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Monoprice Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphone - Silver
Monoprice Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphone - Silver
Price: 4.44

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage, 27 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't know how many earphones I've owned, cheap and expensive. For the cost of 2 do yourself a favour and get something other than this. Absolute garbage. Crap, probably the worst headphones you could possibly buy.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2013 4:29 PM BST

Game of Thrones - Season 2 [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Game of Thrones - Season 2 [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Lena Headey
Price: 21.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 14 Mar 2013
As is to be expected given how good the first season looked this second season looks amazing. Perfect picture quality throughout the episodes. The menu layout is the same as last season and its one of the nicest ones I've seen on Blu Ray. Too often a there is a menu along the bottom with very slow pop up options, this is along the top, its fast, smooth, well animated and just all round brilliant.

The extras are similar to those of season 1. You have your commentaries and an episode all about the making of episode 9. There's also a pretty good roundtable discussion with some of the actors, they mainly talk about their characters but there is some interesting stuff about what went on when filming.

My favourite extras, just like last year, are the animated Histories and Lore. These are just small 3 or 4 minute clips narrated by an actor from the show talking about the history of Westeros and of some of the characters that are new to the show. They are really good at giving more depth tp the world and also in helping you understand the characters more. They let you get nothing but back story without the need to explain why someone s telling their back story if they did it during the show. Nice animation too, although it's really just slowly moving drawing. I think these add a lot to the experience of the show and since there are maybe 20 or 30 of them add a lot of value to the box set.

You can't just dive into the show without seeing season 1, that probably seems fairly obvious but you never know. Some people didn't enjoy season 2 as much as the first, reason for that could be that it has a much larger scope so there's less time spent with some of peoples favourite characters. That's understandable as there is so much going on but then isn't that what makes this such a good show.

The episodes do have to flit between different places often and some episodes they will have to miss out characters but the show still makes every scene count. With exception of the bloody Targareyan story. I am really surprised by this as what happened with Danerys in the first season was one of my favourite parts, the reveal at the end of the first season was a brilliant moment. In season 2 however it's just boring, for me they honestly could have fit everything into one episode instead of dragging it out over 10.

Taking that away if the thing you enjoyed most was the political scheming in the first season then this one will not disappoint. It's to be expected of course when at the start of the season there are 5/6 people claiming to be ruler of Westeros and it's certainly one of the most enjoyable things to see build up. The only thing is that it may take years to pay off.

Although saying that I haven't read the books so don't know for sure. I also don't want to read the books and am so sick of hearing people say how much better they are and saying that someone can't be a real fan if they don't read them. First off, that's nonsense, you don't need to read the book to be a fan of the television show. There's nothing wrong with wanting to watch things unfold, rather than read 5/6 years worth of episodes ahead and lose some of the enjoyment from such a great show.

You also can't talk about season 2 without mentioning the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Every other episode of the show has jumped between different sets of characters in different places but this episode sticks in one place the entire time. It's fantastic, not saying too much about what happens of course but it really is amazing, the special effects, the storytelling, everything.

One thing that changes from season 1 is that we don't really have a main character like we did before. I mean all of the cast are so good that everyone is extremely watchable so it's not a huge deal and I don't think it makes things worse. Maybe we really needed that main character to begin with to help ease us into this world.

HBO have been clever about the way that they release Game of Thrones for home viewing, normally a show would be out only a short time after it finishes airing but HBO wait until just a few weeks before season 3 airs. So this is the perfect time to buy. Normally for a ten episode show I wouldn't be overly keen on spending over 30 on a boxset but this is the exception. Buy it.

The Hunt for Red October [Blu-ray] [1990] [Region Free]
The Hunt for Red October [Blu-ray] [1990] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Price: 8.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Film, Above Average Blu Ray, 11 Feb 2013
Having read a few reviews saying that the quality of the transfer for the film wasn't good I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. It's not going to blow anyone away but it still looks very good. Considering that much of the film is set inside submarines it could have turned into just a dark blur but it isn't.

I have only seen this film on video before so can't speak as to whether you should upgrade from DVD to Blu Ray but it is a very nice looking film. If anything is an issue it's that it can seem rather dull outside of the submarines. Something I was quite surprised by.

