Profile for davelee1968 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by davelee1968
Top Reviewer Ranking: 351,676
Helpful Votes: 63

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
davelee1968

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
360 Degree Rotating Tripod Time Lapse Stabilizer for GoPro Hero 1, Hero 2, Hero 3, Hero 3+, Hero 3 Plus, Hero 4 Camera - Black
360 Degree Rotating Tripod Time Lapse Stabilizer for GoPro Hero 1, Hero 2, Hero 3, Hero 3+, Hero 3 Plus, Hero 4 Camera - Black

1.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy piece of kit., 23 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Terrible. Stopped working after only two rotations and when I opened it up to see what was rattling three pieces fell out.


Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show [DVD] [1992]
Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show [DVD] [1992]
Dvd ~ Chris Sievey
Price: £5.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off His Shed, 17 Jan 2011
Of all the famous comedy Franks - Skinner, Boyle, Randle, Carson, Spencer, Worthington, Zappa, Bruno - only one ever wore a painted papier-mâché head, played dodgy cover versions on a Bontempi organ and presented an early 90's TV show from his garden shed. Although I'm sure there was days when Frank Bruno truly believed he... [section removed at the request of several mental health charities]... while on a trampoline, it was actually the late Chris Sievey, creator of Timperley's Frank Sidebottom, that brought us the wondrous Franks' Fantastic Shed Show.

This was Frank Sidebottom's closest shave with the mainstream, six half hour chat/variety shows made by YTV in the early nineties. The perennially underachieving Sidebottom presents the show from a TV studio designed (no doubt by the artistically talented Sievey himself) to look like his back garden and shed. Frank and pals frantically rampage around the place squeezing laughs from targets as disparate as badly cut `n' pasted Beatles album covers and snooker games against Denis Taylor played with lard-smeared cues. It's under rehearsed, seemingly unscripted and rattles along without stopping to worry whether it's working or not. Quite honestly it's craply brilliant and brilliantly crap.

The producers tried to cram too much into each show, with filmed inserts, bands, banter with sidekick characters, celebrity interviews and crowd singalongs all fighting for space in each half hour. The idea seems to have been to keep throwing things at Frank and let them randomly bounce off his oversized bonce. The scattershot selection of guests includes the bewildered likes of Gerry Anderson, Dennis Lacorriere, John Stalker and Bob Holness. There are appearances from Mark Radcliffe and an embryonic Mrs Merton and some truly dreadful bands - The Farm and Londonbeat are the highlights! But really it's all about revelling in three plus hours of Frank at his insuppressible best.

The show came along just after Vic Reeves Big Night Out and was always hamstrung by inevitable comparison. It shares a great many characteristics with Big Night Out but is even more disorganised and unfocussed, but in a good way. It's knowing, semi-zoo style also has the feel of contemporary shows like Sean's Show and Gilbert's Fridge and it will probably reside in the same underappreciated corner of cult TV world - and that's a real shame because it's a show that deserves more attention.

Most Sidebottom fans will be delighted that this series is finally available after years of searching ebay for VHS copies. Newcomers to Frank - possibly attracted as a result of the very public outpouring of affection show for Sievey after his death or from the furore surrounding the story of Selfridges nicking Frank's head for their shop dummies - won't get from this a real sense of the man's craft. For that you had to see one of his ramshackle live shows. But as there'll sadly be no more live Frank this will give newcomers a tempting tease of the talents of Timperley Titan. Don't buy this expecting razor sharp wit and tight pacing, it comes from the same school of charming amateurism as John Shuttleworth and shares the same style of joyfully silly songs, get it because it`s great to stick on when you want 30 minutes with someone you like.

It would probably have been better received had it had a script (I'm assuming it didn't have much of a one) and some rehearsal - but then it wouldn't have been Frank. It had to be all over the shop and all but ignored to remain true to the spirit of the man.


Scream if you want to go faster
Scream if you want to go faster
by Russ Litten
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.79

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Carver meets Keith Waterhouse, 6 Jan 2011
I was lucky to get a pre-release copy of this book and was dying to let everyone know how fantastic it is. It's a kind of everyday group jeopardy novel where the lives and personalities of many characters are wonderfully detailed and gradually drawn together around a central location - the legendary Hull Fair. You don't know as you go what will happen to who or who will come out the other end undamaged.

