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Paul Tapner (poole dorset england)

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Batman: Assault On Arkham [DVD]
Batman: Assault On Arkham [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jay Oliva
Price: £5.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Into the Asylum, 25 Mar. 2015
A new animated movie based on characters from DC comics titles.

Set in Gotham City, the Riddler has just been taken down by the Batman once again, and sent to Arkham Asylum. But there's something in the Asylum which belongs to him, that Government spymaster Amanda Waller wants. So she sends in the Suicide Squad. A team of supervillains forced into working for her. They get time off their sentences if they succeed. And they have no choice in joining the Squad, otherwise the bomb implanted in their neck will be set off.

Led by master Assassin Deadshot, and including Joker's on again on off again girlfriend Harley Quinn, the team infiltrate the Asylum. Expecting to find the Bat distracted as he tries to foil the Joker's latest scheme. But since many people involved with the assault have secrets and hidden agendas, things won't go the way anyone expects...

Although this is marketed as a Batman film, he's really just a supporting character in it, since this is far more of a Suicide Squad story. Thus there are long stretches when you don't see him. It's also not a cartoon for kids. Being a fifteen certificate because it features violence, a couple of bits of strong language, and one adult moment.

It's strength is in that it sets out to be a caper movie - right from the montage of the team being put together, which is done in the usual caper movie style for that kind of scene - and as such it really succeeds. Since it's very cleverly plotted. With twists and turns and surprises and double crosses galore coming thick and fast as things develop.

The animation has a good style, and you quickly get used to it. Although it can be rather dark at some points and a little tricky to see as a result. The colouring is stylish, although [despite being a different skin colour] Deadshot and team member Black Spider have similar facial hair styles, so it takes a little while to get used to them and remember which is which.

Loud and fast music just adds to the atmosphere.

The action scenes are great, although a couple are slightly misjudged since collateral damage ensues, so that does stick in the mind for a little while.

Most of the voice cast aren't household names. Although it does have Kevin Conroy as Batman and CCH Pounder as Waller. Two actors who suit their roles so well that it's always a pleasure to hear them. And Martin Jarvis's Alfred is underused. Which is a shame because his voice really suits the character.

Also, it does make the six members of the squad very three dimensional and well rounded characters, so they all do have a certain appeal.

Not a comic book movie for everyone, thanks to the certificate, but all in all a very entertaining watch. The Squad have appeared in a fair few comics down the years, which are worth a look. And will shortly be the subject of a live action film as well. Which hopefully will be as good as this.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English, French, German, Polish, Castilian Spanish.

Subtitles: English, Castilian Spanish, Dutch, French, German, Polish, Romanian, Chinese.

It has one single extra. An eight minute long preview for the forthcoming DC comics animated film Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. This is a good watch as it contains a little more of the finished animation than these usually do. Some will though wish to be aware that it does contain one bit of flashing imagery.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 [DVD] [2015]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Lawrence
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meet the Mockingjay, 22 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Third film in the Hunger Games series of movies. This is an adaptation of the first half of the third book in the trilogy of novels on which they are based.

There is no exposition to bring new viewers up to speed, so it's obviously not a good jumping on point. But if you're going to be watching this you will doubtless have seen the previous films, so it shouldn't be a problem.

This one is, as with the others, a pretty faithful adaptation of the novel. Getting most of the first half of that onto the screen.

Picking up from the end of the second film, Katniss is now with the rebellion. At their base in the remains of District 13.

All she wants is a quiet life with Peeta. But he's not there.

As the rebellion gathers strength and bitter fighting with the forces of the capital ensues, the rebels want a figurehead. Katniss fits the bill. Can everyone find a way to work together? More tough choices for Katniss await...

This is a very polished production. Jennifer Lawrence is great. Philip Seymour Hoffman gets to do far more than he did in the second film, and makes a very good impression. As does Julianne Moore as the rebel leader. You can as a viewer really feel for Katniss because of what she goes through and the impossible pressures that are put on her.

There are also some very good scenes showing the rebellion going on in other districts. And the impression that Katniss has had on people.

