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Andrea Smith (London, UK)

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Michael McIntyre: Showtime [DVD]
Michael McIntyre: Showtime [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael McIntyre
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.00

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saw this live at the O2, 8 Oct. 2012
We saw Michael McIntyre live at the O2 last week, he was very good and did make us laugh, however having seen his previous material (I have all his DVDs, although this was the first time I have seen him live), I think his earlier stuff was better than this.

He covers the Olympics and the Queen's Jubilee in this concert / DVD, his recent visit to the dentist and filling in online forms, amongst others. All very good, although I have to say the Jubilee and Olympics did feel a bit like old hat and will feel even more so once the DVD starts making its way into Christmas stockings.

Although he is a great comedian and very entertaining, sometimes he is guilty of exhausting certain topics, rather than moving on to a new one. He does also go off on a tangent sometimes - begins talking about one topic, goes completely onto another and then back to his original one.

That said, I do like the guy and I would buy his DVDs again in the future.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2012 1:17 PM BST

Shame [DVD]
Shame [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Fassbender
Price: £5.16

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Arty... but not very good, 8 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Shame [DVD] (DVD)
I had high hopes for this film given the rave reviews but unfortunately it did not live up to the hype. Both the plot about sex addiction and the brother - sister relationship were unbelievable and uninteresting. The film was very arty with little dialogue and a lot of Fasspender walking around naked and moody. The characters were unlikeable and I could neither relate to them nor sympathise with them.

There is little point to this film - it didn't make me 'think' towards the end and I was bored by the time it finished. In short, I would not choose to watch this again nor would I recommend it.

The Woman in Black [DVD]
The Woman in Black [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Price: £3.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, 1 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: The Woman in Black [DVD] (DVD)
I must admit, I am not normally a fan of horror films because I detest the over dramatised 'blood and gore' aspect of them. However several of them are spooky and chilling - such as Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity - and these intrigue me because I think it's particularly clever film-making to be able to genuinely send a shiver up the spine of the audience. I was quite keen to watch the Woman in Black because it seemed to fall into latter category.

The film is set in the early 1900s, which in itself is quite interesting, as it feels like a period drama as well as a horror film, and the cast and imagery are nothing short of excellent. I do agree with other reviewers that Daniel Radcliffe was perhaps a little too young for the starring role as a bereaved father of a little boy, but take nothing away from him - he does a good job of it.

The plot is fantastic and is where the film really excels. Yes, it is about ghosts (which I don't believe in), however in this case it is about a lady who lost her son and returns to haunt people after her death. It is a sad story which is told gradually as the film unfolds, and although you may think it wouldn't happen in real life (I'd be inclined to agree with you), it is very interesting to watch nonetheless. Moreover, another reason I normally stay away from horror films is that the ending normally descends into farce. Not so with the Woman In Black. The ending is particularly clever and both tragic and touching in equal measures.

I have deducted one star for two reasons: the film started quite slowly and took a little longer than it should have to get going. Secondly, I didn't find it very scary: given the old house and the setting, it could have been much more chilling than it actually was. That said, everyone's fear factor is different - my friend was genuinely terrified, she told me, when she watched this - so others may find it fares better on that front. I haven't read the book (yet) so I can't make comparisons as to which is better, other than to say: having watched the film, I would definitely read the book.

The World According to Clarkson
The World According to Clarkson
Price: £3.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Average and a bit outdated now, 29 Aug. 2012
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Firstly I have to begin this review by saying I absolutely love Jeremy Clarkson - I love his to-the-point style, and the fact he doesn't give a hoot what anyone thinks, he will just give his view on something. Usually whilst making me laugh for a good few minutes. I think he is great on Top Gear. However, I must say I was quite disappointed in this book. Although some of the articles were laugh-out-loud funny, as a whole it wasn't quite as humourous or as interesting as I'd expected from him and, by the end, it was becoming almost a chore to finish the book.

A word of warning: most of the articles were written over ten years ago about news events at the time. Some of them are still relevant but others you will read and think 'things have progressed a bit since then'.

I would recomment this book only to the most die hard Clarkson fan, and even then, it's best to dip in and out of this book rather than read huge chunks at a time, otherwise you may find yourself suffering from Clarkson fatigue.

That said, I would give one of his more recent books a go.

Cyprus Road and Touring Map
Cyprus Road and Touring Map
by Cyprus Books
Edition: Map
Price: £5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent map, 12 July 2012
This review is from: Cyprus Road and Touring Map (Map)
I was dubious about this map when we first received it as I didn't think it would be enough, but once we got to Cyprus we found it to be more comprehensive and a lot better than any of the maps of the island we received from the hotel. Many of the places (particularly smaller villages) that were on this map were missing from the free ones we picked up.

As an added bonus, there is even larger, more detailed sections on the major towns on the reverse, Paphos, Larnaca, Nicosia etc. Recommended.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Cyprus
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Cyprus
by Grzegorz Micula
Edition: Flexibound

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything we needed, 10 July 2012
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This little guide is a must if you are looking to explore Cyprus. It is concise whilst still providing sufficient information, illustrations, maps and tips to enable you to find all the best sites. It doesn't just focus on the normal tourist attractions either, there were some lovely gems a little off the beaten track - so if you are hiring a car out there, even better! I wish you a safe and enjoyable trip to this stunning island.

The Iron Lady [DVD]
The Iron Lady [DVD]
Dvd ~ Meryl Streep
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Iron Lady [DVD] (DVD)
I was not yet born when Margaret Thatcher came to power, and although I learnt much about her from my parents and from school, this film was awe-inspiring.

