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The Prince Of Egypt [DVD] [1998]
The Prince Of Egypt [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Val Kilmer
Price: 6.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, 6 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whether you follow any specific religion/faith or not, I find it difficult to see how anyone could say that this isn't an amazing story. Take away the religious content, you're still left with a very passionate story about oppression, discovering who you truly are, giving a voice to those who would otherwise remain silent and finding the strength to face a difficult situation and do what is right. The general story is one that has popped up in various places, but DreamWorks just made a production of the traditional story found in the Bible.

Speaking as someone who lives on a wish rather than a prayer and stacks her copy of the Bible and the Tanakh on the same shelf as Grimm, Anderson, Kipling and Aesop, I didn't find The Prince of Egypt at all bias or preachy. There obviously had to be references to faith and God, but there was nothing that suggested all audience members should believe in a specific entity or that anyone followed the 'wrong' faith. Instead of presenting religious conflict, it was moral conflict - i.e. leading slaves to freedom.

It is rated 'U' but, in my opinion, it really stretches the limits. The plague scene in particular is quite graphic and the beginning scene where you see how badly the slaves are being treated and the killing of the babies is really quite heart-wrenching - something the written texts never quite capture.

While a fair amount of artistic licence has been taken, the actual events from Moses being cast adrift in the river to his leading the Hebrews to their own land are accurate enough to tell the story. The characters were all brought beautifully to life with qualities and flaws, emotions and feelings and, being able to relate with them was quite surprising, but very well done. While in the text, there is no close brotherly relationship between Moses and Ramesses (I don't think Ramesses is even the Pharaoh mentioned in the texts - I could be wrong) it brought a new level of emotional turmoil to the story. The fact that they had a connection made the plagues and the last few scenes all the more devastating. Unless you are a very very devout follower (which is fine - I understand that) I wouldn't think the use of artistic licence would be enough to cause offence.

As far as animation goes, I was a bit dubious. Having previously watched Sinbad (which I gave up on) and El Dorado, which I enjoyed but is rather badly animated in some ways, I was very surprised by the quality presented in this. The details of the scenery and, even the 'extra' characters is almost breath-taking. From the colours and tones used in the images to the attention paid to the slightest breeze (the first river-scene with Jochebed for example) and the way Moses keeps shrugging his too-big robe onto his shoulder is fairly astounding. I'm not sure it would kick Disney off the scale, but it definitely sets a strong precedent for DreamWorks.

My favourite sequence is 'Through Heaven's Eyes' where we see the time Moses spends in Midian and truly begins to embrace who he is and finds contentment as a shepherd and a husband to Tsippora. The entire sequence is probably five minutes long - there are no long-drawn out romance scenes or big life-lessons thrown at you, but the sentiments are there.

The soundtrack is what, for me, throws this entire production onto a completely different level. Not only do the songs move things along quickly, but clearly (as mentioned about in 'Through Heavens Eyes') but the musical pieces range from sinister to soft to cheerful and rousing. The music that supported the plagues sequence was almost frightening while the River Lullaby was the heart-breaking lines amongst a very angry and desperate musical piece (Deliver Us)

At the minute, this has been placed near the top of my list of favourite animated films purely for every element that creates it - from the story and the characters, to the music and scenery. In my opinion, there is no really weak element - even the priests who were maybe there for comic relief weren't out of place. A definite recommendation.


Cassadaga [DVD]
Cassadaga [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kelen Coleman
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: 2.65

3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks ... something, 10 April 2013
This review is from: Cassadaga [DVD] (DVD)
I am a big baby when it comes to horror films - I don't get on very well with gore for the sake of gore and I'm one of the first people to jump/scream even though I'm expecting something to happen.

This one ... given that it was an 18 ... I was a bit cautious and, as I'd never heard of it, I didn't know what to expect. My friend wanted to give it a watch, so I armed myself with a cushion and watched it.

I'm finding it difficult to write this review without spoilers so ...

