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Kelvin Dickinson (Leeds, England)
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Panasonic DMR-EX78EB-K Freeview+ 250GB HDD DVD Recorder - Black
Panasonic DMR-EX78EB-K Freeview+ 250GB HDD DVD Recorder - Black

160 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE STEP BELOW HI-DEFINITION, 14 May 2008
This is a versatile and intuitive DVD player with a superb 1080p upscaling digital tuner and hefty 250GB hard drive. The whole package is well built, looks cool in black, and is simplicity itself to set up. When you get around to the more advanced features, check out the jukebox facility (the recording of albums onto the hard drive), which comes with a nifty database listing every track - easily updated via the memory stick included as part of the package. Flexibilty is also second-to-none if you like archiving material to disc as all formats are covered and partial editing in DVD-RAM is especially useful for knocking out commercials or any non-relevant material. But to get the very best out of the DMR-EX78E-K you need to use the HDMI output and attach a compatible LCD or Plasma TV, 5.1 amp and surround speaker system - what comes then is going to guarantee in an instant that this beauty won't be up for replacement in a hurry. Don't forget, DVD as a format is going to be around for some considerable time to come so it will remain invaluable until all your disks have been replaced by their Blu-Ray counterparts, but who can afford to do that? And see the price above?, it's getting cheaper all the time.

I've got three DVD/HDD units on the go at present - one is a home cinema in a box which I now use solely as my amp and speaker setup, the second is a multi-region player for imported DVDs, and the above is my pole-position kit. All Panasonic. Put simply, this is unpretentious 'high-end' technology without the accompanying 'high-end' prices. The DMR-EX78E-K delivers the goods, so the only step up from here is the step up to Hi-Definition.

UPDATE: April 2009
I bought the Panasonic DMP-BD35 from Amazon, with free Super Saver Delivery (if only I had been in - twice!) It is a superb player, Blu-Ray pictures are flawless and regular DVD upscaling is top drawer BUT the DMR-EX78E-K (above) is going nowhere. I use it to record and keep the stuff television does best and which won't necessarily be available to buy. And as such, it remains an essential and brilliant piece of kit.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2008 6:50 PM GMT


Sally Lindsay Pub Quiz DVD Game [Interactive DVD]
Sally Lindsay Pub Quiz DVD Game [Interactive DVD]
Dvd ~ Sally Lindsay
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.47

4.0 out of 5 stars MAKE SURE MINE'S A QUICK ONE, 14 April 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Okay, this is not exacty my thing but here goes. PARTY PUB QUIZ does exactly what it says on the tin. Or the box. Or the thin Amazon Vine cardboard sleeve in my case.

IT'S A PUB QUIZ FOR ALL THE FAMILY.
Sally Lindsay plays her Coronation Street character Shelley Unwin in all but name and the set is lit and populated just like its tv counterpart. (I suppose it's called 'setting the tone', so why not do it in style(?) by borrowing from the most iconic and familiar 'tone' there is?) Ah, I'm beginning to relax already. Bottle of San Miguel and a pack of dry roasted nuts, please.

TWO TEAMS PLAY AGAINST EACH OTHER.
Adults, children...Ed the Talking Horse - you name it, this game is designed to be inclusive. There's now't, I say NOW'T, about to upset anybody at this establishment, and if it does...you're barred.

YOU CAN CHEAT BY ASKING CELEBRITIES FOR THE ANSWER.
But beware - they may be wrong. If they are, you get deducted five points for cheating by the scrupulously fair yet disturbingly bubbly Sally Lindsay. (It may be worth it, however, just to see her showbiz mates in action, including Peter Kay and Jimmy Carr).

YOU CAN CHEAT BY ASKING THE BARMAN FOR AN ANSWER.
This imposter's never pulled a pint in his life. I'd ask to see his passport instead. Just in case.

YOU CAN CHEAT BY ASKING A COUPLE AT A TABLE FOR AN ANSWER.
They seem more interested in each other than helping you out of a hole, so extreme caution is advised.

