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Paul Tapner (poole dorset england)

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Equilibrium (Doctor Who)
Equilibrium (Doctor Who)
by Matt Fitton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.48

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balancing act, 28 Feb. 2015
A new Doctor Who audio story. Starring Peter Davison as the Doctor. With Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson as his companions Tegan, Nyssa, and Adric.

This is the second in the latest trilogy to feature this line up. A trilogy that sees the TARDIS once again stuck in E-space, the other universe that the Fourth Doctor visited in a trilogy of tv stories. The first in this latest trilogy was Mistfall (Doctor Who). Since this one follows on from the cliffhanger ending to that, it would be better to hear that first rather than jump onboard with this story.

Equilibrium is a four parter, spread over two cd's. The episodes run from twenty five to thirty minutes in length [approx].

It sees the TARDIS land on the planet Isenfel. A frozen world of snow and ice. With a castle. A queen. And subjects.

The first episode sets all this up. It moves at a very good pace, and creates an intriguing alien world. The guest cast includes Annette Badland, who has both Doctor Who and 'Wizards Vs Aliens' appearances to her name. And who plays a regal character very well.

You are left feeling through the episode as if it's waiting for something major to happen. And you do get that. With a very strong cliffhanger.

After that, what started as a story that seemed perfectly capable but nothing more does become very good indeed, and moves from four to five star territory.

There are many reasons for this:

Isenfel is a wholly original creation. With a very interesting storyline behind it, that reveals the secrets of the place.

The central dilemma of the story is also highly original, and that presents all involved - and the listener - with intriguing moral dilemmas.

It's solidly character driven. All the companions do get a good amount of material, that uses them well.

It also remembers how fallible the Fifth Doctor was, and how his efforts to do the right thing wouldn't always work out the way he hoped. He wrestles here very much with the question of if he is making things better.

This grips to the end - an end that comes about through character actions rather than the needs of the plot. And a pretty powerful ending it is.

At the same time there's clearly a bigger picture to this trilogy of tales. The ending thus leaves a lot up in the air. Which will be resolved in The Entropy Plague (Doctor Who).

This is a very good script. Superbly brought to life by the cast and crew. So hopefully that will be as good.

There's a trailer for it on the cd track on disc two after the end of part two.

There's just under seven minutes of music from the story on the last track of disc one.

And just under fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the last two tracks of disc two.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2015 2:46 PM GMT

Fury [DVD]
Fury [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Price: £9.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The evolution of Norman, 27 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fury [DVD] (DVD)
War movie. Stand alone. Not a franchise film or a sequel to anything. Not based on any true story. They don't make many films like this anymore.

In April 1945, the Nazi war machine was in it's death throes, reduced to forcing children to fight for them. The western allies would occasionally though encounter resistance. And it was very determined resistance when they did. Thus the US army in western europe took almost as many casualties that month as they did in June 1944. Not least because the Nazi's still had much better tanks.

Fury takes place within that setting. Loosely based on the battle of Kassel, when the US army did encounter heavy resistance in the area, because it was where Tiger Tanks were made and their crews trained. Exhausted and being drained of manpower, they were in a war that was going to end soon. But not immediately.

Brad Pitt plays a veteran Tank Commander nicknamed WarDaddy. Commander of a Sherman tank nicknamed Fury. When one of his crew dies, his replacement is a clerk/typist called Norman. A young man trained not to kill Nazis, but to type sixty words a minute. WarDaddy has no choice but to make sure Norman gets used to his new role. Particularly when the crew face terrible odds and a tricky choice...

Those who want to nitpick the film for historical inaccuracies will find plenty of little details to keep them happy. Those who want to complain about Hollywood rewriting history won't, because it's not about that. It's about war being Hell, and soldiers just doing what they can to do their job, and to survive. And there were service veterans from all allied nations on set acting as advisors during shooting, so if they hadn't been happy about anything it portrayed, you can be sure they would have said something.