::::WARNING!! SPOILERS ALERT!!! SPOILERS ALERT!!!::::

The concept actually freaked me out a little bit. The idea of a gender-confused child growing up to make living women into live marionettes is very creepy. Especially as you see the severed limbs being fixed with the metal joints and the eventual formation of the live puppet. It's frightening - you can't deny that. I thought about it for a while when I went to bed and got a bit worried.

But the film was so predictable. Me and my friend could've written the whole thing as it went along and it actually got to the point where it was quite funny because either she or I would suggest what would happen next and, would you believe it, it did. Apart from once. Well, fancy that.

I wasn't entirely sure why there had to be a romance in there - he didn't really play much of a part and he didn't even turn up in the end to redeem himself - the one bit where our predictions didn't ring true. I got that she had established this life for herself and the horror she was going through, she eventually had to face alone. But I wasn't feeling the romance and then the heartbreak - it wasn't working for me at all.

Word of warning to people of a similar disposition as me ... Maggots aren't my favourite animal in the world, so that was another thing that freaked me out ... but they didn't seem relevant to anything. When the body was found, it wasn't filled with maggots, so why they were everywhere else I'm not entirely sure. I think there are plenty of other ways to present a horrified girl's psychological breakdown. And again, it became predictable - it was obvious she'd drink something and spit it out because there were maggots. She'd open the fridge and they'd be there. She'd fall asleep and she'd dream of them. She'd be sick and guess what she brought up ... yuck.

The acting was a bit bland as well. That was maybe why the relationship didn't work for me and the friendly-good people were all over cheerful and friendly and the creepy guy was a bit TOO creepy.

So initially ... the concept was very good and very chilling. But it lacked something. I think it was just very poorly put together. No, I couldn't do better, but I'm not a professional film-maker.

I give it three stars because as I've said, the concept was good. There were some tense moments and one point when I screamed because something made me jump ... but otherwise it's very lacking.


H.R. Pufnstuf - The Complete Series [1969] [DVD]
H.R. Pufnstuf - The Complete Series [1969] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Wild
Price: 39.49

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blimmin' Brilliant, 16 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Alright, so I'm 27 - so I was obviously not around when this was on TV, my parents and other family members have never mentioned this ... so what drove me to buy this DVD, I really have no idea ... but I seem to have missed out. Big time.

I love it! I've just finished watching the entire 17 episodes AND the film ... and, to be honest, I'm going to sit and watch them all again when I can because I was really disappointed when I got to the end. *sad*

I'm quite mad about puppetry and 'surrealism' and this has got to be one of the more quirky programmes I've ever seen. The only way I can describe it is a bit like 'The Banana Splits' meets 'The Wizard of Oz' with a bit of 'Charlie Chalk' thrown in (though C.C. came afterwards, so I wonder if that was inspired by Pufnstuf.)

Although it's a kids' programme, it's not all that wholesome, which I think is where today's kids' programmes go wrong. I mean, I'm 27 and I don't find it patronising at all and it doesn't underestimate its potentially young audience. If you look at things like Fraggle Rock, Dangermouse and several other Children's Cult Programmes of the past, there's a reason why adults still embrace and enjoy watching them and I think it's a shame that things like 'Pufnstuf' have been replaced by the horrors of Boobahs, Tellytubbies and the monstrosity of CGI Fireman Sam (it's almost a crime - do not watch it - stick to the original).

Pufnstuf is very well made, it doesn't take itself too seriously, you can see that everyone is having a whale of a time and I think that's partly why it works so well. The acting is very good and, besides acting, there's a lot of other talents in there - there's dance, music and, of course, the lovely art of puppetry. I picked up on a few recognisable voices in there, which I kept looking up. Each character, although they might be stereotypical (for want of a better word), I can't really think of one character I don't like or any particularly weak characters. Freddy annoyed me a little bit at first, but now I'm used to him. I love Jack Wild in 'Oliver!' and it was nice to see him in something else and, to be honest, as good as he is in 'Oliver!', I think he outshines himself in this. Cling and Clang remind me of Lemmings and of course you've got the two contrasting characters of Witchiepoo and Pufnstuf himself.

