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Brian G (Lancashire)

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Belkin In Car Tunecast 6 Universal FM Transmitter - Black
Belkin In Car Tunecast 6 Universal FM Transmitter - Black
Price: £21.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A simple way to choose what you want to hear. Effective & so easy to set up & manage, 27 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On journeys that are more than 'just round the corner' I like to have options. Often I'll prefer a trip in relative silence or chat to whoever is with me but if I want to listen to music it's a bonus to be able to widen my choices & this Tunecast gives me that in a quick, easy way. Who wants complications after all? Apart from carrying a batch of CDs when driving to delve into or be restricted by whatever music/talk station your car radio is set to you can now - thanks to very simple to perform actions - listen to your MP3 player through your car speakers & be the one who determines what sounds you listen to.
There's a brief manual that doesn't need to be too detailed because it really isn't difficult to set this device up. The result is listening to your own chosen songs with clarity as the Tunecast will automatically find a free FM station to use as its own (you can save this on your Tunecast using 1 of 2 memory buttons so the next time you plug it into you car cigarrette lighter socket the Tunecast will instantly find the same frequency again & link to your MP3. As there are 2 memory buttons you can choose 2 channels that otherwise would just be white noise to broadcast your MP3 from).
Control volume levels using your car radio & you're up & running - your very own mobile disco with you the DJ only playing music you downloaded. It's an inexpensive & very effective way to enjoy what YOU want & not have to listen to music or talk stations with no choice.
I like the benefits of the PRO button feature which has 3 settings that you can select the most suitable of for clarity. Especially useful should there be any muffled or low volume on the chosen FM channels. Radios obviously can lessen in quality depending on the strength of signal they receive so this feature is a big plus in enabling you to avoid interference or loss of sound (even under bridges). I doubt it's faultless in this respect although I've yet to have my music suddenly dip dramatically in standard or vanish.
I've yet to use it for a very long journey but so far it's performed very satisfactorily. I'm sure there'll be times I have to adjust the settings or be patient if there should be a loss in standard (I've found lowering volume means you don't pick up background interference but I've not heard much of that anyway thanks to using the PRO button).
It's all about finding what suits best in the area you're in. More often than not my Tunecast has been very clear & not given me any problems or a need to fiddle with it. After first use (when you let the Tunecast find suitable free FM channels) all I've needed to do is just plug it in to connect car to MP3 player, turn MP3 & Car Radio on & all's been fine & dandy. No alarms & no surprises as Thom Yorke would say.
My overall view is I like it & recommend it. It simply does what it says & gives that extra choice we'd otherwise lack - and if you don't have a car with a CD or tape player what you listen to is limited depending on the station you opt for & not open for you to select exactly what YOU want to.
It came well packaged for safe transit & in good time so gets nothing but good feedback from me. Perfectionists will always find faults because....well just because. That's what perfectionists do. For me it does just what I want it to & not being technically suss is a doddle to organise & manage.

Broken Flowers [DVD]
Broken Flowers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.91

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, offbeat and rewarding. Flowers worth picking., 29 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Broken Flowers [DVD] (DVD)
I found `Broken Flowers' to be an extremely entertaining and delightful tale starring Bill Murray in the kind of dry and deadpan role that made `Lost In Translation' such an enjoyable success. Here he plays Don Johnston - an ageing and distant `Casanova'. When dumped by his latest lover Sherry (Julie Delpy) Don's response is to once more accept that the life of a single man is meant for him. But his uncomplicated and seemingly tedious life suddenly livens up dramatically when he gets a mysterious pink letter through the post. In it the anonymous writer tells him that he has a 19 year old son who could be looking for him - quite a turn of events for somebody who prefers a low key existence!

At first Don's reaction is not to react. As usual he's willing to sit back and do nothing. But he hasn't allowed for his neighbour and closest friend (and he doesn't have many!) Winston (Jeffrey Wright). Being something of an amateur detective Winston is far more intrigued and excited than Don is by this `mystery' and pushes him to investigate it. Don has no enthusiasm for delving into his past love lives but despite his reluctance he sets off on a journey across the country to call on four `old flames'. These out of the blue visits to each of these very individual and different women bring new surprises for Don as he awkwardly finds himself facing both his past and his present. And it's an absolute delight to follow his progress and watch his discoveries...

