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Stephen Reid "Stephen" (Basingstoke)
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Miracle on 34th Street [DVD] [1947]
Miracle on 34th Street [DVD] [1947]
Dvd ~ Edmund Gwenn
Price: £3.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect Christmas film, 24 Nov 2013
Of the two versions of 'Miracle on 34th Street' this, the original, is by far the better. This film is a light-hearted Christmas comedy that doesn't fall into the trap of out-and-out sentimentality, though it will bring a tear to your eyes at the end. The plot is well worked and the 'proof' that the central character really is Father Christmas has just enough logic to it to make the incredible credible.

This film has a minor character who is actually essential to the story, in the form of the acerbic, politically motivated adviser to the judge. He explains why the judge really wants (and needs) to deliver the popular verdict. This character and the us of the Postal Service as a means of 'proving' the identity of Father Christmas is an essential element left out of the remake.

The sub-plot, of the developing affection between the lawyer, his divorced neighbour and her daughter is well acted and superbly well-written.

This film is one of the finest 'feel good' Christmas movies ever made. The casting is perfect and the script is tight. It doesn't descend into mawkishness and at the close you will feel uplifted and entertained. We watch this film each year int he lead-in to Christmas and regard it as one of the essentials as we prepare for the holiday.

This is the perfect Christmas film and bears watching many times. Recommended.


Samsung SSG-5100GB/XC 3D Glasses (Battery) (New for 2013)
Samsung SSG-5100GB/XC 3D Glasses (Battery) (New for 2013)
Price: £11.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In terms of comfort and effectiveness these glasses are superb, 17 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These were the glasses supplied with our F8000 TV. They work very well and I quickly ordered another two pairs for the family.

They come very well protected, with transparent plastic covers for the front and back of each lens. They are easily removed by way of the tabs attached. The implication is that the lenses can be scratched, so I have taken to putting the glasses back into the bags supplied when not in use.

The glasses take coin batteries: easy to install. There is a small (rather fiddly but it works) press button switch on the top to turn them on. Have your 3D source running before switching on as they need to synchronise with the TV.

If you are wearing the glasses when you switch on you will see them cut in by virtue of an apparent reduction in the ambient light of the room. This is because they are active shutter glasses with one lens at a time being 'open'. Another check that they are working is to look at a light: you will see a slight flickering effect.

I had wondered whether the active shutter technology might induce headaches. I am pleased to report that, for me at least, there is no evidence of that.

In terms of comfort, they are lightweight and large enough to be worn over a pair of prescription spectacles. The 3D effect is not diminished by this.

The acid test, of course, is how well they work at generating a 3D effect, and the answer in that they are superb. The depth of vision that I have seen far exceeded my expectations.

So, in terms of comfort and effectiveness these glasses are superb. The only aspect on which I cannot yet comment is battery life, but the batteries are not expensive. I am looking forward to more and more 3D releases: five stars.

Update (Jan 2014). I have been receiving queries: will these glasses work work my .... set? I am very nervous about giving a yes or no answer that I haven't actually tested so here's as much info as I can give, taken from the Samsung manual. The glasses communicate with Samsung 3D TVs on the 2.4GHz RF band. They can be used with Samsung D, E and F series 3D TVs released in 2011 to 2013 or with 3D TVs that have the logos specified. The logos carry the descriptions "Full HD 3D glasses" and also carry the RF and IR symbols (or just RF). The "Full HD 3D glasses" logo signifies compatibility between display products and 3D glasses that are compliant with the Full HD 3D glasses format.

I hope this helps.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Extended Edition [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Extended Edition [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Martin Freeman
Price: £17.00

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 3D is stunning. Five stars and a wholehearted recommendation., 15 Nov 2013
This review is specifically of the 3D version of the film and I hope it adds some value to the already comprehensive set of reviews previously posted.

I confess that I approached this film with trepidation, having read reviews of it being rather slow. I have since acquired the 3D version and I can report, without hesitation, that the 3D adds value and I found the film utterly superb.

The cinematography is stunning: I think it was designed to be shown in 3D. It is a triumph. So, as for the film being 'slow', no I don't think it is - there were scenes that I did not want to end, they looked so good.

I found myself watching in awe as the beautiful scene-setting unfolded. Sometimes it seems as if the depth of vision is impossible: for example a butterfly flying out of the screen and so close to the viewer that one could reach out and catch it.

I showed part of the film to people who had seen it in the cinema in 3D. They reported that the active 3D as seen at home is far better than the passive 3D of the cinema. They were, as I was, pleasantly surprised.