THE WINNING TEAM, ER, WINS. EVERYBODY'S HAPPY AND WE'RE ALL SENT HOME AFTER LAST ORDERS WITH NO CHANCE OF A LOCK-IN.
That's about it, really. No, really, that's about it.

Okay, the graphics are cheap and cheerful and the questions aren't too patronising or obscure but the main flaw - as with all interactive dvds - is the 'seamless' branching; it's anything but. Which all makes for a very disjointed experience as music and background chatter appears and disappears faster than a Buy One Get One Free at Sainsbury's. Oh, it could be worse, much worse...the Deal or No Deal interactive dvd springs immediately to mind. Nasty.

Moving on. Perhaps it's me, but I honestly can't tell if Sally Lindsay is playing her role straight down the line or engaging in some kind of weird depressed irony. They say it's all in the eyes so maybe the slight discomfort I feel at her forced jollity is hiding an unspoken cry for help. Or maybe not. Either way, one thing's for certain: our no-nonsense hostess clearly likes a drop of the red stuff - witness the cast iron grip she exerts upon her glass every time it wavers into view.

What else? Well, technically, it's not hard to see how the whole thing hangs together. A set amount of Ms Lindsay's jolly, mildly sarcastic, totally generic comments are linked to as many questions and answers as possible and the repetition is simply a side effect of disk space not being enough to cover every game-playing permutation. It can get a bit tedious at times but it's mostly forgivable.

And that's the point. You may need a few drinks (responsibly acquired and swallowed) to get into the spirit...but when you do, it's fine. Really. So, go on, give PARTY PUB QUIZ a go. Just make sure mine's a quick one.

RECOMMENDED


No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ALL FLUFF..., 31 Mar. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
BRIEFLY
Doug Walker has an ear for melody and the five tracks on this sampler disc will no doubt ensure he gets acquainted with the charts.

OPINION
But if he's hoping for longevity - or at the very least to consolidate his position - he'll need to sharpen up a bit first. What these songs lack, and what they're screaming out for, is edge: the unexpected chord change that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up or the chorus that JUST FOR ONCE echewes predictability in favour of something more exciting (see COLDPLAY or KAISER CHIEFS on how to do that on a regular basis).

THE GOOD
Well sung, well-produced, highly melodic, totally inoffensive
THE BAD
Totally inoffensive, verging on bland
THE UGLY
The thought that Chris Moyles has been involved at any level

BEST TRACKS
The Mystery - despite a godawful chant - 6/10
Wealthy Man - a proper single with a bit of adrenaline pumping through its veins...proving that Doug Walker can step up if he wants - 8/10

STYLE COMPARIBLE WITH
The Feeling
Thirteen Senses
Ghosts

MOST LIKELY TARGET AUDIENCE
Over 12s, under 25s.

LIKELY ADDITIONAL AUDIENCE
Senior citizens who say "young man" a lot

CONCLUSION
Doug Walker is no Geoff Lynne, nevertheless he deserves a shot at the top. There's a not-unlikeable touch of Morten Harket in his singing and the songs are nigh-on perfect for today's market in sweet, fluffy, melodic, disposable pop music. Which is all perfectly acceptable - within those confines. But if he's to be more than a just a soft option then the magic ingredient that sets a true artist apart from his contemporaries - so often themselves clones of clones - must be acquired.

And that magic ingredient is substance.

RECOMMENDED


Rats, Ravens & Men in Black - Stranglers Tribute
Rats, Ravens & Men in Black - Stranglers Tribute
Price: £10.78

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WAY PAST YOUR STATION, 14 Mar. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't usually like to tackle something I feel so negative about because a negative review tends to generate negative feedback. Oh well, there go the votes, if any...

