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Paul Tapner (poole dorset england)

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Game of Thrones - Season 4 [DVD] [2015]
Game of Thrones - Season 4 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Peter Dinklage
Price: £25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The revenge of the Red Viper, 27 April 2015
A box set containing all ten episodes, spread across five dvds, of the fourth season fantasy drama series Game of Thrones.

New viewers should start with season one, as this isn't a good jumping on point.

Regular viewers will be used to the show by now, and all that it offers. Season four brings more of the same.

The Lannisters attempt to consolidate their hold on power. But their own worst enemy might be the children of the family not measuring up to their father's expectations.

The remaining Starks are scattered to the four winds, but not done for yet.

The Boltons have the North. Now they have to take it.

Stannis has to find a way to fight back.

Daenerys learns that it's one thing to take power. It's another to keep it.

Jon Snow is back at Castle Black, and is well aware that it's about to be attacked by a very large army.

And a newcomer to King's landing is after revenge.

As before, it jumps between the storylines with scenes in each episode going between characters. Some of whom may be absent for an episode or two.

New characters appear. The best being Prince Oberyn Martell, aka 'The Red Viper' Of Dorne. A man who lives life to the full and who really doesn't like the Lannister family. Actor Pedro Pascal delivers a stunning performance as a hugely appealing character whom you won't forget in a hurry.

Actor availability means Daario Naharis is recast, which is why he looks and sounds completely different to year three.

We also get to see characters again who haven't been seen in a while.

And occasionally, people die.

There's also another stunning episode that is all one big battle.

It does like previous seasons take a couple of episodes to really build up steam. But after that the momentum is great. And the only complaint that it's over all too soon and you'll have to wait a year for more.

It starts to diverge from the books even more, but that makes it work for tv.

The language and subtitle options on the dvd are as follows:

Languages: French · English · Spanish · Czech · Hungarian · Polish

Subtitles: French · English for deaf · Spanish · Czech · Hungarian · Polish · Dutch · Danish · Finnish · Greek · Hebrew · Norwegian · Portuguese · Rumanian · Swedish · Turkish .

All but one episode has a commentary from cast and/or crew members. A couple of them have two.

Other extras:

On disc one, there's a twenty five minute long back at the events of season three. Various clips introduced by cast members, this flies by and is good viewing.

New characters and locations. A seven minute long look at the new characters and places of this season. Which is a bit too short to have too much substance.

B*stards of Westeros. A seven minute long look at what it means to be born out of wedlock in Westeros. Which is pretty interesting.

Disc five has:

Blooper reel. Two minutes of outtakes. Like many of these it starts with too much funny face pulling but then does have some very good and funny moments.

Deleted scenes: two short ones, both a minute each. That can be watched individually or in a row. Both are good character moments.

The fallen: a roundtable. A very entertaining round table chat with cast members whose characters didn't last to the end of the season. It runs for thirty minutes and is a fun watch.

Behind the battle for the wall. A thirty five minute in depth and fascinating look at how episode nine of the season was filmed.

Big Eyes [DVD]
Big Eyes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Amy Adams
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very big eyes and a little white lie, 27 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Big Eyes [DVD] (DVD)
Director Tim Burton moves away from his usual fantastical fables featuring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter to a different kind of movie. Which tells the true story of a remarkable tale from the world of art.

In the 1960's, Painter Walter Keane [Christoph Waltz] was all the rage in America thanks to his paintings of children with big eyes. He revolutionised the marketing of art via selling postcards and posters of the pictures rather than just the painting. A lot of the art establishment didn't like that. Or the art itself. But many did and things sold enough to make him very rich.

Then the truth came out. Walter wasn't the painter. His wife Margaret [Amy Adams] was.

Big Eyes tells Margaret's story. From when she left her first husband to when she met Walter. And how one little white lie told on the spur of the moment became a very big one indeed.

It's not just about the story of the lady in question though. As it tackles other themes. The value of art. The creative process. And how one woman found the confidence to take credit for her life's work.

Whilst the visuals don't tell the story quite as much as they usually might in a Tim Burton movie, there's a great deal of nice art direction and colour here which makes it very pleasing for the eye. This is a character story first and foremost, and for once Tim Burton does get to demonstrate what a good director he is with actors. Getting many quality performances out of the cast.

