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Mr. S. Kerfoot (England)

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Quirke [DVD]
Quirke [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gabriel Byrne
Price: £6.50

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity, sadly., 8 July 2014
This review is from: Quirke [DVD] (DVD)
I'm a big fan of the actors in this series. Gabriel Byrne has been in some of my favourite films, particularly Miller's Crossing, and is faultless. Michael Gambon is a master at making fine acting look easy. I've also enjoyed the books which this series was based on, so naturally I was looking forward to sitting back and simply letting myself enjoy what should have been some of the best television of the year.

Unfortunately, in spite of having fine actors, gripping stories to base it on, characters which leap off the page in the novels and a situation which should make for great television drama, and of course the backing of the BBC, this series failed to live up to expectations. The pacing was slow, hesitant even, every point seemed laboured, and the subtlety of the books was lost. The acting was sound, but with a lack of adequate direction it all seemed rather lacking.

It's clear that whoever produced and directed the series had seen the recent American hits such as Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men or True Detective, and camera work, pacing, fine detailing and design were all clearly influenced by them. However, while those series are masterclasses, this wasn't. It's one thing to read a book, it's another to write one yourself. I'm sure everyone worked hard at making this series, it really did have a quality feel, but the style didn't have the substance which was needed to back it up.

Brilliant actors deserve better, and so do viewers. If any more are made, I doubt I'll watch them. Probably better to stick to the books, which I'd recommend highly. This was okay at best, but rather a missed opportunity.

Head Or Heart
Head Or Heart
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £6.00

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ticks all the boxes and then some., 31 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Head Or Heart (Audio CD)
Christina Perri wasn't a name I was familiar with until last week. Amazon kindly offered a free preview of this album before release, and never one to miss an opportunity, I listened to Head or Heart. Then I reloaded it and listened a second time. Over the last week, when able, I've listened to this album about seven times, and each time it's grown on me. When I first heard it, I liked it, now I love it.

If you want to compare artists, Christina is a cross between Melody Gardot and Leslie Feist, and from hearing her full range here she's an equal to both in my opinion. This album has everything you'd want, from very tender moments to far lighter, brighter songs, all carried off with finesse and stunning clarity. Christina has a voice which will leave you wanting more, and no doubt pressing the repeat button.

Unlike many albums of late, this hasn't been over produced, and the freshness will put a broad smile on your face. I wouldn't change a single aspect of this album, and will be looking at buying this lady's previous CDs. And that's the beauty of having heard this album online, I know that when I play the CD the quality will be even better. So, thanks to Amazon for the free preview, but even greater thanks to Christina for producing an album which has songs for both the head and heart, and leave both the happier for the experience.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2014 6:26 PM BST

Major Crimes - Season 1 [DVD]
Major Crimes - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mary McDonnell
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £14.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series, under appreciated in the UK, 3 Mar. 2014
As with so many great US dramas and series, this has been missed by many in the UK. The choice by both ITV and the BBC to effectively black-list US series means that Major Crimes, and many other fine series, are under appreciated and unseen in Britain. Major Crimes is a superb example of this, and is indeed a superb series. The plots are good, the acting better and the pace of the episodes is pitched just right. Lets face it, cop series in the US have been going on long enough for them to get all this right, but they seldom do. Mary McDonnell is the perfect lead, and as a Battlestar Galactica fan, I was concerned I wouldn't be able to banish her character in that series from my mind. However, within minutes she'd gone from being Laura Roslin to the Captain of a police squad. She's that good. GW Bailey is also excellent, and while the early tension predictably dissipates, it doesn't feel forced. All in all, this is a worthy successor to series like NYPD Blue, but like so many others of late, Rookie Blue, Blue Bloods and The Boss spring to mind, it won't be seen and enjoyed on the major channels. All the more reason to catch it on DVD.

Smash - Season 2 [DVD] [2013]
Smash - Season 2 [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Debra Messing
Price: £7.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, tricky....., 19 Dec. 2013
First an admission; I'm not a Glee fan. Generally, dramas which involve people bursting into song at the drop of a hat fill me with dread. However, Smash is different. It's an adult drama with music, not a happy-clappy soap with songs. Series one had it's flaws, but the idea it was based around and the superb cast, plus an almost palpable feeling that everyone was doing their best to create a quality series drove it on.