RATS, RAVENS AND MEN IN BLACK by NO MORE HEROES is neither easy to sum up nor to categorise. Musically, it sounds like THE STRANGLERS MK1 but the vocals are decidedly off-beam. The arrangements are quite faithful but the production is lacking. Remind me again: when original recordings are readily available, easily obtained and cheap into the bargain, the point of this cd is what, exactly? In a LIVE situation, fine, the resemblances ought to be good enough to risk lacing up those Doc Martens, spiking up the hair and pogoing until senseless. And THAT, surely, is the legitimate definition for 'tribute': a homage to, or a reminder of. Job done, book the next gig. The cd on the other hand is 100% spurious - the equivalent of a Geoff Love Big Black and White Punk Rock Themes - for friends and relatives, Travel Tavern lifts and the terminally curious...it is NOT a product for the genuine 1977-1990 Stranglers fan.

What I expected, therefore, is precisely what I got and hardly the fault of NO MORE HEROES, who clearly love the band as much as I do. No, it's more a case of shame on me for choosing to go near the damn thing in the first place. I daresay we all have our own ways of preserving the memories of Hugh and the boys but, really, this shouldn't be one of them. Don't get me wrong: the merits of a touring 'tribute' band playing early to mid-period STRANGLERS material is not in question here - continued good luck, keep the spirit alive, etc, and no problem with that. As for the existence of this cd...Rola-Cola, anyone?

BEST TRACKS: None. All. Whatever.

NOT RECOMMENDED
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2009 12:37 PM BST


English Garden
English Garden

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAPPY LANDSCAPES, 11 Feb. 2008
This review is from: English Garden (Audio CD)
With such an abundance of great songs, it will always remain a mystery as to why ENGLISH GARDEN was never afforded the attention it so clearly deserved.

Including VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR and CLEAN CLEAN - both hits for BUGGLES but co-written by BRUCE WOOLLEY - the album delivers it's New Wave pop music with a light yet distinctive edge. A seriously gifted songwriter, Woolley is also possessed of a superbly flexible voice and injects every song with a mixture of his delightfully giddy, falsetto-imbued, vocals. He's also ably backed up by the impressively tight nucleus of CAMERA CLUB members MATTHEW SELIGMAN, DAVID BIRCH, ROD JOHNSON and THOMAS DOLBY. (Yes, THAT Thomas Dolby; the man who would go on to create the wonderful GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS, then lose the plot completely after a duet with Dr. Magnus Pike.)

Close your eyes and listen carefully to DANCING WITH THE SPORTING BOYS, NO SURRENDER, FLYING MAN, GET AWAY WILLIAM, GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY, YOU'RE THE CIRCUS (I'M THE CLOWN) and the superb title track...memorable songs, all of them, and not remotely disposable. The same goes for Dolby's haunting keyboard instrumental, WW9 - a jolt in tempo, perhaps, but not in quality. So, what on earth went wrong...? A perfect candidate for the ever so unMysterious Worlds of Arthur C. Clarke.

If you have a copy on vinyl then you're very lucky, hang on to it for dear life. If not, then try and get the CD and immerse yourself in ENGLISH GARDEN's perfectly tended, happy landscapes. Released in 1979 - the (original) year of The Winter of Discontent - this hidden gem will make you feel anything but.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Who's Next: An Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who
Who's Next: An Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who
by Eddie Robson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHO GOES HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE, 6 Feb. 2008
I was a bit sniffy at first, what with 'Unofficial' and 'Unauthorised' forming part of its title but actually, WHO'S NEXT... by MARK CLAPHAM, EDDIE ROBSON and JIM SMITH is rather good. (The fact that it was also rather cheap probably helped, but that's just me.)

Every DOCTOR WHO story, from AN UNEARTHLY CHILD (WILLIAM HARTNELL) to SURVIVAL (SYLVESTER McCOY), is split up into categories detailing actors, production, plot, villain/monster, Who-lore and special/not-so special effects. Nicely topped off with revelant quotations, perhaps the most striking feature is the authors' amusing and irreverant opinions. Take this example from story 126 (TERMINUS) in the 'Things Fall Apart' section and you should get the idea... 'The Garm isn't terribly convincing. The spacesuits worn by Olvir and Kari are horrible lurid glam spandex concoctions that, additionally, look desperately impractical. The robot that herds the Lazars looks like a central heating boiler on tank tracks...'

