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Síog (Ireland)

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Chicco First Activities Frog
Chicco First Activities Frog
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great versatile toy, 20 Aug. 2016
This review is from: Chicco First Activities Frog (Toy)
My son has enjoyed playing with this since he received it as a present aged three months - he's now almost 11 months and still really likes it. It's one of the most versatile toys he has: small and easy to carry around with us when out and about, great little feet to chew on when teething, a little mirror to keep him occupied, and two little plastic rings that he also likes chewing on and manipulating with his hands.

Girl Most Likely [DVD] [2013]
Girl Most Likely [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Kristen Wiig
Price: £3.95

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, with a lot of heart., 15 Feb. 2014
This is a good, fun film, with a lot of heart (and a terrible title). I'm surprised at the negative reviews here and elsewhere, perhaps not what people were expecting from Kristen Wiig. It's a comedy, but a fairly quirky one, and has sad and poignant moments mixed in with the more humorous ones.

Imogene, played by Kristen Wiig (who does a great job) suffers a couple of serious mishaps at the beginning of the film, that force her to leave New York and move back in with her mother in Ocean City, NJ. The rest of the film follows her over a couple of weeks coming to terms with her life, in a journey into self-awareness. Annette Bening is wonderful as her kooky mother, the rest of the supporting cast also do a terrific job. Some of Imogene's New York friends veer a little into caricature in their wickedness, but not so much that it took away from the consistency and plausibility of the story as a whole.

If you're looking for something fairly light, but with an intelligent script and some good humour, then I'd definitely recommend this. 7 out of 10.

Kinesis Advantage Ergonomic Contoured Keyboard USB - Black
Kinesis Advantage Ergonomic Contoured Keyboard USB - Black

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 23 April 2012
A great ergonomic keyboard.
The keys are placed on either side of the keyboard in a curved hollow (as you can see from the photo), which means your hands are roughly shoulder-length apart when typing, which feels very natural. The keys feel nice when pressed, they're not too hard or too soft. The keys are easily reachable from one another, which means your fingers don't move around a lot when you're typing.
The key layout differs slightly from a standard keyboard, but only took me a week or so to adjust to. It has the ability to re-map keys (the Windows key requires more than one keypress, so I remapped "Alt Gr" to the Windows key), as well as to program macros (I haven't used the latter feature).
I've had mine for two years, and no longer get shoulder pain when typing. I also suffer from occasional wrist pain, and this hasn't eliminated that. All the same, I'd recommend it, especially for those with shoulder pain.

Synecdoche, New York [DVD] [2008]
Synecdoche, New York [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Philip Seymour Hoffman
Offered by Digizoneuk
Price: £16.71

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly imaginative, but pointlessly bleak, 18 May 2009
"Synecdoche, New York" ranks among the more unusual, imaginative and surreal films I've seen during my life. Unfortunately, it's also one of the bleakest films I've seen (that hasn't involved war or child abuse).

The story centres on theatre director Caden Cotard. Caden starts the film married to his artist wife, and things aren't going too well in their marriage. Also not in a good way is Caden's health, as he starts noticing some unusual health problems that no doctor seems able to diagnose.

Without going into detail (it's difficult to, without giving away a lot of what happens), what follows is an incredibly imaginative but very gloomy study of a man's life. Relationships with women feature prominently: in all different shapes and forms: loving, manipulative, threatening, adoring. Fear of death is also explored heavily. There are some wonderful scenes: honest and insightful, some which are also funny.

Unfortunately, while the film is truly unique, it's pointlessly depressing, verging on the ridiculous. The lead character suffers a series of tragedies, some partly self-inflicted, others beyond his control. When piled high, as they are in this film, they cease to provide any emotional punch, as the barrage of tragic events becomes numbing to the viewer.

