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Brit Boy (England)

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Just Friends [DVD]
Just Friends [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ryan Reynolds
Price: £3.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Laughs are assured, and I can relate, 27 July 2016
This review is from: Just Friends [DVD] (DVD)
Romantic comedies aren't usually my thing, but there are some excellent ones out there which do appeal to me, and 'Just Friends', a 2005 American flick is one of those rare examples. It has an intelligent, witty script, a highly realistic situation, and believable characters.

The Ewan McGregor Handbook - Everything You Need to Know About Ewan McGregor
The Ewan McGregor Handbook - Everything You Need to Know About Ewan McGregor
by Emily Smith
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Get this book instantly for free - type 'Ewan McGregor' into Wikipedia, 26 July 2016
A few years ago, there was quite a phase when a 'someone' (in this case an 'Emily Smith') would take all of the information regarding a famous person on Wikipedia, keep the same format (including the pictures) of those articles, put them all together in a book, and sell it off under the title of 'The (Insert Name) Handbook' for a pretty hefty price.

Ewan McGregor is one of my all-time favourite actors, an icon of the '90s, and as such, there have been many proper (unauthorised) books written about him. The best one is probably still Billy Adams' 1997 Ewan McGregor: The Biography, and I'd advise you buy that instead, and not to line the pockets of lazy people who will do anything for a quick buck. What you have here is Ewan's Wikipedia page as of some day in 2011, and all of the separate articles which were on there regarding his many movies.

Don't be fooled by this cheeky con, and read all of the information in here for free on Wikipedia instead.

Somebody From Somewhere
Somebody From Somewhere
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Steven Tyler goes country?, 26 July 2016
This review is from: Somebody From Somewhere (Audio CD)
Whilst we were told that rock-and-roll royalty Steven Tyler had decided to go down the country route away from his band, 'Somebody From Somewhere', though definitely 'country' in places, sounds more like a collection of left-over, watered-down Aerosmith songs, so highly unlikely to alienate his fan base. At the grand old age of 68, his powerful voice has never been in better shape.

For me, it's two of the old songs which provide the biggest highlights on this enjoyable album, a superior, much-darker version of the Aerosmith hit 'Janie's Got A Gun', and an impressive cover of the Sixties standard 'Piece of My Heart', featuring The Loving Mary Band. There's some great new soft ballads, namely 'It Ain't Easy', 'Love Is Your Name, 'Only Heaven', and 'What Am I Doin' Right?'. 'I Make No Sunshine' is an infectiously upbeat track, and the country-rocker 'The Good, the Bad, the Ugly & Me', though clichéd, is perhaps the best of the heavier stuff. Really though, there isn't a stinker to be found, and when it's not great, it's merely average, never bad.

The production of the album is first rate, and gives these great songs a much more polished sound to many of those with Aerosmith. Whilst 'Somebody From Somewhere' is certainly no masterpiece, it's really nice to listen to, and Steven's voice is, as ever, a star attraction. He was clearly having a blast with this project, and I think the majority of fans will want to give it a listen. This is not a country record in the traditional sense, but it does have some strong vibes.

Mrs Merton - The Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD]
Mrs Merton - The Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Caroline Aherne

4.0 out of 5 stars She shared the joy that's in her heart, throughout the world, 26 July 2016
This single DVD contains the complete first series of the BBC's BAFTA winning spoof-chat show 'The Mrs Merton Show', that's six uncut episodes, and the pilot featuring Carol Thatcher, and Terry Christian. This offers a good taster of the programme if you're curiosity has been arisen following that sad death of Caroline Aherne, and if you fancy a trip down memory lane, but please note that the same DVD company ('Network') have also issued the complete collection of five series, which you can buy here: The Mrs. Merton Show - The Complete BBC Series 1-5 [DVD].

In what was a very unique show, the quick-witted Caroline, in extensive make-up, and wearing a granny wig, starred as the frail looking old lady talk show host Mrs. Merton, processor of an acid tongue and a penchant for asking cheeky questions and shocking double-entendres. It was very funny to see the celebrities fall 'victim' to this acid -tongued creation.

These episodes originally aired on the BBC in early 1995, and the most famous innocent in the show's history took place with that now notorious question addressed to Debbie McGee about her older husband Paul Daniels (another recently departed veteran). Other entertaining highlights include her encounters with a diverse range of people including Dale Winton, Russell Grant, Steve Coogan, Ken Livingstone, Royal butler Peter Russell, and Mary Whitehouse, who was filmed at her home rather than in the studio.

The regular, elderly members of the show's audience were real characters in their own right, and you'll learn to love them as well. This bevy of 'game' pensioners also had the chance to ask the celebrity guests questions, and also take part in another entertaining feature of the programme called 'The Heated Debate', which allowed them to shine. These down-to-earth people contributed so much to what really was a unique, landmark programme which still holds up reasonably well today. In my opinion, things only got funnier as the series went on, but it all started here, and it's not difficult to see why Mrs. Merton became a cult figure, and Caroline was hailed as a genius.