Kids today should be allowed to enjoy things like this. In fact, if you love children's programmes or a good trip down memory lane or have kids of your own - get this on DVD because it's excellent. It really is and I, for one, am extremely happy to welcome it into my collection.


Dodger
Dodger
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every page ..., 17 Nov 2012
This review is from: Dodger (Hardcover)
While reading this, I was very aware of the fact that I may well be loving every word because Charles Dickens himself is my favourite figure of classical literature, Oliver Twist happens to be my favourite Dickens novel and, yes, The Artful Dodger is one of my favourite characters ever to be written. So ... spending an entire 300 odd pages with a character who is rather blatently influenced by The Artful Dodger isn't something I, personally, can find fault with.

After reading a few of the negative reviews, I did wonder if, because of the reason stated above, if I was being bias ... but I honestly don't think I am. It reminded me, somewhat, of 'The Amazing Maurice', which is probably my favourite Pratchett book and the first one I ever read, in the sense that the story itself is very dark, but I find myself at least smiling with amusement on every other page. I can't actually pinpoint how Pratchett's particular brand of humour works, but I think that's the beauty of it. He doesn't need to make obvious jokes, he doesn't need to use the literary form of slapstick comedy - he is just naturally comical in his narration. I sometimes wonder if he actually realises that his pages are riddled with an epic sense of humour. In this sense, he never cheapens or belittles his characters in any way and, throughout the book, they remain as real and genuine enough to be fully believed in. I can't think of one single character that I didn't feel anything towards.

The research that went into the novel is very clear, not just in the characters he presents, but in the clear descriptions of the Victorian setting. A few times, while reading, I had to grab hold of an encyclopedia to see if things (such as Cloacina) were actually true and I was quite overwhelmed with how much background information I was learning. The research is also very clear in the language the novel is written in and there are even a few terms that we wouldn't get away with using today. I advise you to make your own mind up on some of the terms used, but for me they simply breathed more life into the book as a whole.

The story itself, while dark, is relatively simple, but there were a few times I found myself backtracking and trying to figure out what exactly was going on, but by the end of the novel, everything has been nicely tied up and clarified. A lot of things were going on throughout the novel, but it didn't feel rushed and I honestly couldn't put it down, just wanting to know what was going to happen next. Having to be at work early in the mornings and sometimes not making it home till nearly 6pm, I have lost quite a bit of sleep this week because of 'Dodger' butI really have enjoyed every page.


Fraggle Rock: The Best of Red [DVD]
Fraggle Rock: The Best of Red [DVD]

3.0 out of 5 stars Why?, 3 Oct 2012
This is more of a review out of principle than of the actual product.

We all know how great Fraggle Rock is and goodness knows, Red is wonderful and deserves her very own DVD release - as do the other Fraggle 5 ... but why has this happened??

Years ago, we got a DVD release of 12 episodes of the Fulton Mackay version, which is what we in the UK remember and since then, a lot of us have been petitioning and fighting for a full series release. It took years and over the last few years, it seemed that someone out there finally listened and the complete first season was released and now we're on the third season. Although these DVDs are all the American version with Gerard Parkes, it was a step in the right direction and, as it's rumoured that the UK episodes have been lost (except the 12 on the first DVD), I'm quite content with that. But, we're still waiting for the FINAL season to be released. It's been ages since the third DVD release and there hasn't even been the smallest whisper that the series will continue ... yet now, this 4-episode disc devoted to Red has hit the shelves. I'm sorry, but anyone who is going to buy this DVD, would already have those episodes on any of the other DVDs released so far. In that sense, the producers are maybe going to think nobody is interested in Fraggles because they don't buy the DVD and think that it's a waste of time releasing the 4th and final season. It just makes no sense whatsoever.