I still think writer/director Kaufman is talented, and would highly recommend "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (which he also penned), to anyone who hasn't seen it. But for anyone looking for more where that came from, I'd recommend "Eternal Sunshine..." director Michel Gondry's "The Science of Sleep" instead of this.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2014 5:46 PM GMT

Flags of our Fathers (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Flags of our Fathers (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ryan Phillippe
Offered by figswigs
Price: £3.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful and worthwhile film, 26 Dec. 2008
"Flags of our Fathers", and its companion piece "Letters from Iwo Jima" tell the story of the battle for Iwo Jima, which took place at the end of the Second World War on a Japanese Pacific island. "Flags..." is probably the weaker of the two pieces, but a worthwhile and compelling film no less.

The film centres around the raising of the US flag atop a hill on Iwo Jima after the US had taken their first significant piece of territory, and the effect on the six soldiers snapped by a war photographer raising the flag. The surviving soldiers (half of them had died within weeks) were brought home to serve as poster boys for American troop "bravery", and to attempt to encourage citizens to buy war bonds and continue enthusiastically supporting the war effort.

The film thoughtfully examines the human cost of war - the story of the Native American soldier who unravels under the pressure to appear as a hero is particularly poignant. The nature and significance of heroism in Western culture is an important theme - and acts as a counterpoint to the contrasting cultural values emphasised in "Letters...". The film's particular effectiveness comes from it's ability to allow the viewer to make up their own mind about what is going on. No character is portrayed as being devoid of humanity, not even the treasury official who is utterly focused on attracting funding to the war effort, and is happy to overlook the misreporting of the real identities of the six soldiers present during the flag-raising.

Other reviewers have pointed at some flaws - some I agree with, others I don't. One reviewer (of the single-disc edition) complains that the questions posed about the identity of the marines in the flag-raising photo will only be relevant to Americans of the stars-and-stripes-loving variety. This really misses the point of the film - the flag raising acts as a jumping-off point for the examination of the issues raised in the film - among which is the somewhat arbitrary nature of patriotism (this point particularly comes through when viewed alongside "Letters...").
Other critisisms include the confusion which arose when viewing the present day interviews with the (now elderly) characters portrayed as soldiers during the main thrust of the film. This is valid criticism - insufficient attempts were made to distinguish between the war veterans being interviewed by the films narator (a son of one of the veterans). These interviews were an ill-advised narrative device, still, they didn't really take away from the effectiveness of the film as a whole.

All in all, a thoroughly worthwhile film - one that made me think, and pointed to no easy answers, exposing some of the tragic and wasteful aspects of human nature.

21 Grams [DVD] [2004]
21 Grams [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Sean Penn
Price: £3.75

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over-indulgently miserable, lacking in subtlety, 7 Dec. 2008
This review is from: 21 Grams [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
"21 grams" revolves around 3 central characters, with overlapping story arcs. Naomi Watts plays a young mother struck by tragedy, who enters a self-destructive spiral. Sean Penn is a transplant patient who won't stop smoking despite the consequences, and who's relationship with his wife (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) is disintegrating. Benicio Del Toro plays a former con who has become a zealous born-again Christian (leading to tensions with his wife).

I found a number of problems with this film:
Unlike many other reviewers, I found Watt's acting a little overwrought at times. Furthermore, her stroyline, was, for me, implausible, with her character making and following through on a sequence of reckless and bizarre decisions. Admittedly her character was traumatized, however, I found her story arc to be over-indulgenty miserable, and thought it would have worked a lot better had more subtlety been applied. By the end of it, I didn't feel empathy for her character who I felt had largely made her own bed...
Penn's character was often selfish and fairly unlikable. His story arc had significant implausible elements, although there were some good scenes with his wife.

Del Toro's character I found to be by far the most compelling. His story forms a fairly poignant study of a man trying to grapple with his past and not applying balance in his attempt to amend his ways, and crucially, falling victim to circumstance.

While this film had its moments, I felt overall it didn't work. There is an overarching sense of misery, and the plots intertwine implausibly. Don't get me wrong, I believe that films about the dark side of human nature are important and can be very moving. However, the misery in this film seemed to serve very little purpose: it did not, in my opinion, serve to illustrate some deeper point about the human condition.

Five out of 10.

