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Unmasking Jack The Ripper [DVD]
Unmasking Jack The Ripper [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars Unfussy accuracy, 9 Oct 2012
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For a basic presentation of the facts surrounding the Whitechapel murders, unburdened by conspiracy theory nonsense, this is probably the best DVD currently available.

Though there are a few familiar theatrical reenactments, some "spooky" synthesised music, and plenty of narration amidst darkened, damp alleyways, the factual information remains centre-stage. The knowledgeable presenters, including reputed Ripper historian, Paul Begg, speak clearly and succinctly, offering sensible and balanced opinion to compensate for any lack of physical evidence.

If you're new to the Jack the Ripper mystery, this is an excellent place to start.


From Hell: Jack the Ripper Mystery
From Hell: Jack the Ripper Mystery
by Bob Hinton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was George Hutchinson Jack the Ripper?, 9 Oct 2012
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As someone who's long suspected that the enigmatic George Hutchinson could've been the Ripper, I was looking forward to Mr. Hinton's book, not least of all because of praise it received from established writers such as Martin Fido and Paul Begg. What I found was a disappointment.

Let's start with the very bad. I've no idea who was hired to proof-read this work, but (s)he clearly didn't bother. The grammar is appalling, the avalanche of exclamation marks presumably being employed to make up for the absence of necessary hyphens, and the amount of typos innumerable ("bought" instead of "brought", etc.). That's a shame, as such basic mistakes mar the more plausible passages of the book, most of which appear in its first two-thirds. (N.B. I have no hesitation in marking this review down a star for such shoddy work.)

Then we have Mr. Hinton's theory of why and how Hutchinson became Jack the Ripper, all of it pure conjecture, requiring enormous leaps of faith. Speculation is inevitable where there is a lack of solid, physical evidence, but this is something else altogether. There has to be a logical and emotional plausibility to any theory, and there are just too many holes in what's presented - too many shoe-horned presumptions. In fact, John J. Eddleston gives a far more convincing case for Hutchinson as Jack in only one chapter of his excellent "Jack the Ripper: An Encyclopaedia". Eddleston's argument is all the more seductive for its clipped and detached presentation, as opposed to Hinton's often exuberant, even manic prose. (Cue THREE exclamation marks!!!)

It isn't all bad though. Much of Hinton's research seems excellent, and his overview of the sequence of events in 1888 is very good indeed. He also makes a compelling case that Elizabeth Stride was not a Ripper victim, citing Michael Kidney as the killer. Ironically, this theory of unfolding events that led to the Stride murder is far more convincing than the case against Hutchinson, and makes what appears on the following pages all the more disappointing. (Perhaps Mr. Hinton wrote the wrong book...?)

To conclude, I would approach this book with a cautious open-mind. I still feel that Hutchinson could have been Saucy Jack, but this book has done nothing to increase my prior suspicions.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2012 1:22 PM GMT


Jack The Ripper Conspiracies [DVD] [2003]
Jack The Ripper Conspiracies [DVD] [2003]
Offered by rsdvd
Price: 5.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad - but an unusual choice of narrator, 27 July 2012
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Ironically, the strength of this video is in its detail regarding the murders themselves, while the conspiracy theories - all of them nonsensical - take a back-seat to the over-view of London's life and dangers in the late 19th century.

Other reviewers have rightly commented on the odd enunciation of the narrator, but don't let that put you off. If you're after a decent introduction to the Whitechapel Murders, atmospherically told and with neatly edited scenes of London (old and new), this cheap DVD is a pretty good place to start.


Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
by Richard Ellmann
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gigantic achievement, 26 July 2011
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This review is from: Oscar Wilde (Paperback)
As someone who loves biographies and has read dozens of them, I can say - hand on heart - that this is the best I've ever read.

Who knows how intimidating it must be to look up at a mountain the size of Wilde, knowing that whatever you write has to do the subject justice? Whatever the case, Ellmann reached the summit. This is an immensely moving, intimate, intricate read, full of enthralling facts and detail, and beautifully written.

If you've the remotest interest in Wilde, READ THIS BOOK. It will surely be forever regarded as the definitive over-view of Wilde's life.


Jane Eyre (BBC) [2007] [DVD] [2006]
Jane Eyre (BBC) [2007] [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ruth Wilson
Offered by 101Trading
Price: 4.76

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad...but it could've (should've?) been great, 10 July 2011
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I wanted to love this adaptation - I really did - but sadly, we ended-up only as good friends. The two leads are fine (though neither truly great), but the real problem lies with the production's lack of emotional gears. There are certain scenes that should be incendiary, yet only slow-burn.

Exhibit A would be the meeting between Jane and Rochester after the aborted wedding, when Jane tells him she cannot stay with him. This should be as distraught a parting as distraught can get, yet it lacks the passionate over-drive anyone familiar with the novel might've expected. I felt the same about the scene where Jane teases Rochester but eventually agrees to marry him, admittedly very different from the previous one mentioned, yet still in need of extra thrust that just doesn't occur.

I don't want to criticise this version too harshly; doing the book justice is something few have done and there is much to enjoy here. However, I can't help but feel that this was largely an opportunity missed; it should've been better. Toby Stephens performance could've done with some of Timothy Dalton's firebrand antics in the right places, and Ruth Wilson would've benefited from a bit more emotional unravelling during key moments.

