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Amazon Customer "hamble" (somewhere in west europe)

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Wonders of the Universe [DVD]
Wonders of the Universe [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brian Cox
Price: £6.00

13 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a load of dumbed-down junk for the ignorant masses, 29 Mar. 2011
Now that BBC's "Wonders of the Universe" has been aired in its entirity I'm left a little disappointed. The whole thing has seemed to me to be Prof Cox going off on a series of little jollies around the world, using vague and often ill-judged analogies along the way. For example, he takes a trip to Victoria Falls to see a rainbow in order to talk about how light is created; he waltzes off to some African desert to see sand and compare it to quantum fluctuations in the early universe; he goes to South America to see an ancient clock and basically just talk about it; he jets off to Canada to see a couple of fossils in order than we may know that eyes evolved in order that we may appreciate our universe. I wondered who was paying for all this.

The whole thing also was a dumbed-down mess that left me limp. Prof Cox described how elements are formed by actually standing in a field and blowing bubbles. His description was nonsense and confusing and could actually added LESS than nothing to someone's understanding of the phenomenon. There was another segment in a derelict Mexican jail that was supposed to mean something or other - I don't know what, and by then I didn't care. There was so much that could have been explained, but sadly the opportunities were lost. I wondered what on earth were the scripters thinking of.

And I regret to have found myself irritated by Prof Cox's breathless, pondering, faltering style of presenting, as if his thoughts were just too worthy and enormous to get out in one toothy mouthful. How I longed for him to just complete a sentence NORMALLY - instead of dragging it out and out and out. I wondered why the producers hadn't done something about this annoyance.

Finally, I had read that the producers had bowed to the pressure of a few complainers and remixed the music backtrack to make it quieter, proving themselves the dumbest of the dumb! I wondered what the hell!

Honestly, I gave the series a chance, but it left me disappointed. It promised many wonders, but delivered something less than wonderful.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2011 11:14 AM BST

X-Files - I Want To Believe (1-Disc Edition) [DVD]
X-Files - I Want To Believe (1-Disc Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Duchovny
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.31

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to enjoy this, 3 Mar. 2011
Firstly, the best shot in this film was the photo of President George W Bush on the wall, accompanied by the creepy music. Literally a laugh out loud moment.

However, it does go downhill from there. The premise is fine. A manhunt for a serial killer. Help from the supposedly psychic paedophil priest. It's all nice and dandy and keeps us engrossed - until the last half hour when things just get ridiculous. The timings are just way off and we are asked to suspend our disbelief just a little too much. I won't go into the details.

Still, it's the X-Files so you got to love it.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1 Disc) [DVD]
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1 Disc) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £17.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars pitiful, 15 Jan. 2011
This was one of the rare few films from which I've walked out of the cinema before the end.

It stinks.

The worst thing is the obvious: Jar Jar Binks. The hell was Lucas thinking of? I wanted to kill that floppy ear'd thing. I still do. It was the look, the accent, the acting (yes, I know it's CGI).

The second worst thing about this stinking film is the dialogue. Everything is spoonfed to us. There is absolutely no subtlety. Characters tell us great swathing spans of events in a sentence. You know what? Forget the huge overarching plot that is happening in the background. Who actually cares! Don't think that we have to be told it all. Instead concentrate on the character development and the mini-dramas that link characters and scenes. George, by now that should be basic.

I can't even say I'm overly enamoured with John Williams' score either. It all seemed a little bland. And there was too much of it. The score played continually from the opening credits to the time I walked out of the cinema.

And yes, I know it's been a while since the film was released in the cinema, but even at home when it is on TV I still have not seen this messy disaster through to the end. I have more will to live than that.

AVOID THIS STEAMING PILE OF DUNG. IT STINKS! If you have some money you want to spend, buy something else.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2011 3:49 PM BST

Stravinsky - The Rite Of Spring / Apollo
Stravinsky - The Rite Of Spring / Apollo

2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars rattle fails yet again, 14 Jan. 2011
This is one of my least favourite performances of the seminal piece "The Rite of Spring". (Let's be honest, "Apollo" as a piece isn't even worth listening to.)

There is no doubt that the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is a virtuosic ensemble. Just listen to "Dance of the Earth"; they are stunning, to a person. Actually, the entire orchestra is just incredible.

It's Simon Rattle who is not up to scratch. His conducting is lacklustre, staid, limp, stilting. Let it not be said that this is not an individual performance. Let it also be said that thank god such performances ARE individual. The piece is so idiosyncratic that it seems only said conductor and a few others may be enjoying it. I did not. Tempi seem to be unusually chosen for the sake of individuality and some idiosyncratic reasoning. The recording itself is also unbright and top-light. The acoustic is absolutely dull to the point of being dead. I won't be listening to it much.

(Compare Boulez with the Cleveland Orchestra on Sony, not the Deutsche Gramophon version.)

The Liar
The Liar
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unworthy, 3 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Liar (Paperback)
Cards on the table, I did not enjoy this book.

Fry's debut novel, "Liar", is billed as "sublime", "hilarious" and "brilliantly entertaining and consistently outrageous". It is none of these.

I found the humour quite lacking and uninspired. Coming from Stephen Fry, it's easy to imagine that the prose itself will be beautifully written but it simply isn't. I have no idea how much effort Fry put into it, but it does appear to have been fairly hurriedly written. Granted there are no glaring grammatical errors, but where are the beautifully crafted sentences? In Bret Easton Ellis' novels the sentences are constructed artfully and are a joy to read, even when describing vile people, murderous hearts and deathly deeds. Fry's sentences seem merely put together for the purpose of padding out a plot. The whole novel appears to be about 380 pages or so of first draft. There may have been re-writes; it doesn't show. I was also unimpressed with the dialogue. It was just too unbelievable and was a major cause of my quick loss of interest. What to say about the characters? I don't mind that they are mostly venomous, execrable individuals. In fact, the more so the better. We all love a villain. But where was the characterisation? Most of the work for that was done (or not done!) by the unlovely dialogue. And there is only so much archness and campness, so many withering retorts and flambouyant ranting that one can take.

