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Duty_Free_Me
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Member since: 17.06.2006

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    • Wizz Air / Airline / 50 Readings / 47 Ratings
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      26.11.2007 13:00
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      Ok if you are flying to Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia

      Most people that know me know that I am not very comfortable with flying at all. I am scared to death, always feel claustrophobic on any plane, and further more I am really fussy on what airline I choose.

      Normally I take the cowards way out and use a boat to get to my destinations, but as you may gather this is a lot more time consuming and not very convenient, so I just have to grit my teeth when it comes to flying if I want to go and visit the lovely parts of the world out there.

      Normally I choose British airways or easy jet as I have found them really reliable in the past...and I mean in the PAST, but as I unwillingly fly quite often now, prices can be somewhat unaffordable at times.

      A polish friend recommended I try Wizz Air. A new low cost air travel company. And seeing as I found them really good, I thought I would spread the word!

      Wizz Air: About the Company......

      Wizz Air started in 2004 and is already one of the largest CEE based low cost airlines and rapidly emerging in Central and Eastern Europe.
      All aircrafts have the latest technology, and are very comfortable.
      Wizz Air quickly became registered in London, with services flying to Hungary and Poland at very low cost. Rapidly becoming wider known, the company is expanding rather fast, and flight destinations are increasing.
      Wizz Air flight destinations from the UK.....

      At the present time, Wizz Air flies to 42 European destinations on 70 routes.
      They also operate from these bases in the UK, London Luton, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Coventry, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Doncaster-Sheffield, Durham Tees Valley and Glasgow.

      The Wizz Airline mainly fly to Poland, Bulgaria an Croatia.
      However they are constantly expanding, so its always worth checking their websites for new destinations.

      On their website, www.wizzair.com. you will be presented with a map of their destinations that they fly to and from, which is very easy to naivigate. London Luton offers more destinations to fly too than most of the other airports they operate from.
      My own experience...........

      I used this company on my flight from London Luton too Katowice airport in Poland. For me and my partner, the return flight cost us £16.00 each which included VAT, tax, in flight meal, and travel insurance.
      I booked online (www.wizzair.com), and found it very simple, and felt safe giving my details. It was fast and easy, and took 5 minutes only.
      Once I had given the details online, I simply printed out the last page (like it asks you to do), which had all my flight times, how much I paid, my reference number and insurance details.
      Upon our departure day, after finding the right check in desk at London Luton airport, I handed over the sheet with our passports and it was done. Simple and easy.

      The service was very friendly, which to me always makes the flight a lot better, and they all speak very good English, if they were not English already.

      The plane itself was an Airbus A320 young aircraft, which actually sounds small, but was quite big in fact.
      The leather seating was very comfortable, with plenty of space. The in flight meal was a cottage pie, which I personally found very nice.
      From checking in and getting on the aircraft, to receiving your luggage at my chosen destination was very prompt indeed, I have actually never known a service as fast. The flight was on time in both directions.

      Any niggles?..........
      Any niggles I would have of this company would be very small. I had a Visa card to book my flights, but I did notice they do not except Solo or switch unless you book a return flight in the UK, (not much of a niggle really).
      And the obvious one would be not many destinations from the UK yet other than Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria, although you can reach many more destinations using this airline from different countries, for example Kato ice (Poland) too Rome.
      Other than this, their were none in my view.

      Also it may be useful for you to know that they allow passengers to check in a maximum of 20 Kilograms of luggae without incurring excess baggage fee.
      How to book........
      Like many companies now, booking online is cheaper. If you visit www.wizzair.com, and click book online, they have a very simple format, and booking takes around five minutes.

      If you want to book this in an alternative way, you can also phone them (telephone number given on website), or ask your travel agent about Wizz Air flights.

      Overall...

      I would recommend this company if you are looking for cheap flights to the destinations this company provides, they are very prompt in everything they do, and very friendly. The planes are comfortable with more room than most of its size.
      I would be definitely using this company again as I found them very helpful and reliable.
      Although still a young company, it would not surprise me if this airline expands even more at a rapid rate than it is doing already, and become one of the best European airlines.
      My advice if you are interested is to just check out the website and have a browse.

      Thank you for reading. Dempsey

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      • More +
        25.11.2007 14:08
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        superb quality/views/rooms and meals

        A Hole-tel In One

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        Introduction to the Hotel and Golf Course
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        The North Shore Hotel is one of the most grand and popular hotels in the seaside town of Skegness Lincolnshire.
        It is the closest hotel to the sea in the Skegness area, with the beach literally being a 'garden path walk' away.
        It is also situated a short ten minute walk from the Skegness Pier, Town centre bowling alleys, night life for all ages, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, Embassy Centre (live shows) and Cinemas.
        It has 36 bedrooms which comprises of singles, twins, triples and quad rooms.
        Most rooms offer a sea view and golf course view, but all rooms are very comfy and luxurious. All rooms are en-suite, with TV, phone, tea and coffee making facilities.
        The dinning room also offers a sea view and has offers mouth watering menus.
        There is also a bar with snacks and drinks served all day.

        The Georgian style hotel also boasts its 18 hole golf course which is very popular with learners and professionals alike.
        The late James Braid, an established golfer who won the British open five times, designed the golf course which is part parklands and part links.
        Not only is this hotel a great place to enjoy your stay in Skengess, it is also very popular in conjunction with private bookings, such as meetings and conferences, or weddings and other functions.
        The hotel will cater for whatever function you may require, and are well known to be most helpful, weather you want your function to be private or shared amongst other guests.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        My own personal experience.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        The first time I stayed at the North Shore hotel was of my engagement announcement to my partner Sarah in October 2001. Although we lived in Skegness, and still do, we thought it would be nice if we wined and dined here, rather than our usual meal in with some of our friends that lodged with us at the time.
        What I wanted was a nice setting to break the news, to spend a night with an evening meal, and have a go at golf the following morning as me and Sarah had never tried the sport before and I though it would be a laugh.
        Upon entering our very spacious double room, which looked directly out onto the sea, I was very surprised at just how luxurious the room was. It was very clean and tidy, the tea and coffee refreshments were all nicely presented ready for us. The en-suite bathroom was again, very nice, a shower and a bath which suited me and Sarah down to the ground as I like showers and she likes baths.
        We were very comfortable in our rooms, and didn't have one complaint, not even a little niggle.
        After settling down in our rooms, we decided to get ready for dinner.
        There was a dress code for the evening meals, men to wear shirt and tie, and ladies smartly dressed, a bit unusual for a Skegness hotel, but we liked it all the same.
        We went down to the dining room and ordered a drink before choosing our meal.

        What took me back the most was just how well the whole place was laid out, especially the dining room. With wide glass windows you could see directly onto the beech and it was a perfect spot I felt for a meal, and especially for the announcement I was about to make to Sarah.
        The food menu was definitely eye catching, I could have ordered a number of different things, and so could Sarah, completely spoiled for choice. Sarah went for her usual Caesar Salad, and I remember choosing a seafood combo, I also remember seeing lobster on the menu however.

        Both meals were grand and consumed effortlessly, they were very well presented and tasted sublime.
        Upon ordering a bottle of champagne after our meals I asked Sarah to marry me, and I toasted to a 'yes' verdict, I felt like the luckiest guy in the world.
        After our evening meals, and our bottle of champagne we decided just to have a few drinks in the hotels bar, rather than venture out into Skegness town for nightclubbing.

        All drinks in the bar was competitively priced, no more than you would pay in any other pub which I found quite shocking as I expected them to be at least a little bit dearer, especially as me and Sarah drink branded spirits like Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort.

        There was not any entertainment on that night, although they do have entertainment from various bands or artists from time to time. Music was played however, and it was a very pleasant warming atmosphere for most ages.

        At a rather early hour of the morning we stumbled to say the least to our rooms.
        The room was just as inviting as when we first arrived, and after a bit of frolicking (now, don't be rude) we both slept soundly in a very comfortable twin bed.
        The next morning.......

        We......or should I say I, awoke to a pleasant knock on the door, Sarah not moving an inch, made me get out of the bed to answer it. It was then I was presented with another bottle of champagne to celebrate our engagement due to some of the staff we told the previous evening. I thought that was really nice, so I thought I would mention it.

        We both enjoyed a lovely hot shower, with no interruptions by a sudden cold blast of water you get in other hotel showers, and after getting dressed we were then ready for our first golfing game.

        The golf course was rather large, very well presented and looked like a lot of fun. We had to hire the clubs, and one round of golf cost us a little over £30.00 including hire each.
        Although me and Sarah were completely useless at it, we really had a laugh. I found that although on first glances it looks a rather boring sport, I can actually see why so many people grow fond of it.

        After our golfing session, we had a light snack and vacated our room. I certainly remember thinking I had NO regrets about my stay at North Shore Hotel.

        So what do I think of the hotel?

        Value for money:
        North Shore Hotel isn't one of the cheapest hotels in the Skegness area, but you get what you pay for, and with this hotel, you pay for quality which in my view is top rated.
        Bearing in mind I stayed in October, and not peak summer time, I paid £65 for our room, which I thought was great value considering its luxurious surroundings.
        The golf was a little on the expensive side I thought, with us paying £30 each (which did include hire), but then again I am told golf is quite expensive. Also if you have your own equipment, the figure will obviously be reduced.

        I am not going to list all the prices for various stays, as this is very easy to check for your self on the website provided below. But I will mention that they do special offers on certain days, including all inclusive offers, which may be worth your while enquiring about or having a further look on their website.
        Also the food that we did pay for was good quality and good value for money, with neither me nor Sarah paying over £8 for our actual meal.


        Family Friendly:

        I do think the hotel is very family friendly. Maybe your children will not enjoy golf, but considering its surroundings, I think it caters more for the children than any other hotel in the Skegness area. You have the beach on the doorstep, all amenities that Skegness town has to offer which is less than a ten minute walk away, including bowling alleys, swimming pools, laser quest and cinema. The hotel itself holds discos and light entertainment.
        Also they do cater for children on the food menus.

