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Reviews Written by
Mr. D. J. Read (Alnwick, Northumberland United Kingdom)

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Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.47

8 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 Mar. 2007
Bond has always relied on special effects and stunts, often to the detriment of the plot. This is no different, in fact to be honest, it takes this failing to new levels. Sure it is a visual feast, but it leaves one empty and unfulfilled by the end. I was expecting so much more, after the mediocre Brosnan years, and Daniel Craig does not really excell.

Under him, Bond has lost some of his characteristic Charm. His face is blank, almost like a slab of granite at times. He seems to think by pulling surly frowns and pouts that he is playing a good leading man. And that is when he deviates from his tried and tested facial expression, which is 'distant' as my boss would say.

There was far too much publicity beforehand about the cars. And they are archetypcal Bond cars. But the film seems to play second fiddle to such things. The screenwriters seem to have been overwhelmed by the special efects budget.

Freddie Flintoff - My World
Freddie Flintoff - My World
by Andrew Flintoff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Freddy meets Book Police after pedalo incident, 22 Mar. 2007
Flintoff has recently proved himself to be what he is. Following the world cup defeat to New Zealand, he goes on yet another binge and ends up embarrassing himself and the country he represents. To many this came as something as a shock, but proves he is little more than a pampered lout, who is hardly the most talented cricketer England has produced.

This came off the back of Ashes success, when he was at the Zenith of his fame, a cynical cash-in, fleecing the public with a book packed with untruths, trying to make himself out to be one-of-the-lads. To this end he tries to come over as an average bloke, and people seem to think he is their mate.

In fact he has done very little except play cricket, and even then he is not that good at it. If you buy this the profits will go to bottles of hard liqeur which Andrew will inject into his veins. I think it shows enough about his propfessionalism that during a world cup campaign he felt it was appropriate to get wasted and jeopardise their entire preperation.

Russell Brand
Russell Brand
by Tanith Carey
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brand falls victim of Book Police, 22 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Russell Brand (Hardcover)
To be honest, when I saw this book I had to do a double take. Since he shambled unspectacularly onto our screens about a year ago, Brand has proved himself little more than a wannabee hellraiser. Note the 'wannabee' bit, because he fails miserably. He goes under the title comedian, but not one word which dribbles out of his mouth has ever struck me as amusing in the slightest.

So, aghast I was that someone has written a book about him. I guess I should not be surprised. All you have to do is appear on 'you've been framed' and you seem to justify a biography these days. This book suffers because there is so little about the man that justifies ink being sacrificed in his name.

So, as Brand plumbs the depths in the pursuit of celebrity status, we are treated to this drivel. Do yourself a favour, if you must by a biography, think about it. Go for someone who has lived for more than 5 minutes, and has something to say for themselves, not these feeble cash-ins that follow the first sniff of fame.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2010 3:14 PM GMT

Picture Of You
Picture Of You
Price: £1.26

6 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Album Police, 22 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Picture Of You (Audio CD)
Another flash in the pan artist who will sink without a trace shortly. But in the meantime, as he has set himself up for a fall, don't mind if I oblige.

Perhaps I'm one of the few people who cannot stand his husky voice, like an adolescent whos voice broke last week. His material is all covers, he has made no effort to write his own material. This is so much par for the course for these reality T.V show 'stars', and means in reality that they have no longevity.

The industry has shaped him into what they beleive will sell their records, but like so many of these types he will be forgotten very shortly. The sooner the better.

Ray Quinn
Ray Quinn
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £2.08

9 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Album Police, 22 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Ray Quinn (Audio CD)
I knew it was inevitable, when, after the deservedly losing the x-factor (and lets face it deservedly so), that this would be on the cards. Predictably he hasn't bothered to write anything of his own, he has just covered other, and far greater artists. The main hurdle he seems to face is a lack of singing ability, and a complete lack of presence.

The one trick pony has regurgitated swing, predictably. He has made no effort to shed his image, and it seems he cannot branch out into other genres, his voice just does not lend itself to anything else. His voice is grating, his personality a cliche.

I will pre-empt the backlash by all his fans. I cannot sing, I would not even attempt to go on the x-factor. But I know where my few talents lie, and if you put yourself up to be shot down, as Quinn has, you must expect that people like me will be critical.

Secret Files: Tunguska (PC)
Secret Files: Tunguska (PC)

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific but short, 22 Mar. 2007
Games like this are becoming increasingly rare on the market. It will always be hard to make them original, and Tunguska is no different. As far as graphics go, it is not hard to render good backgrounds on stagnant scenes in games like these, so the graphics should be good, and Tunguska does this reasonably well. The sound is atmospheric, but the voice overs are wooden and don't do the game justice.
That said, these are not the reasons you buy a game like this. You want puzzles, not too fiendish, not too simple. This delivers. Despite the fact some seem illogical at first, if you have a little think about it, there is always some logic, it just requires a little lateral thinking. But there is a slight glitch in the game that makes these things easier to the casual gamer. You can easily discover which objects you can 'combine' simply by picking it up and 'hovering' it over everything in sight. If the mouse icon goes green, you can use them together. This has he unfortunate drawback that, when you are stuck in the game, all you have to do is hover the objects over each other and you will come across the solution, by luck rather than skill.
The game is also short. It did seem to end rather suddenly and I was quite disappointed. A few things were left unexplained, especially the people in black capes, and what eventually happened to Oleg and co. At times the plot was tired and predictable, and you will find yourself clicking through some of the dull talking scenes.
But, that said, if you are looking for a challenge, and you haven't played a game like this for a while you will be in your element. The gripes I have concentrated may seem quite major, but in fact they are not, but it was a shame it did not last a bit loner. I think, in all, this took me about 10 hours start to finish with no help.
There is another problem with games like this, as my friend discovered. There are so many walkthroughs available on the internet it does take some restraint especially when you come up against a difficult puzzle.
Oh, and as for the outtakes at the end....poor to say the least. Why bother with things like that on a computer game? Not remotely funny.

