this genre: Dead Calm, Lost ... even Blue Lagoon that there is really no excuse for this film


Voyeur [DVD]
Voyeur [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lorissa McComas
Offered by Amazin Deals!
Price: £13.19

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lame, Lamentable, Laughable, 13 July 2006
This review is from: Voyeur [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of those "so bad it's almost good" films but, in all honesty, you spend too much time laughing at it to actually find it particularly erotic. What's wrong with it? Well the acting is as lamentable as the script is lame not helped by lip synching reminiscent of 1970s Japanese mini-series; the plot has holes through which you could drive a triple-decker bus and frequently leaves you bewildered; the continuity assistant was obviously fired on the first day and the cameraman never discovered what the aperture stops were for: the film leaps between "night" and day from one shot to the next. The only reason the whole thing doesn't come apart at the seams is Lorissa McComas who merely adds to the sense of bewilderment - why did the casting director suddenly have a change of policy and hire someone who could act? The girls are reasonable pretty (McComas can be positively sultry), the boys less so and it has that sickening American coyness that makes the toes curl. It's only soft-core because there is no excuse for the sex in the script (actually, there is also no excuse for the script period), it falls far short of erotica and the only possible excuse for going anywhere near it is if you mistook it for Tinto Brass's 1993 THE Voyeur . . . which is what I did!


Bach: Violin Concertos
Bach: Violin Concertos

67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach for a buck!, 23 Mar 2006
This review is from: Bach: Violin Concertos (Audio CD)
This CD must represent the best value for money of any item in the Amazon catalogue: four Bach concerti at less than a pound a piece! Not only that, but what you have here is the English Chamber Orchestra playing Bach AND they're being conducted by Daniel Barenboim. If that isn't enough for you, the soloist is Itzhak Perlman. That's right, for less than pound a piece! (for those of you outside the sterling zone, that's a tad over one dollar/one euro each)
Assuming you're still reading this, rather than adding the CD to your shopping basket I could add, in a nonchalant yet triumphal manner, that the jewel in the crown comes at the end when Pinchas Zuckerman joins in for the Concerto in D for Violin and Strings (the “Double Violin”), one of my very favourite pieces of music. So, for less than a pound a piece, you have a great composer's great work, a great orchestra under their greatest conductor and two of the 20th Century's greatest violinists who invariably make a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. So that's great - why aren't you clicking on the shopping basket?


LEGO Star Wars (PS2)
LEGO Star Wars (PS2)
Offered by Super-bargains
Price: £19.99

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Competitively expensive … but temperamental., 23 Feb 2006
This review is from: LEGO Star Wars (PS2) (Video Game)
As one of those mean, mingey, old-fashioned Dads who think their children should be reading suitable books, watching educational programmes or outside playing in the fresh air, I had quite a few reservations about buying a PS2 for my eight-year-old son and even more in buying this particular game. Having watched several nephews and friends turn into mindless zombies whose immediate response to seeing anything in front of them is to nuke it, I had developed a particular aversion to fast-blast video games, regardless of how much their mothers might claim it improves hand-eye co-ordination.
However, I have to admit that I might have been wrong, quite possibly for the first time since 1978. My eight-year-old loves this game above all others and much prefers light-sabres to blasters. Although there is a fair amount of armed combat, there is also a lot of strategy, exploration and acquisition. I still wouldn't rate it highly on the educational front but it is a lot of fun, even to the extent that I'm occasionally allowed to use the second control panel we had to buy so that my daughter could engage in co-operative play although obviously on the condition that I do exactly what I'm told and drop out as soon as we get to a tricky bit. The multiple levels and chapters allow for a large variety of terrains and tasks all based (loosely) on the first three films (that's episodes I-III, which of course are the second three films for anyone born before 1965).
The game is certainly absorbing, though the 12+ age-group might zoom through it with relative ease, younger kids will spend months happily developing their skills, acquisitions and it is common enough to enable playground swapping of hints and tips as to how you get through level 3, chapter 5 and whether it's worth buying General Grevus. It also has enough variety to allow them to happily play many of the levels again and again and, as such, is value for money. The only caveat is the flipside of this, there is so much info packed on the disc that it is highly temperamental: finger-marks, dust or the fact that it's the third Tuesday after a full moon causes the thing to crash and the slightest scratch results in irreversible damage which is why we're on our third disc, albeit with conditions about proper care of expensive items relating to the possible reintroduction of pocket-money anytime in the current decade. It definitely requires you to follow ALL of the manufacturers instructions about disc care and consul movement and I wouldn't recommend buying a second-hand one, there may well be a reason it's for sale!
The game is a godsend on wet Sunday afternoons in February and has made no difference to book-reading or the desire to kick of football around; it has got rid of those long dreary hours of trying to find an answer to the cry of “Dad, I'm bored …”
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2010 9:40 AM BST