All of which makes for a fascinating and engrossing watch.

There are a couple of minor flaws. It could do with shedding five or so minutes in the second half just to pick up the pacing a bit. And although Christoph Waltz is very good, his performance is just slightly familiar. As if you're watching him acting rather than a character. Although it is very good acting.

You might find some of what goes on in the climactic courtroom scene rather hard to believe. But that's not a problem because apparently it's a toned down version of what actually did.

The film is also rather clever in that it tests your powers of observation. You'll see what I mean.

A thoroughly engrossing and very watchable movie that brings a remarkable story to life, and gets a remarkable lady the recognition she well deserves as well. It's well worth a watch.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles; English.

The disc begins with several trailers, which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote.

For once, DVD viewers do well extras wise. With a twenty minute long making of documentary and a thirty two minute long question and answer session involving cast and the director. And Margaret Keane for some of it. Both are very good extras and good viewing.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [DVD] [2015]
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Martin Freeman
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lord Of the Rings. The Prequel. Part three, 26 April 2015
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Final film in the trilogy of movies loosely based on classic fantasy novel 'The Hobbit.'

This dvd release contains the cinema released version of the film. The longer version will appear on dvd later this year.

It has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English. Italian.

Subtitles: English. Italian.

The only extras are the second cinema trailer for the movie.

Plus New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth part three. Another of the five minute long films that have appeared on these dvds which advertise the locations used for the movies via footage of them and the actors and crew enthusing about the place. This does show some very nice scenery so it's a good watch.

Just in case you haven't seen the film yet:

It follows on from the cliffhanging ending to the second one, with no exposition for those who haven't seen that. It does have a cracking good first fifteen minutes. Which are very much Luke Evans show, as Bard the Bowman is the only one who stands in the way of Smaug the Dragon on his rampage.

After that it sets up the battle of the title, as various races and people all want what's in the mountain. And the one Dwarf who has it gets a bit overpossessive.

Bard unfortunately gets saddled with a comedy sidekick. But there is a fun appearance from an actor playing a rather forthright Dwarf.

Every so often, the Hobbit of the title to the films appears and gets to do something.

This is all pretty good, but once the battle kicks off it is initially spectacular, but goes on for far far too long. And you might find it hard to suspend your disbelief at some of Legolas's gymastic prowess.


The ending is rather touching. There almost certainly won't be any more films to follow this, since the Tolkein estate aren't too keen on them. So as a goodbye to Middle Earth it is pretty good. And shorter than the end of the Return of the King.

All in all a trilogy that has been somewhat flawed from the outset. But one that has had it's moments. And this film certainly does.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2015 12:21 PM BST

Toy Story That Time Forgot [DVD]
Toy Story That Time Forgot [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks: Woody

4.0 out of 5 stars How to be a dinosaur, 19 April 2015
Following on from Toy Story of Terror [DVD], this is another Toy Story cartoon which takes place post the end of Toy Story Three. And runs for a mere twenty minutes.

It sees Bonnie go on a playdate just after Christmas. She takes Woody, Buzz, Rex and Trixie along. Plus one new character. Their host at the date has a set of Battlesaurs. Dinosaurs who fight in a combat arena. With all the toys left to their own devices when the kids are distracted by a video game, life with Battlesaurs suddenly turns dangerous. It's all down to Trixie to save the day...

This is well animated. Well acted. The rest of the toys do make short appearances at the start and the end. The focus is largely on Trixie as she has a good character arc, learning all the usual life lessons. Woody and Buzz do have some good and funny moments. There are a couple of scenes of very mild jeopardy that might prove slightly scary for the very very young.

The aforementioned new character - a christmas cat - has some good moments also, but doesn't feature quite as much as you might expect.

Like Toy Story of Terror, this is good fun for fans of these characters. Of all ages. But since it's another short feature, and since there are no extras on the dvd whatsoever, whether you think it's value for money is going to be a matter of opinion.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

Claymore: 26
Claymore: 26
by Norihiro Yagi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A warrior's strength, 19 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Claymore: 26 (Paperback)
Volume twenty six in the Claymore series of manga comics. This is a story about a world where humans live in fear of horrible creatures called Yoma. The only people who can fight them are Claymores. A group of women with special powers and very large swords.

