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Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World
Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World
by Graham Hunter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.74

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like football you must read this book, 27 Oct 2012
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This book is a superb chronicle of FC Barcelona's meteroic rise to rule the football world over recent times. Concentrating mainly on the Pep Guardiola era (2008 - 2012), the author includes well researched and detailed entries on the key players in the current team as well as a number of personnel who have helped develop this groundbreaking team. The author writes with economy and purpose very passionately about the nucleus of the current team including obviously Lionel Messi, Xavi, Iniesta et al. It is very clear how much the nucleus of homegrown players have influenced this footballing sensation with their own dynamic, quick passing tiki taka style football which exhilarates and astounds in equal measures. In addition to chapters on current players we learn of the famous La Masia and how the youngsters are schooled and moulded into the future Messis and Puyols in years to come. A chapter on the essence of the breathtaking football we take from granted from FC Barclona is also included featuring Johan Cruyff and how his methods of total football forms the basis of what we admire today. The author has clearly referenced a massive amount of material to create this fascinating book and it is a real page turner.

The highlight of the book would be the detailed and gripping accounts portraying Messi and the moulding of the team by the dedication of Pep Guardiola. We are left in no doubt that this team, surely the greatest of all time, did not come about through accident. The chapters on the total football / tiki taka football style and the La Masia football academy help complete the book. The reader gets an insight from the grassroots style of play used, the teaching of the kids in this style through the various stages of the La Masia to the fulfilment of this dream on a world stage in Champions League finals.

Whilst a superb football book, one of the best you will read, there are a couple of very minor quibbles. Clearly any football lover (and especially those who buy this book) will have great admiration of the team some may find parts where the author over eulogises and seems a tad excessive. Also whilst frequent reference is made to Cruyff's 1992 Champions League winning 'Dream Team' there is not a single mention of the marking of the end of this team- namely the 1994 Champions League final when AC Milan crushed Cruyff's 'Dream Team' 4-0. The end of the Dream Team era. It also seems that the author has his preferences in the politics of FCB and the current president does not yet sit on the same pedestal that the author perchs Joan Laporta, president between 2003 - 2010!

Overall the positives massively overwhelm these small negatives in the same way FC Barcelona frequently overwhelm their opponents on the pitch. With style, panache and intelligence. If you like football, this is essential reading.

Julia's Eyes [DVD]
Julia's Eyes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Belén Rueda
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £5.84

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Guillermo Del Toro Masterpiece, 1 July 2012
This review is from: Julia's Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
This film is simply superb. You must watch it. For those of a more curious nature please read on to find out why.

The story surrounds Julia, who suffers from a degenerative eye condition something she shared with her twin sister, Sara, who is found hanged in the opening of the film. Despite all evidence suggesting a suicide, when Julia returns to her sister's house she comes to consider other, unseen factors were involved in Sara's death. Then when she finds out things about her husband, her life is cast in more yet more uncertainty and with her eyesight becoming less reliable, Julia starts to understand more and more about her twins life before her tragic death. Is seeing really believing?

Without ever stepping out from being anything other than completely captivating and believable this film flows along at the perfect tempo. The script writing is excellent and I can only imagine that the translation is perfect too. Every scene is delivered with purpose and meaning and the film is shot with outstanding cinematography. The conclusion of the story is it's real strength (don't you just hate films with poor endings!) and really what makes it so excellent. The story comes together with such finesse that this film will be one which will warrant many rewatches!

If anyone wants to know how a thriller film should be made this is where you should go first of all. Brilliant.

Ruby: The Autobiography
Ruby: The Autobiography
by Ruby Walsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, 17 Jun 2012
Written in such a way that you can just hear Ruby Walsh speak it as you read along, it pulls little punches and Ruby comes across as a man not frightened to say it as he sees it. Born into a racing family, Ruby clearly is set for a life in horse racing, in some shape or form from an early age.

Some enlightening opinions are voiced on stewards, riding tactics, injuries, family success and racecourse facilities amongst many other topics of interest to National Hunt racing fans. This book is hard to put down if you're a fan of the sport or the author and rates alongside other very good racing autobiographies such as Mick Fitzgerald's 'Better than Sex' and Paul Nicholls' 'Lucky Break'.

Highly recommended for all sports fans.

Misery  [1991] [DVD]
Misery [1991] [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Caan
Price: £3.90

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite misery but far from great..., 17 Jun 2012
This review is from: Misery [1991] [DVD] (DVD)
Misery is a film which can be summed up quite briefly as follows. The lead character is a writer Paul Sheldon, played by James Caan who is stalked and then imprisoned by his 'number one fan' former nurse Annie Wilkes, played by Kathy Bates. Annie shortly reveals herself as somewhat creepy and very quickly Paul realises he is in more danger than he first expected. Annie is basically an obsessive nutter and Paul realises he must escape.

Whilst I've watched many worse films than this I still cannot understand the strength of the reviews for this film. I found the story to run largely at a snail's pace throughout, the lead actor, James Caan seems to be spend half the film with a somewhat blank expression on his face and the story is very predictable. Not a great deal happens in it and when Annie lets her guard down and spirals into a few episodes of psychotic ranting I almost felt like laughing out loud such was way it was carried out!

Not a film I'd recommend unless you wish you're a fan of watching slow moving films interspersed with somewhat comic outbursts of deranged behaviour from a bunny boiler who keeps a handgun tucked down her apron.

