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Paul Tapner (poole dorset england)
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Jupiter Ascending [DVD] [2015]
Jupiter Ascending [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Mila Kunis
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The perils of Jupiter, 3 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Wachowskis, who brought us 'The Matrix', here present another science fiction movie with a wholly original story and concept.

Jupiter Jones [Mila Kunis] should seemingly be destined for great things. Having had a father who always looked upwards. But she lives with her large family and works as a toilet cleaner.

She stops drifting through life, though, when she's rescued from danger by Caine [Channing Tatum] a pointy eared human/wolf hybrid hunter. Jupiter's existence threatens the power balance between the three siblings of a powerful interstellar family. And the future of the Earth plus everyone on it. Can she survive and claim her destiny and take control of her life?

You can't fault this film for ambition and world building. Almost every shot brims with imagination. The directors create wholly alien worlds and characters. There's so much going on onscreen at times, with so much attention to detail to bring the truly alien settings to life.

Unfortunately, they can't do the same for the script and the characters. This feels like a franchise starter of a movie. Those need to introduce the audience to the setting. The main characters. And give the latter a good adventure with it. The film succeeds at the first point, but not at the second two. Jupiter is too average a character, who spends most of the time just reacting to what happens. And getting into danger. But why worry about that, when Caine is always there to save her?

Sean Bean does have enough acting charisma to make an impression as a war weary veteran. But you're always conscious it's him playing a role rather than thinking it's a character you're watching. Eddie Redmayne, as chief villain, has so little to work with he has to go over the top and chew scenery. Which does make an impression, if not necessarily in the right way.

You get almost two hours of set piece then exposition then bit of action. Then back to set piece. This could do with losing about twenty five minutes just to make it better paced.

A very imaginative and visually successful film, but as a memorable character piece and story, not something that will live in the mind very long.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English, Castilian Spanish.

Subtitles: English, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish.

The disc goes straight to the main menu when loaded, with no adverts or trailers first.

There are two extras, both short featurettes:

Jupiter Jones: Destiny is within us. Runs for six minutes and is all about Jupiter's character arc. It does show you what the writing is trying to achieve.

Jupiter Ascending: Genetically spliced. Runs for nine minutes and is about the work done by costume and makeup to make the human animal hybrid characters. It's quite interesting.


The Cloisters of Terror (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures)
The Cloisters of Terror (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures)
by Jonathan Morris
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars The three sisters, 30 Jun. 2015
Latest in the current season of Doctor Who audios to feature Tom Baker as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela.

Some of them feature John Leeson voicing K9. But this is one of those that sees him remaining in the TARDIS throughout without being mentioned.

It's a standalone and self contained story. You don't need to have heard the others in this run in order to hear this.

It's a two parter. The episodes running for both twenty eight minutes. [Approx].

Set in the 1970's, it's set in a college which is also part of a convent. The latter has been around a lot longer than the former. There are legends in the place of people seeing three ghostly nuns. And if you see them, then your time is up. Because you will soon disappear never to be seen again.

When a girl vanishes, the Dean of the college calls the police. Even though the nuns don't want them involved. She gets more than she bargained for when she finds a Police box in her office.

The Doctor and Leela are on the case....

The Dean of the college is Dr. Emily Shaw. Mother of Third Doctor companion Liz. Emily previously appeared in The Last Post (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles). You don't need to have heard that to hear this. Smart lady academics are just the kind of character the fourth Doctor gets on well with, so the two of them make a good team throughout.

The other noteworthy thing in this is that all the guest cast are female.

As ever with these, the production values are superb. The guest cast and the regulars are all great. And the first episode is very good at being spooky and mysterious.

But once the second part gets going and explanations are presented, the spooky horror element of the story goes away entirely. Leaving a story about a problem that has to be solved. It's solved through good character actions. But without the atmosphere it had before, this part isn't quite as memorable as part one.

So that means it's a decent but not exceptional story. But still one that's a pretty good listen.

There's a trailer for the next release in this run on the cd track after the end of part two.

And just under nineteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the tracks after that. Which may sound like a lot, but they are good listening and they fly by.