The Jungle Books (Penguin Popular Classics)
The Jungle Books (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Rudyard Kipling
Edition: Paperback

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undeservedly unfashionable - a true, timeless classic, 9 Feb 2006
Kipling has long since ceased to be a fashionable writer. Accused of being racist (for his time, class and background he was in fact highly liberal in his views) and jingoistic (he lived the days when loyalty to Queen and Country was still called patriotism), he has fallen out of favour with the literati. Despite decades of continual snubbing, his books live on and his poem, IF was recently voted by the British public as their favourite, unashamedly sentimental it may seem now but it still stands as some of the best advice a father could give to his son, which was how and why it came to be.
His books also have that ultimate mark of any classic, the ability to be enjoyed as much by grown-ups as by children. The jungle book is most probably familiar to the world now through the Disney cartoon, which bears all the relationship to the original book as Muppet Treasure Island does to Robert Louis Stevenson. The real book is much darker, much more dangerous, much more exciting and much, much more enjoyable. Kipling takes anthropomorphism to its artistic ultimate and, within the cadre of jungle animals reflects human characteristics both good and bad: the sagacity of Baloo, the wisdom of Bagheera, the nobility of Akela, the independence of Kaa, the rottenness of Shere Khan and the mindless brutality of the Dhole. Humans, by contrast, fare rather poorly being divorced from their surroundings and, unlike the jungle characters, are shallow and act with neither motivation beyond self-interest nor principle.
So impressed was Lord Baden Powell that he made this book the basis for the cub scouts (as he did with another of Kipling's masterpieces, Kim for the scouts themselves). The books may contain Victorian values, but these are the best of Victorian values and the ones that define a civilized society, even if they, like Kipling, have become unfashionable. Above all though, the Jungle Book is a ripping yarn, a page-turner, a plot-boiler and, uniquely amongst Kipling's prolific output, a spawner of sequels; something that Walt Disney obviously recognised. The only words of warning or discouragement that I would utter is that the book, as with all the Mowgli stories, can be quite sinister and not suitable for the same age range as the cartoon and, speaking of the cartoon, be prepared to despise its fluffy, trite Americanised bowdlerisms forever once you have read the original; so, if you adore Disney and want to go on loving it, perhaps you should stay away from the literature from which it stole its ideas.


Black Beauty (Young Reading Gift Editions)
Black Beauty (Young Reading Gift Editions)
by Anna Sewell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the very young, 8 Feb 2006
This book did for horses what Charles Dickens managed for workhouses, boarding schools and several other of the less laudable Victorian institutions. Like Dickens, it has survived the test of time and remains on most “Children's Classic” lists. Although there are plenty of horsy adventures for the hero, Sewell manages to avoid almost all of the traps of anthropomorphism and sickening sentimentality that infest most kids' books that touch upon matters equine. This book should however come with a warning: it can be quite brutal, as was the Victorian's treatment of working horses and, when I first read it as a child of six I found it harrowing and desperately upsetting (although it does have a reasonably happy ending). At 44, I still can't read it without a tear and a lumpy throat so this is probably not one for the nursery bookshelf; however, it remains on my list of essential reading for children. My eight-year-old son is studying Victorian history as his school project and has put down Harry Potter in favour of this; trying to prevent my six-year-old, horse-mad daughter from picking it up may prove problematical.


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