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nicjaytee (London)

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2001: A Space Odyssey [1968] [DVD]
2001: A Space Odyssey [1968] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keir Dullea
Price: £5.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten the best bit?, 15 Mar 2007
Over the 40 years since its release "2001" has justifiably retained its status as an iconic masterpiece: the cinema photography is stunning, the storyline is eerily gripping, the visual effects are incredible (even more so when one considers the limited technologies available at the time) and the musical soundtrack is inspired.

But we all know this... and we've all marvelled at it before. So, what happens when you put it on after a 15 year gap from the last time you saw it? Well, what really hits home is just how good the opening sequence in which the ape-men discover "knowledge" is. Beautifully photographed, meticulously designed (just how did they make those ape suits look so genuine?), superbly "acted" and wholly effective - so much so that you really do feel you're there at "The Dawn of Man". And while large parts of what follows have inevitably dated, albeit a great deal less than any other contemporary "vision of the future" film, this first 15 minute sequence remains as fresh and grippingly believable as the day it was made... worth the effort of renting it, or dusting down your old copy, just to marvel at it once again. A timeless and truly inspired slice of cinematic genius.

MacBook Pro 17" 2.33GHz/2GB/160GB/SD/AP/BT
MacBook Pro 17" 2.33GHz/2GB/160GB/SD/AP/BT

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Mac laptop... but even better for Windows users?, 15 Mar 2007
As a dedicated PC user who's bought a lot of top end, Windows based desktops and laptops over the years I recently bought a fully spec'd 17" MacBook Pro (3 megabyte RAM) to see what the fuss was about. So what happened?

Well, right from that first start-up you're into the Mac's "it's so easy" world and, once you've installed all those pretty & clever widgets, got over the "it looks a bit too funky for me" reaction to the, actually, extremely useful docking bar, realised that installation of your applications is as simple as they claim, eventually, after much searching on the Internet, found someone kind enough to explain how you emulate the MacBook Pro's one ridiculous weakness - the missing "Delete" key (you hold down the "fn" & "backspace" keys at the same time) - and had a week of installing huge amounts of programs, coupled with a lot of messing about, without a single "crash" or "freeze" and with no obvious delays to the impressively quick start-up sequence, you're where you hoped you'd be... which is, from bitter experience, a pretty unusual experience with a new Windows PC.

But, once over the "I think I've fallen in love" phase, it's time for a more sensible evaluation of how the things work on a day-to-day basis for a Windows user. First off, the big disappointments... those staple programs of your PC either don't look too great on the Mac (Word & Excel), are difficult to emulate in Mac dedicated software (Outlook in particular), don't work on it at all (MS Publisher, Autoroute and the wonderful Digiguide), or, in the case of Adobe Photoshop & InDesign, run noticeably slower... isn't the Mac supposed to be the best thing out there for imaging & DTP? Sure, the imminent new releases of both Adobe programs are supposed to rectify this problem but hey, we're on a top end machine here with the current versions of two of the Mac's "signature" programs.

And the good news? Well, Apple's "Pages" is an incompatible but wonderfully powerful alternative to Publisher - you won't want to go back - the Mac's Utilities (hidden in the Applications folder) are simple to use and brilliantly effective, the installation of a wireless network using Airport Extreme & Express units is remarkably straightforward, that is once you've figured out that you use the Mac (not any of the PC's connected to the network) as the machine on which the configuration settings are made, and the whole "feel" of the OSX environment inspires confidence, making you want to keep exploring new Mac applications.

But that's only the start of it... because what makes this machine so stunningly impressive for any Windows user is what it does once you install and correctly configure "Parallels", the Mac's recently released "killer" application that lets you run Windows as though it's just another Mac application. Quite simply, it converts this MacBook into the fastest, highest resolution Windows laptop I've ever used. Set the screen resolution in the Windows "window" to 1538 x 921 pixels, make sure that the Parallels Tools are installed correctly, select "Full Screen" mode and there it is... quite amazing... looks better than the any laptop you've ever seen (better than the MacBook Pro in Mac mode itself), works like a PC, lets you seamlessly transfer files between the Mac window and the PC window, and transforms your Windows versions of Word, Excel, Publisher and even Photoshop into the most beautiful experiences. And, when you get bored with your Windows programs you're only a keystroke away from watching the screen flip round to reveal your Mac.