Lallia
Lallia
by Ec Tubb
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Into the web, 30 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Lallia (Paperback)
Sixth in the 'Dumarest of Terra' series of science fiction adventure novels. These are good old fashioned action adventures about Earl Dumarest, an interstellar traveller looking for his homeworld. The legendary long lost planet called Earth.

Although the books do all stand largely alone, there is some narrative progression by now. And some continuity references to earlier events. Thus it's best to read them all in order, starting with book one, to get the most from the series.

This volume sees Dumarest become a crewmember on a space vessel called the Moray. Which is in a dangerous area of space known as the Web. His travels with the ship lead to him meeting the beautiful and psychic girl Lallia. Who forces him to face a difficult question he hadn't expected. Added to which, people are still after the ring he obtained in book four....

This one runs for just one hundred and sixteen pages. It's divided into eleven chapters. So it could be a rather slight entry in the series. Added to which, the usual setting of backwater planets and desperate travellers is a little familiar. It also feels for a lot of it as if it's rather directionless plotwise.

But there are plus points to this one. Even though Lallia doesn't appear till almost a third of the way in, and even though she does get as besotted with Dumarest as his last two girlfriends did, she's an interestingly different character. In that she's a bit more worldly wise than they were, someone who knows what you have to do in order to survive in this universe. Even though he never quite gets as smitten with her as he did with those last two ladies, their relationship and the question she forces him to consider are interestingly different to what has come before.

Also, some of the moments of desperate travellers and the lives they have to lead are quite evocative and poignant. The continuity is good, as Dumarest starts by trying to follow up on the lead to Earth that he got in book five. And the last twenty or so pages are very good, as some clever plotting by the writer becomes clear.

It's also a book with an excellent opening line. And a very good closing one. So it's a four star read in a good series.


Vicky Peterwald: Survivor (Vicky Peterwald Novel)
Vicky Peterwald: Survivor (Vicky Peterwald Novel)
by Mike Shepherd
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Fleet of desperation, 29 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Second volume in the 'Vicky Peterwald' series of military science fiction novels. Which are a spin off from the 'Kris Longknife' series. To get the most from the former you need to have read the latter. So the best starting point for the whole thing for new readers is Kris Longknife: Mutineer (Kris Longknife Series Book 1).

Regular readers, read on.

This volume runs for three hundred and forty one pages, and is divided into sixty eight chapters. As with the first book, there's a fair amount of adult moments. And since there's more to come in the series, it's one of those books that ends with the main character in a different place - figuratively and literally - from the start of the first book, but with many things yet to be resolved.

Vicky is determined to do something about the state her stepmother's machinations have left the Peterwald empire in. But to do that, she has people to win over. Assassination attempts to avoid. And Kris Longknife's shadow to step out of and measure up to.

Can the one time spoiled selfish duchess become the person the people of the empire so desperately need?

This takes about twenty pages to get going, but once the writing has grabbed you from this point on, it's a pretty smooth read. That and the short chapters do make the pages fly by.

From this point in, it's a very good read by a writer who is good at producing such things. Vicky does manage to do a lot on her own without the aid of other people. And she continues to grow and change as a character. She has been endearing from the off of this series, but she becomes ever more likeable as a person as it progresses.

There's precious little action, because the war she wages isn't a military one. It's economic and a quest to make people help others. Watching how she does this and gets people on her side is good drama.

In some ways it's also like the second book of the Hunger Games, because it's about how rebellion sparks and what drives people to finally say enough is enough and that something must be done. This aspect is well developed and makes for interesting reading.

A bigger picture does start to develop as well.

There's clearly a way to go in this storyline yet, but it's become involving enough now to make you want to know what will happen next. So I look forward to book three.

A good read in a series that has more than overcome a slightly uncertain opening to become a very good one.


Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta
Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta
by Paul Azaceta
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Kyle's calling, 28 Jun. 2015
A paperback collection of the first six issues of a new horror comic. From writer Robert Kirkman. Best known as writer of the comic 'The Walking Dead.'

This story involves demonic possession rather than zombies.

This volume collects issues one to six of the comic. Which are in colour rather than the Walking Dead's Black and White. It runs them together into one long narrative. Although it's not hard to spot where one issue ends and the next begins.