If any of the producers or DVD manufacturers or anyone involved with Fraggle Rock DVD releases reads this, PLEASE please, can we in the UK at least have the chance to complete our Fraggle Rock collections?


The Jacksons: An American Dream [2 Disc DVD] [1992] [Region Free - Australian Import]
The Jacksons: An American Dream [2 Disc DVD] [1992] [Region Free - Australian Import]
Dvd ~ Mark Dacascos
Offered by ClassicMovies
Price: 14.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, moving and beautifully simple, 17 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What I liked about this is that it wasn't about Michael Jackson and it wasn't just his story. It was about the Jackson family as a whole, spanning from the day Joseph and Katherine/Katie met right through to the adult lives of the Jackson 5 members.

There has been a great deal of speculation and rumours about the way Joseph Jackson managed his children and the way he treated them. There were accusations of beatings and abuse, but in this he isn't made out to be a tyrant. He uses heavy forms of discipline which are at times probably unnecessary and methods that I really don't like ... but he wasn't just a disciplinarian wielding a leather belt. I don't know what it was, but he had a sort of warmth to him and I began to feel sympathetic towards him. I also had a crush on him myself when he was courting Katherine, which worried me rather. If you read Jermaine's 'You Are Not Alone', the picture you get of Joe is similar to the way he's portrayed in this film. Again, you can sort of sympathise with this man who had to give up his own dreams for his family, he had to control or discipline nine kids in a two-bedroomed house and he had to work hard to feed them, clothe them and, eventually, give them what they needed to. Another thing touched on in this film is the side of Joe that wants to be a Dad and the pain he feels at missing out on that until its too late to even try.

As I said before, as well as the strong insight to Joe, the other nice thing about this film is that it focuses on the Jacksons as a family and as a group. It isn't just about Michael and his rise to fame. Although he is arguably the most famous thing to come out of the Jackson 5, this film offers you a clear picture of what his family life was like. The children's fraying relationship with their father, the closeness of the brothers, growing up in Gary, rebelling against Joseph and each child trying to have a normal life - going out with girls, finding friends and trying to have some sort of social life and being brave enough to break away from the family life and strike out alone.

I found the film very inspiring. It's the kind of film that makes you want to jump up and do whatever it takes to get what you want there and then. You see the hard work that the family put into the Jackson's success, the sacrifices and everything - it doesn't just show you how brilliant they were and how they just got snapped up - it constantly reminds you of the rigorous rehearsals, the gruelling schedules and how they coped with it all as well as going to school every day. I for one, being a full-time baker, an aspiring writer and a voluntary theatre technician have promised never again to complain about having to go to work or when I have to show some discipline and choose to write or go to the theatre over a night out with friends. This film shows you that if these are things you want, then you have to work for it.

It was very simply made - for want of a better word. It wasn't all special effects and glorified hollywood acting and all that razamataz you get with certain films. There was nothing at all glorifying about it. The acting was lovely and very innocent, I think. There were some solid sterling performances of the Jackson 5 members and the young lad who performed the famous Billie Jean routine was spot-on. The school performance of Climb Every Mountain was also positively cute. I think Angela Bassett who plays Katherine - I think she played Anna Mae Bullock (Tina Turner) in 'What's Love Got to do with It', but apart from her, I didn't see anyone else I really recognised, so the film is carried on the actors' and film-makers talents rather than famous names.

I think it helps that I'm a Jackson fan (mostly Michael, but still very warm towards the 5 as a group), but even if you're not, this is a film I reccomend just for the story and the way it is told. Beautiful. :o)


Vidal Happy Faces Fruity Gummy Novelty Party Sweets x 113g
Vidal Happy Faces Fruity Gummy Novelty Party Sweets x 113g

3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading ..., 17 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I now feel a bit bad because I've just sent a snotty email to the manufacturer and now re-read the full description ... the title of the product is 'Happy Smiles Tub of 120', but then in the info, it states you do, in fact, get a bag of less. I don't disagree that this was my own fault for not reading the full description properly ... but the title should not say 'Tub of 120' - it should just say 'Happy Smiles' or 'Bag of ...' to save any disappointment when someone actually recieves a bag instead of a tub. Also the P & P is very expensive when you consider the size of the bag.

