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Brian V. Burford (UK)

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The Big Sky [DVD]
The Big Sky [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kirk Douglas

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality, 11 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: The Big Sky [DVD] (DVD)
An enjoyable, old-fashioned movie is spoiled by a very poor picture quality. It's hardly worth your time. During this era of high definition, are we going to be subjected to a slew of cheap DVDs that haven't been remastered to extract the last few pennies from DVDs before they're consigned to the bin in favour of blu ray discs and downloads?

Odeon should be ashamed of themselves for having their name attached to such a poorly produced item.

The Searchers [Blu-ray] [1956] [Region Free]
The Searchers [Blu-ray] [1956] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ John Wayne
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £7.89

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent blu ray, the Searchers has never looked so Good!, 29 Jun. 2011
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I was brought up watching Westerns on the TV, in those days there seemed to be hundreds of them. But when a big screen movie came onto the telly, well that was an event and The Searchers was one of those events all those years ago.

Anyway, most people know what a great western it is, what a travesty it was that Wayne didn't get a best actor Oscar for his role of Ethan Edwards, and what a wonderful piece of film-making it is.

But this review is about the transfer to blu ray. Which is top notch.

I've got a few blu rays of older films and haven't been overly impressed by them, but this is stunning. It must be like, or damned near as close as you can get to seeing it at the cinema when it was first released. The picture is sharp, and the film's awe-inspiring locations have never looked better. The colours, the use of light and shadow, and the photography is simply something to be seen. Many have said that The Searchers is one of the best films of all-time because of its production alone, and with this blu ray you can certainly see John Ford's unique talents like never before.

Someone has asked if its a true widescreen. I'm not that technical but I don't think it is because the letter box scenes are used in the documentary on the extras - which are really interesting as well - but not the feature. Nonetheless, this doesn't at all detract from the quality and The Searchers has never looked so good on your telly.

So get rid of that disappointing DVD, and buy this, you won't regret it and certainly worth the current price on Amazon. In fact, if you only ever buy one western on blu ray, make sure it's this one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2012 6:50 AM GMT

Dio At Donington Uk: Live 1983 & 1987
Dio At Donington Uk: Live 1983 & 1987
Price: £11.16

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The little man with a BIG voice, 13 Nov. 2010
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I believe 1983 was one of the most important and pivotal years in the history of hard rock/heavy metal. It was a year that saw many new beginnings and none more so than Ronnie James Dio.

His Holy Diver album - released in 83 - is his best release of his solo years, a peak that he would never scale again. And this performance at Donington in 1983 was his debut on British soil with his solo band, Dio, that featured now Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell. RJD gave Campbell his proper start and he delivered the goods and his playing on this disc is quite impressive.

The 1983 show i remember being broadcast on Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show and of the two discs this performance is definitely superior. It captures a band at the start of their career, they're vibrant, hungry and eager to impress. Dio's voice is brilliant and the renditions of old Black Sabbath classics Children of the Sea and the epic Heaven and Hell are fresh and exciting. It's a short set because Dio was second on the line-up after Diamond Head - Whitesnake were the headliners.

The second disc suffers from too many medleys to fit within a 50-minute set as special guests to Bon Jovi. By now Craig Goldy had replaced Campbell and his playing, although heavier, is more workman-like than Campbell's - his abrasive playing on Rock & Roll Children doesn't do it any favours. Not such a good performance as the '83 set, but Dio's voice is in great shape. And what a voice...

Rock doesn't have too many brilliant singers - loads of vocalists - but RJD's voice is magnificent here, much better than the Holy Diver live recordings. He possessed so much range, clarity but was also emotive.

This is a fine release to illustrate how good RJD was and the production on the discs is also good. The booklet is nothing to write home about and the passes, well, considering that 40 somethings in the main are going to buy this, such inclusions are not really of interest and are not going to motivate us to buy it.

To conclude, a very enjoyable CD and worth adding to your Dio collection. However, I hope this isn't the first in a series of releases in an attempt to cash in on Ronnie's sad death earlier this year. Dio was a collosal singer and an inventive song writer and that reputation shouldnt be tarnished by inferior releases that wouldnt have seen the light of day if he was alive.

