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

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD]
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Elijah Wood
Offered by filmrollen
Price: £7.60

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 3 Jan. 2007
By now, we should all know the plot of this sprawling epic which earned the production team 11 oscars. It was the academy rewarding the trilgoy itself, rather than just the final installment, but justly deserved, as there will never be a set of films this good in our lifetimes.

I know that the length and the whole issue of fantasy is a problem for people, but they really should overlook that. I also know that a lot of Tolkien purists objected to a few theatrical changes, but many of these have been addressed in this edition, especially the mouth of Sauron scene at the black gates.

It had been a criticism that the endings do drag on, but you should try the book, and after all you are bringing to a close what is effectively a 10.5 hour film. And dont forget the extras, utterly fascinating, and a real insight into the film making process. All these extended DVDs with their 'appendices' have really set the standard, covering so much. Worth every penny.

If you haven't seen these films yet (for whatever reason) do so now, or miss out on the greatest film experience ever. They truly bring the world to life, there is such depth in the characters, and painstaking detail, glorious effects shots and amazing in every department. I cannot commend, not only this, but the entire trilogy enough.

Friends: Complete Season 10 - New Edition [DVD]
Friends: Complete Season 10 - New Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Aniston
Offered by EU ELECTRIC
Price: £14.99

7 of 124 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor, 3 Jan. 2007
Friends? Is that the really poor comedy that seems to be constantly repeated on channel 4? Ah yes, I remember.

This is exactly what is wrong with american humour, and frankly I'm surprised that Brits are not more discerning. It seems to rely on Chandler making 'witty' comments in a silly voice, Joey being stupid, and that other guy being whiny. As for the women, they try bless them, and one tries to get a few cheap laughs by being strange, but it is just too much standard american comedy fare, i.e not funny.

It still relies on 'canned laughter' so that the audience actually know when to laugh (I thought we'd got past that), and the plots only serve to highlight the feeble imaginations of the screenwriters. As for the delivery, well, pathetic to be honest. Avoid this woeful attempt at comedy if you have a brain.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2012 2:57 AM GMT

I Can Make You Thin (Book and CD)
I Can Make You Thin (Book and CD)
by Paul McKenna
Edition: Paperback

7 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Madness, 2 Jan. 2007
Mckenna has drifted a little out of the public eye, and so it is predictable he would come back with more of his typical erroneous claims. And that is exactly the case here.

Look, I will try and explain. People gain weight because they eat too much and dont do enough to burn off that fat. By consuming less, and exercising more, the weight will be lost. Instead, people want the 'quick fix' and turn to people like this. This, as a result, will appeal to the lazy who are unwilling to eat less.

This is a 'cash-in' on peoples dreams, that of being thinner in this case. It is morally wrong to take advantage of people like this, when there is no proof that it works, and in fact, may people find that it does not in fact work.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2009 10:25 AM BST

Over The Hedge (2 Disc - Special Edition) [DVD]
Over The Hedge (2 Disc - Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tim Johnson
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £7.40

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Certainly overrated, 2 Jan. 2007
Initially, there is little content worth looking at on the second disc, making it little more than a cash in really. I would advise sticking with the single disc edition.

The film itself hits new standards when it comes to animation, but the plot is a tad lame. Basically a raccoon steals the food from a bear, and is given a week to gather it all back, so in order to do this he comes across a band of naive animals, who are only just coming across humans for the first time. Rather predicatably, the seemingly unscrupulous R.J (the raccoon)has second thoughts when his actions land his comerades in the hands of the 'verminator'. It is all very predictable and rather cliched, but perhaps children will not notice.

There is a subtext here about the sheer wastefulness of human society for the more aware, and the utter vanity and selfishness as is so amply displayed by the woman.

You expect humour but it does not really appear. Of course 'Jims dad' is good as the hedgehog father, but the rest dont really work. Shatner lacks charisma as the possum, and Willis is badly cast as 'R.J'. As for the amphibian (sorry, reptile) he is rather annoying. Because of this you never really empaphise with the characters except on the basic level of animals fighting for their lives.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2012 3:26 PM GMT

The Last Of The Mohicans [1992] [DVD]
The Last Of The Mohicans [1992] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
Price: £5.30

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, 2 Jan. 2007
The movie is a wild deviation from the book, so much so that it is almost non recognisable. But I wont bore you with that, for the differences see my review on the novel.

That said Daniel day Lewis is a very good Hawk-eye, and plays out his part very well, as does Stowe as Cora. Major Heyward is more of a disappointment, as Hollywood have made him rather foolish and deceptive, when he should be singularly brave and honourable. Alice is not exactly good with screen presence but Magua is the truly evil Huron that I always imagined.

The soundtrack is one of the best in any films, and the battle scenes are as historically accurate as can be desired, with a certain preponderance to making the English soldiers look rather inept and foolish. This is not really true with the indians, and fails to portray them accurately, not even getting the hair right!

By deviating so much from the novel it fails to replicate the messages of the novel, and it has been too 'Hollywoodised'. It has lost the integrity and deviates disturbingly from the spirit of the book, but that's just me being a purist.

Its entertaining enough and well worth seeing.

The Last of the Mohicans (Penguin Popular Classics)
The Last of the Mohicans (Penguin Popular Classics)
by James Fenimore Cooper
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard work, 2 Jan. 2007
I found the language used in this quite tough. His descriptions really do put the images wonderfully in ones mind, but the problem is the sentences can sometimes stretch to an entire paragraph. These things make it difficult to read at time, and a bit of a labour. Also, on rare occasions, the characters start to converse in French, without any kind of translation.