But this is only half of the story. The rest won't be seen till Mockingjay part two comes along.

How you feel about this being split is going to be a matter of opinion. Although there is the occasional bit of action in here, it's more talk and character moments. Some will be fine with this. Some will feel it lacks pace. And want more action. Personally I found it very involving for the first three quarters, as it felt like it was allowing the story time to unfold in a very decent and unrushed manner. But the pacing does seem off in the final quarter. Which takes all of it's time to build seemingly incessantly to one big event. Which, those who have read the book will know, does have a memorable pay off. And set up what is to come. But it does feel as if takes too long to get there.

But if you like the books and if you've seen the earlier films, then you will want to watch this. And you will need to watch this. Ultimately just not quite as satisfying as the first two films, but an essential part of the main story nonetheless.

And if you're a cat lover, then it is required viewing. You'll see.

The disc has the following language and subtitle options:

Subtitles: English.

Languages: English.

It begins with three trailers, which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote.

Given that the first two films got two disc special edition dvds, it's a shame that doesn't happen here. Extras wise, all you get is:

Insurgent: Sneak Peek. A look at the just released film of that title. It's one of those cast members give snippets of info about the film. And it only runs for three minutes.

There's an audio commentary on the movie from the director and the producer.

And ten minutes worth of deleted scenes. Which can be watched individually or all in a row. Some of which are very short and inconsequential. But some are quite good. So they're worth a look.

Southern Bastards Volume 1: Here Was a Man
Southern Bastards Volume 1: Here Was a Man
by Jason Aaron
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome home, Earl Tubb, 22 Mar. 2015
This is a paperback which collects the first four issues of a new comic written by writer Jason Aaron, who wrote the superb crime thriller comic Scalped Deluxe Edition Book One HC.

Southern Bastards is also a crime thriller drama. It contains some strong imagery, violence, and strong language. So it's strictly for adult readers only.

This is drawn by artist Jason Latour, and is set in a place called Craw County, Alamba.

The writer and artist both talk about growing up in such a place in their introduction to this book. Making them sound like places you wouldn't forget in a hurry, but you wouldn't want to ever go back to.

Earl Tubb, our lead character, was the son of the local sheriff. A man who had a great reputation thanks to an incident you gradually find out about. But Earl couldn't wait to get away from his home and his father, and left to fight in Vietnam.

Now, decades later, he's had to come back to take care of some family business. He doesn't intend to stick around. But when he witness bad things going on, he might not get a choice in the matter...

From the off, the art in this might seem like a little bit of an acquired taste, and the colouring also takes a while to get used to as well. But used to them you get, because they draw you in. As does the writing. It sets the scene nicely, occasionally flashing back to Earl's younger years. He's the kind of character you wish you could be. Someone who can more than handle themselves in a fight. Which leads to a few moments that make for very satisfying reading.

From about the halfway point onwards, this rises from four to five star material as it has you absolutely gripped, wanting to know what will happen next. There's some very nice attention to detail as things and individuals you might have noticed in the background become important.

The end of any book in a series should make you want to know what will happen next. The end of the fourth issue in this - there are chapter title pages between the end and the beginning of each issue - will more than have that effect on you. But that's not the end of things, because there's a short epilogue that also needs to be read.

A really good start to a comic that should be just as good as Scalped [read that if you've not, because it's amazingly good] and a book that will leave you desperate for volume two.

This one does have a section of extras at the back, with covers of the various issues, plus some sketches from the artist. And a recipe for apple pie from the writer's mother.

Scimitar (Blake's 7: The Classic Audio Adventures)
Scimitar (Blake's 7: The Classic Audio Adventures)
by Trevor Baxendale
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Desolation, 21 Mar. 2015
A new Blake's Seven audio drama. This is the first in a new run of six, which are set during the middle of the show's third tv season.

Not all the original cast are involved. As Josette Simon did not wish to return to the role of Dayna. So the writers have used that as a launch pad for the the overall story arc of this run. It begins with the rest of the crew finding Dayna has gone missing. In somewhat mysterious circumstances. They embark on a quest to find her.

