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Cid Highwind is dead

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Horse Of The Dog
Horse Of The Dog
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.94

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten songs. Twenty-five minutes. Two exploded speakers., 8 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Horse Of The Dog (Audio CD)
If you're anything like me, then you're always a little wary when listening to a great album for the first time. If something special is happening you're excited, but you're also worried that at any moment some rubbish filler song could come on, ruining everything. I felt that same mounting excitement and worry listening to this for the first time (especially during the intro for Presidential Wave). I needn't have been so negative. This is an album that starts off well, then fires itself on upwards into every other realm of the positive, occasionally even digging its grubby fingernails quite savagely into the lonely testicles of sheer musical genius.

Expect twisted, sleazy little tales variously sang to and screamed at you over raw, messy, guitar-driven and not-very-long (as you may have gathered) walls-of-sound. Expect to emerge, shaken, from a musical landscape so coarse and savage you'll be surprised you survived at all. Oh, and turn the volume up, you goddamn p- pansy.

Album highlights include the unflichingly heart-broken refrain of Whack of S***; the sweet, patriotic lullaby Charge the Guns; the healthy, role-model-for-your-children worthy Team Meat; the thrilling orchestral send-off that is Presidential Wave; and the, er...entirely hinged Giant Bones.

The only other band I can think of who compare with the manic agression we feel (throughout every inch of ourselves) here are the legendary Jesus Lizard. Coincidentally, both bands are also blessed with that extraordinary rarity that is a singer who actually adds to the music. Both in their own unique ways, of course. So if you're tired of the continuing trend of glorified background music, or if you just want to listen to something that just ****ing rocks, get this album.

Cannibal Holocaust [1979] (25th Anniversary Edition) [DVD]
Cannibal Holocaust [1979] (25th Anniversary Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Kerman
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £15.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only true shocker...cut., 3 Aug. 2007
To be honest, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this film. On the one hand, there's an astonishing level of animal cruelty involved that I find absolutely abhorrent and cannot condone. On the other...well, it's a brilliant film. Something of a cop out, I admit, but there you are.

I have not seen, nor have I any interest in seeing, the full version, which supposedly contains six minutes of mostly animal cruelty and a little extra rape. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm quite happy with this cut version, thanks. Why anyone would want the extra six minutes is beyond me.

So...on to the actual film. The plot starts with our hero (always a loose term, you understand) Dr Monroe's fruitless attempt to rescue a team of documentary filmakers who went missing during an attempt to film some tribes notorious for their cannibalism. Needless to say, he eventually arrives to find naught but their dead bodies, along with whatever video footage they managed to take. This is a moderately interesting section of the film, but it's during the next half that things really take off.

Arriving back to civilisation with the footage, he gets in touch with some TV executive types with the intended purpose of making a documentary about the film crew. So it is that he, and later the TV execs, and of course we the viewers, discover just how thoroughly the offending film-makers have earned their fates. The premise is handled with great skill, leaving us (and them) truly shocked by what we find. Admittedly, the last line of the film, a rhetorical question with far too obvious an answer, seems like one moral point too far and spoils the effect everso slightly, but that aside this is a really wonderful film.

This 25th anniversary edition also comes with the not-terribly-good The House On The Edge Of The Park...but you don't have to watch that.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Burton
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.69

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I was raised to expect continuity. Instead, I get this., 12 Jun. 2007
There are three different types of people who will inevitably approach this film in different ways. I've listed these below in three separate paragraphs to give readers (if any) some idea of whether they should bother with it. I don't want to dwell on this for too long, though; I belong to the first group, and to be honest even thinking about this film is kind of painful.

If you actually liked FFVII's story, steer well clear - this will only make your blood boil. The writers have sought to disregard much of the plot, the character detail and (this really amazed me) the physics of the original game, to the extent that you'll briefly find yourself wondering why they related it to FFVII at all. That is until you realise that it's all about money. If there's any character you really loved in FFVII, there's roughly a 60% chance they're personality will have morphed beyond recognition. The real blow for me came when I saw Cid Highwind, looking like a surfer, sounding like the worst kind of hick and appearing (like most of the game's playable characters) for the flimsiest of reasons. In summary - serious FFVII fans really should avoid this one like the plague.

If you haven't played FFVII, or have played it but didn't care much for it or its story, this isn't actually a bad film. The animation is stunning, the story's impenetrable but easy to ignore what with all that stunning animation going on and the comic relief moments are actually quite good. The voice-acting's mostly terrible, but this is balanced out by the friction between the film's spoken dialogue and the subtitles, which I suggest you leave on for a good laugh.

Lastly, if plot isn't really your thing at all, just action, animation and generally all-round computer-generated prettiness, then you really should buy this film. It's either this or TMNT.

