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S. J. M (Kent, England)

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The Thing (Double Pack Including Original) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
The Thing (Double Pack Including Original) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Kurt Russell
Price: 10.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pardon the pun, but good Things come in 2's., 29 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ok, from the beginning. I am a massive fan of the John Carpenter '82 Original "The Thing", I own it on DVD and now I have it, and its 2011 prequel on Bluray. And in this pack I got one hellova deal.

Starting with the original, I won't dig into the story for fear of giving things away, but its a classic film and arguably JC's best. The only negative thing I can think of, is it's a tad dated in some respects but it still stands strong today in its effects (no CGI here!) and the cast are all on top form with their portrayal of their characters stuck in this awful predicament. Where the film is at its best, is in the horror and to my mind there is few films since that can match it for suspense. And the best thing of this disk, is that it all comes to life in glorious Hi-Def and its never looked this good. You also get all the bonus features (and the excellent "The Terror takes shape" feature) included, so its a win/win situation.

In short, its a classic film that's received a very good transfer to bluray and has all the special features included. If you own the DVD, I can assure you its well worth replacing it. And if you don't own the DVD, here is the box to go for.

***** (5 star)

And to the 2nd film which is the prequel to Carpenters film. Annoyingly it too is titled "The Thing". I'm not sure why the production team named it so, I always thought the title "Who goes there?" (of John W. Campbell, Jr's short novella the films are based on) would have been better. I started this film with a heavy amount of trepidation, being a massive fan of the original I've always been curious how things happened prior to the original film and so wanted this film to work. And for the best part, it exceeded my expectations. Luckily, its really not that bad a film. Sure, it borrows heavily from the original, and the CGI isn't the best I've seen (and not a patch on the puppetry of the original) but it works for the most part and luckily is mainly seen in the darkness, hiding it to some extent. Sadly, there is also a few film clichés here too, a strong female lead in a predominant male cast (ala Aliens) and the mandatory scientist who wants to keep being a scientist ("For science!") when things are failing around them. But for the bad/annoying bits in the film, there's some good scenes here and some good scares too. If you don't allow the film to be taken too seriously, its quite enjoyable.

The Thing ('11) isn't as good as the '82 film. But it has its moments and fans of the original will enjoy some good touches in there. The film still looks excellent in hi-def, although its the 1st time I'd seen it on any format so I have nothing to compare to. There isn't much in the way of special features aside from outtakes & 2 short making-of bits.

***1/2 (3.5 stars)

So on the box, at its current listing of 12 (June 2012) its a steal. For that you are getting 1 amazing film and 1 'ok' film together in 1 box. I really want to give this product 5*, if only because I love the original so much (and it is really good) but the prequel drags it down a little, but give it a chance, you might end up liking both films.


Ford Versus Ferrari: The Battle for Le Mans and sports car supremacy
Ford Versus Ferrari: The Battle for Le Mans and sports car supremacy
by Anthony Pritchard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 37.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 7 Sep 2011
The 1960's racing scene has always been a big interest to me, and it is often called the golden age of Sports Car racing, and for good reason. With some of the best looking race cars to grace a track, with some of the biggest personalities in Motor racing history, there are many stories to be told. Most famous of these is the battle between Ferrari and Ford and their battle for supremacy, which this book chronicles from start to finish.

The book takes on a chronological order, telling the reasons for Ford opting to come into Sports Car racing in the mid-60's and follows everything from its origins to its final achievement at Le Man 1969. It should be noted, perhaps as a minor grumble, that the bulk of the story is centred on Fords efforts, with an extensive history from the AC/Shelby Cobra (and Daytona) project to the GT40's birth and development. Included in this is a number of cutaways of the car designs to show the inner parts of the cars and is festinating, if only on the Fords (and a Matra later in the book). I wouldn't say that the author is biased in any way towards Ford; he gives them a fully deserved bashing for their mentality and efforts early into the GT40's story. Ferrari gets a number of chapters telling of their race car development and racing history leading up to 1965, but disappointingly little on later prototypes on cars like the 330 P3/4 which battled the Fords in later years.

After the development chapters are finished, the remainder of the book looks at each year of the World Sports Car Championship (in its different guises) with an explanation on regulation changes for that year and a review of the races, ranging from a short review to more extensive one (on races such as Le Man). Along with these come some wonderful anecdotes from various parties involved with the cars and separate, short chapters on incidents that happened, such as the multiple GT40 crash in 1967.

