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Rob (UK)

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Pieces of the Possible
Pieces of the Possible
by Adrian Kirk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The kind of book I lend..., 10 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pieces of the Possible (Paperback)
The books I read can broadly be categorized in three ways; there are books I have read, books I have read and enjoyed enough to keep my copy and finally those rare books that I read and enthusiastically lend to others (and find myself reviewing on Amazon)! Pieces of the Possible sits firmly in the last camp and is a book I would recommend.

The book is written in a wonderful story-telling form that is as engaging as any good piece of stand alone fiction - surprising when I would consider this to primarily to be of the 'self help' variety. This story telling format allows you to feel safe and somehow does not feel as judgmental as others I have read. Although the story of the protagonist, Tom is very extreme at times, I found myself being able to find many parallels between his and my own experiences and be able to relate to his feelings and challenges.

Looking back, I have read many self help books in the last 10 years, but often find even the enjoyable ones do not find me making the changes they suggest in my day-to-day life. Pieces of the Possible is a real exception, as through the story it tells this book has shaped and changed my outlook in so many ways.

I have often been very resistant to change and fought against it both personally and professionally, but Adrian has helped me appreciate and value the opportunity it provides. Reading through the other reviews on Amazon it was great to find others had found this book similarly trans-formative and I hope that for anyone considering purchasing this book does so and enjoys it as much as I have.

Hasbro Guess Who, Game
Hasbro Guess Who, Game
Offered by JoMasters
Price: £14.50

1.0 out of 5 stars 2014 Guess Who - Poor Quality Flimsy and Hard to Use, 25 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Guess Who? Game (Toy)
For those who grew up playing Guess Who the appeal to introduce this to your children may be too much to resist! However, as a parent who did just that I can only try to capture how disappointed my children were.
So, for £15 the quality is appauling, the frame is requiring assembly and feels like it could give way at any time, the doors won't stay open or closed unless on a fully flat surface and the card showing each character doesn't stay in place.
To only add to my frustration, my children have seen the advertising on the box directing them to the EA Sports website to buy this for our games console.....fat chance.
I would add more detail, but I feel that having providing the detail above should be enough reason to keep the money firmly in your pocket.
For this year's addition rather than ask about eye and hair colour, ask if you have more money than sense!

Jillian Michaels - The Collection [DVD]
Jillian Michaels - The Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jillian Michaels
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £25.10

102 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where there's a Jill there's a way......., 5 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was new to the fitness guru Jillian Michaels and came across this set on Amazon. The fact I was getting so much for what amounted to the price of a single DVD from many of the alternatives was the initial appeal, but having used these DVD's I am an absolute convert and couldn't recommend them highly enough.

My main reason for choosing this set was the want to lose weight, I have tried various methods in the past with temporary or no success and wanted to try something different. Unlike many people fitness was not a primary driver, I've never got on with the gym and possibly due to feeling more comfortable in my own home, I seem to be able to get more from the workouts I've done with Jillian. Inside three weeks I am feeling noticably stronger and despite still finding each workout a challenge I am already feeling the benefits and increased endurance at this early stage.

For those as new to Jillian as myself, each DVD delivers a very demanding and high energy workout with Jillian willing you along with her demanding and motivating style. For me it seems just when the moves are getting really hard and starting to feel a little too much Jillian pipes up to remind you that "I know it's tough but these are the ones that really count." Each DVD has levels of intensity/difficulty so you can start as a beginner with the more straight forward moves, but for me each level delivers a great sweat inducing session.

This feels very different to other DVD systems, rather than some celebrity vehicle this programme is deliberately challenging, no corners are cut but if you stick with it for even a few days you very quickly see why.

I will look to update this review as I go on with the system, but for now I am really enthuised, check out reviews for the DVD's individually as I did before buying and you'll see I'm not alone.

If this year is the year you really want to make that lifestyle change then this set won't see you go far wrong.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 12, 2012 9:12 AM GMT

It's Signing Time 2
It's Signing Time 2
Offered by singing_hands
Price: £12.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hands of Rhyme, 16 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: It's Signing Time 2 (DVD)
Since one of my three daughters was diagnosed with autism my wife and I have tried many educational aids to try to encourage her speech, communication and interaction. None have been so much of a success as the dvd's from Singing Hands.

