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True Hopey (UK)

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And So I Watch You From Afar
And So I Watch You From Afar

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slice of perfection, 25 April 2009
I don't write reviews very often but I just had to for this magnificent album. I can honestly say there isn't a duff track on it.

What we have here are 11 guitar-driven instrumentals (on the whole) and each one has more ideas in it than most albums have in their entirety. The band do the quiet-loud-quiet thing to perfection and have a fantastic ear for melody. Songs constantly surprise you, never going quite where you expect them to go. There are no vocals as such, just the odd shout to drive the song along. Although, on "Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate" they... well, I won't spoil it. Suffice to say that it sent shivers down my spine when I first heard it.

If you like melodious, inventive guitar rock then give them a try. If the piano on "The Voiceless" doesn't make you smile from ear to ear then you are dead inside!

Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360)
Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360)

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty graphics and totally unbalanced AI, 28 Jan. 2006
Yes, this game looks gorgeous and runs smoothly. It's fast and great fun in the two-player modes. Just don't expect anything other than stress from the single-player.
The difficulty curve is off the page. The computer opponents punish you if you try anything more than button mashing. They will take half of your energy away while you are on the floor and cannot block. The counter system is good but hard to get right. Perhaps the game will improve once I've memorised every player's movements so I know how to counter them? What's fun about that? Especially when the moves look so similar to each other.
The final boss, Alpha-152 is broken beyond measure. She cheats, teleports and blocks everything you throw at her. She predicts your every move until all you can do is swear at her and hope it will put her off. Then you discover that all you have to do is press the punch button over and over and she falls in a matter of seconds. Yep, that's great game design.
Some will say I'm just rubbish at it and they are probably right. The simple truth is that I play games for enjoyment and this game just isn't much fun to play.
If you want a fast, pretty but mindless fighter then you won't do much better than this. If you want a fast, skillful and tactical fighter then buy Soul Calibur 2. It's almost infinitely better. I prefer to feel that I've done something to win a game other than hammer the buttons as fast as I can.

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback

48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Am I missing something here?, 16 July 2005
I will be totally honest and confess that all the hype about this book put me off reading it for a long time. However, it was given to me as a birthday present and it would have been rude to not give it a try. Well, I've read it and I really can't see what the fuss is all about.
The writing style is stilted and clumsy. There are many errors and don't get me started on the way in which Mr Brown continually manufactures cliff-hangers for almost every chapter.If that is the only way he can make his readers want to read on then so be it, but it annoyed me beyond measure. I mean, how many times can someone open a box, gasp in disbelief at the contents and then not describe them for another three chapters?
My favourite spate of bad writing comes quite early on, during the drive from the Louvre to the American Embassy. Sophie has been thinking back about "the terrible thing" she saw her grandfather doing without ever letting the reader in on the secret. However, the moment she decides to think about it is when she is trying to escape the police in a high speed chase. She is driving and I'm pretty sure she would be better off concentrating on the road.
Best of all though is the drive from the Louvre to the embassy. On page 190, Sophie sets off, knowing that it is less than half a mile to get there. On page 192, after driving directly towards the embassy, she sighs with relief as now there is less than a mile to go. I've never been to Paris but the authorities really should do something about the spatial rift that apparently exists there. Generally, when I drive towards something, I get nearer to it, not further away.
The ending is very weak too but I won't spoil it for you. The author has already done that.
It's not a terrible book but it could have been so much better. Read "The Name Of The Rose" if you want an intelligent thriller. If you must read this then at least see the flaws and appreciate that they stretch into the supposed revelatory theories as well.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2015 6:03 PM BST

The Beiderbecke Collection [DVD]
The Beiderbecke Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Bolam
Offered by ajdiscs
Price: £29.99

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle comedy classic, 3 Nov. 2003
I am so glad this has finally been given the DVD treatment. Way back in the 80s I came across this wonderful comedy drama and lost my heart forever. Nothing nasty ever happens in any of these stories. The wrong kind of records are delivered and a meeting is cancelled but that's as dramatic as it gets. That's not the point though. It's a character driven gem. I could rave about James Bolam and Barbara Flynn until the cows came home but there isn't anyone in here who falls short of perfection. All the characters are wonderful, from Sergeant Hobson to Big and Little Al.
I still rate it as Alan Plater's finest moment ever. Only the second series wavered in quality at all when they take the dreaded school kids to Amsterdam (if I remember correctly) but even that was great.
This is a collection to make you smile and give you a warm squishy feeling inside. I can't recommend it enough.
Remember, "We are on the brink of a new era, if only..."

Solaris [2003] [DVD]
Solaris [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.10

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 10 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Solaris [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
I will admit that this does seem to be a film that you either love or hate but any lover of intelligent cinema should adore this film. If you want big explosions and action then, by all means, go elsewhere. If you want a thought-provoking and visually stunning meditation on loss and bereavement (with a few spaceships and a pretty planet thrown in) then buy this right now.
Contrary to what other reviewers may say, this is not a straight to DVD film. I should know, because I saw it in the cinema. I have convinced five of my friends so far to watch this (they were also put off by the doomsayers) and they all loved it. Maybe because I did explain the pace of the film first, I don't know. It is slow but utterly enthralling and seems to zoom by on repeated viewings. Even my girlfriend was blown away by it and she hates sci-fi.
It isn't like your average Hollywood movie. At times there is no dialogue and the music drives the movie. I love my weird electronica (Aphex, Autechre, anything on Warp) and I left the cinema with the main tune buzzing around my head for weeks. The sight of Solaris itself nested behind my eyelids for a while too.
This is never going to be for everyone but if you like thoughtful films, give this a chance.

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