Also among the crew for this story is the character Del Grant, played by actor Tom Chadbon. Who appeared in the tv episode 'Countdown.' He's a mercenary who has a long history with Avon. His character joined the crew in one of 'Liberator Chronicles' audios entitled 'The Armageddon Storm.' Although you won't need to have heard that to get into this.

The story runs for sixty minutes, and is pretty much one long episode. The only breaks being the usual cd chapter ones.

After it sets up the mystery of Dayna vanishing, it launches the crew on a quest to find her. A quest which takes them to a remote area of a space. And a wrecked Federation ship. Which holds secrets. And danger...

As ever the production values of these audios are superb, with sound design that really makes you feel the blast of the engines and what it might be like to be one of these space vessels. The incidental music does also feel like something from the tv show itself.

It does take a little getting into because Steven Pacey - Tarrant - is new to the full cast stories, and he does sound a bit different to how he did back in the day. So his voice does take a bit of getting used to. He forms a very good dynamic with Tom Chadbon, but you do get used to their voices soon enough.

This is very much a season opener release, it that it's primary role is to set things up for this run. Thus the main story is still unresolved by the end. But the storyline of this particular release is dealt with. However it does just manage to become a five star release. Because the middle third of the story gets incredibly exciting at points, allows for some very good character moments and some conflict also. And it then twists and turns in a very clever manner, managing to wrongfoot you to the end.

A good start to what should be a very good run.

There's a trailer for the next release of the six on the cd track right after the closing theme music.

Then there's just over fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.

And a trailer for the aforementioned Liberator Chronicle release on the final track of the disc.

Go-Cat Crunchy and Tender Kitten Chicken and Vegetables Dry Cat Food, 800 g, Pack of 4
Go-Cat Crunchy and Tender Kitten Chicken and Vegetables Dry Cat Food, 800 g, Pack of 4
Price: £12.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nutrition for Kittens. And non fussy cats, 20 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
One box of these contains four packs of cat food ideally designed for kittens.

Each pack weighs 800g, so they're a fairly decent size.

The food is small and crunchy chunks, designed to help kittens move from mother's milk to solid food. They're crunchy, which helps with teeh and gums. And the food itself provides extra nutrition.

They contain chicken and added vegetables.

It's also good for pregnant and nursing cats. In practice, my cat who is thirteen and long since neutered liked this a lot. Like most cats, she's not that fussy.

So it's a good product for those with cats who meet the criteria. And pretty much also for those who's cats don't.

The Darkness of Glass (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Who Adventures)
The Darkness of Glass (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Who Adventures)
by Justin Richards
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow of Death, 15 Mar. 2015
A new Doctor Who audio story. Featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela.

This is the second in the latest run of audios for the pair. It has no tie ins to any other story, so casual listeners can get it into easily without needing to have heard anything else first.

Although John Leeson is appearing as the Voice of K9 in this run, he's written out of the story right at the beginning.

It's a two parter, complete on a single cd. With episodes that run for twenty eight and twenty two minutes [approx].

It sees the TARDIS arrive near a remote island. In 1907. Where members of a society who honour the greatest magic lanternist ever have gathered to mark the centenary of his death.

But said lanternist supposedly once conjured up a demon.

When the Doctor and Leela, plus the society members, find themselves trapped on the island, and when people start to die, it looks as if the story might be true..

As ever, this manages to perfectly recapture the style of Doctor Who from this era. Right down to the incidental music which does sound like something composer Dudley Simpson would have written. Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are on the top of their game, and get some great and occasionally humorous dialogue.

The setting and the idea are classic 'base under siege' Doctor Who, as so many stories were christened. Where people in an isolated place face danger.

The period detail is great. The supporting cast are superb. Some doing multiple roles effortlessly.

And it's downright scary at times. The first episode in particular being one you really could listen to with the light off for extra effect.