Saying that, the plot is superb, and so different from the film it almost seems to defy belief. For example, there is no love story with hawk-eye and Cora, nor does Duncan Heyward desire the latter. Major Heyward is interested in Alice and Uncas has a fleeting interest in Cora. There is an additional character, in David Gamut, who confuses the Hurons with his bizarre songs so much that they thing he has mental problems. In this book Montcalm actively encourages the massacre of William Henry, and there is a rather brutal act from one of the Hurons.

Colonel Munro escapes the gory fate of the film because there is no blood vengeance at the heart of this story. And it all culminates in a battle of the Delawares (led by Le Cerf Agile) against Magua (Le Renard Subtil) and the Hurons.

It could not be any more different from the dramatisation if it tried, and so is readily recommended to those who have seen the film and think there is little extra to be gleaned from the book. There is a sub story of the abuse of the natural world and the treatment of the indeginous peoples of the Americas, and in some of the admonishments of Hawk-eye you can see the passion of the author.

Peter Jackson: A Film-maker's Journey
Peter Jackson: A Film-maker's Journey
by Brian Sibley
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sean Connerry as Gandalf?, 2 Jan. 2007
I very rarely read biographies, but in this case I had a true respect for Peter Jackson and felt it would be worthwhile. I was not disappointed, in fact I found it so inspirational I was almost temmpted to buy my own Bolex 16mm and make my own films. It is worth mentioning that this is the official biography, so you get some major tracts of text which are directly contributed by the great man.

One thing people may be wary of is that, with the exception of the first few pages, it is very much concentrated on his work as opposed to his personal life, which is right and correct. It charts his rise, his projects from as young as 8 years old, and the single minded dedication which saw Bad Taste, essentially a home movie, recognised at Cannes festival. Then we see his development moving through 'Meet The Feebles' and 'Braindead', two more splatter movies which were in danger of seeing him stereotyped.

In countering this he tackled 'Heavenly Creatures', a true story, and 'Forgotten Silver' which was essentially a 'mockumentary' which caused outrage in New Zealand and a result of him losing his way after the loss of a dear friend and his producer. 'The Frighteners' was his next project, and first dealings with the politics of Hollywood that saw it launched at such an inappropriate time, and with such poor advertising, that it was essentially a flop.

Amazingly, the fact that his Weta company were being headhunted led to a bidding war for his services, with Fox, Miramax and Universal all involved, and some bizarre and fascinating deals. You see the first aborted attempt at KingKong and the amazing audacity of the owners of Miramax (the Weinsteins) trying to force Jackson into condensing Lord of the Rings into a single, two hour, film. The incredible tension surrounding his desperate plea to get New line to take on the project is truly inspiring stuff.

This book is truly insightful, about how this man came from nowhere to do what he has done. The machinations of Hollywood studios are truly interesting and it does not pull its punches with its criticism of Miramax and Universal. His road to stardom was so incredible for his own dedication and passion. Let this be a lesson to all the lesser people churning out there own autobiographies without achieving one millionth of what he has done.

The Novice: Book 2 of the Black Magician (Black Magician Trilogy)
The Novice: Book 2 of the Black Magician (Black Magician Trilogy)
by Trudi Canavan
Edition: Paperback

21 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire, 18 Dec. 2006
Rarely have I come across such atrocious story telling. The characters are whiny and annoying, the plot rather lame and predictable.

The story is so predictable, female street urchin, discovers aptitude for magic that is supposedly reserved for the upper classes. Guild search for her before she loses control of the power, while her friend rises in the thieves guild and helps to conceal her.

And that is it. This whole book is spent with her hiding place being discovered, her running away, losing control of power, then the same again. The narrative is cliched and repetitive, but not only that, terribly annoying, with certain characters 'pursing their lips'. See how many times you count that phrase popping up.

No wonder the fantasy literary market is saturated with substandard works, this is of such a low standard it degrades the entire genre.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2010 10:11 AM BST

The Best Christmas Album In The World ... Ever!
The Best Christmas Album In The World ... Ever!
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.94

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, 18 Dec. 2006
Don't get me wrong, the C.D is reasonable, it has all the classics you would expect. But there are so many re-makes, such as the Ronan Keating version of 'Fairytale in New York', which are just not as good as the originals. You will find all the Christmas songs you can think of on here, and I'm not going to patronise you by saying how good (or generally the opposite) they are, as you know them inside out. Just brace for disappointment if you're especting the original versions.

by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable, 18 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Hogfather (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first Pratchet Novel, and probably a good introduction as I do have a desire to branch out and read others. But it is not perfect by any means. The novel is often weird, just for the sake of being weird, and some of the humour is a little tedious and predictable. Although, saying that, I did actually find myself chuckling at times, so rare for a book. I find humour does not really lend itself to the written word as much of it is so dependant on the delivery.

Ok, the plot. The auditors have hired the assasin teatime to dispose of the Hogfather and control the children of discworld, in order to destroy their belief. In so doing they intend to wipe out all life. To prevent this, Death dons the red coat and beard and takes on the role, to try to preserve the diminishing belief, and he has a rather tough time of it. Susan, his grandaughter is trying to get to the bottom of the matter with the 'oh god' of hangovers, as is Ridcully and the wizards of the unseen university.

The thing about Pratchett is he doesn't bog the story down with descriptions, leaving it very much to the readers imagination, and as a result it is eminently easy to read. The characters are well developed and the pace of the story is rather rapid, even if it is a bit confusing at the beginning.

This edition is an obvious cash-in on the dramatisation, and it seems a little odd that a new edition of all the novels is being published. At this price you may as well pop it in your basket.

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