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Coupling: Complete Series 4 [DVD]
Coupling: Complete Series 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Davenport
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 19 Nov 2010
Feel free to insert your own "four-play" joke, or for that matter, your own "insert" joke. Sex is still topic number one for the intertwined group of "exes and best friends," but in this pivotal series there are momentous "relationship issues" that will upend all their lives. Susan (Sarah Alexander) is pregnant, inspiring in Steve (Jack Davenport) nightmares about his own execution and unflattering comparisons of the birth process to John Hurt's iconic gut-busting scene in Alien. Sally (Kate Isitt) and Patrick (Ben Miles) are having some sort of a relationship, giving both moments to be scared and to hope that there is a light at the end of the love tunnel. Missing in action is the Kramer-esque Jeff (although he makes something of a return in the season finale). Joining the ensemble is Oliver (Richard Mylan), who is more in the Chandler mode as a lovable loser with the ladies, especially Jane (Gina Bellman), who develops interest in the guy, who tries to deal with his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Episode 01: 9 1/2 Minutes
A good episode, but it didn't feel like a real season premiere, instead it was just a normal episode. Okay, the other season premieres weren't really season premieres as well, but this episode was kinda highlightless and not even the introduction of Oliver could save the episode way above the Coupling average. On the same note: Oliver as a character is really awkward and I notice that Moffat really wanted to replace Jeff, but he completely failed with this one. I even had the feeling that Jeff was more intelligent and common, when Steve was talking to him over the phone, while Oliver failed of getting a woman to shank with this night.
The three stories were alright. Sally and Patrick finally date, which means that Patrick won't have any more stories about him sleeping with women, which means that a source of humor is missing, but character development is included now. The John Hurt thing between Susan and Steve was rather boring, I didn't really get it and the humor was over the top, while Moffat wanted the viewers to love Oliver during his first episode, which is why he included him so heavily in this episode.
The lesbian kiss between Jane and Susan was the only highlight in this episode - consider yourself rescued, episode! 7/10

Episode 02: Nightlines
The first part of the episode was a bit boring with the dreams of the guys, though I had to laugh, when Susan got ready to press in Steve's dream. The real highlight was the phone discussion with the friends, which could have been even longer than just as long as the second half of the episode. How good would the episode have been, when the phone discussions were 30 minutes long? That would have been a special episode in any way. And I really loved the whole phone discussion, though Jane's involvement at the end seem to be a little ridiculous. I can understand how the guys got into the phone call, but how did Jane got into it?
On a rather negative point of view: I don't understand why Moffat couldn't have brought more humor into the fact that Steve is panicking to be a father. Only Sally mentioned the word "family" in one sentence, and Susan and Steve are not even clear about what will happening during the next months. There is a potential storyline and Moffat doesn't use it. Hopefully later. And I was surprised to see that Patrick's cupboard is still existing, and that Oliver is as "dumb" as Jeff, but it was nice to give him an ex-girlfriend, who is pregnant. At least he has a story now. 7.5/10

Episode 03: Bed Time
Okay, this episode had another round of Patrick/Sally again, which was good, but the story was kinda crappy. Instead of bringing us another speech of Steve's, who says to us that men have to go home sometimes, the episode just dealt with Patrick not being able to go home - no reason, why he can't just go (well, he could be scared of Sally); no way out of Sally's home (well, he could have been hungry for sex). And I seriously have to say that Sally as Susan was over the top and pretty much out of character. Somehow Moffat lost sense of the story during the dinner, and he wrote the story in a complete wrong way (at least for me). And not even Oliver was really interesting in this episode, having nipple problems, as well as problems landing in bed with Jane. And on another note: All the critics are right: Oliver can't replace Jeff, I miss Jeff, his comments, his stress, his wrong way of living proper - Oliver can't replace Jeff, though he is almost the same as Jeff.
The chess/fantasy sequences were alright though, since it was connected with the duel Patrick wanting to go home versus Sally wanting him to stay. Maybe it would have been good, when Moffat would have kept that fantasy sequence during the middle of the episode, where it was suddenly gone.
I think this was the weakest episode of the series. 5/10

Not missing out of the last series: LESBIAN ACTION!