It just falls ever so short of five star because the differing length of the episodes makes it slightly unabalanced in part two. And this being audio means it is hard to differentiate between some of the main characters at times. This is the kind of problem that could easily be addressed by a second listening, where you would get more used to them.

Two minor complaints though, because all in all it's a really good bit of Doctor Who. And it's well worth a listen.

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

And just under fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the tracks after that.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2015 5:49 PM GMT

The Devil's Detective
The Devil's Detective
by Simon Kurt Unsworth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

4.0 out of 5 stars A fool in hell, 15 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Devil's Detective (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A novel that's an original mix of genres. With horror and fantasy and crime all rolled into one. Although it's not urban fantasy, because the setting isn't any city or place you might be familiar with.

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

It contains some strong language, a bit of violence. Plus some gruesome and graphic moments.

It runs for three hundred and fifty eight pages. It's divided into three parts. And further into thirty four chapters, plus a prologue and an epilogue.

The setting of the story is hell. Although this an afterlife a little different to the one you'd expect from the bible. A hell where souls wash in from limbo and are born into bodies. With no memories of their past and their sins. Where people live and work in appalling conditions. At the mercy of demons and a very strictly structured society.

The lead character is a man called Thomas Fool. Whose job is that of information man. Another term for detective. The information men serve a very strict and very ordered bureaucracy. Usually when people in hell are murdered it's down to demons and there's nothing that will be done. But when a dead body which has clearly been treated in order to stop it being identified turns up, Fool has a case.

Solving murder in a place like this won't be easy.

Although this does have elements of crime fiction, it's not really a whodunnit. And it probably won't appeal to fans of that particular genre since the investigation element of the story isn't the major one. This is more for fantasy and or horror fans.

It's one of those books that does - despite a good prologue that gets you used to the setting quickly - rather drop the reader in at the deep end, and thus you take a while to get used to everything. There's a lot of world building early on, and this vision of hell and why it's not like you'd expect takes a while to get used to. As do the ground rules of this world. Which do gradually become apparent.

Fool is a tricky character to get a handle on at first, since he has no memories means he doesn't seem to initially have much personality. And although the prose is clear and economical without being overdescriptive, which is just right, it is the kind of writing that you can end up skimming.

But it also one of those books that is worth sticking with. Steadily, pretty much by part two, you do get used to everything and the story draws you in. It's a grim and gruesome and humourless story, but it's not a bad character drama, and Fool does, although he remains a bit vague throughout, grab hold of you and make you want to find how things will turn out for him.

The plotting is quite clever because everything does come together well in the final quarter. The mystery is solved through infomation received, and the solution might come to you a little quicker than it does to Fool. But it's got a good final few pages. At which point the plot concludes very nicely in a manner that will make you reappraise what has gone before. And think a bit as well.

Slightly rough around the edges at times, but a clever and original bit of writing. For a fantasy that's different from the norm, it's worth a look.

Superman: Earth One TP (Superman (DC Comics Numbered))
Superman: Earth One TP (Superman (DC Comics Numbered))
by Shane Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clark Kent's employment quest, 11 Mar. 2015
Many classic stories have been told and retold again down the years. Adapted to fit the new eras of their telling. But at the same time, they've tried to keep what made the original tale special in the first place.

This is especially true of the origin stories of certain well known comic book characters. There have been many goes at re-telling and updating some of those.

This is the first in a series of graphic novels that retells Superman's origin. And sets it firmly in the present day.

It's suitable for all ages. It's one of those stories that feels reasonably self contained in one volume, but still contains enough plot threads left dangling for future books to pick up on.

The story sees Clark Kent come to Metropolis in a quest to find his destiny. All the time having flashbacks to his past growing up in Smallville, and coming to terms with being a superpowered individual when he did.

In the meantime, researchers are working on finding the secrets of a strange alien object.

Clark tries out many different roles to find the one right for him.

And danger awaits for the entire human race..

The artwork here is good and eye catching. The colouring especially suits the story very well. As a short introduction makes clear, it's a story designed to capture your sense of wonder about the character.