For someone who is not old enough to remember the Iron Lady in her prime, the film hits home just how inspirational she was. Her success was particularly poignant given the era, when a woman's place was considered to be at home - something ironically depicted in one scene where the mens' and ladies' rooms are opened and there is an ironing board in the ladies. It just makes you appreciate her success that little bit more.

Meryl Streep delivers an impeccable performance as Thatcher - the accent was flawless and she deserves every accolade for her role in this film. She is truly outstanding and in a way, she does make the film what it is.

Now, I do agree with comments that the issue of dementia dominated slightly more than it should have done at times, although this, together with the frequent "flashbacks", allowed the producers to portray in the character of Thatcher's late husband Dennis perfectly. I thought they did a very good job of highlighting their remarkable bond and how much Thatcher missed him after his passing.

Additionally, the film shows a softer, compassionate side to Thatcher, as she is writing to deceased soldiers' parents during the Falklands War. She begins by saying 'as the only prime minister who is also a mother'. Again this made me admire the great lady even more; as a lady and a mother she must have found it hard to keep her emotions in check during times like this but managed to stay strong. Even into her old age she remained stoic - I particularly enjoyed the scene with the doctor.

The producers' attention to detail is also noteworthy: one particular scene stood out for me in this film - the opening scene, where a frail Thatcher is buying some milk from a convenience store. She is surprised by the cost, but duly pays and exits the store after thanking the cashier. The following customer is an aggressive youth who, with his headphones on, slams an energy drink onto the counter, pays, whips the drink off the counter and leaves without saying a word to the person who served him. Again, this is something that is easy to overlook but subtlely highlights a very significant difference in generation and deterioration of values. In fact, remembering this scene makes me to want to watch the film again, as I can't help but feel there are other things I may have missed.

Overall, I think this was an incredible film about a truly amazing woman, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2013 5:29 PM GMT

Friends With Benefits [DVD] [2011]
Friends With Benefits [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Justin Timberlake
Price: £2.99

8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One to avoid, 6 Jun. 2012
It was fairly obvious from the outset that this film would be totally predictable, and I wasn't expecting to be intellectually stimulated, just a nice light hearted comedy. What I wasn't expecting was something as awful as this, especially as Mila Kunis is a pretty good actress.

Let's not bother with the plot: it's about friends with benefits and we know what that means: two people enjoying a no-strings attached kind of relationship. We know that humans are prone to things called emotions and attachment, so no prizes for guessing how this pans out, or the very obvious ending.

Plot aside, I was expecting some laughter along the way. However this didn't materialise. What is worse was the shocking acting and the way the characters spokefartoofastaboutcompleterubbish. As a born and bred Londoner I'm used to a fast paced lifestyle and people talking quickly but watching this film, it got to the point where I was wondering if I'd sat on the remote and hit the fast forward button by accident.

Worse still was Mila Kunis' mother in the film, who knew about her daughters "friend with benefits" and appeared to be thrilled about it(!) I have to admit I was quite disappointed about this, as I didn't feel it was the right message to be sending out to the target audience (teens / early 20s).

The film is clearly aimed at the age group below mine but it is pretty poor and the whole no-strings attached plot has been done so many times before that this is surplus to requirements. A good alternative would be 'No Strings Attached', which is vastly superior to this flop.

PS: Don't worry if you find yourself getting sleepy mid film. I nodded off for about 15 minutes towards the end, and woke up to find I hadn't missed much. In fact, this film's probably a good bet if you do struggle to get to sleep.

Water for Elephants
Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not brilliant, 19 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Water for Elephants (Paperback)
I was thoroughly looking forward to reading Water For Elephants, as the film is excellent. As is normally the case, I was expecting the book to be even better than the film. Sadly this one was not.

Although the book is well crafted - with the old Jacob recounting his tales of the circus train; Gruen tying in the past and the present quite nicely throughout the book so it never felt disjointed - I did find it quite slow to get going. Worse still, having taken so long for the book to get going, the last few chapters and the climax felt very rushed indeed and was thus a little disappointing.

That said, Jacob's love of the animals really shone through and there were some lovely descriptions and heart-warming chapters throughout that did make it a worthwhile read. The love story element wasn't overly cheesy either, and there is some humour interjected throughout which keeps you going throughout the more boring bits.

Overall, it is a decent book, but for me it fell some way short of brilliant. I can thoroughly recommend the film though.

The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories
The Apple: Crimson Petal Stories
Price: £5.10

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 27 Jan. 2012
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The Crimson Petal and the White is one of my all-time favourite books and, having re-read it a couple of months ago, I was left wanting to know more about these incredible characters so I bought The Apple. Weighing in at a mere 200 pages, it does not seem like good value for money, however I was under the impression that, given that the author was Michel Faber, what The Apple lacked in size it would have made up for in quality. Sadly I was very wrong.

I appreciate that Michel Faber has stated he doesn't wish to write a sequel to The Crimson Petal, which is fair enough - he is under no obligation to. However it begs the question: what on earth did he write the Apple for if not a sequel of sorts? The characters are drawn from the Crimson Petal, so the book is not unrelated to that. We do find out fragments of information of what happened to a few key characters, but there are other stories in the book that are a little pointless. Another thing is that I didn't actually like the section on the characters who joined the suffragettes movement: it did not feel believable to me and by the time I got to that story I regretted buying this book.

If I'd read this first, I probably would never have read Michel Faber's masterpiece so I urge you to forget about the feeble Apple and buy the Crimson Petal and the White instead - it is a million times better. And if you've read the Crimson Petal, then I would suggest just leaving it there and drawing your own conclusions on what happens next!

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