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M. Wilkinson (Portsmouth, Hampshire)
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Harold Lloyd: The Definitive Collection [DVD]
Harold Lloyd: The Definitive Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harold Lloyd

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious - essential viewing for almost anyone who likes comedy, 4 Mar. 2008
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By chance I saw part of one of Harold Lloyd's silent movies on TV, normally I would not watch a black and white movie let alone a silent film but I started laughing and realised what comic genius I was witness to. Ordering this set came soon after.

You might have trouble getting them out of the box. They're packed in there so tightly that I literally had to get a knife and cut the case to get the individual dvds out but I don't think I can take off a star just for that.

Movies like 'A Sailor made man', 'Safety Last' and 'Why Worry' really make this set worthwhile on their own but there's lots of other good films and shorts, too.

A wonderful set to have in your collection. Anyone who doesn't think they could sit down and enjoy a silent movie (though there are also a few 'talkies' on here) will be converted as soon as one of the movies are played for them.


Precious
Precious
by Melanie Dunea
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great and original photos, dull commentary, 21 Aug. 2007
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This review is from: Precious (Hardcover)
In this book Nigel Parry and Melanie Dunea collaborate on a grand project - each having taken a picture of a celebrity - but not a traditional head and shoulders - instead, each of them were asked what their most precious bodypart is and thats what was photographed. Some are a little abstract, for instance when people say their most precious bodypart is their heart, brain or even in susan sarandon's case her 'spirit' hmm.

Still the work is very original, the angles are interesting and the work is elevated to fine-art with the treatments. Each model was asked to explain their decision and this gets a tiny bit tedious - there are about 5 people in the book saying something about eyes being portals to the soul - Yawn! Still, the work is wonderful. Many of the pictures are treated with metallic gold ink which doesnt always add much but the pictures do look very interesting, while the binding and cover show real quality and for aspiring portrait photographers there are lots of ideas. I also had doubts about some of the people included, why would I want to see a picture of Monica Lewinsky - it says on her page 'designer' - yeah right, thats what she's famous for. Mmhm.

In terms of a coffee table book or just inspiration for ideas its quite 'precious' itself. Just wish they'd been a bit more of it and comments from the photographers instead of some vapid comments from the celebrities themselves.


Adobe Photoshop CS3 Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book (Adobe))
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book (Adobe))
by Andrew Faulkner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £39.99

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of better books out there, 16 July 2007
I bought classroom in a book for CS2 and managed to look through this one at a library - many of the exercises were lifted in their entirety from the last edition including the exercises on basics, layers, filters etc - so if you bought classroom in a book CS2 you'll be very upset with this. Though I did not work through the whole book, I did with the last edition and there were plenty of mistakes, things that if done exactly as instructed would simply not work. The relatively small size of the book and high price are certainly not things that would encourage me to go for it.

There's always a slew of books accompanying adobe's latest so its difficult to know what to go with. Though amazon at the moment is not offering a very good discount on it, Martin Evening's latest book 'CS3 for photographers' stands head and shoulders above the rest. If you can get hold of both books before you make your choice you'll find its no choice at all.


Planet Earth
Planet Earth

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's back!, 15 July 2007
This review is from: Planet Earth (Audio CD)
I recently updated on the little mysterious artist's music buying 3121, musicology and controversially - getting this album for free in the Mail on Sunday! If you missed it, don't worry as amazon aren't asking for too much for it. I was curious to see how he has gone about reinventing himself - we know he can from the gold experience which was made when critics were starting to think he was out of touch and then just wowed them all.

The first track on 'planet earth' is a soulful call to arms about the plight of the world which America is finally waking up to. Nice but who cares? We like Prince because he invented funk. Skip to track two to see him coming back with a bang, 'guitar' has all the excitement and thrill of his most famous tracks from the past and great lyrics - 'I love you baby, but not like I love my guitar!' *cue amazing guitar solo*. Many of the other tracks are slow jazzy numbers that remind me of his earlier work, in particular the ballads from the batman soundtrack. Not to worry though, by the time you get to track 8, Chelsea Rodgers will wake you up in style. Its not just the best song on the album in my opinion, its one of his best tracks ever. A funky, exciting number sure to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.

Enjoy


Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Celebrity Editorial Photography
Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Celebrity Editorial Photography
by Michael Grecco
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful and inspiring, 14 July 2007
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This is a great book from one of the most prestigious portrait photographers in the US. Strange in a way for someone in such a position to be revealing so many trade secrets but the most interesting tips are the ones unsaid, you look at the pictures and think about your own concepts. Each section of the book focuses on a different area and includes a finished piece - such as the iconic cross processed picture of Mulder & Scully for the X-Files, and on the opposite page, an explanation for how it was achieved - where the lights were etc, he also talks about the kinds of cameras he uses but don't look to have the debate between film and digital cleared up here, Grecco obviously still enjoys both. Unless you already have a studio where you can experiment quite a lot - some of the set-ups are expensive in terms of room they'd require to create the most valuable part of the book is simply examples of his portraiture and then after seeing one you like, browsing his recipe for achieving that look.


