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Richard Mann "Main Mann" (Southampton)

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Line of Fire
Line of Fire
by Brian Paddick
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Superficial but interesting in parts, 18 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Line of Fire (Paperback)
This could have been an absorbing read about an officer that had opinions that he was not afraid to share, was openly gay (first ACPO level officer to "come out" publicly) and spoke his mind even if it made enemies of his bosses.

Unfortunately this book, while occasionally VERY interesting (the chapters on July 7th 2005 and Jean Charles de Menezes are fascinating and very disturbing) is superficial and occasionally lapses into self pity.

We all know it's wrong to be castigated or "kept down" for telling the truth but Paddick acts surprised and hurt that after publicly contradicting the most powerful police officer in the UK (then-Met Commissioner Ian Blair) he was then sidelined and marginalised.

Also irritating is that Paddick's eventual resignation while still in a position of extreme power (a Deputy Assistant Commissioner 4th from top in the Met but 2nd in any other force; the equivalent to Deputy Chief Constable) Paddick's resignation is a "blink and you'll miss it" affair, relegated to one line.

On the plus side this book is easy to read, rarely boring and shows an officer that was a decent fellow who believed in fairness and justice but was let down by a system where superficially you can buck the trend and be a hero, the reality is that those who do not conform are pushed aside.

It's worth reading but apart from the revelations on Menezes and Ian Blair's tantrum throwing and occasional "foot in mouth" gaffes, don't expect anything earth shattering.

Read Inspector Gadget's PERVERTING THE COURSE OF JUSTICE: The Hilarious and Shocking Inside Story of British Policing or Lance Manley's Stab Proof Scarecrows

Bobby on the Run
Bobby on the Run
by Winston Bugle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and fun, 7 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Bobby on the Run (Paperback)
Started this on Friday and finished it by Monday. A very entertaining read that bristles along at a fast and exciting pace.

Highly reccomended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2012 2:33 PM GMT

Family [DVD]
Family [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martin Kemp

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrid and contrived, 12 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Family [DVD] (DVD)

An utterly dire attempt to "do" The Sopranos in London's East End. It's a shame that a clutch of such good actors wasted their efforts on this bag of spew.

For about the first 45 minutes of episode 1 it was pretty good. The Cutler family are London gangsters, feared and respected in their "manor" and they set their sights on a getting shares in a Docklands restaurant that has a 2 year waiting list for a table. However they have a "UK Riots 2011" mentality to getting what they want, i.e. they hire thugs to turn the place over and then "persuade" the owner to let them become 40% partners. The casual threats made by the Cutler family to Rory McLeod owner of the restaurant are wonderfully underplayed. With silky charm and strategic violence they get their way. The plot then Jumps the Shark (rare to do it in the first episode!) when the returned prodigal son casually murders the restaurant manager during an argument over using his mobile phone (to put it in perspective it is made quite clear the restaurant is a). Famous and b). Popular and this act would be the equivalent of someone being murdered in one of Gordon Ramsay's eateries).

The reactions of the Cutler family to the crisis are understandable and coldly efficient but it's the lack of conscience on anybody's part to what happened that is wholly unrealistic. These are not Made Men, they are a family and even Joey's disgust is only over Dave's lack of self-control NOT any regret that he murdered a man for no good reason. If Christopher from The Sopranos had killed someone in a public place over virtually nothing, Tony would have slapped him around and removed him from any position of responsibility in the family until he could prove he could keep his cool. Dave not only isn't castigated by his father for putting the family at risk but in episode 3 is made manager of the restaurant (or so I'm told...I gave up afte 2 episodes).

Second BIG black mark was in episode two after Ted decides to let a man keep most of the money he owes the Cutlers even though the guy had to rob a post office in order to pay up on time. The Cutlers are guests at the man's daughter's wedding where he gets drunk and throws the money in Ted's face, upset that his efforts were pointless.

Err... hello! These people could KILL you for not paying them back, the money was theirs to decide what to do with and they LET you keep it, you had to prove you could come through.

My own personal hangup with this show is yet again they tried to make the Cutlers out to be decent people who just happen to sometimes kill other people as opposed to the scum they are, who trade in human misery. In the very first episode Dave's ludicrously mis-scripted indifference to the "silly man" he pushed out of a window for daring to try and do his job is so out of place for a supposedly organised crime family that it is laughable.

Utter garbage. The first episode left a thoroughly unpleasant taste in my mouth ("I'm not having him talking like that to me when I'm speaking to Eddie!") and it appears to have escaped the writer's notice that Dave Cutler wouldn't survive 10 minutes in a real crew and is in dire need of a good kicking (read: unsympathetic tosser with no redeeming features who we are supposed to find endearing because he loves his mum and dad).