Pierrepoint [DVD] [2006]
Pierrepoint [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Timothy Spall
Price: £5.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An involving tale of Britain's most well known 'hangman', 11 Jun 2012
This review is from: Pierrepoint [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Pierrepoint makes you sometimes wonder why the masses shun films like this to watch the latest Hostel or Saw. A remarkable performance by Timothy Spall (who really makes the film for me) this film absolutely sucks you right in from the very opening scene. The story depicts Albert Pierrepoint in his most unusual (and downright depressing?) of jobs which was also the chosen occupation of his father.

Duing the 91 minutes we witness Pierrepoint's inner demons slowly creep closer to the surface (as you would surely expect this harrowing job must leave scars deeper than those which Pierrepoint outwardly portays). His ruthless efficiency in 'weighing' up his the next person to be hanged is very evident as is his pride and professionalism he brings to his particular profession.

I strongly recommend you watch this film as sadly films this captivating are few and far between. A very well deserved 5 stars from me.

(A not dissimilar film to this and also very good is Let Him Have It which tells the story of Derek Bentley, one of Albert Pierrepoints most famous victims).

Dorothy: The Modern Day Exorcist[ DVD] (2008)
Dorothy: The Modern Day Exorcist[ DVD] (2008)
Dvd ~ Carice van Houten
Price: £6.00

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex thriller / horror portraying a young 'misunderstood' girl, 8 May 2012
Dorothy is filmed in a a rural island setting off Ireland, where the locals are most unwelcoming to the female psychiatrist sent there on the mission of treating the little girl Dorothy. The storyline very much centres itself around Dorothy played by the wonderful Jenn Murray, and her relationship with this psychiatrist played by the equally impressive Carice van Houten. Very early on it is apparent the islanders appear to hold Dorothy in some special regard and it's not until the ending that the viewer can appreciate why this is. Dorothy is clearly troubled and one wonders whether she is possessed or is she a little girl with a multiple personality or personalities or is it something else?

I found the film engrossing from the very start and didn't find it as dull as some have suggested for the first part of the film where the scene is set and the viewer gains an insight into the issues that are troubling young Dorothy. I found it engrossing and you will find that everything is tied quite succintly together at the end.

I can understand comparisons with Case 39 and even the Uninvited however I would view it as superior to both. Comparisons with The Exorcist are slightly misleading as that one very much revolved around frights whilst Dorothy is a film more based upon the mindset and strange activity of a little girl but without the horror or frights that the The Exorcist created so well.

If you enjoy films that portray interesting personality disorders with a nicely crafted ending you'll like Dorothy. Give it a try, the lead actress and the main supporting actress put in terrific performances. You'll enjoy it from start to finish and you will watch it more than once- always the sign of a good film!

The Disappeared [DVD]
The Disappeared [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harry Treadaway
Price: £6.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Commendable British thriller, 10 July 2010
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This review is from: The Disappeared [DVD] (DVD)
Stumbled across this one and decided to purchase having seen it fared well from the reviews. It starts off at a pedestrian pace but whilst the story picks up the pace in the second half it still feels very slow moving and with no real direction to the flow of the storyline. The film is somewhat saved by very good acting, particularly by the lead actor, though the ending did seem something like an afterthought to me.

Seabiscuit [DVD] [2003]
Seabiscuit [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Tobey Maguire
Price: £3.90

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those very very good films that you see every so often, 9 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Seabiscuit [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I loved this film when I first saw it after it came out so I decided to pick it up off Amazon and watch it again. It's as good as I remembered it to be and even my girlfriend adored it. It's a powerful story of a 4 key players. Firstly the recluse trainer who communicates better with non compliant horses than humans. A charismatic owner who suffers a tragedy early on in the story. A jockey who has his own problems which are evident as the story progresses and finally and, most importantly, the horse himself. This is by and large a feel good film, but one done in a very gripping manner with its own share of disappointments along the way.

This is a film up there with fantastic films like Shawshanks Redemption and is very definitely worth buying- you'll love every minute.

Inside [DVD] [2007]
Inside [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Béatrice Dalle
Offered by Digizoneuk
Price: £22.33

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm... lots of blood, 9 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Inside [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
After watching this film I found it hard to decide whether I liked it or not hence the 3 stars I awarded it. It definitely pushes buttons in you and you don't really ever feel like switching it off but this may be possibly be down to wishing to see what's in store next for the poor leading lady of the film. It is probably too gruesome for most, much worse than Saw or Hostel in terms of visual impact, but it doesn't purely rely on that as its selling point as there are quite a few 'edge of your seat' moments in there too.

Not a hugely great storyline in there but it has its moments and if you're into your Saw/Hostel type films you'll probably enjoy it, but if you're not then I'd leave it.

Pan's Labyrinth (2 Disc Set) [2006] [DVD]
Pan's Labyrinth (2 Disc Set) [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Doug Jones
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.18

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute peach, 9 Jun 2010
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This is one of the most beautiful, fantastical film I've ever watched. It is wonderfully told and there is never a moment you are anything but absolutely drawn in hook, line and sinker. Don't be put off by the subtitles either- you cease to notice you're actually reading text after 5 minutes, so involving is the storyline. No matter what genre of film you are into everyone should watch this film- like just about everyone else I have to whole heartedly recommend this film.

By not buying this you really, really are missing out on a little piece of cinematic legend!

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