Tombstone [Blu-ray]
Tombstone [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Kurt Russell
Price: £8.99

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, poor value, 28 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Tombstone [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
First of all Tombstone is a great western, one of the best of modern times. Secondly, it looks magnificent in blu ray, vibrant, clear and just as I remember it to be at the cinema.

So why the three stars? Because this is the standard movie and not the director's cut that's available on DVD. Given how blu ray has been sold to us as superior quality and sound, which it is, and how they can fit even more extras on here, why are we cheated by buying blu ray when if we bought the supposedly inferior DVD you get the director's cut - meaning an extra 5-10 minutes of cut footage?

Once again this seems like a cynical way of making movie fans part with our cash again to buy the blu ray special edition or some such thing. In these hard times, perhaps the studios and what have you should consider actually giving us value for money because customers will not be so free and easy with our hard earned cash as we used to be. And then, maybe, blu ray may not take off in the manner that they expected.

To conclude, great movie, looks great on blu ray, okay extras, but its not very good value for money when compared with the DVD version, the director's cut.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2011 4:56 PM BST

Nightwish - End of An Era [DVD + 2cd]
Nightwish - End of An Era [DVD + 2cd]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant reminder of a classic time, 10 April 2010
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I'm a late comer to Nightwish, I came across them through their song based on Dee Brown's book, Creek Mary's Blood. However, this release is excellent value. A great performance on DVD and you get the audio CDs as well.

Nightwish's combination of rock, opera and orchestration - obviously inspired by film scores - is an exciting mix. But its the vocals of Tarja, who was asked to leave after this show by all accounts - that makes Nightwish special. Plenty has been said about her departure and having heard the new singer, Nightwish are now just another rock band. Like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, how long will it be before they realise that they've lost that magic ingredient and get Tarja back? Roll on the reunion!

This show has a lot of energy and their songs take on an even more powerful dynamic live. Highlights include the aforementioned Creek Mary's Blood, with a spooky spoken word part from Lakota native John Two-Hawks, Bless the Child, the epic Ghost Love Score, and brilliant Ever Dream. My only criticism, and its not just Nightwish who do this, why cover others artists' work? Their rendition of Gary Moore's Over the Hills and Far Away is quite good, mainly because its swept along by the concert's atmosphere, but their guitarist, plainly a good player, doesn't seem to be comfortable with Moore's licks and hooks. If I want to hear Gary Moore, I'll put on the Irish guitarist, and I'm sure Nightwish have others songs in their catalogue they could have performerd - The Carpenter perhaps? And we get Highest Hopes too, which again, is a Dave Gilmour composition, fairly good, but then i was never into Pink Floyd.

But don't let that put you off, they're just slightly below par tracks that are out of rack compared with the rest of their fantasy-lead, tragic love song epics - Sleeping Sun and Sirens are fantastic.

This really is the climax to a very interesting and powerful era for Nightwish. I'm going to explore more from this group with this vocalist, but in the meantime, End of an Era is a splendid reminder of the classic era for the Finnish band. No matter what they do with the new singer, Annette, they will forever be trying to match this period until Tarja is back. Until then, enjoy this!

No Guts, No Glory
No Guts, No Glory
Price: £11.51

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thumper of an album, but a bit tired, 27 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: No Guts, No Glory (Audio CD)
First of all I'd like to say I like this album, but not as much as I liked Running Wild. There is something about this release that's a bit tired - maybe they should have waited a bit longer before getting into the studio. I can't put my finger on it. However, like a previous reviewer said, the AC/DC connection just grows and its the less AC/DC-like songs that I prefer most on the album...although they all seem to have AC/DC hooks and licks.

I was hoping that more of Airbourne's own identity would come to the fore this time, their sound, but sadly not. It's not quite the step forward I was hoping for and I hate the track It Ain't Over until it's over, but there is still some excellent fist pumping, foot stomping, head banging tracks on here, such as Chewin' the Fat, No Way But the Hard Way, Get Busy Livin' - inspired by the movie Shawshank Redemption perhaps? - and Rattle your Bones on the bonus tracks.

Personally I prefer Airbourne's own production on the bonus tracks, it's cleaner and sharper than their the main album.