The Truth [DVD] (2006)
The Truth [DVD] (2006)
Dvd ~ William Beck
Price: £9.94

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's a zen saying..., 16 May 2007
This review is from: The Truth [DVD] (2006) (DVD)
There's something inherently creepy about new-age courses and seminars, where people turn to strangers spouting half-baked "cosmic" ideas in their search for something to make life a little easier, under the guise of "enlightenment". Thankfully, George Milton and Mark Tilton have noticed this, and made a film about it.

The Truth is a heart-felt black comedy in which, for six people, a terrible event leads to a horrific sham of self-fulfilment through which they can find happiness. The film tries to sell itself (on the DVD box, anyway) as a murder-mystery, but actually the "mystery" here is almost entirely irrelevant. Despite one course member's "confession", we're left unsure about the killer's true identity. Ultimately, it doesn't seem important, as through their actions, all course members present share the blame. Apart, that is, from the film's wheelchair-bound hero, Candy (played brilliantly by Elaine Cassidy).

The film is shot in an interestingly narrative-driven way, with shots increasingly revealing Candy's separation from the rest of the group. The characters all have different motives - from being unbelievably shallow, to being genuinely troubled - but in the end, for their own sanity, they all (apart, again, from Candy) band together. The cast is absolutely spot-on. Elizabeth McGovern in particular is wonderful as the film's self-centred new-age guru.

On an interesting side-note, a few comments on the packaging of this DVD, referring to the "Me Generation" and Celebrity Big Brother, seem to hint strongly towards supporting part of the film's message - namely that society has, in the process of searching for the quick fix, for instant gratification, begun to erode at its own soul, and in doing so is producing the kind of desperate, shallow people we see here. Now, that can't possibly be the truth...

The Royal Society
The Royal Society
Offered by westworld-
Price: £12.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Guitar, Guitar, Guitar, Guitar..., 28 April 2007
This review is from: The Royal Society (Audio CD)
Ploughing ever-forward with my habit of getting into bands well after doing so is to be considered cool - and honestly, given music press ****rags like the NME, who can blame me? - I bought this album in 2007, three years after its much-celebrated release. At the time I was only (very vaguely) familiar with one of their songs, opening track and single Rise of the Eagles. Whereas that song, as well as sing-along efforts like When I Hear You Call My Name and Dancing Girls are decent enough efforts, it's in its latter half that the brilliance of The Royal Society comes to the fore.

The album unleashes its full range upon the unsuspecting listener from track seven onwards, with stand-out tracks like The Fool, with its noble rock 'n' roll simplicity; decidedly wonky but heartfelt appeal for love/blood, I Rejection; obvious single choice, Mister Mental; gothic rock song Freud's Black Muck; and surprisingly effective half-ballad Temple Music. It's with song like these that these guys show us exactly what they're capable of.

Even though those songs mentioned are of a very high standard, it's stomping, guitar-ridden, Mcluskyite (not a real word, but high praise all the same) finale The Way of the Men of the Stuff that blows everything else out of the water. It also proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster are at their best when playing VERY, VERY LOUD.

Super Smash Bros Melee - Players' Choice (GameCube)
Super Smash Bros Melee - Players' Choice (GameCube)

5.0 out of 5 stars Super-Fast, Super-Skilled & Super-Bad, 24 April 2007
Yep, it's one of Nintendo's most endearing qualities - the bizarre sense of a wider community that all its characters, despite coming from wildly different worlds, seem to possess. So here it is - Super Smash Bros. Melee, the second in Ninty's crossover beat 'em up series.

The characters present are a mixed bag of predictable Nintendo favourites and a few nice surprises (one of which in particular should have older Nintendo fans clapping their hands in sheer delight). The gameplay roots itself firmly on the opposite end of the scale on which you might find more tactically-minded, martial arts-orientated beat 'em ups such as Tekken. Melee is all about quick and insane bouts of joyfully unrealistic cartoon violence. This is hardly surprising, really, considering the background of most if not all of the characters involved.

The attention to detail here is absolute, with little things such as weapons, level design and even sound all adding to the sheer fun. The graphics are still holding their own, even if they don't look quite so fresh anymore. Although moves are activated in more-or-less the same way for each character, they all have different enough styles to feel distinctive from each other. As for longevity, there's enough to do here to keep you going for a long time without getting bored.

Whether or not this will be worth buying after Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes out on the Wii remains to be seen. But for now, this is still a very worthwhile addition to your collection.

The Simpsons: Complete Season 1 [DVD]
The Simpsons: Complete Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dan Castellaneta
Offered by Amore DVD
Price: £9.96

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Comparitively) Humble Beginnings, 22 April 2007
Back in the day, Barney was blonde, Flanders wasn't (openly) religious and Homer was just a regular dumb guy. It seems that some things have changed in the strange, timeless world of the Simpsons, though most things haven't.

