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London's Burning - Series 7 - Complete [DVD]
London's Burning - Series 7 - Complete [DVD]
Dvd ~ Glen Murphy

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Pretending to be Firefighters", 29 Jan. 2010
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The key to this 7th (1994) series of arguably British TV's premier drama is that there's not much in the way of fires.

This could be described as "Pretending to be a firefighter? That's fraud, innit?" or maybe Sub-officer John Hallam can summarise the action in an average episode: "Do you know what I've done today? I've been slagged off by a lorry driver, stuck in a lift and trapped in a blinking traffic jam!"

There's gripping stuff here too with great dramatic performances by Andrew Kazamia (Station Officer Nick Georgiadis) and Sara Powell (Firefighter Sally Reid) but the tone is set by Gerard Horan (Charisma) and Blue Watch's Mr. Toad, Richard Walsh (Sicknote) who discovers golf on his "second honeymoon" with wife Jean (Amanda Dickinson - glamorous as well as being as sharp as a knife drawer in this series). Sicknote also adopts a mangy dog ("the ugliest being in Creation"), tries hair restorer delivered in a brown envelope from Sweden and starts wearing a wig.

There aren't enough shouts for 5 stars, but the few fires there are include very realistic and tense ones on the Woolwich Ferry, in a public library, in a converted flat and one of LB's greatest-ever incidents, the fire in the propane yard with gas cylinders flying in all directions across a normal estate.

Too many of the characters are fed up with their lot to make this a classic series. The series could be summed up by a wife throwing kitchen items at her husband and him rolling his eyes resignedly.

Without any fires.

No subtitles, no extras, but 15 episodes on four discs. Fans will love it!

Colditz [DVD]
Colditz [DVD]
Dvd ~ Damian Lewis
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £33.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Schnell schnell! Raus raus from buying zis rubbish!, 25 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Colditz [DVD] (DVD)
This film was on German TV at the weekend. I am so glad I didn't buy it although I have visited Colditz Castle and seen the prisoners' drawings, the escape tunnels and the yards and view over the river for myself, which was very touching, considering I have the board game and never thought I would ever see the original.

The film stars Sophia Myles, who as Lady Penelope is the bright spot in the Hollywoodisation of another potentially great film, Thunderbirds. However, the characters in this film are completely unconvincing - varying between uncompromisingly ruthless and ambitious, and totally wet and weedy. The film in its TV version is the best part of *three hours* including a "not in Colditz" intro lasting over half an an hour (or so it seemed) and lots of dialogue and extraneous soppy "love story" in London.

Of the famous escapes, there are no specially-dug tunnels, no impersonation of a German officer, and no glider building.

The behaviour of the Germans is unconvincing, and at no point is it mentioned that it is the duty of a British officer to attempt to escape.

If you want to see a gripping Colditz adventure, buy one of the earlier films. Alternatively, the TV series is now also available as a boxed set, and the recent BBC boxed documentary set is a fascinating insight into what actually happened at Colditz, including making the glider for the old PoW to see.

Whatever you do, spend your money on one of the above, don't buy this!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2011 3:52 PM BST

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tranny is back! AND it's portable!, 20 Nov. 2009
If you regret the passing of classic Tranny / transistor radio design but want a beautifully-styled product that will play all your favourite DAB stations, this is for you.

Note - this portable radio actually has a HANDLE too (which is becoming a bit of a unique selling proposition nowadays! if you need to carry your transistor radio around, don't get one without a handle. On some handle-less models you can change channel by mistake when you pick the radio up).