        Other Facilities:
        They do also cater very well for the disabled, with use of ramps apposed to the steps they also have.
        Special seating and rooms are also available for the less able upon request.


        Contact Information:
        North Shore Hotel
        North Shore Road
        Skegness
        Lincolnshire
        PE25 1DN
        Tel: 01754 763298

        e-mail: info@northshorehotel.co.uk
        Tel: 01754 761902
        Website: www.northshorehotel.co.uk
        There website also gives good directions on how to get there.


        FINAL STATEMENT:
        I fully enjoyed my stay at North Shore Hotel with absolutely no regrets or disappointments.
        The hotel was clean and tidy, the quality of service/rooms/food/drink/facilities was excellent and the staff were very helpful.
        Value for money is also good considering the standard of such quality.
        I lso have stayed there this year,and it is still just as pleasant with a lot more entertainment. The room have gone up by £2 or £3.00 each, but that was all.

        If you are planning a break in the Skegness area, this is definitely the hotel I would recommend to those that do.

        Thank you for reading, Dempsey.

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        • More +
          17.11.2007 14:48
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          A wonderful place to visit

          It might have took me a two hour flight and a further two hour coach ride to get to this beautiful mountainous place, but it was like stepping through my own wardrobe and entering my own little land of Narnia!

          My usual holidays normally consist of Sun Sea and sand. But in 2006 I fancied something very different and in-fact, quite the opposite.
          Never before had I ever tried Skiing, and had fancied it for many years. Being a complete novice and rather accident prone, I wanted to go to a good place where a beginner like me would feel comfortable learning how. Zakopane was recommended time and time again.
          At first I was a little worried, as no one that I spoke to about it had ever heard of skiing in Poland. On arrival I realised this must be a brilliantly kept secret from the Brits, as it was completely wonderful.
          Ok, so first a little history of Zakopane and briefly where it is situated…………

          Zakopane is situated in southern Poland, about two hours travel by coach or train from their most popular city Kracow.
          Zakopane is also very close to the border of Slovakia. It lies in a valley at the foot of the Tatras.
          It has breathtaking views with mountains surrounding in every direction you look. It has one of the highest mountains in Poland, Mount Rysy, standing at 2499m high.
          Zakopane is very popular amongst the polish and it is one of the most desired palces to live in their country. There are so many places to visit, and below is a list of some of them.


          Places too visit?…………

          If you decide to ever visit Poland, I would definately recommend Zakopane, as it is a very beautifal place.

          You can take hikes, short or long. This will give you superb views of the valley and towns, but I must warn you, it can be strenuous, and not for people with any kind of disabling condition. Oh and buy the way ladies, where some sensible shoes! Heels over rocks can be awkward, as my darling Sarah found out!

          Hikes, walks no matter how long or short carry warnings along the Tatras as they can be quite challenging, which can be said for any type of weather you may be facing. So I would advise that you speak to a proper guide before doing so, and always remain in a group.

          The towns offer a lot of cloths shops, traditional restaurants as well as popular fast food outlets. Traditional pubs, with light entertainment such as traditional folk signing and band playing.
          You can also taste their hot cheese pastries from many little wagons along side the high street.

          There are very few night clubs, in-fact I only found one, a very popular disco-tech.
          All pubs, restaurants and fast food outlets are open from very early morning throughout all the day and most of the evening.
          Kupowki St- a very popular Tatra Museum is also well worth a visit to explore there history and marvel at their magnificent art and findings.

          Fancy rafting? Although it was not the right time of year for our visit, it's a popular summer attraction in Zakopane to raft along the gorge of the Dunajec River in the Pieniny mountains which has been popular for over 150 years now.

          Stary Kosciol wooden Church was built in 1845, and is the first parish in Zakopane. If this slightly takes your interest it is also well worth a visit. The building and it's history is very interesting, and it is quite magnificent.

          And of course the main reason I went, skiing.....

          Zakopane is famous for its excellent conditions for Skiing. The birth place of Polish skiing and the winter capital of Poland.
          The best skiing conditions can be found in Kasprowy Wierch area. The top can be reached via the cable car from Kuznice. On its slopes, in Kocio Goryczkowy and Gasienicowy the chairlifts take skiers uphill.

          It has perfect skiing conditions right up until early may when their season ends. Other well-known places for skiing are:
          Gubalowka, Polana Szymoszkowa, and Nosal, all having different slope ranges to suit all experiences. If you are a beginner you can learn to ski on well-known Koziniec.

          Gubaowka and Magura Witowska are perfect for ski touring. In winter the ridges are calm, almost deserted, and the natural snow stays on for a long time thanks to big heights.
          Those who don't have their own skis or snowboards can rent the equipment at numerous ski rents, and those who would like to learn to ski can find professional ski instructors on almost every slope.

          Zakopane is very popular in the world of skiing.
          So far Zakopane has hosted: three FIS World Ski Championships (1929, 1939,1962), three Winter Universiades (1956, 1993, 2001), Biathlon World Championship, several Ski Jump World Cups, and several Nordic Combined, Nordic and Alpine European Cups.
          All places pretty much let you learn to ski on your own, but tutors are available for about 20 zlotys per hour. I personally learned by myself with a group of 4 friends.

          Even if you don't fancy skiing it is still worth to go up the mountains and gaze at their exceptional views, and watch the other skiers show off their skills.
          Snow Jet Ski's are also available for hire for around 40 zlotys per person, which works out in our money just under £10.00. It was so much fun and well worth the money.

          I am sure there is so much more to visit, especially their lakes, if only I have had more time there. But one thing for certain, you will not run out of things to do.
          A big point to make on this is that most things here depend on the time of year you go. I visited Zakopane 17th-27th of January 2006, and it's the height of there winter season. Although I am sure there will be still be lots of things to do, and views will remain glorious whatever the weather conditions, a lot of things may change in the spring summer season.


          So then, what's their food like?……..

          Ok, I am a typical English boy and I did not get along with their food too well. In fact it actually made me rather ill in the end, but that's another story.
          Zakopane, no matter what pub or restaurant you visit all serve the same traditional polish food. Sarah found this rather enjoyable, but I found it a little repetitive and dying for a normal English menu.
          Their menus consist of a variety of traditional polish meets, mainly sausages, and also potatoes served normally or in pancake style. Other meet dishes include mainly chicken and pork all served with sources like a thick mushroom source, or garlic butter source.
          The soups are nice though, and come in a wide variety, with plenty of herbs and traditional polish ingredients to make you feel all warm inside, although I have to admit, I was rather put off when I had a lentil soup with half a boiled egg in it.

          It really is as traditional as you can get with their food. If I was to advise you to try something, it would have to be their Chicken breast with mushroom source accompanied with a potatoes pancake, which was actually quite nice.
          And if I was to advise you to stay away from one dish, this would have to be anything served with their black pudding, completely not the same as ours, and it turned my stomach inside out. I still shudder at the thought.


          As for their Hotels……………..
          All the hotels apart from the ones in the main town are like wood cabins. They are lovely. And although obviously I have not been in all of them, they look pretty much the same.
          I stayed in a Hotel called Miasta, and it was lovely. Built from wood, with beautiful carved picture pillars, this was situated high up the hill with breathtaking views from our rooms. All the rooms were lovely and warm and very clean. Accessibility to the town and other places was very easy with a bus every half hour. It was a self-catering place, so can't comment on the food here, but loved the choice of staying here.
          We stayed here for four nights and it cost £250 zlotys each for the whole four days! In our money that is £50.00 for one person to stay for four days and nights, this is bloody cheap in my book. And you can find deals like this in most places if you phone around and browse properly, don't take the first thing you hear.
          Obviously the main hotels with big chains which are right in the centre of Zakopane will be a lot dearer, but they too also looked nice.


          Getting around from and too places…………………..
          Buses run every 15-30 mins in any direction or any place to go, and will cost you about 2-3 zlotys per person. Taxi's are always on standby, and if you fancy getting around in a bit of traditional style in Zakopane, for 40 zlotys per person you can travel by horse and sled, this trip will take you around the Zakopane town centre, or any other place you require them too. This is a good trip, but I felt rather sorry for the horse in the end, it looked too tired.


          And to sum the review up with my own opinions…………………….

          Zakopane is a place I will never forget as it was very different to any holiday I have ever been on. It was truly a delightful experience. The views were so picture's, I could not stop taking photos.
          I must point out once again that this review is based on the time of year I went to Zakopane, as it was their main winter season; the weather was minus 18 most days, very cold. I had to wear four jumpers, and god knows how many pairs of trousers and socks every day to stay warm outside, but if you bite past the cold, you will enjoy what Zakopane has to offer.
          The whole town looked like a Christmas village with all that snow and trees, its was so beautiful. They also leave their Christmas decorations up until February, which apparently is the same all over Poland which I found strange but good.

          The nearest and most accessible airport to Zakopane is Krakow airport. Flight duration from any UK airport is approx 2 hours 15 minutes.
          For cheep flights to Poland, www.Wizzair.com offers very cheep flights, and I actually found them very easy to use and well worth the look.
          Zakopane had plenty of things to do, and I loved skiing there, it was a great place to learn the sport.
          Ski-ing cost 80 zlotys per day on average.
          Prices there are very cheep for just about anything.
          On an average you get 5-6 zlotys for your pound, which is quite remarkable. For an example, a packet of cigarettes cost me just over a pound.


          The people are friendly and very nice, and it was a pleasure being in their company. It is a very traditional way of life there, one in which I found rather nice and comfortable with.
          The only disadvantages that I personally found with the visit are that I did not really like the food, but then I am a fussy swine, and others may find it rather nice as my partner did.