Great stuff. But it's not all wit and sarcasm, however. There's also plenty of useful information and insight on display proving that not only do they all agree on a neat turn of phrase, they clearly relish the subject. And PETER DAVISON is THEIR Doctor, no question of that. This atypical approach allows the book to override, or at least sidestep, its unauthorised status with relative ease, ie, its distinct lack of pictures or copyright material. (Speaking of copyright material, the cover has a most unusual image of the TARDIS, post what appears to be a Coral Windows makeover, above which glares a barely disguised from-the-nose-up portrait of David Tennant. Bizarre.)

But not really a problem in this case as you might already have gathered. Indeed, WHO'S NEXT: AN UNOFFICIAL AND UNAUTHORISED GUIDE TO DOCTOR WHO is both a fascinating alternative viewpoint and a great read from start to finish. If you're a fan of pre-2005 DOCTOR WHO, then this book should be a part of your collection.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Fisual Hollywood High Speed HDMI Cable 0.75m length
Fisual Hollywood High Speed HDMI Cable 0.75m length

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD, 6 Feb. 2008
So glad I stumbled across this little beauty because it is, without doubt, a 24 carat exception to the rule that says you only get what you pay for.

The 0.75m FISUAL HOLLYWOOD HDMI CABLE is every bit as capable as its lengthier 1.5m sibling (see review) and a stunning bargain, er, into the bargain. Connect it to a PS3 and a decent 1080p LCD TV (a Samsung LE40F86 in my case, see review) and you will be amazed at the picture quality it generates - the BLU-RAY version of CASINO ROYALE blows me away on every viewing with the level of detail on display. The same applies to gameplay mode - RESISTANCE: FALL OF MAN has an almost 3D feel to it.

Right up there with much more expensive HDMI performers - the QED Qunex, for example - let me now nail any suspicions about cost being a compromising issue here; it isn't. A no-brainer, on the other hand, it most certainly is - that's why you should get hold of one of these picture perfect marvels as soon as possible.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Samsung LE40F86 - 40''  Widescreen 1080P Full HD LCD TV - With Freeview
Samsung LE40F86 - 40'' Widescreen 1080P Full HD LCD TV - With Freeview

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY DESIRABLE PIECE OF STYLE ENGINEERING, 1 Feb. 2008
Spending Power + Research = Choice.

Okay, it's not exactly E=MC Squared, but my energy has nonetheless been converted very nicely into matter in the shape of SAMSUNG's LE40F86. It's solid, stylish and futureproof, with every connection you could possibly need. And while pictures through the built-in FREEVIEW look impressive, they're even better via HDMI enabled sources - I'm currently using a PANASONIC 1080i upscaling DVD recorder with digital tuner and the vibrancy of the image is fantastic. The same applies with regular DVDs via HDMI.

There are lots of manual adjustments you can make to the default sound and picture settings and it's certainly worth spending a bit of time playing around with them. I'm personally not taken with the MOVIE PLUS feature as it seems to imbue film images with a rather artificial video sheen and, to my eyes, the trade-off with (marginally) improved motion-tracking isn't worth it.

However, connect a PS3 or similar Hi-Def player to the Samsung and, oh my, the picture just leaps off the screen and into your face. Images are simply amazing and give true meaning to the term 1080P FULL HD. And, crucially, this is where the benefits of buying into a decent quality manufacturer pay their dividends. You just don't have the disappointments associated with lesser makes and inferior components.