As for the film itself, when the film was in the stages of getting made, many studios didn't want to touch it because they thought it was too complicated. It isn't really, there is a very good story here, all you have to do is pay attention.

Sean Connery I think can sometimes just end up playing himself in many films, what I mean by that is he doesn't seem to be trying to do anything different with a lot of his performances. I personally love Sean Connery though and have to say that in this there is something slightly different about him. He plays his character as someone a lot colder than we are used to seeing, somewhat distant from things at times, somebody who you can see has a million things going on in his head that he keeps beneath the surface.

The rest of the cast all play their parts well, obviously Alec Baldwin has the biggest part and he is very often used to help explain things to the audience. However I don't see his character of Jack Ryan as being integral to the story, there is nothing about him personally that really makes him stand out, or appear as if he could have a whole franchise of films starring him. The other Jack Ryan films starring Harrison Ford are more focused on him and his actions. He is just a part of what is happening in this film.

The film is now 23 years old and despite the frequent use of special effects there isn't that obvious aged feel to them. There isn't quite the sense of claustrophobia that you get in many films set on submarines because the film has a much larger scope and doesn't spend the whole time under water. This helps to tell the much larger story although does mean we get to spend a bit less time than we would probably like on board the Red October.

Overall, a very good tense cold war drama with possibly one of Sean Connery's best performances and a strong supporting cast. As a high definition movie you probably won't be blown away but still very decent presentation.

The X Files - Complete Season 1-9 (New Packaging) [DVD]
The X Files - Complete Season 1-9 (New Packaging) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gillian Anderson
Price: 72.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Show, with an excellent value box set, 11 Feb 2013
Rather than talk about each season individually I'd like to address a few of the things about the X-files that make it so enjoyable, as well as the things that don't work so well and then talk about the box set itself.

You would be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of the X-files or the names Mulder and Scully. To think that a show that started 20 years ago this year could still be so deeply ingrained in popular culture is quite impressive. Although everyone should have heard of it doesn't mean everyone will know exactly what it's about. It's probably an obvious assumption that it's about aliens but to label it as just a sci-fi show and just about aliens would be to do it a massive disservice.

Think over the last ten years to a TV show that has had an impact so big that it had everyone talking about it? You could make an argument for Lost in that it was so massive and nearly everyone was talking about it but it has nothing on the X-files. The X-files was a part of everything, it was in song lyrics, it was in movies, books and countless references in pop culture since it debuted (the episode of the Simpson's has to be amongst the best though).

Why was it so popular and is it still enjoyable today?

Well its hard to argue that it isn't a little dated, special effects have come a very long way in the last 2 decades but for me the X-Files isn't about how good the special effects are. There's also the very clear fact that it was made for TV, that sounds like an obvious thing to say but the episodes generally always have a very clear formula, there are fades to black at moments when mini cliff-hangers would come before ad breaks that obviously don't transfer so well to DVD and there is always the knowledge that in most cases if there are only 3 minutes left of the show there is probably a resolution coming (though not always).

If that was a criticism, then it's the only serious one I can make. So why is it so good?

There are so many reasons but here are the two biggest:
David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson
After a while with most television shows you find yourself watching as much for the characters as you do for the story lines, sometimes a show can have a great story but characters you don't like or care about. What's so great to see, especially when you get the chance to watch everything at once with this box set, is the way that these characters evolve. I don't just mean in terms of how they change because of the story, I mean the way that they become more than just two people who are moving the plot forward, who provide us as the viewer a view into the world that the X-Files creates.

There is something very satisfying about seeing the way they interact, you can see a bond forging between them and watch it evolve as the years go past. I won't say too much more because watching this is one of the best things about the show but it's often the storylines that push their relationship into new situations and places that are the most enjoyable.

There are of course other characters involved. Mitch Pilleggi is introduced fairly early on as Assistant Director Skinner and has the most screen time of the supporting cast. His character is hard to warm to at the start but becomes an essential part of the show later on. Towards the end of the series we get another two FBI agents introduced to the main cast. Robert Patrick plays John Dogget and Annabeth Gish plays Monica Reyes. Knowing beforehand that they would be introduced had me feeling that they were almost certainly replacements for Mulder and Scully but that is definitely not the case.