I'm more annoyed because this was going to be a present for someone. Again I admit that it was my own fault for not reading the full description properly, but then again, it shouldn't be titled 'Tub of 120' if that's not what they're selling to you.

EDIT: 17th September

The sellers have just changed the title of the product, so hopefully nobody else will be misled.


Les Miserables - The 25th Anniversary in Concert at the O2 [DVD]
Les Miserables - The 25th Anniversary in Concert at the O2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alfie Boe
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: 13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - it really is ..., 7 Feb 2012
I wanted to give it a five - I really really did ... but I can't and it is SO frustrating. It loses one star because of one thing which just can't be ignored ... and I'll get to that in a few moments ...

First the good stuff:

WOW!!! I've loved Les Miserables ever since I watched it for the first time which was on the 1995 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Production (the one with Michael Ball and Ruthie Henshall.) To say that this show is about depression and misfortune and all the dooms and glooms of living in such a desperate time - it is easilly one of the strongest, most moving and spectacular shows that anyone could ever have the privilage to see. I've seen it live, I've got the original soundtrack, I still love the 10th Anniversary one and I admit, I was dubious about this production - but I was very pleasantly surprised. Ecstatically surprised in fact.

There is a lot more in this than the 95 production and it's more of a performance than just a concert. You've still got your singers standing at static microphones, but there just seems to be a lot more activity and the performers are really acting rather than just singing - which is brilliant. Lea Salonga had me in tears - she's known for having the most beautiful voice anyway, but the passion and the angst she puts into her performance of Fantine is just wonderful and Samantha Barks is simply brilliant as Eponine, which was another surprise.

There seems to be a lot of colour and light going on around the scenery and the background which is very eyecatching. The set itself is full and even the costumes seem very bright, even though they have that realistic worn and tired look. Everything looks as though the creators have decided to simply go for it and pull all of the stops out. And so they should - Les Mis is arguably the BEST thing to come out of Musical Theatre and this production is definitely an eye-opener. The passion and strength that is shown in this one production could possibly move anyone to tears at some point.

The only thing was - and I hate myself for giving it one star and I'm so annoyed ... it was Nick Jonas as Marius. And I'm so sorry - I'm a big believer in say something nice or say nothing, but he really is not right for that part. I mean good on him for trying and I do admire him for doing it. I won't say that I could do any better because I can't ... but there are so many other people out there who could. Ramin Karimloo who played Enjolras (and very wonderfully too) could have easilly played Marius - and there were other chorus members who had strong, expressionate voices that could have taken the part. And because Marius is such an important character who can't be ignored or overlooked - I have to take away a star. His voice just had no strength or variation to it - even in Empty Chairs, which is supposed to be his song of agony - there was just nothing, making it seem like the gathered heroes behind him simply walked off in disgust. He didn't seem to connect to the other performers at all and, quite frankly, the chorus members outshone him. Which is such a shame because everyone else and the entire production as a whole is sterling. If I could give 99 out of 100 stars, I would - but it only goes up to 5 and I always have to take that one star away because of Nick Jonas and I really am sorry. Good on him for trying though.

Apart from that, everything is perfect - yes it's a new production and things have changed, but changed for the better and I honestly loved it except for that one thing. Oh and I think Matt Lucas deserves a whole star just for himself.


Michael Jackson: The Experience (Nintendo DS)
Michael Jackson: The Experience (Nintendo DS)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: 2.74

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive ...., 20 Oct 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Well, I have to say that this game isn't the most exciting, challenging or adventurous game I've ever played - but it IS one of the most addictive and somewhat frutrating games. It took me a while to get used to the actual game-play and, once I did, I was somehow infected with a surge of determination and refused to put it down until I had unlocked all the different levels and songs, then I also kept going, determined to get a gold crown (I think you get them for perfect rounds) for every song.

