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Brett_Bloom (United Kingdom)

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The Killing: The Complete Season 2 [DVD] [2009]
The Killing: The Complete Season 2 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Sofie Gråbøl
Price: £11.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Soren Sveistrup Masterpiece. But let down by poor DVD extras., 12 Sept. 2013
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Season Two of 'The Killing' is as addictive as its predecessor. A great detective is once again immersed in a brilliant story. If you really want to enjoy it, read no further. And start watching! Even to know some of the issues of season two will spoil your enjoyment.

The only real problem I had with this DVD package is as follows. At this time of increasing online piracy, customers like me buy DVD box sets because we love the physical object of our favourite TV shows. 'The Killing' is one of the greatest crime series of all time. The producers and the marketing team for this DVD could have done a lot to give the fans a few treats. This box set comes with a short 'Making Of' documentary. But this is only 18 minutes long. And it simply has a few talking heads with Sofie Grabol and its producer. Was it asking too much to get the creator and writer, Sven Sveistrup to make some contributions? Sofie Grabol is a superb actor. But without Sveistrup's storytelling skills, we would not have had this great show. Going forward, companies that produce DVDs such as 'The Killing' should provide better extras to make sure the customers get good value for their money. At over £22, one should deserve that.

Having said all that, please don't stop buying this DVD. 'The Killing' is worth re-watching. And just like one of your favourite novels, it is good to have the actual box set, sitting on a shelf, reminding you of how great TV dramas can be!

Right Guard Xtreme Sport 72H Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Stick 50ml (Pack of 2)
Right Guard Xtreme Sport 72H Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Stick 50ml (Pack of 2)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Friend For a Man During a Heatwave!, 20 Aug. 2013
I was searching for a good new anti-perspirant with a new smell for this heatwave of 2013. I prefer roll-on applicators to the sprays. And I found a perfect companion in Right Guard's 'Xtreme Sport.'

The design is beautiful with its compact and robust feel. It can be discreetly kept in one's jacket as well as bags. The remarkable thing is that it requires just a small amount to keep you smelling fresh for up to ten hours. The product is marketed as having a "72 hour protection." As a metrosexual man who is addicted to bathing at least once every 24 hours, I'm not in a position to judge whether this anti-perspirant would prevent a man from exuding a foul smell for three days! If you have a good bath or shower in the morning, and then apply 'Xtreme Sport', you will be genuinely protected for the rest of the day.

The scent of 'Xtreme Sport' is also a surprising delight for this price. It is sufficiently masculine with a hint of femininity! There is a smell of a field of flowers during a storm. And I love that.

The roll-on comprises a white block of chemicals that has so far lasted three weeks without any hassle. And I expect it to last for at least another week.

For the rest of the summer of 2013 and beyond, I will be using Right Guard's Xtreme Sport. The scent, its design, the price and its thorough anti-perspirant quality make it a real bargain.

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait [DVD] [2006]
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ David Beckham
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £4.87

5.0 out of 5 stars This film, just like Zidane, is a work of art., 6 Aug. 2013
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This is one of the most unusual films that you'll ever see about sport. In this case, the subject is Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest footballers of all time. What is truly unique is the filmmakers' decision to do the following: during a match between Real Madrid and Villareal, seventeen movie cameras are made to capture every single movement of Zidane.

What is the result? A documentary about a sportsman that is innovative, educational, and also a work of art. If you are under 18 year of age with a dream of wanting to play football at the highest level, then this is the DVD you must watch and study. Zidane's elegant movements, his effortless touches, and the way he stays completely focused are an act of poetry in motion. You may rate other footballers above Zidane. However, for pure artistry of a man possessed by his own genius, this is the film that will be admired in fifty or hundred years' time.

The other element of this film's success goes to the Scottish band Mogwai. Recently, their music enchanted the French drama series 'The Returned.' In 2006, their haunting score matches the hypnotic visual presence of Zidane on the pitch.

As DVD extras, there is a 'Making Of Documentary' as well as interviews with the film directors Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno.

I need to add one note of caution: if you are after a conventional documentary about Zidane, then this movie is not for you. By 'conventional', I mean the inclusion of lots of great footage of Zidane's best and worst moments with plenty of talking heads from former colleagues and pundits. This is NOT one of those documentaries. The truly unique point about this film is that it is all about ONE match and ONE player. The cameras are simply not interested in anyone else on that pitch. This film is all about stalking a footballing genius in a positive and artful way.