In truth, a hit with all of my children this dvd is just as good as the fantastic first and introduces you to makaton sign language through an interactive 'sign-a-long' dvd. This method of comminicating through simple signs has been a great aid to my daughter and myself alike as she quickly picked up key signs and actions which she adopted to use everyday when trying to communicate. For someone in my circumstances this was a fantastic feeling and for anyone in the same position I would recommend this dvd.

But as I said Singing Hands are a hit with all of my children and it's easy to see why. In teaching this language of signs my children do not feeling like they are learning, more joining in with the great fun and enthuiasm that Singing Hands bring when singing and signing to well known songs and nursery rhymes. It is perfectly pitched at a young pre-school audience, musically and visually with a lot to keep children engaged right from the start to its finish after around an hour.

My three daughters are seperated by 4 years and yet all enjoy this equally and although I may not have discovered this dvd if it were not for the reasons stated above, that would certainly not mean I would not recommend this for all young children if my crew are anything to go by.

I can only imagine this second installment will have just the same appeal and longevity as the first which has only very occasionally left our dvd player in the last 12 months. I am thrilled a second dvd has been made and hope a third is not far away.

Thank you Singing Hands for what you produced with this dvd, it brings a lot of joy to my happy little family.

Alpha and Omega [DVD]
Alpha and Omega [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hayden Panettiere
Price: £3.61

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less 'O'mega, more 'O'kay, 15 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Alpha and Omega [DVD] (DVD)
Every year now it seems we get a raft of animated adventures taking over cinema, and as a parent of a 4 year old little film lover very little gets through without us going along to see it. Many raise a real smile, many feel like an hour and a half of my life that has has gone forever....and somewhere inbetween is Alpha and Omega.

The film was enjoyed enormously by my daughter who was able to follow all the reasoning of the 'Packs' and their tradition which formed the central part of the story. She also understood the humour which was often slapstick at best. I did not feel the same way and did find it pretty standard fayre with little to entertain an adult audience, so for this reason I will sum this up as a kids film, for kids.

It tells the story of two packs of Wolves the 'Alpha's' and 'Omega's' who live and hunt seperately on different sides of the valley. As food gets short on the eastern side of the divide an arranged marriage between the two young wolves who are destined to lead their respective packs is forged with the aim of bringing the two together. This looks to have been ruined after Kate, leader of the Omega pack, is captured and moved to a new National Park along with Humprey a loveable and goofy Wolf who is frowned upon by the established packs. Humphrey helps Kate travel from America back to Canada anyway they can in time for Kate to marry her arranged partner Garth, but is the the bond she forms with Humphrey a bond that ultimately changes the course of the packs and ends their traditions.

The gaps in the plot I am sure any casual film watcher could fill in so formulaic is the film so I will leave it at that. But rather than judge this film through my own eyes which would be to say it falls well short of Pixar and Dreamworks efforts...I will just tell you how happy it made a four year old little girl.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2011 7:17 PM BST

The Mentalist Season 2 [DVD]
The Mentalist Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simon Baker
Offered by wmdservices
Price: £5.20

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will the most enjoyable and original TV show of the last few years please stand up?, 19 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Mentalist Season 2 [DVD] (DVD)
So, original I hear you cry....it's a US Cop show! I am a fan of American crime shows, I'm sure you all know the type I mean, they are invariably three of four letters long and somewhere in the abbreviation includes the letters 'C' and 'I'. They now exist in a variety of forms and are still as gripping as ever, but sometimes as I watch I do think they are covering the same ground and they do give of a certain sense of deja vu. I have watched often thinking can you really get to much of a good thing......

Whether you're a fan or not of these 'The Mentalist' is a relief from this on so many levels. It follows a team working for the CBI (California Bureau Of Investigation) on homicide cases around the state. The real difference to this show against all others is you are following a team of cops, and not forensic experts, with their star turn being Patrick Jane (Simon Baker). He is a former TV psychic medium who claimed supernatural powers but really just relied on his accute and fantastic powers of observation. This unlikely marriage of Jane to the team follows an event where Serial Killer Red John killed Jane's wife and child and after a breakdown he turns his skill to understanding crime scenes and the suspects they lead him to as he works as a 'consultant' to the team. Red John does appear in the second season most notably in the brilliant season finale.

So if you have ever seen the show you'll know Patrick Jane's ability is only one part of his make-up. He is cocky, arrogant but supremely warm and charming original character who at any moment may simply become disintertested with the direction the case takes and find ice cream, walking in the hills or simply staying in the car a better option than following leads with his fellow agents. He is always unorthodox and it is often his elborate, and rule bending games, that trap the guilty party and makes this show such a different animal from the others that follow police procedure so closely.

