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Joshua Scully

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The X-Files: The Event Series [Blu-ray]
The X-Files: The Event Series [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ David Duchovny
Price: £17.99

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Had me at the theme tune..., 7 April 2016
So many shows are rebooted now, or spin-offs, or prequels, that is was refreshing to get a popular show back that dared to actually pick up with the actual amount of elapsed time since it was last on-air and actually run with it. It dared to address the fact that it missed the 2012 apocalypse which was an integral part of the original show's ongoing storyline.

It's not a perfect run by any stretch and has numerous issues. First and foremost is that it continues on a show that traditionally had 20+ episodes a year to tell its story. Here it has to adapt to a format of just six episodes, all the while trying to keep the tone of the show very much in tact. To its credit it manages to work in numerous standalone stories and some humour amidst all the conspiracy and alien plots - it's easy to forget that all of these were ingredients that made the original show so successful. In terms of pacing it struggles a lot more, as you do wish you could get to the ongoing storyline. With only six episodes, impatience grows when the mythology only bookends the season and the monster-of-the-week storylines dominate it for the main part. The writers made an admirable attempt to work in ongoing plot threads in the standalone episodes, but it's not quite the same.

Above all else, it felt like this miniseries was a celebration of what The X Files was. With so few episodes, against an original arsenal of over 200 episodes it was unlikely any of these six would have displaced any previous favourites. But it celebrates those previous nine seasons wonderfully, and makes a very admirable attempt at streamlining the very convoluted ongoing story of the show. And whilst I've every hope that it will come back again and also iron out the kinks of this season, if nothing else then this at least serves as a far superior last hurrah to the show than the second movie ever amounted to!

Sony Magnetic Charging Dock for Sony Xperia Z1 - Black
Sony Magnetic Charging Dock for Sony Xperia Z1 - Black
Offered by Wiziwoo Limited
Price: £13.34

3.0 out of 5 stars A gimmick, that gets the job done..., 18 July 2015
This is a product that does what it says on the tin, and very little else.

It charges the phone, which is what is asked of it. But its asking price leaves the final product a lot to be desired. The plastic that it's made from is first off rather flimsy. It feels like it would very easily crack or get broken, even if packed away in a bag or something. Secondly, the docking gimmick is of very limited use. The dock is set at one non-changeable angle, so you just have to hope that the angle is one that suits whatever surface you're hoping to put it on. Due to the lightweightness of the dock and the size and weight of the phone, even trying to send a text whilst on the stand is nigh on impossible without knocking it over, and when you find yourself picking it up to text without knocking the magnetic points, you begin wondering what was so wrong with the old-fashioned, but far more convenient USB charger that enables you to do pretty much anything you need with the phone as it charges.

Perhaps the most insulting thing about this product was that it doesn't work via PC/laptop and has to be plugged into a wall-plug socket. That alone isn't the problem, although it's certainly an added inconvenience that gives another point to the plucky old USB charger. The problem is when you reconsider the asking price and realise it doesn't actually come with a wall-plug socket. I bought this as a replacement for my original charger, as the wall-plug socket had stopped working. It's probably my own fault for not checking first, but it didn't even cross my mind that Sony would be so stingey as to provide you with a charging device that won't actually charge unless you have something else as well.

All in all it's a gimmick, to show off a decent looking phone. But I find charging takes longer as certain functions are just impossible via a docking station. I find that ultimately you're paying for the brand name rather than brand quality - for as much as half the price there seem to be alternatives that work just as well. Unless you're absolutely sold on only having brand names, even at the expense of the best value, then this is for you. It gets the job done, and does what it says on the tin so it's not a bad product. But it's far from a brilliant product either, and arguably not worth half of what it costs.

The Art of Rise of the Guardians
The Art of Rise of the Guardians
by Ramin Zahed
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book, for a Beautiful Film, 28 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Rise of the Guardians was a very special film to me. It was the first CG animated movie that truly wowed me with its beauty - the level of detail and the superb designs, they brought a sense of wonder to the animation I thought that I'd long since resigned to hand-drawn animation. For me, this book was the chance to see the inspiration behind the final product.

The cover caught my eye immediately. It has an unusually stark, blank background for a book about concept art. But such is the unique style and vibrance of the characters in the movie that they hold their own on the cover instead.

The book itself is beautifully presented, with each page revealing little facts and details you may not have noticed about the film. It highlights the dedication and detail that went into the production - it is truly staggering! A proper labour of love, the film was beautifully crafted and you can see how it derived from the art in the book. Often, concept art far exceeds the quality of the final product, but it seems that Rise of the Guardians was a detailed project through and through, and everyone pitched in.

The book is suitably divided between the characters and their corresponding settings in the story. I thought perhaps there would be a little more insight into the Jack Frost character - there seems to be less on him than the others, but they're all still represented here. It really is a beautiful book, and if Dreamworks ever decides to do a sequel to the film (and I feel they should!) then I'll be hoping to see another book just like this one alongside it.

Doctor Who - Last Christmas [DVD]
Doctor Who - Last Christmas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Capaldi
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £5.81

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Episode - But a pointless purchase?, 8 Jan. 2015
The episode was quite enjoyable. It played with the 'will she stay/won't she stay' aspect of Clara's story very well, and for anyone who likes the character (or Jenna Coleman) she gives a more than satisfying performance here. Capaldi is on top form as well, and by now I suspect that if you don't like his Doctor then you're simply not going to. Outside of them, the episode also had a decent cast of supporting characters, though guest star Nick Frost has a lot less to do than you might have expected. The episode draws inspiration from a number of bizarrely different films - Miracle on 34th Street, Alien, and crucially Inception - but seems to mostly come together to form a satisfying plot. It's often a little confusing, but everything is usually explained in the end bar one or two things left to the imagination. There's a couple of surprises and twists thrown in along the way, and I feel it's a positive thing that the episode seems content to mostly avoid rubbing in the fact it's a Christmas special - it's largely standalone, and works as a story on its own without the festive season guiding it along particularly much.