I'm a big AC/DC fan, so obviously this release goes down well with me. But I prefer Running Wild's immediacy to No Guts No Glory's repetitive sound. However, if you liked their first album and enjoy AC/DC you'll like and enjoy this. It's a good addition to your AC/DC collection, oops, I mean Airbourne collection! All joking aside, despite the obvious similarities Airbourne perform with such energy and enthusiasm, you gotta like them.

I remember a band called Krokus were once accussed of copying AC/DC, which I think a lot of the time they did. And they sucked for it. But Airbourne just pay great homage to that band, and their other influences - I'd just like to hear more of their others influences.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2013 10:34 PM BST

Lettin Loose
Lettin Loose

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten gem, 27 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Lettin Loose (Audio CD)
This is the debut album that Def Leppard should have made. Instead Leppard gave us the inconsistent and, at times, immature On Through the Night. Heavy Pettin's Lettin Loose should have been a landmark debut album like Van Halen's first album or Thunder's Back Street Symphony -debuts that take on classic status that are hard to follow. While Heavy Pettin certainly found it hard to follow, they didn't get the recognition they should have.

Lettin Loose was produced by Queen's Brian May and that band's long time producer, Mack, or Reinhold Mack to give him his full name. And it was probably because of the band's association with May that they got some prime support slots in support of this album.

Originally released in 1983, Lettin Loose is chock full of brilliant melodic rock, a mixture of Leppard, Van Halen and Gun - who followed later. With classy riffs, cool melodies, songs like In and Out of Love, Love on the Run, Victims of the Night, Love Times Love and Rock Me, are the type of songs that many bands aspire to but few actually manage to carry off.

This CD has been remastered and includes two bonus tracks, Roll the Dice is a single that preceded the album by a year and didn't actually end up on the original album. Although it's not a bad song, you can see that it has more in common with a softer Saxon than what eventually ended up on this album.

Sadly, Heavy Pettin lost all credibility when they entered the Eurovision Song Contest with Romeo in 1987 - a disappointing Journey-esque tune. It was a bad career move and the band were never cool again. Hailing from Glasgow, the band split up shortly after, but their debut Lettin Loose is a CD that every self-respecting rock fan should have in their collection.

I Am Ozzy
I Am Ozzy
by Ozzy Osbourne
Edition: Hardcover

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time coming but its worth the wait, 2 Oct. 2009
This review is from: I Am Ozzy (Hardcover)
When BBC Radio Five Live first began Sybil Roscoe had Ozzy Osbourne on her programme as a guest. God knows how many years ago that was, but Ozzy said then that he was going to bring out an autobiography and call it John. Well it's here now, at last, and it's worth the wait.

I first encountered Ozzy during my early days of rock education through the pages of Kerrang! I'd heard of Ozzy and Black Sabbath, but wasn't too familiar with Ozzy the solo star. He had the cover and was dressed as a werewolf. Inside all the pictures was of him as a werewolf and I began to wonder if this man actually looked like a werewolf! Of course, I soon realised it was a video for Bark At the Moon. Subsequently I bought that album and saw him on tour and have been a fan ever since.

What I always liked about Ozzy is that he has never forgotten his roots. He's not arrogant and never comes across as big-headed. This comes over in his book which is written just the way you know and love Ozzy to be. It has his colourful delivery, wonderful descriptions of his adventures; all the famous ones and some you never heard of - the only gripe is the cover, which is a bit bland.

I Am Ozzy will have you laughing at his outrageous adventures, but also have you cringing too. There is sadness at the death of Randy Rhoads and how the Nazis nearly killed him - you'll have to read it to work that one out - and the controversial mishaps that he's had will also have you smiling.

There isn't much more to say except that if you're an Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath fan this book is a must buy. But even if you're not, you're still going to enjoy it because it's the story of a guy from Aston, Birmingham, who made it big and as he has said many times before, is the luckiest guy in the world. The difference is that he knows it and had made the best of his talents and abilities.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2010 7:09 PM GMT

Live in Concert 25th June 1980
Live in Concert 25th June 1980

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live Bootleg?, 14 Sept. 2009
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As live bands go, Judas Priest are one of the better ones. As live albums go, you won't be disappointed. Recorded during the world tour in support of their breakthrough album, British Steel, Live in Concert really does show Judas Priest at the beginning of their best era that ran until the release and tour of the disappointing Turbo album in 1986.