Although Baker as Jane is the obvious lead, all the characters are well formed and have charateristics and traites all of their own. Despite the fact that each crime and investigation is almost exclusively episodic you see much more character development in Season 2. The leader of the team Agent Lisbon's hard exterior softens at times, and the will they/won't they relationship of Rigsby and Van Pelt is explored yet again. Agent Cho continues to be the perfect foil to Patrick Jane's super confident manner as the dead pan and down to earth side kick, and the show is entertaining whoever is on screen.

If the question I asked at the start of this review was can you get too much of a good thing with American Crime Shows, whichever your view, The Mentalist is certainly a welcome breathe of fresh air and a real boost to the genre and replaces that feeling of "Deja vu" with a certain "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" and is worthy of everyone of the five stars.

Formula 1 2009 (PSP)
Formula 1 2009 (PSP)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £13.73

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars F...1 for the fans?, 24 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Formula 1 2009 (PSP) (Video Game)
So you wait years for an F1 game, Codemasters promised the world to us back in 2008 and after Sony had appeared to be dragging their heals on a new relase we were all so excited about the official game franchise changing hands. We were all so confident too, after all Codemasters were the kings of the motorsport game with a back catalogue of successful franchises - nothing could go wrong.

It hasn't quite worked out that way but it is a really good first attempt at motorsports most prized formula with just a few drawbacks. I shouldn't be surprised, to recreate a full season of F1 from scratch and on the psp platform (where many top titles remain in 2d!) is a massive task, and it has been done with overall success as this game is still as good as we've got - so great.

As I'm an F1 nut it does feel a little out of date already with no Grosjean, no Alguersuari, how can EA manage to keep all transfers up to date and release its FIFA titles only a month after football's transfer window ends, but when a driver leaves an F1 team in the first few races of the season it was sadly a step to far to think that Codemasters could update that info given 8 months. This is not helped further as by the time we had seen the release date go back month by month we knew by then that BMW, Toyota and Brawn are no more in F1.....never mind, I can't really blame them for that....as long as that time was well spent on other features, after all, my copy of F1 2006 on psp is very out of date but still gets a run out because it has good gameplay and has some good graphics too, how did Codemasters fair here?

Fairly well, the graphics are very grainy but the cars and tracks are still authentically detailed but nothing exceptional and do not look as different from each other as perhaps they should, the frame rate slows a little when many cars are in frame which is a pity. The main spoiler is what I imagine is meant to represent sun glare, it looks like a sudden bizarre dulling of the colour. The buildings and other landmarks they have spent all this time lovingly recreating also look flat but I don't doubt they are all exactly where they should be and credit to the developers for attempting to capture all of this on every circuit of an entire season. The fact that all of the official tracks are here is an amazing achievement not to be overlooked.

The handling which is already tough to get used to (you must turn on traction control) as the cars slide about alot and overtaking becomes a russian roulette style affair where you either do or you don't and end up eating the wall thanks to the poor AI. On the positives to add to the great size of the game with all of the tracks etc. the game feels fast, very fast and this is absolutely a good thing and really does make this such a different game to the slow Sony efforts on psp. But you feel all the other areas of gameplay and graphics have suffered just a little too much at the expense of creating this sense of speed and on balance I don't think this was the best trade off. It is worth a buy if you don't have F1 2005/6 and are an enthuisiast of F1 but there are better racers on psp, TOCA 3 still leads the way.

In brief I'm delighted it is on psp, it's very different in the ways detailed above, but neither is it an improvement on F1 2006. It lands somewhere between an arcade racer and a realistic simulation, it has some great features which you could argue for both camps, but enough drawbacks to say it fulfills neither. My wishlist to codemasters wouldn't be a long one, in a way I would be taking out much of the complexity out leaving just a good solid racing game behind, overall though it represents a job well done and other reviews here are very harsh indeed.

FAQ About Time Travel [DVD]
FAQ About Time Travel [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anna Faris
Price: £4.00

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I might just travel back in time to watch it again!, 10 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: FAQ About Time Travel [DVD] (DVD)
It is every film lovers most satisfying moment - even better than when a summer blockbuster does live up to the hype - it is of course when a film you've not even heard of absolutely exceeds your expectation.

So this film follows the bizarre story of three friends played by homegrown talent Marc Wooten, Dean Lennox Kelly and Chris O'Dowd as they live out a mundane existance until one night.....