The War is Hell part is like the opening Omaha Beach assault in 'Saving Private Ryan'. Unflinching in it's depiction of what weaponry can do and how fragile human life is in the face of that. Just like the opening to the Spielberg movie, you will find the combat scenes in here to be things you can't look away from. And things that you won't forget in a hurry. One scene involving a tank battle is absolutely one of the most gripping sequences in a film you'll see all year.

It takes a very different tone in the middle with a long scene showing an encounter between the crewmembers and two German women in a liberated town. The scene does feel slightly misjudged at times, and perhaps a bit overlong. But it is historically accurate, as veterans do tell tales of how soldiers and civilians, after initial mistrust, did then get on.

The cast are all very good. Brad Pitt carries the film effortlessly. Jon Bernthal [Shane from tv's 'the Walking Dead'] makes an impression. And Shia Lebouef does turn in a very mature performance.

Some may wish to be aware that a fair bit of the dialogue is in German. With subtitles. These cannot be turned off.

The film ends with a long set piece that does require some suspension of disbelief. It does end on a powerful final shot. Yet this sequence does highlight why this isn't quite a five star movie. It just, somehow, doesn't have the emotional connection really required to hit you and make it such. Which is why, as good as many of the character moments are, they just won't stick in the mind as long as the combat scenes will.

Still, a film with a lot going for it. In what is a rather rare genre these days. So it's worth judging for yourself.

The disc has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English, French, Russian, Ukranian.

Subtitles: English, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Norwegian, Portugese, Russian, Swedish.

The disc begins with four trailers and one very short advert. All of which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote. The trailers all appear again in the previews section of the extras anyhow.

The dvd has just one extra: Band of Brothers. A ten minute long feature on the cast meeting war veterans then getting to film in a tank together and bonding as a result. It's on a par with most featurettes these days, in that it's very good viewing if a bit short.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2015 1:51 AM GMT

The Martian
The Martian
by Andy Weir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Alone on the Red Planet, 22 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Martian (Paperback)
A near future set science fiction novel. It runs for three hundred and sixty nine pages. It's divided into twenty six chapters.

It's also complete and self contained in one volume, and not part of any series or trilogy.

The Martian is the story of Mark Watney. An astronaut on a mission to Mars. Presumed dead in an accident when the rest of his crew are forced to leave the planet. But he survived after all.

Which might not be the best situation for him. Since he's alone on Mars. With no way to signal Earth. Living in a very fragile base. With very limited supplies.

Good job he's a very smart man. And, like all living things, has the overpowering urge to survive...

Watney's story is related via log entries. These can be quite short at times, and each has a heading showing when he made it. These all divide the chapters up into shorter sections.

Naturally it means they're all in the first person. And they give a lot of detail. Which is heavy on the science. But never overbearing. It tries to avoid just being science and exposition by having him react in a very human manner to his situation with humour and various other personal comments.

These opening sections do impress with the depth of research, as all the science is so very convincing. But they do take a little while to get into and get used to, so the first forty pages or so can proceed rather slowly. The fact that it's giving you so much information does also mean it's not prose that you can skim. The style does take a while to get used to.

However the book really clicks after that because it does open the situation out. A whole volume of nothing but the log entries might have gotten heavy going. So the story then starts to flash back and forth across the solar system, bringing in people on Earth and how they react to the situation. Plus the rest of the crew of his expedition.

There's an interesting cast of other characters. Once they're involved, the book does get quite gripping as all are working against incredible odds towards the same goal. But the nature of the writing does make their sections just a tiny bit more involving.

Said nature of writing does just stop this from being a five star volume. It's not the most sophisticated of prose by any means, and it can be a bit rough around the edges writing wise. With some reasonable if not exceptional characterisation.

But there are moments where the drama really does hook.

A very involving story. And a very impressively researched one. Just one that is stopped from being a five star read by writing that could be a little stronger. Nevertheless, it is a good read and one that will stay with you for a while. So it's well worth a look.

Oral B Pro 3000 White and Clean Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Oral B Pro 3000 White and Clean Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £44.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A brush with several heads, 20 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you want a toothbrush that's more sophisticated than an ordinary, then there aren't going to be many better candidates than this.