This is not a good jumping on point. New readers should start with volume one. Those who have only seen the anime should start with volume eleven, which picks up from where that left off.

This volume is presented in the usual managa format. An A5 sized book of black and white art. Which is divided into six chapters and runs for one hundred and ninety one pages.

As with all manga, you read it from back to front and right to left, rather than the western left to right and front to back.

This one picks up from the end of volume twenty five, with Priscilla having learned something surprising. Can anyone take her down?
People are certainly going to try.

Although the bulk of this is once again Claymores versus big monsters with page after page of swordfights between them, there are great character moments which will stick with you for a while. Far more so than the swordfights. Because the former stop the latter from becoming repetitive, and they also do pack a real punch at times. Since characters who we have followed for a long time are placed in what really does feel like genuine jeopardy. So these moments really are pretty gripping.

The story still isn't done by the end. Which is a very good cliffhanger. And this does feel as if it's getting a little stretched out at times. But this will still leave you wanting to know what happens next. Since there is a listing here for Claymore complete, volumes one to twenty seven, we are clearly nearly at the end. Hopefully it should be a good finale

Fortuitas (Blake's 7: The Classic Audio Adventures)
Fortuitas (Blake's 7: The Classic Audio Adventures)
by George Mann
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The future of Solace, 19 April 2015
Second in a new run of full cast audio dramas based on the classic tv show 'Blake's seven.' Set during the show's third season, this follows on from Scimitar (Blake's 7: The Classic Audio Adventures). Which saw Dayna mysteriously disappear and the crew start a quest to find her.

That's the set up for this season of audios. Beyond that backstory, this one is pretty much self contained so you could listen to it easily enough without having heard Scimitar. If so be advised that the crew now includes Del Grant, character from the tv episode 'Countdown', who was re-introduced in another audio. But you can also get by without having heard that.

This story runs for fifty four minutes [approx] and is basically one long episode. The only breaks on the cd being the usual cd chapter ones.

The quest for Dayna takes the crew to a planet called Solace, in the search for a man who might have useful information. Solace is a tourist planet designed to make those who live there lots of money. But that was when the tourists came. They don't come very much anymore, so the planet isn't what it was.

Avon's hunt for answers lead to a group of fanatics. With a deadly plan...

This one presents an interesting planet and a well considered society, with some all too believable politics. But it's not quite a five star release. It feels like a bit of a slow burner, as a lot of it is Avon investigating. There's only the very occasional bit of action. The rest of the main characters are sidelined each for a fair portion of the story. Which, ultimately, whilst pretty good, isn't one that has any effect of the main story for the season. So this won't stick in the mind as much as it should.

It does use Orac very well, though.

A very capable release, and a very good listen. But just not quite the best in the range.

There's a trailer for the next release in this run on the last track of the cd. But none of the usual interviews with cast and crew whatsoever.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 24, 2015 12:32 PM BST

The Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas (Throne of Glass Omnibus)
The Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas (Throne of Glass Omnibus)
by Sarah J. Maas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Arobynn's protege, 19 April 2015
A hugely successful fantasy novel in the young adult book market recently was Throne of Glass: 1. The story of girl called Celaena who is a highly skilled assassin.

This book is a collection of five different novellas which are prequels to Throne of Glass. Telling tales of what Celaena did before she was in the situation where that novel began. They also tell of her relationship with Arobynn Hamel, the master assassin who saved her life then brought her up to follow in his trade.

The book contains five novellas. The first is just over seventy pages. The second just over forty. The other free both go just over one hundred. Each of them are further divided into shorter chapters.

Since events in one will lead to consequences in another, they need to be read in order. Because in essence, they do form one long story.

Thus those who haven't read Throne of Glass can get into this with no problem. Be advised that it will make want to read that book as soon as you can. And those who have read it will find a book that, whilst not essential reading in order to get more from the writer's other books, is a very good read anyhow so it's well worth a look.

It does throw you right into her world without too much exposition, but you're never left confused or struggling to catch up. This is because the writer is just very good indeed at her craft, and her prose really grabs and gives you all the information you need at the same time.

The setting is a rich and interesting world. The whole story is also solidly character based, as Celaenas actions have consequences, as do her relationships with other people.

There are nice touches such as her love of books and of finer things, all of which make her a very well rounded character.

