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Lee "dantedanger" (Ireland)

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Aliens: Colonial Marines: Limited Edition (PS3)
Aliens: Colonial Marines: Limited Edition (PS3)
Price: £3.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Little to recommend t, 13 Sep 2014
This is a very poor game. The novelty of the sound effects sounding good wears off VERY quickly and you're left with a sub par shooter with little to recommend it. Poor mission structure , brainless enemies and a real lack of tension in the game. I didn't complete it, but I have the game a good hour and was thoroughly disappointed. A poor use of a superb licence


The Wild Life
The Wild Life
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £14.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album., 2 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Wild Life (Audio CD)
Superb album, some excellent ambient trance with great samples and big beats. Well worth a listen if you enjoy the likes of juno reactor, prometheus and younger brother.


Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea
Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea
by Jasper Becker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.93

4.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to give this 3.5...., 17 July 2008
I have just finsihed this book and I must say that I really found it interesting. As an introduction to DPRNK history, culture, politics and economics it is pretty rudimentary, but interesting. I'll begin with what I enjoyed.

Firstly, the author is quite a clear writer in that he is not un-neccessarily verbose and generally moves his discussion on at at good pace. By discussing the regime in a range of terms, he provides both a good background to the country and scope for interpretation. He is clear and concise and affords time to alternative viewpoints. All in all, I enjoyed the style of writing as a casual read on the bus, but it was not hugely academic which was a bit frustrating.

The stories from refugee's were interesting. Given that I have never been to DPRNK, I have no first hand experience and affording some time to said experiences benifitted the flow and the content of the book. What is, I feel, particulary commendable, is that he accepts and discussses the alternative views to the quotes. On several occassions the author does volunteer reasons as to why the interviewed accounts may not be totally accurate. This is not done to discredit them in any way, rather it serves as an immediate example as to how the facts are skewed in any political regime to suit the purpose.

The content is interesting. By drawing on a range of sources, the book is quite diverse, if a little undetailed on occassions. That said, the subject is one I find fascinating and if you are interested in North Korea you will find a suprising amout of depth regarding certain points, and food for thought in the book. This is the greatest strength in the book - it encourages you to think and leaves the reader to interpret and analyse what the author discusses. At no point is he doctrinal or preachy (interestingly, offering time to how Kim Jong-Il can be defended), he is generally fair.

In criticism, the over all structure of the book is a little bit off. Rather than sketching and then detailing a picture of exactlly what a rogue regime is and how DPRNK fits this description, the book discusses DPRNK. This is not a problem as such, but it does mean that the comparisons with the other rogue regimes are not always relevant. This criticism is, perhaps a bit unusual, but if you read the book "the corporation", you will see a very well written essay on how corporations exhibit psychotic behaviour. However, on occasions here, the comparisons dont always add to the context of a rogue regime.

There is a lack of detail. Now, given what this books goals were, as an introduction it is good, but on a few occassions I was left feeling like I had missed a few lines / paragraphs. This was not the case (barring a very strange printing), but I did feel that more detail would have helped.

Finally, one thing that I really was frustrated with was the use of footnotes. I had hoped and expected the use of detailed explanatoryy notes, but instead these were pretty limited. The reson I am including this as a criticism was that on several occassions I turned to an endnote and discovered not explanation or expansion of a point, but just a reference regarding the quote. Of course , there were one or two expansions, but it was something I felf could have been improved upon.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book, it made my mornign commute interesting. It is entertaining, saddening, worrrying and indeed shocking, just not enough. Perhaps the book would have been improved if its scope had have been narrowed and its detail increased and rather than trying to define a rogue regime and offer a general solution of how to deal with said regimes, the book could have detailed DPRNK and detailed its direct potential solutions.

It comes reccomended and as a passionate, entertaining introduciton to DPRNK, its worth a read. I guess the greatest praise I can give it that it was I was left wanting more. The book stimulated my interest in the subject and I helped me think more analytically about the country.

Kindest,

DD


Aliens - Special Edition [1986] [DVD]
Aliens - Special Edition [1986] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sigourney Weaver
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £2.90

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Movies...., 10 July 2008
Rather than just describe what happens in Alien's, I thought I'd write a review that explains why it is such a great film. Well...for me anyway...