We start with our three friends Toby, Ray and Pete working in a second rate theme park, their jobs are so dull and all they live for their nights in the pub and sci-fi. It is in the pub that night that they are visited by a time traveller Cassie, played by the beautiful Anna Faris (she almost steals the show in her 15ish minute screen time), she has gone back in time to see them before they are famous, this is laughted off as a practical joke until on a trip into the toilets they quickly learn Cassie's visit has left a loophole in time, each time they come out they find themselves at a different point. Whether in the distant future where the world resembles an apololyptic wasteland or back in time a mere half an hour where they have to avoid running into themselves from the past the comedy is never side spilitting but is relentless enough to just keep on entertainting throughout. Cassie's attempts to help correct the situation often hinder as much as help but lead to a fitting climax in little over an hour.

What unfolds is sweet and unthreatening, a real buddy movie that really does build from such a strange idea. Gareth Carrivicks big screen bow should be applauded as a real stand out film for 2009.

It is, at times, little more than a sitcom/movie homage to the sci fi genre in much the same way that Shaun of the Dead was to horror, but rises above that most often to have us all dreaming about what may lie in store for us all.

It is not a dvd I'll be lending for fear of not getting it back.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2011 8:54 PM BST

Robocop - The Prime Directives (Special Edition 4 DVD Box Set)
Robocop - The Prime Directives (Special Edition 4 DVD Box Set)
Dvd ~ Robocop

3.0 out of 5 stars Can sci fi ever be cheap and cheerful?, 28 Sept. 2009
Robocop is a character who found fame in the 80's blockbuster movie. Alex Murphy is a cop killed in action, only to be bought back to life as part of a project to become the future of law enforcement. A half man half machine programmed to follow three prime directives.

Protect the innocent.
Serve the public trust.
Uphold the law.

These films reprise the character of Murphy for these straight to boot sale, sorry, I mean straight to video, movies.

If you intend to watch any of these films the boxed set is worth buying, simply because each film is really only setting the scene for the next in the sequence, plus at the price you'll pay is negligable so you may as well. Buy the cheapest set you can as this will not the be type of set you watch over and over. This review is really based on the presumption you'll spend less than a fiver.

Although the films see a return of the Robocop character from the 80's film, this is a far departure from the stylised creation in a motion picture full of moral and spiritual questions. It is a mini series type set of action movies that will hold enough sway with hardcore fans desperate for any kind of Robocop fix. In every way this does not really come close to the films that went before, but that bar was always going to be to high to ever beat, so as one of the fanatics mentioned above overall I was entertained enough.

The film is missing a few of the elements that made the first two films in particular a success, Peter Weller as Robocop was simply perfect, he had a mime like ability that made you believe you were watching a machine in motion. His voice, helped by special sound effects was the perfect computerised tone. The bad guys were REALLY bad guys, the vision of the future in the setting of Delta City was so believable you could taste the polluted air.

In this set of films the lead, Page Fletcher, never quite makes you suspend disbelief long enough to believe you're watching a robot - the comical walk is not the only reason either, the films looks more dated than the original and relies too much on special effects for its back drop of Delta City and the OCP building. We are fed too many new main characters within a very small cast (8 main characters over all 4 films) to digest, Murphy has a grown up son working on the board of OCP, then there's Robo's partner Cable, his ex wife is on the board too, there are other examples. Never in 6 hours will you see so many people fall through pains of glass in slow motion, only to get up and do it again.

So, the positives, there is a decent musical score, even though it is performed on synthesisers and sounds a bit 'wild west'. The suit and the gun are truly authentic and don't look cheap, thank god as this surely would have been a step to far. And for all of the amateurish presentation, dreadful special effects and even the slightly 'off' acting is forgivable and all because you feel that who ever made these made them with a real love for the subject matter, did the best they could on I'm guessing was an extremely limited budget and gave Robo one more outing fans to enjoy.

If you're new to Robocop, please start with the Orion originals, 1 & 2 in particular, not these. If you are excited at the prospect of 6 more hours from the future of law enforcement you may forgive this 'ok at best' set all of its many failings, just as I did. It is such a pity the franchise isn't going as strong as Terminator, Batman and others and this is the best we've had in a long time.