Episode 04: Circus of the Epidurals
The episode was kinda confusing, since it didn't really had an ending, and it was mostly over the top. Steve said in the last episode that this is not an American sitcom, but this episode felt like one. The writing was mostly stereotype, and even though it was funny, I had to facepalm the scene where Patrick came to the class and almost all the women recognized him. Sadly Moffat didn't even go into the Sally/Patrick story here, instead Sally is just annoyed about everything and goes to her happy place, while Patrick doesn't even talk to Sally about it. And the rest was pretty much awkward too.
Moffat could have done way more with the natal class, but instead they went back to the Inferno story from the first series (which wasn't even necessary to do) and they gave Steve a pretty boring speech this time, and for the first time I think I am not with him, since he really doesn't understand the women during his speech of pain relief.
The scene with Oliver now being in the gang was nice - it almost looks like Moffat want to include him much stronger in the stories, now since he really replaced Jeff (in Moffat's opinion). But the last scene was just ridiculous. Instead of showing more of Susan/Steve after her decision to give him the control, we are back in the plane and with a more than boring scene. 6/10

Episode 05: The Naked Living Room
It was a good episode, and finally Moffat spent time to build the relationship between Oliver and Jane. They were flirting and attracted to each other for the whole season now, but they never went a step forward with their relationship. And finally Oliver had a better role in this episode than in the four previous ones. This time he really was in the gang, having his own story, having his own "moral of the story" with his apartment and the porn he is not hiding anymore. If Moffat would have given us this story in the season premiere, maybe the character Oliver (and the season itself) would have been better as it actually is. And I was surprised that I actually liked Jane in this episode. Her laughter about Oliver's unsecure talking was excellent, and it gave her more character depth. But her bi-sexual thing was over the top again (though she stayed in her character), and like Oliver I absolutely didn't buy what she said there.
The ending was interesting of course; Susan is in labor, she and Steve are panicking, while Sally wants to see Jane in Patrick's cupboard... It almost looks like a big cliffhanger for the season and series finale. 8/10

Episode 06: 9 1/2 Months
A good episode, a good finale and somehow the last picture was the proper way to close the series. But Steve's dream, starring Jeffina (Samantha Spiro) was just horrible and idiotic. I only could roll with my eyes, facepalm the scenes and ask myself whose idea this was - if you don't get Richard Coyle to guest star in the final episode, then don't even think about writing in the character, even though it was just a dream sequence. But it was a really stupid one. Just because of Jeffina the episode deserves harsh words, but the whole birth story, and Oliver/Jane saved the episode. As well as the fact that Moffat managed to get more seriousness into this episode. The engagement between Sally and Patrick was really nice, the talk Steve had with Jane was really nice (and showed her from her serious side), and the moment when Steve was looking at his son was really nice.
This episode showed why the fourth series wasn't really that good, and not just the stupid Jeffina dream: Especially the scene with Oliver and Susan in the same bed was kinda ridiculous, and all the chemistry of the story with the characters was suddenly gone. Maybe a fourth series was one too much after all. 7/10

Coupling: Complete Series 3 [DVD]
Coupling: Complete Series 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Davenport
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 5.72

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 19 Nov 2010
Episode titles: Split, Faithless, Unconditional Sex, Remember This, The Freckle The Key And The Couple Who Weren't, The Girl With One Heart, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps.

The Coupling gang are back for another hilarious helping of sexual exploration and social humiliation. The third series begins a heartbeat after the end of the last - with Steve (Jack Davenport) and Susan (Sarah Alexander) splitting up - and the entire first episode is conducted in split-screen, each half following one of the sundered couple as they both head to 'The Temple of Women', a beauty salon for Susan, a strip club for Steve...

Episode titles: Split, Faithless, Unconditional Sex, Remember This, The Freckle The Key And The Couple Who Weren't, The Girl With One Heart, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps.

Extras include: Selective commentary with Jack Davenport and writer Steven Moffat. Interviews with cast and crew. Outtakes. Unfilmed script extracts.

