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Ben_W "Ben_W" (London, UK)

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Children of Men [DVD]  [2006]
Children of Men [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.75

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A prescient, tense and intelligent near-future thriller., 2 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Children of Men [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This is one of the best films of the last twenty years. Not because of the acting, although Julianne Moore, Clive Owen and Michael Caine all deliver excellent performances. Not because of the cinematography, although the film is beautifully shot, in a way that evokes 'gritty' realism and dreamlike mistiness all at once. And certainly not because of what is advertised as the 'central' plot - women can no longer become pregnant and the earth is in an advanced state of environmental collapse. As one of the commentators in the documentary that comes as an Extra in this DVD set notes, the real brilliance of this film is what it says about our lives here and now, in early 21st century Britain. It is the 'background' activity in the film that is most telling: the rounding up of 'illegal immigrants' by the government (witness Home Office activities in the week of writing this review); the widespread use of detention and 'removals' centres; police brutality and state-sanctioned torture increasingly employed in the name of preventing or ameliorating some emergency or another; and the total saturation of our daily visual and mental environment by corporate advertising, braying disembodied voices emerging from screens not only in our homes, but on public transport, and in the street. This film's greatest achievement is that in the guise of a 'futuristic' or 'science fiction' story, Cuaron (the film's director) transforms PD James' novel into a brilliant analysis and indictment of our society and politics today, in the here and now. A stunning film that everyone must see!


Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research
Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research
by Norman Fairclough
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent introduction to CDA for non-linguists, 23 April 2013
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This is a good introduction to Fariclough's CDA aimed at people from a non-linguistic background. The examples of applications tend to focus on conversation analysis and analysis of media (e.g. newspaper reports), but the theoretical stuff in the first half of the book is strong, and there are some useful tips on how language is structured by, and structures, power relations. Well worth a read, but best read in conjunction with the 2010 edition of his other book, 'Critical Discourse Analysis'.


Enemies Foreign And Domestic (The Enemies Trilogy Book 1)
Enemies Foreign And Domestic (The Enemies Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £3.78

2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Madness, 20 April 2013
Quite literally the worst thing I've ever read. The prose style is that of a fourteen year old boy - just line after line of banal description. There is no structure, no characterisation, no development of the story. The characters are utterly unrealistic, as is the action central to the book's plot. No tension is built, since the action begins in earnest on the very first page, and this is why the book really can't be described as a 'thriller' at all. This is, above all, the rather creepy and breathless fantasy of a paranoid and over-compensating social inadequate - perhaps fictional, or perhaps reflective of the author's own position. Might be of interest to gun-totin', Tea-Party-supportin', brown-person-hatin', wife-beatin' hillbilly types, but if you have even a modicum of sense or intelligence, best avoided!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2013 5:37 PM BST


Society of the Spectacle
Society of the Spectacle
by Guy Debord
Edition: Paperback

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice new edition of a prescient and urgent text, 19 April 2012
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This is an attractively presented edition of Debord's excellent neo-Marxian critique of capitalism, including an interesting new introduction. Two elements of Debord's brief masterpiece stood out, to me at least, as particularly relevant in the contemporary context:

(1) His warning (in 1968) that the rise of the service sector in the West and the shift of manufacturing to the East did not signal the emergence of a classless society, but rather the penetration of 'factory-like' working conditions into the new 'white collar' jobs being created and, ultimately, the intensification, rather than the resolution, of class antagonisms and exploitation. The global financial crisis (and specifically the implications of the various 'austerity measures' for 'ordinary' working people), along with the 'Occupy' protests ('the 99%' versus 'the 1%' etc) would seem to bear this argument out.

(2) The idea of the spectacle as 'a social relation between people that is mediated by images' has never been more relevant than in the age of Facebook, iPads and 24-hour rolling news - from 9/11 to the 'Arab Spring', the twenty-first century has proven that the society of the spectacle is still very much alive today.

A book well-worth reading.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2016 12:07 PM BST


1980's Wayfarer Style Fashion Sunglasses with Super Dark Lens
1980's Wayfarer Style Fashion Sunglasses with Super Dark Lens

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT "super dark" at all, 15 Jun. 2011
These glasses have oddly-shaped frames (not as square as real wayfarers) and the lenses are nothing approximating "super dark", they are practically clear, you can see the wearers eyes right through them, even in dark lighting conditions (e.g. indoors). Best avoided. (PS This is a totally different product from the glasses they were selling under the same name earlier this year, which WERE very dark and a much better shape, they have obviously switched to a different supplier for the summer and, although the price is now much lower, these glasses are no good).