The story, well there are two parts to this. The episodes are divided between two main categories, you have episodes that deal with the shows "mythology" so yes, aliens but also it goes into a lot of government conspiracy stuff, and Mulder and Scully's relationship with the FBI itself which is constantly changing.

Then you get the Freak of the Week episodes. These make up the majority of the show, I'd say roughly two thirds of episodes are based on threats that are encountered in the investigations that the pair make into unexplained cases or crimes. Now if this were any other series I would state that the Freak of the week style episodes are the worst. But this isn't any other series. The vast majority of these one off episodes are brilliant, of course there are a few misfires but generally they are all very good. Again what it comes down to, for me, is getting to enjoy not just the cases but the interaction between the two lead characters. These episodes unlike the mythology episodes don't demand that all of their time be spent pushing the plot forward. They let us enjoy things a little bit more. They also tend to be a lot funnier than the more serious mythology episodes.

That's not to say that the mythology episodes are bad but I personally enjoy having Mulder and Scully on screen so much that I get a little bit more enjoyment out of them having a chance to interact with each other. The mythology episodes do have the better stories though, they lay seeds for plot lines that can takes years to develop, this isn't a bad thing, it's this over arching story that makes the X-Files what it is. Finding something out only to have another mystery thrown in your face is very enjoyable. It also helps that this isn't a show which doesn't answer any questions and only raises more. There is frequently very satisfying pay offs for those that are willing to put the time in and pay attention.

One last note about the different types of episodes, I feel that the freak of the week episodes where for whatever reason there is only one of Mulder and Scully do suffer a little bit because of this. There are storylines that keep them separate at times and that suits the mythology episodes but when it comes to the stand alone episodes you will definitely miss the chemistry and interaction between them.

Something I was most definitely not expecting about the X-Files was for it to be, at times, one of the funniest shows around. To begin with in the first couple of seasons things are all fairly serious, although the writers do always get some laughs out of Mulders sarcasm or the way that his more open minded ideas come into conflict with the sceptical Scully. There came a point where every now and then we would get an episode that was near enough pure comedy, still faithful to the formula and to the characters but it would put them in a situation similar to ones they had been in before and just get an absolute ton of laughs out of it. Again this is in part due to having such well formed characters but also in having a show where they can do almost anything they want.

Let's talk a little bit about the movies. The first movie came out during the break between seasons 5 and 6, I had seen the movie before seeing any of the show and although I enjoyed it, I didn't have much of a clue what was going on. Watching it right after watching the first 5 seasons is very satisfying. You could argue that it's only an extended episode (not a great argument in my opinion) and you could say that it suffers as a film in that you need to k now too much going into it. But I'm looking at it as someone who watched over 100 episodes and having lots of questions and then seeing the movie and getting a massive pay off. The questions that the show raises are for the most part answered, maybe not everything but it paints a very clear picture of where the rest of the show is going.

Movie 2 was released about 6 years after the end of the show. Instead of carrying on with the shows mythology it is more like a monster of the week episode. The movie took a lot of criticism for going in this direction and that's understandable but that doesn't make it a bad film. There are very few supernatural elements to the story and no aliens at all. The films subtitle "I Want to Believe" doesn't just deal with believing in the paranormal but also with faith in God and religion. If there are no more movies then I can accept this as the last time we see Mulder and Scully. It shows us where they are after the end of the show and it does in a way give some closure to how season 9 ended.

I would say that the first film was better but only if you are going through the show at the same time, it's a much bigger story and ties in far more with the series, the second movie is probably the easier to just watch on its own. It also has much more of Mulder and Scully in it and gets a bit more character development as a result.

The DVD set itself, well, for about 40 you get 9 seasons and 2 movies. To say that's good value is an understatement. The show has been finished for over ten years so it was bound to become cheaper eventually (I remember it being about 3 times this price when the box set first came out). The packaging has been made smaller as with many TV shows after they've been out a while they like to save costs by making the packaging smaller. What you get here are three plastic DVD cases, two very large ones each holding about 20 odd discs and then a smaller one with season 9 and the 2 movies. You might think one holder for over 20 DVDs would be problematic but not so, in fact for such a large set I was very impressed with the packaging.