I love this radio:

- Attractive design
- Great sound (apparently it's mono only but you wouldn't notice)
- I can store my favourite DAB presets
- Works off six "C" (HP11) batteries (rechargeable as DAB uses batteries heavily, though I find battery life several weeks of occasional use)

but I'm not giving it five stars because of these:

- Unlike my cheapo ALBA DAB, it has no stereo separate out connection thingies
- Not sure how durable the DAB tuner is - sometimes I turn it on and nothing happens
- The rotary VHF/MW/LW tuner is beautiful and functional, but not so good if you listen to more than one non-DAB station
- It is quite big and heavy
- Changing the batteries is a real faff and involves a screwdriver and the removal of the entire back panel

but overall, I'm so pleased the Tranny is back!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2013 12:08 AM GMT

Thunderbirds [DVD] [2004]
Thunderbirds [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Bill Paxton
Price: £2.86

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sponsorbirds are F*rd!, 19 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Thunderbirds [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
It speaks volumes in our fast-moving world that the original Thunderbirds television series still looks futuristic after nearly 45 years.

Against that, this Americanised live-action version is already looking a little dated after only five.

Of course, maybe the buyer of this DVD doesn't care about some ancient history and just wants to know if this film is worth getting.

Fans of the television series will know that what mattered was the saving of people in danger ("We're gonna die, Joe! we're gonna die!" "NO! Here come International Rescue") and the procedures to launch each of the Thunderbird craft, especially numbers 1 and 2.

Neither of these elements features in the film - a monorail crashes into the Thames and we experience hardly a creak nor a twang (cf National Theatre of Brent) from the perspective of those trapped. The launches are perfunctory affairs.

Instead, we find that the baddies are led by a sleepwalking Ben Kingsley as a decidedly non-Oriental Hood and, in a shameless display of ignorant sexism, Rose Keegan (Transom) is introduced rear-end-first as "foxy" (supposed to be good) but it is then revealed she has "bad teeth" (I quote - "eeuw") (which is supposed to be the reaction). Why does she try to get it on with Brains? Why should we care?

On the one hand, the Tracy brothers look a bit like a toothpaste advert (even Alan is wearing a brace) but on the other they are irredeemably scruffy. Even the International Rescue uniform has become a kind of grey overalls...

And the focus of the action is Tracy Island.

In fact, this film's central character could be Bill or Ted but is actually Alan Tracy, who is involved in a chase caper across Tracy Island. Inexplicably, Brains has a son called Fermat and Tintin is said to be "blossoming" - yuk!

Lady Penelope (Sophia Myles) is a successful Emma Peel-type take on the role. Parker (Ron Cook) (he played Chivery in 2008's "Little Dorrit") is quite good but isn't really given the lines to develop a character.

There are several good extras about the making of the film though they are hard to access through a menu.

The product placement is completely crass. Fords abound everywhere, and even FAB 1 (which everyone knows is a pink Rolls-Royce) is based on a heavily-modified American Ford Thunderbird, apparently.

Overall, I see these CGI workers in garret rooms working hard on the film in the extras, I see Tracy Island, I even note that each Tracy brother has a flash of a different colour on his overalls, I note that they have filmed opposite the Houses of Parliament and in the Seychelles, I note that they even closed Tower Bridge to fly through it in real life, and I wonder how come the end result is not miles better!

Just goes to show that pots of money are no substitute for true invention - like V for Vendetta's creator Alan Moore, the ghost at this feast who is not credited is Gerry Anderson...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2012 3:25 PM GMT

Magic Roundabout [DVD] [2004]
Magic Roundabout [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Dave Borthwick
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOYNNGGG! Time for Adventure!, 19 Nov. 2009
There aren't any rollicking adventures available for all the family to watch any more, are there? Especially not proper European ones that don't come from America!

BOYNNGGG! except for this one! the characters the old folk loved are back and entertaining young and old alike!

It has to be said that Dougal, Ermintrude, Brian Snail, Dylan and the Train are called upon to take part in a bit of a caper here - but the characters can handle it, with the expansive, colourful, charming computer animation and voices by Joanna Lumley, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Sir Ian McKellen and Tom Baker.

When the characters are crossing a lava-filled ravine, you even think "Lord of the Rings could have been as good as this".

There are a couple of interesting extras on the video but, somewhat disappointingly, the only language version is English - French is not included.