          Overall I would definitely visit Zakopane again, it was a great experience in which I really enjoyed, and I am even contemplating on visiting the area once again to see what it is like in the summer season this year!
          For further information on Zakopane you can visit www.gopoland.com/wheretogo/zakopane


          Thanks for reading, and for those of you that are interested I have left you with some duty free information on your allowances in which you may take from this country, once again thanks, and I hope the review helped. Dempsey x

          CUSTOMS & DUTY FREE ALLOWANCES AND RESTRICTIONS
          Tobacco............................250 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
          Liquor...............................3 litres
          Perfume............................Reasonable for personal use
          Cameras............................2 still/ 1 movie camera
          Film.................................. Reasonable for personal use
          Gifts...................................Duty free allowance up to ZLD6000
          Other.................................Goods up the value of US$100
          Currency............................No import/export of Polish currency
          NOTE: Fur, leather and gold articles are subject to customs duty. The export of antiques, works of art and certain other items from Poland is prohibited. A customs declaration must be presented at the border. Firearms and narcotics are prohibited. Duty-free shops are located at border crossing points. Payment for purchases can be made either in foreign or local currency, travellers cheques or credit cards

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          • Halloween [2007] (DVD) / DVD / 50 Readings / 49 Ratings
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            29.10.2007 19:03
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            Rob Zombie does a good job of re-booting the Halloween movies

            Just when you thought it was safe to ‘Trick or Treat’, Michael Myers is back again terrorising the small town of Haddonfield, and haunting our screens.

            I have always been a fan of the Halloween movies. I remember watching the original Halloween by John Carpenter at 15 when I was babysitting and being absolutely petrified.
            Although the film made me jump all over the place, since then I have always remained an avid fan of Michael Myers.

            John Carpenter brought the Original Halloween to our screens in 1978, and although only a low budget film it immediately went down as a ‘horror fan favourite’.

            Since then, the film has spawned 7 sequels, and although not all of them were a great success, it certainly saw the character Michael Myers as one of the biggest horror icons in cinema.

            We last saw Michael Myers in 2002 with Rick Rosenthal’s rather disappointing Halloween: Resurrection.
            Since then it seemed that if any other Halloween sequel was to be released it would go to straight to DVD as the franchise seemed to be on its last legs.
            That was until Rob Zombie took on the job of remaking the original Halloween.

            Now I am not a huge fan of Rob Zombie to say the least. His movie House of A 1000 Corpses was too eccentric for my liking, and The Devils Rejects was disturbing and left a lot to be desired.
            When I heard he was remaking my favourite horror movie of all time, like many Halloween fans, ‘I spat my dummy right out!’
            That said, a lot of Rob Zombies fans couldn’t wait for him to get started on it.

            Rob Zombies Halloween was one movie I was definitely intending to boycott, however a few weeks before its cinema release, it was advertised on television, and I must say I was very intrigued, thus attending the cinema in hope that Mr Zombie wouldn’t let fans of the Halloween movies down.

            Now for those of you who didn’t see the original, and has no idea of the plot, here it is for you:

            ------------
            The Plot
            ------------

            Starring:

            Malcolm McDowell as Dr Samuel Loomis
            Brad Dourif as Sheriff Lee Bracket
            Tyler Mane as Michael Myers
            Daeg Farch as Michael Myers age 10
            Sheri Moon as Deborah Myers
            Scout Taylor Compton as Laurie Strode


            In the small quiet town of Haddonfield, a ten year old boy is committed to Smiths Grove Mental Institution after killing his step farther, his elder sister and her boyfriend.
            While committed, Dr Sam Loomis tries to help him and find reason for his acts of horror. After years of trying to reach out to him to no avail, he tries to keep him locked up knowing the only thing that lives behind Myers eyes is just pure evil.
            However, after 16 years behind locked doors, Michael Myers escapes the institution and returns to Haddonfield to find his youngest sister Laurie, leaving a trail of bloody corpses behind him. When Dr Loomis learns of his escape, he warns the residents of Haddonfield, and tries to find Laurie before Michael does.

            ---------------------------------
            My thoughts on the movie
            ---------------------------------

            So OK, the plots the same right? And this sounds like a complete remake of John Carpenters original….just maybe with better visual effects?

            Not entirely!

            Rather than just a remake of the original, Rob Zombie gives us his own vision of how he see’s Michael Myers, focussing more on his childhood and the reason he became into the monster he is.

            Yes….Zombie does stick too much of the same story John Carpenter gave us, which in turn is a relief to most of the movies fans, and many scenes are quite alike, but Zombie does show us another side of Michael Myers that only adds depth to the character itself.
            In the original, Myers childhood wasn’t explored much, which gave Zombie a lot more to focus on in this movie, thus putting his own ‘spin’ on it.

            The movie itself is quite frightening, and would say it is just as good as the original was. All the ingredients are thrown back into this movie, the same white scary mask although grungier, that same haunting theme tune the original had which is used a lot, and that uncertainty of what Michael Myers actually wants with Laurie.

            Zombie doesn’t go with extreme special affects either, but rather sticks to an old eerie style of shooting which compliments the film brilliantly.
            The scenes of Michael Myers childhood which focus on the way he gets bullied, his rather shitty relationship with his step farther and various other pier pressures, convinces the audience of his becoming into a complete psychopath, and though there are quite a few disturbing scenes, your eyes will be glued.

            As for when Michael Myers becomes an adult in the movie, like its original, you never get to see his actual face other than in a mask, so you’re left imagining what that ten year old boy would look like now he’s a BIG fully grown adult, which gives more of a frightening edge to his character.

            And now we come to the acting……
            Well Scout-Taylor Thompson who plays the role of Laurie Strode is certainly no Jamie Lee Curtis who played the character in the original, and although can definitely scream her arse off well, definitely does not give the character as much justice as Jamie Lee.

            The role of Dr Samuel Loomis which was played by Donald Pleasance in the original is now donned by Malcolm McDowell.
            Zombie has gone for a more peaceful wellbeing person with this character than how it was played all those years ago by Donald.
            Unfortunately, the script for Dr Samuel Loomis is to an extent a bunch of poor lines, which can’t be at fault of the actor who plays the character. Zombie has tried to revamp the character in his own way a bit, but doesn’t work and should have been left to the way he was meant to be portrayed in John Carpenters vision.

            Young Michael Myers is played by Daeg Faerch, who doesn’t do a bad job, but the best actor…or should I say actress in this movie must be Sheri Moon-Zombie who takes on the role of Michael Myers mother.
            As for the role of the adult Michael Myers, now played by Tyler Mane…well lets face it, he only has to walk round in a mask looking scary, and he does a great job at that.

            The rest of the cast are pretty forgettable, and all though some will certainly jog memories of fans that loved the original, if you blink, you might miss them!

            ----------------------
            Overall Summary
            ----------------------

            To sum this movie up, it is basically a half prequel/half remake feature.
            Rob Zombie does make this movie his own, especially with the early years of Michael Myers, but after that, he relies on blood chilling violence with a lot of reference to how John Carpenter did the original.
            Hats off too Zombie though, I think it is definitely his best movie.
            It does have a lot of frights in it, and can certainly live up to the label of a horror movie.
            I don’t think fans of the original will be disappointed; I definitely wasn’t and did enjoy it.

            The movie was released on September 28th in the UK cinemas, and are bound to still have showings all the way up to Halloween and early November, and would recommend seeing it weather fans of the original or not, or if you just simply want to watch a scary movie.

            For those of you who have seen the movie and liked it. The DVD will be available on the 18th of December, and the buzz on the official Halloween website (www.halloweenmovies.com) hints that the special features will contain not only commentary by Rob Zombie and cast, but also deleted/extended scenes and an all new alternative ending!

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            • More +
              24.10.2007 16:46
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              a good idea to celerbrate halloween this year

              ***Please note before reading: I have also printed this review on Ciao under Dempsey_Review, however this review has been updated***


              Every year I visit the Alton Towers Theme Park with a bunch of friends, and every year I really enjoy it.
              It has everything you need for a fun day out. All the rides, lots of places to eat, walks around the gardens, live shows for both children and adults, and the list goes on.
              Last time I visited the Park was late October 2005, for the 'Terror Of The Towers' themed weekend, this of course being a weekend where you not only get the usual rides and other pleasures of the theme park, but also a lot of people get dressed up in their Halloween gear, and Alton Towers opens that little later for a scarier feel, and also puts on a fantastic firework display.

              But first of all, let’s split this review into sections, and before I tell you about my experiences of the rides (which you're bound to tease me about forever!) lets take a little look into the history of Alton Towers, and then go onto the rides and other amenities.


              ---------------------------------------------------------------
              Alton Towers - THE HISTORY OF THE PARK
              ---------------------------------------------------------------

              Dating back to the 8th Century, Alton Towers was once a big fortress site held by King of Mercia, Ceolred. Not much is known about the fortress back then, but there was said to be a big battle where the Tower gardens now stand between King Ceolred and the King Ine of Wessex.
              Later on in time, the estate was passed on to the Talbot family who inherited the property when the first Earl, John Talbot died. The estate was then passed through the family until the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury, Charles, decided to make big changes to both the tower and the gardens. He wanted to make the grounds one of the best gardens in Britain, creating huge lakes and pools on the huge premises.
              After big alterations to both tower and gardens in 1811, the name of the grounds was changed to Alton Abbey.
              Charles died in 1827, but nephew John Talbot (yes another John) carried on his work, however, after his death the fate of the towers seemed doomed as a huge legal battle arose between the families of the Earls claiming the grounds. After many years Henry Talbot won the battle, but at a huge cost, forcing him to open the grounds to the public for the first time in 1860 to raise money for the maintenance of it.

              In 1924 Alton Towers was sold to a business man of local origin. He auctioned off all the contents of the house and opened a few shops and restaurants as there were still a growing number of visitors. This soon became the initial start of the tourist attraction today.

              Once the Second World War was upon Britain Alton Towers was used by the Army as an officer-training.
              Again, this caused massive upset to the grounds and more repair work was needed, as the grounds wore tired.
              1951 finally saw that the grounds were finally handed back to the Alton Towers company.