The only concern regarding this DVD is that the Doctor Who releases have become a bit unpredictable in recent years. Last Christmas feels very much like an epilogue to Series 8 (rather than a prologue to Series 9 which will air next year), but it's not included on the Series 8 boxset which was released before Christmas, for obvious reasons. The question remains as to whether this will feature on the Series 9 boxset, making this a pointless purchase for regular viewers/fans/buyers or whether we now have to buy the specials individually. The product itself, and the episode is fine... just some clarity from the BBC about how they are planning to release their DVD's would be appreciated.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2015 2:55 PM GMT

Sony MDR-E820 Anywhere In-Ear Headphones - Grey
Sony MDR-E820 Anywhere In-Ear Headphones - Grey
Price: £7.30

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poundland-Wannabes, 13 Mar. 2013
These Sony earphones carry the same model number as a pair of popular black earphones from the company, though the model number is their only similarity.

Without the slightest exaggeration, these have a lower sound quality than pairs I have bought as back-ups from Poundland...only they cost nearly ten times as much. They make anything you listen to, be it a film or music, sound totally artificial - nothing like the "natural" sound they promise you. They lack the bass that the black pair have, which might sound picky but it truly does make the world of difference in terms of sound - particularly if you want to be able to listen to music in public places. This grey pair allows the sound to get drowned out by the slightest passing traffic, whereas the superior black pair delivers a high quality sound that blends naturally into your ear, without being too loud and without the noise of your surroundings acting as an interference. Adding the cushioned buds only makes things worse, making the already compromised sound become muffled as well.
In extension of my complaints about the product, they don't hold the noise quite so well either. So if you're using them at home surrounded by a bunch of other people, or on public transport, these are far more likely to be audible to those around you at even a reasonable volume. A personal aside, they also sit less comfortably in the ear. The earpiece extends down to about half the length of that of the black pair, which means they don't sit comfortably on the side of your face, and they simply are more prone to falling out.

My one attempt at a positive about the product is that they are significantly more lightweight than the black pair, which weren't particularly heavy but it would usually be a nice touch all the same. Unfortunately, this lighter weight is managed by using a cheaper, thinner and more wiry plastic. They immediately feel cheap and disposable (again, in the same league or worse as pound shop earphones) and to be quite honest, they live up to the disposable part. Cheap though? Only in quality... certainly not in price.

I bought these as a replacement for my current pair (I own the black pair) which recently broke. The black version tend to last me about 8 months with heavy daily usage, and the quality of them is very high. I wasn't aware of the change in design until after purchase, as they carry the same model number as the black pair. A precautionary warning to catalogue shop buyers - be careful to check earphones before making a payment. I was denied a refund on the grounds that they are the same brand, they work fine and that "versions may vary". These earphones take that statement to new extremes - if you can't get hold of the black version, I'd recommend finding an alternative or simply buying some temporary ones from a pound shop until you can get hold of them. These are a disposable pound-shop pair that somehow got Sony printed on them.

Primeval: New World - Season 1 [DVD]
Primeval: New World - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Niall Matter
Price: £12.26

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dinosaurs, in Our Home and Native Land!, 17 Feb. 2013
The UK sci-fi series Primeval has had a turbulent time of things in terms of production. The team behind the show has to be commended for succeeding at a time when Doctor Who was in the limelight, and UK broadcaster ITV1 began to shift away from dramas such as these, and seemingly did all they could to put the show out of business. After five series running for 6, 7, 10, 7 and 6 episodes respectively, Primeval became the prehistoric show that defied extinction and came back again and again. It was a very different beast at its end than what it was when it started, but then evolution was always a major theme of the show.

Now, Primeval has gone and done it again - it has survived extinction, and evolved into a Canadian spin-off series entitled Primeval: New World. In the process it has established a brand new team of dinosaur and anomaly-hunting experts, whilst also throwing in some vague references to the original British series that seem to be relevant to an ongoing plot. The continuity is mostly sound, and the few bits that aren't seem to be going somewhere storyline-wise. A Primeval: UK cast member also graces the show with his presence in the opening and closing episodes, bringing some familiarity and a bridge between the two.

Primeval: New World is not as family-oriented as it's British predecessor, but that doesn't hurt it at all. In fact it has allowed the show to return to the more realistic approach to drama we saw back in UK: Series 1 (there is also a major plot in the series finale that harks way back to UK: Series 1, which is a bonus treat for long term fans). The show keeps its reputation for killing off characters out of the blue, and now it doesn't have to cater to a family audience so much it can develop its characters a lot more without throwing a "Wow-how-cool!" dinosaur sequence in every other scene. The show delves into more morally grey territory that is genuinely interesting where it's "bad guys" are concerned, leaving them possibly misunderstood rather than evil (akin to Oliver Leek or Helen Cutter in the UK series). The other "bad guys" of course, are the dinosaurs and they are as well realised as ever here, with the latter half of the series offering some of the best TV CGI I've ever seen... mixed with the occasional treat of a dramatic Canadian landscape and this is a show that has matured a lot more than Primeval: UK ever did.

There was a slight lull in the middle of the series, and some clearly filler episodes emerged, but nothing staggeringly bad. The scripts are well-written enough to keep you engaged, and the dinosaur action, though a lot more relaxed than the UK show do not disappoint either. The series is definitely worth a shot for fans, and new viewers alike. I'm hoping a second series will come to justify that claim.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2013 1:28 AM BST

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