Profile for Ben > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Ben
Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,870
Helpful Votes: 342

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Ben (UK)
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
pixel
Running For Their Lives: The Extraordinary Story of Britain's Greatest Ever Distance Runners
Running For Their Lives: The Extraordinary Story of Britain's Greatest Ever Distance Runners
by Mark Whitaker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A well researched story, that is brilliantly told..., 7 Mar 2014
As a keen runner, I am always on the look out for books and stories on the subject, and often come away rather disappointed - but Mark Whitaker's account of the lives of Arthur Newton and Peter Gavuzzi really is something else. This is an exceptionally well researched account of the lives of two pretty exceptional athletes, and it is told brilliantly. To run the kind of incredible distances these men did, all the while trying to earn a decent living from their efforts in the face of an occasionally cynical press and disinterested public, is a testament to their stamina and will. Ultimately, when I finished the book, I felt inspired and keen to learn more about both men. Highly recommended!


The Kings of Summer [DVD]
The Kings of Summer [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nick Robinson
Offered by filmrollen
Price: 9.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and Rather Wonderful..., 31 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Kings of Summer [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
'Kings of Summer' is the story of three boys who, annoyed by the behaviour of their parents, decide to run away from home and build a house in the woods. The story may sound fairly conventional, but the results on screen are definitely more peculiar and delightful. That many of the supporting cast of adults have appeared in the comedy series 'Parks and Recreation' may be a bit of a giveaway of just what to expect - the humour here is definitely rather off-kilter, but extremely charming. Moisés Arias in particular (who plays Biaggio) looks to be having a lot of fun as one of the boys who happily runs around in a world of his own.

I laughed an awful lot during this film, but it definitely has its own particular style of humour and overall outlook that you need to tune yourself in to. If you enjoy the tone of Wes Anderson films, then I expect you will enjoy this.


The Travel Book Mini: A journey through every country in the world (Lonely Planet Pictorial)
The Travel Book Mini: A journey through every country in the world (Lonely Planet Pictorial)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Small, but chunky - a colourful and informative travel guide..., 16 Sep 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lonely Planet's 'The Travel Book' is a compact, but hefty, little book that provides a series of short, but typically very detailed, Lonely Planet overviews of over 200 countries, which have been arranged in alphabetical order.

Each country's summary is accompanied by a series of excellent, typically vivid photographs. As Lonely Planet note in their introduction, the images have been intentionally selected to avoid showing a country's more obvious landmarks. A very nice touch, I thought.

I was very pleased with this book. It is well laid out and, like an encyclopedia, perfect for pulling off the shelf and dipping in and out of. Each guide provides short paragraph of advice on when best to visit, and recommendations on what to see. I expect it will therefore provide a good source of inspiration to a number of people when they are planning their next holiday, besides just being something very attractive to look at!


The Machine
The Machine
by James Smythe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense, disturbing and thought provoking - a great read..., 12 July 2013
This review is from: The Machine (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
'The Machine' was my first James Smythe novel, and I was drawn to it as I have been following his excellent blog on The Guardian website where he has been re-reading Stephen King's novels in chronological order.

I thought 'The Machine' was a fantastic read. Extremely claustrophobic and atmospheric, it tells the story of Kim and her husband Vic, who has been physically and, more importantly, mentally damaged whilst serving with the Army during a war in Iran. To say any more would, in my view, spoil this well crafted story. What is so enjoyable about 'The Machine' is the skilful way Smythe reveals only tiny details of the narrative (and, more crucially, the back-story) chapter by chapter. It serves to heighten the tension and generally uneasiness that you feel as you read the book - and whilst I would not classify it as either "science fiction" or "horror" writing, it certainly has been inspirited by those styles and I was left constantly feeling something bad or uncomfortable was going to happen on the next page. To sustain such tension over the course of a whole book is very skilful indeed.

Overall, I thought 'The Machine' marks Smythe out as a very clever and imaginative writer, and I will now certainly be going back read his previous two novels.


Expo 58
Expo 58
by Jonathan Coe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all terribly, terribly British...but a lot of fun, 26 Jun 2013
This review is from: Expo 58 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Perfectly compared on the book cover as a mixture of Ealing Comedy and Hitchcockian thriller, Jonathan Coe's latest novel is a slight, but brisk and entertaining story based around the real-life World Fair ("Expo") held in Brussels in 1958.