The sound is pretty much what you'd expect from 10W per channel. Not great but perfectly adequate on a daily basis. Bass is reasonably deep though slightly boxy, and treble reproduction in SRS TRUSURROUND has an above-average grasp of the high frequencies. I would suggest feeding the signal through a decent amp and 5.1 speaker system as often as you can get away with it because this LCD TV is basically a living room cinema screen, so why not have the sounds to match the pictures? Sod the neighbours. Better still, invite them round to see just what they're missing.

Framed in smooth gloss black plastic with thin chrome edgings, the SAMSUNG exudes class. The stand is well balanced with a useful degree of swivel and the long and narrow remote is easy to operate - easier still to lose down the side of the sofa, however.

Minor nitpicks aside, the SAMSUNG LE40F86 is a highly desirable piece of style engineering and every bit as good as its considerably more expensive peers. Buying it shouldn't be a calculation that requires much working out.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Re-Animator [DVD] [1988] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Re-Animator [DVD] [1988] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Jeffrey Combs

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BARKING MAD BRILLIANCE, 28 Jan. 2008
Say hello to HERBERT WEST, re-animator of dead, previously living, tissue. He's a doctor. He's also certifiable...but don't worry, the day-glo green liquid in his syringe is completely harmless. Unless you're a corpse.

Now say hello to the REGION 1 MILLENNIUM EDITION of RE-ANIMATOR. This wildly funny and extremely gory film - a classic example of comedy and horror combining to shred the usual expectations - still does the business today, thrusting us headlong into altogether crazier dimensions a mere 22 years(!) after it first eviscerated onto our cinema screens. A remarkable achievement by any standards.

I just love the 'teaser' (pre-titles sequence) and the animated titles with their wonderful orchestral nod to Hitchcock's PSYCHO and, yes, the remaining 80-plus minutes. If you're in the right mood, there's not a single wrong-footed moment to spoil this show.

And what a show. Watch in slack-jawed amazement Herbert West's obsessive experiments to bring back to life that which has expired, including a distinctly pissed off cat. Stare in wide-eyed disbelief as a severed head plumbs depths hitherto unexplored by your average movie severed head. Pray in silent torment that the final re-animation of a central character justifies the whole catalogue of horror that has preceded this moment.

So why doesn't all this excess leave a nasty taste in the mouth? Because there's a directorial tongue firmly planted in everyone's cheek, that's why. Thank you STUART GORDON and BRIAN YUZNA. Oh, and if you're still not sure, check out JEFFREY COMBS'/HERBERT WEST'S delivery of the classic line: "Of course he's dead, the dosage was too large", it'll make your eyes pop out. And on that bombshell, I rest my surgical case.

Boasting some great packaging, a pristine picture and sound transfer, it's easy to say I wish there were more films like RE-ANIMATOR, but something inside is glad it's a one-off. Forget the sequels, although you might consider FROM BEYOND.

Unrated and uncut, you really ought to buy it now - and appreciate a film of barking mad brilliance from a decade of considerable dross.

UNRESERVEDLY RECOMMENDED


Fisual Hollywood High Speed HDMI Cable 1.5m length
Fisual Hollywood High Speed HDMI Cable 1.5m length

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD, 24 Jan. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So glad I stumbled across this little beauty because it is, without doubt, a 24 carat exception to the rule that says you only get what you pay for.

The 1.5m FISUAL HOLLYWOOD HDMI CABLE is a stunning bargain and a highly capable performer. Connect it to a PS3 and a decent 1080p LCD TV (a Samsung LE40F86 in my case, see review) and you will be amazed at the picture quality it generates - the BLU-RAY version of CASINO ROYALE blows me away every time with the level of detail on display. The same applies to gameplay mode - RESISTANCE: FALL OF MAN has an almost 3D feel to it.

Right up there with much more expensive HDMI performers - my QED Qunex, for example - let me now nail any suspicions about cost being a compromising issue here; it isn't. A no-brainer, on the other hand, it most certainly is - that's why you should get hold of one of these picture perfect marvels as soon as possible.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


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