Burn After Reading [DVD]
Burn After Reading [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £3.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and humourous, 22 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Burn After Reading [DVD] (DVD)
I was in the right mood to enjoy this quirkily humouorous film. It's a little dark too, as I've come to expect with the Coens, but the whole thing works well - the humour and the darker elements are balanced perfectly.

Basically, it concerns the bizarrely ensuing drama after an insecure, ditzy gym instructor, who's colleague (played hilariously by Brad Pitt), comes across the "memoirs" of a government agent, played in a perfectly captured study of an out of control, angry male, by John Malkovich. Other characters include a lonely gym manager played (brilliantly, all the acting is superb), by Richard Jenkins, a treasury employee played by George Clooney, and an icy doctor played by Tilda Swinton.

Great stuff, funny and well-plotted, in a bizarre kindof way.

Educating Rita (Remastered) [DVD]
Educating Rita (Remastered) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Price: £4.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth a Look, 5 Jun. 2008
A lovely film. Michael Caine does a wonderful job playing the self-destructive but intelligent and warmhearted Dr Frank Bryant, and Julie Walters immerses herself in the character of Rita, a lively and witty hairdresser who decides to enroll in an open University course. The script is perfect, making for a touching film full of insights into human relationships, hopes and desires.

As an aside, for anyone familiar with Dublin, the film was shot in the city, mostly in Trinity College, which is fun to see as it was in the 80s, and works as a perfect setting for the film.

An Inconvenient Truth [DVD] [2006]
An Inconvenient Truth [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Al Gore
Offered by Zoom Online
Price: £3.00

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 30 April 2008
I was disappointed with this film after reading positive reviews it got from critics.
It isn't a terrible film, it's very slickly presented, and brings together a lot of evidence for the case that humans are jeopardising the future of the planet, but there are a number of problems.

Firstly, as other reviewers point out, it merely reminds you of things you have already heard instead of really making you think. Worse for me, was the fact that it looked like a political move by Gore, positioning himself as the guy who cares. There are many irrelevant excerpts of montages from Gore's childhood and some of the key political events that marked his career personally, such as losing the 2000 election. Ostensibly they are relevant to the unfolding story, but really they look more like an attempt to put Gore, and not the issue, centrestage. Another criticism arises from the fact that we see Gore travelling in the back of his chauffeur driven car in many of the excerpts which are interleaved with the slideshow, and hear him tell us of all the cities he's travelled to to give this slideshow, a lot of carbon miles...

Gore comes across in the slideshow more as charismatic entertainer than a committed advocate. I was reminded a little of Michael Moore on a couple of occasions, for example when Gore puts forward the (albeit very valid) case for environmental standards for cars. He tells us that America lags far behind other advanced nations, and even behind China in this regard. He then goes on to try and make the point that economically, this is not in the American car manufacturers interests, saying that because they don't meet other nations environmental standards they have lost out in terms of sales. He presents a bar chart showing the profitability of four car manufacturers, two American and two Asian, and the Asians are displayed as increasing their market capitalisation, whereas the Americans are shown as decreasing their market capitalisation over time. Which just made me think, where are the other manufacturers from both regions, why have you left them out? If you really want to persuade people of something so that they are really convinced of it, presenting incomplete evidence such as that, to my mind, just serves to raise doubt in the minds of viewers as to the integrity of the presenter.

Anyway, I'm giving this three stars instead of two, as I imagine the film will do more good than harm, having a high profile figure such as Gore visibly promoting the issue of climate change.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2014 10:55 AM GMT

Lost in Translation [DVD] [2004]
Lost in Translation [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £3.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 2 Aug. 2007
This film follows two weeks in the lives of two lonely Americans in Tokyo - Bob, who is shooting a commercial to "get away from his wife" who he loves nevertheless, and Charlotte, who is tagging along with her photographer husband. Through coinciding jet-lag induced night visits to the hotel swimming pool and bar, they get talking and end up spending alot of time together while both are in Tokyo. A beautifully shot, insightful film with wonderfully evoked characters, and so many scenes that are either hilarious, poignant, or a mixture of both.

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