The title of this review is taken from a line in the show's theme song, and is something which can be addressed to both Mrs. Merton, and Caroline Aherne.

Mrs Merton And Malcolm - The Complete BBC Series [DVD]
Mrs Merton And Malcolm - The Complete BBC Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Caroline Aherne
Offered by A2ZSupplies
Price: £8.63

3.0 out of 5 stars Very grim, but humorous and realistic, 26 July 2016
After the recent, tragic death of Caroline Aherne, I decided to give the BBC's 'Mrs Merton and Malcolm' another go, after feeling rather underwhelmed the first time I watched it. Luckily, I can say that it was better than what I had given it credit for, but it left me feeling rather sad in many ways.

This one series programme was panned by the critics, which ensured that it wouldn't go over it's initial six episode run in 1999. 'Mrs Merton and Malcolm' was a spin-off of the far superior 'Mrs Merton Show', centring around the kindly (on the surface) elderly lady, and her 37-year-old son Malcolm, who was occasionally seen on the Merton chat show, and quite often mentioned in conversation.

The character of Malcolm, a 'man-child' who still lives a home and acts like a little boy, is nicely portrayed by Craig Cash, and Caroline Aherne continued her sterling job as Mrs. Merton. The setting of this show is rather like that of 'The Royal Family', in that it takes it's place in the home, and we rarely seen any other location. Although there are more than a handful of very funny moments throughout each episode (especially the final one), including some great innuendoes, and general tittle-tattle about the local people, this is essentially 'black-comedy', and very grim.

It realistically portrays lonely people's sad problems on the screen, and you often feel as though you are listening in on real conversations. Although the press accused it of poking fun of people with mental problems, I think that's going too far, as it reaches out for us to feel sympathy with them, I know that I did. Malcolm has no friends, and his mother's only mate is suffering from Alzheimers, and her husband is bed ridden. At all times, there is a lot warmth, and compassion, and if you look at it properly, there is nothing to feel offended over.

I think that 'Mrs Merton and Malcolm' is something you should give another chance to, if you don't think much of it at first. I still don't think this was Caroline Aherne's finest hour, but it's still an enjoyable show, albeit rather uncomfortable at times.

Dermot O'leary Presents The Saturday Sessions 2016
Dermot O'leary Presents The Saturday Sessions 2016
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great year for Dermot's Saturday Sessions, 25 July 2016
The annual 'Dermot O'leary Presents' CD series always carry some excellent live material, but this latest one from the past year contains two truly outstanding performances, the first is the opener, Gregory Porter's version of the Beatles classic 'Let it Be', which showcases his powerful vocals, and new folk band Applewood Road's stunning delivery of the R.E.M. hit 'Loosing My Religion'.

On this hugely popular BBC Radio 2, like the 'Live Lounge' programme, Dermot invites a host star names, and up-and-coming talents, to perform either one of their biggest hits, or an interesting cover version (either contemporary or vintage) of someone else's, in a unique, stripped-back, acoustic way. Of course, not everyone will appreciate this style, and will prefer to stick to the considerably more upbeat originals, so it becomes a question of whether you'd like to hear the music in a much slower way.

Spread across these two CDs, in addition to those aforementioned two, are some great contributions, including the unusual chance to hear the band Travis play Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun', Ben Howard doing the Jessie Ware song 'Wildest Moments', the singer Foxes, whose divine voice is perfect for Lauper's 'Time After Time', the indie-folk band Villagers playing their own song 'Courage', George Ezra's excellent stripped-back version of his own hit 'Cassy O', and Hozier's 'Take Me to Church', these young men can really sing.

If you're interested in hearing your favourite modern artists and songs (a lot of which, as you've probably worked out already be selection of 'highlights', are classic hits) often performed in a completely different way, without the aid of any special effects, then this interesting, and highly enjoyable two disc live collection is, like it's predecessors, well worth investing in.

Dermot O'leary Presents The Saturday Sessions 2013
Dermot O'leary Presents The Saturday Sessions 2013
Price: £12.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent chilled-out music, 25 July 2016
The 2013 annual of the 'Dermot O'leary Presents' CD series contains some real treats. On this hugely popular BBC Radio 2, like the 'Live Lounge' programme, Dermot invites a host star names to perform either one of their biggest hits, or an interesting cover version of someone else's, in a unique, stripped-back, acoustic way. Of course, not everyone will appreciate this style, and will prefer to stick to the considerably more upbeat originals, so it becomes a question of whether you'd like to hear the music in a much slower way.