I live in East Yorkshire and know the type of people and environment so wonderfully captured in this book. The streets and shops and pubs and smells and sights of Hull are exactly as described and the characters only barely fictionalised. It's an amazingly evocative work. The floods of 2007 (just after which the book is set) were devastating to an already beleaguered Hull but as they always do the people just cracked on and made good without whining for help from the rest of the world. This sense of disaster and stoicism pervade the book and perfectly capture a unique and unifying time for the city. Hull and the fair, though, are only the background to a work about real people and real lives lived without reference to or consideration for the larger world. It could be set anywhere, it just happens to be Hull.

Words like gritty and authentic will, quite reasonably, be attached to the book but there's also a blunt poetry and lyricism to the writing that captures the humour and character of the people of East Yorkshire. It's an involving read, you grow to care about even the most unsavoury characters and you genuinely worry what happens to everyone and hope that good will prevail. Also, it's funny; there are some wonderfully timed lines and turns of phrase. Some you see coming and revel in them when they arrive and others just land out of nowhere and catch you unawares.

For anyone interested in Hull or Yorkshire this book is a must-buy, as it is for those interested in great characters, detailed plotting and wonderful writing. So, everyone with any sense really.


Columbo: Complete Series [DVD]
Columbo: Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Falk
Offered by gameshop_fuerth
Price: £74.17

47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TV's greatest character - Columbo, 14 Dec 2010
Most people's relationship with Lieutenant Columbo is relatively simple - he's the shabby detective that clogs up ITV on Sunday afternoons. But look closer, you're missing a genuine TV great.

Columbo was big in the seventies. Massive. It was one of the most popular programmes ever on US TV and travelled to over 40 countries worldwide. It's one of those shows that (Star Trek style) is on somewhere in the World every second of the day. The TV detective has always been a popular TV staple and there were many successful shows before Columbo, but the programme was a genuine game changer when it first appeared regularly in the late sixties. It transformed the genre with its inverted detective story style (whereby we know `whodunnit' and how right from the start) and all small screen crime shows since - from Morse to Cracker to the revamped Sherlock - show signs of the Columbo's influence.

Because the viewer knew the killer and had seen the crime up front the programme required skilled writing and indeed misdirection, obfuscation and other sleight of hand were all skilfully employed to move the story along and guarantee a genuinely unexpected twist toward the climax. But if you look at the overwhelming global success of the show you realise that even the best written and produced programme would ordinarily have been remade and recast to better suit the demands of the importing territory - it hasn't. It was sometimes dubbed and occasionally subtitled, but one irreplaceable element could never be duplicated - the towering central performance of Peter Falk. He is more responsible than anything else for the show's success and his skill in crafting a sublime character has been sadly underappreciated. He took a basic outline of an unorthodox detective and fleshed it onto a quite remarkable tour de force. In each and every episode he, at least, is absolutely perfect.

When he landed the role, Falk had enjoyed a lauded but only moderately successful career. He'd stood out in a few unremarkable films and TV shows (just so you don't underestimate his acting ability he spent the seventies alternating shifts as Columbo with making improvisational films with legendary indie auteur John Cassavetes). But when Columbo came along something about the character and Falk clicked and he very quickly took creative control of the leiutenant's development. He selected the clothes, the car and inserted the fumbling mannerisms and circumstantial speech that befuddled both fictional killers and the actors playing them. He would deliberately insert additional dialogue and conversational right angles into scenes to keep the cast on their toes and as a means of drawing the audience away from any plot devices he thought too obvious. Look at any part of any episode where Falk is onscreen and you'll see him working the scene, he takes the script and the set and uses them as simply the base from which he takes off. He moves at his own speed and circumnavigates the central thrust of the scene until he's wrung every nuance he can from the, sometimes hackneyed, lines. The other actors key off his performance and the pace and tone fall into place behind him.

The Lieutenant is always referred to in terms of his look but even this is superbly thought through. He's called shabby or shambolic or scruffy but it's more the case that his dress is memorable because in the gaudy LA sunshine Columbo exists within only a small sector of the visible spectrum. Falk carefully selected every aspect of the visual style so that the clothes, car and cigar meld into a green/ brown /cream smudge that seems classic and ageless amongst the outdated high waists, platform shoes and comb-overs of the supporting cast.

It can be difficult to fully appreciate the brilliance of Falk's performance as most of the episodes are now showing their age and while some of the guest star murderers overact gleefully, many are just bad (Billy Connolly's turn being both a nadir in Columbo's history and, amazingly, the worst performance in his already dire acting history). Falk, though, is always superb. He rarely shows up in the first half hour but once onscreen he provides a magnetic centre to proceedings, he steers all the movie length episodes with calm and grace and invites the viewers' trust rather than demanding it.