As for the DVD's themselves. Well, the show is 20 years old. The early episodes don't look great to be honest. They don't look terrible but they are as I've said before very much made for TV.
That changes in season 5 however as they made the switch to widescreen, you get a drastic improvement in the quality of the picture. Then again at the start of season 8 the quality improves even more, again likely down to improvements in technology. There aren't a huge amount of extras to be had, at least not on the early discs but I can't say that's too bad considering all the content you already get.

The X Files is absolutely, without a doubt one of the best sci-fi shows ever made. It's grounding in reality unlike many other sci-fi shows should make it much more accessible to everyone. This DVD set is an absolute bargain as well. To get so much content in one set is fantastic. The picture quality overall is maybe not the greatest to begin with but it does improve in later seasons.

If you buy this box set you won't regret it.

L.A. Noire - The Complete Edition (PC DVD)
L.A. Noire - The Complete Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by 1stvideo
Price: 10.11

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Major disappointment, 13 Jan 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
I picked up LA Noire in the January sales for what I thought was a pretty reasonable price. Around a tenner for a game with all the DLC and at a point when any bugs would surely have been patched and fixed.

I have to be honest, I've not been this disappointing by a game for a long time.

First the positives, the facial animation is excellent, fantastic even, it's better than anything I've seen in any other game BUT the fact that the character models are not anywhere near the levels of their facial animation is glaringly obvious. Its almost like seeing a face projected onto a mannequin. The story, if you have A LOT of patience the story can be quite good, noire stories are generally slow burning but the problem comes with....

...the gameplay. Honestly this is the worst thing about the game. You can dress it up as nice as you want but if a GAME doesn't have fun or interesting GAMEPLAY then what is the point in playing it? It feels like all I did was follow a straight line. You have driving, fighting and interrogations/detective work. On PC at least the driving can be awful, one slight tap of a key and you fly into oncoming traffic. The fighting, well the hand to hand stuff can be fun if a little unresponsive at times and the gunplay is genuinely fun but there is so little of it. The bulk of the game consists of the interrogating gameplay, that and walking slowly around crime scenes and looking at clues. The interrogation involves asking people questions, gauging their response and deciding whether you believe them or not. It becomes tedious very fast.

The main problem is that it felt like I had no choice in what was happening, a mission starts, I go to point A, pick up clues am force fed where to go, go to point B interrogate person A and repeat. I honestly had no idea what the case I was investigating was and was going to person D or whoever, ended up chasing them (hold forward and spring for a few minutes until you reach a pre scripted section) and they were arrested and the case was solved. This happens over and over again but it takes far too long. I was hoping to have some control over the playable character but no, all I get to do is occasionally accuse someone of lying.

The graphics on PC also have a few issues, the disappearing cars for instance, I lost count of how many cars right in front of me simply disappeared. It also took me 15 minutes to get the correct resolution, the game started of letterboxed (I have a widescreen and have never had this issue with any other game in my life) so had to fiddle with the options for far too long. The game other than the faces isn't particularly impressive.

All in all maybe I was just expecting too much. Rockstar have given us some of the most enjoyable games there are in recent years,s o even though I expected something a little different in terms of gameplay (although I didn't think it would be so dull and un-engaging) I at least expected a great story and interesting characters, after all this is the company who brought us the GTA games and most relevant, I think, Red Dead Redemption, another game set in a specific time period, not taking a light hearted approach to much of its material like GTA but nailing absolutely everything and keeping me engaged no matter how the gameplay was. LA Noire is not fun or engaging and I'd recommend you avoid it unless you have a burning desire for a game set in this period.

