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Mr. P. Julian (Cornwall)

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Sony BDPS1100 Smart Blu-ray Disc Player (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sony BDPS1100 Smart Blu-ray Disc Player (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

3.0 out of 5 stars Great value and good all-round player - until it stopped working, 11 Nov. 2014
My first blu-ray player. No real complaints (at first). Loading times are decent, image quality good, easily accessible iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

After 7 months it decided it wouldn't read DVDs or CDs anymore, even though Blu-Rays were still fine. I have no idea why. Made an ominous sound when you put the disc in, as if to say "i'm not having this", and then nothing. Couldn't find anyone with a similar problem online, so phoned up Tesco whom I had bought it from, and they gave me a no-quibbles refund.

Have now bought a 5200 (Wi-Fi and 3D, which I didn't really need but hey ho) from John Lewis, as they offer a 2 year guarantee and I'm not taking any chances.

I'm not going to rate the product too low as it was fine while it lasted, but obviously if anything goes wrong with my new one I will think twice about getting a Sony next time.

Other minor points:

-Lightweight build quality
-Turns itself off and on again when mains power is initially turned on. Same with the 5200. Slightly annoying as I like to turn my mains off at night, but no biggie.
-No C4 or ITV catch-up, if that's your bag (I missed not being able to watch Fargo but that's about it)

Blade Runner
Blade Runner
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £12.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What more do you want?, 21 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Blade Runner (Audio CD)
If you really want every piece of music from the film, incidental or otherwise, then I'm sure you can find a bootleg download. I have the Vesper edition on my computer which has a vast amount more music than this release, but in all honesty I prefer sticking this on. Why? Because it works as an album, and I think that's how Vangelis intended it. Blade Runner is my favourite film, and this is one of my favourite albums. If I want every track I am honestly better off just watching the movie again, so that the music can complement the visuals. Here though, the atmosphere of the movie is captured but each track stands up on its own merits. The lush saxaphone of Blade Runner Blues, the beautiful piano piece Memories of Green, the nostalgic One More Kiss. In a particularly nice touch the soundtrack doesn't end with the somewhat dated "End Titles" but "Tears in Rain" and Batty's wonderful soliloquy, beautifully capturing the essence of the movie.

I haven't personally listened to the latest, 3-disc release which seems to be garnering hostile reviews for still not delivering everything the fans want. Personally, I find that between this, the Vesper bootleg and the actual film I have pretty much all I need. But for a concise, intelligently arranged album that captures the movie's atmosphere and features most of the key musical (and narrative moments), this is a wonderful listen and at £7 very cheap for a soundtrack.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2010 3:29 AM GMT

Cube [DVD] [1998]
Cube [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Nicole de Boer
Offered by westworld-
Price: £8.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Pure escapism, 11 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Cube [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Cube is almost a perfect fit for fans of science fiction and horror. I've noticed a lot of negative reviews here, and I can only put it down to whether you buy the set-up and decide to go along with it, or you don't. You know the pay-off is never going to be as good as the tension building up to it, but if you can lose yourself in the film it's one of the most suffocatingly tense out there.

The film has a very simple concept: a group of people wake up to find themselves in a giant, maze-like cube connected by a series of booby-trapped rooms. As they each start to figure out why they're there and how to get out, it's not long before their personalities and different theories start clashing. This is more than anyone needs to know prior to watching the film, and anymore would be detrimental to the experience.

In never letting you see outside of the cube, the director has performed a masterstroke in concept and production design - what in reality is only a small set, on film feels like an endless cycle of four-walled rooms and traps. A nightmare, in other words, and it's imagining how you would cope in such a situation that makes the film so palpable. It's entertaining and intoxicating to watch the characters slowly break-down and spout their invidivual theories on why they're in this maze, and how to get out. Some have said the dialogue and characters are cliched, but I think this is part of the point, and the acting is actual very good for what is essentially a high-concept B-Movie. Unfortunately, films such as these start out small and gather a cult appreciation, only for this to backfire with people expecting something beyond what is reasonable to expect.

The film starts with one of the most devilishly satisfying and visually startling intros I've seen in horror. From then on the gore is fairly sporadical, and the horror becomes more psychological than visceral, as we start to wonder who will be next to go and how they will meet demise - like any good horror. However, I would recommend it to almost anyone who likes a good thriller with a bit of thinking involved, and is able to suspend their disbelief. Watch it alone in the dark for maximum involvement.

