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J. Clarke (Bucks, UK)

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Girl Who Got Away [Bonus Disc]
Girl Who Got Away [Bonus Disc]
Price: £6.14

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Her best album, 16 Mar. 2013
After the unapologetic introversion (and lethargy)of 2008's Safe Trip Home, this is like a rebirth. Committed, focussed and sparking with ideas, this is a genuinely impressive return (and a great headphones album). Sonically dynamic with a wealth of subtle light and shade, the whole thing drips with an understated classiness. The production is top notch, sounding both expensive and experimental at the same time. I was reminded of Pink Floyd on several occasions, most notably during the grand sweep of The Day Before We Went To War. There is a new sophistication to the songwriting that adds a dreamy elegance to proceedings.

One star off for the slight dip in quality during the middle section, where things briefly coast on trancey autopilot. Overall, this a superb record.

Safe Trip Home
Safe Trip Home
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £2.25

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Navel Gazing..., 23 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Safe Trip Home (Audio CD)
My only guess is that the artist lost her way at some point during the five-year gestation period of this album. An essentially tuneless (and inspiration-free) trawl though one woman's self-absorbtion, there are no obvious singles or any obvious sense of life. The tempo fails to change; we have a plodding dirge through some extended "tone poems"/mood pieces that singularly fail to engage the listener. Likewise, although Dido could never have been construed as a truly gifted lyricist along the lines of, say, Damien Rice, at least on her previous albums there was nothing so vacuous as, for example, "I miss you...I want you...I need you...but I can't have you." To get away with this kind of stuff, you need Jim Steinman levels of bombast in the orchestration department to mask the sheer bloody obviousness of the lyric. When it's married to a tune that someone could have cooked up on a Casio synth in the late '80's, things are starting to look bad.

The drifting astronaut on the cover art is very apt- the entire album seems as if it was created in a void, her previous vast sales giving her ample time and space for aimless navel gazing. Suspect her record label isn't going to be happy with this- this isn't the sort of thing that's going to fly off the racks to thirty-something mums in Tesco in the way her previous releases did. I suspect Dido, financially now very much 'in the black', decided that she was secure enough to 'do her own thing' and take a risk. If she'd have had the melodies, inspiration and genuninely something to say (the exception being 'Grafton Street', which concerns itself with her late father and is tellingly the best thing on the album by some distance), she might have pulled it off. This is the sound of someone half asleep at the wheel. Pity.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2013 9:49 PM GMT

Samsung LE40R74BDX - 40'' Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV - With Freeview
Samsung LE40R74BDX - 40'' Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV - With Freeview

16 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Abysmal Picture, 31 Jan. 2007
This isn't specific to the model in question (which is the one I happened to purchase)- all LCD TVs suffer in the same way. Unless you have Sky+, forget it. The picture from a SD feed will look no better than a grainy, pixellated internet mpeg. What's more worrying is the complete lack of tone, contrast and colour on these sets. Everything is presented in absolutes; black has no shades of grey, no subtlety. The same with blinding white. It genuinely seems that the current generation of these sets is still a work in progress- stick to a good quality widescreen CRT for a couple of years. Simply put, the latest batch of LCD TVs are a waste of money. Mine was returned within a week.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2008 11:08 PM GMT

Price: £7.83

9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the Year, 17 Dec. 2006
This review is from: 9 (Audio CD)
No question. Forget the cretins questioning this release. Utter, unquestioning genius. Brilliant writing combine with heart-rending melody. Break-up classic, HEART BREAK.

Tomb Raider: Legend (PC DVD)
Tomb Raider: Legend (PC DVD)

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tomb Raider? No, not really..., 30 April 2006
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Well, the graphics are (console) great.

The game is relatively bug-free.