There was everything needed to make it a success, and when the final episode aired it looked like, if the lessons were learned, it could make it. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and series two wasn't as good as the first had been. Some of the characters seemed to act, well, out of character. The division of the two casts, as it were, was too contrived and predictable. Maybe the producers knew it would be cancelled, I don't know.

In any case, while it was still often enjoyable, it fell flat in places too, with some of the new characters being below par and very stereotypical. The writing wasn't as tight either. On the plus side, the original cast continued a sterling job, with both leading ladies showing that they are as talented as they are beautiful.

Notable mention has to be given to Jack Davenport, without whom this whole series would have been so much the less. It's always good to have a great actor playing a part that tests them, and the audience. Like many other major roles in US series at the moment, they call in a British actor, and it works.

I wish a third series had been commissioned but having seen how the writers struggled with a plot in this second I have no idea where the series could have gone from here. Maybe a few more episodes in this series would have resolved everything in a less rushed manner. All told though, for anyone thinking of buying Smash, I'd recommend it. For the series as a whole, I'd give four stars, for this season alone, if I could, I'd give three and a half stars rather than four.

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor - 50th Anniversary Special [DVD]
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor - 50th Anniversary Special [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt Smith
Price: £5.80

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable celebratory romp., 8 Dec. 2013
Since Doctor Who returned there have been superb episodes, average episodes and bad episodes. If anyone has enjoyed all of them I'd say they needed help. I'm not a huge fan of Matt Smith's Doctor, but since they toned it down, revised some of the poor choices made on design, dumped the married couple, brought on a better companion and gave some, (not all) better scripts and stories, the series is now watchable again.

This episode was bound to wind some people up, and it has, just as some of the Christmas specials have, and no doubt will again. However, a few niggles aside, this was a great episode. Good acting, some real laugh out loud moments, great special effects, (wish I'd seen it at the cinema) and a nice story about one of the real elephants in the room since the series returned.

It was also a real tribute to a series loved by many. I'm a Doctor Who fan, but not to the devoted extremes of some folk. To me, this was a perfect example of why I've watched so many Doctors, and why I hope it can continue for tears to come.

Airfix A04204 Bismarck 1:600 Scale Series 4 Plastic Model Kit
Airfix A04204 Bismarck 1:600 Scale Series 4 Plastic Model Kit
Price: £12.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fifty years old., 17 Nov. 2013
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Model kits today are like everything else, expensive for what they are. This is a series four model. When I was in my early-mid-teens, a series four model cost four pounds. This model was one of the first I bought, and even then, I knew it didn't match how the Bismarck really was. However, on a shelf it looked okay, and still will to ten or eleven years old children. However, if you want an accurate replica, buy one of the better 1/700 models.

This model was designed about fifty years ago, when model production was in it's infancy. Back then, plastic kits weren't available in their thousands as they are now, Airfix were forging ahead, making good kits of historically important vehicles, but accuracy was something they were poor at. Some kits were better than others, in my opinion, this was one of the weakest, simply because it was one of the first.

Bismarck, Hood, Nelson, Warspite, Scharnhorst. All very famous ships, even more so in the 1960s, and all in the first few years of producing small scale models. This had never been done before, and it wasn't easy back then. So, there are gaps between pieces, it needs filling, it's not the most accurate. It's fifty years old, what do you expect?

However, I do have a problem with Airfix charging so much for very old kits which are clearly showing their age. Kits like this should be marketed as vintage or classic, which I've said for quite some time, and which other firms, Revell and Italeri, have done. As a result, they should cost less. Essentially, they are kits to start off with, and if you get kids hooked on building kits like that, they'll move on to better ones.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2013 11:26 AM GMT

Star Wars Darth Vader 31in Big Figure
Star Wars Darth Vader 31in Big Figure
Price: £29.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darth Vader, figure, large., 29 Oct. 2013
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having collected/played with Star Wars figures, toys, statues, etc. since 1978, I know a little bit about SW items. This figure is excellent. Very large, the height speaks for itself, and remarkably inexpensive from Amazon, especially including free delivery. Nicely detailed, well painted and with everything you'd expect for a Darth Vader figure, I'd recommend this to anyone. Oh, and to respond to the buyer who wanted sounds, lights, a sabre, etc. there is a deluxe version with all that, it just costs more. Can you really expect all that for twenty five pounds, when the ordinary figures, nearly ten times smaller, cost about a third of the price of this item?