But it's not quite a five star read. Simply because, if you read comics regularly, you will have read this story many times before. And this is just the latest version of it. It's a good version, but it's not quite five star material because it's still a bit familiar.

Plus, the main threat, when it appears, is an original idea but something that doesn't quite grab as much as it could.

There are intesting plot strands here though which do a lot of interesting set up for future volumes. And it is a story that does leave you wanting to know what will happen next.

If you're new to comics, then this is a decent jumping on point. Not least because these Earth one stories are set in a totally different universe to the usual dc comics ones, thus they don't have to have any ties with existing continuity so they're perfect for new readers.

So not quite the most Super story ever, but not a bad one. And worth a look.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2015 5:45 PM GMT

Shroud of Sorrow (Doctor Who) (Dr Who)
Shroud of Sorrow (Doctor Who) (Dr Who)
by Tommy Donbavand
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An outbreak of grief, 11 Mar. 2015
An original Doctor Who novel. Telling an all new adventure for the Eleventh Doctor and Clara that hasn't appeared before in any other medium.

It runs for two hundred and fifty three pages. There are sixteen chapters. Plus some shorter interlude ones.

The book is suitable for readers of all ages. As usual with this range the lead characters are pefectly written with dialogue that you can imagine them saying on tv. Which isn't bad given that this one came out before we'd seen much of Clara.

The story sees people across the world, in 1963, see visions of dead loved ones. Who prey on any guilts they might have about them. In a very extreme manner.

The shroud are breaking through into this world. Can the Doctor stop them? After all, he carries a lot of grief himself...

This follows a familiar narrative structure for this range, as it introduces the threat via what happens to supporting characters. Some of whom then get involved with the Doctor in trying to save the day.

The historical setting is well done. The alien threat of the story is a unique and intersting idea. And the writing does have aome good things to say about grief.

It all zips along nicely enough, at a good pace with some readable prose. There is one very good bit of humour as the result of something the Doctor tries.

But be aware that there is a tonal shift in the final quarter, in how some deal with the threat. Which actually does make sense if you let it sink in, but it contains humour of a kind that makes it a shift that may not work at all for many.

So this might be a love or hate it book. If it does work for you, though, then it's a four star read. Another capable time passer of a book in a range that is good at producing those.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2015 7:38 PM GMT

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2
The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2
by Patrick Rothfuss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars The second chronicle of Kvothe, 11 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Second in the series of fantasy novels entitled 'The Kingkiller Chronicles.' These began with The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle).

If you've not read that book then go and do it right away. Because this volume offers nothing for new readers to get them up to speed, and it's absolutely not a good jumping on point.

Those who have read it, read on.

This volume runs for nine hundred and ninety four pages. It's divided into a prologue. An epilogue. And there are one hundred and fifty two chapters in between.

So it's a big book, and a good, long read.

It follows the same narrative structure as book one. Kvothe telling his life story to Chronicler. So there are some scenes with breaks in him doing that. But the bulk of the narrative is first person past tense stuff as Kvothe tells his tale.

Early on, although very readable, it's still all at the university. And follows much the same pattern with scenes there as book one did. This pattern is the same with the book as a whole. There are bits that feel a bit repetitive and familiar. But then it goes off and does something new, and wholly grabs the attention again.

University scenes wise this is when Kvothe gets to learn from Master Elodin. In a manner he wasn't expecting.

And the second half of the book does something new as well when it takes the story away from the university, as he takes time out from that. Discovering a lot more knowledge in the process.

The prose once again is just very good indeed, and it's a book it's very easy to get wrapped up in. There is some good plot progression. It's very subtle how it advances the story, but it's also pretty clever. Kvothe has learnt far more than he ever knew before by the end. Which does leave you eager to know what will happen next.

Even the scenes with the story being told to Chronicler do carry payoff as well. Which will also leave you wanting to know what happens next in the part of the tale.

It also, as before, does look at how legends and myths are born, and how tales get told and passed on. All in a very interesting manner.

A very good read by a master fantasy writer, in a very good series.

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