It is a long time since I read 'the Hobbit' but it seems a faithful re-imagining of the story. Freeman is exceptionally well cast as Bilbo Baggins and the rest of the cast is of the highest order. The special effects that recreate the creatures they encounter are first class. The script adaptation is good too, allowing the viewer to understand the unfolding plot.

OK, some of the plot asks the viewer to suspend disbelief to a huge degree: the dwarves surviving the mountain path for one. But hey ... is Die Hard believable? This is what films are designed to be - good entertainment.

This film has impressed me mightily. Five stars and a wholehearted recommendation.


Worldwide Travel Adaptor
Worldwide Travel Adaptor
Offered by GADGETS4TRAVEL
Price: £14.53

4.0 out of 5 stars Designed to do a specific job, which means it has some limitations. Respect them and you will get good service., 14 Nov 2013
The model that I have has some small print on it (and I mean small!) that says "CAUTION. To reduce risk of fire or electric shock, do not use with appliances requ.(sic) earth connection or provided with a lampholder or electrical outlet. Unplug adapter and plugs when not in use."

It also states that the maximum loading is 2.5 Amps and that the maximum power is 550 watts at 220 volts or 275 watts at 110 volts. That makes sense: 220v x 2.5A = 550 Watts.

This device is clearly designed, therefore, for portable devices with low power consumption. OK for shavers and the like but not for anything with a heating element, I suggest.

The unit is well made: press the button and slide the slider to reveal the adapter you need. In the centre of the 'slide out' end is small cover, which when turned detaches to reveal the 2.5A fuse, which on my model is white and unmarked. It probably is worth taking a spare fuse.

Designed to do a specific job, which means it has some limitations. Respect them and you will get good service. Four stars is fair, I think, in view of the constraints.


NEW Ladies Fluffy Warm Cosy Evening Bed Socks Stripe Lights
NEW Ladies Fluffy Warm Cosy Evening Bed Socks Stripe Lights
Offered by K D Trading
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fully satisfied. Five stars., 13 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought as a present: these socks arrived in a paper envelope rather than a box: adequate. Delivery was speedy.

The socks are presented as as three individually tagged pairs with a containing ribbon to hold the three pairs together. They are very soft and fluffy and patterned in pastel shades. The picture is indicative of the socks you will receive in the terms of colours. The ones I received were two pairs predominantly pink and one green/gray - perfectly acceptable. The label says they are constructed from 95% polyester and 5% Elastane. They fit sizes 3 to 5.5.

Fully satisfied with this purchase. Five stars.


On Networks 200Mbps Powerline Home Network Adapters
On Networks 200Mbps Powerline Home Network Adapters
Offered by GSM-Fonz (We are taking orders of Apple iphone 6 and 6 Plus)
Price: £21.64

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a low-cost, high-value solution to networking in the home, and the setting-to-work could not be more simple., 31 Oct 2013
These adapters represent good value for money, are simple to set up and they work.

The come well packaged: lots of clear plastic film to remove (essential - it covers the ventilation slots). The units are the size of an old-fashioned power supply. The Ethernet cables are generously long.

I was able to set these adapters to work very easily: plug in the downstairs unit, plug in the upstairs (connected to my router), press the button on the upstairs unit, press the button on the downstairs unit (within two minutes) and they saw each other straight away. I then plugged in the Ethernet cables and the set up was complete. The network came to life immediately.

I am using these adapters to connect my Sky+ box downstairs to my router upstairs. Downloading programmes is fast: the requested content is available a minute or so after initiating the download and it streams in faster than it plays back. In effect, a programme can be almost instantly downloaded.

The value-for-money measurement will be complete when I see how long the units last. Assuming they are 'plug and forget' and last a significant length of time (a previous manufacturer's model didn't), these adapters represent a low-cost, high-value solution to networking in the home, and the setting-to-work could not be more simple. Five stars.

March 2014 update: less than six months in, one of these units appears to have stopped working and I have bought some TP Link replacements. Perhaps I was unlucky ... or perhaps, for the price, that's to be expected. I'm not marking them down in case my experience is atypical.


Xerox Phaser 8500,8550,8560,8560MFP Compatible Standard Capacity (10,000 Yield) Maintenance Kit. Replaces Xerox OEM part Number: 108R00675.
Xerox Phaser 8500,8550,8560,8560MFP Compatible Standard Capacity (10,000 Yield) Maintenance Kit. Replaces Xerox OEM part Number: 108R00675.
Offered by Supplies Group
Price: £64.80

5.0 out of 5 stars significantly cheaper than the branded Xerox item and no functional difference that I can make out, 28 Oct 2013
This is a re-manufactured standard maintenance kit and it works. The printer is able to differentiate between the brand new Xerox maintenance kit and this one, but the difference is nothing in practice: this one needs an extra key press on the front panel to be accepted. Thereafter, you won't be able to tell the difference. It seems to have the same capacity and it performs just as well.