Still, it's not bad and doesn't embarrass the book - which, when all is said and done, is probably what matters most to Brontephiles.


Super Size Me [DVD] [2004]
Super Size Me [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Morgan Spurlock
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 5.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Horrors of the Obvious, 19 Nov 2010
This review is from: Super Size Me [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This is the type of social experiment that in a sane world wouldn't be necessary. "What will happen if I eat nothing but McDonalds crud for a month? I wonder if I'll lose weight and my time in the 100 metres will improve?" Hmm...

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean it's anything other than very entertaining. There IS a lot of revealing, quite hideous medical information that is NOT made readily available to your Average Joe by the bastions of The American Way. Plus, any film that's likely to have Tea Party dullards (Karl Rove's pet morons) claiming it's an anti-corporate, "socialist" conspiracy has to worth its salt (healthy dosage only).

Still, watch it and make your own mind up. Whatever your final conclusions, it won't have been a wasted couple of hours.


Strontium Dog: The Final Solution (2000 Ad)
Strontium Dog: The Final Solution (2000 Ad)
by Alan Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Alas poor Johnny, I knew him well..., 6 Sep 2010
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...Well, I thought I knew him well, until Simon Harrison got his hands on him.

So breathtakingly bad is Harrison's art-work that it has to be seen to be believed - though not by veteran Strontium Dog fans, who'll probably view the entire book through floods of tears. (Mind you, that might make the images clearer...) With a story about mutants battling unscrupulous "normals", you at least need to tell one from the other. With Harrison's "art", it's often difficult to tell any human life from the surrounding buildings. The results are tragic for long-term followers of the character and a travesty of all that's gone before.

So what of the plot? Well, Alan Grant was always going to have to produce something extraordinary for Alpha's swansong; but, at best, this is a noble failure. There are some good, intriguing passages, but the whole thing just seems too much of a re-tread of the previous, far superior, Portrait of a Mutant.

Perhaps the story of Johnny Alpha had gone as far as it could go; but I'd have preferred it to be left hanging - for us to be left wondering exactly what happened to Alpha, or for Johnny to have walked off into the sunset with Durham Red - or maybe just disappeared to a far-off solar system without trace. His demise in this tale just doesn't cut it with the necessary drama, pathos and poetry - not script-wise and certainly not artistically - and it's no surprise that Grant is on record as regretting the whole endeavour.

God only knows what Carlos Ezquerra made of it all...


Home Cinema
Home Cinema

5.0 out of 5 stars An album destined for "lost classic" status, 14 Jun 2010
This review is from: Home Cinema (MP3 Download)
Such a shame this band only produced this one album before breaking up. My band did a gig with them last year in dreary Peterborough, and I was blown away by the quality of their songs and performance. The whole damn thing was just fantastic. Nice lads too. Chatted to them before and after the show.

Style-wise, think Muse meets Bowie, with a faint 80s vibe. The album's produced well, with each song reaching its potential. Charlie Allen's voice is terrific and the band are clearly accomplished musicians. Bar one or two lesser tracks, I honestly can't think of anything truly negative to say about this record.

Buy it. Now that the band are no longer together, it'll certainly go down as a "lost classic".


The Enforcer, The: Secrets of My Life with the Krays
The Enforcer, The: Secrets of My Life with the Krays
by Albert Donoghue
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every pathetic, wannabe "gangster" should read this. It'd have more positive effect than bringing back National bloody Serivce., 12 July 2009
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I can't help but like Albert Donoghue. He describes himself and his sixties cohorts as nothing more than thugs and parasites - especially his pay-masters, those "lovely boys", the Kray twins.

Albert tells the story of the so-called Firm bluntly, sardonically, and succinctly - not so much a case of "no frills" as bare-bloody-naked. There's some fascinating first-hand accounts and insights into the workings of the Kray faux-empire, and if you want to know the TRUE inside story of Ronnie and Reggie's drunken, psychotic, disorganised ways (unlike the rubbish written by sychophant, Tony Lambrianou), this is the book.

Oh, and before anyone dismisses Donoghue as a "grass", ask yourself this: Would YOU have accepted the lunatic Ronnie Kray's request to Albert to accept a 30 year stretch for the Frank Mitchell murder? If you would've done, it shows just how stupid, deluded, or lacking in self-worth you really are.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 5, 2009 12:53 PM GMT


Southpaw Grammar (Expanded edition)
Southpaw Grammar (Expanded edition)

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent but not necessary re-telling, 19 May 2009
In many respects, "Southpaw Grammar" is similar to Morrissey's recent "Years of Refusal" album - all macho, beefy drums and bovver-booted guitars, though with a slightly more English-ish feel to it.

Here we find the entire original album (no ommited tracks, thank goodness), though in a different order to the original disc, and with several previously unreleased songs to flesh-out the time-span. Sadly, all of the "new" songs, with the possible exception of "You Should Have Been Nice to Me", are mere filler - forgettable and disposable. Morrissey's sleeve-notes have curiousity value and reveal drips and drabs of interesting info, but even the undoubtedly stylish and previously unseen snaps don't make-up for a lack of printed lyrics.

And that, along with the gaping absence of Johnny Marr's genius, is possibly the difference between Morrissey's time with The Smiths and the last fifteen years of his long-plateaued solo career.


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