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NP Andrews "crazyhorsefc" (North Elmham, Norfolk, UK)

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Young Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [1986]
Young Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [1986]
Dvd ~ Nicholas Rowe
Price: 3.25

3.0 out of 5 stars One for the kids, 8 Feb 2014
I remember quite clearly when this film was released - the cast did the usual Blue Peter/Going Live tour and the clip with the talking cupcakes was typically aired to accompany their appearance to entice viewers to the cinema. As I recall it worked and Young Sherlock Holmes was one of the most popular films of the year for children, with the knight CGI sequence a popular talking point in the playground.

With all this in mind, I thought I'd take a nostalgic trip down memory lane over the recent Christmas period and sit down and watch it with my own children. Naturally some elements of the film - mostly the special effects and the odd performance - have aged badly but the story itself holds up well enough to keep them entertained. Though not a classic and not as endearing as The Goonies, it has enough to pass the time on a cold, damp Sunday afternoon and in this respect delivers in its aims as an enjoyable matinee romp.

That said, aficionados of Conan Doyle's works would be disappointed in the characterizations of the leading players. Despite the lovingly worded tributes to the author and his master detective at the start and end of the movie, this film owes more to the works of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce than the books. Alan Cox's portrayal of Watson as a bumbling fool bears little relation to the intelligent, fully-qualified ex-Army Doctor who wrote gushingly about his colleague while the importance of Moriarty as Holmes' "arch nemesis" is overstated and misunderstood somewhat by a needless epilogue once the credits have rolled.

But these are minor quibbles in the greater scheme of things. As long as you are prepared to overlook these "Hollywood" discrepancies Young Sherlock Holmes is worth a watch with the kids.

FIFA 14 (PS3)
FIFA 14 (PS3)
Price: 22.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice graphics, shame they've forgotten to pay attention to the rules of the game, 7 Feb 2014
This review is from: FIFA 14 (PS3) (Video Game)
The problem with this game is that the developers have paid too much attention to the finer details of the likes of Bale, Ronaldo and Messi and less on the finer points of the game of football itself. As a result FIFA 14 looks good but fails to deliver when it comes to the actual gameplay. As others have stated, frustrations include defenders that fail to jump, players that have been tackled somehow managing to the get to their feet and take the ball off their opponent in the blink of an eye and defenders that stop running the moment you select them, allowing the opposition a free run on goal. You could also mention throw-ins that go nowhere, passes that go astray for no reason and commands being executed at the wrong time (slide tackles and clearances being the prime example). As for player "nearest the ball" - despite having five players around one opponent on the edge of the penalty box, according to the game engine, my nearest player was on the half-way line.

However, all of these, as frustrating as they may be, are nothing compared with the failure to actually follow the laws of the game. The "advantage rule" is abused so players can run on an take a shot only for play to be brought back for a penalty/freekick the moment the keeper saves the ball, the goalkeeper can pick the ball up if a defender passes it back to him in the six-yard box and offsides are given if an attacking player is an offside position when a player running through the opposition defence with the defence. These are the most regular issues. There are many others including penalties given when an attacker falls over a defender after the defender has cleanly won the ball and offsides given on a whim.

All of this happens to a soundtrack of banal commentary from Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, who witter on inanely and drive you insane with Americanisms and other tripe. Thankfully, this can be switched off, which is why I've given the game two stars instead of one.

Spike Milligan
Spike Milligan
by Humphrey Carpenter
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed in many respects, 8 Jun 2008
This review is from: Spike Milligan (Paperback)
Humphrey Carpenter wants to be Albert Goldman but instead comes across as a lazy iconoclast who seems to have little time for his subject matter. The trouble is that he is a big fan of The Goons and as a result the ten years that Milligan spent with The Goons takes up a sizeable chunk of the book while the rest of his life is rushed as if it if were some kind of inconvenience.

There's very little on Milligan's life growing up in India as the author freely admits that such parts of a biography bore him and even less on his war years - which is kind of understandable considering the number of war books published by Milligan himself - except that later in the book the author goes into greater detail about the early lives of Harry Seacombe and Peter Sellers, freely contradicting himself.

The post-Goon years are dealt with at haste and the closing chapters are poorly written and mostly made up with quotes from other sources. Confusingly, there's a six page interview with Spike's illegitimate son and his mother which reveals very little, having already been covered in the previous pages. By contrast, the deaths and their affects on Milligan of his second wife Pat from cancer and his fellow goons barely get a mention. His wife's death is dealt with in a single paragraph while Peter Seller's passing gets a brief mention. Seacombe meanwhile is worthy only of a single line while Michael Bentine's death is considered a mere after thought.

And then there's the "sensationalist" parts, probably designed to sell the book. But unfortunately the author only ever hints at these, relying on Chinese Whispers to spread gossip. If Milligan really was a blackshirt or helped kill his second wife as suggested you would expect more than a mere couple of lines while trying to imply that the comic's first mental breakdown did not actually happen is mere folly.

There are two underlying themes throughout the book - Milligan's depressions and his racist tendencies (such as they were). The former is described in rudimentary fashion so that you seemingly get a simple list of the highs and the lows while the latter gets an airing every twenty pages or so - including a quote about his time in India in the opening chapter which the author seems to think is enough to have the comic banged to rights. But the quote is from a BBC Radio Four documentary on The Raj in which Milligan speaks fondly about the people and the place and the quote is taken so far out of context that it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

A flawed biography in many respects, but the chapters on The Goons are excellent, leaving one to conclude that the author would have been better off sticking to them alone.

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