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Emelius Browne (UK)

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The Stand Up Years
The Stand Up Years
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.13

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Edited Yet Again..., 26 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Stand Up Years (Audio CD)
This is the third CD release of Woody Allen's three standup records and the third time they have been edited down.

What differentiates this release from 'Standup Comic' and 'The Nightclub Years' - both created to be more 'best of' in style - is that it's presented to give the impression of being an uncut CD anthology of the three albums. It is however still missing around twenty minutes of material from across the three vinyl originals. The twenty minutes of audio dubbed from the excellent Robert Weide documentary are nice to have, but inessential if you have the DVD/Bluray.

The annoying thing is that these two discs could have easily held the three uncut albums AND the documentary excerpts, so it's possible that it may be Allen himself or his management vetoing this remaining material. It is true that it's not the strongest stuff from the records missing here, but they are nonetheless important documents that need preserving intact, just as we wouldn't accept a DVD box set with bits of Take The Money And Run and Bananas cut out because they were felt to be the least funny scenes to a modern audience.

This is still the best and most complete CD version so far of the records (there's about five minutes' worth of the third album on here that was missing from either of the previous CDs, the selections of which seem to be combined and re-ordered to form this one) but this was really the time (and perhaps the last chance) for the unexpurgated classics in their entirety. Nevertheless, if you want a digital release of Woody Allen's standup, this is now the one to go for, as long as you are aware that these are still redacted versions.

Monty Python's Total Rubbish
Monty Python's Total Rubbish
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £39.99

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great albums, bad job, 6 Jan. 2015
I love the Python albums dearly but this collection is terrible. The nice Gilliam cover art and 7" bonus redeem it to some extent but the problems are unavoidable.

The BBC album is grouped with the rest for the first time, and is the same CD version as has been available for some time. The quality is fine for a badly-engineered mono record, but there's a strange quality issue at the end of side one where it sounds like a damaged vinyl rip has been patched in.

The rest are the 2006 CD editions. They are basically the same transfers as the UK CD versions from the 80s and 90s except slightly louder. They feature some excellent - though unannotated - bonus tracks, largely pulled from the cancelled rarities albums planned for 2005. Here's some of the errors:

Another Monty Python Record is yet again the unfinished rough cut version present on all CD issues. This was a halfway-house version never intended to be released and is full of incomplete editing/mixing and material vetoed from the final, released, approved version. It's a good remaster but given that it's not the right version it's largely academic. Previous sounds good and is the correct version, thankfully.

Matching Tie and Grail sound truly terrible. Mastered from the same falling-apart, error-riddled tapes as have been used since the 1980s, they are muffly, are destroyed by oxide damage and sound like bad cassettes. Tie in particular is incredibly lo-fi and both sides of its stereo are constantly wandering out of synch with each other (making a horrible distant warbling effect), and Grail has huge amounts of stereo damage. On top of this, Tie has been drowned in brand new sound effects which were never supposed to be there. The Arista Records CDs of both of these albums are from much better sources, although they have their own problems (including the Arista version of Grail amateurishly pasting extra segments from the film in from a bad VHS copy).

Drury Lane, for no apparent reason, has been flattened to mono, even though it's been stereo on every single release up to this point. It's also got the end of side 1 mixed in with the start of side 2 which is very ugly-sounding - so perhaps the worst of the lot. City Center is completely missing from this collection, which is irritating as it's an official album and the only one missing. Life Of Brian is okay but features a nasty error at one point. Contractual Obligation sounds okay enough, but not as clear as some international editions. Similarly, it features the John Denver section completely missing, which most foreign CDs retain. Meaning Of Life is fine.

Finally, the booklet by Robert Ross is awful. Though containing a few new interview snippets the thing is full of mistakes, unsourced factual errors copied over from the internet, fundamental misunderstandings, and material almost word-for-word plagiarised from fansites and Wikipedia.

