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Mr. D. R. Hartley "t-weed" (UK)

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Doctor Who -- The Complete Series 5 [DVD]
Doctor Who -- The Complete Series 5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matthew Smith
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £30.49

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sterling return to form, 27 April 2011
This fifth series of Doctor Who is a well needed injection of freshness after a slightly tired and stale fourth outing for new Who.

Elements that are mercifully missing from this series help to lift it to new heights. As an avid viewer, I found David Tennant to be a hugely likeable and charismatic Doctor, not to mention a damn fine actor. However, soap opera type elements, gimmicks such as packing all companions, spin off characters and classic enemies into one show and Mills and Boon romantic asides became a little tiresome for me. It was definitely time for a refresh.

Intelligent writing, engrossing plot developments and a lead that immediately inhabited the role helped the series get off to an explosive start. Matt Smith's so-called tender years are defied from the very off and straight away we're convinced of a 900 year old plus alien - an on-the-surface less compassionate and brash incarnation, all twitchy hands and flailing arms reminiscent of Tom Baker and Patrick Troughton respectively. Matt Smith's Doctor possesses a natural inquisitiveness that is manifest in his searching, darting gaze whenever he addresses another character, he is confident but can switch to frustration and vulnerability in a moment. Yes, he is good.

The stories are a mixed bag, but this has always been the case. When they're good they're very good. The Angels two parter, Amy's Choice and the two part finale all shine. A lot has been said about Vincent and the Doctor which is more than watchable, but I believe I'm alone (so far) in saying that the Athlete soundtrack to the final scene may have been slightly wrong footed? Although in previous series pop culture references became tiresomely prevalent, one thing I liked about this series was the lack of '"Oh, look/listen, it's so-and-so" moments.

Stories such as Victory of the Daleks failed to reach potential which was a shame considering Mark Gatiss' pedigree but I'm not upset over the new Dalek design, for me that's not a deal breaker. There's a story arc that runs through the whole series which is staple Doctor Who fare. Impressively, as with a lot of good science fiction writing, this has been considered throughout the whole series, the previous series and from what I gather the latest series too. There are more twists and expectant revelations than you'd expect from one single show but this one just about pulls it off. It keeps the viewer thinking and watching.

This is clever, well written, entertaining television which needs to be embraced. A proper one-off and a long-running drama that is at the height of its powers. And, don't chastise me for mentioning this, but the series six opener was one of the... no, thee best opener yet! Roll on!

PS. The product... buy this DVD boxset, it's great!

David Lynch Decoded
David Lynch Decoded
by Mark Allyn Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was expecting, 12 April 2011
This review is from: David Lynch Decoded (Paperback)
As already mentioned in other reviews, this is a rather short book and you'll get through it pretty quickly - for me, a couple of days in two sittings.

There are a few things of interest here. The author concentrates on running themes such as electricity, the colour blue and the symbolic meaning behind barking dogs. Though I found some of this quite fascinating, especially the presence of evil travelling through electricity theme which explained a few more baffling moments in Inland Empire, a lot of it I considered quite tenuous.

As a Lynch fan I don't really want to be offered answers on a plate as that's part of the fun, but to read up on the theories and interpretations of others to supplement my own or even contradict them enhances my enjoyment of the films.

Unfortunately this book doesn't really offer any dissection of plot, theory on the overall story for each film or an attempt to interpret them into a more linear (or conventional) structure, which I thought I was going to get.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2011 1:40 AM GMT

The Essential Album
The Essential Album
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Essential?, 12 April 2011
This review is from: The Essential Album (Audio CD)
Hardly essential if you have the capability of tuning into Radio 2 on a regular basis and, lets face it, who doesn't? There are a few genuinely good tracks towards the end of the second CD including the incomparable Nick Drake, but if you're a fan of Nick Drake, chances are that you'll already own this. All-in-all, MOR, pedestrian, non-offensive daytime radio-friendly insipidness. With one exception being Rockstar by Nickleback which is actually so offensive it needs to include a health warning.

The Wicker Man - Director's Cut [DVD]
The Wicker Man - Director's Cut [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Offered by meliarecords
Price: £4.20

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Of it's time?, 25 Feb 2008
The original that is, which sat comfortably in the seventies with it's themes of religious cults coupled with disturbing acts of horror upon a lone innocent. Also being quintessentially British made The Wicker Man what it is, with a sterling lead performance from Edward Woodward displaying uptight frustration and confusion with believable intensity. And this is, I believe, where the problem lies with this film. Updated for a modern audience the whole idea appears somewhat preposterous, and doesn't really do an incredible amount to stop it coming across as anything but... well, downright hilarious - certainly in places. Nicholas Cage (has he given up on the idea of appearing in a good movie?) hams it up like a nutjob in the central role, and who can blame him? The dialogue is complete cheese on toast and he overacts accordingly. These lines deserve no more.

The whole idea of replacing Summerisle's, or Summersisle's original Pagan community to all woman, with no discernable misguided religious cause to sacrifice anybody apart from the fact that they must be a bunch of man-hating whackos stinks a little disturbingly of sexism too. I can't think of any other reason unless I've missed some kind of subtext? All the women are uniformly rotten and creepy without much exception, with Ellen Burstyn's Sister Summersisle possessing none of the charm of Christopher Lee's original performance.