Set in a small town in America, there are two main characters. Kyle Barnes. Who has a very dark past involving an abusive mother. Whose life has been affected by what happened with her ever since. Now an outcast living alone, his sister won't give up him and is trying to get his life going again.

At the same time, local priest Reverend Anderson is a man of faith who has to exorcise demons from local people. He has a lot on his plate.

Kyle might be able to help him with that.

But there's clearly more going on in the town than meets the eye. Will either of them get the answers they are looking for?

This isn't marked as a mature readers comic, but the subject matter results in horrifying moments and some violence, so it's not really for children.

The art is unsophisticated. But it's clear and eye catching. Coupled with the colouring, which has some interestingly subtle choices in shading, it does grab the eye.

As does a lot else about the comic. The narrative does occasionally go into flashback to give us details of Kyle's past, but you quickly get used to that and are never left confused.

There's clearly a big plot here, but it doesn't reveal too much from the off. Which works very well as it does leave the reader intrigued and wanting to know what is going to happen next.

Both the main characters are interesting and sympathetic leads - Kyle could be otherwise, given his past, but the writing does make him sympathetic anyhow - and it also tackles some of the big questions in regards to faith. Leaving you thinking about them rather than forcing ideas on the reader. Which is good writing.

The horror is very subtly done, and that's the best way to have an effect.

A really good first volume, that grabs from the off, sticks in the mind and leaves you wanting more. Looking forward to book two. And the forthcoming tv version.


Monument 14: Savage Drift
Monument 14: Savage Drift
by Emmy Laybourne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.36

4.0 out of 5 stars In the camps, 28 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Third and final book in the 'Monument 14' series of young adult novels. A post apocalyptic story of a group of teenagers and younger children trying to survive in the wake of huge natural disaster.

There is an opening section which serves, in a rather neat manner, as a reminder of what came before in the first two books. Whilst it might be useful exposition if you've not read those this still wouldn't really be a good jumping on point. Start with Monument 14 (Monument 14 Trilogy 1) instead.

The recommended reading age of these would remain at fourteen. As, with the earlier two books, there is violence and disturbing moments and some mild adult references.

This volume runs for three hundred and thirty seven pages. It's divided into forty seven chapters, plus that opening section and an epilogue.

We pick up from the end of book two, with nearly all the characters in a refugee camp. Where life isn't too bad. But where there are rumours about pregnant women disappearing. And the government is seemingly very interested in testing them. Which doesn't help Astrid's mood. Nor does the fact that Dean and Jake are still butting heads.

Josie, meanwhile, is in another camp. For those with her blood type. Because of what they can now do. This is not a nice place.

When Niko discovers where she is, he wants her back. Can they all survive to be reuinted?

And what are the drifts that the government denies exists?.....

This one only has two viewpoint characters. Dean and Josie. The narrative jumps between them in alternating chapters. Since the focus is largely on getting Josie back, and worries over Astrid's pregnancy, it means those two plus Dean and Jake and Niko take the lion's share of the narrative. The others not getting too much of a look in.

It's a longer book than the first two. And it does take about a hundred pages to really get going. Although this section is still pretty good reading. As it's very convincing in showing the setting, and the fact that this kind of thing can bring out both the very worst and the very best in humanity.

Once the rescue mission is on, it really does get going. As Josie has a lot of problems. And the journey to get to her isn't an easy one either.

The Jake Dean Astrid situation is superbly written. The behaviour of the characters all being so very believable.

As with book two it again manages to ramp up the tension and really keep the pages turning rapidly by rapid cross cutting between the two narratives towards the end.

This just doesn't quite manage five stars though because, in addition to the taking a little bit to get going, one item of plot that is tantalisingly dangled in front of the reader throughout never quite gets the resolution that it could do.

But those are just two minor complaints. Because whereas some series can have great first books and then feel a bit stretched out to a third, this never has that problem. And the epilogue is very good, with just the right amount of closure to get the right emotional reaction from the reader.

A decent wrap up to an excellent series.


Wonder Woman: Season 1 [DVD] [2005]
Wonder Woman: Season 1 [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Lynda Carter
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars She's a wonder. Year one, 24 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A five disc dvd box set which contains all the episodes of Wonder Woman, Season One. There's a double length pilot episode which runs close to ninety minutes. Then thirteen regular episodes, which all run just short of fifty minutes each.