Chinatown [Blu-ray] [1974]  [Region Free]
Chinatown [Blu-ray] [1974] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Jack Nicholson
Price: 7.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect film, great quality but poor extras, 9 Jan 2013
Emotionally nagging is the phrase one review used and that may be the best way of describing Chinatown. Although that refers more to what happens at the end of the film, an unforgettable scene that will live very long in the memory. Though before saying why that is it's important to mention just how good the film is even without that last scene. Jack Nicholson is fantastic here, this has to be considered among his greatest work and for me probably his very best. Fans of the Shining will disagree although I prefer that he in Chinatown is, unlike in many of his other movies, not some sort of larger than life character, demanding your attention. There are no scenes in Chinatown without him present and so we go through the story learning what he learns, not knowing what the truth is until he does.

The story itself is a great detective story that starts off with Nicholson taking a seemingly simple job and it turning into something far larger, involving, murder, conspiracy, his old colleagues on the police force, Faye Dunaway (brilliant as always) and a larger conspiracy centring on California itself.

The story gets darker and darker as it goes on, something that is reflected in the tone of the film, it's very bright, as you would expect from a film set during a heat wave in LA but more scenes take place at night towards the end, revelations occur in darkened cars or a house with all the blinds drawn. That may not sound like a big deal but it really helps draw you into the story and the moods of the characters in it.

Chinatown is for me one of the greatest films ever made, even if it doesn't rank that highly amongst everyone it is still an exceptional film that needs to be seen.

But should it be seen on Blu-Ray?

As with many films I've seen so many times, the best compliment I can give this transfer is that I noticed things I hadn't seen before. You could say that's because you are looking for new things each time but I honestly think it's because of the great quality of the transfer. It may not be the greatest transfer of all time - there was not a huge deal made of the fact that one of the best films of all time was getting a high def release, it's a bare bones disc, very little on here other than the film. Normally that would point to there being a special edition coming out down the line but with this I'm not so sure. In any case it really is a good transfer and the best that this film has ever looked

by Adrian Goldsworthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible man, incredible story, incredible book, 13 Jun 2012
This review is from: Caesar (Paperback)
I think it's fair to say that most people have a rough idea of what Julius Caesar did, most people know he crossed the Rubicon, he fought in Gaul, he was assassinated on the Ides of March. What this book does is tells his story from the very start to the very end.

It's fascinating to read about his early life, his involvement with Sulla, his capture by Pirates. Admittedly the sources for his earliest years are not as good as for later but the author fully acknowledges this. The information is always presented as what it is - a source that may not be reliable, there are many points throughout the book when the author tells us of differing opinions about certain events from different sources and freely admits that there are things that we just don't know about Caesar and sadly never will.

The first third of the book covers Caesars rise to this first consulship and it's very interesting to read about how he went about his life. The fact that he was in massive debt for much of his early life was news to me and very interesting to read about. The relationship between him, Crassus and Pompey is shown evolving over time until they eventually formed the First Triumvirate. The First Triumvirate is perhaps a little more difficult to understand than the Second Triumvirate in that it was not a military alliance. The book does a great job of explaining what it was and how it worked for each of the members.

The second third deals primarily with Caesars war in Gaul and invasions of Britain. This part is definitely the most detailed as so much of the information came from Caesar himself in his commentaries. It goes through each year he spent there telling us about his movements, the political situation within Gaul and tells about every battle he fought. Some parts are more detailed and interesting than others such as the rebellion led by Vercingetorix.

In the final third the author takes us through the best known part of Caesars life, the civil war with Pompey and the aftermath of that, leading up to his assassination. It's very fast paced as there was so much happening in such a short time and the book really makes you feel that sense of urgency. Again a lot of the source material for these events came from Caesar himself but as with earlier in the book we are given many other viewpoints from different people.

This is one of the very best history books I have ever read. It has already inspired me to order more of the authors work. I was a little disappointed in that Octavian is not mentioned very often even towards the end, unfortunately his relationship with Caesar remains a bit of a mystery. The book does a great job of bringing these historical figures to life, Mark Anthony, Cleopatra, Pompey and especially Cicero as there are many extracts from his letters throughout the book.

A brilliant book and thoroughly recommended, the story tells us about the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic and tells, in such a brilliant way, the story of one of the most important men who ever lived.