The film may have an apparently simple story but thanks to the astute direction of director/writer Jim Jarmusch it's full of depth and interest. It has a wonderfully pleasing feel but is also very touching. Seeing the women who were once big parts of his life has an unexpected impact on the previously jaded Don. As the story unfolds he finds himself awakening and at last becoming in touch with feelings that he either didn't know were there or he'd buried deep. There are lots of offbeat and amusing moments and plenty of tender and poignant ones too. I wont give any more away because the beauty of this film is in watching events take place and enjoying each unexpected turn. Don't expect anything fast paced - it's a story that would be ruined if rushed. Its measured pace allows its subtlety and mood to provide so much charm, warmth and sadness too. Murray excels as the cynical empty loner who goes on a voyage against his wishes and finds out so much about himself and others. Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, and Tilda Swinton as the four former girlfriends all add differing and fascinating cameos.

So many people have criticised the film for lack of pace or action. What's wrong with allowing a tale to develop and letting its pace give us time to enjoy and learn about the characters and motives? A very rewarding film and a thumbs up from me.

Kolya [DVD]
Kolya [DVD]
Dvd ~ Zdenek Sverak
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.37

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, humorous and poignant. An absolute treat - so indulge yourself!, 24 May 2006
This review is from: Kolya [DVD] (DVD)
`Kolya' is a refreshing, warm and thoughtful film guaranteed to entertain throughout. It's as capable of making you cry just as easily as it will have you laughing out loud at its many humorous moments - and that's not a bad combination for any movie to have! Louka (Zdenek Sverak) is 55 and leads a carefree life in Soviet occupied Czechoslovakia. He enjoys his fair share of socialising and womanising. He can to indulge in his other love - music - due to being a concert cellist. But an unexpected series of events cause his life to change dramatically leaving him exposed to deal with many new emotions he has carefully managed to avoid. After losing his place in the prestigious state orchestra Louka falls heavily in debt. Barely making ends meet playing weddings and funerals a friend suggests marrying a Russian woman in a marriage of convenience. She will get her residence papers and he will get a cash sum. Reluctantly the confirmed bachelor goes ahead with the scam - after all what could possibly go wrong? He soon finds out which is when this gem of a film really takes off...

Louka's new bride promptly runs away to the West leaving her 5 year old son Kolya with her grandmother. Unfortunately when the old lady dies Kolya has only one next of kin he can turn to - his new `stepfather' Louka. It would be easy for the film to slip into the obvious formula of two mismatched people forced to live together only to find that they like each other. `Kolya' manages to liven this much worn formula by avoiding overly predictable cliches, having an excellent script and a superb cast that are believable. We are left with a truly unusual and magical relationship that is strained, realistic, hilarious and emotional - the fact that neither can speak the other's language adds much spice to their difficult situation. Director (Jan Sverak) allows the grumpy, stubborn old man and the innocent young boy (superbly played by Andrej Chalimon) to develop their characters and their bond in a way that completely captures our attention...and hearts. This wonderful piece of cinema deservedly won an Oscar for `Best Foreign Language Film' and scooped many other awards Worldwide.

I was hooked by this treasure of a film and loved every special moment it provides - and there are many. A big thumbs up from me and thoroughly recommended - you wont be disappointed.

Summer Things (Embrassez Qui Vous Voudrez) [DVD] [2003]
Summer Things (Embrassez Qui Vous Voudrez) [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Charlotte Rampling
Price: £5.68

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sexy, funny and heart warming - it's not just the weather that's hot., 24 May 2006
'Summer Things' is witty, very sexy, thought provoking, smart and sizzles in every way. Packed with so many interesting ingredients it can't fail to be enjoyable - and it doesn't. It's an entertaining look at life, love, lust and infidelity in a wonderfully absurd and hilarious farce of epic proportions - and it all begins when rich housewife Elizabeth (Charlotte Rampling) takes a summer holiday that proves to be unforgettable for all concerned...

