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S. Millman (Penarth, Wales)

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CaseGuru Premium Dual Fit Luxury Entertainment Wallet Case Cover Protection for Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 P5100 featuring Pen Holder/ Magnetic Snap Closure and Viewing Stand (Dark blue)
CaseGuru Premium Dual Fit Luxury Entertainment Wallet Case Cover Protection for Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 P5100 featuring Pen Holder/ Magnetic Snap Closure and Viewing Stand (Dark blue)
Offered by Case Guru
Price: 29.99

2.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for..., 15 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The case fits fine (a little snug, but the tablet slides in with a bit of work), but the material is incredibly cheap. The pleather smells very plasticky, and is finished badly - loose threads, rough edges etc. Theres a stylus loop that serves no purpose (no stylus included, and the note has its own built in stylus) and once the stand function has been used it won't close properly. The case also has a plastic lining rather than the material shown in the photo. You get what you pay for I suppose.

Banshee Chapter [DVD]
Banshee Chapter [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ted Levine
Price: 7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MK-Ultra - one hell of a drug, 25 Jan 2014
This review is from: Banshee Chapter [DVD] (DVD)
Films have used technology as a conduit for creepiness for a long time. Ringu, Shutter, Videodrome, One Missed Call - all varying in quality, but the list goes on and on. There's just something very disturbing about staring into static and suddenly finding someone staring back.
Banshee Chapter explores the idea of number stations - shortwave radio stations that emit random sequences of numbers for no apparent reason - which are actually real and pretty creepy in themselves. Our heroine investigates the disappearance of a friend who recently took a secret drug developed by the government, documented on a tape that was interrupted by one of these stations. She uses her skills as a journalist to investigate the drug further, following the pathway of this station's range. She discovers that whoever takes this drug usually disappears, stating something along the lines of "they're here" and triggering the number station to play on any nearby radios. (This will be familiar fare to any fans of recent internet urban legend. I would be shocked if the writer or crew weren't inspired by SCP or Slenderman, or any of their spinoffs.)
The film has an interesting tone, and didn't fall into the trap of making their characters unlikeable or underdeveloped. I cared about the main character, and found that she acted fairly logically and understandably for the situation (or, as much as the situation allowed). The story was well paced, well timed, and the scares were ok, if a little predictable.
I think that is my main criticism for Banshee. While the idea of it is very scary - number stations, a mystery drug, government testing, Lovecraftian themes - it never really lives up to it's themes. It is scary in parts, but there's so much you could do with those ideas that doesn't lead down the usual jump scare and handheld, grainy found footage roads. It's not as predictable as, say, a slasher like Scream, but a seasoned horror fan could see some of the scares coming a mile off. And those scares were usually, oh look, there's a person there that wasn't before or oh, that guy has no eyes. It could have been so, so inventive and great but it was just - decent.
Banshee also suffers from quite hokey special effects - the scary reveals are always fairly brief to combat this - but that doesn't really detract from the scares or enjoyment of the film. It seems to be a pretty low budget production so it's understandable, and personally, I'd prefer to see a story and script up to standard than excellent SFX.
Aside from the excellent number station motif, the sound design is also quite lame. Heart beats, soaring strings, occasionally a random synth... It's all usual horror film fare, and I would have liked to have heard something a bit more subtle or original to match the interesting subject matter.
Aside from all that, Banshee is still quite an interesting and entertaining horror movie. There are some genuine jump scares and an overall creepiness that you won't forget for a while. With a bit of polishing, it could have been excellent, but as it stands it's an ok film.