And I didn't like the plot much either.

Very occasionally Fry does come up with a well-judged turn of phrase - eg. a sky that was "gunmetal grey". I liked that. However, these are very few and too far between.

To sum up, far too much dialogue, unbelievable dialogue, dialogue that adds little to characterisation, that acts as mere padding, that is not as amusing as it is probably intended.

Ultimately a shallow, unfinishable, unworthy half-read novel.


Time Out Film Guide 2011
Time Out Film Guide 2011
by Time Out Guides Ltd
Edition: Paperback

11 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars snobby, insulting, humourless and up itself, 30 Dec. 2010
This is a very snobby book. The aim of most of the contributors (there are 291 of these charlatans) seems to be to show us how intellectual they are and how everyone else is a pleb.

"Ryan's Daughter" apparently is a lacklustre, dreary melodrama. The reviewer hasn't a single positive thing to say about it. Likewise about "White Chicks", which, granted, isn't an intellectually stimulating film but at least has some comedic value. "The Wicker Man" is summarised by "let down by its ham-fisted direction". If you hadn't seen the film you would not want to after that comment. "Wolf Creek" is sneered at; "Shrek" is damned by utterly indifferent praise. "Clueless", one of the best teen-movies out there, is reduced to a spew of limp psychobabble: "the philanthropic message is almost as superficial as the materialism which precedes it". "The Rescuers" is a charming animation, beloved by many the world over. The reviewer can only pull out a banal comment about the Disney animators and storymen needing to be rescued.

And yet the review of the 2002 remake of "Solaris" makes it sound like cinematic perfection. In truth, "Solaris" is a stunningly boring dollop of stylish tat which is difficult to watch to its achingly dull conclusion. Ditto "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". I was amazed at the summary of "Last Days", a film so long and overdrawn and in which very little happens but a lot of time is taken to do it: "a riveting, poetic meditation".

I hate this collection of unsatisfactory reviews. Truly, most of them are worthless, misrepresentative, pretentious, disdainful drivel.

The Ultimate Collection - Deluxe Edition
The Ultimate Collection - Deluxe Edition
Offered by chris26821
Price: £12.99

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars yet another compliation, 5 Nov. 2010
I'm Barbra Streisand's biggest fan (who isn't?), but I'm not a fan of this compilation. It is randomly chosen and the songs are not the best selection of her recordings. Of course there are the standout tracks - tracks 1-6 especially - but there are so many other, better, more fitting tracks that could've been chosen. Where are "Some Enchanted Evening", "You've Got A Friend", "I Don't Break Easily", "New York State of Mind", "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life"? I could go on. Having said that, I already have all these tracks on their albums anyway so what do I care really? Neophytes - there may be a few - will certainly enjoy this.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2015 11:30 PM GMT

2012 - Doomsday [DVD] [2008]
2012 - Doomsday [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Cliff De Young
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £0.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars diarrhoea, 16 Oct. 2010
This review is from: 2012 - Doomsday [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
To call this pathetic excuse of a movie diarrhoea is to overpraise it. Please do not waste you time watching it, never mind waste your money buying it. I actually watched it on fastforward (x64) and even after that I felt cheated.

In the final frames of the movie the girl says, "This isn't the end."

I thought, I bet she's going to say, "This is just the beginning."

Surprise, surprise, she does.

In summary, a crappy, shoddy, worthless, substandard pile of malformed diarrhoea what even a toilet should reject.


Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 op. 74 (Pathétique) / Romeo and Juliet Fantasy
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 op. 74 (Pathétique) / Romeo and Juliet Fantasy
Price: £9.37

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars five star performances from conductor and orchestra, 6 Oct. 2010
I've heard many recording of both the "Pathetique" symphony and the "Romeo and Juliet" overture. On this recording the performances of both are first rate.

"Romeo and Juliet" is exquisitely played and expertly conducted. In fact to my own ears it is the first recording I have heard that adequately gives us the pathos, tenderness and excitement that is written into the score. Only listen to the two versions of the famous love theme to be persuaded. In the first version the tempo is perfect and the players wonderfully warm. In the second version the strings are rich, vibrant and judiciously mixed . In the so-called fight scenes the sound engineers have again done a superb job. Individual voices stand out and yet come together. I often compare just one part of any recording of this overture. Listen to the basses at 14'43". On most other recordings this bit is just yucky. Here, with Pletnev, it is perfection.

The "Pathetique" symphony, again, is gushing with lushness, another tribute to the talents of the sound engineers, nothwithstanding the virtuosity of the orchestra. In short, movement 1 is incredible, movement 2 superbly polished, movement 3 is breathtaking and movement 4 is heartbreaking.

Overall, a recording definitely worth having. Other recording will compare unfavourably.

Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
by Nick Lane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read, 25 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this book after remembering having read a great article in New Scientist called "Life's top ten greatest inventions" (it was by Rachel Nowak - I checked). This books is based on a similar premise, putting more meat on its bones, expanding it and looking deeper into each of life's so-called inventions. A fascinating read and well worth buying. Very accessible, even for non-scientists like me. On the downside, I hate it when publishers put notes at the back of the book. Footnotes are preferable. But that's a minor niggle.

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