The pages are set out in a nice way, with text fitted between photographs of various sizes and in colour or black & white. On the pictures, it has to be said that they are wonderful to look at and there is plenty of them and its not just the Fords & Ferrari's in them, but other cars such as those from Lola, Chaparall and Matra. With each photo is a comment which range from a couple of sentences to short paragraphs explaining what is happening in it. The other small issue I found was the spacing of the main body of the story, which might talk about a race for a small amount on one page, only to have it continued 3 pages later, with the 3 pages filled with photos! It's a minor frustration as I found myself being drawn into the photography before stumbling back into the race review.

All in all, this is a wonder full book with lots of material to engross yourself in, whether its reading about the cars or looking at them. There is an appendices at the end, with specifications for the Ford & Ferrari cars involved and a race results section following. The author clearly cares a good deal about this period of time when the racing was fierce and sometimes deadly, its treated with great care into a book which, minor complaints aside, is fantastic.


The Golden Age of Formula 1
The Golden Age of Formula 1
by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Big, Brilliant and in Black & White!, 5 May 2011
I'm not really a stranger to the photos of R. W. Schlegelmilch, I've purchased the Excellent "Formula One in Camera.." series to which his photographs are a key element to, so if you've seen/own these books then you will know (and rightly expect) that pictures in The Golden Age of Formula 1 will be of the highest quality. The title of the book refers to a period of F1 history as "The Golden Age", which is always open to everyone's opinion, but the book starts in 1962 (when Schlegelmilch started snapping at F1 cars) to 1969, which is pretty much the timeframe I'd use (but going a few years onwards)

Fist things first, this book is HUGE! Its not so much a coffee-table book as just a coffee table w/o legs! At just around 13inchs tall and almost 11inch wide, its big and buyers should be wary where it should be placed. But such a size means that Schlegelmilch's glorious pictures are able to fill the full page (or 2 page spread in some instance) with a mixture of driver profiles (be it close ups & long shots) in & out of their cars, group pictures, of the cars, team members. If it was in or around F1 in the '60s then chances are it can be seen in some of these pictures. One thing that I do love about this book is the paper used, the pages are brilliantly thick, at least twice as thick as any other picture book I own (You'd be forgiven for thinking you'd turned 2 pages when reading). With its thick pages and equally sturdy front & back cover, this book is pretty solid and should be quite resistant to damage.

For the would-be-buyer, if you have seen the aforementioned "Formula One in Camera" series, with all its Colour pictures, that's not the case in this book. Its not stated (to which I can see) on Amazon that ALL the pictures in this book are Black & White. But don't let that put you off, as mentioned the pages are large and it brings the pictures to life, and although I'm no expert on every F1 picture, I don't recall seeing them in other publications. Each picture is accompanied with some text explaining who is in the picture and where, or small details that might be missed by the reader. Additionally, the book has a foreword by Sir Jackie Stewart, a 2 page overview of the 60's F1 scene and the dangers in posed. All these are written in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, although the text for the pictures are only in English.

This is an excellent book, it offers some wonder pictures in a book whose size & structure goes someway to justify the price. With R. W. Schlegelmilch being such a superb photographer, you can be sure that its well worth looking at.


Canon LEGRIA FS37 Digital Camcorder - Dark Grey (37x Optical Zoom, 2.7 Inch Widescreen LCD)
Canon LEGRIA FS37 Digital Camcorder - Dark Grey (37x Optical Zoom, 2.7 Inch Widescreen LCD)

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small, light, heavy on features and excellent all round camcorder., 5 Mar 2011
It was around last summer that I started looking for a Camcorder, and wanted not to break the bank on one as it wont be an everyday use. So after much checking of different makes and models, i descided to plumb for the Legria FS37. The main reason was the built in memory and its excellent battery.

Its maiden use was at last years Goodwood Festival of Speed and it came through with flying colours, and from which I'm using as the basis of this review. The image from the camera, despite not being HD, was excellent and captured everything wonderfully showing all the colours and shapes and wasnt overloaded with wind noise but captured the outright noise of the cars themselves as they went past. 2 other features, the Zoom and its Image Stabiliser came into play, the zoom was smooth and easy to use and after only an hour or so into the day I found myself being able to zoom onto a car racing to me and zooming out keeping the car within the cameras view, and then panning across as the car went past, with the results looking very impressive and clear! If you've ever seen race cars fly past in person, you'l appreciate how quick they are and it says alot that this nifty camera kept the quality.

I didnt feel that the images was affected by the sunglare, which some reviews on rivals models highlighted can be problematic, and with 16gb to use up (and i used less then half over 3 days on continuous use), theres many hours to be had filming! The battery lasts a good amount of time, although i was forever turning the camcorder on/off which might have had some effect to its drain (although im no expert) but for 3 days of this continous use, i did give it a quick recharge only once, but it might not have been needed.