Alas! I had to give up after several hours because I had things to do and my eyes started going a bit fuzzy even though I only had one solid gold crown. But it gives you a good few hours of entertainment, a few hours where you can just switch off and immerse yourself in the music of Michael Jackson and get to see him dance too - in a sort of CGI kind of style.

I was delighted to find that 'Another Part of Me' was included in the playlist (it wasn't included in the wii-game), but a little disappointed that 'Thriller' wasn't there. I wasn't expecting lots of songs and I knew there wouldn't be as many as there are on the wii - but I would have thought that Thriller would have been there as it's one of - if not the - most famous Michael Jackson song. But oh well - there is still a good variety of songs including famous ones like Smooth Criminal, The Way you Make me Feel and Beat it as well some more overlooked ones like 'Leave me Alone'.

The scoring system, in my opinion is a little bit harsh. As you go on through each song, you start off at 50 point at a time, then 100, 150 and then 200 ... however ... you have to keep getting the moves dead-on because, even if you're now scoring 200 points a move, then you miss one - you go sailing back to 50 a move. Which is annoying in some ways because it then takes you longer to get back up to 200 and you might've got your final gold crown if it weren't for the fact the scoring was lowered by one mistake.

But all in all - if you want something to see you through a boring day, want to keep someone quiet or just want to have a few minutes to yourself - then I reccoment this. My eyes are still a bit fuzzy though - so I would advise you not to play it for too long - and yes, that's my fault for not following safety advice that comes with all DS games, so I have learnt my lesson.


Michael Jackson - Moonwalker [1988] [DVD]
Michael Jackson - Moonwalker [1988] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Jackson
Offered by Formats
Price: 10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre yet strangely clever, 1 Sep 2011
I vaguely remember watching this when I was little, now I've watched it again for the first time in years and I was just as fascinated with it - maybe more so as I have now taken as much notice of the songs/music/lyrics etc as I do the dancing and claymation.

Alright, as some people have said, it is more or less a showcase of Michael Jackson's work ... but why shouldn't he showcase it? And it's not like it tries to be anything else - it doesn't advertise itself as a magical fantasy film - it announces itself as an anthology film of the artist's work - and that's what you get. Yes, it might be just for Michael Jackson fans, but if that's the case- fans will be delighted with it. A wonderful new way of presenting a collection of music videos by a very very iconic and wonderful artist.

And then you get to the bit which is more of a film than the rest - the 'Smooth Criminal' section, which, let's face it, is what most of us want the DVD for. To me the first sections were an added bonus and interesting enough - but I admit, I was eager to reach this section. And it's a lovely, very simple story - a bit dark in a way with a drug-dealer wanting to get all the world addicted to drugs (so really a very strong message to society too) - a mysterious man (Michael) who is protected and empowered by random Lucky Stars (a lovely idea) befriends and protects a group of children and defeats the bad guy by turning into a robot (which admitedly freaks me out a little), a spaceship and a Michael-Mobile (epic!!) And again - it doesn't really need anything else. It is a simple story of good vs evil and something we can all relate to and be familiar with - with a hint of magic. Whether you're a Jackson or sci-fi fan or not, kids would love this short film and I think it's enough to earn attention from adults as well.

Although the sections are all a bit disjointed and I can understand why people find it lacking too much in a story - I find the intergration very clever. The animation of the different music videos is superb and the claymation sequence is comical enough to carry an audience - even if the humour is a little dated and somewhat obvious. The 'Bad' section with all the kids was hilarious, if just for their facial expressions and my favourite sections (appart from Smooth Criminal).

All in all, a very good DVD. Wonderful all round for Michael fans - a nice little treasure chest of sparkly things complete with iconic dance moves and charm. For people who aren't particularly fans, it's still visually interesting and, like I said, Smooth Criminal is just a short film that has to be seen - if only for the music bit. :o)


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