Academic Freedom and the University of Nottingham
Academic Freedom and the University of Nottingham
by Macdonald Daly
Edition: Paperback

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling, 14 May 2011
As the other review notes, the primary purpose of this pamphlet seems to be to defend the University of Nottingham's management-level decisions in the case of Rizwaan Sabir and Hicham Yezza by reference to a notion of 'academic freedom' which they explicitly say 'does not apply to students'. An incredibly counter-intuitive, poorly-written and biased text, not worth reading.


The German Ideology: Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy
The German Ideology: Introduction to a Critique of Political Economy
by Karl Marx
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A useful (abridged) edition of perhaps THE key text by Marx and Engels, 13 May 2011
As other reviews point out, this is an abridged edition, containing only a few sections from the complete original. The introduction explains that this is because much of the original is considered largely irrelevant in that it consists of detailed critique of a set of German thinkers whose works and ideas did not stand the test of time, regardless of Marx's critique, and with whom many contemporary readers will not be familiar.

However, the sections which are included here offer one of the clearest, most accessible and most plausible accounts anywhere in the Marx-Engels oeuvre of the the most radical social-political-economic theory and practice of at least the last two hundred years. The book moves from the 'first premises of the materialist method' (essential reading for those who mistakenly understand Marx as 'reductionist' or excessively focused on 'economics': this section begins from basic logical assumptions about life itself rather than some cold, calculating 'economic' - in the vulgar sense in which the word is generally understood - method), to the notion of ideology as a dominant intellectual force working in the material interests of the ruling class.

If you have struggled with Capital, but found the Communist Manifesto too cursory an introduction, the German Ideology may be the perfect text to begin to understand the central tenets of Marxism in a depth no textbook could afford you.

Highly recommended!


Samsung ML1665 Mono Laser Printer Ref ML-1665/XEU
Samsung ML1665 Mono Laser Printer Ref ML-1665/XEU

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, fast and quiet mono laser, 1 Feb. 2011
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Have had this a couple of months now, it does exactly what it says on the tin: quieter than your average laser printer, small (when the paper feed tray and catcher are folded away), at least as fast as the last (Brother) mono laser I owned. And they seem to have knocked another £16 off since I bought it, bringing it down to [...]. DO BUY A CABLE THOUGH, as other reviews state. They were obviously intended to be included but there is now a line drawn through the picture of one on the box. 'USB Printer Cable' is a standard now, and I got mine in [...] for a couple of quid - remember it won't take an 'ordinary' or 'mini' or 'micro' cable, so get a USB printer cable in advance.


Crazy For You
Crazy For You

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weak stuff/Actually no, it's good!, 23 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Crazy For You (MP3 Download)
Bought this album after being bombarded by 'Boyfriend' on BBC 6Music until I couldn't get it out of my head. Every other track on the album is more or less identical, only slightly less catchy. A real disappointment. The two stars are because there is still something I vaguely like about the sound, though it may only be that it reminds me of something better (e.g. Sonic Youth). *UPDATE* 6 months on, I have changed this from 2 stars to 4 stars. It's not especially intelligent, innovative or exciting, but there is something really beautiful about this album. It is a heartfelt love letter, sometimes pleading, sometimes despondent but always real, filled with dreamy surf rock vocals and guitars. It took its time, but eventually it won me over completely - Bethany Cosentino has a beautiful voice and her lyrics are simple but evocative, drawn from authentic emotional turmoil. Nice album, Best Coast!


Samsung SE-S084C, External USB 2.0 Slimline 8X DVD Writer, Black
Samsung SE-S084C, External USB 2.0 Slimline 8X DVD Writer, Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Just right!, 23 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well, I haven't done any burning yet, but this has transformed my little Samsung N130 netbook into a movie-playing portable wonder! A netbook, one of these drives and an X-mini speaker is all you need - throw your massive old laptop away! The drive is slim, well-designed and, most importantly, almost completely silent.


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