The third series of Coupling takes fans of the BBC's comedy of sex, manners and modern relationships into new realms of engaging surrealism, leaving those irritating comparisons with "Friends" trailing in its wake. The men are constantly in pursuit of a basic grasp of the "emotional things" that make women behave the way they do. The women analyse everything to death. But thanks to Steven Moffat`s scripts, tighter and quirkier than ever, these characters are living, breathing human beings rather than cynical ciphers for comedy stereotypes.
The performances are as strong as you'd expect from an established team, with actors such as Jack Davenport (the ever-perplexed Steve), Ben Miles (unreconstructed chauvinist Patrick), Sarah Alexander (dryly intelligent Susan) and Kate Isitt (neurotic Sally) wearing their roles like second skins. But in the surreal stakes, it's Richard Coyle as Jeff, wondering aloud what happens to jelly after women have finished wrestling in it, and Gina Bellman as Jane, musing on the importance of a first snog in identifying what men like to eat, who really raise the laughter levels. All things considered, this is superior comedy for all thirtysomethings-genuine and putative.

Episode 01: Split
Very interesting episode, which brings more focus on the story, instead of bringing one laughter after another, and I pretty much liked it. It even was genius of the producers to keep the split screen on until the end of the episode, which made it not only special for Coupling, but for a TV series in general. You practically saw here two episodes in one, and you don't get that all day. And the story was just perfect to bring the split screen into the episode.
Other than that, a few moments were a bit ridiculous and to roll eyes with, especially when Jeff found his high school crush in the strip club again. The short talk they had was rather awkward tha funny. And I think the writers could have done more with the girls in the saloon - I didn't even watch to the right or lower side of the picture, because I didn't have one single second of interest in watching the girls making themselves beautiful.
Anyway, good season opener... 8/10

Episode 02: Faithless
Hilarious episode in one part, ridiculous as always in another part. Again, I couldn't begin anything with Jane's plot, but I was finding myself laughing through Jeff's plot with Wilma (Emilia Fox). And since Jeff is not really a guy, who hits on women that strong, I am wondering about how the hell did he manage to have two women on his side now. With Julia (Lou Gish) still being his girlfriend, he goes out on a date with Wilma, who is even hotter, and he doesn't even know how to do all those things. How she talked about her boyfriend being in Australia was hilarious and how Jeff reacted to all of this was even more hilarious in many moments.
And Jane? Well, she doesn't know anything about religions and God and still tries to hit on a Christian. Not really funny for me, but it is already known that I am having a problem with her. 7.5/10

Episode 03: Unconditional Sex
The episode was good, but I thought it would be more hilarious, since it only had Jeff and Wilma, and the writers didn't even focus on the other characters very much. There was one big problem I had with the episode: Jeff was way over the top in this episode, and this time even more than usual. The whole situation in Jeff's apartment with Wilma and the "dead" girl was mostly ridiculous and a moment to roll eyes with than seriously hilarious. Yeah, I found myself laughing, but I couldn't see this scene as very hilarious. It just was a bit too creepy for me.
The little side plot with Susan and Steve was alright. It is nice that the writers bring a bit more story into their relationship, even though they are not in the center of the story. I just wished that the writers could have done this for all the characters and not just 50 percent of the cast. 7.5/10

Sex life can be dangerous, especially for Jeff

Episode 04: Remember This
Interesting episode, and probably the truest episode so far this season, which goes a way of having a real relationship instead of sex-themed storylines. I liked the Patrick/Sally couple, and I would have wished that they would come together some time. And I liked how the writers didn't try to keep the episode much hilarious - sure, the whole flashback sequences with Patrick not realizing the ugly woman and Sally not remembering what really happened was funny as hell, but these scenes were more important for the character development than letting the audience laugh like hell.
And I have to say that the moment in the video store was the best in this episode and probably the best scene in the season. It was nothing than just a little romantic storyline, with two characters wanting to have a relationship, but realizing that they failed in previous attempts. That was a pretty sweet moment. 8.5/10