When her unfaithful husband Bertrand (Jacques Dutronc) makes excuses to stay in Paris to enjoy an ongoing affair with transsexual Rena, Elizabeth sets off for her vacation at an upmarket seaside resort taking friend Julie for company. Single mother Julie (Clotilde Courau) has her own ideas on how to enjoy the break - desperate for a steamy holiday romance she's in no mood to allow her screaming baby or their hard-up neighbours (who just happen to be roughing it in a nearby trailer park) dampen her enthusiasm for some passion. Spicing things up further, other guests at Elizabeth's posh hotel who become entangled in the frantic goings on are depressed jealous husband Jean-Pierre (played by Director Michel Blanc), his exasperated wife Lulu (Carole Bouquet) and serial womaniser Maxime (Vincent Elbaz). Hormonal antics are also taking place in Chicago where Elizabeth and Bertrand's promiscuous teenage daughter Emilie (Lou Doillon) parties wildly with boyfriend Kevin who is paying for their fun with money embezzled from Bertrand's firm. Did I mention the word farce? The crazier it becomes just adds to the enjoyment because no matter how complex things get, this wild bunch of holidaymakers wont let anything get in their way of their constant search for pleasure...

Blanc cleverly links the various story lines. Well acted by an impressive cast, `Summer Things' succeeds as a witty farce of mistaken identities, amorous (mis) adventures and emotional deceit. Beneath the sexual frivolity, dark humour, unearthing of family secrets, snappy lines and farcical encounters the film has an appealingly melancholic heart. Sharp with plenty of frolics and fun `Summer Things' has depth and is well worth the trip.

Bombon El Perro [DVD]
Bombon El Perro [DVD]
Dvd ~ Juan Villegas
Price: £3.26

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich, amusing and heart warming - simply wonderful and wonderfully simple., 24 May 2006
This review is from: Bombon El Perro [DVD] (DVD)
What an absolute delight this film is! Director Carlos Sorin is skilled at giving us movies with believable characters who by a quirk of fate find themselves in unusual situations. His message seems to be that a good person will eventually be rewarded but he knows that although we really want to believe this for Coco the reality in countries like Argentina is that good doesn't always win. The film perfectly captures the bleakness of Patagonia but remains warm and uplifting. Contrasts play a big part in this story. Essentially it's a film of hope and friendship lit up by some lovely little moments. The naÔve, old man who has only known simple pleasures and the big meek loveable dog make a terrifically engaging partnership.
I enjoyed every minute of this terrifically appealing film and recommend you try it as i'm sure you will too.

A trivia fact: Most of the cast are complete amateurs with no acting experience. Coco himself had actually been director Sorin's car driver for many years. It helps explain the natural emotions shown and why the film has the realistic feel it does.

Cinema Paradiso [1989] [DVD]
Cinema Paradiso [1989] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Philippe Noiret

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Word. SUPERB!, 10 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Cinema Paradiso [1989] [DVD] (DVD)
What can I say about this wonderful movie because, quite honestly, my words wont do it justice. It is easily my own personal favourite of all time. A film that reminds us why we love film. It tells many stories mainly centred around one main theme - the cinema. The film conveys every emotion. It has passion, humour, love, hurt, joy, sadness and many more that combined give us a movie classic that's a pleasure to watch…
Giuseppe Tornatore's beautiful 1988 film is about a young boy's passion for movies. It rightly won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film and a Grand Jury Prize at Cannes as well as many awards worldwide because its issues are universal. Philippe Noiret is outstanding playing a tough old projectionist who takes pride in presenting movies for an Italian town still reeling after WW2. The communal viewings help bring the people together and give rise to many wonderful moments as does the nostalgia of the clips they see. When young Salvatore, known as Toto, develops a consuming fascination, not only for the movies but also for the nature of showing them, a lifelong friendship begins between the firm projectionist and the excitable boy. Salvatore Cascio as Toto conveys so many emotions with his face alone - a wide grin, a frown or a grimace portray his feelings. His smile and laugh are infectious. It’s a remarkable performance by such a young actor but the film is alive with great acting and characters that make the movie so incident full, so memorable, so happy and also so sad that it is the treasure it is. As Toto grows up, his heart is torn as new loves come into his life - including the beautiful Elena...
This Director’s Cut has added scenes that give light as to why Toto left the village and how his return answers so many unresolved questions that lead us to the most poignant and memorable endings of any film I’ve watched. I love this movie and admit I cry every time I watch it. I hope you will too as it is a film that rekindles your own memories of earlier years and the dreams and passions you had - and the feelings are so strong and ultimately so rewarding. Don't mistake this as just a movie for those already in wildy in love with cinema but if you are then the combination of emotions in Tornatore's world and the images we enjoy on Noiret's screen will seem all the more personal and powerful - and the ending will mean oh so much more to you. Rated PG it is 170 Minutes of pure movie magic. An absolute masterpiece.