              Dennis Bagshaw became the new owner in the 1970's adding attractions such as boat rides and cable cars, then once The Alton Towers Company was passed onto John Broome, son -in-law to the owner, Alton Towers was finally restored and visitors came in their thousands every year. The money earned from visitors was concentrated on new projects - thrill rides, and by 1980 the park was pretty much shaped into what we see today, with its first instalment of a major roller coaster, 'The Corkscrew', a double looping 'coaster which was the UK's first, following a pirate ship, (which today we call 'the Blade') and many more rides. As time went on through the 80's, bigger and better rides were set up on the grounds, with such likes as the log flumes, and the black hole (which is sadly gone now). The park has been extended time after time to incorporate its many rides over the years. And now today, it's the UK's leading Theme Park attraction.


              -------------------------------------
              Alton Towers - THE RIDES
              -------------------------------------

              Alton Towers constantly incorporate new thrill rides. Half of them I'm petrified of because of the heights and speed; however I still get managed to be persuaded to go on them. So which ride can I start with……..

              AIR -

              Now I know I am not Superman, BUT MY LORD I FLIED! Never in all of my born days have I ever experienced such a thrill and yet absolutely petrified at the same time. This 'thing' whizzes you in the air, faster than a speeding bullet, around many ungodly bends while you're flat facing the floor! OH YES YOUR FACING THE FLOOR! This roller coaster is not like your average day ones, it lies you down whilst your going around the track and full pelt, to give you that flying experience. With the adrenaline rush I felt from that, once I got off I could hardly walk, but yet strangely enough I rather enjoyed it, although I did not pluck up the courage to go on it a second time.
              The ride was installed in 2002, and is in the 'Forbidden Valley' area of the park. The ride cost £12 million, and has speeds up to 47 mph, on a track length of 140 metres.
              You can normally expect a queue time of two hours for this ride in peak season without a fast track ticket. It has an additional shop at the side of the ride called…yes you guessed it.. 'The Air Shop', where you can purchase personalised items of the ride including your ride photos.
              A height restriction applies of 1.4 metres for anyone to be able to ride this attraction.
              All in all, I would give this ride 7 out of 10, even more if you're a complete thrill seeker!

              NEMESIS-

              Ok, onto the next monster. The Nemesis was installed in 1994, again located in the 'Forbidden Valley' of the park, and I am starting to understand why they call that part of the park this, as it should be bloody forbidden especially if you have a heart condition!
              The speed of this ride is approx 50mph, over a track length of 716 metres. It has many twists and turns, and a loop from hell, as well as one or two very steep drops. Queue time in peak season can be an hour & a half, and a height restriction of 1.4 metres applies. I would give this the same rating as I did for the Air ride as it is just as thrilling yet just as scary.

              CONGO RAPIDS-

              This ride was previously known as the Grand Canyon Rapids, but since had a name change. The ride was installed in 1986 and is placed in the Katanga Canyon area of the park. This is one of the parks more enjoyable rides, and of course having a laugh at someone else's expense at getting soaked! You will no doubt get wet on this ride, it has many bends with rushing water ready to lap the sides of your 'dingy' around the rapids, and also has lots of water fountains and squirters that aim water straight at you….how nice. Height restriction is 0.9 metres, and this ride gets a rating of 9/10 for me, I found it completely enjoyable even if I did look like I had been swimming.

              RITA-

              Well if looks can deceive! I thought this roller coaster looked a little friendlier than that of the Nemesis and Air, plus the fact it is actually named after a girl. Well, one question……..Does anyone reading this fancy a face lift! This 'mother' of a ride shocks you as it pulls off at a speed of 100mph in just three seconds, if you could have seen my face at the start I looked like Shrek! And yes I was green!
              It really is like being in a rocket (not that I have ever been in a rocket, but I can imagine). I have never experienced such a speed so quickly; it was a complete adrenaline rush and a shocking surprise. It did not scare me; just the shock of the speed makes the ride what it is. I completely loved it, it was fantastic. It carries on the 100mph speed around a track that's 650 meters long, and the ride has been nicknames 'Queen of Speed', and I can certainly see why. This ride was installed in 2005, and I was really glad to experience it. It has a height restriction of 1.4 metres, and my overall rating would be 10/10 for a complete thrill.

              OBLIVION-

              I was warned, I had been told, I watched the ride umpteen times before deciding weather I should or shouldn't. I had missed out on this ride the year before for being too scared to go on it, and this time I was determined to conquer my fear.
              Into the 2 hour long queue I go, shaking, sweating, biting my nails, smoking ten to the dozen (which you are not aloud to do anymore!).
              I am getting closer and closer to the point of no return, and a stupid automated voice is played in the background saying 'prepare for embarkation'! Amongst other sounds telling us that we are actually mad to think of riding the thing!

              I would have turned back if I didn't have to pass the mile long queue of teeny boppers who look over amused of having the chance to ride the attraction for the third time, and I towered over them.
              Onto the ride I go, strapped in, sweating to death, with my friends laughing at me, and the ride attendant loving every moment. The ride starts, we proceed to go up a hill that I swear looks like its going to hit a cloud, we level off, go around the bend, and if life isn't bad enough at this point we are dangled over the edge of a huge drop!
              Once again, the annoying voice makes a re-appearance, 'DON'T LOOK DOWN'!, what do I do? I look, I scream, it drops, my stomach has gone, we level off once again, the ride stops AND I PUKE!
              As you may have gathered, the experience of this ride is forever in-bedded in my mind. I was scared to death, completely did not enjoy it, however I conquered the ride.

              The ride was installed in 1998, the track length is 373 metres. It cost 312 million and is one of the parks most popular rides. Height restrictions again apply at 1.4 metres.
              I am not going to rate this ride as it would be unfair to the ride itself as I was a complete baby, but for those who dare, you can find it in the 'X-SECTOR' of the park and you have my up-most respect, (you fools).

              RIPSAW-

              This ride was installed in 1997. You sit on a long seating pad, with dozens of other people, which then proceeds to spin you in the air, and sometimes spinning you 50 metres high at some points of the rides sequence. But if that's not enough pleasure, the dam thing sprays you too.
              The ride is placed in the Forbidden Valley of the park, (of course it would be), and it has a height restriction of 1.4 metres long. Ride rating from me would be 6/10

              THE FLUME-

              Again one of the more enjoyable rides, although you get wet. It is also one of the parks oldest, dating back to 1981, but has scene a recent makeover since sponsored by Imperial Leather, making it seem like your stepping into a bath tub about to take a wash.
              It is surprisingly long especially as you can't see it from where your queuing for the ride. It has several drops, but none that are high enough too scare many. The ride gets a fat 8/10 from me, and can be found in the 'Merrie England' part of the park.

              THE CORKSCREW-

              One of the parks first rides, The Corkscrew. Double looping roller coaster, not a patch on some of the roller coasters they have there now, but never the less still a good old runner. Located in the UG Land area of the park, a height restriction of 1.4 metres applies, the track length is 750 metres long and goes to speeds of 65mph. My rating for this ride is 6/10.

              THE DUEL-

              This has been known as the Haunted House, but they have revamped it with laser guns that you can now actually shoot the ghosts with. It seems like a glorified ghost train. It is quite fun, some younger ones might be a little scared of it, but obviously that is for you to judge. But is a family ride, and it's a worthwhile attraction to the park, 8/10 would be my rating.

              THE ENTERPRISE-

              Opposite the Oblivion in the X-Factor zone of the park, the enterprise is a wheel with more than two dozen carriages. The ride starts spinning round and round before actually tilting on a vertical upright position. It has hardly any restraints as the gravity force holds you in. It is quite fun, but made me feel a little sick, must be my week stomach perhaps?

              SPINBALL WIZZER-

              Another fairly new attraction being installed in 2004. I loved this ride. It really does shake you about like a pinball on a track. It does not go that high, although maybe unsuitable for some youngsters. I really liked it, and would rate it 8/10.
              The track is themed as a giant pinball game, that hold four people per car.

              HEX, THE LEGEND OF THE TOWERS-

              This ride really themes the whole park, and it more of a tour of the tower itself. It was installed in the parks season of 2000, and the tour tells you of the 'curse f the towers', before taking you on a ride in which the room revolves. It is quite interesting, and another worthwhile experience for the whole of your family to enjoy. My rating for this ride would be 9/10 as it would suit everyone.

              THE BLADE-

              Not really that much to say about this ride, it is quite simply a pirate ship. So 6/10 would be my rating.

              THE RUNAWAY MINE TRAIN-

              This is just a roller coaster that goes round a lot of bends. No loops are on this, and it is pretty much aimed as a family roller coaster. Installed in 1992, with speeds up to 40mph over a 456 metre long track. I rate this 7/10 for it being a family ride.

              THE SUBMISSION-

              This to me was a glorified pirate ship, which instead of making you sway quite steeply from side to side, it goes up and over too. So you may be glad to know it has more restraints than that of a pirate ship ride. My rating would be 7/10 for the thrill factor.

              OK THEN………so far I have told you about mainly adult rides, but there are children's as well.

              THE TEACUPS - pretty much self explanatory.

              UG SWINGER- This is the old fairground type ride, with lots of swings that spins around for about 5 minutes, perfect for the younger side of your family, I would rate this 7/10 for the children.

              THE BEASTIE- This is a junior roller coaster which quite simply goes round a figure 8 type track, another young child pleaser. 5/5 would be my rating.

              SQUIRELL NUTTY RIDE- One of the better rides for the children, themed as a kind of outdoor nature flat roller coaster, telling a short story to the children on its journey around the track. 10/10 for the kids enjoyment.

              They also have a huge Ball house for the younger ones called the Ribena Berry Bish Bash, and also a Doodle Doo Derby which is a roundabout ride aimed at young children, which consists of different animals on which children can sit on while the ride spins slowly around the central pivot.

              Well that's most, if not all the rides out of the way, so what else does this park have to offer its visitors?