If you are a sophisticated football fanatic, then 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait' has to be in your DVD collection. If you have secret dreams of wanting to achieve greatness as a footballer, this is a film you must watch and re-watch. If you are a parent or guardian with a child who loves football, then this film will be an invaluable gift that should inspire a new generation. And if you love unique works of visual art, then you don't even have to like football to love this magnificent DVD.

It would be great if the producers of this film could do a sequel with Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, or your own favourite footballer. Or, they could go in to a different sport such as tennis and put 17 movie cameras on Roger Federer as he plays in the next US Open. Let's immortalise Federer's greatness in a unique way before he retires. We are all lucky that Gordon & Parreno archived Zidane's brilliance for many new generations of fans who didn't get the chance to watch him play.
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9 Songs [DVD]
9 Songs [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kieran O'Brien
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £4.78

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The realistic counterpart to 'Fifty Shades of Grey', 31 July 2013
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This review is from: 9 Songs [DVD] (DVD)
Michael Winterbottom's '9 Songs' is one of the most realistic movies ever made about sex. Using real concert footage of bands such as Franz Ferdinand, we go in to the under-lit lounge, kitchen, and bedroom of a couple called Lisa and Matt. They have sex. They go to another concert. They have sex. They go to another live concert.

There is no plot.

There is no story.

There is no real attempt at other elements that make up a conventionally told story.

Any other director would not have got away with a movie such as '9 Songs.' But this is a success because Margo Stilley and Kieran O'Brien bring a brand of realism that is helplessly erotic!

If you love the music of bands such as The Dandy Warhols, Primal Scream, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Super Furry Animals, then you would love the concert footage alone. But, if these bands mean nothing to you, then you are unlikely to warm to '9 Songs.'

Also, if you want your movies about sex to have a fantasy element, then this is certainly not for you. The great strength of this film lies in Winterbottom's depiction of realism within our sex lives.

If you are looking for a classy evening with your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or husband, then '9 Songs' has to be a guaranteed hit in your bedroom! In real life, there is little glamour in sex. In real life, even the most stable relationship can become predictable and listless. However, one can still experience beauty within the mundane aspects of a long-term relationship.

That's why '9 Songs' is a lovely poem about a 'normal' relationship. Not all of us can be the Christian Grey of the E.L.James trilogy. However, one CAN find so much fun and joy within the ordinary setting of a regular house or apartment. '9 Songs' is the opposite of a fantasy. It reminds us that realism can be more enjoyable than any daydream.

True Colours: My Life
True Colours: My Life
by Adam Gilchrist
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly epic autobiography of an innovative cricketer., 31 July 2013
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This review is from: True Colours: My Life (Hardcover)
Adam Gilchrist's 'True Colours: My Life' is a 608 page epic that humanises one of the great icons of cricket. As a pioneering wicketkeeper-batsman in the great Australian side during its last golden age, Gilchrist broke so many records that it was easy to think of him as an immortal human being. This book tells a story of a man who is riven with doubts, insecurities, and fears, just like everyone else. For most of us who watched Gilchrist's heroics, he was a superhero. This is why 'True Colours' is a compelling read in taking us in to the mind of how a boy became a legend.

Unlike too many other books in this genre of sports autobiography, this one is written in good, clean prose. There are so many great passages on subjects such as focus, concentration, and the craft of learning batting and wicketkeeping. But these are embedded within a great journey. Reading this book was like watching a long and gripping TV drama series.

If you have a passion for reading about high achievers in sport, you would love Adam Gilchrist's autobiography. If you are under 18 years old with ambitions of wanting to become a great wicketkeeper-batsman, then this book must be by your bedside. I have to class 'True Colours' as one of the ten most inspiring sports autobiographies I ever read.

Seeing The Sunrise
Seeing The Sunrise
by Justin Langer
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A surpringly brilliant self-help book from an unlikely source., 31 July 2013
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This review is from: Seeing The Sunrise (Hardcover)
Many memoirs and autobiographies of great sports stars can also be wonderful books of self-improvement. But how many sports stars have written books that are explicitly about sharing the tools that made them successful? This is why 'Seeing The Sunrise' is a lovely surprise. Justin Langer has been one of the greatest batsmen during the last golden age of Australian cricket. His tenacious approach was the foundation of his success. Now, in this book, Langer goes in to detail about the mindset of a great champion.