'Thank you for your co-operation'

Starship Troopers Trilogy (Starship Troopers/Starship Troopers 2 - Hero Of The Federation/Starship Troopers 3 - Marauder) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Starship Troopers Trilogy (Starship Troopers/Starship Troopers 2 - Hero Of The Federation/Starship Troopers 3 - Marauder) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Casper Van Dien

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See you on the bounce Trooper!, 27 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ed Neumeier's work is a fascinating back catalogue, as one of the most imaginative screenplay writers he has delivered such remarkable creations as Robocop and of course Starship Troopers. Both have relied on the influence of Paul Verhoeven as director of both franchises highlights and don't underestimate his influence, but for now we will concentrate on the vision created by Ed.

Both of his famous creations create extreme sci-fi visions of the future. In Robocop a half man half machine becomes the saviour of Delta City, a city owned run and controlled by a vicous corporation, OCP. The parallels are obvious when you compare Starship Troopers where a future Earth is at war with super sized and super intelligent bugs. People flock to join the military because it offers a ticket to be classed as a citizen and not simply a civilian and the chance of a brighter future and better life.

Both Robocop and Starship Troopers break from the story to show media reports, propaganda and more from the ruthless and manipulative companies who are in charge. 'So what!' you may say, they are similar films, we get it. Infact I feel their similarlities are what set them appart from so many other sci fi titles.

Despite the extreme visions of the future, complete with super sci fi enermies, the real subject you explore in both films is the exploration of humanity. Despite the highly exagratted back drop these films hold up a mirror to the human race and explore all of the facets, from both ends of the spectrum. Ed's gift is that although you grow attached to lead characters you do sometimes find yourself wondering which side you are really rooting for.

So, 'Starship Troopers' is occasionally cheesy, borrows much of its ideas on technology from James Cameron's Aliens but is an action filled blast of a film with almost a 'coming of age'/'buddy film' feel at times. The big bugs are realistic and all of the space sequences are believable and match most of the high standards of current special effects which makes the blu ray copy well worth a watch. Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer are good leads but not being Hollywood heavyweights does give the film that B-movie feel, which I think is a good thing. With no superstar lead there are no preconcieved ideas as an audience of who will live and who will die, peril remains throughout and that can only be a good thing. So for the first part of the trilogy we'd be talking 5 stars, but sadly the set takes a real turn for the worst........really.

'Starship Troopers 2- Hero of the Federation' is sadly 2 hours of my life I will never get back. Gone are the slick sci fi effects and glorious backdrops of deep space to be replaced with dark, foggy nothingness and dialogue that seems jerky, unnatural and bland. Put simply, it's a horror show of a sequel that this boxed set would simply be better without. Actors seem to go from B movie cool to amateur dramatics odd and in short this film is a stinker. Some ideas are carried straight over from the first film and there are a few enjoyable sequences, but nothing more is on show. It seems sad really as I can only imagine this script would ever be in existance if the studio had put up a whacking great sum of money for a sequel, so why is this film so clearly low budget? That is not a retorical question, just a comment on my confusion. Richard Burgi stars with Colleen Porch although the term 'stars' has never been so undeserved, in short you could claim the cast had moved onto bigger and better things if they had started working in a drive thru.......and relax.

So overall I gave this boxed set a very respectable 4 stars so fear not, better is to come. 'Starship Troopers 3 Maruader' is a return to form of a sort, it is presented by Paul Verhoeven (I'm never really sure what that means but) he has attached his name to a real return to form so whatever his influence, it seems to be a good one. Casper Van Dien is back as the lead and this helps the films appeal, he is back delivering one liners, the dialogue is funny, sharp and still cheesy. The high budgets of the earlier films have gone, but this straight to DVD affair doesn't show the scars at all. Some may say the special effects are not great but the action raced past without me noticing to any great extent. This film does not quite top the first, as although the ideas from that film are continued along with the character/plot development (which was lost from the second), nothing feels entirely new. But by keeping the key ingrediants the same we see a far better film than the second. It is fun, frantic and at 30 years of age, (remembering being considerably younger when I sat in the cinema to watch the first) I would consider this film one of my cinematic guilty pleasures.

In all the boxed set offers little incentive to buy these films altogether, little special features is an obvious and sad ommition, some neat postcards, a carded sleeve box don't improve the arguement much. But, for the right price this set offers some great entertainment and I recommend it to anyone into sci fi or action films. Even with an iffy second the other two more than make up for it by making blasting giant ants to bits a moreish viewing. The first and third will be titles you reach for time and time again.

I hope you enjoy these films. See you on the bounce trooper.

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