              ----------------------------------------------
              Alton Towers- 'LAID BACK DAY'
              ----------------------------------------------

              Well like I have stated in the history of Alton Towers, it weren't always about the rides before the Tuassaurds Group brought it. The Gardens and its walks have always been an attraction for most of its visitors. You could take a good hour walk if not longer around the gardens that surround the park, or take the cable cars for a birds eye view. Also you can row a boat along the lake that they have there, both activities being a more relaxing part to the Alton Towers experience.
              Also the park offers children's shows like the tweenies so that you can give yourself a rest whilst they amuse your children. A few sporting challenges are around the park, like a football shootout which I noticed last time I was there to test your skills. If rides are not your bag, there are plenty more activities that the park has to offer.

              ---------------------------------------------
              Alton Towers- PLACES TO EAT
              ---------------------------------------------

              There are so many fast food restaurants and bars, you won't be stuck for something to eat.

              Fast food outlets include McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Costa Coffee. There is also a family restaurant and a pub in the medieval-themed section. Healthy food is a bit hard to find however.
              Most of the time it is best to take along a packed lunch as they have a nice picnic greenery and many people do this. You have lockers near the main entrance should you want to leave anything in them instead of carrying them round, such as packed lunches.

              ----------------------------------------------------------------
              Alton Towers- GETTING AROUND THE PARK
              ----------------------------------------------------------------

              The park has been set out in sections as you might have guessed from the ride locations. You are given a map when you arrive onto the park and the sections do make it easier to plan your route, so I would strongly advise you to make sure you read through it.

              The park and it amenities are set out in ten sections, which are:
              UG Land, Cred Street, The Towers,
              X-Sector, Merrie England, Forbidden Valley,
              Katanga Canyon, Gloomy Wood,
              Old McDonalds Farmyard, Adventure Land.

              Cable cars go to each part of the named sections. The sections are categorised and themed around the rides. For example, you're likely to find the scariest rides in the 'Forbidden Valley', but in 'UG Land' your likely to find children's amenities.

              ---------------------------------
              Alton Towers - HOTELS
              ---------------------------------

              If you are wanting more than a day at the park, then stopping in one of their hotels is the best bet for you.

              There are two hotels. The original Alton Towers hotel, and the Splash Landings hotel.

              The Alton Towers Hotel

              I stayed here last year and really enjoyed it. You can pick from themed rooms, which most of the hotel is throughout. The staff are very helpful and friendly, and the restaurants and bars serve good food and have a pleasant atmosphere.
              We went in the peak of the summer season, and the weekend cost us £189.99 for two adults, which included a full breakfast, and passes onto the theme park.
              You can find details on the hotel at Alton Towers official website, and even book online at www.altontowers.com

              The Splash Landings Hotel

              This somewhat new hotel is a very beech themed oasis. I have not personally stayed in this one, but looks fantastic, with its hotel set out like a Caribbean Village. Again, details and booking information can be found on the official website.

              But to sum up the hotels, if you wanted to go for more than a day, your hotel price normally includes your pass onto the park. And it certainly is a more relaxing way to enjoy the entire park.


              ---------------------------------------------------
              Alton Towers – What’s new for 2007?
              ---------------------------------------------------

              For those of you who go to the theme park on frequent occasions like I do most of you would like to see new rides, or new themed events at the park every year. And although Alton Towers do update their park most years, unfortunately there are no new rides this year.
              They are planning major updates for 2008, with a new budget of £30 million, maybe a new rollercoaster on its way?

              However, as we are vast approaching Halloween, it is time for the ‘Terror Of The Towers’ themed park events, only this year it is now called ‘Scare Fest’.

              Now if you fancy a treat rather than a trick this Halloween, this might be what you and the family are looking for.

              For your ‘tiny terrors’, the whole park is themed around the Halloween season, they can ‘trick or treat’ on various doors around the park for some goodies, they also have a Pumpkin Patch area with various kids activities.

              And for the more fearless older kids and adults amongst you, there are various Halloween shows to watch, and eerie walks set out around the park.

              Like the ‘terror of the towers’ themed weekend I went too in 2005, Scare Fest will finish each day in the park with a spectacular laser light show, plus you can expect a few fireworks to go off.

              I do recommend these Halloween themed seasons at the park, it can be so much fun. Everyone can dress up in their costumes and join in.
              Scare Fest is on between 13th October until the 5th November 2007. Tickets vary in prices depending on what time of day you go, and you can also save £10 when you book online at www.altontowers.com

              -------------------------------
              Alton Towers- PRICES
              -------------------------------

              Alton Towers opens this year on the 19th March 2006, apart from the hotels which are open all year round. The season ends on the 29th of October. They will start by just opening for weekends, and half terms, until the main season kicks in.

              Prices for the park are as follows:

              Adults 12 years and over –
              £32 on a non event day.
              £34 on Halloween.
              £24 if you book online

              Children 4 - 11 years –
              £22 on a non event day.
              £23 on Halloween.
              £16 if you book online

              Children under 4 years - Free

              Disabled visitors & Seniors –

              £16 on a non event day.
              £17 on Halloween.
              £12 if you book online

              Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 children) –

              £89 on a non event day.
              £95 on Halloween.
              £69 if you book online



              -------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Alton Towers- LOCATION AND CONTACT DETAILS
              -------------------------------------------------------------------------

              You can view more information and book online at www.alton-towers.co.uk

              For park enquires, tel: 08705 20 40 60
              Hotel bookings, tel: 0870 458 5195

              Alton Towers is in Alton, Staffordshire between Uttoxeter and Stoke. The website offers a map of how you can get there from whatever direction you maybe travelling in.

              Address:

              Alton Towers
              Alton
              Staffordshire
              ST10 4DB
              England


              ----------------------------------------
              Alton Towers - My Conclusion
              ----------------------------------------

              Although Alton Towers theme park is mainly enjoyed by grown ups for their fantastic thrill seeking rides, they also have a lot to offer children and other members of the family.
              The price may seem high, but it is a full day out, and in my opinion, completely worth it.
              As for the hotel prices, I normally stay away from the peek season times as I find it a little expensive.
              I don't think anyone would be stuck for things to do, whatever the weather will be on the day of your visit.
              I think it's one of the best days out in Britain which suits many people.
              The queues can sometimes be long and annoying, but then again, at least your stomach has time to settle down. Also you are able to get 'fast-passes' which allow you to go on a ride at a certain time with hardly any queue.
              Alton Towers do have theme weekends which pop up on their website every now and again, to which they will send you a free brochure if required. The best theme weekend I have attended is the last weekend their park is open, which is normally called 'The Terror Of The Towers',( this year called ‘Scare Fest’) which have a fantastic firework or light show display at the end of the day. Also a lot of youngsters and adults for that matter dress up in Halloween gear for the occasion.
              I rate the park 9/10 for a good, fun exciting day out.

              Thanks for reading my review, Dempsey

              -----------------------------------------
              Alton Towers - Did You Know?
              -----------------------------------------

              I don't normally include a 'did you know' section in my reviews, but being a frequent visitor to Alton Towers I found this information quite interesting -

              Most Roller coaster rides at Alton Towers need to be built in a huge dug out pit as they are not allowed to build roller coasters above tree level.

              I don't know how true that is, but interesting never the less.

              Comments

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                More Comments
              • Heat (Special Edition, 2 DVDs) / DVD / 44 Readings / 43 Ratings
                More +
                20.10.2007 15:05
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                A movie that works because of the actors

                Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are two of my all time favourite actors, so getting the chance too see them act alongside each other was an opportunity I was not going to miss out on.

                -----------------
                Plot Outline
                -----------------
                Al Pacino plays Vincent Hanna, a top L.A detective. Robert De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a cunning, professional thief.
                McCauley has pulled off many high-tech robberies with amazing success which has now grabbed the attention of top detective Vincent Hanna, whose obsession with his work is driven by no expense to his own private life.
                McCauley lives by one motto, which inevitably is the key to his success thus far, that being 'become attached to nothing in life that you can't walk away from if the "Heat" is on'.
                Now McCauley wants too pull off one more big high-tech robbery, and move on with his life with the first women he has met in years that he can actually connect with.

                His professional crew are more then equipped to help him, but detective Hanna is no cop to be fooled, and does not give up easy in his quest to bring him to justice.

                No one, not even Hanna has been able to get near McCauley and his crew, but when one of their robberies goes wrong detective Hanna is hot on their trail.
                Sensing that they may be in hot water, they regroup for one final job, big enough for them to all go their own separate ways. No expense is spared for the job, guns, high explosives, armed cars, are all thrown in to the frame work.
                However, Neil McCauley is tempted to ignore his life long motto that has been the belief of his success for decades when his love for his new flame burns brighter, which in turn lets detective Hanna get closer to him than he ever has before.

                Both are challenged by incredible minded men on both sides of the law, which are pitted against each other with explosive outcomes.


                ------------------------------------
                My Thoughts on the Movie
                ------------------------------------

                We are no stranger to the plot, we have seen it hundreds of times before. What made this movie work was the fact that director Michael Mann brought these two cinematic icons, De Niro and Pacino, together for the first time, alongside a hot supporting cast of big names.
                In this movie, I thought the 'good guy, bad guy' cliché was completely thrown out the window which was great and welcoming to the plot itself. However the plot could have been much better, for reasons of the way it was shot. The movie itself to me was shot in a sequence of what seemed to be many brief moments, which although there were good moments I couldn't help thinking there were a lot of unnecessary scenes. I would have liked to have seen Michael Mann focus more on the main characters than that of all the less supporting characters over this almost three hour long film, never the less, Manns approach to this movie using the quick scene method doesn't manage too get you confused or loose you which is something not too snarl at. It being three hours long was not a disadvantage to the movie whatsoever as the character build up was what the film was all about.
                The stronger parts of the film follow the main characters personal lives, and the effects all of their chosen professions have on their partners which in turn gives the movie more depth and realism than most cops and robbers action thrill movies. There is plenty of drama which compliments the action played out outstandingly well by both De Niro and Pacino.