Python deserves better - *proper* remasters, *proper* booklets, *proper* bonus tracks. There's a lot more in the vaults, including better copies of these records. These CDs are almost a decade old (based on transfers almost three decades old) and only deserve to be put to bed.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2015 2:01 PM BST

eSecure - Large 416 x CD DVD Disc Storage Wallet Holder Carry Case with Carry Handle - Massive 416 Disc Capacity!
eSecure - Large 416 x CD DVD Disc Storage Wallet Holder Carry Case with Carry Handle - Massive 416 Disc Capacity!
Offered by DOMU Marketplace
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly poor in every way - don't be tempted by the price, 13 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Short version - I recently bought one of these as a test purcchase and had to get it refunded after it fell apart after less than a week of use. I ended up going for CaseLogic 320s which I have reviewed elsewhere. The problems are numerous, so it'll be easier to list them:

1) Before you can use them, you have to remove the waste plastic from every single sleeve - that's 500. It took an entire wasted day to do this, which isn't easy either. You often have to use scissors to help where the perforations haven't been pressed properly, and some are impossible to remove without stretching or flawing the material.

2) The pockets themselves are surprisingly opaque, to the point where they are obscuring the disc art. Combined with the cheap white nylon feel to the whole case, this bleaches out the artwork of your whole collection.

3) The pockets aren't that smooth - you can hear the crackle of resistance which can make you wince as it sounds like it's scratching or damaging the disc surface. They are also slightly too tight for a page of eight - you can see the plastic stretching and bowing.

4) The fixed binding of the pages is too close together, so by the end of each section of leaves the pages will be jammed to the point where you barely open them, never mind remove the discs.

5) The zip is incredibly fiddly - it's on a very long strip of material much longer than the circumference of the case, so you have to mould it into place by lining it up with the angle of the case, and then desperately trying to zip it into the right direction so you can finally get it open. When closed it leaves about four inches of loose zip which you have to tuck into the main case (especially if there are babies or pets around), which is then difficult to retrieve.

6) This is the biggest one - the case is so cheaply made, that after a day of unpicking the pages and another full day of filling it, I picked it up gently and the outer-zip material tore/peeled away from the bottom half of the back cover, rendering the zip and the entire case unusable. It was at this point where I had to send for a refund.

There's nothing other than the price (and trust me, when you get one you can TELL why it's that cheap) to recommend it. Personally I recommend the CaseLogic 320s, which although working out at over double the price for the storage, are more than double the quality. Just don't be tempted by the price here - if you are serious about storing your discs, almost any other disc wallet is better.

Case Logic clcdw320 CD Wallet Holds 320 CDs or 160 with Booklets
Case Logic clcdw320 CD Wallet Holds 320 CDs or 160 with Booklets
Price: £21.78

126 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best disc wallets you can buy... read this first!, 13 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There has been a lot of sensationalism in recent reviews for this product due to manufacturing changes over the years. I think an informed overview is required. I have examined 2005 and 2014 versions of the same case and here's what's different:

1) The handle has changed from a soft-padded one to a thinner, knitted nylon one. Although this is slightly less comfortable to hold, it's easily as strong if not stronger.

2) Most controversially, the material around the zip has changed from a tough, raincoat-like material to a thin nylon blend. This makes no practical difference to the quality of the case, and the new material is deceptively high quality. The zip itself is IDENTICAL to what it always was (only the decorative material tag looks different), so ignore reviews that mention this point. You'd have to be extraordinarily clumsy and rough with the zip to cause any damage or experience any problems with the action.

The disc pockets are still the best of ANY case you can buy - perfectly engineered, very gentle on discs, and completely transparent for full view of disc art. Most other rival products (and I know, I've bought them all, sadly) are too tight, too rough, have opaque sleeves you can barely see through, and you have to constantly leave empty leaves so you can access the discs in the back section. You can fill it to capacity and still have full, easy and smooth access to every disc.

Having embarked upon a project to get rid of all my DVD boxes, and read many of the other reviews, I was scared off, thinking they wouldn't be as good as the ones I bought a decade ago. I then bought two different brands of similar case which for various reasons were pathetic. I then bit the bullet and bought what ended up being four of the new CaseLogic 320s, to be delighted that the quality in real terms was the same as it ever was (inflation considered, they're also nearly half the price of what they used to be).

So don't be scared, take it from someone who's bought a lot of different versions of these things over the years. If you have a lot of discs to house, these are simply the best ones you can buy. There are different brands, and there are different prices, but nothing will work as well as the CaseLogics. I am aware I am sounding a bit preachy and 'sponsored', but I am genuinely just a big DVD buyer who has walked the long road of disc storage. I am not a representative of CaseLogic nor being paid to write this - I am a discerning and fussy consumer who has spent over £100 of my own money on these products over the past month.