Official "Dilbert" 2010 Block (Calendar 2010)
Official "Dilbert" 2010 Block (Calendar 2010)

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real life seven days a week - and a laugh!, 12 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The scene is set for the DILBERT calendar by the cover "If everyone is doing it, Best Practices is the same thing as mediocre..."

If you have an office job with cubicles and computers, and you are looking for a daily neutral comment on your life, and find if your boss says "so we'll make this website with a guy in tights and a movie about coffee" meaning Flash and Javascript, this is for you!

(if you have difficulty with American slang or computing terms, then try something else...)

Official "Shaun the Sheep" 2010 Slim Calendar
Official "Shaun the Sheep" 2010 Slim Calendar

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Shear" enjoyment!, 12 Nov. 2009
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This calendar is guaranteed to brighten up the lives of people (especially Shaun fans!) where the calendars hang throughout 2010.

There is also lots of room to write down daily appointments.

A great present at amazon's price.

What more can I say?


5.0 out of 5 stars Fight to get this beautiful CD!, 10 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Mateli (Audio CD)
To give an idea of just how good this CD is, the only time I heard it on the radio I was driving from London to Hamburg and heard it played on Cologne-based German WDR. Before the programme had finished, I was outside the WDR region. I looked up what it was off the internet before getting one from Finland. It is that good.

As for what the record is actually like, the two female voices sing haunting, soaring melodies over tuneful accompaniments on traditional Finnish instruments. You might call them the Finnish Sundays if that wasn't "the Sunnuntais"...(which it isn't)

My Finnish is only good enough to suss that the lyrics are NOT "my squirrel is eating ice-cream, in Helsinki the airport is off the third ring road".

Clearly (as I find by looking around the internet) the lyrics are based on classical Finnish poetry - the runic poems of Mateli Kuivalatar (1771-1846) . Not knowing what the words mean is not a major issue just as with many current pop records...though they are worth a delve...being poetry...

Dastardly And Muttley Complete Collection [DVD] [2006]
Dastardly And Muttley Complete Collection [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ William Hanna

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hanna-Barbera cartoon format soars to its best-ever! Medalmedalmedal..., 3 Nov. 2009
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Like many people, I remember these stories from my childhood - a comic chaos of cartoon characters flying wacky planes around to "stop that pigeon". Which they never achieve.

On a residential course at a management school, I learnt more from this series (then on in the mornings) about management technique than from the formal lectures - rewarding staff ("medalmedalmedal"), retribution for failure (general's fist bops Dastardly on the head), and not thinking outside the box, trusting instead only in building ever sillier things to achieve team objectives!

What happens is usually genuinely unpredictable and normally hilarious. It's a long time since I laughed so much at a cartoon.

Like the other Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the sixties and seventies, this is very colourful, but quite low on detail, and the lighter areas like character's faces often show blobs. The action happening in the sky avoids "Scooby-Doo just went past that vase for the fifth time" syndrome.

The episodes are at their very best in English - it came as a surprise to learn that only two people did all the voices. Paul Winchell (who was also Fleegle in the Banana Splits and Gargamel in the Smurfs) was Dastardly and the General, and Don "Boo Boo" Messick was *absolutely* everyone else including the Stanley Unwin-type talking Klunk. Nevertheless, you can watch in French or Italian if you like karaoke "Stop that Pigeon" and can live with Klunk talking more normally. Subtitles include Dutch.

As for extras, there is a short piece on how this show was originally conceived without the double-dealing do-badders Dastardly and Muttley, and two complete shows with commentary by the original team.

It's a hoot! Get that DVD! Rootly-toot-de-toot!

Shaun The Sheep 2009 Slim Calendar
Shaun The Sheep 2009 Slim Calendar
by Danilo
Edition: Calendar

5.0 out of 5 stars Bleat this!, 30 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This calendar is great - it's the gift that keeps friends and family laughing all year!

If the 2010 one is like this, it won't be baa-d!

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