Episode 05: The Freckle, The Key And The Couple Who Weren't
Hilarious episode. I wouldn't have thought that the third series would be funny, too, after the second lost some steam. But this time the writers didn't really know how to bring the two storylines into the episode, since both of them were happening at the same time. It looked a bit awkward, when the episode was jumping back and forth, having some new material for one story, until it jumps over to the other one. Maybe it would have been better to do it like the other episodes: First one story, then the other. I didn't even need "superhero" Jeff running into the pub with the mask on his face with him not realizing it. Jane's new date, the whole freckle thing and the Patrick/Sally sequel were already good enough for an own story, while /Jeff/Julia/Joe (Marc Bannerman) was another story, which could have stood on its own. And damn, Joe was a creepy guy, when he told nothing about what he's doing and when he was looking out of the window.
The last moment was interesting: The writers should have done the Patrick/Sally story way earlier; a serialized "relationship or not" would have made the series in its second series way better. 8.5/10

Episode 06: The Girl With One Heart
It was a good episode, but it showed again that the writers are writing a bit over the top, when it comes to Jeff. His behavior during the dinner was just too much and even for a guy like Jeff completely out of place. He couldn't even stop talking, though any guy would have realized that he is talking too much. But the rest of the dinner kinda reminded me of the dinner in "Inferno", and we even had a speech from Steve, defending the honor of men once again - but this time not really that funny, though it was completely the truth. Again.
The little "lesbian" scene in the toilet was great, though I expected a bit more, when Jeff was suddenly in the toilet and saw Jennifer (Emma Pierson). Instead he found his honor and was out of the toilet pretty fast for his standards.
Other than that Jane's story was of course ridiculous again (I really can't stand her in the series) and the writers didn't really do much with the jealousy story between Patrick and Sally. Only Sally was kinda jealous, but Patrick? 7.5/10

Episode 07: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
Interesting season finale, but unfortunately Jeff didn't get a proper send-off in his last episode. The writers rather gave him a beginning storyline with the moment he had with Jane. And especially at the ending, when James (Lloyd Owen) came back, while Jane was extremely happy not to be pregnant, which could mean that their relationship is over. I'm kinda sad that this was the last episode with Jeff - I will miss him.
Other than that, Steve's masturbation speech to Susan was hilarious, as well as Jeff and Patrick revealing themselves, when Susan came. Or the laughing nurse. Sally's and Patrick's little story at the end as nice, and it looks like they finally found each other. The Spiderman dance couldn't be more awkward (for Steve) and I loved Sally's happy face. The pregnancy story throughout the episode was okay, but a bit ridiculous. The girls could have tested themselves right afterwards and not waiting for, like, years. 8/10

Perrier's Bounty [DVD]
Perrier's Bounty [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Price: 9.48

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 7 Oct 2010
This review is from: Perrier's Bounty [DVD] (DVD)
The makers of this Dublin crime caper should think about sending enormous thank you bouquets to a trinity of actors for sparing their blushes: Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent and Brendan Gleeson. All three of them are fine performers, who assemble a likable if flavourless comedy out of scraps of this and knocked-off bits of that. Murphy plays a bedsit loser who owes money (the pleasingly paltry sum of 1,000) to Gleeson's camel-coated loan shark, Darren Perrier. Broadbent is his watery-eyed dad, who shows up to announce he's dying. The knight's move plot jumps from gay henchmen to fighting dogs, the grim reaper (Gabriel Byrne, wouldn't you know), a hysterical lady farmer and a dizzy suicidal flatmate. You may have spotted the whiff of casual misogyny in the last two, which we stomach because it's appropriate to the milieu. But no, it doesn't make it big or clever.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2010 12:09 PM BST

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)
Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)
by William Poundstone
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book, 24 Feb 2010
"'Menus,' he said, 'are supposed to be the classic example of free choice, but menu designers have found that there're many ways of getting you to order what the restaurant wants you to order' -- the most profitable dishes, presumably. The techniques he laid out are fascinating: a box drawn around certain items, for instance, always draws the eyes -- and attention -- there. This might mean these dishes best highlight the kitchen's skills, or, more likely, they make the restaurant the most money: The ingredient cost is low, or maybe they take the least staff time to prepare. But, more subtly, the box might not simply be encouraging you to order whatever's in it. 'There are places where there's a $150 hamburger,' Poundstone said. "The first thing everyone does is shake their head. But then you go down the menu, suddenly the $50 steak doesn't seem so outrageous." Our sense of value is always relative, and a technique like this, which gets you over your sticker shock early, can skew that sense just enough for you to find yourself saying, 'I'll have the steak medium rare, please.'"

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