Alien Anthology [Blu-ray] [1979] [6 Disc Set]
Alien Anthology [Blu-ray] [1979] [6 Disc Set]
Dvd ~ Sigourney Weaver
Price: 23.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, 17 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Film's and their Blu-Ray transfer's

Alien: This film is incredible, no matter how many times you see it it never loses it's impact. It's fantastic, it has an atmosphere that is so unique, everything about this film is amazing. It's a shame that CGI has taken over so much in films now because this along with Aliens shows how effective practical visual effects can be. Less is more and the fact that it takes so long to see the Alien itself and the fact that we see so little works incredibly well. Unfortunately this isn't a consistent approach throughout the series. The transfer is amazing, it's perfect absolutely perfect, the picture quality never dips and you'll see details that you've probably never seen before.

Aliens: To try and make another Alien film in the same mould as the first would have been a mistake so thankfully they go a different direction and give us one of the most important and brilliant action movies off all time whilst still maintaining a sense of dread that the original had. Everything is bigger, bigger cast, bigger aliens. Very different from the first and your opinion in films will determine which you prefer but together these are two of the very best films ever mad. The transfer for aliens is not quite as good as with Alien but is still very good, the film moves much faster than the first and so we don't really get to appreciate the extra detail that blu-ray shows us as much. It's still a fantastic picture though and is without doubt the best this film has ever looked. Not as good as the first but then it sets such high standards that was always going to be hard.

Alien 3: To watch this film on its own and not find out what happened behind the scenes would be a big mistake. There was so much nonsense going on, so much studio interference that it's surprising that the film isn't much worse. Although do yourself a favour, don't watch the theatrical cut watch the special edition, it makes you wonder what was going through the head of the idiot who cut out so much from this film. Some things work very, very well, Sigourney Weaver is excellent, especially at the start of the film and I have to say even though the scores for the first two films may be the more famous I feel like 3 has some of the best moment's in the series in terms of how much the music adds to the film. Only at certain points though, the more emotional parts of the film, because it's everywhere else that the film doesn't do so well. The acting from the main characters is good but it has to be said some of the supporting characters are just awful, shouting out their line's and really not giving you an incentive to care what happens to them unlike in the last two films. This is one you should watch with an open mind however and even if you aren't a fan of watching extras you should make the exception for this film because it's clear that this film could have been so much more. The transfer isn't great to be honest, the effort all went into the first two films from the looks of it, not to say the film looks terrible, it still looks good but not anything that really takes you back.

Alien Resurrection: This film is terrible, even if you took it away from the rest of the franchise and looked at it on it's own it would still be terrible. There is honestly nothing to recommend about this. The writing is beyond terrible, characters blast out lines that could have come from any action movie in the world because that's all this is, it's an action film, it has no atmosphere, the attempts at scares are just cheap tricks. Unlike the third film where you don't really care about the characters in this either way, in this I genuinely wanted them all to die. The acting,it's pathetic. Even taking away how ridiculous some of the lines are, you'd think an actor might at least try and deliver them in a convincing way but no, the worst offender is Dan Hedeya playing a ridiculous general, it's unbelievable how bad he is. It's a shame to see such a great franchise (despite what you may think of the third) turn into this joke of a film. The transfer is the same as the third in that it's not great but it's not bad, the film doesn't look good anyway, sort of grubby so maybe there was only so much they could do with it.

The Extras

All the films come in both theatrical and special editions, this can make a big difference, 2 and in particular 3 are improved by their special edition. With the fourth it really doesn't matter, it's terrible both way's but the special edition does have a different ending which I suppose for now at least has to be considered the end of the series so maybe worth checking out.

Discs 5 and 6 are where most of the extras are. Disc 5 contains what must be near feature length documentaries on each film, these are split into featurettes which can be watched separately but are best viewed together, it takes you through the whole journey of each of the films from the script to the screen and cover's everything you could ever want to see. Each one has it's merits, its really interesting to see how alien came into existence, they talk with the original writers then go on to the 20th Century Fox executives who took it on. In regard to Fox I have to say how surprised I am by the fact that they have let these interviews go out into the public domain on their product. The people at Fox who were involved with the film are interviewed and give their thoughts on the productions but it's when the interviews start with - let's face it - the more creative people it starts to become very interesting. The original writer of the script talks about how some people at fox took his story, changed the character names and called it their own, you even have Ridley Scott agreeing with him but then they talk to the Fox writer and he claims he drastically rewrote it.