Moment of Silence (DVD/ROM)
Moment of Silence (DVD/ROM)
Offered by Monsterbuy
Price: £19.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Could do better, 12 Mar. 2007
This game could have been so much better, and yet it fails at the basic level of what a point and click adventure should be. It follows in the wake of Broken Sword series and Monkey Island and is nowhere near as good.

The graphics are nothing special, considering the standard it has to live up to, namely Secret Files Tunguska. And the load times between each scene is ridiculously long, and my computer is quite high spec. The puzzles are ridiculously obvious throughout.

But the worse thing, the feature which truly makes this game diabolical, is the speech. Honestly, you can go on talking to the same person for upwards of ten minutes, and the people you speak to generally have nothing of interest to say. But you simply have to exhaust all conversations because if you don't you may well miss a gem of information. You fall asleep during half of these, they are so dull. And as for the voice acting....awful to be honest, and this does not imrpove the situation.

There are stupid bugs in the game that stop your character walking directly to an object. An early example is the guitar tramp in the park, whom you can't walk up to directly, so you have to walk around the grass and then walk across the only part the character is willing to walk across. And it is hard to move around, hard to navigate and frustrating in the extreme.

So if your idea of entertainment is running around a dull city with massive load times between, talking to people endlessly about drivel and solving easy puzzles maybe this is for you.

The Doorkeepers
The Doorkeepers
by Graham Masterton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Diabolical, 27 Feb. 2007
Pointless story about parallel Londons and a brigade of deviants in Hessian masks. This is not even worthy to be classed as horror, as it never chills in the slightests degree. Ridiculous story, and as for the ending? Woeful. It is unsatisfactory and dire in the extreme.

The author cannot even manage to figure out what his protagonist is called, with the name commonly switching between John and Josh, and some atrocious grammatical errors. And another thing, the main chacacter is so badly developed, at times he is so perceptive, and at times he becomes a complete buffoon. For example, he cannot figure out that they use different coins in the London of the Doorkeepers, nor can he figure out when he is blatantly about to be betrayed. He constantly contradicts himself as he writes and seems to be trying to say something poignant but just rambles on about gibberish.

The whole business of parallel worlds is so cliched and Masterton manages to do it even worse. Some pointless drivel about having to wait 24 hours before you can go through a door or else you end up in another of the infinite Londons.

And another thing...he seems intent on putting British culture down at every opportunity. Note how it is constantly raining, and all his little sleights, especially early on. And as for the psychic link with the dog Abraxas, what on earth was that about?

This book is one of the worst I have had the misfortune to read. I cannot understand how anyone likes it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 22, 2010 10:06 PM GMT

Kowloon Tong: A Novel
Kowloon Tong: A Novel
by Paul Theroux
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, 19 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Kowloon Tong: A Novel (Paperback)
For me, the way Theroux writes smacks of Hemingway. It has that seemingly naive, innocence, yet an undertone which speaks of the types of people that abound in Hong Kong. Like Hemingway, the narrative is simple, while dwelling on seemingly irrelevant circumstances. Like the great Ernest, do not expect a happy ending.

It tells of Bunt and his mother Betty. It is 1996 and the handover of Hong Kong to China (the Chinese takeaway) is looming. When Mr Chuck, Bunts business partner dies, it triggers a chain of events. Mr Hung comes over the border, with a sinister past, and unscrupulous motives, to take over his company (Imperial Stitching). As the plot unfolds we are treated to some gloomy insights of Hong Kong, the very real fears of a future under Communist China, and a bunch of mercenary colonials who cast away their nationalism for profit. It is packed full of social observations, about colonials and the Chinese, and creates a sense of helplessness which is so typified by the miserable ending.

For me, the entire story of Hung was a microcosm for the way China did its business, and the takeover of Hong Kong. He threatens, bribes, and will use any underhand technique in his arsenal to achieve his ends. This leads up to a chilling ending, that is suitably ambiguous. It never explains what happened to Mr Woo and Mei Ping, only making assumptions, which, for me, was slightly unsatisfactory.

It seemed very xenophobic with respect to the Chinese, but it is so hard to discover whether these were just the views of Bunt and co., or whether it was more deep rooted in the author. At times it paints a vivid and terrifying image of Hong Kong under Chinese rule, especially the dream Mei Ping has about Ah Fu. It sympathises with the Hong Kong Chinese, like the workers in Imperial Stitching, who have no choice, they cannot emmigrate to escape it.

Overall, thought provoking and written in a style both flowing and simplistic. It will not leave you with a warm feeling at the end, more a feeling of injustice and sorrow not just for the protagonists, but for Hong Kong itself.

Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback))
Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback))
by Robert Spencer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

76 of 100 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True history, how refreshing, 14 Feb. 2007
To be honest, our dear friend 'Reader' is a little unenlightened. If one has ever studied the ACTUAL history of the period, and I have, we come to see the true agression of Islam and brutality of people like the prophet muhammed.

This book will offend, because in this country we have such a history of pandering to minority religions people take it for granted. But times are changing, the P.C crowd who would normally resist works such as this are losing any power. The true history of this period has been used to justify holy wars for centuries, and now we find it was all a sham. It is vital that the truth is told for this reason alone.

This is a warts and all history and does not shy away from revealing some of the rather less savoury aspects. If you like your history to actually be honest, then read this. If you prefer to bury your head in the sand and be terrified by someone having the audacity to say something which may cause offence, don't.

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