Recommended reading age would be thirteen and up, thanks to some violence and mild adult situations. But the quality of the writing is such that it feels like an equally good book for anyone who is much older than young adult to get into as well.

You will care for Celaena and what happens to her. And you won't forget any of that in a hurry.

An excellent read for anyone familiar with Throne of Glass and sequels. Or even if you're not. And for those aged thirteen. Or much older. Excellent fantasy and highly recommended.

Morning Glories Volume 8 TP
Morning Glories Volume 8 TP
by Joe Eisma
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Casey's choice, 18 April 2015
Eighth volume in the series of paperbacks which collect issues of the comic 'Morning Glories'. The story of a very strange boarding school and the pupils who are stuck there.

This contains issues thirty nine to forty two of the comic. As usual it presents them with the original cover art at the start of each issue, and a page giving the issue number.

The comic contains violence, strong language, and adult situations, so it's only suitable for mature readers.

But since this is a very involved mystery story in the style of tv shows such as 'lost', and there's nothing to bring new readers up to speed, this isn't a jumping on point. The series needs to be read in order.

The series is supposed to run for one hundred issues, and just as with tv shows that try this kind of tale, the lack of answers can frustrate. Which is why many seem to have jumped ship with this series well before this volume.

If you're determined to stick it out to the end, what - aside from the usual excellent art - does it offer?

Once again, you could well struggle by this point to remember who everyone is and all their motivations. The timeline of the four issues presented here does jump back and forth, so it demands a lot of concentration.

But there is a reasonable amount of story progression. Although no answers. Three characters make interesting plans to fight for what they want. And one has to make the choice to do the same. Because it could get them the answers they are looking for.

So volume nine will probably contain their fight to get that, rather than said answers. But the sense of story progression here is just enough to hold the interest. It's a pity you only get four issues in these at a time, which does take the star rating down. But what happens in this one is enough to make me want to know what will happen next.

The end of the volume does contain a two page piece that appeared in issue forty one of the comic, which analyses what happened in the issues. It's a fascinating read which does make you think about it quite a lot. So if this is a regular feature in the comic it's a pity that all of them don't get reprinted.

The last page contains three rather funny strip cartoons based on the comic. They are well worth a look.

byteStor Pro 32GB USB 3.0 High Speed Flash Drive - Black
byteStor Pro 32GB USB 3.0 High Speed Flash Drive - Black
Price: £9.22

4.0 out of 5 stars To store your bytes, 17 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A usb. It's of average size. It's black. It's plastic and rectangular.

It's supposed to hold 32gb of data although in practice it seems to only have just up to 29gb of space on it.

There's no password system, so you are instantly on the main screen once it's loaded up.

The speed for copying files on and off it is reasonable enough.

Although the whole thing looks quite sturdy it does feel like it's made of unsophisticated plastic, so it's possibly not as tough as it looks. But the cap does have a very tight and snug fit.

A reasonable enough product. There are better usbs out there, but whilst this isn't the most sophisticated one, it's okay for what it is.

Toyman: The Dumarest Saga Book 3
Toyman: The Dumarest Saga Book 3
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Toy soldiers, 17 April 2015
Third in the 'Dumarest of Terra' series of science fiction novels. These are old fashioned pulp science fiction adventure tales about Earl Dumarest. A man who travels from world to world seeking clues to the location of his homeworld. The long lost and legendary planet called Earth.

Although each book in the series is largely self contained, it is best to read them in order to get the most from it.

This volume runs for one hundred and ninety two pages and is divided into eleven chapters.

It sees Dumarest on the planet Toy. A world where people are forced to fight for their lives to satisfy the whims of the planet's ruler. A cruel man known as the Toymaster. But since the planet might hold the information Dumarest needs to find his homeworld, Dumarest will have to fight to get what he wants...

This is a slightly average entry in the series. Because it starts with him already on Toy and caught up in the fighting, you find out more about the world as you go along, and thus it just somehow never really comes to life. The absence of a love interest does mean this one lacks a certain emotional element as well. The planet is never quite as interesting as it could be. And most of the supporting characters don't grab, with the sole exception of Legrain, another traveller whom Earl has to fight alongside.

Despite a decent ending, a volume that's readable enough but one you might find yourself skimming through. Not a bad book, but there are better ones in the series.

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