The only plus points are some high production values and some good acting from David Calder and Simone Lahbid.

My biggest hang up with this show was that with such fine talent on show they could have paid a little more care to keeping the story in the realms of reality. It is also a tired retread of almost every gangster cliché in the book (members of the firm singing along heartily to Sinatra while exchanging weary looks, one of the family being "a bit wild", the loathsome old scrote patriarch being utterly loved and loving to his grandchildren despite murdering people).

A real shame, this could have been great.

Logan's Run [DVD] [1976]
Logan's Run [DVD] [1976]
Dvd ~ Michael York
Price: £4.99

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A horrid mess with oven lighters masquerading as The Gun., 18 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Logan's Run [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
I love the book this is based on and as a child lapped up the vivid imagery of Misters Nolan and Johnson.

This movie won an Oscar for best visual effects which, to be fair aren't bad and are the only reason my review is 2 stars and not one. The Carousel sequence was invented for the film (in the book you simply die without the false promise of rebirth) and is both unsettling and effective.

The story has been butchered beyond belief. The sinister and terrifying Gun Sandmen use has been replaced by a pistol resembling the thing my arthritic aunty uses to light her gas stove. The Homer bullet in the novel was terrifying to Runners because it was designed to deliberately burn out ALL your nerve endings before it killed you. The ultimate deterrent to those unwilling to embrace Sleep. The gun they use in this movie has an impact on targets that resembles a box of Swan Vestas matches going off in a shirt breast pocket.

Also the feral and amoral Cub Scouts from the book who took super drug Muscle to move at a frenetic and frenzied speed when attacking victims were led by Charming Billy, a killer of Sandmen and a charismatic if unintelligent leader. The movie counterpart resembles someone from Glee.

Logan's switch from someone who is blatantly trying to get the Runners caught to a sympathetic hero is never explained (watch carefully at the meeting with Jess where he's being questioned at spear point. He deliberately turns on his radio to alert Deep Sleep to where he is, yet two minutes later attacks Francis for threatening Jessica).

Also Box was a former paedophile in the novel who got his rocks off torturing people while the Doctor Who (Tom Baker era) special effect in this one is simply a misguided keeper of Dome City's food supply.

Upping the age from 21 to 30 was understandable in the 1970s as you wouldn't be able to find people who looked just out of their teens who could convincingly carry this movie. Unfortunately it also means that the majority look miscast and tired with only Richard Jordan as the nasty Sandman Francis really cutting it.

Michael York is NOT Logan, any more than Sean Bean is Sharpe. His goading of the Runner in the first Run should show that Sandmen are ruthless and cruel. As it is it's just embarrassing watching him shout at the guy.

It's a shame this sucked as the novel is wonderful. The ending is utterly dire and OTT and would have been better placed in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Only good thing was seeing a 24 year old Jenny Agutter naked.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2012 9:21 AM BST

The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World
The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World
by Harry Harrison
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and cleverly funny sci-fi, 16 Mar. 2011
I read the 2000ad comic book adaptation of this aged about 12 and sought out the book later on in my teens.

At the time I remember being narked off that they set the Rat's world so far in the future (30,000 years or so) but I'll put that down to my fear of mortality as opposed to any criticism of Mr Harrison.

The later SS Rat books were contrived and tired but this is where Harry Harrison hit his stride. Slippery Jim DiGriz has to travel back in time to prevent an evil bad guy from changing his future and erasing history. Armed only with his sharp wits and a few gadgets he has to defeat the most horrid of foes and get back to his own time.

I loved this book and it has some wonderful sequences (e.g. Professor Coypu's reaction to being brought back to life, Angelina's bossy behavior upon materializing out of mid air, the Time Helix paradox at the end).

Addictive and well written and years ahead of its time.

28 Weeks Later [DVD] [2007]
28 Weeks Later [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Robert Carlyle
Offered by Keepersdeane
Price: £2.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awful on nearly every level *Minor Spoilers*, 16 Mar. 2011
This review is from: 28 Weeks Later [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I give this 2 stars for the brilliant opening bit at the farm which is genuinely scary and has moments that will linger with you (Don slamming the door on Alice, the Infected trying to outflank Don on the field, the whole fight sequence in the barn) but the rest of the movie is rotten.

The plot holes are utterly wretched and too many to mention. Infuriatingly, if you listen to the commentary on the DVD they try to fob off the most blatant one with some quasi-psychological gumph about Don removing Alice's ability to look at him. Err...she was Infected too and it is assumed managed to survive the farm house attack and get all the way home due to the fact that fellow Infectees left her alone.