Lastly, the camcorder itself is tiny, my hand isnt the biggest but it fitted very smuggly into it and never felt uncomfortable, its light and didnt make my arms strain when held over-head-arms-stretched. I have no regrets buying this camcorder, it offered everything I was looking for, small and lightweight that offers a lot for its price without loosing the quality. Its not in HD, but then for its price, there isnt much that is.


Live From The Royal Albert Hall [Blu-ray] [2010]
Live From The Royal Albert Hall [Blu-ray] [2010]
Dvd ~ Joe Bonamassa
Price: 16.22

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe at his best, 31 Jan 2011
I got into Joe Bonamassa around 18months ago whilst rummaging through my dads CD collection and stumbled on the really excellent "The Ballard of John Henry" and haven't looked back since. I'm lucky enough to have seen Joe play live, and there are very few Guitarists around who can combine his talent to play his guitar whilst entertaining the crowds as well as he can. And with this Blu-ray, you can experience it all.

Like any good concert video, there's a small build-up, Joe Bonamassa introducing himself and explaining briefly his journey and desire to play at the Royal Albert Hall. From start to finish the show is just awesome to behold, Joe showing the talent that he is through an excellent song list with many favourites he'll be playing for years to come. For 2 of the songs, we are treated to a duet with Eric Clapton (the man who inspired him) to play "Further On Up The Road" and Paul Jones joining him for cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Your Funeral and My Trial". The set list is a real mix of Blues from his albums all the way up to the already-mentioned "Ballad of John Henry"

1. (Intro) Django
2. The Ballad Of John Henry
3. So It's Like That
4. Last Kiss
5. So Many Roads
6. Stop
7. Further On Up The Road (w/ E.Clapton)
8. High Water Everywhere
9. Sloe Gin
10. Lonesome Road Blues
11. Happier Times
12. Your Funeral My Trial (/w Paul Jones)
13. Blues Deluxe
14. Story Of A Quarryman
15. Great Flood, The
16. Just Got Paid
17. Mountain Time
18. Asking Around For You

The piece "Woke Up Dreaming" appears in the 'Extras' option of the disk, along with a 22minute interview with Joe. In this he talks about various songs from the show and either their histories or why it is he plays them. Its interesting, if brief and being only 2 extras on the disk is a small negative I have.

The picture and sound are excellent, the music is loud and crisp and its wonderful to hear all parts of the band playing alongside Joe and his guitar. But its Joe and his guitar that you want this Blu-ray, which stands out with each strum and pick as if your there listening in person and with a clean picture its easy to think you are. The screen can look hazed at times, but I realised quickly that some smoke/haze effect was being used for the actual gig and was being picked up by the backlighting, nothing that wouldn't be part of any typical concert.

This is Joe at his best, him, his guitar and with a creative license to entertain and thats exactly what he does. Cant recommend him, his music and this Blu-ray enough.


Jochen Rindt: Uncrowned King
Jochen Rindt: Uncrowned King
by David Tremayne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 29.81

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting throne for the uncrowned King, 5 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The year of 1970 was tragic in the world of Formula 1, having 3 of its most popular drivers loose their lives. Bruce Mclaren during testing at Goodwood, Piers Courage during the Dutch GP at Zandvoort and one of its biggest stars, Jochen Rindt in Qualifying for the Italian GP at Monza. Seen as a successor to the crown relinquished by the untimely death of Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt is said to be one of, if not the fastest drivers of his era, comparable in speed to the other great speed kings of Peterson, Villeneuve and Senna, Tremayne sets out to show a man for who he was. Often seen as arrogant by those that didn't know him well enough, sometimes rude to those he didn't like, but also a warm and humane person to his family and closest friends & Colleagues.

Having reading this books predecessor, "The Lost Generation", David Tremayne goes about this book with such care and respect that its a fitting tribute to a man who sadly died 40 years ago who, to what I can tell, has had little literature written about him.

The format of the book is done chronologically, starting with Rindt's early life where his parents were killed during a bombing raid by the RAF in WW2 to being raised by his grandparents and his early adventures into racing through to F1. The chapters for his F1 & F2 career are separate to each other and cover that year's season. Further chapters cover other parts of his racing career, such as a complete one on his 1965 win at Le Man (and I'll add this is my favourite chapter in the book) and another on his years competing at the Indy 500. Other individual chapters of course include the Grand Prix in which Jochen Rindt would loose his life at Monza (also covering the aftermath) and a very well handled postscript. Throughout the book, there are numerous anecdotes and contributions by many famous names like Jackie Stewart, Jacky Ickx, Bernie Ecclestone and Helmut Marko. Along side these are some excellent pictures that go with the text, some in Black & White, some in colour and of various sizes.