Yes Prime Minister [DVD]
Yes Prime Minister [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Haig
Price: £8.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd really like to leave 2.5 stars but I can't., 17 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Yes Prime Minister [DVD] (DVD)
I grew up watching YM and YPM, and enjoyed them from the start. It's what made me interested in politics and government, and really I learned a huge amount from both series, while having a laugh too. If the original series and cast had been replaced with this reincarnation, I doubt I'd be who I am today.

The writing isn't as sharp, and it's that which makes this mediocre. Simply trying to pluck catchphrases, themes and current affairs from the modern era and stick them in place of their 1970's equivalent isn't enough. Nor is using coarser language, which just isn't needed. What the writers needed to do was stay true to YPM as it was originally, and take forward the characters. Then use hypothetical, but realistic scenarios. Doing that, the script would almost have written itself.

What many people remember about YPM/YM is that so many of the things that were depicted happened later in real life. Obviously not completely, but rewatch the episodes, you'll see what I mean. Not so here. Fantastical isn't too strong a word. Then there's the way the characters behave. Again, stupidly sums it up. The original series may often have been farcical, but it was within context, and the character were nuanced and realistic. Not so here.

It is true, the stage play has been taken and transferred to the screen, and while that could work, it doesn't here. I can't imagine watching the play and enjoying it any better than this series. What should have been done is that the writers and producers left Hacker, Humphrey et al in the 1980s and gave us new characters. That may have worked. This feels cobbled together and just plain wrong.

So, why three stars? It isn't rubbish, it just isn't good. I'd have loved to give it 2.5 stars, because that's what it deserves. The effort is there, the actors couldn't do more to make it work, and it is nicely produced. But the writing, directing and overall concept mean it's mostly wasted.

Boss - Season 1 [DVD]
Boss - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kelsey Grammer
Price: £10.40

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A series for all television producers to learn from, 13 May 2013
This review is from: Boss - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I just finished watching the last episode on season one of Boss. I'd already recommended it to lots of people, few of whom knew about it because of the channel it was broadcast from. Now I'll be telling everyone to by the series on DVD. The acting was superb, especially by KG. Any thoughts you may have of Frasier were dismissed withing the first moments of the first episode.

The plot was good, with very few pauses, the characters wholly believeable, the dialouge realistic, in fact, I can't fault the series at all. Now, was it ever going to be a success? No. In the days of few channels, in the US this would still have struggled, though it would've lasted longer. The problem is that this is intelligent drama, and the uncompromising nature means the audience would never be huge.

It isn't easy, you do have to pay attention, but like the best books, films and theatre, you finish it with a feeling that this is as good as the medium gets. I don't know when season two will be shown in the UK, but it will leave me wanting more by it's end. I can only hope the rumours that there maybe a film concluding the story is realised.

True Love - Series 1 [DVD]
True Love - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Price: £5.00

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too brief an encounter., 24 July 2012
This review is from: True Love - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Everything about this series was great. The acting was superb, (nice to see DT in a drama and not an advert) but really, look at the actors, would you really expect anything else? It was shot beautifully, the atmosphere spot on, the stories intelligent and true to life and the directing was excellent. Given all this, why not five stars?

Simply put, half an hour was too short a time. Take each episode, each story, with everything I've previously mentioned, and this could easily have filled an hour a time. We only glimpsed the characters and it just felt incomplete. Frankly, we got a sketch rather than a finished piece. Perhaps that was the intention, but with the talent in all parts, both on screen and behind it, being so good, why not build something more?

So, buy this, watch it and enjoy it, but think on, someone missed a trick here. We got two pairs when we could have had a Royal Flush. For example, look at the story behind the excellent Single Father, also with DT. That ran for four one hour episodes. I suppose I always want more of a good thing.

PS; if the BBC make a second series, other than making them longer, please include Suranne Jones. She'd excell here.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 20, 2012 11:38 AM BST

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