Delicatessen [DVD] [1991]
Delicatessen [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Dominique Pinon
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.34

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C'est magnifique. Surreal and so unreal...., 10 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Delicatessen [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
On its release, this French film caused much interest and praise due to its freshness and vitality. The joint debut of directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet has distinctive visual style, a surreal yet clever plot, hilarious comic pieces and comedy timing making it a delightful, colourful, imaginative film of many surprises that refuses to become classified within any genre. You want the plot? You sure? Some time in the future, society has begun to collapse. A circus performer, Louison, gratefully takes a room in an apartment block owned by butcher Clapet as it’s advertised as being rent free in return for odd jobs. He encounters the building’s offbeat tenants such as the toy making Cube brothers, Aurore Interligator - who hears voices urging her to commit suicide and Mr Potin who lives in a water filled room filled with frogs and snails which he dines upon. The offer of free rent is just a trick to lure people who Clapet then butchers and sells off as meat to the other tenants. However, his shy daughter Julie falls in love with Louison and decides to save him - something that requires her to make a deal with the Trogolodists, the vegetarian terrorists that live in the sewers. Did I mention surreal? OK, so there’s the ‘plot’. For me, the beauty and magic of ‘Delicatessen’ is to just sit back, watch and enjoy the unexpected and hilarious pleasures unfold. An inventive film experience - an adventure, a comedy and a sheer joy to savour as it sparkles with originality.
The special extras are real bonus features that add so much to the collectability of this little gem. The movie itself is in French or German, Italian or Spanish Audio Dialogue with choices of English, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish Subtitles. The aforementioned special features are a fasinating Director’s Commentary from Jeunet; ‘Making Of’ Feature (Fine Slices (and delicacies) From Diane Bertrand); Archive Footage ‘From the Archives of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’; 6 Teasers and a Trailer. It is rated 15 and is 95 Minutes of hilarious, eccentric, innovative cinema. I loved every one of those minutes.

A Trivia fact: Caro and Jeunet next went on to make the equally eccentric and much loved ‘The City of Lost Children’. Jeunet was then tempted to U.S. mainstream on his own where he directed the disappointing ‘Alien: Resurrection’ before returning to France to return to his love of innovative and original film making with the enchanting Worldwide arthouse hit ‘Amelie’. Surprisingly, Caro has yet to direct another film to date.

City Of God (Cidade De Deus) [DVD] [2003]
City Of God (Cidade De Deus) [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Alexandre Rodrigues
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.19