This is an electric brush. It operates off the mains rather than batteries. Thus it requires charging. This is done by clipping it onto a base unit, which has a plug attached. This is a two prong plug, so you will need your own mains adaptor for that, as one is not provided.

A green light indicates that charging is taking place. Initial charge should be up to twenty two hours. The instructions - one of those fold out sets of paper with some text in several languages plus drawings to indicate all else, will take you through that.

Languages are: German, English, French, Spanish, Portugese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Greek.

When charged and ready for use, there are four different heads you can use. All interchangeable. All with varying size bristles. Something else the instructions will take you through.

When you're ready to brush, just press the solitary button on the toothbrush, and up it will start. Same to switch off.

In addition to no adapter being supplied, something else you will need to get yourself is toothpaste.

A very impressive product that does get very good results. Whether that is worth the cost, which is a lot lot more than an ordinary manual brush, is going to be a matter of opinion.

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises
by Fredrik Backman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars There's no one quite like Grandma, 15 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a novel from a Swedish writer which is all about a young girl called Elsa. And her relationship with her Gran.

It runs for four hundred and fourteen pages. It's divided into thirty four chapters. Plus an epilogue.

It's also complete and self contained, and not part of any series or trilogy.

We see the whole story through Elsa's eyes. In third person present tense.

Elsa is very smart. So she doesn't really fit in at school. She and her eccentric Gran are very kindred spirits. The latter tells her fantastical tales of fantastical lands.

But when things suddenly change, Elsa has things that have to be done. Her life, and the lives of all around her, will never be the same again..

The blurb might give you the idea that there are elements of fantasy in this. There aren't. It's a mainstream novel, the only fantasy being the stories that Elsa has been told. And how she perceives certain things. It is very good at writing a character of her age and how a child perceives the world. The prose is also very readable throughout.

But whilst you get the feeling you should be enjoying and celebrating how her Gran acts, you don't. For free spirited, read the kind of person who doesn't tolerate stupidity easily and is very selfish with it. She's annoying from the off.

A slight shift in direction almost a quarter of the way in does get you past this. From then on it's an amiable enough tale of people having their lives changed by Elsa. It zips along nicely. It does have some violence and strong language, so it's not a kids book.

It starts to drag a little in the final quarter. Although it picks up in the final fifty pages. At which point you do have to admire the plotting for how it all comes together, and the way that's all been set up.

But how life affirming and emotional it is will be a matter of opinion. And rating. Hence my four stars. It was pleasant enough, but it was also the kind of thing you can find yourself skimming through. So it didn't hit me much as all that.

But if you like this kind of thing, it's worth a try.

Wacky Races - Complete Collection [DVD] [2006]
Wacky Races - Complete Collection [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Wacky Races
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wacky racing with the wacky racers, 11 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A three disc dvd set containing all the episodes of classic 1960's cartoon series Wacky Races. Featuring an eclectic group of car drivers in often unusual vehicles, who compete to win the title of world's wackiest racer.

They compete. Dick Dastardly and his sidekick, sniggering hound Muttley, cheat instead. And come to grief in the process.

One of those shows that brings back fond memories of childhood. And creates the same for subsequent generations. Because the programme is very very funny. It proved popular enough that Dastardly and Muttley, Penelope Pitstop and the AntHill Mob all went on to other shows.

There were seventeen episodes. Each featuring two twelve minute long races. The dvd has all the races individually, which is why the box says thirty four episodes. Eleven on two discs, and twelve on the third.

This does appear to have been put together by putting individual releases into one, thus each disc has a different menu screen and different language and subtitle options:

Disc one:

Languages: English, French, Castilian Spanish, Swedish.
Subtitles: English, French, Castilian Spanish, Dutch, Persian, Greek.

Disc two:

Languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish.
Subtitles: English, French, Castilian Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Portuguese.

Disc three:

Languages: English, French, Italian.
Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Dutch.

The episodes can be watched individually, or all in a row.

The picture quality hasn't been restored, but it's perfectly viewable.