Firs and foremost, the structure of the film is excellent. The film takes time to set the scene, not rushing the disposal of the characters from Alien, but all the time maintaining a sense of tension. The film is set, very comfortably after the first, showing how the world has moved on and describing over a number of scenes Ripley's struggle to re-integrate. This is juxtaposed with the developing of the plot for the bigger picture, each early scene containing several elements of plot and character. As the film progress's this structure is maintained, with each scene, though being driven by the central characters, often offering time to the minor characters.

For Example, even in the scene where Hicks is teaching Ripley how to use an Assault Rifle we are made very aware of Ripley's motivations for doing so - to protect Newt. Aliens takes the time to develop these relationships and, though ultimately a science fiction movie, it allows characters the screen time to develop and not just be 2-d caricatures. In Bishop, we have a very complicated Robot. He is a robot who understands, not only his status as a robot, but also the problems of being an "artificial person". While not necessary to the plot, this adds depth to the supporting cast, and indeed, makes Bishops acts of heroism more believable and interesting.

While the story is relatively simple, it is unrelenting. The plot has always struck me as being character driven, given that the soldiers have a mission, and it is what happens to the characters that is important, not the outcome of the mission. By this I mean, we realise very early on the mission is a disaster and there can only be one outcome (ie escape), but it is the survivors we are interested in. Having given even the most minor characters enough time to develop a personality and presence, their deaths are important. This is something that allows the film not only to have depth, but also emotional importance. Everything from the personalised helmets to the Over the Top manliness of Vasquez allows for engaging characters, and even if you don't empathise with one character, there are bound to be characteristics of multiple characters that one finds engaging.

Ultimately, what I am trying to say is that Aliens is, pun intended, a rare breed. It is an action film with emotional depth. It is a sci-fi movie that relies more on characters than outlandish plot. And best of all, is the enemy. The fact that the enemy is not directly explained, not empathised with (save for one wonderful remark by Ripley) means that we have a film for all times. The enemy could be an metaphor for all manner of evils in the world, then again, it can be a metaphor for the struggle against what is evil in humanity. Perhaps it is just an unstoppable killing machine....bit what it ultimately makes for is one hell of a film.

Truly, one of the greats.

Kindest,

DD


Separated at Birth: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin
Separated at Birth: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin
by Gordon Cucullu
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Good....but it could have been alot better., 18 Jun 2008
Good....but it could have been alot better. 18 Jun 2008
By Lee G. Madden "dantedanger" (Ireland) - See all my reviews

Before I begin, I feel it appropriate to say that my background is that of a degree level student with an interest in East Asian history, philosophy and culture. I am not a scholar by any stretch of the imagination and picked this book as a place to start on North Korea because it was cheap and had an interesting title. I read the book from cover to cover finding it fascinating but I was ultimately left feeling like it could have been so much more. I'll begin with my criticism.

Firstly, the title is misleading. "How north Korea became the evil twin" is not a detailed charting of how North Korea came into being politically and how it has developed as such. More, it is a discussion of North Korean Policies and History with some political and cultural history included. I had hoped for more detail on the politics of the time and just how Korea divided itself and how the North, ruled as it was, became so perverse and oppressive. Rather, the book looks at these issues and gives (albeit hugely interesting) examples of them.

Secondly, the writing style and language used is not excellent. For me the book is very informal in tone and style, often dropping in slang and opinions without verification of fact. While this irked me, I do appreciated that the book is semi-autobiographical, but some of the anecdotes I found unnecessary and out of tone with the pacing and content of the book.

Thirdly, some of the content is absurd, and badly argued. The author casually drops in lines such as "We've successfully fought two major wars... in Iraq and Afghanistan" (pg. 266) and on one occasions suggest that an assassination attempt on Kim Yong-Il would be preferable. For me, these two examples demonstrate a degree of unprofessionalism which is contradictory to much of what he says within the book. Cucullu focus on the idea of patience and sensible decision making, not an over reactionary based process and yet casually suggest that a North Korean diplomat should step over the body of Kim Jong-Il to save his skin. This sort of thing is unfortunate, and for a non American the constant 'bigging-up' of the American Army can be frustrating (as well as wrong). However it's not all bad.