Again, in a typical and quite tiresome rule of remakes, the anti's been upped in the payoff as well. Not content with the quite adequately shocking (thank you very much) climax of the original, the shock value is tainted and not aided by piling it on insecently - this slice of the film gives us one of the funniest lines of the film though: "No! Not the bees!!" It seems that subtlety in modern film making isn't really top of the agenda.

If you've seen and have a special place in your heart for the original, let's face it, you're not going to appreciate this. It's nigh on impossible to forget it whilst watching this and muttering to yourself "Jesus!" at regular intervals, ironically just what Edward Woodward did in the original film.

So no more remakes please, and if there must be - and let's face it, there will be - why not try remaking something that was crap in the first place? It's a novel approach but think about it... an original pants movie could actually be remade into something quite decent, rather than the other way round as usual.

(What's the Story) Morning Glory?
(What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.30

18 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars some might have their say, 7 Dec 2006
Ok, lets think this one over... Oasis aren't really THAT good are they? This album certainly shouldn't be lauded as a defining moment in the last 20 years of rock. There are simple reasons for this - the main and very important reason being that the lyrics are ball-clenchingly dire! Don't look back in anger being a main offender, see "you aint ever gonna burn my heart out"... this was obviously lifted from the scribings of a sixth form poet, who actually believed he was SAYING something when he grinded it into the underside of his school desk with the rusty point of a pair of compasses - just one example amongst many.

It's nothing like Imagine either, don't be silly! The comparisons with Lennon or indeed any Beatles material is completely baffling and actually rather insulting. As one reviewer quite rightly pointed out, Oasis wouldn't know where to start when faced with the prospect of writing something like Eleanor Rigby, or even more so, Blackbird, Norwegian Wood, Honey Pie, Strawberry Fields etc, etc. To simply take the wall of noise of Helter Skelter and the pop structure of She Said She Said and use a dumbed down combination of the two as a blueprint for your career ad nauseum does not a Beatles-sounding band make!

The simple fact is that Oasis are too busy being 'cool' to be considered seriously good songwriters. This coupled with the lack of intelligence and subtlety in their performances, live and in the studio, suggests something more akin to a Glitter Band tribute act than anything else (and not a particularly great one).

Sorry if I've upset anyone - I realise there is a very large fanbase out there and there are certainly much worse bands and records, but on a personal level I am genuinely baffled by the success of this band and the praise which seems to be showered on it! Blur were and are better (shame Damon Albarn comes across as a smug, arrogant little upstart). From the era: Supergrass, Super Furry Animals, Beck, Pulp... all considerably better and were, and in some cases, are much more interesting and exciting than the plodding beast of Oasis. And please, lets put an end to this misguided Beatles comparison - 1) buy the Beatles records 2) listen to them 3) suddenly realise that: O God, this is great! 4) Take WTSMG down to Shelter (along with your half-read copy of the Davinci Code).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 30, 2014 7:09 PM GMT

The Top
The Top
Price: £15.50

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars psychedelic, 21 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Top (Audio CD)
Perhaps one of my favourite Cure albums this, though essentially a solo effort from Robert Smith who at the time was teetering on the edge of thoroughly exhausted madness. It's kind of echoed in the music too, which at times displays Smith's more memorable and quirky song writing sensibilities, but at the same time is rather dark, twisted and schizophrenic. I guess this is the case with most Cure music, but above all this album pushes Smith's musical influences to the forefront considerably and personally I believe this to be a good thing!

So the overall feel is highly psychedelic, notably Shake Dog Shake, Piggy in the Mirror and Bananafishbones, the latter displaying most signs with its garagey drums and descending bass motif. And lets face it, with a title like that, which though has its origins in literature I believe, could be the name of a Captain Beefheart track. Piggy in the mirror also should be noted for its apparent use of Hammond Organ which to my knowledge you don't get much of in Cure music. This also lends it a 60's retro touch, which is most welcome.

The album also contains some of The Cure's most lovely and melodious moments such as Birdmad Girl and The Caterpillar. The former is so bright and breezy and perfectly poppy you smile, tap your foot and nod your head unfailingly with every listen. The Caterpillar meanwhile is probably the most 'acoustic sounding' track the band has produced - it skips along prettily like a butterfly (a deliberate move obviously), with fluttering acoustic strings and multi - layered percussion and again the melody is quite delicious! Also its one track in the Cure canon that wears a Nick Drake influence firmly on its sleeve, a great Smith influence that is rarely evident in the majority of the band's history.

A few curiosities are also chucked in the mix... Dressing Up, which suggests the era more than the majority of the album in it's sound, is an almost 80s sounding soul ballad. Smith's vocals cascade drunkenly over the top in a Billy Mackenzie like drawl, giving most evidence of his vocal experimentation across this set of songs. And preceding this track is the fierce Give Me it, which is one of the most angry and ferocious songs that the Cure has recorded, and given that the album proper previous to this was Pornography, that's saying quite a bit!

The second disc packaged with this deluxe edition has its fair degree of interest though I'm not sure how often it would be played. The demo versions are generally not dissimilar to the final versions but are mere sketches and feel incomplete... and let's face it not as good! This not being the case with all the reissues of course. The RS home demo of 10.15 Saturday Night on the Three Imaginary Boys Deluxe Edition has incredible charm for instance. But this doesn't really matter, this is worth getting for the main album and the packaging for the reissues is quite splendid too, and at the price it is at the moment is certainly well worth a purchase.

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