Mac "geeks" may continue to argue that OSX is better than Windows but the truth is that Apple have produced the perfect solution... a laptop that runs OSX at its highest levels and Windows at a level that's as good as and possibly better than any dedicated PC laptop out there. Incredible.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 13, 2009 12:46 PM BST

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.79

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing... but worth the money?, 4 Mar 2007
This review is from: Love (Audio CD)
There's no doubt about the care that's gone into this odd but intriguing remix of classic Beatles tracks by George & Giles Martin. And, of course, stripped of the Cirque du Soleil's apparently stunning performance for which it provides the critical backdrop, reviewing it as stand alone music is a bit unfair... but here we are... so, is it worth the money?

Well, first time through it'll probably leave you bemused. So many of the tracks are so etched into our brains that cutting and mixing them together in this way is jarring, occasionally bizarre and, in places, reminiscent of Jive Bunny. But, wait a minute... isn't that mix of "Help" much clearer than you remember... isn't that combination of the backbeat from "Tomorrow Never Knows" over "Within You Without You" just so powerful... hasn't that "out-take" version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end... and, doesn't the adding of strings to George Harrison's already stunningly beautiful acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" make it even better? Time for another listen...

Sure, some of what's in here only works in the context of a show that you can't see but there's more than enough on offer - more vibrant productions of several classic tracks, fascinating combinations of others and several brilliant, near "total" remakes that only George Martin could dare attempt - to make it work as a "music only" experience. And, once you get past analysing the remixes and sequencings you'll end up starting to play it for what it is... a beautifully produced, clever and at times genuinely exciting celebration of some quite exceptional music.

Dust My Broom
Dust My Broom
Price: £17.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure driving "atmosphere"..., 24 Feb 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dust My Broom (Audio CD)
Boozoo Bajou aren't your normal, run of the mill electronica/dance outfit... they're somewhere else. Quite where can be difficult to fathom out at times but don't let that put you off because "Dust My Broom" like "Boozoo Bajou Remixes" is a clever and hugely addictive album. Soaked in driving beats, wonderful reggae & dub overlays and some ridiculously atmospheric, heavily reverbed guitar riffs, it's like Kruder & Dorfmeister meet Dr John and King Tubby with a bit of Luther Vandross thrown in for good measure. Sounds odd... well it is - check out "Keep Going", "Blast", "Killer", "Take it Slow" & "Treat Me" to see what you're in for - but then that's what makes it so good.

Fresh Cream
Fresh Cream
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, timeless debut..., 16 Jan 2007
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
When you set out to be "the best", as Cream did, you'd better be sure you deliver. And, after a very odd start with their first single "Wrapping Paper" - that left those who hadn't seen them live wondering what all the fuss was about - deliver they did with an album that remains one of the most inventive and powerful debuts of all time. Still exciting forty years on (and helped by the inclusion of "I Feel Free" which inexplicably was only released as a single in the UK despite being recorded in the same sessions) its combination of driving blues and Eric Clapton's incredible "barrier bending" guitar playing - evidenced to perfection in their stunning interpretation of Skip James' "I'm So Glad" - took the British R&B scene by storm and set a precedent that raised expectations of what was to come beyond all reasonable levels.

There was indeed more to come, but while much of "Disraeli Gears" and parts of "Wheels of Fire" were as good, if not better, "Fresh Cream" is infused with the sheer enthusiasm of a group getting it right for the first time. And, like all similarly brilliant debut albums, that's what shines through and makes it timeless.

The Very Best Of Julie London
The Very Best Of Julie London
Price: £9.43

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Late Night Music..., 22 Dec 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There's something about Julie London's voice... sultry, sexy, super-cool... that perfectly captures the feel of the night. And, if you only know of her through "Cry Me a River" - as most people do - then you're in for a real treat because between the mid 50's and the late 60's she produced a huge amount of similarly beautiful music.

Featuring 50 tracks, most of which are "standards", virtually all of which are near-perfect examples of how to inject pure "atmosphere" into a song, and an incredibly large number of which are better than their more famous originals, this superb compilation will leave you wondering why she wasn't ranked up there with the great artists of her time... and, more interestingly, given the huge popularity of recent "jazz-cool" artists such as Norah Jones, why she's still so undiscovered.

Best of all this selection is a quite superb, flawlessly sung & played "late night" album - put it on and slip into over two hours of gloriously laid back music... you won't find much better.