There are many interesting stories for Cucullu to tell, and he does so with alot of enthusiasm and, where possible, humour. Cucullu is not afraid to give his opinions and certainly, my objections to some of the way he writes his arguments by no means invalidate (some of) his conclusions. Fundamentally, he wants peace and indeed understanding of the Korean people and I came away with alot more of that, albeit I still felt like I had been treated with Kid-gloves.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone beginning an interest in North Korea, or Asian culture, though I would warn anyone off thinking this is in-depth, hugely detailed or impartial as it is none of these things. Perhaps most frustratingly and possibly interestingly, is that Cucullu does not present (as he says) an account of North Korea "in terms of South Korea". He does make a valiant effort, but what I got was one western interpretation of how to begin to try and understand South and consequently North Korea. Though it is obvious from reading this book that there is not one way to do so.

DD


Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia
Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia
by John Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding but flawed, 25 May 2008
I picked this book up having been recommended the authors previous effort "Straw Dogs" by a college. Though I haven't read straw dogs, I was attracted by the discussion of Utopia.

The book is well written and most of the central ideas of Utopia, Religious Apocalyptic History and political ideals are communicated well. The author takes time to develop his ideas and provides well drawn examples supporting his interpretation. In particular, his discussion on the USA's use of "facts" in certain ways to justify means is very interesting and entertaining. In addition to this, the book is enjoyable in that regardless of whether or not you agree with the authors conclusions, he is certainly not overly dogmatic.

For me, what stood out was the books willingness to engage with the reader and get them to think. It is a book that asks many questions, more than it answers and really got me thinking about how to interpret history. For me, though the factual / historical focus of the earlier chapters was hugely entertaining, the final chapter was probably the most engaging. While I disagreed with certain aspects of it, that the author took the time to make conclusions that actually derived from his discussion, rather than simply being a restatement of what he thought, was particularly interesting and rewarding.

My criticism of the book would be that some liberties with interpretation are given. The author is prone to oversimplifying ideas for the sake of expediency and on one or two occasions this seemed to me to be slightly misleading. For example, one of his descriptions of Aristotle's thought is far too reductive to do justice to Aristotle's thought. However, I understand that this was for obvious reasons concerning the flow of the book.

All in all, a very entertaining and thought provoking read which takes time and effort to engage the reader, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone with an interest interested in the world and our interpretation of it.

DD


Corridor Of Mirrors
Corridor Of Mirrors
Price: £11.10

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electronic music at its best., 21 Jan 2008
This review is from: Corridor Of Mirrors (Audio CD)
To simply describe this as electronic or psy-trance does not do this album justice. Benji Vaughan, of Younger brother (with Simon Posford) fame has released 2 Prometheus albums, both of which are excellent. However, for me, the second, Corridor of mirrors really takes some beating.

Opening with "Arcadia Magik", the album grabs hold and never lets go. I realise that is an (too) often used cliché, but this track is so dominating, especially on earphones that you will know why I have described it as thus. It is an unrelenting track that has the build up and layering that is reminiscent of Juno Reactor (though with out the samples) but retains its own dominating bassline.

The album changes tone as it progresses, for me it succeeds with its different paced songs, again with different electronic styles. For instance, the first time I heard "one cell short of a brain" (track 2) it seemed to have totally ruined the whole tone of Arcadia Magik, but when you follow the track through, you realise that what he is doing is creating music that is diverse, approachable and engaging. For me, the beauty of this album is in its diversity.

Anyhow, as you work (though, perhaps work is the wrong word with, explore being more fitting) through this album, there are a great many subtleties and tracks to be discovered. It is in discovering them that is the pleasure.

Practically speaking, the first three tracks on this album could have been written by different people, yet that they are included on the same album is what develops the tone of the album. Each have a complexity that is often (I find) lacking from electronic music and the images that they conjure, depending on mood vary each time. As an opening trio of tracks go, few have ever gripped me and taken me on a roller-coaster like Corridor of music. The pacing of track 3 (Drug shock) is fast, but it is the slow bassline that dominates and drives the song, complementing the wound up aspects of the rest of the song (for the record it is a personal favourite to run to).