I have used a few of these kits now and the printer shows no ill-effects, just as with the compatible inks. I might think twice about using non-genuine parts if I had a brand new printer where warranty issues might be important, but my trusty old Xerox 8500 soldiers on using the Supplies Group compatibles and seems to be performing just the same as ever.

Recommended ... significantly cheaper than the branded Xerox item and no functional difference that I can make out. Five stars.


The Halfway House [DVD] (1944)
The Halfway House [DVD] (1944)
Dvd ~ Francoise Rosay
Price: £8.91

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seventy years later, more interesting than entertaining., 27 Oct 2013
I have seen the glowing reviews of this film and confess to being a tad surprised. This film is a product of its times but seventy years later it has not stood the test of time well: the direction is pedestrian and the tension, for a ghost story, is pretty well non-existent. To mark it as a five star Ealing Studios film, which ranks it alongside absolute classics such as 'Kind Hearts and Coronets' and 'The Lavender Hill Mob' is generous in the extreme and I wouldn't want anyone to buy this film thinking that it was that good.

The story concerns a disparate group of people, each with problems, brought together in an Inn that was destroyed a year before. Their experiences help each of them to heal their lives and tackle the remainder of the war with renewed heart. The real life father and daughter team of Mervyn and Glynis Johns works very well. Mervyn Johns is a class act (brilliant in 'Scrooge')and manages to imbue his part with some sense of mystery. Sally Ann Field plays a schoolgirl but seems very much forced into a style dictated by Basil Dearden, who directed.

There is some inevitable propaganda near the end of the film, which is interesting as a commentary on the war effort: we know how the war was to end - when this film was made, they didn't.

The black and white print on the DVD is very good: the sound is in mono and clear. It is a 'bare bones' release which means that the DVD comes without supporting material or bonus content.

So how to mark this? It is certainly not a five star film: not by comparison with its stable-mates. In its day I think it would have merited four stars but now I think three is fair. It's worth watching but I predict you will sit through it once but not again.

Seventy years later, I found this film is more interesting than entertaining. It is a product of its time and that is how I think it should be viewed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 14, 2013 10:45 PM GMT


Staples A4 All in One Paper 90GSM 1 ream 500 sheets
Staples A4 All in One Paper 90GSM 1 ream 500 sheets

5.0 out of 5 stars a good product, bright white, suitable for universal use, with a quality feel to it., 27 Oct 2013
This is the paper that I favour for use in my Xerox 8500 page printer. It is around the same price as other quality reams (but more than the real budget stuff). At 90 gsm is heavier that the 'standard' 80 gsm. This gives printed documents a higher quality feel to them.

It also works without problem in my HP Ink Jet. It has a smooth finish so I see no evidence of the liquid ink bleeding into the fibres of the paper.

In addition the paper is noticeably whiter than others I have used.

It comes well wrapped in plastic that stands up well to being transported.

I find this a good product, bright white, suitable for universal use and with a quality feel to it. Five stars.


New
New
Price: £14.35

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There are tracks in this album that will stand there with the best of McCartney in his live shows, 24 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New (Audio CD)
How many artists are there who could evoke such interest in a new album at the age of 71? Paul McCartney is so revered that his first album of new material in 6 years was awaited with bated breath by his fans. It doesn't disappoint.

OK, it's not a five star 'Band on the Run'. But it's good. Better than 'Memory Almost Full', which was pretty good in its own right. Once again it needs a second playing to bring out all its qualities. How I wish it was possible to listen to McCartney's records for the second time without sitting through the first! He has this incredible knack of writing songs that don't impress on first hearing and then are instantly memorable when you hear them again.

So it was for me with 'New'. Apart from the pre-released single of the same name, I hadn't heard any of the album before it arrived. I put it on eagerly, and found it a mixed bag. but on second playing ... hey presto - a very good album.

The first thing to say is that Paul hasn't changed his approach. He is still producing short, catchy pop/rock tunes. The second thing to say is that it is a perceived wisdom that McCartney is at his strongest when collaborating with others ... here it is the producers who add value.

Stand out tracks? For me 'New' and 'On my way to work'; both great ballads. Alligator', 'Appreciate' and 'I can bet' are completely different and also most enjoyable.

There are tracks in this album that will stand there with the best of McCartney in his live shows. Not an all-time classic but very good. Four stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2013 11:40 AM BST


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