Extras : Complete BBC Series 1 [2005] [DVD]
Extras : Complete BBC Series 1 [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ricky Gervais
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.74

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what any great comedy series should do..., 20 Oct 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Which is?...make you laugh. If you caught a couple of episodes on its first run and wondered what on earth it was all about, or if you missed the whole lot, then this DVD is a real treat because the six episodes hold together as a "story" and, as you start to understand what's going on, the three main characters just get funnier & funnier. And, like all great comedy, it gets better with repeat viewing. Gervais' acting is superbly understated, Ashley Jenson is his perfect foil as the "put upon" extra, Stephen Merchant is a perfectly cast comic revelation as his fast-talking but hopeless agent, and the idea of making famous stars make fools of themselves is excruciatingly embarrassing and, as a result, brilliantly funny.

Sure, some episodes work better than others, but with the possible exception of Fawlty Towers, no "classic" comedy series has hit the bull's-eye every single time and there are more than enough winners here to put it straight into "classic" status. The result? A full evening's worth of great comedy that you'll watch over & over again. Not bad for a "follow-up".

99.9 F°
99.9 F°
Price: £7.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different and exciting..., 10 Oct 2006
This review is from: 99.9 F° (Audio CD)
What makes Suzanne Vega such an interesting artist is that she's not just one of the best rock poets out there but she's prepared to push things to the edge. Usually it's in her subject matter which deals with unusual, occasionally disquieting issues - prostitution, child abuse, death, divorce, even lesbianism - delivered, very cleverly, via strong often ecstatic melodies and driving, tightly metered lyrics that make the impact of what she's actually singing about so hauntingly effective.

But on 1992's "99.9F" she and her husband, Mitchell Froom, took things one step further - adding challenging and, for the time, highly adventurous arrangements to her essentially folk-rock melodies. And it worked... with the hard, often harshly "industrial", multi-layered rhythms adding to the impact of her songs and perfectly complementing her almost deadpan approach to them. Different, exciting, at times (as on the exquisite "In Liverpool") quite beautiful, and, with only a couple of exceptions, very effective it's not only stood the test of time but begs the question why she hasn't worked with more similarly adventurous producers to take things even further.

Not that there's anything wrong with her sparse, equally intriguing but musically "safer" output since then - both "Nine Objects of Desire" & "Songs in Red & Gray" are superb albums - but, as 99.9F showed, her highly distinctive, almost detached delivery coupled with the sheer power of her compositions are ideally suited to a more innovative & adventurous approach... time for a collaboration with one of the new generation of perceptive electronica/dance master mixers?

RetroSpective - The Best Of Suzanne Vega
RetroSpective - The Best Of Suzanne Vega
Price: £4.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to discover one of the most under-rated artists out there, start here..., 8 Oct 2006
Because Suzanne Vega has, over the past 20 years, produced some of the very best rock-poetry you'll find. An artist that's prepared to push things out to the edge lyrically without losing sight of the fact that what makes a song work is a great tune, an exciting, carefully executed arrangement and... beautifully sincere delivery. And, when she gets it right, as this compilation more than adequately shows, the results are quite stunning.

So, if you want to be introduced to the joys on offer start with this and, once you've taken it all in, get ready for a pleasant surprise because, so far, there are only six albums to spend you're hard earned money on. And, unlike most artists' output all of them contain enough "gems" that aren't included here to justify the expense. Sometimes less is better and in Suzanne Vega's case the vast majority of what she's released deserves inclusion in any comprehensive "retrospective" - which, of course, means that an album like this can only be a "sampler" for her superbly consistent and intriguing music.

Solitude Standing
Solitude Standing
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.72

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, timeless and totally under-rated classic..., 8 Oct 2006
This review is from: Solitude Standing (Audio CD)
Over her 20 year career Suzanne Vega has produced a great deal of music that's as good as or better than any of her more famous singer/songwriter peers, with the difference that she's prepared to push things out to the edge lyrically without losing sight of the fact that what makes a song work is a great tune, an exciting, carefully executed arrangement and... sincere delivery. And, when she gets it right, as she does here, the results are quite stunning.

Stand-out tracks such as "Luka", "Solitude Standing" & "In the Eye" suck you in with their exhilarating, wonderfully catchy rock melodies until you listen again to their perfectly metered lyrics and realise that what she's talking about is something far darker and deeper than their melodies suggest. And when she steps back into the more folk based style that this type of rock-poetry is usually found - areas that artists like Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen pioneered - their unusual and above all superbly atmospheric arrangements turn them into something very different and very special. Perfect examples of how to make songs genuinely thoughtful and almost ecstatically enjoyable at the same time.

The result? A beautiful, timeless and unforgettable album that anyone who is into "good music" should have in their collection.

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