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Dried Porcini Mushrooms - Extra Quality 200g
Dried Porcini Mushrooms - Extra Quality 200g
Offered by Urban Merchants, Your Fine Food Supplier
Price: £21.50

5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST Porcini Mushrooms!, 30 May 2014
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Having purchased dried Porcini on my last visit to Italy, when they were gone I started looking for Italian Porcini on Amazon. However, if you look closely you will find that the vast majority are either grown in France or China. They are cheaper for sure but you get what you pay for. The ones from China I have eaten were full of soil and grit no matter how many times I changed the water when soaking them, and the flavour was distinctly weaker.

These Italian Porcini are wonderful. Huge slices of prime mushroom with a fantastic aroma. If you have eaten Porcini in Italy you will know immediately how good these are when you taste them.. I use them mainly in Risotto, or sometimes in Gnocchi dishes. They are also a wonderful topping for a nice juicy steak, and make a superb stock.

So don't be put off at £25 (including postage) for 200g - a risotto for four people only uses about 15g. A bag of these should last you quite a while, unless you are addicted like me and eat them three or four times a week. I will be back to place another order soon because these are the real deal!


Hardware - The Complete Series [2003] [DVD]
Hardware - The Complete Series [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martin Freeman
Price: £11.58

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive Sitcom, 14 Dec 2011
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* The Good....... This sitcom really has a great ensemble cast, all of the six main actors are given plenty of screen time and really 'nail' their characters. I was especially impressed by Susan Earl who plays Anne, the girlfriend of Martin Freeman (Mike). Peter Serafinowicz (Kenny), Ken Morley (Rex), Ryan Cartwright (Steve), and Ella Kenion (Julie) are all excellent too. There is plenty of quotable dialogue throughout both series, and some of it quite risqué. Not sure about the 12 certificate this has been given!

Mike: What's your favorite sexual position?
Kenny: (thinks for a while) They're all good, aren't they?

* The Bad....... This is a Network release so there are no subtitles available.

* The Ugly....... Quoting from the small print, "For contractual reasons some episodes differ from their transmitted versions". And this really is ugly because what they have done is, not just removed the music, but cut entire scenes where music was playing. So for example, in the episode Bondage you do not get to see them take the suspicious man to the police station because the song 'Born Free' was playing.

Series 1 was originally broadcast March 23-April 27 2003 with six episodes; Nice, Naked, Bondage, Finger, Women, and Hutch.

Series 2 was originally broadcast March 7-April 11 2004 with six episodes; Bastard, Big Foot, Nude, Loser, Tony Two-Ways, and Celebrity.

Picture quality is excellent, and despite the cuts I am still pleased to have this DVD in my collection. Definitely worth a viewing every few years if only to see the lovely Susan Earl ;)


King Of California [2007] [DVD]
King Of California [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Evan Rachel Wood

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Performances in Quirky Comedy-Drama, 29 July 2011
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Michael Douglas at his best, ably supported by Evan Rachel Wood. This is a film that plays with your emotions on a ninety minute rollercoaster of a ride. It has comedic moments throughout, but at its core there is drama and tragedy.

If you are averse to product placement in films you may find large sections filmed at McDonald's and Costco to be irritating, but in truth neither of these companies are shown in a particularly good light.... McDonald's management as slave drivers and Costco management as swingers!

The DVD has options for 5.1 Dolby Surround or 2.0 Dolby Stereo, but the only extra is a 10 minute Making-of Featurette. And unfortunately there are no subtitles.

Definitely one to see if you are a fan of Michael Douglas, he is on top form here in his crazy role.


Seize The Day [DVD] [1986]
Seize The Day [DVD] [1986]
Dvd ~ Robin Williams
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £4.35

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The truth is one parent can support ten children but ten children can't support one parent, 8 July 2011
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This review is from: Seize The Day [DVD] [1986] (DVD)
It would appear Amazon have placed all the book reviews for Seize the Day on this page. So here is a review for the DVD, and I should perhaps mention that I have never read the book by Saul Bellow.

Robin Williams gives a fantastic, manic performance here in one of his few serious roles. He is in almost every scene of the film bursting with energy and in an over-excited state as his problems mount and his rejection increases. Set in the 1950s and for the most part in New York, attention to period detail is good, as is the acting of the supporting cast. However, watching this film left me drained, it was quite depressing to witness a life spiral ever downwards. The ending is abrupt and for me at least, one of the most devastating ever committed to film.

Special mention for Jerry Stiller (father of Ben) playing a sleazy con-artist who almost steals the scenes he shares with Williams. No easy task. The lovely Glenne Headly has a minor part looking wonderful when this was made back in 1986. She still looks good now though, twenty-five years later.