There no extras. But it's a big complete collection of a classic cartoon. So buy it. It is as good as you remembered. And it will create great new memories as well.

Guildford & Woking Street Atlas
Guildford & Woking Street Atlas
by Geographers A-Z Map Company
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woking to Guildford. And Beyond., 5 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An A - Z street atlas of Guildford and Woking, and some of the area around.

These are fifty two pages paperback map booklets which give street maps of the area. All are fully indexed. There's a guide to the symbols used and the scale of the map at the front, then a key to map pages. Which shows a very rudimentary map of the area as a whole and what pages cover what part of it.

This one, in addition to Guildford and Woking, covers:

West End
West Byfleet

There's also a large scale page for Guildford Town Centre.

With good sized print on all the other pages, and a thorough index, finding the street you're looking for is pretty easy.

A very useful product if you're visiting the area.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2015 10:47 AM GMT

AATU 80/20 Chicken Dog Food, 1.5 Kg
AATU 80/20 Chicken Dog Food, 1.5 Kg
Price: £14.89

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chunks of nearly all chicken, 3 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A 1.5kg bag of dog food.

The food itself comes in the form of small chunks. These are eighty percent chicken. The rest being a mixture of fruit and vegetables plus herbs and botanicals.

These are designed for dogs who need a high meat diet.

It's not the biggest bag of dog food and it's a little bit expensive. But it went down very well with my dog. So it gets good results.

Webbox Dream Bone Chicken Medium, 79 g, Pack of 10
Webbox Dream Bone Chicken Medium, 79 g, Pack of 10
Price: £24.91

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chicken to chew on, 2 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A medium sized cardboard which contains ten dog chews. Each sealed in their own plastic packet.

The bones are medium sized. They have a vegetable covering. And chicken on the inside.

Plus absolutely no Rawhide.

Being digestible and good for dogs to chew gives them something nourishing and good for their teeth.

The back of each packet gives guidelines on how many chews the dog should have each day. Which all depends on their size.

A good product, and a good treat for a dog.

Mistfall (Doctor Who)
Mistfall (Doctor Who)
by Andrew Smith
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return to Alzarius, 2 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Mistfall (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
A new Doctor Who audio story. Featuring Peter Davison as the Doctor. Janet Fielding as Tegan. Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. And Mark Strickson as Turlough.

This is the start of a new trilogy of stories for this line up. There have been a few trilogies for them over the past few years. During which Nyssa in particular has gone through quite a lot. But despite a couple of passing references to such things, they're not really touched on by this. So it would act as a decent enough jumping on point for casual listeners.

The story is a four parter, complete over two discs.

And it sees Andrew Smith, writer of the tv story 'Full Circle' come up with a sequel to that tale.

Here, the TARDIS is once again drawn into the realm known as E-Space. Centuries after it was last there.

They're not the only visitors. A starliner is there. On a very special mission. Fanatics roam the swamps. Mistfall is due. And the secrets of Alzarius and some of the people there are about to come out.

This story tries to do quite a few things. And succeeds at a lot of them.

The regulars all get a good amount to do.

It adds to the original, revealing what has happened to the people of the Starliner since. And delving even further into the eco system of the planet. It takes a few concepts from that and develops them very nicely.

If takes certain ecological issues and raises them in a manner which gives food for thought.

There are some superbly creepy moments.

And some highly original ones.

But what is a very good story in many ways just doesn't quite come together enough to make it a really good one.

This is down to some surprisingly short episodes. Usually they are twenty five minutes or more, but the ones here are twenty one, eighteen, twenty two and twenty five minutes respectively. So at times they feel a little rushed and underdeveloped. Plus the sound is a bit off, and as a result certain moments of softer dialogue are slightly tricky to hear.

This does end on a cliffhanger, which will lead to part two of the trilogy Equilibrium (Doctor Who). A trailer for that is on the penultimate track of disc two. The ending will leave you wanting to know what happens next.

So, a good start to the trilogy. But one that, possibly, could have been even more.

There's just under nine minutes of music from the story on the last track of disc one.

And roughly fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the last track of disc two.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2015 12:15 PM GMT

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