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The Elephant Vanishes
The Elephant Vanishes
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All things Japanese, 29 Aug. 2003
This review is from: The Elephant Vanishes (Paperback)
It's late at night, I'm very tired but while looking around Amazon and seeing this book only getting one star, I had to put in my 5 cents, 2 dimes, 3p- whatever (I'm tired ok?) I recently read this book and it reflects exactly how the Japanese culture represents to me. Watching anime cartoons or meeting Japanese people, anything Japanese- brings a feeling in me that is encompassed in this book. The style of writing is simple, and unembarrassed- by that I mean it isn't over littered with psychologial, intellectual condescending tidbits here and there to please people who want to think they're reading something clever. Any intellectual musings you have about the stories, Murakami allows you to do for yourself. Overall, you've got to expect the eccentricity of some of the stories. Sometimes the endings are open, sometimes the conclusion is perfect. 'On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning' was one that definitely brought back that unique type of sadness that some Japanese animated films have- a sad, inexplicable melancholia. It made me think and is definitely one of the best short stories I've ever read not only because of it's originality, but also because of it's structure, it's form- jumping from present to future to past back to present again so seamlessly. In some ways, the simplicity of the narrative reminded of the novel 'Naive. Stupid' by Erlend Loe so expect a kind of scandanavian essence to his story-telling. Another notable aspect of this book is the way that Haruki Murakami makes the narrative so filmatic. Not only in describing his characters- but also the scents, the scenery, the colours- every nuance of the characters' environment is described poetically and again with that Japanese 'thing' that I can't put into words. Better get this book yourself and have a go if you're open minded and don't mind that haiku feeling in a story. I'm very interested in Japanese culture (this is a Chinese person speaking) so that probably helped but otherwise, it is a good book that I would recommend if you want to break away from conventional novel forms.

Austin Powers in Goldmember [DVD] [2002]
Austin Powers in Goldmember [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Mike Myers|Beyoncé Knowles|Michael York|Heather Graham
Price: £2.90

5.0 out of 5 stars A beauteous trilogy, 25 Aug. 2003
Though it may not stay a trilogy for long, who knows but I think Mike Myers re-invented himself with all the comic ingenuity that he had when he made 'Wayne's World'. Some disagree but I can only say that this is by far the funniest Austin Powers movie. He parodies not only espionage films, but also aspects of the music industry, the whole 70s era... it's hard for me to understand people who complain about the lack of substance in the plot when they're watching a film that is so blatantly farcical (in a good way). It's silly- don't expect more from that. Sometimes the jokes will make you go 'oh dear, will it stoop any lower?' and inevitably it does- so low that it manages to come out the other side and down again. I struggled to contain the contents of my bowels when I saw the 'Hard Knock Life' section- I have never actually laughed that hard in a cinema in my life. So expect to change your pants a few times while watching this if you're a fan of Austin Powers and know not to bother following the storyline.

Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £18.57

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not mind blowing, 16 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Building (Audio CD)
Like I say, this album isn't mind blowing. I read the amazing reviews this album got on amazon, as well as word from a few people that they were worth listening to (based purely on the fact that they have been around for a while)- but on actually purchasing and listening to this album, I found it to be incredibly same-y. Nothing stands out. Giving it another chance- I was forced to get to the end of the album before deciding that it wasn't worth the words that people were using to rave on about it. I think there's one song that kind of had a half decent riff that rose above the dull shred shred shred that the rest of the album consists of but I've already forgotten its name. There are better albums worth getting- this isn't vital to anyone's collection.