Just in case you don't know the back story: Set during the second world war, events force Diana, heir to the throne of Themyscira, which is an island in the Bermuda triangle and home to a kingdom of warrior women, to leave her home and go to America. In order to assist Major Steve Trevor in the war effort.

Adopting the identity of his assistant, Ensign Diana Prince, Wonder Woman will appear when needed, to save the day and stop the Axis cold.

This tries very hard to be like a comic strip come to life. And it really does succeed at doing that. From the look of the show, to other moments that look like comic book panels and use narrative panels also, there are many nice touches.

There's also some very good acting. Lynda Carter does a great job at making Diana Prince and Wonder Woman very different characters, thus nobody ever suspects the former of being the latter. Lyle Waggoner - who lost out to the role of Batman to Adam West back in the 1960's - makes a very good square jawed hero. Good support comes as well from Steve's boss General Blankenship, and his secretary Etta Candy. The actress playing the latter is very good at light comedy.

Debra Winger made her acting debut here as Drusilla, Dianas younger sister. Who adopts the identity of Wonder Girl. She appears in three episodes. The character could be annoying, but her wide eyed innocence and delight in the world beyond her home are quite appealing.

Of the thirteen regular episodes, a couple are two part stories.

There is a lot to like here. The show hasn't dated that much, not least because it doesn't have the stock plots of many 70's adventure shows. But, whilst fandom tends to prefer this season over two and three, this one has a slight disadvantage, in that the format gets rather repetitive very quickly. Fighting nazi saboteurs and spies with dastardly plots every week gets over familiar. Even one of the two parters introducing more science fiction elements doesn't quite get away from that.

The season is very watchable and very entertaining, though - although the eleventh episode 'Formula 407' does get a bit boring. But the fact that it lacks the variety in plotting that the later two years had means that it doesn't quite compare to them.

That's the only real complaint though. Whilst not outstanding comic book escapist fun, it's still quite entertaining and worth a watch.

The vagaries of British tv scheduling does mean this might be new to some as well. Back in the day, ITV showed the pilot episode. But the best of the season was never seen on tv here till the sci fi channel ran it about ten years ago. The bbc actually started in the 70's with season two. So it might have curiosity value to some as a result.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English, French.

Subtitles: English, French, Dutch, Swedish, Danish.

The only extras are a commentary on the pilot episode from Lynda Carter and the executive producer.

Plus on disc three there's a twenty one minute long feature about the show. This is mostly interviews with Lynda Carter and various behind the scenes people. The former is a very good interviewee, so it makes for a good watch.


Philips S5320/06 Series 5000 Electric Shaver with Smart Click Precision Trimmer and Turbo Function
Philips S5320/06 Series 5000 Electric Shaver with Smart Click Precision Trimmer and Turbo Function
Price: £119.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A very quick and very close shave, 22 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An old rule of life is that if you want something that will suffice for a task, you buy the medium priced and middle of the road version. But if you want something that will really do the job and last and last, then you go for the top of the range.

Most electric razors have leads that fit into them. And on the end of the lead is a two pronged plug. Thus you need an adaptor to fit British style plugs in order to use them.

Although this has a similar two pronged cord that will need a separate adaptor, it's got a built in rechargeable battery. Thus the cord is only used for charging the razor up. You can watch a light in motion on the front which will show that it's charging. And will go steady once it's all charged up.

The beauty of all that is that the razor is thus cord free shaving. You don't have to be right by a socket to shave, nor cursing when the cord becomes detached in the middle of the shave. This is one you can just hold in your hand and run over your face.

A smooth run over the face it is, as well. Because, as can be seen from the photo, the three blades aren't fixed to the razor but mounted to a piece fixed to them, shaped such that it can be moved. Thus you're not running fixed blades over your face. The blades are adapting to meet the shape of your face. So no more tugging at the skin of your chin to make sure it gets to the hairs that are. It covers every area.

It's also a nice and smooth coverage, gliding over the skin in a pleasant manner.

Once charged, it's activated by pressing the button with the power symbol on the front. Press it again to stop. Or to make it go a bit faster and even sharper, press the T - [for turbo] symbol below that.

The razor requires an hour of charging. But if you only take say four minutes to shave, then that's just over two weeks of once a day shaving on one charge. Which is nice.

