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Reviews Written by
Iain McClumpha (Glasgow, Scotland)

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Rise: Blood Hunter [DVD] [2007]
Rise: Blood Hunter [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Robert Foster
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Lucy, 29 Sept. 2011
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I like Lucy Liu a lot (having discovered her when I got the 2 Charlie's Angels film cheap and later realising she was also in Shanghai Noon), but my Vampires are the Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt variety... never really got into this whole modern vampire thing.
Anyway, I thought, Yes... Lucy with fangs. Yummy.
As an action film it doesn't allow Lucy to really do much. She beats poor old Mako up, and that's about it. Rest of the time she wanders around (looking fantastic, by the way) and shooting vampires with a mini crossbow. The rest of the cast appear to be rather wooden, with one expression each.
As a vampire film it's sadly lacking bite (haw haw), and the vamps themeselves (never referred to as such) do not have fangs. They are just referred to as a 'cult'.

I hope Lucy never suffered through her involvement with this: it would be such a shame if so talented an actress faded into the background because of mistakes like this.

Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks [DVD] [1972]
Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Price: £5.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can this really be the same story?, 13 Sept. 2011
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Like most reviewers of a certain age this was my first childhood Dalek story on TV. In the 60s they left TV, and I was 2 years old. When this story aired I was 8, ready for them.
I have memories of being excited and instantly fell in love with them, starting a love affair which lasted until the 2010 redesign burned my eyes out. However, in 1972 these were my first Daleks (I hadn't yet seen the films) on TV. My little Rolykin had come alive.

In the VHS era I had bought the BBC tape and oh dear... it was a sad thing to watch. The performances were great, the story excellent... but the Daleks. Three of them invading Earth, and with silly voices. It was like a nightmare... my childhood memories were drowned and washed away.

So, having heard rumours that the Daleks were getting new voices I pre-ordered the DVD and it duly arrived... with 2 discs! One was a special edition with new voices and effects.
With shaking hands I watched it... and it was superb!
This was the way I remembered it being... exciting, dramatic and with menacing Daleks. Thanks to the resoration team and the talented individuals who brought in an extra Dalek, Nick Briggs, Mark Ayres and the CGI people who made an army of Daleks and a ruined future Earth.
Yes, it isn't the same as the transmission I watched in 1972, but it's the way my inner child thought it was.

Modern Doctor Who may have all of the effects, humanity and production values of a modern TV series, but it lacks what these old stories do: pure, unadulterated magic!
8 year old me is over the moon ^_^
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2011 6:43 PM BST

Dan Dare's Space Annual 1963
Dan Dare's Space Annual 1963
by unknown
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply smashing!, 13 Sept. 2011
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This annual came out in time for the Christmas before I was born, so it's safe to say that I never had this as a kid. To be honest I never discovered Dan Dare until my 30s!
Since then I've become an avid fan of the heroic Space Fleet Colonel and his chums.

This annual is a mine of information for a modeller like myself as well as a cracking read. Nice, short stories both in text and comic format - I say nice as most DD stories in the 50s and early 60s lasted for months, sometimes over a year in the case of the Venus debut story.
There are cutaways throughout as well as end papers showing Space Fleet uniforms and space suits. The only things missing are the rocket pack details and (probably due to the age) Anastasia.
I have to admit that Dan Dare in the 60s is not something I have looked at before - most of my exposure has been to the 50s incarnation when Frank Hampson was still guiding him through his adventures. I need to expand my horizons somewhat.
The artwork is beautiful, with the same sense of uniformity that Hampson engendered in his team of assistant artists. You can feel that Dan's world is still a coherent and logical one.

This copy of the annual is in great condition, and I will be devouring it later.
It wasn't cheap, but it was well worth the asking price from the marketplace!

In a world where our comic heroes are little more than superpowered thugs it's nice to read something from a more innocent time, when people looked to the stars for heroes with morals and a sense of fair play.

Long live Dan Dare!

Batman: The Stone King (Justice League of America)
Batman: The Stone King (Justice League of America)
by Alan Grant
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying production, 10 Sept. 2011
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I love audio dramas, having become a fan in the late 70s of "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I have a large collection on CD now, from Doctor Who to Judge Dredd, from 1940s radio plays to modern superhero dramas from the BBC.

When I ordered this 6 CD set I was hoping for a drama along the lines of the BBC "Knightfall" adaption: action and dialogue carrying the story forward. What we have with "Batman: the Stone King" is a talking book with added drama. I've never listened to a play where the narrator describes someone nodding, or the colour of someone's hair.
The whole point of audio DRAMA is that you use your imagination to form pictures in your mind... you don't need some ernest narrator describing everything.

The drama elements are good, but they are ruined by the constant need for the narrator to describe what's happening. Any audio writer worth his or her salt can do that with dialogue, effects and music.

I won't be buying any more of these.

Captain Eager [DVD]
Captain Eager [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Vaughan
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £3.72

1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, 7 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Captain Eager [DVD] (DVD)
The positive reviews had me believing this was a loving pastiche of the likes of Dan Dare...
There are films out there that attempt to recreate the look of old action series from the 30s and 40s and do it pretty well... this was just dire. I've seen cheap old series and they were better made than this.

If it was meant to be funny, I must have missed the joke... it was a huge, crushing bore!

Bronco Models 1/35 PLA Female Soldier Day Parade # 35076
Bronco Models 1/35 PLA Female Soldier Day Parade # 35076
Offered by inandout-distribution
Price: £16.80

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting..., 6 Sept. 2011
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I only really bought this set for kitbashing purposes, but I'll review it as a kit in its own right.