Outside the first three (of which you can tell I am particulary enamoured), the album offers a great deal. Soma mixes some heavy bass with poetic images and does so fiercely. The question I felt that this track asked is an interesting - Can a track / genre with minimal lyrics still be considered poetry?

Anyhow, these tracks aside, the album is superb. It is relentless, developed and certainly one of the most entertaining I own. There is plenty of fast paced bas driven music, but there is also complex image driven sounds. The imagery is where I feel the album truly succeeds. One track in particular is the almost gladiatorial sounding "9th(the man who swam through a speaker". If nothing else, listen to this track and tell me it doesn't remind you of a gladiatorial contest...for me I could think of nothing else the first time I heard it.

The whole album is a triumph of how singular pieces of music can offer such a diverse range of images depending on context.

Anyhow, this review was not meant to be pretentious, merely a heartfelt interpretation of one of my favourite albums...

Top Quality and Highly recommended.

Dante.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2010 10:17 PM GMT


Brodeur: Beyond the Crease: US Edition
Brodeur: Beyond the Crease: US Edition
by Damien Cox
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight to Hockey and being an Athlete, 19 April 2007
I love the NHL. And I love Ice Hockey, in particular, Goaltenders. However, living in the Uk, my access to it is pretty limited. So I bought this book hoping for an insight to the NHL and professional goaltending and got both those things and so much more.

The book, like many auto-biographies, mixes past emotional expereinces with professional ones, but while some auto biographies can become self indulgent and overly defensive, Brodeurs is an honest and direct insight into his life and the world of hockey.

While the book describes his beginnings as an NHL goalie and discusses some of the finer details of the position (such as how the rule changes affected goalies in general) he never loses sight of the fact that one of the thigns that make biographies intersting is that you get opinions of people with direct close experience of key issues.

Brodeur is in no way shy of expressing his opinions on things such as Bertruzzi's infamous hit and the team selection at the Devils. If you enjoy an entertaining but well written insight into professional sports then this book is probably for you, regardless of whether or not you know anythign about ice hockey. If you love ice Hockey then it comes doubly reccomended. Of particular interest is the section where Brodeur discusses his wages and the restructuring of the pay in the NHL. The professional footballers here could learn a thing or two about integrity in those paragraphs alone.


Forever
Forever
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To be totaly frank and honest you dont know whar your missin, 10 Feb 2004
This review is from: Forever (Audio CD)
Although it does not quite grab you the way one may hope, forever sort of sneaks up on you, enjoyable throughout but it is not until the last track, critcised by some, that the actual humour really hits you. what may have been penned as self indulgent, a song about the band, rapping in the loosest sense of terms, rounds of a funny and well delivered album. TGhe melodies and invetiveness of some tracks (gaurded by monkees perhaps in particular) warrant a decent rating alone, but while other bands seek to refine, Cracker seek to diverslfy and improve simultaenously. Who can fault them, after all this album provides a somewhat different rythm than Kerosene Hat but allows the band to explore new teritory. Fun, amusing and with Lowrys vocals at their grating best, i see no reason y one should deny themselves forever. A fine exapmple of who individuality combined with a somewhat grating voice can complete and polish an album to the extent of rendering it a classic.
lee


Quadrophenia
Quadrophenia
Price: £10.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag of the good kind, 14 Jan 2004
This review is from: Quadrophenia (Audio CD)
being the sort music i was brought up on as a child of the eighties i have found Quadrophenia to be the longest serving record in my collection...from listening to my dads vinyl and it being the first ever cd i purchased it has remained a timeless classic...political lyricism thats still apparent, in some cases even more than the legends the who perhaps thought, makes this a must have for anyone who claims to enjoy a variety of music...it encompasses and embodies what it means to be young and explains what its like to grow up...there are highlights, particulary helpless dancer and love, reign o'er me which are worth the admission fee alone but this is perhaps the peak of the who and one will not be dissapointed...mods and rockers alike should enjoy this and almost any band of the 90s could learna few lessons fromt the use of piano and guitar..
all in my humble opinion
lee


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