Scenes shown in the trailer that would have made a big difference were unfortunately cut. They were all very simple but their excising has left a vapid and hollow film (e.g. General Stone's humanity being neatly shown by the excised line "this is what it's about people, families getting back together" as he watched Don and the kids reunite at the train station or Doyle's wink to the kids as he pushes the car).

The stupid behavior and crass poetic licence don't help (the Greenwich foot tunnel is not crossable in 2 minutes, especially with a gammy leg) and why the hell would the military lock everyone in one big room?

As much as I REALLY wanted to like this film I couldn't and it's unfortunate that the original script was changed (the virus mutates and becomes airborne) or that the movie was cut so badly. Photos on the Net show more that might have salvaged the film (e.g. the kid that Alice tries to save becomes Infected) and it would have been nice to know how the hell Alice made it home and just why Don commits the worst case of DV on her that you will ever see, when she was also infected.


28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Offered by Fulfillment Next Day
Price: £1.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not fantastic but with some classic bits *Minor Spoilers*, 12 Mar. 2011
This review is from: 28 Days Later (2002) [DVD] (DVD)
This is a movie I love but it still annoys me that the film has such blatant plot holes.

While direction, choreography and lighting are superb it is only in a movie aimed primarily at Americans who think that English people have all met the Queen, that a non airborne virus could wipe out England (and we assume Wales and Scotland) in 3 weeks.

Also if it's that dangerous to be outside why do Mark and Selena go with Jim at all? For such a ruthlessly pragmatic person Selena would surely have told him to shove off and go find his family alone.

However there are some wonderful scenes in this that stick in your mind long after. The walk around a "deserted" London is utterly captivating and Jim in the church has to be one of the creepiest things ever. Also Selena's reaction to Mark's possible infection is utterly unexpected (watch it twice, he's blatantly infected) but doesn't gel with her other actions (shopping like a little girl in a supermarket and the fact she is willing to help other people at all).

Also there has been much moaning about the final sequence where Jim takes on the soldiers. Hey, he's "rolling the dice". There is no guarantee that he'll win or the Infected won't catch him or the girls but what else could he do?

The DVD has some deleted scenes that should never have been cut, includng Clifton's death at the hands of a heartbroken Major West and the Infected overrunning the mansion (that one gurning at West through the glass is horrible).

Watch if for the moments that are horror classics and try not to be annoyed by the silly plot.

Equilibrium [DVD] [2003]
Equilibrium [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Price: £2.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sense Offence!!!, 12 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Equilibrium [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
The Gun Kata couldn't exist but it's every boy's fantasy (at least those that love sci-fi movies with martial arts scenes) to believe it COULD. Watch as Oscar winner Christian Bale mows down the baddies in magnificently choreographed scenes involving the ultimate extension of "jumping through the air slowly with two guns blazing".

Some of the plot has huge holes in it (the gun switch, Taye Digg's character blatantly showing emotion the whole way through, how guns THAT big can be invisible when they are tucked into their spring loaded wrist sheaths) BUT the fight scenes are ace and the DVD has the option to "jump to a fight" (great if drunk at home).

A flawed classic, this is worth watching as it could have been so much better but is still 90-ish minutes of great entertainment.

Gotta love any film where someone shoots 16 people to save a puppy.

Fun...albeit silly.

The Fog - Special Edition [DVD]
The Fog - Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Adrienne Barbeau
Price: £5.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Patchy but with flashes of genius, 12 Mar. 2011
This is a scary movie that unfortunately has a lot of bits that don't quite work and some waffling from principal characters.

However what John Carpenter does best is make creepy movies and the opening action sequence had me hiding my eyes when I saw this at age 12 on TV.

Some things don't gel, like why the dead sailor briefly comes back as a zombie but the malevolent feel of this film exudes from its grisly atmosphere and the lighthouse scene is genuinely adrenalin-inducing.

Further kudos for the ending which caught me off guard and is one of the best "Carrie" moments of 80s horror cinema.

Forget the dire remake and focus on this. A scary and imaginative movie.

Despicable Me [DVD] [2010]
Despicable Me [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Steve Carell
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £2.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant., 7 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Despicable Me [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Saw this on a flight from the UK to Mexico and it rocked. The plot is simple and the joy lies in the attention to detail (check out the rocket on the game at the faiground AFTER Gru shoots it down) and little touches like the Minions and Gru's psycho dog.

I love this movie and have seen it a couple of times since. Everything about this film is superb, even the normally annoying Russell Brand is good.

Gotta love that Snow White-esque "queuing up for a goodnight kiss" scene.

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