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Reviews Written by
D.N.Wijewardane (Colombo, Sri Lanka)
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Hunderby [DVD] [2012]
Hunderby [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Julia Davis
Price: £6.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing; fails to develop, 29 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Hunderby [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Well done manor house backgrounds/household sets, fairly good character costumes, some innuendoed and funny tongue-in-cheek lines from time to time (with some adult themes) but far below the standards of witty English humour as in Blackadder. Does not really build up and tends to get somewhat tedious, overly silly (maybe British humour is going this way) and some scenes are rather theatrical; the plots are also very predictable. While I expected something of the quality of "The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff", this was overall disappointing, alas (-I am a surprised at the 5 star reviews). It could have been significantly more developed and funnier. Three stars.


Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange (Hardcover Classics)
Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange (Hardcover Classics)
by Malcolm C (Tr Lyons
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

87 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enticing historical read, 17 Nov. 2014
This book of 447 pages including a Glossary is a fascinating compilation of recently translated 'new' stories akin to the tales of 1001 Arabian Nights. The inner cover reads "Dating from at least a millennium ago, this is the earliest known collection of Arabic stories, surviving in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul...".

As I could not find much information on the book's contents from Penguin's or Amazon's description somewhat surprisingly, I offer this for any interested readers.

There are 18 such stories : eg "The Story of the Forty Girls and What Happened to Them with the Prince" to "The Story of Sahkr and al-Khansa and of Miqdam and Haif (with Poetry and Prose)", each 10-30 pages long (roughly). There is a nice informative introduction dwelling briefly on various themes, from how the book relates (or not) to 1001 Arabian Nights to topics such as "Deceitful Women", "Sea People", "The Pagan Past", "Flaws and Narrative Incompetence". The stories themselves are written in clear, 'modern' English and are easy to read : "During my wanderings, I reached Kharshana and entered the church where I sat with the poor, eating the bread that was distributed as alms. I stayed there for three days until on the fourth a very handsome man came in wearing a robe of yellow brocade and followed by a servant. He studied our faces and then greeted me and said "I hope that my reading of your face will not prove wrong..."

The stories are quite enticing and cover (at a quick glance) topics mostly relating to travel to women/men, animals, and poetry. (The storylines remind me of an excellent Hallmark production "Arabian Nights" (2000, DVD) which I bought for my children many years ago but easily captivating for adults - a funny, fantastical and well filmed (not Disneyish) production reminiscent of old Bukhara, by the way.) Having travelled on ancient Silk Roads and visited old dirty crumbling caravanserais in desolate places (where one imagines such tales might have been passed around) and knowing something of the Arab world in which I have lived, I am looking forward to being immersed in these translated tales in coming months; the book seems to me a great read to be savoured slowly.

The physical size of the book is pleasantly 'small' (24 cms long, 16 cm wide, 4 cms thick) despite its many pages and does not weigh quite as much as I expected, rather like an oversized novel or standard hardback. It does feel nice in your hand, provided it is biggish! It is even transportable on a long journey (I do not like reading books on Kindles/ipads unless forced to and as such appreciate the production of the book, complete with an integral silk bookmark). The design is bright (as depicted on Amazon) and simple, and the text is laid out on generous looking pages given the need to keep it compact, easy enough on the eyes.

In short it seems a wonderful read if you are interested in tales from the ancient world and I value it in my bookshelf.
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Chambers
Chambers
Offered by Audible Ltd

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and enjoyable, 25 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Chambers (Audio Download)
An intelligent legal comedy to be enjoyed in a classic British humour sense....4.5 star. The characters are crisp, the dialog/plots are entertaining (-it is a little predictable in a few places but nonetheless very enjoyable) and a great listen. Why are we only able to hear just 4 episodes - where are the rest available on DVD/CD?


Ambassadors - Series 1 [DVD]
Ambassadors - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Mitchell
Price: £12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny (and pretty realistic)!, 20 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ambassadors - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I *fortunately* saw these first 3 episodes in full on YouTube by fluke before they were pulled many months ago (thank you whoever put them up). Since the old days of good intelligent and witty British comedy, the three episodes were the best I have seen since say Yes PM, Blackadder and the like which I adore - I immediately pre-ordered (due Oct 2014) and have no reason to think the next unknown episodes could be inferior in any way. The plots are funny and unpredictable, the acting is excellent all round (-enjoyed DM and RW very much here and great interactions, as indeed the Man from "Rev" in a very different princely role though a touch overindulgent in expletives!), the backdrops are fun and suitably exotic...and it is pretty realistic!