Obviously these movies would never have been made the way they were without Fox but you actually feel the frustration of the filmakers during the filming as everything they do is scrutinised and criticised and in some cases just overruled by people at Fox who only cared about schedules and budgets. Ridley Scott and James Cameron today are two of the greatest director's of our times but back when they made these films they had only made one film each prior. So it's frustrating to see Fox try and control them he way they do, fortunately both Scott and Cameron were able to provide us with two of the best film's of all time despite constant interference.

It's the third documentary, about Alien 3 where you can see what an absolute mess Fox made of it. They announce a release date before they even have a script, they go hire 3 different directors, they change everything. There's a a massive feeling of "what if" when it comes to the third, we get to see what Vincent Ward would have done, his "wooden planet" storyline could have been fantastic and even just listening to him talk about what he would have done conjures some fantastic images in your head and when they start playing the 3rd films (excellent) score over pre production paintings and designs you can see what a great chance of a film there was which was just destroyed by some idiotic producers. When they did get David Fincher in they interfered with everything, they started shooting without a complete script, they had people reporting back to them what the director was doing, they told set designers what to do, the list goes on, it's amazing to see what they did to David Fincher, an absolutely brilliant director now but perhaps unfortunately for him was taking on his first feature film. That he lasted as long as he did is amazing, his absence from the interviews is completely understandable and it would have been great to hear from him but what we get instead is almost as good, it's fly on the wall footage from the shoot and you see the huge toll that this interference has on him, he may not give any interviews but his body language from the set tells it's own story.
In my opinion the documentary on the making of the third would be worth buying separately if it were available, it's amazing that Fox are ok to put this on the blu-ray, to even cut in the interviews with the same producers who interfered with it and showing them try to justify it is fascinating.

Everything that the documentary's on the first three film's are, the fourth one is not. The documentary is particularly disappointing watched after the brilliant and revealing third one. Whereas before we saw the struggle that the last three directors had, fighting against the studio's to try and deliver the film they envisaged and we got to hear the opinion of nearly everyone involved, the fourth one is a huge disappointment. Not that you would be expecting too much from it anyway seeing as how poor the fourth film is but it almost feels like the interviewee's are ignoring the elephant in the room, just how terrible the film is. It's noticeable that Sigourney Weaver is absent from this in the more recent interview that they had been using for the previous three films. Did she just not want to talk about it? Instead we have what almost feels like a promotional interview where she's in costume talking about how great the film is. We get this constantly through the documentary and it's very strange, it seems as if the people involved are trying to convince themselves of the film's qualities. None of the honest reflection that we've seen through hours of interviews is here instead it's the French director and his crew talking about how much they loved the film and how good they thought it was.


The first two film's are incredible and the extras here are among the best you'll ever see, they really do cover everything. For some it might almost weaken re-watching the film's once you know how everything was done in terms of effects but it really shouldn't. They are so influential not only in Sci-Fi but in their respective Horror/Action genres.
It's frustrating more than anything when watching Alien 3 knowing what was going on behind the scenes and it's a shame that everything that was going on really hangs over the film because it really does have some great moment's, arguably some of the most powerful scenes of the series are in the third.
The fourth is however completely without merit. It shouldn't have been made and it's not really worth seeing at all but it's here because like it or not this is a part of the Alien series.

This blu-ray set is more expensive than the standalone set with just the films but the extras are worth the price, even if you don't spend time watching extras regularly. Even taking away the way we get to see inside of production's where the talented people are not the ones in charge, we still get to see all the fascinating work that went into the design of the films.

This set is at the top of most lists of the best blu-rays for a reason,the previous DVD "Quadrilogy" was one of the best DVD sets for much the same reason. It's outstanding, anything you ever wanted to know about these films is in here, the extras are fantastic and so interesting. If you have this on DVD upgrade if possible, the transfers of the first two films are brilliant, they really do look as good as any blu-ray out there.