Finally, a tip - they are almost exactly the depth of a standard 'deep' flat-pack bookcase, and you can get five stacked neatly on the bottom shelf of one. This looks very compact and attractive, and is very convenient. I have sewn coloured buttons onto the zip tags for identification, an easy way of reminding you what's in what.

Pixar Shorts - Volume 2 [DVD]
Pixar Shorts - Volume 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jim Capobianco
Price: £3.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is..., 5 Dec. 2012
First up, I'm a huge fan of both Disney and Pixar and the original Shorts Vol 1 is a treasured DVD.

However, what sort of spoils this volume is that, other than the fascinating extras like the commentaries and student stuff, there are only actually three 'proper' shorts on here that have not appeared on other DVDs before. It's strange to say it, but it's almost a shame that the true standalone theatrical shorts on here were included as extras on the film DVDs as it would have made this title an essential first-day purchase had all that material premiered here at once. On the other hand, there are several film-specific shorts (quite a few more than Volume 1 had) that make less sense on here outside of the context of their original DVDs. 'Burn-E' and 'Dug's Special Mission' in particular both kind of rely on you recently having seen their parent films to enjoy them fully, and they flounder slightly presented as pieces in their own right. As a consequence the whole thing is an oddball ragbag that doesn't completely please any particular audience.

So, those who collect the films themselves will find only three bona fide new shorts on here - 'George And AJ' (a 2D-animated affair for 'Up', released on iTunes and more a DVD extra than a short, but welcome nonetheless), 'Time Travel Mater' (a previously unreleased Cars Toon episode aired on the Disney Channel), and 'Small Fry' (a Toy Story Toon released with 'The Muppets'). Of these, only 'Small Fry' is genuinely a true Pixar short film.

Not included on this release are 'The Legend Of Mor'du' (a 'Brave' short available on the released-at-the-same-time-as-this DVD of that film), and 'Partysaurus Rex' (an exclusive Toy Story toon created for the 'Finding Nemo' theatrical re-release), already making this volume incomplete. The non-inclusion of the latter is extraordinarily measly given how little 'new' material is on this set, so we can only assume that, given the announcements of further Toy Story shorts and TV specials, that a standalone 'Toy Story Toons' release - akin to the Cars Toons DVD - is planned somewhere along the line. It's a mess though to have to buy so many full-price releases to mop up a relatively small archive of footage.

You can't really go wrong with a DVD that features 'La Luna', 'Presto', 'Small Fry', 'Partly Cloudy' and 'Day And Night'... but the Disney/Pixar collector will struggle to find reasons to pay full-price. I can't give this DVD a low star rating as the contents themselves are superlative without exception - I just think a bit more forward planning and withholding of the support features from the Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3, and Brave DVDs (in the same way Small Fry was held back from the Muppets release) would have made this DVD much more essential, not to mention much more of an 'event' title.

It's still the only way to own 'Small Fry' though, which is probably the best reason to pick it up at some point.

The Best of Roald Dahl
The Best of Roald Dahl
by Roald Dahl
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great stories, but an unsatisfactory compilation, 25 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Best of Roald Dahl (Paperback)
A superb collection of writing (I don't think anyone has ever written better short stories), but oddly cut down without warning. The original version of this book (which I believe Dahl edited himself) contained 29 stories, including the extended novella The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar, plus the short stories The Bookseller, The Great Switcheroo, The Hitchhiker and The Boy Who Talked To Animals. This current version omits those five (which include some of my all time favourites!), bringing the total down to 24 and reducing the page count by a quarter. This may not seem a lot, but it changes this tome drastically from a pretty definitive best-of to something that misses out a little too much to stand alone as your single book of adult Dahl.

Buying the most recent paperbacks of The Collected Stories, The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar And Six More and My Uncle Oswald is the easiest and cheapest way to mop up Roald Dahl's collected (in print) adult works, and probably won't cost you much more either. There are far too many in-print compilations of Dahl's short stories and it's sometimes hard to tell what each one contains, so I'd recommend that the original (pre-2000) edition of The Best Of is what you need if you want a catch-all compilation, and the three books mentioned above if you want the full bibliography.

This edition's fine in lieu of anything else as something disposable to read on holiday or take on a journey, but it won't satisfy the Dahl fan (and you *will* want to read them all once you start). Additionally, all 24 of the stories here in this edition are present in the much larger Collected Stories which is only a couple of pounds more. Ultimately, these stories are too good to be served up in this manner.

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