Most importantly Columbo is incredibly likable. He has many commendable and enviable character traits; he's determined, ingenious, charming and unfailingly polite - everyone is referred to as `sir' or `ma'am'. Again, it's Falk that makes all of this work, the same script delivered by any other actor (or without as much skill) would run the risk or appearing cheesy or patronising or, worst of all, betray too much of Columbo's thinking too early in the show. Falk underplays, knows when to step back, knows when to play for laughs, never misses a beat - it's as good as TV acting gets and better than most in film.

With dementia reportedly responsible for a swift, terminal decline in Falk's health the planned valedictory episode, Columbo's Last Case, will never be made and while the 69 episodes in existence may seem too many for most they stand up to much repeated viewing. When the inevitable happens and Falk slips into the hereafter it seems certain that there will follow lazy, under-appreciative obituaries focussing on the tics and catchphrases that have been made over-familiar by poor impressionists. What they should focus on is the way Peter Falk designed and played far and away the greatest TV detective and probably the most distinctive, intelligent and simply enjoyable character in the history of the medium.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2014 9:08 PM BST


Villain [DVD]
Villain [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Burton
Price: £8.00

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that really should get more attention, 20 Nov 2010
This review is from: Villain [DVD] (DVD)
Richard Burton playing both Krays, Donald Sinden as every Tory MP ever, Ian McShane auditioning for Sexy Beast, a script by the writers of Porridge (and the bloke from the Godfather) and a robbery carried out with a Jif Lemon. How come you've never seen Villain?

It's hardly ever on telly and rarely appears on any `best of' lists but, in a time when we are faced with an unwelcome surfeit of Ritchie-alike gangster films skulking like Chavs round an offy and the continued, inexplicable popularity of Danny (Dire) Dyer, the 1971 film Villain deserves more credit and attention. If only for creating some of our favourite cor-blimey-cockney-criminal clichés.

Villain follows Burton's East End gang lord Vic Dakin as he takes a side step from his usual protection/ loan sharking/ general nastiness business to mastermind the robbery of a company payroll. Dakin is surrounded by cronies, chased by the law, soothed by his reluctant boyfriend Ian McShane (playing a prototype of the orgy-loving character we later saw in Sexy Beast) and protected by Donald Sinden as a wonderfully oleaginous MP. I don't really know enough about Burton to confidently rate his performance within the context of his career. His films never really appealed to me and he seems to be someone who, though famous in his day, is now predominantly remembered for his life than his work. I like him in Villain, though. He glides through scenes menacing, bullying, torturing and punching everyone he sees. He uses his natural charisma to hold the eye and portrays Dakin as a man with no morals but enough humanity to care for his dear old mum and take her to Brighton every Sunday for whelks on the pier. He's basically both Kray twins rolled into one. He mixes the brutality and homosexuality of Ronnie and the brutality and penchant for hitting people in the stomach of Reggie. Credit for making this viable must go to the ever-reliable writing team of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, here supplemented, inexplicably, by Al Lettieri - the American actor best known for his role as Sollozo in the Godfather.

Villain was considered a flop on its release, a situation commonly attributed to the fact the public didn't want to see the then-massive, movie star Richard Burton playing a gay character. But the fact that it came out mere weeks after Get Carter must have contributed to convincing the cash strapped punters of 1971 that they didn't really need two gritty gangster films in quick succession.

It's unpopularity lead to the film dropping off the radar but if you look at its key constituents you see the building blocks of The Sweeney, Minder, The Long Good Friday and Sexy Beast. Viz even named their character Big Vern `Dakin' in Vic's honour. Drop in at any random point in the film and you'll see the kind of bunting-strewn car lots, faded East End boozers, meetings in seedy Soho strip clubs, squirmy grasses and characters asking after someone's mum that are entry level touchstones for anyone wanting to portray dodginess anywhere within the M25. There are other, less familiar elements entirely unique to the film - odd, artless edge-of-70's London locations, heart-warmingly British references to hard-boiled eggs and Rennies, a set-piece robbery carried out with a squeezy Jif lemon and the bizarre sight of a suitcase with a anti-theft mechanism straight out of the London Dungeon (three six foot metal spikes shoot out of it when it's nicked - mental). Add it all up and it begins to sound like a bit of a classic.

The film is far from perfect - the music is poor, Burton's accent is crap, it suffers (like a lot of British films of the time) from obvious re-dubbing, the last half hour is too slow and the cod-psychological ending is, frankly, bobbins. But it helped define two generations of British screen films and TV shows and inadvertently invented the lexicon of the modern cockney gangster. Don't you fink it's about time we showed it some fackin respect?


Page: 1