Train [DVD]
Train [DVD]
Dvd ~ Thora Birch
Price: 5.00

2.0 out of 5 stars What a train wreck, 1 Aug 2012
This review is from: Train [DVD] (DVD)
Well, where to begin. I'm an avid horror fan - everything from haunted houses to gorefests, I'm there. I'd barely heard of this title but, having seen this crop up in some personal top ten lists, decided to give it a go.
Train finds it difficult to compete with other horror movies on any level. If you're a gore fan, the big set pieces aren't particularly well done and most of the "shocking" scenes we've seen a million times before. While I don't enjoy "torture porn" very much it doesn't bother me, and I can appreciate well done effects and the stamina needed to endure such scenes. There's one point where one of the main characters is dragged away from the train, presumably to meet a sticky end, and the camera cuts back to the passengers looking on (in what? Horror? Ambivalence?). Surely this is completely against the premise of such gory films? Why cut away before a scene that is supposedly part of the selling point of your movie? It seems strangely squeamish for a film which claims to compete with Hostel.
It is to be expected that character development will fall short in films such as these, but Train is on a whole other level. It is unclear whether the antagonists are masochistic and enjoy their work, or are simply following orders - indeed, apart from one woman and the conductor whose uniform is his identifier, all the "villains" fade into one insultingly stereotypical mess. One guy has an axe, so I suppose he stands out. The other passengers simply stand by, and don't even react to the horrors in which the protagonists find themselves. While I can see that this might be intentional to highlight the extremes to which people can turn a blind eye - and one scene in which Birch confronts them points to this - the film is so poorly written that these messages are pretty much lost. The background characters are cardboard cutouts whose entire purpose is to point and stare blankly. When it is revealed that many of them (and I apologize if this is a spoiler) are on the train to recieve organ transplants stolen from the american travellers, their ambivalence makes a lot more sense, but it still makes for dull viewing.
The main characters are also wasted: I found that I could not identify with the protagonists at all, nor did I particularly care what happened to them. None of them have convincing characteristics or behave realistically. For example, two dodgy men in stained vests approach Birch and ask for the group's passports, "to stop them from getting stolen". She complies! Who in their right mind would give up their passports to these people??
It is difficult to find anything good about Train. The story plods along in a predicable fashion, with very little tension or build up, and the scares are minimal. The gore - arguably the easiest part of the movie to pull off effectively - falls completely flat and fails to be either convincing or shocking. In my opinion it's best avoided, probably in favour of something like Martyrs, Hostel, Ichi the Killer or even Braindead if gore is your thing.

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook
A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook
by Chelsea Monroe Cassel
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the eyes, 28 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for a friend's birthday who's obsessed with a Song of Ice and Fire. I like the series too, so I could appreciate how great this book is. Not only does it include recipes for foods that are directly mentioned in the books, but it also has many real-life medieval versions which are fascinating to compare. The illustrations are lovely, as are the background notes and information provided by the authors.
I really didn't want to give this away. Even though I am not a good cook, I could definitely read this just for fun. You can really feel the authors' passion for the books and their work, and it makes for a great read. The only reason I've knocked off a star is the fact that some of the recipes seem quite complex and at times impractical (as I recall one even involves locusts...), but as I've mentioned previously I'm a useless chef so perhaps I'm not one to judge.
A must for any George R.R. Martin fan.

[Rec] Genesis [DVD]
[Rec] Genesis [DVD]
Dvd ~ Leticia Dolera
Price: 4.75

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A change of pace, 28 July 2012
This review is from: [Rec] Genesis [DVD] (DVD)
The creators of REC must have found themselves with a dilemma. Do you a) continue with the same format, and progress the storyline but basically create nearly the same film as its prequels or b) do something entirely different and risk losing fans?
Evidently they went for b). And it's a mixed blessing.
After 20 minutes the original hand-held found footage format is ditched, switching to traditional third person shooting. I found this slightly disappointing as they establish three different viewpoints (aka cameramen) in those twenty minutes, and it seems like a rather throwaway measure - why take the time to create three different versions of the same events if you're going to ditch them all in a few minutes time? You barely see any of the "cinematic" cameraman's footage, so his purpose within the film is almost entirely pointless. Just one cameraman - the groom's brother - would have been enough. Nevertheless, this first twenty minutes is on form, and the eventual zombie attack is well staged. Throughout the movie there are little nods to the previous films which are lovely, but far too few.
REC3 is pretty cliched, but this isn't always a bad thing. It borrows from other successes of the genre (Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead etc.) extensively, and many of the scares left me groaning - not unlike the zombies. However, this makes the film a lot more fun than the last two films. While the original REC left me breathless and exhausted from the tension and scares, REC3 is simply a satisfying, solid zombie movie. Very little scares but some excellent scenes (especially Clara's "bridezilla" moment).
My problem with this is that they may as well have created an entirely different franchise. It seems almost tacked on - like they wrote the script and then decided it would be part of the REC series. While the religious themes link it to the second REC, in terms of tone, REC3 is vastly different to it's predecessors. Ditching the handheld was probably a good move, given the fact that the found footage genre has been overwhelmed since the release of the original, but they did not need to lose everything else that made REC so scary. There was not much tension or grit, no actual fear for the characters or their predicament - it doesn't even progress the story arc of the original two. I went into this film expecting to be scared, and while I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but feel disappointed.
But maybe that's just me. Walk into this with no expectations and you'll certainly find an entertaining film. The tagline on the DVD states it's a "crowd-pleaser" and it is that - but it's nothing special.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2012 7:30 PM BST

Final Fantasy XIV Online USB Wired Game Controller (PC)
Final Fantasy XIV Online USB Wired Game Controller (PC)
Offered by Piranha Technology
Price: 24.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - can't fault it, 22 July 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm relatively new to PC gaming, so this is my first usb controller. It was incredibly easy to set up and use, and I have used this on both Win 7 and Vista and no problems as yet (though I would recommend updating the driver as soon as you get it from The buttons are very responsive and it feels durable and weighty, not like cheaper models. It also works perfectly with programs like Xpadder, and even has vibrate functions. I'm so glad that I opted for this one, looking forward to many hours of gaming with it!