The DVD itself is completely bare bones. Nothing. No subtitles, no restoration, no extras. Sound is 2.0 Stereo and picture is full frame 4:3, although I beleive this is the correct ratio as it was made for PBS television in the US.

Worth your time, but be prepared to experience a downer.


Dirty Rotten Scoundrels [DVD] [1988] [1989]
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels [DVD] [1988] [1989]
Dvd ~ Steve Martin
Price: £4.71

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruprecht, do you want the genital cuff?, 7 July 2011
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A wonderful remake of Bedtime Story (1964) which starred Marlon Brando, David Niven and Shirley Jones.

There are so many jokes crammed within the 106 minutes of this film, it really is a laugh from start to finish. The combination of Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly was an inspired choice with the humour moving from dry to slapstick and back again within the same scene.

Impossible to single out a favourite joke, but this comes close;

Freddy Benson:
I know somebody here! I met him on a train! His name... is... his name is... James. No. His name is... James Josephson. Lor. No, no, no. James Lawrence. LAWRENCE... Lawrence. Lawrence Fells. Lawrence Feings. Forest Lorenston. Low. Lars. LARS. Lawrence. Lawrence. Luch. Lawrence. Tuh. His name is James Jesenthon. Lawrence Fell. Lawrence Jesterton. LAWRENCE JESTERTON.

Inspector Andre:
...Lawrence Jamieson?

Filmed on location in the south of France which looks beautiful in every shot, the DVD has a crystal clear print. Only extra is the theatrical trailer, which itself includes an extremely funny scene at the very end presumably shot specifically just for the trailer.

Well worth a second viewing to make sure you catch all of the jokes. A Great DVD at a budget price.


The Sugarland Express [DVD]
The Sugarland Express [DVD]
Dvd ~ Goldie Hawn
Price: £4.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criminally Under-rated Road Movie, 5 July 2011
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This review is from: The Sugarland Express [DVD] (DVD)
The Sugarland Express is very loosely based on the true story in May 1969 of Robert and Ila Faye Dent. The film develops into possibly the slowest ever police chase road movie. There are lots of great set pieces along the way, and the cinematography is outstanding throughout.

This was Spielberg's first feature film, preceding Jaws by a year, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind by three. Previously he had directed a couple of TV films (Duel being the most famous), and a few episodes from shows like Night Gallery and even an episode of Columbo.

Despite playing unlikeable leads in a downbeat film, both Goldie Hawn and William Atherton give great performances. If you enjoy Bonnie & Clyde - 40th Anniversary Edition [DVD], Badlands [DVD], Dirty Mary Crazy Larry & Race With the Devil [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC], or just road movies in general then I am sure you will find something to like in this wonderful film.

Ratio - 2:35 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound - 2.0 Mono
Subtitles - English (despite the back cover stating 'None')


Melville Boxset [DVD]
Melville Boxset [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lino Ventura
Price: £24.57

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Box Set full of Extras, 20 April 2011
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This review is from: Melville Boxset [DVD] (DVD)
* Bob le flambeur (1956) 98 mins B/W
Brilliant performance by Roger Duchesne as Bob the world-weary anti-hero. Isabelle Corey looking a bit awkward in her screen debut but lovely nonetheless. Brief nudity even for 1956 too.

Extras:
Introduction by Ginette Vincendeau

* Léon Morin, prêtre (1961) 112 mins B/W
Emmanuele Riva falls in love with a priest played by Jean-Paul Belmondo. Well-acted, but full of heavy discussions about religion which did not appeal to me. I found it difficult to sit through in one go, and it is the only film of the six I wouldn't watch again.

Extras:
Introduction by Ginette Vincendeau
Selected Scene Commentary
Interview with Assistant Director Volker Schlöndorff
Original Trailer

* Le doulos (1962) 104 mins B/W
Jean-Paul Belmondo again in Melville's stylish homage to film-noir. Brilliantly directed with a maze of a plot. Notable for a famous nine-minute single take in the Police Station.

Extras:
Introduction by Ginette Vincendeau
Selected Scene Commentary
Interview with Assistant Director Volker Schlöndorff
Original Trailer

* Army of Shadows (L'armée des ombres) (1969) 139 mins Colour
France under German occuaption. Lino Ventura excellent throughout as one of the leaders of the Resistance. Some interesting set-pieces and a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Extras:
Commentary by Ginette Vincendeau
Documentary: Le Journal de la Resistance (33 mins)
Featurette: Jean-Pierre Melville, Filmmaker (5 mins)
Featurette: Melville, Army of Shadows (28 mins)
Trailer

* Le cercle rouge (1970) 135 mins Colour
Alain Delon, Gian-Maria Volonte and Yves Montand star in the ultimate robbery attempt. Will they be thwarted by the police though? Crime cinema at its best.