The book is divided in to 31 short chapters. And they begin with a quote from other inspiring figures such as Henry Ford, Gandhi, and Greg Chappel. And Langer has many insightful things to say on subjects such as self-talk, mental toughness, critics, and constant improvement. Most of these chapters are peppered with Langer's own experiences. On the chapter titled 'Mental Toughness', Langer goes in to detail about the influence of Steve Waugh, one of Australia's cricket gods.

Not every elite tennis player, cricketer, or soccer star is going to write a self-improvement book such as 'Seeing The Sunrise.' Justin Langer puts the reader before his ego. It is about helping others through what he learned as an elite sportsman. Not all of us have to be a professional sports person to get a lot from this book. If you were under 18 with dreams of sporting glory, I urge you to make this book one of your bibles. If you were someone who loves the work of Anthony Robbins or Paul McKenna, then 'Seeing The Sunrise' will give you so much inspiration.

Destination: Morgue
Destination: Morgue
by James Ellroy
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 389 page prose-poem from one of the most original crime novelists of all time., 31 July 2013
This review is from: Destination: Morgue (Hardcover)
James Ellroy's 'Destination: Morgue!' should be regarded as a companion piece to his superb memoir 'My Dark Places.' The two main differences here are the prose style and a second part that includes three novellas.

Part I is titled 'Crime Culture / Memoir.' This gives us some of the best insights into James Ellroy's evolution as as writer since he published 'My Dark Places.' This first memoir used elegant and simple sentences. Then, Ellroy changed his tactics. The staccato prose of novels such as 'White Jazz' became a device for Ellroy to be poetic in every possible sentence. This may infuriate some readers. In some passages of 'Destination: Morgue', it seems Ellroy is simply trying too hard to create alliterative sentences at the expense of composing a coherent essay or story. However, this is a forgivable affectation because even the pretentious lines are worth re-reading for its sheer energy it imbues to Ellroy's mania as a writer. Here are some sentences that encapsulate his prose style and it comes from a chapter called 'I've Got The Goods.'

"We're vigorous vultures of verisimilitude. We feed off the luridly authentic. It makes us feel alive. We require a dish-dipping disjuncture. Distance on our disillusionment. We can't carve carrion too close to ourselves. It subtracts the Allure from Alive. Dystopian dish demands a dynamic.Demigods to devirginize. Star-stamped stand-ins for you and me."

The chapter called 'Where I Get My Weird S***' is easily the most useful piece that takes us in to the mind of a truly self-made literary genius. Ellroy writes "Wambaugh sang me a swan song. Wambaugh changed me for ever. Here's how I know that: He made me ashamed of my life." And this led to the formation of the novelist who would go on to give the world so many masterpieces such as 'L.A. Confidential', 'American Tabloid', and 'Blood's A Rover.'

As one expects with James Ellroy, his fondness for obscenities can be seen on every page. And some of the most poetic sentences will have the F-word or the C-word in them. So, if you are easily offended, Ellroy is not going to be one of your favourite writers!

Part II of this book is called 'Rick Loves Donna' and it contains three novellas. Once again, written in short prose-poetic sentences, these three stories are the literary equivalent of a time-traveling trip to Ellroy's own vision of L.A.

This is a compulsory book for established Ellroy fans. If you have never read anything by him before, the best place to start is 'My Dark Places.' Otherwise, 'Destination Morgue' can be regarded as another great book from one of the most original crime fiction practitioners of all time.

Think Big and Kick Ass: In business and life
Think Big and Kick Ass: In business and life
by Donald Trump
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent self-improvement book, 30 July 2013
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Thanks to 'The Apprentice USA', Donald Trump has re-emerged as a major figure within 21st century pop culture. It is easy to mock him. But reading this series of self-improvement books really does gives us wonderful insights in to what separates the mind of a multi-billionaire from the rest of the 7 billion people on this planet.

As the title says, it is all about coming up with the big ideas and dreams. And then, doing all you can to realise them. Life really is brief. So, why think along small steps? This is the thinking behind Donald Trump.

If you were into the works of people like Anthony Robbins and Paul McKenna, you would love this book. Re-reading some of its chapters on a weekly basis really do have an energising effect on one's mind. With other books within this genre, one has to question whether its author or authors had really achieved real success. I'm interested in getting advice about success from men and women who had really achieved extraordinary things. And in this case, Donald Trump is part of the aristocracy of great entrepreneurs. If you want to learn about how to make the best of your life and talents, this is one of those books you must read.