                This movie all boils down to not so much having a tremendous plot, but just having brilliant characters that drew me in hook line and sinker. Having a movie with such a big cast of top names normally put me off as it never lives up to my expectations which for once weren't the case with this movie.
                With all this in mind I do think Heat is one of the best action crime dramas I have ever scene. I am never bored watching it, and have completely lost count how many times I have indeed watched it. I may have wanted more focus on the main characters, but Michael Mann's directing never the less was superb in this, making an audience glued for three hours is not an easy task, which in my views Mann successfully did with this film. Although Braveheart was the movie we all heard about in 1995, sweeping many awards of the shelf, I think Heat was the best movie of that year.

                --------------------------------------------
                My Thoughts on the Characters
                --------------------------------------------

                The roles of the characters were picked perfectly. I could never pick a favourite out of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, they both bring so many talents to any part they pick to play, but undoubtedly in this movie you could not imagine the characters the other way round. De Niro was the best choice for the thief, he suited the role so well, and Al Pacino was the perfect cop, if roles were reversed I don't think it would have complimented the film as much as it did.
                They explored both Pacino's character and De Niro's character so well, by showing both their emotional boundaries that drives them to do what they do, and what morals they choose to go by. Both characters are very much the same in many different ways, as they can both loose sight with their work, and not focus on the things that actually do or can make them happy.
                The film also had a great supporting cast, Tom Seizemore played De Niro's right Hand man, and I have always been a fan of his acting, he is naturally calm and 'the cool guy', which really shows in this movie.

                Also we have Val Kilmer, who is another part of De Niro's crew. Vals character is 100% committed to the job, and even with his marriage falling apart around him he will not let De Niro down. Ashley Judd plays his partner but unfortunately her talents are wasted in this movie as we see very little of her and what we do see is not her best work.
                Then there are the love interests between the main characters. Amy Brenneman plays De Niros love interest. Her character is De Niros first women in decades to whom he has ever connected with and his one chance of living a normal happy life. She is unaware of what he does, but falls deeply for him and wants to be let in.
                Pacinos marriage is also breaking down with his work driven obsession in catching De Niro. Diane Venora plays Pacino's wife and plays a good emotional part at feeling rejected due to a life style she can't understand.

                --------------------------
                My Favourite Scene
                --------------------------
                The movie was always going to be about Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Getting these two to play alongside each other is eye candy for many movie goers.
                Although they have appeared together in Godfarther part 2, they never actually shared the same scene due to the timeline in that story. So director Michael Mann would have been thrilled to be the first to grab this opportunity before anyone else did. However they only shared one major scene in this movie together, which of course being my favourite scene of all.
                It was done very simply with over the shoulder shots, with both cop and thief sitting down over coffee matching wits by saying very little at all, showing off their cool calm collectiveness, with stern faces and simple eye contact with low tones in their voices which really makes the scene work and draws you in.
                The scene not only shows both characters at their most vulnerable however strong they look, but also shows off their massive respect for each other as actors. It was a scene I know that will go down in cinematic history no matter if the plot went down as being somewhat unmemorable. I completely loved it, and made the film a true blessing to me.


                ----------------------------------
                DVD SPECIAL FEATURE
                ----------------------------------
                Disc 1:
                The Movie itself.
                Audio commentary from writer/director Michael Mann
                Theatrical trailers

                Disc 2:
                11 additional scenes
                'Return To The Scene Of The Crime': Location Manager Janice Polley and Associate Producer Gusmano Cesaretti visit the real life L.A. locations used in the film

                'The Making Of Heat - True Crime': Michael Mann and Chuck Adamson, Technical Advisor and real life inspiration for the Lt. Vincent Hanna character, discuss the Chicago crime scene and the events surrounding the real Neil McCauley (who Adamson took down in the late 60s) that inspired the film
                'The Making Of Heat - Crime Stories': Mann, cast and crew discuss the twenty year origin of the script, the film's genesis and the complexity of the characters portrayed on screen

                'The Making Of Heat - Into The Fire': Mann, cast and crew discuss training for their roles, filming in LA, shooting the climatic downtown heist and post production
                'Pacino and De Niro': The Conversation - Mann, cast and crew explore this historic on-screen showdown in the pivotal confrontation at Kate Mantellini's
                -----------------------------------------------------------------------

                My comments on the DVD features:
                I am not always bothered about the DVD features as I believe a good film should speak for itself, however, this was a very worthwhile attribute to the movie and purchase. Michael Mann's views and commentary on the movie is very interesting, especially why he chose to shoot the movie in the way he did. And also the section on the 'Al Pacino and Robert De Niro Scene' was of much interest to me, as I really wanted to know why is was just the one scene, and from this I could see why and agreed completely with the director.
                Overall it's a worthwhile addition to the movie and worth paying that couple of extra pounds than that of the normal DVD version.

                ---------------------------------------
                DVD AND CAST DETAILS
                ---------------------------------------
                Cast: Al Pacino ; Robert De Niro ; Val Kilmer ; Ashley Judd ; Tom Sizemore ; Jon Voight ; Danny Trejo ; Tom Noonan ; Henry Rollins ; Hank Azaria ; Diane Venora ; Natalie Portman ; Amy Brenneman ; Wes Studi ; Dennis Haysbert ; Jeremy Piven ; Tone Loc

                Directed by Michael Mann
                Running time 2hrs 56 mins approx Cert: 15

                Genre: Action, crime, drama suspense
                I brought the DVD from Amazon for £9.97

                ----------------------------
                OVERALL OPINION
                ----------------------------
                No one will be a stranger to the storyline, its been done, tried and tested many a time, some work, some don't, this one worked simply due to the performances of the cast. If your either a De Niro fan or that of a Pacino fan (although if you like one you are bound to admire the other anyway) this movie is a must for you. The supporting cast are good, and the story is more than acceptable. I feel it is a worthwhile viewing, and I would rate it 7 out of 10.
                I enjoyed it very much and would say it was one of the best movies of 1995.

                Thanks for reading, Dempsey

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                  18.10.2007 16:21
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                  the history of superman on 14 disks

                  Is it a bird? Is it A Plane? .no it's the Superman ultimate Collection!

                  Now call me a 'big kid' if you like, but I have remained a fan of the Superman stories ever since I could crawl.
                  As a child I have watched all the Superman cartoons, brought all the comics and action figures, and owned all the movies and cartoons on tape.
                  Even from my early teens to the present date I still enjoy the Superman series that are shown on TV:- The New Adventures Of Superman with Dean Kane, and the Smallville series.

                  Ultimately it were always the Superman movies I had always enjoyed the most with Christopher Reeve bringing the character to life on our big screens.

                  There were four movies in total, but after the dire disappointment of Superman IV: Quest For Peace, the Superman franchise faded fast, and the news of Superman's main star, Christopher Reeve, being in a terrible horse riding accident which paralysed him and eventually led to his death, the Superman movie franchise almost completely died with him.
                  That was until Bryan Singer brought Superman back to the big screen with the new movie 'Superman Returns', and not only does it seemed to have revived the character, but also its revived the previous movies and all its history.
                  It's here I bring you the Superman Ultimate Collection 14 disc DVD Box Set!

                  Although I owned all the previous movies on tape before, and the Superman movies 1&2 on DVD, this was a 'must purchase' for me because not only did it have all 4 movies on DVD which was almost unheard of until now, and not only because it also came with the new Superman Returns movie by Bryan Singer, but the fact that it included so much bonus material and different theatrical cuts, especially Richard Donner's directors cut of the Superman II movie which is almost an entirely different movie of that cut of the director Richard Lester's release of the same movie.

                  --------------------
                  PRESENTATION
                  --------------------

                  The box set comes in a silver metallic looking tin with the Superman shield embossed on the front. However the casing tin is not as strong looking as it is depicted on the pictures and is quite easily dented due to being quite thin.
                  A further disappointment is that its contents within the tin casing, rattle around a little, due to the tin being nearly a ¼ the size larger than it needed to be, therefore its contents being in risk of unnecessary damage.
                  However I personally would say that they were the only flaws with the box sets presentation as it does overall look quite stylish.
                  Upon opening the tin you get yet another sleeve presenting the Superman character flying into the silver 'S' shield which house all the 14 DVD's.
                  Also housed within the tin is a reproduction of the Superman comic book issue 7, and a Superman Overview booklet presented in a 'Daily Planet' newspaper fashion. Furthermore you also get some mail-in-offer leaflets for various Superman movie posters.
                  The presentation of the DVD box set isn't bad, certainly looks stylish on the pictures and in a display cabinet, however considering it's open retail price I would have expected it not to only look stylish but have more of an authentic look and feel to it instead of it looking rather cheap and delicate to handle.

                  So my overall rating for the box sets presentation would be 6 out of 10.