There is plenty of great exclusives on here for myself, most notably Miles Kane with his interpretation of the Rolling Stones' hit 'Play with Fire', indie-pop band Scouting for Girls, who always do good covers, performing 'You Got the Style' by Athlete, Emeli Sandé, who does a surprisingly nice version of 'Eleanor Rigby', The Slow Slow with Springsteen's 'Born to Run', Bastille and their smooth take on 'Blue Jeans' by Lana Del Rey, and Ed Sheeran delivering Jessie J's 'Who You Are'. Among the artists who decided to play their own songs on 'Dermot O'leary Presents', I have to highlight Ben Howard and his live version of 'Old Pine, and Kodaline with 'All I Want' which, considering the sound of the originals, obviously don't sound all to different from their studio versions.

If you're interested in hearing your favourite modern artists and songs (a lot of which are classic hits) performed in a completely way, without the aid of any special effects, then this interesting, and highly enjoyable two disc live collection is well worth investing in.

Great Movies - 100 Years of Cinema
Great Movies - 100 Years of Cinema
by N/A
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars A nicely presented book, 19 July 2016
This is a hardback coffee-table sized book which does exactly what it says on the title, it's offers a brief but enjoyable look-back at just 'Great Movies' from over 100 years of cinema. It was written by publisher and cultural historian Andrew Heritage who, in his words: "has spent too long in darkened rooms watching films."

The movies are categorised in the book under ten different genres, including 'Fantasy', 'Sci-Fi & Horror', 'Musicals', 'Comedy', and 'Romance and Melodrama'. Each film. which include many diverse classics like 'Psycho', 'Home Alone', 'The Lion King', 'Die Hard', 'Star Wars', and 'Saving Private Ryan' are presented across two pages with lots of screen captures and posters. The author writes about them in an easy-to-read, never taxing or particularly in-depth style, and offers a list of similar, sometimes less-celebrated movies to seek out. He lets his opinion occasionally come through on the pages, although very rarely is it unjustly negative.

I don't think 'Great Movies' is in anyway the best book of it's kind, it's more for a 'celebration', but can still be used as a useful reference guide, and it makes for a good talking point. Set out like an magazine or a scrap book, it's very nice to look at, and will make a good present for film students especially.

101 Cult Movies: You Must See Before You Die
101 Cult Movies: You Must See Before You Die
by Steven Jay Schneider
Edition: Flexibound
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A handy little book, 19 July 2016
This is a really handy little book for all dedicated movie buffs, but please note that it was previously published under the title 101 Cult Movies You Must See Before You Die in 2009.

Here, picked by a variety of contributors and edited all together by Steven Jay Schneider, are 101 'cult movies' from across the world spanning from 1928's surrealistic film 'Un Chien Andalou', to the 2013 UK flick 'Under the Skin'. Every film is arranged in sections by decade, and a wide, balanced variety of genres are included.

A lot of these movies were already familiar to me including British classics like 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', 'Withnail and I', and Danny Boyle's 'Shallow Grave', but many of them are very obscure, which only adds to the fun of discovering new pictures to watch. Each one is presented in the book with it's original poster artwork, and there is the basic information regarding director, producer, screenplay, cinematography, music, and main cast, before a well-written short study, which do contain a lot of spoilers.

If you wish to expand your movie knowledge, and find some new favourites, '101 Cult Movies: You Must See Before You Die' is a very useful, entertaining piece of work, which makes for an ideal present.

The Secret Life of Pets [DVD] [2015]
The Secret Life of Pets [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Kevin Hart
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun for the family!, 19 July 2016
From the makers of the hugely popular 'Despicable Me' movies, comes another thoroughly enjoyable computer animated adventure, which isn't quite as consistently funny as I'd imagine it would be, but 'The Secret Life of Pets' is still good fun for the family to enjoy regardless.

The story revolves around papered Jack Russell pooch Max, who finds his nose pushed out of joint when his girl owner Katie rescues another dog from the local pound -- a huge, hairball called Max (Eric Stonestreet). After confrontation between the two dogs in the park, both of them find themselves down a dark alleyway with an army of nasty cats. The dog catchers take them away, only for them to end up feeling the wrath of Snowball (Kevin Hart), a cute (on the surface) but very crazy rabbit, angered by the way his magician owner had dropped him when the laughs tried up, and his gang of other disregarded pets. Kind hearted Gidget (Jenny Slate), a dog who secretly loves Max, sets out with his animal friends to rescue and bring him back home.

If you were to think of this as a little bit similar to 'Toy Story', you would be on the right lines. The animals only come to life and let their true personalities appear when their owners leave the house, both main characters dislike each other initially but work together when in danger and develop a mutual appreciation of the other, and there are some genuinely touching, heartfelt moments. There are no really great original songs, but strong voice acting from the star names, and more than enough funny bits to please, including a couple of fairly adult gags sneaked in to make the grown ups chuckle.

This isn't on the same level as the 'Despicable Me' movies, but 'The Secret Life of Pets' provides 90 minutes of harmless, light-hearted release. Go to the cinema with the kids, and catch a brand new opening short starring the Minions.

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