Ricky Ponting's Captains Diary 2008: A Season of Tests, Turmoil and Twenty20
Ricky Ponting's Captains Diary 2008: A Season of Tests, Turmoil and Twenty20
by Ricky Ponting
Edition: Diary

5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant volume from the life of Ricky Ponting., 30 July 2013
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"He's done it again!", begins this 2008 volume of Ricky Ponting's diary. And from that first sentence, we are in to the drama and the excitement of what it really likes to be the captain of the Australian cricket team while they were dominating all three formats of this sport. What makes this series a compelling read is the contribution from Ponting's co-author, Geoff Armstrong. Although the book has the tone of a diary, Armstrong has given its content the feel and vigour of an engaging novel.

The book, unlike its predecessors, covers a period that Armstrong describes as "one of the most tumultuous 12 months ever experienced by the Australian cricket team." What is the cause of all these crises? The simple answer is Harbhajan Singh. If you want to read that chapter of the sporting relations between India and Australia, this is an important book. This issue had even prompted Ponting and Armstrong to include an element that is unusual for a sportsman's diary. Thirty pages in to this book, we get a chapter entitled "Cricket Australia's Perspective: We Must Consider the Big Picture", from James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia. This is a neat and necessary strategy from Ponting to let his paymasters to have their say.

Once the Harbhajan Singh controversy is out of the way, we are back on the journey of this great Australian side. Within the diary form, Ponting includes mini-articles such as 'The Will To Win'. This gives us an insight into how the young players such as Michael Clarke quickly absorbed the Australian mindset of winning. Ponting says "we love being out there, in the heat of battle, playing the game we love. Training is a buzz, too. So is the realisation that we are constantly learning as we go... This happy, positive mindset is a feature of the Australian team, and it's a trait carried by the successful state teams across the country."

There are many other mini-essays such as these that cover Adam Gilchrist's statistics as a match-winner; Ponting's views on the inaugural Indian Premier League; and 'The Magnificent 29' about the two groups of players in the record-breaking 16-Test winning run achieved under Steve Waugh and Ponting.

There are also wonderful photos that bring this diary to life. At the end, there are nearly 30 pages of 'Scores And Averages' which will be a treat for those cricket nerds!

Just like other books in this series, 'Ricky Ponting's Captain's Diary 2008' is a wonderful read for anyone who wants to take a trip in to the mind of a great captain of a national sport team.

Glenn McGrath: Line and Strength - The Complete Story
Glenn McGrath: Line and Strength - The Complete Story
by Glenn McGrath
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story of one of the greatest sporstmen of all time., 29 July 2013
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Glenn McGrath is one of the gods of cricket. Most cricket lovers already knew that. But this book takes us on a journey in to the mindset of the greatest fast bowler of the past twenty years. What was really fascinating is the early years. The pages that describe the young Glenn, practicing the art of swing bowling, all by himself under the heat of the Australian sun is worthy of a Baz Luhrman movie.

The story of Glenn McGrath is brilliantly narrated by Daniel Lane. It becomes an inspiring portrait of a shy boy who was determined to make a mark on this world with an obsessive work ethic. Lane writes:

"Glenn McGrath, the boy who couldn't bowl. But the boy learned to bowl, improving his accuracy during his lonely training sessions, never bothering to tell anyone...that the reason he spent those hours finetuning his style was that he knew one day he'd play for Australia. It was as certain for him as the fact that the sunrise would bring the promise of even more back-breaking labour. His long hours were inspired by some words of wisdom the South African golfer Gary Player once offered a supporter who wished he could hit the ball like Player. 'Go hit a thousand balls a day and you will,' was the champion's reply."

There are many passages like these that concurrently evoke the golden age of Australian cricket. McGrath's rise and dominance as a genius of fast bowling mirror the lives of the other great Australian cricketers from 1990 to 2007. This book covers McGrath's relationships with the likes of the Waugh Brothers, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and the men who formed the "Fast Bowlers' Cartel"

If you love cricket, you don't have to be an Australian to find this book a real inspiration. Now that we are at a time when Australian cricket is going through a painful decline, this book is an interesting reminder of a man who rose to greatness during Australia's last horrible cricket depression back in the mid-1980s. 'Line And Strength,' just like many other great books about sports stars, transcends its genre and becomes a revitalising book of self-improvement. One can achieve great things with an incredible work ethic and positivity. Just read this story of Glenn McGrath.

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