It should also be said that, although this is a low-budget movie, the production design is excellent and it's hard to imagine how a bigger-budget would have done the film any favours. Also, this clearly predates and betters the naff Saw series of films.

The Day Today : Complete BBC Series (2 Disc Set) [1994] [DVD]
The Day Today : Complete BBC Series (2 Disc Set) [1994] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Coogan
Price: £6.00

5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE NEWS, 7 Dec. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't want to go into any detail. Basically, this is the This Is Spinal Tap of TV. Absolutely bang on satire, but never in a clever-clever way, always in a hilarious, gloriously silly way. If you can watch the news after this and not laugh then either you have no sense of humour or the story is something really horrific.

I hate Sebastian Coe!

This is one of those things you don't need to think about, just buy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2011 8:48 AM BST

No One Lives Forever
No One Lives Forever

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful FPS full of style, humour and excitement, 14 Nov. 2008
This review is from: No One Lives Forever (Video Game)
This is one of my favourite ever games. It is, for me, the ultimate FPS. Engaging story, interesting and likeable characters, numerous exotic locales, great variety of weapons and gadgets, play it stealthy or gung-ho, plenty of outrageous set-pieces (shooting while skydiving!), fun AI, wonderful music, satisfying RPG elements and a great deal of humour. Any discerning gamer should have this in their collection.

The game can almost perfectly be described in style as a cross between Bond and Austin Powers. It has the light-hearted spoofery and retro-sixties style of the latter but also the action and mystery of the former. However, this doesn't account for our wonderful super-vixen, Miz Cate Archer. One of the very best computer game protagonists, she is by turns feisty, vulnerable, deadly and uniquely British (ostensibly Scottish but speaks in a posh English accent). It's refreshing to have a female main character who isn't an excuse for breasts.

The gameplay is a hell of a lot of fun, though in my mind you have to play it stealthily to get the most out of it. I think this is why the game was so overlooked, it's easy to play gung-ho and the game can get dull and repetetive this way. Playing it sneaky, utilising your gadgets, is much more satisfying and also allows you to overhear genuinely hilarious conversations between guards, which makes the whole thing worthwhile. That is where this game is most different from other FPS: it is very funny, very often.

It still retains a serious streak though, and there is genuine emotion to be savoured in the many characters and plot twists. The music is also delightfully tense and mysterious at times (it very cleverly reacts to the guards' state of alert) without losing it's groove.

Finally, I'd just like to emphasise how varied this game is. For an FPS especially, there are plenty of non-combat sections, which provide a welcome break and allow you to talk to civilians. When in combat, there's a diverse mix of stealth and action, including infiltrating German nightclubs or battling sharks. And NOLF is also a generously lengthy game, with almost 70 missions in total, which should take a good couple of weeks at least for those that savour every moment. This is most refreshing in an era where most shooters take a few hours to complete.

I hope this has convinced you to buy the game, and if not then I can but try. If you do buy it, play it on its own terms, being stealthy when possible and exploring as much as possible. And once you've finished, check out the equally wonderful sequel.

Beyond Good and Evil (PC DVD)
Beyond Good and Evil (PC DVD)

4.0 out of 5 stars A little gem of an adventure game, 14 Nov. 2008
Just wanted to counter the negative reviews here, as this is an often beautiful and modest game of many hidden charms, and by no means overly frustrating in its gameplay. There are certain very tough sections, specifically the end boss (which does border on the ridiculous) but overall it shouldn't provide too much of a challenge for any seasoned gamer. Whether it will be to everyone's tastes is another matter, it is fundamentally a platformer with many adventure elements such as a strong story, a good deal of exploration and some light RPG elements.

Its charms lie in it's main character, the beautiful Jade, and a refreshingly light approach to the gameplay, which includes photographing rare creatures for extra credits. The world has a quirky charm that could probably only have come from the French, and the locales are beautiful if a little simplistic.

Ultimately, this is a fairly original and charming adventure/platformer which isn't too heavy going or long but will keep any gamer with a little patience entertained and beguiled. Certainly any veteran gamer on the search for overlooked gems will find much to cherish.