And there the plus points stop, because this game is NOT Tomb Raider in the classic '90s mould. If you are expecting a devious puzzler with a genuine sense of art and intellect, forget it. What Crystal Dynamics have created is a (very) linear 3D platformer, much more akin to, say, 'Prince of Persia' than the old Tomb Raider games made by Core. If you rate graphics above gameplay, fine. However, everyone should bear in mind that the entire game can be completed in under 7(???) hours, so longevity is practically nonexistent. It also seems curiously unfinished- many levels are devoid of wildlife and feel sterile and empty, a zoo without animals. It is also worth mentioning that what content DOES exist has been made unmistakeably simpler than in the past- hints and tips are made available at every turn, and the puzzles are now mindlessly easy to overcome. I suggest that 'Legend' has been pitched squarely at the youngsters' console market, and as such more seasoned gamers and 'classic' TR fans would be better off looking elsewhere for a greater challenge. There is very little to be had here.

It's very pretty, though. Shame they forgot the game.

Night Of The Demon [VHS]
Night Of The Demon [VHS]

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lethal Low-Budget Gore, 15 April 2003
A classic of it's type, this is exactly the kind of 'almost amateur' gorefest that was driven underground by the 'video nasty' witch hunt of the early '80's. Although the acting ability on show is comically poor, the filmmakers do at least have a grasp of mounting and lighting a shot, unlike so many of their late '70s comtemporaries. The plot involves a marauding 'Bigfoot' and the attempts of a group of college kids and their professor to track it through the forests of the Midwest. The kids are straight out of Scooby Doo, the dialogue frequently ridiculous ('Let's go back to the beginning. I think that's where we should start. At the beginning'). But these are minor considerations in a film that would have been pitched straight at the drive-in. Despite all of it's obvious failings, the film does possess a genuine air of grainy underground menace. The bloodletting is extremely graphic and upsetting (the final scenes are almost beyond description). As a result, this is the slightly trimmed version (although still VERY strong meat), the long-banned original version now a much sought-after collector's item.
If you can stand/enjoy the relentless onslaught of bad taste and senseless violence, 'Night of the Demon' is a must see. If not, a wide berth is recommended.

Dead Ringer
Dead Ringer
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.06

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theatre, pure and simple., 23 Feb. 2001
This review is from: Dead Ringer (Audio CD)
By 1981, Meat Loaf was in trouble. His voice was shot from endless touring, a cocaine snowstorm has become a blizzard that sapped everything around it, and, to cap it all, Jim Steinman had decided to record his new compositions alone. These songs can duly be found on Steinman's 'Bad for Good' opus, which bizarrely sounds more like an odds-and-ends collection than anything on 'Dead Ringer', essentially a grab-bag of Steinman material. Some of it was old ('More Than You Deserve'), and some of it was weak ('Everything is Permitted'), but it is closer in tone and mood to the mythical 'Bat Out Of Hell' than Steinman's own album, released at roughly the same time. Massively underrated, it harbours the show-stopping tearjerker 'Read 'Em and Weep' and, of course, the title track, a memorable sparring match with Cher. The Loaf's voice is admittedly weak and possesses an unusually thin nasal quality(probably to do with the aforementioned 'Snow'), and yet the sheer testosterone rush of, say, 'I'll Kill You If You Don't Come Back' is infused with the unique magic frequently invoked by Steinman's Gotterdammerung approach to rock opera.
I recommend this album unreservedly. Truly, they don't make 'em like this anymore. Admittedly, it stands out like a sore thumb in the midst of our miserablist, navel-gazing times, but it dosen't suffer by comparison. Like the other Steinman/Meat Loaf albums of the period, it remains a window on to a vanished, more innocent world.

Owlman and Others
Owlman and Others
by Jonathan Downes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.71

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal Brilliance, 28 Feb. 2000
This review is from: Owlman and Others (Paperback)
I don't think that I've enjoyed a book so much in a long time. Apart from the fascinating investigation that lies at the heart of the book, I found a poignant yearning for a time long gone (the 1970's, to be specific), and lives changed and moulded by the passage of years. Make no mistake, this is primarily a Fortean work, but one with a human heart and quietly subversive sense of humour. I can't recommend it highly enough. Perhaps all of us have a need for there to be a monster in the woods, if only to keep the child within us alive.

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