The blades can be detached in order to fit on a beard trimmer, which comes with it in the box. Also in the box is a plastic cover for the blades.

It doesn't have a cleaning brush, but instructions on how to clean it can be found in one of the booklets that comes with it. These being told in pictoral form. You can get to the insides of the blade section by clicking a small button at the bottom front of it.

Other paperwork is the two year guarantee form.

Plus instructions on the dos and donts of charging it. All this is one of those multi language leaflets, in English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, and Portugese.

There's also a short guide to available accessories.

So this really is one of those aforementioned top of the range things that will cost, but will do the job. A really impressive and very handy product.


The Story of Tyneham
The Story of Tyneham
by Robert Westwood
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A guide to the ghost village, 21 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The Story of Tyneham (Paperback)
In December 1943, residents of the Dorset village of Tyneham and the surrounding area had to leave their homes. So that the area could be used in order to train troops for D-Day. They were told they would be able to return when the war was over. But changing times meant that promise was never honoured.

However Tyneham can still be visited nearly every weekend of the year. The remains of the cottages sit in an area of outstanding natural beauty. With lots to see and discover. It's a place you fall for if you visit. And one of those places you will never forget discovering.

This is a short book. No more than forty pages. There are other and more detailed books about Tyneham. But what this does is set out to be a general guide to the place. It does that very well indeed.

With a guide on how to get there. Then a brief introduction. It then goes on to tell the history of the area and the village from Norman times up to 1943. Some other books on the subject are about life before then, but this details what happened afterwards. The struggles to get the area reopened. And what eventually resulted.

All this is interspersed with a lot of photographs. Some just showing the landscape. Some showing the history and the people of the place. Some showing Tyneham as it is now, and it shows what you'll see and tells you what you will find when you visit.

There's also a section about the Tyneham farm restoration project, and all the work that has been done on the place over the past few years. And an interesting little section about the military presence in the area. And what the big number boards you will see there are actually for.

It's an ideal guide to Tyneham. You will learn from it. If you've never been there, it will make you want to visit. Even if you have, then it will tell you a few things that you didn't know. A splendid little publication well worth five stars.


Mindset (Blake's 7: The Classic Audio Adventures)
Mindset (Blake's 7: The Classic Audio Adventures)
by Jacqueline Rayner
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Under the water, 21 Jun. 2015
Third in the latest run of Blake's seven full cast audio dramas. These are set in the third season of the show, and have an ongoing story involving the crew hunting for Dayna. Who has mysteriously disappeared.

Also part of the crew now is the character Del Grant, who was seen in the tv episode 'Countdown.' Him joining the ship took place in one of the 'Liberator Chronicles' series of Blake's seven audios.

The format of this run has been largely self contained stories, with the story arc not quite so prominent. So casual listeners could get into this one easily enough without having heard the first two. Even with the fact that the story arc is pushed forward and developed early on.

Mindset sees the Liberator crew find that now Vila has vanished. After taking the ship to a strange world. As Tarrant and Grant search the planet for him, Cally hears a voice. The voice of someone who offers her things that she might want very much. But at what price?

As ever the production values and the acting and the way the writers really get the characters and give them great dialogue mean this really does feel like the soundtrack to a tv episode. It runs for fifty five minutes [approx], the only breaks in it being the usual cd chapter ones.

Although Grant and Tarrant do get some good scenes together, and make a good double act, Vila is absent for a lot of this. It's very much a Cally centred story. In that way it does feel like the tv episode 'Sarcophagus', which also put Cally into a story that was very strong and slightly fantastical science fiction.

The world of the story is an interesting creation, and it's a well done plot. One of those stories that keeps you hooked as you really want to find how things will turn out. Some excellent sound design helps with the fantastical nature.

Like Sarcophagus it also touches on the Cally Avon almost relationship.

It's a little oddly structed because it does feel that it comes to an end - a very good one - after just over forty minutes - but then has to do something else just to get it up to the required length. So whilst the final third does feel a little tacked on, that's only a minor complaint. Because this is a very memorable, well written and well done release. A very good listen.

There's a trailer for the next release in this run on the cd track after the end of the story.

And just over twelve minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the tracks after that.


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