                  The 14 Disks Included in the Box Set:


                  Disk 1:
                  Superman The Movie- Theatrical Cut (1978)
                  Starring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackmen, Margot Kidder and Marlon Brando

                  Plot:
                  Jor El (Marlon Brando) sends his only son (Kal El) through time and space before their home planet, Krypton, explodes.
                  Kal El's final destination: Planet Earth. Kal El is brought up by a childless couple Martha and John Kent, donning the new identity of Clark Kent.
                  Over the years he is being brought up it becomes very apparent that he possesses unbelievable super-powers and decides to use them to protect people and fight against evil.
                  However, in the city of Metropolis, a known villain, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackmen), plans to cause devastation by using missiles to clear way for his own 'beach front property'.
                  Luthor discovers Superman's weaknesses including Kryptonite which is deadly to him, and he soon becomes a formidable opponent to the super-hero.
                  It soon becomes a battle against time to save thousands of people, including his love interest Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) who falls victim to Luthor's evil plan.
                  My thoughts on the movie and cast:

                  The original movie is a superb rendition of bringing this iconic super-hero to the big screen.
                  I would think the main interest in anyone watching a movie like this is too see the impossible happen and living it, which brings the tagline to this movie, 'You will believe a man can fly', in quiet nicely.
                  I think the special effects in this movie were brilliant for its day, the character certainly did look like he was flying through the sky with no strings attached.
                  As for the movie's plot itself, I think it was in a very well put together way in telling the complete story of Superman from how he got to earth right up until his love interest with Lois Lane and his encounters with his arch nemesis Lex Luthor.
                  The scene that most sticks out in my mind and that being one of my favourite ones like many others I would imagine, is the scene where Superman first makes an appearance to the world where he saves Lois Lane in mid air after the helicopter she was flying in crashed on top of a building, then whilst Superman has Lois in his arms, the helicopter decides too fall of the edge of the building as well, and Superman catches that with his other hand (what a show off!) while on lookers look in amazement, just like I was when I first watched it at 5 years old at home on my sofa. From watching that amazing scene you know that 'this guy is the dude', and he becomes the most amazing superhero ever witnessed (Spider-Man….who are ya?!).
                  The movie itself has a well handpicked cast for each role.
                  Right from the outset, Cinematic legend Marlon Brando appears on our screens and gives us a brief but pleasing performance as Superman's farther Jor El.
                  As for the rest of the cast, and lets start with the movies main star Christopher Reeve who played Superman. He suited the part down to a 'T', ok in this case lets say he suited it down to a 'S'. He not only looked like the spitting image of Superman in every comic book I had ever seen and read, but this guy was playing two different characters, Clark Kent and his alter ego Superman, who couldn't be more different, that being Clark Kent being incredibly stupid and 'geek-ish' and Superman having more powers than a god and every women's dream.
                  Christopher is the actor credited for putting Superman on the big screen map, and will no doubt be remembered as playing 'the best Superman' to many fans, including myself.
                  As for Gene Hackmen, the Lex Luthor Role was made for him. Funny, mischievous, greedy minded and self arrogance are all personalities Hackmen can bring to the 'acting table' well. He brought the character of Superman's arch enemy to life in such a 'un-cool' and annoying way that it actually worked.
                  And then there is Lois Lane played by Margot Kidder. Not as feisty and intelligent than that I prefer of how she's portrayed in the TV series by Teri Hatcher and of Kate Bosworth's portrayal of her in the new Superman Returns movie, however Margot Kidders portrayal of Lois Lane does have a certain shine, and overall does compliment everyone else's roles well.

                  Approximate running time for this disk is 143 minutes and overall this movie is a fun watch with some great acting and good effects for its time. I would give it a rating of 8 out of 10.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 2:
                  Superman The Movie- Directors Cut (2000)
                  Many will have seen the original Superman movie, lets face it, if you don't own it or have seen it on video or DVD it appears quite frequently on our TV channels these days.
                  However the most recent directors cut provides us with footage of the movie never seen before and very seldom does this cut ever appear on our TV channels.
                  Richard Donner's Directors cut of this release shoes footage of the movie that hadn't been released previously, and although the extra footage only amounts to an extra 10 minutes approximately, they a worthwhile viewing for any Superman fans.
                  It can be quite amazing how some restored footage can bring more depth and meaning to the characters in the movie, and although I don't want to spoil the extras for you there is one perfect example of such footage in this cut, that being the 'Fortress Of Solitude Scene' that was edited out of the original cut.
                  In this scene, Superman returns to his self made fortress after his first night of revealing himself and his superpowers to the world. He is chuffed with his achievements and wants to gloat and speak to his now almost symbolic farther about it. It is here that you not only see more of Marlon Brando acting in the movie, but also where his alter ego Clark Kent is enforced, which in the original movie may have seemed like Superman's idea to portray himself as the Clark Kent he does, but this scene makes it so that it is more the wisdom he gets from his farther to never show off and reveal his true self.

                  I think this scene, like others that they cut out of the original movie really works well on complimenting the movie and its character on the whole, and certainly a worthwhile contribution to both movie and box set itself.
                  Approximate running time for this disk is 157 minuets and I would give it an overall rating 9 out of 10

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 3:
                  Superman The Movie- Bonus Disc 1

                  The first bonus disc of the original Superman movie focuses on the scenes they deleted and reasons for why.
                  It also shows three documentaries on making the movie including the development and filming of it which gives you an excellent idea of exactly what they wanted to put into the movie keeping faithful to the Superman that had always been portrayed on screen and in comics previously. And also how they made it look like Superman was flying through the sky which in them days was a lot harder now that you consider we have CGI.
                  There are also screen shot of Christopher Reeve and Lois Lane within this bonus material.
                  Disk ones bonus material is certainly another worthwhile addition to the box set. I found it very interesting why they decided to go with the cast that they did, and also why they choose to cut some good scenes out of the movie.

                  Approximate viewing time for this disk is 54 minutes and I would give this disk an overall rating of 7 out of ten.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 4:
                  Superman The Movie- Bonus Disc 2
                  This disk shows a vintage TV special of the making of Superman the movie, but I felt a lot of the information was repeated in the first bonus disk, but still, it did have some things missed from the first bonus disk so it did have some relevance, after all this is supposed to be the 'Ultimate Box Set', and anything missed out would surely rob it of its 'Ultimate' title.

                  The most pleasing attribute to this bonus disk is that it shows nine Fleischer cartoons of Superman from the early days, which gives you a more understanding of how Superman has developed over the years , and just how many decades the Superman character has been entertaining audiences.
                  I would conclude this disk by saying it is a complimentary attribute to the box set itself and give it a rating of 5 out of 10.
                  Running time approximately 52 minutes

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 5:
                  Superman II - Theatrical Cut (1980)

                  Staring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackmen, Margot Kidder and Terrence Stamp
                  Plot:
                  The sequel to the original Superman movie follows the ever-growing relationship of Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane.
                  Lois Lane is convinced Clark Kent is Superman, and her constant hounding to get the fact confirmed proves her right in the finish. They are both in love with each other, but for Superman to have a relationship with a mortal, he must live as a mortal. Finally thinking that the world can do without Superman, he gives his powers up for the love of his life Lois, only to find that he has left the world in great danger from three Super-Villains previously jailed by Superman's farther from his own home planet, Krypton.
                  The three villains descend onto the earth, each with the same power Superman has, and with a lust to take over the world. General Zod (Terrance Stamp) stops at nothing to get what he wants, and with no Superman, and with the help of Lex Luthor, it seems that they are a force truly unstoppable.
                  Can Superman come back and save the day again?

                  My thoughts on the movie and cast:
                  This sequel certainly had a lot to live up to its original, but yet again delivers a good viewing. It was good to see a character who is as strong as Superman be presented with such a task which is seemingly impossible to overcome, at the end of the day, we don't want our beloved muscle-bound superhero to find everything too easy do we? What fun would that be?
                  The movie has a strong opening with a terrorist threat to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. A bomb placed on the lift could wipe out most of Paris, and snoopy reporter and Superman's love interest, Lois Lane, is right under it, that said it isn't long before Superman fly's in.
                  However, the movie does seem to go a little slow in the middle where the movie concentrates on Lois's and Clarks now mortal life together having given up all his superpowers. The chemistry is a little boring between them both and felt it could have been done a lot better. The movie soon picks up again when Superman's powers return and he finally confronts the three Super villains, with great scenes of mid air combat and special effects for its time.
                  It was also great to see all of the cast re-unite from the original movie, and see how there characters are developing. Gene Hackmen's Lex Luthor, although still a canny performance, got overshadowed a little by Terrence Stamp's performance of General Zod (the leader of the three villains), who played the most threatening but corny villain in the movie.

                  Approximate running time for this disk is 127 minutes. Overall, a good sequel, I would give it a rating of 7 out of 10

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 6:
                  Superman II- The Richard Donner Cut (2006)
                  This disk for me is probably the main attraction to the whole box set. Now to explain this DVD to you properly I should probably go back to the beginning.
                  Richard Donner who directed the original Superman movie, shot this sequel at the same time to be released almost back to back. He completed almost 75% of this movie, but through various disputes between the production team and Warner Brothers, Donner was fired and Richard Lester was brought on bored to do the sequel. Lester had to abandon most of Donner's work to be credited as director of this movie. and went with his own cut of the Superman II movie which is the theatrical cut released in 1980.
                  Now in 2006, for the first time ever, Richard Donner was finally able to release his version of the Superman II movie which only uses about 25 % of the movie shot by Lester, making it a very different movie to the movie we all saw or may have saw in 1980.

                  The Donner cut of this move is significantly different. The two main differences are scenes which involved Louis discovering Clarks identity as Superman, and the fact Marlon Brando played another very significant part in this movie.
                  In Lester's 1980 cut version, Lois discovers Clark is Superman when he burns his hand in a hotel room without a mark on him, in the Donner cut, Lois actually shoots Clark (she uses a blank to trick him) to make him reveal his true self. Most of the scenes with Clark/Superman and Lois are very much extended with a lot more dialogue.
                  Marlon Brando's character was hardly ever seen in Lester's cut, but in the Donner cut he plays Superman's father yet again, and not only appears as a symbolic head projection of the past but also appears in true form standing and talking to Clark.
                  And without spoiling too much of this alternative take on the Superman II movie, even from the opening you can tell this is a very different movie. In the Lester cut we see Superman tackling the terrorists at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Donner cut concentrates on Lois beginning to think Clark is Superman, and there are scenes of her jumping out of the daily planet office top floor window to prove the fact, however Clark uses his super breath and laser eyes to break her fall keeping his true identity intact.
                  It is incredible just how different this movie is compared to what we did see in Lester's cut, and I for one think it is much better.
                  However there are a few flaws concerning continuity between the first Superman man movie and the Richard Donner Cut of the sequel. As these movies were shot back to back by Donner, and intended to be released not so far apart, the ending in the original Superman movie where he turns back time to save Lois's death was actually meant for the sequel, where he turns back the time to wipe out all the destruction the three super villains caused, and due to Donner's untimely departure during the making of both movies, a new ending was never re-written for the original movie, thus it being used in the original movie. So technically with this cut of the Superman II movie, both Superman & the Superman II movies have similar endings.