With Thomas Foley, Jonathan Coe has created the perfect buttoned-up and well mannered Brit who becomes embroiled in a spot of espionage between the Americans and Russians. I particularly enjoyed Coe's dedication to replicating the mood and manners of the rather straight-laced 1950 period, which is all presented in rather bit tongue-in-cheek way, although I did wonder if some readers would be put off the book by how much the characters occasionally felt like little more than cultural stereotypes.

Ultimately I thought what Coe was trying to do with "Expo 58" was craft an enjoyable, fun summer read - and I feel he definitely succeeded.


All That Is
All That Is
by James Salter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.91

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written..., 29 May 2013
This review is from: All That Is (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a fan of James Salter, particularly 'Light Years' and 'The Hunters', so was looking forward to his new book and, in my opinion, 'All That Is' is equally as elegant and memorable as those earlier novels.

The story details the life and relationships of Philip Bowman, as he leaves the army after World War Two and joins a small book publishers. We explore his life principally through a series of relationships that he has with different women throughout his life.

Each chapter reads like a short, carefully crafted vignette as we progress through Bowman's life - and occasionally the narrative takes a detour to explore the lives of Bowman's friends and family. Reading Salter's words, I found I was ultimately happy for the story to drift just about anywhere - as his writing remains such an enormous pleasure to read.

I found 'All That Is' a satisfying, but melancholic read. I didn't find Bowman an unpleasent or unsympathetic character, but his relationships with women were so grounded in his physical desire that, as they inevitably began to unravel, he ultimately cut a lonely and rather unhappy character.


Centrum Multivitamins for Women - Pack of 30
Centrum Multivitamins for Women - Pack of 30
Price: 6.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Multivitamins for the price..., 20 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I ordered these for my partner - as she has a rather long commute to London each morning and I thought these would help support her overall energy/immunity levels. From reading the packet, these tablets appear to offer a good, broad balance of daily vitamins and my partners says that, as they aren't particularly large tablets, they are easy to swallow.


Standing in Another Man's Grave
Standing in Another Man's Grave
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Rebus is back, back, back...!, 26 Mar 2013
After feeling increasingly bored and unmoved by Malcolm Fox, I was very excited to learn Rankin was bringing Rebus back. Even putting to one side the number of books Rankin has had to develop the Rebus character, Fox just seemed to me a bit of a dullard in comparison. "The Impossible Dead", in particular, lacked the complexity or spark of just about any Rebus book.

With "Standing in Another Man's Grave", I feel Rankin has really got his mojo back - and this is very enjoyable inclusion to the series. As with previous stories, there is a complexity to the case, with plenty of possible suspects, to keep you on your toes. Rebus also battles the usual array of superior officers who doubt his instincts and petty criminals that want him to come to harm.

One thing that surprised me was, from reading reviews, I did expect Fox to have much more of a central role in this story, if anything I thought it would be a move even two-hander, but in truth he only trundles in for a couple of scenes. I can't help but wonder if this is it for the character, leaving the way for Rebus to make a full, and very welcome return.


Sightseers [DVD] [2012]
Sightseers [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Alice Lowe
Price: 5.50

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Should make anyone think twice about dropping litter..., 14 Mar 2013
This review is from: Sightseers [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
How dark and twisted do you like your comedy? If, like me, your prefer your humour to be rather off-beat, then Ben Wheatley's follow-up to his disturbing 'Kill List' is recommended.

This very macarbe little film is written by, and staring, the wonderful Alice Lowe and Steve Oram - who play a seemingly soppy couple whose first holiday together takes a sinister turn, as the body count around them of fellow British holiday-makers rises.

This is a pretty warped comedy with a distinctive, and often quite graphic, nasty streak - so the laughs will not be to everyone's tastes. But, if you do like this style of odd comedy then there is a lot to enjoy here.

The special features include a well constructed and insightful documentary that takes you behind the scenes, and explores the making of the film in quite some detail, and has plenty of interviews with cast and crew.


Creative EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones - Black
Creative EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones - Black
Price: 10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Offers no bass whatsoever..., 2 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having bought a fair number of headphones in the 10-15 price range over the years, these Creative ones are the tinniest I've had the misfortune to buy. That the product description says they "deliver deep bass" is laughable, as it is just nonexistent. I have previously bought Sony headphones at around the same price, and I wish I'd stuck with them rather than giving these a whirl. Tinny to the extreme!

Update - since I first posted this review in December 2012, in early February 2013 I lost sound through the right speaker...so I've put them in the bin. I don't think the 2-3 months use I got was worth the money!


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10