As the first reviewer headlines, suggesting she did not think diplomacy could be so funny, being in such circles it IS often hilarious and dotty (-British Embassies no less culpable!); moreover having spent some time in the chaos of the -stans, I thoroughly enjoyed the caricatures which were about the same size as life itself. Excellent production BBC, and wonder why programmes like this are rarely produced or why they have to "test it out first"... I hope there are more episodes and that the quality is maintained.

Update Sept 2015: the DVD is thankfully out and well worth it. There is a slight silly editing issue...likely remnant of made-for-tv in that there are some awkward "1 second" gaps a few times in each episode (former ads?) when some scenes change...not seamless as one might expect normally. Still, a second episode please ! This is decent comedy.


Twenty Twelve - Series 1-2 [DVD] [2012]
Twenty Twelve - Series 1-2 [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Hugh Bonneville
Price: £7.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good acting, some good lines, fair plot, 19 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good, and one believes rather helplessly that this maybe how "vacant" and Facebook oriented generations in corporate Britain function....even though Hugh Bonneville acts very well as someone battling the system with honest intentions and real problems (and Jessica Haynes too as 'like' a fluffy PR executive [no disrespect intended to PR execs]...). The acting is good; the script is quite good...in places quite predictable, but alas in no way as sharp as the old classic English comedies like Yes PM or the new Ambassadors. Still better than alot of aimless, unfunny, rather dumb "escapist" comedies that are forever floating around [sigh]... 3.5 star or maybe just a 4 at best IMO.


Bleak Expectations
Bleak Expectations
by Mark Evans
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great escapism..., 19 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bleak Expectations (Hardcover)
If you like the slightly surreal and typical Brit humour of the "classical" type (not the silly current "Dumb Britain" humour that seems to prevail), eg venerable Python, Black Adder, Yes PM, and the books of Doug Adams, Chris Wood etc., ...and enjoyed the radio series, the book is - I feel - much better and more comprehensive, with hilarious footnotes and a writing style that pops out of the page at the reader. It does not - contrary to my fears - seem tedious after a few pages. The chuckles continue and makes for a great read!


A Picture Of Britain - Complete BBC TV Series [DVD] [2005]
A Picture Of Britain - Complete BBC TV Series [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ David Dimbleby
Offered by RCDiscs
Price: £11.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and well presented; better resolution expected, 9 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The praise for this DVD is well founded and having lived and travelled across many parts of its gentle beauty, it is still surprising just how very picturesque and tranquil this land is (despite the uglyness of modern urban creep). It is still such a timeless landscape, thankfully and because of protection, and people are still very anchored to the past, in the best sense of the word - as DD portrays. His links to landscape painters and brief comparisons are very interesting.

I feel the accompaying music a little overwhelming and abit overemphasised at times and would have preferred a slightly more subdued presence: one does not need too much emotive music, nice though it is, to appreciate what the glorious painters enjoyed across the vistas they painted. I was also surprised that the video quality of this Amazon purchased item is abit variable- seen on a high end Oppo bluray player and decent TV, the overall picture quality is significantly not as good as I expected in sharpness (bit slightly grainy in places), nor consistent across the various clips in the documentary. This is surprising - I have an original DVD product. One can still well enjoy the programme and it is not a major impediment but I did expect better and better production would have certainly heightened one's enjoyment.


Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister - Complete Collection [DVD] [1980]
Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister - Complete Collection [DVD] [1980]
Dvd ~ Paul Eddington
Price: £15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, unbeatable humour even a quarter decade out, 27 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is little to add to this pinnacle of British humour. I played this collection on the latest Oppo Bluray player and generally the picture quality is good enough - you do see the grains and variances apparent from the poorer original tape transfers and it is a pity this was not completely remastered as in the case of Fawlty Towers Remastered. That said, you will listen to these episodes forever. Amazon.co.uk offers a true bargain as amazon.com has, oddly, crazily priced Yes PM/Minister products and, I think, not the same combo.