Nintendo Girls Mario T-Shirt
Nintendo Girls Mario T-Shirt

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 6 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this tee! It's quite long which is nice, but very small for a medium - I'm size 12 and it's quite tight. Might exchange for a large.

Mind Your Language: Learn Japanese (Nintendo DS)
Mind Your Language: Learn Japanese (Nintendo DS)
Offered by Warby 4 Games & Gifts
Price: 13.50

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor, 22 Jan 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
While mildly entertaining, this fails at every opportunity. The vocabulary and phrases you learn are extremely basic, and the method in which you learn them disjointed: there's very little explanation about the language and what you're actually learning, so they throw you in at the deep end at the start. I had trouble and I've attempted to learn japanese a few times, so a lot of the content of the first few "levels" was familiar. The testing system is frustrating and does not help you to remember the language at all.
The games are ok, but easy to cheat. A lot of the time it felt like I was learning a pattern rather than the words and hiragana. The avatars are pretty ugly and not customizable enough, even though thats not really why I bought this game in the first place. So, not a fun game, and not a great learning tool either. Save your money. My Japanese Coach is much better, but nothing beats real lessons.

Samurai Champloo Complete Collection [DVD]
Samurai Champloo Complete Collection [DVD]
Offered by mvm_entertainment
Price: 22.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp like the edge of a samurai sword, 20 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is one of the best animated series ever. Period. The action sequences are slick, the music fits so well and not one episode fails to entertain. Like Cowboy Bebop, even SC's "filler" episodes are excellent. Seriously, I can't find one single thing that doesn't work in this series.
However, this is my third time watching it and the first time watching the dub. Usually I'm not bothered by dubs - most of the time the argument between subs and dubs seems a little like splitting hairs to me - but this one was slightly jarring. I think it's because all of the voices in the japanese version are excellent, and Mugen's fits his character perfectly. The american ones are adequate and certainly get better as the series progresses, but I'd stick with the original if you can. Some of the jokes and dialogue flows much better in japanese, and while the english language voices are very watchable (listenable??), Mugen is just brilliant with his original voice actor.
Both are on this DVD, which is a great buy for it's current price. I'm very jealous if you haven't seen it yet, and I dare you to try to stop watching once you start - I watched it in one sitting!

Acting for Animators: A Complete Guide to Performance Animation
Acting for Animators: A Complete Guide to Performance Animation
by Hooks
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - when taken with a pinch of salt, 9 Nov 2011
I was advised to pick up this book after attending an acting for animators lecture which was based entirely on Ed Hooks' methods. Along with the Illusion of Life and Timing for Animation, the tutor said that it was an indispensable part of any character animator's reference library.
And for the most part, I can see where he was coming from. If you've studied drama or tried to act before, a lot of what he says is familiar - if not, it could be a revelation. The application of Laban's theories was certainly new for me, and caused me to look at movement in much more methodical way.
Where Hooks lost me was his use of examples, especially in the heroes and villains section. His approaches to character development can be pretty simplistic. For instance, he suggests that a villain cannot be successful if you can't empathise with it - this I aggree with - but seems to confuse "likable" with "empathic" as he goes on to criticize a Disney villain (Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame)for not being friendly at any point, or displaying emotion that could be considered "human" (read: likable). You can empathise with the ugly parts of a personality as well as the nice parts - don't we all feel a little bit of the evil Queen's envy when we see the beautiful Snow White? (Saying that Hitler was an excellent villain was a particularly bad misstep too - what was WW2 then, a movie??) Plus, one of the greatest villains of all time, Sauron, does not display likeable human emotions at all, yet you can empathise with his fear of death, his craving for power and the deabilitating power of addiction (in Sauron's case, the ring). You need to understand a villain, but not necessarily like him.
It would be definitely wrong to take all of Hooks' teaching as gospel. A lot of it is useful, but some parts jar, especially when Hooks verges on ground that is clearly unfamiliar to him. But then, Hooks does not claim to be gospel, as he admits pretty early on that he's not an animator and can't give technical advice in terms of animation construction - if you're looking for step-by-step drawing tutorials, you're in the wrong place. However, if you're at all interested in giving your characters the "illusion of life", this is definitely worth a read and is an excellent starting point, but I'd take a look at other theorists Hook mentions and form your own opinions about performance and character development as well as reading this.

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