Extras:
Introduction and Commentary by Ginette Vincendeau
Interview with Assistant Director Bernard Stora
Rui Nogueira on Melville
Original Trailer

* Un flic (1972) 96 mins Colour
Melville's last film, and certainly not his best. Alain Delon is with the police this time out battling friend and criminal Richard Crenna for the love of Catherine Deneuve. Enjoyable to a point, but the use of train and helicopter models make it look like a Joe 90 episode at times. Strangely, Michael Conrad (Sgt. Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues) also co-stars in a French-speaking role! That caught me off balance.

Extras:
None

Overall, a fantastic set at this price. Melville was a unique director, and you can learn a lot about him from the extras.


The Cup [DVD]
The Cup [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Edge

5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Gem, 29 Mar 2011
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This review is from: The Cup [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fantastic 'fly-on-the-wall' comedy/drama in the style of The Office, but faster and for me at least, being a football fan, much funnier. This was originally shown on BBC from 21st August to 25th September 2008.

Terry McConnell (Steve Edge) will stop at nothing to get his son Malky (Ceallach Spellman) watched by the scout of Bolton Wanderers whilst playing for Ashburn United U11s. His long suffering wife, Janice is wonderfully acted by Jennifer Hennessy. Excellent support from Tanya Franks and Dominic Coleman as Sandra and Vincent Farrell the team sponsors........ and funeral directors. The rest of the cast all play their parts to perfection as well.

DVD includes:

* Extended Scenes
* Deleted Scenes
* Audio Commentaries
* Character Extras
* Making of Featurette
* Outtakes

16:9 widescreen, Dolby Digital Stereo, and English Subtitles for the Hard of Hearing. Running time for the six episodes is actually 175 mins and not 147 as listed here by Amazon.

Also on the 2 DVD set there is an Alternate Ending Easter Egg, and a really funny disclaimer by Steve Edge and Jennifer Hennessy.

A real gem that somehow seems to have slipped under the radar. If you are interested in football at any level I am sure you will enjoy this DVD.


Private Property [DVD]
Private Property [DVD]
Dvd ~ Isabelle Huppert
Offered by videosanddvds
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Family Dysfunction Without Boundaries, 3 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Private Property [DVD] (DVD)
A film about family dysfunction. A film about boundaries, or rather the lack of them.

Belgian writer/director Joachim Lafosse creates a simmering tension via the use of long static takes with a single camera, and a total absence of music (except for the very end).

As the arguments erupt you feel obliged to take sides as you are drawn inside the family. Most of these disputes are centered around the dinner table, and the realism peppered with awkward silences is totally engrossing.

How often do you see actors really eat their food? In almost every film and television programme they just push the food around with their fork, and cut it into ever smaller pieces without actually eating any of it. Not so here, the food is devoured as if they hadn't eaten for a week! Anyone who remembers Stan Ogden scoffing a dinner and then mopping up any remnants with a slice of bread in 'Coronation Street', or Alf Garnett tucking into egg and chips in 'Till Death Us Do Part' will know what I mean here.

Fantastic performances from all involved, and extra plaudits for director Joachim Lafosse.

The DVD is an excellent transfer and the French subtitles are removable. The only extra is the Theatrical Trailer, and three other trailers for films realeased by Soda Pictures. DVD runs 89 minutes and not 95 as listed by Amazon.


Julie & Julia (Giftset With Cookery Book) [DVD]
Julie & Julia (Giftset With Cookery Book) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Meryl Streep
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Review for the DVD + Book Edition, 25 Feb 2011
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Meryl Streep is such a fantastic actress that from her very first scene she *is* Julia Child, America's answer to Britain's very own Fanny Cradock! Her scenes with Stanley Tucci who plays her husband Paul Child really elevate this film to a higher level than I had anticipated before viewing.

Like some of the reviewers here, I also could have gone with the entire film being based on their relationship in Paris but it was still a very enjoyable two hours.

The film moves rapidly forward as it switches back and forth from late 1940s Paris to 1992 New York where Amy Adams plays the part of Julie Powell - with Chris Messina as her husband. I felt that the New York scenes played a bit like a rom-com.

* Commentary with Writer/Director Nora Ephron

* Secret Ingredients: Creating Julie & Julia
(27 minutes of Cast, Director, and Production Crew interviews including Meryl
Streep admitting to gaining 15 pounds in weight during the making of the film)

* An abridged version of the book 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking', containing
thirty recipes over 72 pages which include both the 'Boeuf Borguignon' and 'Boned
Stuffed Duck in Pastry' recipes seen in the film

* Sound is available in 5.1 Dolby Digital English or Italian

* Subtitles are listed as; English for the Hard of Hearing, Danish, English,
Finnish, Italian, Norweigan, Swedish

* 1:85 Amamorphic Widescreen

And despite all that butter......... both Julia and Paul Child lived into their nineties.


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