Bronco, from China, charge a small fortune for these figures, and I don't know why. The quality of the mouldings are around early Dragon level, and the sculpting is average. The figures' heads are on the small side, which make their bodies seem oversized. These are meant to be Chinese female soldiers, but they look more like pin head Amazons.

You get four figures moulded in sandy plastic with optional heads, upper bodies and arms, as well as small sprues containing pistols, holsters and ammo pouches.
They are posed marching in a goosestep style, wearing shortish skirts, long boots, smart jackets and little hats. Had the heads been in proportion these could have been beautiful, as they are they just look weird.

Dan Dare: Voyage to Venus: Pilot of the Future: Voyage to Venus Pt. 1
Dan Dare: Voyage to Venus: Pilot of the Future: Voyage to Venus Pt. 1
by Frank Hampson
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - but a missed opportunity, 6 Sept. 2011
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Like the reviewer 'Jet Morgan' I was disappointed that there was no part 2, however what we have I love to bits!

Radio Luxembourg were the first to dramatise Dan Dare, but those recordings apparently no longer exist so there's no possibility of them surfacing on DVD.
Then in 1990 the BBC produced a 4-part dramatisation of "Voyage to Venus", which was an attempt to make Dan Dare more realistic and slightly updated. It was faithful to the comic, but the 'mission logs' and update made it feel cold.

And now we have this from Orion... When I looked at the cover it said 'read by' and I thought, uh-oh. But then I started listening to it.
Okay, it doesn't have the same production standards of the BBC or Big Finish (or even Noise Monster) but it does feel like a retro production, and that is a big plus. The small cast make up for it was pitch-perfect performances and create just the right atmosphere. There are no concessions to modern slang or military jargon: everything is as it was originally written in 1950.
If I have one complaint it's the Treen voices. In the BBC version they were pitched too high for me: they weren't how I imagined them to sound. Here they sound mechanical... bit weird for reptiles.

Finally, as a fan of classic "Doctor Who" it is so easy to see where Terry Nation got his ideas for that very first Dalek story. In that you have a planet with two races at war: one peaceful and handsome, the other ugly and warlike. The Treen are the emotionless scientific geniuses that would become the Daleks, while the Therons, blonde, tall and peaceful would become the Thals.
And did the Mekon become Davros in "Genesis of the Daleks"?

For the production I give it a full 5 stars - for not doing part 2, nil points!

Bronco Models 1/35 WWII Civilian Suitca # 3521
Bronco Models 1/35 WWII Civilian Suitca # 3521
Offered by tazaure
Price: £19.57

3.0 out of 5 stars Mini brolley and luggage, 17 Aug. 2011
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I needed some civilian items for a model project and saw this on Amazon at a bargain price, so ordered it.

Inside the box are three small sprues... you could have got them into a cigarette packet sized box.
Detail is basic as the items are pretty simple anyway, but they are cleanly moulded in tan plastic.
You get:
1x Open umbrella
1x Rolled umbrella
2x Suitcases
2x Smaller bags
1 fret of etched parts: latches for the larger cases and spokes for the open umbrella.

Although the quality is good, Bronco prices are crazy!

The Devotion Of Suspect X
The Devotion Of Suspect X
by Keigo Higashino
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant!, 17 Aug. 2011
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Being a fan of Japanese procedural crime thrillers/mystery novels I picked this up vaguely recalling the writer's name, but I couldn't remember where from. It was only when the brilliant physicist Yukawa appeared that it all clicked into place... this was the same character who appeared in the Japanese TV series "Galileo".
What was already a brilliant novel suddenly became even more interesting, as I could now visualise the actors in these parts. This novel, as well as two others not yet translated were used as source material for the "Galileo" series, although "The Devotion of Suspect X" was filmed in its entirety.

But what of the novel?
It starts with a murder, and we know the suspects and how it was done, but the pleasure to be had is from the way the police gradually put the pieces together... or rather how a detective asks his boffin friend to help him put the pieces together. You can't help but feel sorry for the prime suspect Yasuko Hanaoka: she is painted as such a sympathetic character.
The characters are all well-rounded and likeable... well, except for the victim. Nasty piece of work.

Like my favourite author Miyuki Miyabe, this goes into detail with the investigation and you get the impression that the writer has properly researched everything, and that hard work shows on every page.

Now if only they could translate the other Galileo novels: "Tentei Galileo" and "Yochimu".

I literally could not put this down. One of the best novels I've read in the past few years.

The Mystery Train Disappears
The Mystery Train Disappears
by Kyotaro Nishimura
Edition: Hardcover

2.0 out of 5 stars Turgid, 11 July 2011
Kyotaro Nishimura's novel of a special tourist train called The Mystery Train is more like the British rail network than the super-efficient Japanese one: slow and lifeless.

The Mystery Train of the title goes missing on it's way back from Osaka... 400 people and a complete train go missing. And then the rail company gets the ransom phone call...

I enjoy Japanese mystery novels a lot, but this one is like treacle, and talk about repetition. We are told time and time again there are 400 people on the train. And then there is the lack of contracted words... there are hardly any contractions such as "I'm", "I'll", "he's", etc... it's like it's been written for non-native English speakers.

Although it was written in the 1980s it feels much older... I half-expected them to be discussing steam trains and water towers. Even the investigating police officers seem like old-school Japanese detectives, sitting around and discussing rather than investigating.

If you want a good Japanese detective novel read a Miyuki Miyabe one... leave this one on the shelf.

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