The Hidden [DVD]
The Hidden [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Nouri

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something of a hidden gem, 1 April 2008
This review is from: The Hidden [DVD] (DVD)
I feel slightly compelled to write this review to balance out the single other one on this page, and to display my enthusiasm that this film has eventually been released on DVD in the UK. The film is not a classic and it's not particularly original. But for a cheap Sci-Fi flick it provides a lot of entertainment and more importantly a lot of dry, observational humour that you wouldn't expect from a Hollywood action flick. Perhaps that's why it's stayed under the radar so much. Although the film eventually degenerates into fairly standard run and gun action fare, the first half is excellent entertainment as we see this alien creature inhabiting different bodies and going after whatever it wants. As a satire on 80's consumerism it works much better than the pedestrian, deadly serious They Live, in fact its the light touch this film has that makes it so endearing. Kyle Machlachlan is likeable vacant as the friendly alien disguised as a cop, and there's some very funny supporting performances. Definately worth renting.

The Ultra Zone
The Ultra Zone
Price: £4.78

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good..., 3 Jan. 2006
This review is from: The Ultra Zone (Audio CD)
No, I'm not a Steve Vai fan. I'm not really into the whole world of these guitar Gods (Vai, Satriani, et al), but I do appreciate good guitar. Not as much as I appreciate a good tune, mind. Of which this album is generally lacking. When at its most experimental (Voodoo Acid), it verges on the unlistenable, when at its most toned down (I'll Be Around) I could of sworn I was listening to Phil Collins. Which is scary. Not as scary as the instrumental that follows it though (Lucky Charms), which seems at times to be straight out of The Chipmunks theme tune.
I listened to this album because I was taken aback by the sheer brilliance that is For The Love of God, and similarly the acoustic Sisters. Sadly there is nothing on here to even come close. Not just that, but there's barely a listenable tune on here, unless you're fond of 80's synths and self-indulgent fret-wanking over pseudo-eastern backings.
When Vai himself sings on tracks they tend to be more listenable, to actually have a semblance of structure to them. But unfortunately the tunes are still pure cheese, and his lyrics full of cliches. The only song here I could recommend is The Silent Within, and only in relation to the rest of the album.
I've heard Passion and Warfare is a lot better, so I may check that out. Just whatever you do, do not buy this album. This doesn't even serve as a good example of his technical talents, with way too much experimentation going on. I don't give this one star just to counter the other reviews, I genuinely found it a horrible album. You have been warned.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2016 11:24 AM BST

Chaser (PC DVD)
Chaser (PC DVD)
Offered by alphabet_store
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag with moments of brilliance, 17 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Chaser (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Chaser gets off to an exciting start. Escaping an exploding space station, with little idea of who you are, you get to experience the cliched but extremely fun slo-mo mode with a variety of conventional but satisfying weapons. Things get even better when you get down to earth, as the night city sky is littered with fireballs from said exploded space station. Here, at the start of the game, are some excellent set pieces and effects. Things get even more interesting when your character appears to start having brief visual shocks, which are both frightening and intriguing.
Unfortunately, after that it's largely uninspired with the odd exciting cutscene or entertaining set piece. But most of the levels just involve you going from A to B, shooting everything in your way - with barely any interaction with the environment or variation of people to shoot. Some sections offer a little variety, like the underwater and sniper sections, but these are more frustrating than fun. The graphics and environments depicted by them are a major boost, though by today I expect they are somewhat dated (I played the game on release).
Some of the later levels on Mars are superb, but it's a hard slog getting that far, the game containing a good 20 hours of solid gameplay. The story could have been the saving point, but it leaves you in the dark for most of the way, and totally throws the player with a final cutscene that makes little sense of what's come before, brings little conclusion to the game and seems to appear right in the middle of a level. There's nothing in the way of a big end battle, it's as if the developers ran out of time.
Don't get me wrong, for the most part the game is entertaining and the slo-mo is a blast. But the gameplay rarely varies, and starts to wane way before the end. The only potential saviour is the multiplayer, which runs excellently on a 56k and is great fun with few or many people. However, I doubt you'd find many people playing it today, and it offers nothing most other FPS' don't.
All in all, worth a look for FPS fans but I can't imagine wanting to plough through it again.

Need For Speed - Road Challenge
Need For Speed - Road Challenge

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent game, 17 Dec. 2005
As far as racing games go, I remember this one being one of my favourites. I haven't played it for a while so I'm not sure how the graphics match up today. It takes the NFS series in a slightly more conventional direction: race for money and buy new cars, but it's done well and the cars are satisfying to get hold of and drive, not to mention some great environments to race them on. Plus you can still do the whole Getaway feature, and even switch things around and play the cops yourself.
Definately a worthy entry in the series, not quite as raw and arcadey as earlier titles (for better or worse) but a polished and highly enjoyable game.

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