Thirteen episodes of the greatest sitcom there ever was (just you try and tell me otherwise) were released in 1989/90. In comparison with later episodes, they looked rougher, were paced a good deal slower and weren't, dare I say it, quite as funny. When Matt Groening (Simpsons creator, cartoon boy) claims in his DVD sleeve-notes that "we didn't know what the hell we were doing back then", I don't doubt him. But they were learning fast.

It's easy (fun too), but unfair to compare the first season unfavourably with its successors - what we have here is a well-written, well-acted and well-drawn sitcom slowly and surely sailing towards greatness. The steady increase in quality as the series goes on is self-evident; with episodes like The Call of the Simpsons, Life on the Fast Lane, Homer's Night Out and Some Enchanted Evening showing what, even then, The Simpsons were capable of.

My favourite moment? Homer going off in the middle of the night with a boulder tied around his leg, intending to throw himself off a bridge and drown (three episodes in!), to the following unforgettable taunt from Mr and Mrs Winslow:

"Oh, looks like young Simpson's going to kill himself."

"No, maybe not, maybe he's just taking his boulder for a walk."

Little Man & A House & The Wor
Little Man & A House & The Wor

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...And so much more besides, 21 April 2007
Truth be told, reviewing Cardiacs albums is almost pointless. The idea of a good review is to give the interested reader some idea as to whether they should buy the product. So for all those reading, I shall say this once, and once only - there is no excuse for not buying every Cardiacs album you can get your hands on.

A Little Man... is their best effort, though, and probably the best place to start if you're still not sure (meaning that you haven't heard any of their stuff). Like all their albums, it's incredibly complex, brilliantly played, beautiful, emothional and everso-slightly totally ****ing insane. To borrow a tired, shameful and overused but, on this occasion, wholly appropriate phrase - buy it.

Sea Nymphs
Sea Nymphs
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £73.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They all bang things, apparently, 20 April 2007
This review is from: Sea Nymphs (Audio CD)
I don't mean to sound like I'm lapsing into insanity as I type, but I'm pretty certain Tim Smith can do magic. He, Mr Drake and Mrs Smith certainly do it here, again and again.

The Sea Nymphs' sound is half like a troupe of travelling minstrels from some medieval time that none of us (except Tim, I suspect) could possibly know and which may never have existed, and half like Christmas, or rather what Christmas should be. If that sentence didn't make any sense (and it didn't), well, I'm sorry but that's what this album reduces me to. Normal language just doesn't quite cut it.

It's not perfect, though, it's a little patchy in places, but when it works it's truly magical. I can recommend this to any discerning music-lover, just be aware that it won't belong to your preferred genre. If you're a Cardiacs (Tim's main band of which the other two are former members) fan you might half-know what to expect, but even then you're in for a bit of a surprise. Just try not to lapse completely into insanity, if only because the white-clad men may feel compelled to confiscate the album from you.

Heatseeker (Wii)
Heatseeker (Wii)

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You are Mike "Downtown" Hudson...but who cares about that?, 20 April 2007
This review is from: Heatseeker (Wii) (Video Game)
Boasting an impressive range of ships to fly, weapons to fire and enemies to blow up - really, need I say more?

Well, yes, I suppose, some things should be cleared up. First of all, the controls: what with so many Wii games struggling to get the most out of the Wii remote without being fidgety or gratuitous, I'm happy to note that Heatseeker gets it more-or-less right. You may (as I did) struggle a little to get to grips with steering, but once you do you'll find it handles pretty well. Happily, aiming and firing is a piece of cake. The difficulty curve is spot-on, the enemies come at you in ridiculously large numbers and the feeling of taking out one or all of them is always satisfying.

Secondly, the graphics: though not spectacular, the graphics are clear and functional enough for you to forget about them if you, like me, don't actually care that much. There's a very nice impact camera that sometimes, at random, activates itself after you destroy an enemy, giving you a very nice Hollywood-style view of the carnage you just created. If you'd rather not have that interruption while you're playing, or you grow bored of it, it can be turned off and on at the menu.

Thirdly, the story: it's ludicrous, over-the-top, comically voice-acted and unimportant in enjoying the game...exactly as it should be, I feel. Cut-scenes are easily skipped and the story is easily ignored, but for what they are (dumb) they're enjoyable.

Ultimately, though, I find Heatseeker an entertaining diversion, but very hard to get excited about. If you're into this kind of aerial warfare game, however, add another star to my score and trust me - you will like this game. Sadly, it's just not my cup of tea.

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