I've Got a Human in My Throat: Create More Optical Delusions with Adobe Photoshop
I've Got a Human in My Throat: Create More Optical Delusions with Adobe Photoshop
by The Worth1000.com Artists
Edition: Paperback
Price: £41.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb training manual for graphics wannabes, 21 Jun. 2007
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I'd seen inspiring, hilarious and amazing work on the worth 1000 site and having some of their gurus show how its all done was too much to resist. The book start with photoshop basics such as layers, levels and types of adjustment but very soon you're learning to do quite amazing things with it. There is a CD enclosed which has the files on it. Better than that though, you'll be able to use the techniques anywhere. To my shame, I have not been through the whole book working on all the exercises for lack of time and (possibly effort) if you work through the whole book and practice the various exercises you will be able by the end to come up with just about anything you can imagine and the very last exercise is a sample of how you go about making your own projects from scratch.

Its a fabulous book for people using stock images looking to get in to digital alteration for fun or profit but the changes are usually too obvious and strange to appeal to a photographer. One of the regular books on photoshop or Martin Evening's photoshop for photographers (edition to accompany CS3 out now) would probably be more suitable for them for subtle manipulations and retouching.


Magic in Theory: An Introduction to the Theoretical and Psychological Elements of Conjuring
Magic in Theory: An Introduction to the Theoretical and Psychological Elements of Conjuring
by Peter Lamont
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly useless, 29 April 2007
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I found this book in a bibliography of a recent thriller that had some elements of magic within it and ordered this to chase up the theme and learn more about it. Perhaps I should have thought more about it but from the title you could be forgiven for thinking it would be interesting. The fact is its not. The talk about misdirection is really just common sense things and makes you feel that the standard of writing is really quite amateurish. If you're interested in pursuing magic you won't find more than a couple of well described tricks which would be unimpressive even if it all went to plan. It says most books on magical theory are for magicians... ok... why would someone not interested on the insider's perspective want such a book? Well they wouldn't.

Steer clear of this book. If you want to learn magic there are many many better books. If you want to learn the psychology, ideas about misdirection, then it might be best to pick that up from the other books as you go along. Don't waste your money on this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2008 10:49 AM GMT


The Cold Moon: Lincoln Rhyme Book 7
The Cold Moon: Lincoln Rhyme Book 7
by Jeffery Deaver
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Rhyme's most taxing adventures?, 29 April 2007
Has the surly yet devastatingly analytical and logical Lincoln Rhyme met his match? Perhaps!

I'm not going to spoil the book for anyone who hasn't read it but in this book there is a new villain called the watchmaker who is not what he seems. An elaborate clock is left at the scene of each grisly murder.

The quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme is Deaver's most famous creation and the star of a series of excellent novels beginning with 'the bone collector' which was made in to a film with Denzel Washington (interesting casting, the character is white!) and carries battling complex crimes with his eyes and ears, the beautiful police officer Amelia Sachs in the succeeding novels - the coffin dancer, the empty chair, the stone monkey, the vanished man, the twelfth card and now The Cold Moon.

Deaver's novels are famous for their twists and turns and there are always surprises at the end of the novels, just when you think you know whats going on and this one certainly does not disappoint.

I can't imagine anyone who reads this would not enjoy it and the plot and twists are certainly more well done than the slightly pulpier James Patterson. The twists were so fascinating that when I'd finished it I went flicking through it to confirm what was really going on! The novel unlike most of the others leaves many questions open and I'm sure they will be answered in upcoming novels. One of the characters they brought in for advice - Kathryn Dance who is an expert at interrogation and 'kinesics' is the star of her own upcoming novel so this will be one essential read if you intend to read that one.

Great, well-paced thriller.


Tricks Of The Mind
Tricks Of The Mind
by Derren Brown
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A starting point, perhaps, not a HOW TO-, 25 April 2007
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This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Hardcover)
I'm sorry to say that after reading Derren Brown's book the most useful thing I've found in it is the bibliography which tells you where to find some genuine how-to books. There's one coin trick, one card trick and a general discussion of Derren Brown's experiences with hypnotism while as a student, some of the anecdotes are quite fascinating but not as good as watching them on an episode of tricks of the mind so in many ways just getting one of the dvd packs would be better.

As for his bashing of pseudoscience - spot on... except did I need to read it here? I've read Sagan, I know about James Randi and I've got the God Delusion, it kind of feels like he's preaching to the choir and it seems slightly unnecessary.

He admits at one stage that he fears there is nothing to hold the chapters together except cheap binding and this is sadly a warranted concern.

Derren Brown is certainly a wonderful and highly skilled entertainer but I don't think this book is the best way to appreciate him. Watch his TV show, look at the bibliography in a bookshop and then chase those books down - if you look on amazon you'll see many others are following that trail of breadcrumbs.

An interesting book but not worth buying, even if you like the performer. The main magic book he recommends is Wilson's a complete course in magic which has recently been published and this to me seems a better place to start than this, vague, meandering tale.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 16
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 16
by Harry Ricketts
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can I praise it enough?, 25 April 2007
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I reviewed the 15th book in this wonderful series which as you should know brings in the absolute best wildlife photography taken anywhere in the world for that year, even still only a tiny handful actually are selected to appear in the book and each year another 160 page volume comes out and what amazing pictures they truly are.

I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that the photographers of the world as they grow in number (thanks to the growing number of digital snappers which I have to count myself among) the bar is being raised. The standard of work goes up in every volume of BBC wildlife photographer of the year.

I will make the same small reservation I did with the last volume, the lack of comments from judges is slightly disconcerting given that they appeared in BBC wildlife magazine but nevertheless the images are so gorgeous you simply won't care.

A wonderful book merely as a visual treat and of course as inspiration to go do your own wildlife shooting.


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