Offered by firefly-music-store
Price: £3.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jingle in your stereo, 16 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Jingles (Audio CD)
Regurgitator was introduced to me among a plethora of other brilliant Aussie bands (from a mixtape) but 'the gurge' definitely stood out above the rest. You have all the chart-success classics here, 'Everyday Formula' and 'Polyester Girl' being two of them. You have the catchy pop ones that I can never resist singing to, even though I KNOW that regurgitator are making me say naughty things like 'I sucked a lot of c*ck to get where I am.' If you've never listened to the gurge before, I would say this is a good intro to the band (especially if you like the sound of their song titles). If you're a gurge fan anyway, then don't bother. 'Disco Crazy', the never released before track is nothing special. And I think that's primarily the problem with regurgitator, some of their songs can come across as album fillers. Their musical styles vary so much from song to song- rock, techno, rap, pop... 'crush the losers' just reminds me of 'Grease' for god's sake- you can't like every single one. Sometimes they have deep politcal issues (take 'Everyday Formula' for instance) and then all they wanna do is take the mickey ('Fat Cop' is an example but this is by far my fave gurge song). Get this album if you're open- you're guaranteed to skip a few songs but then, like me, you can be the sort of person who appreciates their variety. Two conclusions I drew from listening to regurgitator is that 1) Musically they have so much more potential (I sound like a teacher, sorry). I mean, take 'Modern Life'- great riff, great tune, great message- but its so under-developed. It could be so much better as a song. And secondly 2) ultimately they are 2 guitar wielding funny guys who have cynical songs. My final word is... get this album if you don't mind some fun, and have some cash to spare.

Murder By Death [DVD] [1997]
Murder By Death [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Peter Falk
Price: £4.70

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little comic cluedo, 16 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Murder By Death [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This is a classic parody of most dark-haunted-castle, Agatha Christie-type murder mysteries. You can see in this film that they took no pains in adding all the stereotypical elements that come with your typical murder weekend- a gothic castle, rain, lightening, a strangely spooky suit of armour, etc. Throw in a couple of great all time detectives, a mad host and some pretty shocking-yet-amusing jump shots and you have yourself a good film. At times I found it very surreal but as a comedy, it cannot fail. I first watched it when I was 9 or 10 (oh so definitely the best age to have watched it) and thought it was pretty cool that Columbo had his own feature film (but wondered why he had a different name). But after watching it again a few years later and a couple of notches wiser, you really get to appreciate the originality of the film, its twists and turns, and its truly truly great cast. I cannot understand why so few people I know have never seen it though. Don't be one of them.

Hand of Fate - Jewel
Hand of Fate - Jewel
Offered by just-the-games
Price: £9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I must defend, 23 April 2003
This review is from: Hand of Fate - Jewel (Video Game)
Like I said, I must defend this game from cruel respites. It is indeed an 'oldy', I played it years ago- must have been when I was 12 and it was positively the best game ever and certainly more than suitable for anyone 10 and above but I still love it (nostalgically). The graphics are superb, rich, and cartoon-ey, the storyline, well, beats anything- you have to go to the centre of the world- I mean! But wait for it- there's a clever twist. The music is second to none. Honestly they could have made an OST and I would have bought ten copies and some for my friends. Best of all are the conversations, and comedic characters you meet along the way. Yes, true- you have to work out what potions you gotta do, etc. and sometimes you get it wrong but what do you think the save button's for? It's a funny funny game, innocent but still clever

Deep Elm Sampler - Vol. 3: Sound Spirit Fury Fire
Deep Elm Sampler - Vol. 3: Sound Spirit Fury Fire
Offered by vsmusic_com_us
Price: £2.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars come here for variety emo kids, 16 Aug. 2002
By giving this CD a 5 five star rating, I don't mean that every single track is going to thrill your emo ears, but that as a compilation of this label's best, including the Appleseed Cast, Seven Storey and Brandtson; it's got to be said, they haven't done a bad job. On a first critical listen, I did use the 'it's too same-y' line, but giving it a chance, I found myself selecting my favourites and you do find yourself discovering some gems you wouldn't have otherwise found due to the lack of exposure Deep Elm bands get in the UK. It's criminal in my mind.
A majority of the songs are the nice, melodic kind (imagine the subtle violin) but some of the faster ones are really impressive. My highlights, to name a few, are Brandtson 'Leaving Ohio', ' 'Rockets and jets' Slowride, 'improbable inside' Camber... etc. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of 'Cross My Heart's' album (despite their name) so if you're bored with your worn-out mainstream emo essentials, get this to spruce up your CD collection. And while you're at it, get vol. 2 Deep Elm compilation- 'Songs for the Working Class'- because 'It doesn't take that many pills...' by Cross my Heart has got to be heard.
If anything, this album is good as an emo compilation in itself.

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