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Profile for Frank Bierbrauer > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Frank Bierbrauer (Manchester, Lancashire, UK)

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Ex Machina [DVD] [2015]
Ex Machina [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Domhnall Gleeson
Price: £3.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting., 4 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Ex Machina [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
An interesting film. It attempts to be a little different from the usual superficial, over sensationalised robot movie. It does a pretty good job although the billionaire AI genius is actually pretty unpleasant, no doubt intentionally so. The young upstart who gets to spend some time with the billionaire in his hermetically sealed underground bunker-like research facility in the mountains. Here he is supposed to test the new AI development a robot woman called Ava. He is supposed to run something like the Turing test to determine if she is truly conscious. There is an underlying surreptitiousness and a few surprises. One thing that is not really studied is whether the robot woman also possesses emotions.

It looks at various aspects of humanity quite intelligently although in reality the AI singularity is a bit of a joke with current science and technology. Its a decent film but far from perfect. I would have liked to have seen something other than the killing at the end. Questions remain, why did Ava not help the young visitor? Why did the helicopter pilot transport Ava when he was waiting for the man instead?


Pushing Ice
Pushing Ice
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable hard science fiction novel., 4 May 2015
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This review is from: Pushing Ice (Paperback)
A very enjoyable novel. It starts off slowly building the environment both physical and psychological before things start to happen. Stick with it its worth it. The crew of a comet mining ship in the late 21st century are tasked with intercepting a moon of one of the giant planets which has broken its orbit under its own power, obviously a fake moon and an alien spaceship. There are many aspects to the story including local politics and enmities. Most of it is based on real science except for the advanced technology. Reynolds works pretty much within standard physics, special relativity, and tends to ignore the possibility of faster than light travel, e.g. Alcubierre warp drive, wormholes but its fun.


Japanese Story
Japanese Story
Dvd
Price: £2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars simply beautiful, 12 April 2015
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This review is from: Japanese Story (Amazon Video)
This is an astonishingly beautiful film. Understated and plain in many ways but so moving. Its a story of two very different people both of whom carry their culture and character with them. The open, brash Australian way of Toni Colette, the quiet, understated but very subtle culture of her Japanese co-star. Its also about unexpected love, just where you don't expect to find it. Its about those things which touch each of us no matter where we come from just because we are all vulnerable human beings.


Game of Thrones - Season 1-4 [DVD] [2015]
Game of Thrones - Season 1-4 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Sean Bean

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable TV series., 2 April 2015
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This is an excellent TV series filled with intrigue and some mystery. Essentially its not really any kind of fantasy since the fantasy elements such as dragons and white walkers only come into it occasionally. In reality its about life in the middle ages both for the gentry (read feudal lords) and the poor. Its also about the individual lives of various characters in this world. By far the most interesting of these are Tyrion and Arya both of whom are not so corrupted by power as almost all of the other characters.

There is an element of gratuitous sex and extreme violence which may not have been so necessary I believe. While the middle ages were no doubt quite violent and this might be justifiable some of the extra nudity is not really needed unless there is an attempt to give a sense to the life of the times as being of this form.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2015 8:58 PM BST


Interstellar [DVD] [2014]
Interstellar [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Matthew McConaughey
Price: £4.50

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good film., 1 April 2015
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This review is from: Interstellar [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
This was a really good film. I loved the relationship between father and daughter and also the mysterious aspect which had links to 2001. The girl who played his daughter when young was very good. They also attempted to make it as scientifically realistic as they could manage and did a good job employing Kip Thorn as scientific advisor.


Both Sides Now
Both Sides Now
Dvd
Price: £2.49

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've been waiting for it., 28 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Outlander Season 1 (Amazon Video)
My, my I have indeed enjoyed this TV version of the first book in the Claire and Jamie saga by Diana Gabaldon. Not quite perfect when compared to the book but still very good. I did notice a few gaps here and there such as the handfasting which was part of the book but not in the TV version. So far I've seen only 8 episodes and the ending is missing. Not sure how it works but am looking forward to more. I very much like the characters, Catriona Balfe is good but by far Black Jack Randall is excellent as is Dougal and Collum. I think Jamie needs more presence.


Free and Moving Boundary Problems (Oxford Science Publications)
Free and Moving Boundary Problems (Oxford Science Publications)
by John Crank
Edition: Paperback
Price: £78.00

4.0 out of 5 stars An essential text on the applied mathematics shelf., 21 Nov. 2014
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The other main book by Crank, his first being on the mathematics of diffusion, a very good book mainly about the Stefan problem of melting and solidification. It covers both analytical and numerical methods for solving such problems in all of their variety. It starts with the basics focusing on the simplest heat diffusion model of a block of melting ice. Gradually this is developed to include changing material properties such as density, thermal conductivity and specific heat. The first three chapters cover analytical approaches on 1. moving boundary problems, 2. free boundary problems and 3. analytical techniques to solve them. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on numerical solutions methods especially front tracking and front fixing methods such as body fitted grids. This is followed by the well known enthalpy method.
I found this book excellent for use in various projects for final undergraduate students because it starts at the basics and moves forward to the advanced. This makes it ideal for both beginning students and those better equipped to handle the advanced material. Its one of those essential books on the shelf of an applied mathematician in much the same way that Carslaw and Jaeger or Batchelor occupies such a slot.


The Snow Leopard
The Snow Leopard
by Peter Matthiessen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book., 21 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Snow Leopard (Paperback)
A wonderful book. Its not really about the snow leopard but might in fact be about the ox herding pictures of Zen. This time its the story of Matthiessen himself and his experiences on the way to finding the "footprints" of the ox. If you know a little Zen then you know what I mean. Sometimes deeply moving and at occasionally it possesses those sentences a little like Zen sayings with their ability to hit the bell in your mind, not often but sometimes.


Haven - Season 3
Haven - Season 3
Dvd
Price: £24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Getting better and better, 21 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Haven - Season 3 (Amazon Video)
Haven simply gets better. The first season was a little slow and hard to get into but its got better and better. I'm now in the third season and the shift from the events in Haven to the connection between the three main characters was an excellent idea. It makes the show more personal and shows wonderful relationships forming.


...A better place.
...A better place.
Dvd
Price: £1.89

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best dramas I have seen in many a year., 15 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Betrayal Season 1 (Amazon Video)
This was one of the best dramas I have seen in many a year. It is very realistic, the events that occurred could have happened. Some reviewers have said that it was slow but in fact it was just real. The relationship between Sara and Jack developed slowly and you can see how their decisions weighed on them especially the moment when Sara makes the decision to stay at the train station instead of catching her train. Its the most important moment in the whole story I feel. I loved their love although felt that at times it lacked intensity. The end was so very sad for Jack and in his haste to act properly and avoid his previous mistakes he let Sara go too easily whereas for her love still lingered. I simply wanted Jack to tell her he loved her, he never really did that. I also felt that while her husband was a pretty decent guy he just lacked that deep love she needed, something Jack could give her. Unfortunately I think this ends the series but nonetheless a very good one indeed.


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