Of course, Priest have what's considered to be a classic live album on their CV called Unleashed in the East. I'd say that this is different, but in its way just as good. Whereas Unleashed showed the band at their enthusiastic and experimental stage, Live in Concert displays a group that is confident, assured and more aggressive in their delivery.

The problem with live albums is that it's difficult to capture the atmosphere of a live experience and the sound is often required to be doctored in the studio for that even listening experience. Critics of Unleashed in the East, cruelly labelled it Unleashed in the Studio, and although the band denied any such intervention, if you've been to a Judas Priest concert, you'll know that they don't lack power and they have a raw, aggressive, but orchestrated sound. Unleashed, as good as it is, is a bit clean.

Their second live album, Priest Live, was a big disappointment. Their aggressive sound was watered down, and you didn't get the full power of their awesome live performance. If you've watched the Live Vengeance DVD, you'll know that during this period they were arguably the most powerful metal band in the world. Priest Live failed to convey that power and was way off the mark when it came to capturing the atmosphere.

Happily you don't get these problems with Live in Concert. It's more like a polished bootleg than a live album. Kicking off with biker metal, Hell Bent Leather and closing with their live standard, The Green Manalishi, this is a hugely enjoyable slice of rock.

Although it's clear that they haven't quite polished and refined their live experience that would come to define their most spectacular period, there is no doubting that the blend of old and new works well. You can tell that they matured immensely with their song writing on British Steel because the four tracks from this release sparkle brightly alongside the old standards like The Ripper, Beyond the Realms of Death and Victim of Changes.

If you're expecting to hear the classics from British Steel, Metal Gods and Breaking the Law, you're going to be disappointed because they're not here. But you do get rare live versions of You Don't Have to be Old to be Wise, Living after Midnight, Grinder and the awesome Steeler - one of my favourite JP songs that gets an extra dose of aggression here.

I've yet to hear the new A Touch of Evil live CD, but I suspect that between the two you're more likely to pick this one to listen too because of its rough, raw, bootleg style that really gives you the sense that it is a live performance.

Live in Concert is worth every penny, sit back, turn up the volume, and listen to a band, warts and all, that's deservedly on the verge of the world's biggest stages.

Price: £7.72

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly a classic, 15 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Headstone (Audio CD)
There are no shortage of live UFO releases, they keep coming thick and fast. Of course, none top the absolute corker of a live album, Strangers in the Night, which is rightly regarded as one of the best live albums of all-time.

However, the trouble with releasing so much live material is that you get a bit tired of hearing yet another rendition of Doctor, Doctor, Too Hot to Handle, or Only You Can Rock Me.

This release contains none of the classics, but what you get is a refreshing live album of often forgotten gems. Among die-hard UFO fans, Paul Chapman is overlooked in favour of Michael Schenker, but Tonka Chapman was as much responsible for the UFO sound as the tempermental German as he replaced him and stood in for him on many occasions - personally I think Chapman did his best work on Waysted's Save Your Prayers album. UFO have always had good lead guitarists, Laurence Archer and Vinny Moore, but the classic era is defined by Schenker and Chapman.

Chapman is supported here by Neil Carter, a rhythm guitarist/keyboard player in the Paul Raymond mode and according to the liner notes, made a big impact as a live performer. He later turned up in Gary Moore's touring band, before he ignored rock music and became a yawn of a blues-player that many are tired of today.

This UFO is Pete Way-less, which is a bit like Deep Purple without Roger Glover. Interestingly, just as this has hit the streets, they're touring without Pete at the moment while he recovers from a liver condition. He is replaced here by Paul Gray for this release, which means only Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker remain from the original line-up.

But don't let that put you off because this is a short, sharp and brilliant release. Beginning with the vibrant We Belong to the Night, this is a rare CD that showcases some of Paul Chapman's best work in a live format. In particular, Couldn't Get it Right, takes on a new dimension on stage. The only thing that let's this release down is the closing track, Mystery Train, which is over-indulgent and as the previous reviewer said, there were others from that show they could have included - When it's Time to Rock, perhaps?

Overall, though a refreshing live CD from one of the best acts ever to grace the rock stage. It would have received five stars if they replaced Mystery Train say with the excellent, Diesel in the Dust.

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