Kyra
Kyra
Price: £15.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ensemble recording, 27 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kyra (Audio CD)
Cudos to amazon.com carrying this somewhat obscure recording as the producer (VelutLuna) has a non-existing customer service that does not answer inquiries for their own products, oddly. I looked everywhere for this CD. Great recording: the music has a jazz-folksy edge to the ensemble playing and haunting instrumental melodies, well played. Beautiiful structure and harmonious on the ear. As a jazz/classical music listener, this is a very enjoyable elegant diversion which pulls in memories of Django, Eddie Daniels, Hank Jones, Martin Taylor....as well highland rhythms. But it is not a fish nor fowl recording! I look forward to a sequel.


Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tab 7-inch 3G + Wi-Fi Tablet (ARM Cortex A8 1GHz, 16 GB, 7-inch TFT LCD, Bluetooth, Android 2.2) - Sim Free
Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tab 7-inch 3G + Wi-Fi Tablet (ARM Cortex A8 1GHz, 16 GB, 7-inch TFT LCD, Bluetooth, Android 2.2) - Sim Free
Offered by MACnificent

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy companion to Nexus One phone (Android), 3 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After some desk research on US sites where the Tab is available for $539 odd, I bought from Amazon.co.uk for UKL 449 (around $700) and am delighted.

Major irritation in US versions : you do not know which Tab offered by which vendor (Verizon, T-Mob, AT&T...) is usable with plain Wifi (as I live out of the US, I did not intend to use the SIM). This marketing confusion by Samsung is about the only major negative! US salespersons did not know any better, and furthermore there are "hidden" costs - it seems - in deactivating a "No Plan" version of a US Tab. If it is marketed as a No Plan Tab, then it should be that! Added to this, the ridiculous US pricing on a Unlocked Tab at $940! Added to that, there are all sorts of differing opinions on deactivation routines on "locked" Tabs in the US and these seem to vary by carrier! Apple's simplicity and price structure is all the more alluring...but I am glad I bought a Tab.

In this respect, Amazon UK's offering even at UK 449 is great : this is a SIM unlocked Tab and I am happily using foreign SIMs painlessly on my Tab! And what a useful thing it is too : call quality in Sri Lanka over 3G etc. is excellent (very clear, no drops) and I am using it unexpectedly for phone calls without the included headphone/mic wires. Of course it does look a bit silly at 7" to hold against the ear (still better than walking with Bluetooth earpieces) but on the table, conversations are easily heard.

The Tab's Android Froyo OS 2.2 is much better in use than I expected, having used a Nexus One phone (very happily) with the same OS. Tab's OS is noticeably fast[er], lovely scrolling, responsive, clear and bright...a delight. OS 2.3 should be even better but frankly 2.2 is very very convenient. I particularly like all the extra Tab functionality over current current iPads (no cameras, no multitasking etc.) and the 7" size is great to read in bed. Lots of free apps in the Marketplace although users outside the Western countries do not have Marketplace paid apps access. Though no patch for iPad apps, the Android Marketplace will do for most people including me with no grouses. Note: Skype availability requires some hunting but Skype Android Beta is available somewhere (I got it but not sure yet if it supports voice calls) but not on Skype's own website, strangely - Marketplace does not offer it at present to users outside the Western countries. Ditto Kindle app. Both non-availabilities are at time of writing, strange. Google should make Marketplace more readily available to all.

The Tab did not come with any memory card but with a charger (based on a USB cord to a UK plugpoint). I guess you can use this cord to attach the Tab to a PC instead of buying a separate Tab USB cord as I did.

The only negative was that the SIM slot is a bit "stiff". You have to push the SIM deep into the slot to activate the grabbing mechanism else it keeps popping out. But this is easily overcome and you need a coin to push in or detach your SIM.

Battery life: easily lasts a day of good Wifi use. More if limited use. Recognises Wifi painlessly. You may need to configure APN for your ISP...easily done.

The touch buttons at the base of the Tab are not illuminated when the Tab is sleeping so you need to know where to press to see the Menu icon. They are also rather close to the end of the Tab, but accessible.

No great cons I can name...and I am not a Samsung "fan" but appreciate Google's openness. An excellent product and worth buying I think from Amazon UK if you live abroad (non US). Need a good case to protect the screen from being hit (the cheap silicon case is fine but the screen is unprotected). The price of the Tab needs badly to drop!


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