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how people live - and die. Totally gripping..., 10 Oct. 2003
Despite its name, ‘City Of God’ is certainly not a religious place. The title refers to the most infamous slum in Rio De Janeiro. A place of squalor, corruption, poverty, drugs, crime and death where even the Police feared visiting except to collect bribes. This powerful film was released in January of this year and, even then, many film critics were confident enough to call it the ‘film of the year’. I wouldn’t argue that it still holds that honour. It is captivating, violent, exciting, often humorous but especially brutally honest in its portrayal of an era in Brazilian history and it's remarkable to watch as a film knowing it is based so closely on true events...
During the 1960s, youth gangs took over the slums of Rio and didn't give up their stronghold until into the 1980s. Crime was the only way to make money, gain respect - and survive. Young children carry guns and death amongst them is commonplace. Childhood is bypassed as the young must grow up quickly or die. Rocket (a mature and superb performance by young Alexandre Rodrigues) chooses not to turn to that way of life. His efforts in illegal activity fail as he finds possible victims too nice. He is just as unsuccessful in love as he regularly fails to lose his virginity. Blood spills throughout the streets of the slums as wild and power mad gang leader Li'l Ze is challenged by local druglords and a gang of pre-teens called the Runts. The authorities are reluctant to step in as the warfare takes place. Rocket shoots all of this action with his own weapon of choice - a camera...
Director Fernando Meirelles combines a flamboyant visual style with dark history in telling the story of three decades of unrest in underground Rio. Technically flawless, the film uses a rapid cutting style to flash back and forth in time. Eleven years after ‘Pulp Fiction’ the similarities in style are noticeable but this is no copycat movie and is strong, compelling and unique in its own right. Cinematographer Cesar Charlone cleverly uses an overexposed glow in a film that may seem numb to the violence but respects its subject matter. An exceptional movie with one main theme that tells many tales and at the heart is Rocket and the true story of how this determined young man grew up in the most violent of circumstances to pursue his dream to be a photographer. Film of the year? I’ll go along with that. Unmissable, tense, thrilling, sad but exciting viewing.

Preston Falls
Preston Falls
by David Gates
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The only sure thing about Doug is that he is unsure..., 9 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Preston Falls (Paperback)
Doug Willis has reached that age. He sees his achievements only as wrong choices and, in his mind, he stands at the midlife crossroads. Doug is tired. Life tires him. His motivation is change from all he knows yet all he knows is his security. His wife Jean couldn't be more opposite. She is controlled in herself, her work and her devotion to their two children Mel and Roger are her anchor. Or so she thinks...
As Gates weaves this extremely simply styled novel we learn that neither Doug or Jean really have a clue about their present and even less of one about the future. Their marriage is falling apart. Doug bumbles aimlessly towards a place he thinks he wants to be when with every page we, as readers, are so aware that where he is going is not where he will want to be. Taking a 2 month time out from his job as a copywriter, he decides to use that time to renovate his farmhouse in the country and, at the same time, rebuild the structure of his life. He is a cynic so only others can do wrong. There is much pleasure to be derived from the sharp and witty viewpoints of each character including the children...
What begins as a fairly routine 'family breaking up' tale becomes a story of an ordinary guy in the wrong place in the wrong company at the wrong time and a family left confused and scared by the result. The consequences become more bizarre and more alarming as what was once sneered at for being routine and mundane is what each wish they could reclaim. I loved the way Gates built each character in this book. There is something scarily familiar with the uncertainties that each face and the fact that all they need is what they already have. The children are so complex yet vulnerable as they too are thrown into the maelstrom Doug's behaviour creates. Gates narrative is superb and he has ultimately created a tale of how slim a margin it is to know who you are and accept it or try to change and risk losing all. A search for identity and purpose with a lot of humour yet no shortage of suspense. Simply told. Beautifully written.

Northern Lights
Northern Lights
by Tim O'Brien
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moody and adventure becomes a misadventure., 9 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Northern Lights (Paperback)
I'm a fan of Tim O'Briens yet this novel disturbed me as much as any of his Vietnam books - wish i knew why! O'Brien swaps Vietnam for the American backwoods. At the heart of the book is the relationship between two very different brothers. The troubled, analytical Perry and the volatile returning war vet Harvey. O'Brien ensures this is no happy family reunion by throwing into the mix out of the ordinary set pieces and characters. Even the two women Grace and Addie are far from straight forward. Each of the four main characters are enigmatic and deep and made me want to know more about who they really were and how they had got there. Set in the wilderness, life is quiet and slow until the ordinary suddenly appears extraordinary and you don't realise the steady pace has quickened till you are running fast with it. Ghosts from the past are less frightening than the realities of the present and the conflicts between the leads. When Perry and Harvey set off on a skiing trip through the remote woodlands the suspense mounts and the challenge becomes more than just one between two rival brothers. The atmosphere and expectancy leaps from the pages and pulls you with it right to the unforgettable ending. A tense, well crafted read about self discovery and strained relationships that left a strange taste in my mind.

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