Thoroughly recommended.

The Silent Duel [1949] [DVD]
The Silent Duel [1949] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Toshiro Mifune
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: 4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow building but worth the wait, 8 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Silent Duel [1949] [DVD] (DVD)
I think after a while it becomes repetitive to say that how incredible the acting is in a Kurosawa film, particularly when Toshiro Mifune is involved but once again it has to be said. The Silent Duel certainly takes it's time with it's characters and it's probably the most restrained I've ever seen Mifune in a Kurosawa film but it build's to a payoff which to be honest I didn't see coming. His character seems almost resigned to being unhappy so it's surprising to say the least when he finally let's everything out in what may be one of the best scene's Mifune has ever done.

It was also interesting to see Takashi Simura playing Mifune's dad,I don't recall ever seeing them as father and son before and it always seemed like it would be a natural fit. Unfortunately Shimura doesn't have a huge amount of screen time but he does get one excellent scene with his son, there is a part where they both go to light each other's cigarrete's which had me grinning, seeing these two incredible actors sharing such a small quiet moment was great to see.

The scene at the start when Mifune actually gets Syphilis was interesting, it's set in a Japanese army field hospital and I found myself struggling to remember if I'd seen any film depict this aspect of Japan during the war. It's a horrible place and seeing as the film was made only 4 years after the end of the war you have to assume it's very authentic. The scene is so well shot and the noise of the rain and drops falling through a hole in the roof help to create a terrific atmosphere. Once again Kurosawa seems to be able to make you really feel the temperature whenever he want's. He does it so often it can seem like he doesn't even need to try.

The video quality is pretty good for a 63 year old film, there are obviously some flaws and the sound isn't perfect. It's one of the few non BFI or Masters of Cinema releases I've seen of Kurosawa's films, so no detailed booklet inside with stories about the production and nothing to say how much effort has been put into restoring it. That doesn't matter though, the film itself is great and very highly recommended.

X-Men: First Class - Triple Play (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
X-Men: First Class - Triple Play (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ James McAvoy
Price: 11.55

4.0 out of 5 stars New beginning for a series that lost it's way, 8 May 2012
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The movie itself may not be perfect, it certainly has some great strengths, mainly the quality of acting we get from James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender who between them can take this franchise forward to hopefully new heights. I think the thing which stop's it from being as good as it could be was the decision to not reboot the series. Not to say that they should be rebooting a series which is hardly old at all, in a way it's good that they want to make everything fit in together with the later films but there it also stops this new series from doing whatever it wants. Personally the one thing I think most non hardcore fans would find dissapointing is the mutants, apart from the McAvoy, Fassbender and perhapss Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique and January Jones's (awful) Emma Frost there is very little chance of casual fans recognizing any of the X-Men. The fact is they used most of the good ones in the original series, so other than a few whose characters makes it possible for them to be around in the 60's when the movie is set, it means we won't get another chance to see the most popular mutants done again. In particular I'm thinking about the shoddy treatment Cyclop's got in the first 3 movie's, had this been a true reboot then they would have had a chance to make him a far more interesting character.

The film is still very good though and is probably the best X-Men film yet, just narrowly better than X-2. The most important thing about the X-Men series in comparison to other comic book films is that the people with powers were born differently and didnt gain them from an accident with a radioactive spider or something. The conflict in the film between wanting to fit in and be accepted or to not fit in and be proud of what makes you different was lost a little towards the end of the last trilogy (not to mention the terrible Wolverine film) but it becomes the focus in this film again. For me that's what the X-Men have always been about and it makes them far more relatable than most other superheroes, not in that there are a ton of us running around with bone claws but the whole idea of having to fit in or not to when you're different. You don''t need to have super powers to understand that.

The Blu-Ray edition of the film is absolutely incredible. I'm struggling to think of a better quality Blu-Ray I've seen lately, the picture is absolutely perfect, the sound is great and you get it on DVD too if you ever feel like not watching it in the amazing Blu Ray quality.

Overall definitely recommended and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go with next year's sequel.

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