If your of an age where you remember Jochen Rindt & his era or a young person (such as myself) with an interest of a time in the sport where drivers lives would end all to often, then you will enjoy this book. A Fantastic and insightful read into the fasinating & tragic life of Jochen Rindt, Formula 1's uncrowned King.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2011 11:31 AM BST


You And Me
You And Me
Price: 11.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Joe delivers the Blues!, 16 Sep 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: You And Me (Audio CD)
I recently got into Joe Bonamassa when I was going through my dads Blues CDs and chanced in listening to Joe's more recent Album "The Ballard of John Henry" which itself was stunning. Eager to listen to more, I plumbed out on You & Me going by the reviews here and I'm glad I did. Joe Bonamassa has a great ability to make the guitar bend to his will to make it sound amazing and is at his best when going all out in some fast paced fret bashing madness.

The album consists of a small number of songs Bonamassa wrote himself with a selection of covers (Similar to most of his albums). Although in smaller number to the covers, his originals are good, catchy songs which show some talent for writing as well as playing the guitar. It has to be said, that my 2 favourite songs on the album are from the covers, "So Many Roads" and the stunning "Tea for One". There are not enough superlatives to describe just how good the later is, and in this reviewers opinion, surpasses the Led Zeppelin original on all fronts (credit where it's due to Doug Henthorn for the vocals).

Recommended.


Pennybridge Pioneers
Pennybridge Pioneers
Price: 8.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 29 April 2010
This review is from: Pennybridge Pioneers (Audio CD)
Like many other reviewers, I first came to hear MIllencolin from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, with the song 'No Cigar' which is the opening song on this album, setting a high standard which is consistent through the 37minutes. The songs, with the exception of 'The Ballard' are all Punk/Rock based with some being on the slightly heavier side of the rock genre and to great results. Such examples of this (and personal favourites from the album) are 'Penguins & Polar bears' and 'Highway Donkey'. Other songs are of a more "Pop'y" nature, such as 'Fox', 'Right About Now' with some good punk sounds from 'Duckpond' and 'Mayfly' which all add to make a nice contrast that fills the album.

If you listened to Millencolin's earlier albums then 'Pennybridge Pioneers' will come as a rather radical departure to the nature of their earlier songs but don't let this put you off (or Put you off listening to the earlier stuff if this is your Millencolin debut) as its a fantastic album that is endlessly repeatable. Still my favourite Millencolin album after all these years, and my opinion is that it's their best too.


Stirling Moss: All My Races
Stirling Moss: All My Races
by Stirling Moss
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recount of his races. But dont expect this to be a biographical account of his life., 7 Mar 2010
Stirling Moss wasn't just one of the best Formula 1 Drivers that England has ever produced, but possibly its greatest all-round driver. In this book, Stirling takes us back to his very early days of racing in Club races & Hill Climbs in 1947 in an old BMW advancing through the years, race by race to his Career ending accident at Goodwood in 1962. You have to admire Stirling's ability to recall these events and what happened in the races given how long ago they took place as the detail he goes into in some races is beyond impressive.

The book is set out with each race titled, giving the date & track it was at as well as other little bits of information such as his final position he fastest laps. The format to which the book takes differs greatly from any book I've read thats of a biographical nature and it works very well and looks excellent within this large book's pages. Along with the race accounts are numerous pictures from either Moss's own collection or other 3rd parties, and each of them, from the 2 page spread of Moss racing at Monaco at the books beginning to the very last page is vibrant and excellent in detail.

This isn't a Biography of Stirling Moss's entire life, and concludes after a short paragraph explaining the aftermath of the Goodwood crash, so if it is a life bio your after then you'll have to look elsewhere or wait for Stirling to write one. What this book does offer is a great insight to the racing world through the post-war years through the 50's and beginning of the 60's. Excellent book for any motor enthusiast with a interest in the sport or this era.


Dispatches (Picador)
Dispatches (Picador)
by Michael Herr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 2 Mar 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dispatches (Picador) (Paperback)
Having bought this book only for a University course (War & the Media being the topic) for an excellent price. I didn't really read it as much first time round but scan for quotes and info to use for essays. But a short while ago I just picked it up from the shelf and re-read it, and am I glad that I did. Anyone who's seen Full Metal Jacket will notice the film is very much borrowing actual events Herr encountered in Vietnam and much, much more. Herr is a brilliant guide to his years spent in Vietnam and the countless characters he met and shared these experiences with.

This is a good weekend filler and can't be recommended enough to anyone who has an interest in War, Vietnam or just wants a good read.


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