                  What I liked most about the cut was just how Donner envisioned his Superman being portrayed, which was a far less camper one of the Lester's portrayal. The extra scenes where Marlon Brando appears yet again are a welcoming addition to the movie by any fan of the series of films.
                  But I suppose the most interesting fact of all, which is hardly heard of, is the fact that the director can go back almost 25 years and make a brand new movie from footage that was left in storage and deemed never to be used again.
                  Brilliant never before seen footage and I would give this disk and overall rating of 9 out of 10.
                  Approximate running time of 116 minutes

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 7:
                  Superman II- Bonus Material

                  Another interesting bonus DVD which will explain all about the Richard Donner and Lester cuts that I have already explained.
                  Also there are deleted scenes from both the different cuts and commentary on why they did not use them.
                  New commentary by Richard Donner on his cut of the Superman II movie in 'restoring the vision' which is also very interesting and gives you an insight to why he abandoned the project in the first place.
                  I liked this bonus disk most out of all the bonus disk because of the explanation between the two different cuts of the movie, it runs on for about 35 minuets in total and is a worthwhile watch. An overall rating of 9 out of 10
                  Approximate running time of 18 minutes.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 8:
                  Superman III- Theatrical Cut (1983) & Bonus Material

                  Starring: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Annette O'Toole and Robert Vaughn
                  Plot:
                  Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) is a newly computer whiz. He starts working for a firm run by the corporate greedy nemesis Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn), who's intent on world domination. Gorman is sent to Superman's hometown of Smallville to wipe out Columbia's coffee crop by fiddling with the computer side of a weather satellite. Clark Kent is in town for his class reunion, where he pursues his new love interest for an old friend Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole), leading Superman to clash with Gorman, which in turn, leads Gorman to develop a batch of Kryptonite which unwittingly causes Superman to turn bad. Now Superman is out of the 'good guy' game,
                  Webster's plan on world domination with all exports of coffee and oil are in full swing, while Superman struggles with his duel personalities.
                  The fallen Superhero begins his 'bad boy' act causing havoc with oil tankers, and the Leaning tower of Pisa, until finally becoming a drunk and literally splitting into two different people, the 'bad' Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent who both have an ultimate showdown at a steel works.
                  Superman must wear off the affects of the bad Kryptonite if he is ever to save the world from a new super computer that has a mind of its own, foil Webster's plans and re-kindle his relationship with Lana Lang.

                  My thoughts on the movie:
                  It seems now director Richard Lester has departed from the tone of the first two movies and placed more of an emphasis on comedy in this sequel.
                  Right from the beginning there is a dire slapstick comedy sequence involving Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor playing dumb and causing several daft mishaps towards the general public.
                  The new villain played by Robert Vaughn isn't very threatening but more like a spoilt kid who is being backed up by his big sister, they don't demand much screen presence at all, making the movie cry out for the return of the characters former villain Lex Luthor who was abandoned in this script.
                  Even more shocking is the lack of Lois Lane, after all, her and Superman go hand in hand. However Margot Kidder's appearance as the snoopy reporter is rather limited, playing a brief performance at the beginning and towards the end. Instead, Superman's new love interest is focused on Lana Lang played by Annette O' Toole, who interestedly enough plays Martha Kent (Clark's adoptive mother) in the Superman Smallville series. The Lana Lang and Superman love affair is interesting at times but leaves a lot to be desired and can get rather boring at certain parts of the movie.
                  That leaves the movies two main stars, Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor. Christopher again puts in a good performance as the man of steel, and interestingly enough gives a solid performance as a bad Superman. Richard Pryor, the movies comic relief, almost steals 'the star of the show' from Christopher. Unlike many of the movies other cast excluding Christopher, his character did demand screen presence and at times was genuinely funny even if it did spoil the tone of the first two movies.

                  The storyline itself was 'O.K' but a bit disappointing from the previous two movies. The whole 'Superman turning bad' idea did work, and was probably the best scenes within the movie, especially the showdown at the steal works with him splitting into two and Clark Kent trying to fight off the bad Superman. There is also a good scene where he saves his hometown from a huge chemical plant explosion where he freezes a lake with his 'super breath' and drops it over the plant to wash out the fire.
                  However the whole slapstick comedy emphasis on the movie didn't really work at all, Richard Pryor did give some genuine funny comic relief on the movie, but even that was a little too much at times. The final showdown with Superman vs. the supercomputer was a bit 'tacky' and again at time a bit slapstick and to sum up the movie as a whole left a lot to be desired.
                  Bring back Lois and Lex and drop the slapstick comedy!
                  As for the bonus material in the special features of this DVD we are treated to the original theatrical trailer, which in turn actually give most of the plot away.
                  We also get some additional scenes which have never been shown before which is a complimenting treat to Superman fans.
                  Commentary by the producers Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler
                  is also a feature on this disk and gives their vision on what they wanted to achieve with this movie, which is interesting considering why they wanted to change the tone from the first two movies.

                  Give this movie an overall rating of 5 out of 10.
                  Approximate running time of 123 minutes.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 9:
                  Superman IV: Quest For Peace - Theatrical Cut (1987) & Bonus Material

                  Starring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackmen, Margot Kidder
                  Plot:

                  The Daily Planet is being taken over by a well known sleazy tabloid journalist David Warfield, and converts the popular newspaper into a more exaggerating trashy tabloid. He puts his only daughter Lacy in charge as main publisher to whom soon falls in love with Clark Kent, much to Lois Lanes disgust.
                  However diplomatic relations between the United States and the Soviet Union is what's on everyone's mind and something that is troubling Superman/Clark Kent's very morals of standing as both a inhabitant of the world, but also knowing he has the powers to change all that but has always been forbidden to interfere with War and Human history by the spirits of his family and ancestors from his home and real planet Krypton. However after receiving a desperate plea from a young boy to rid the world of all nuclear weapons, Superman can no long stand ideally by and begins to relieve planet earth of all nuclear weapons by hurling them into space, much to the disgust of his arch enemy Lex Luthor, who plans on making his fortunes through a new world war.
                  Lex Luthor hatches a plan to destroy Superman, and keep the threat of war alive. He steals stands of Superman's genetic make-up, and with Superman's unknowingly help creates a new Super villain, Nuclear Man, who can kill Superman once and for all.
                  It soon become a battle of brain vs. Braun as Superman not only tries to keep the quest for peace, but also tries to overcome his biggest challenge yet, and defeat the ever powerful Nuclear man.
                  My Thoughts on the movie:

                  This would be the last in the theatrical releases to star Christopher Reeve as the man of steel, and while I feel that Christopher's acting as Superman never faltered, there is only one word to describe this fourth instalment, and that is DESPERATE.
                  Let starts with the special affects that were notably very poor in this movie, in terms to flying scenes battles in the air and with various other scenes. The original Superman movie in terms of special effects, which was almost 10 years before this instalment of the movie series were far more superior. This was due to a very low budget after the third instalment didn't do so well at the box office.
                  The entire movie's actions scenes looked like it had been shot with a blue screen, and landscapes added later, completely ghastly.
                  The movie does try and give us a noble plot of ridding the world of all Nuclear weapons, exploring the fact that it doesn't matter how powerful you are, even if you have the powers of a 'Superman', countries and its people must want peace for it to ever happen, sadly this message gets a little lost with some bizarre and at times quite daft scenes.
                  Not all is lost though, the movie as always is still has its fun element. The sub plot of keeping Clark Kent's identity as Superman is back, but this time he tries to manage duel dates, one as Clark Kent dating Lucy Warfield, and the other as Superman with Lois Lane at the same time. Although this sub plot has been used before, it did have some comic relief which worked. However I couldn't help but think the producers and the script writers were running out of ideas for Superman's character with this movie. They throw in a Nuclear Man, a character that very much resembles that of the three super villains in the second movie, with that and the subplot of Clark Kent revealing once again he is Superman to Lois Lane it seemed a lot of the plot you had seen before.
                  It was nice to see both Margot Kidder and Gene Hackmen reprise their roles as Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. Lois Lane played a brief appearance in the third instalment, and Lex Luthor was cut out altogether.
                  The bonus material does surprise us with half hours worth of deleted scenes where you learn that although there was only one Nuclear man in the theatrical release, but that was actually the second Nuclear man created by Lex Luthor. It's predecessor was a failed attempt, and was quickly defeated by Superman at a Metro club. Other deleted scenes show much more dialogue that would have actually give the movie a better perspective if they were actually cut into the movie, especially the entrapment of Lacy Warfield and Superman on defeating Nuclear Man.
                  Also with the bonus material you get commentary by screenwriter Mark Rosenthal, and the theatrical trailer to the movie.

                  Sadly overall this movie seemed a last ditch attempt to cash in on a once valuable franchise and ended up a disappointing finale to a much loved movie series.
                  Overall I would give this movie a 5 out of ten rating.
                  Running time approximately 90 minutes.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 10: Superman Returns (2006)

                  Starring: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden
                  Plot:
                  Continuing from the events of the original two films, Superman (Brandon Routh) has mysteriously disappeared for several years, and the world has moved on and forgot about it, as with Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), Superman's love, who has since received a Pulitzer for an article titled 'Why the world doesn't need Superman', and also now married with a child.
                  Superman returns to the earth after years of trying to discover the remains of his home planet Krypton. On his return he is saddened to learn that everyone has moved on and forgot about him. However the worlds memory of him are soon restored when a plane come crashing towards the earth after a shuttle experiment goes drastically wrong and Superman is once again on hand to save the day.
                  And whilst the world seems overjoyed of his return there are some who are not, including his old arch rival Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey).
                  Lex Luthor, obsessed with Superman's powers, has found a way of replicating Krytponic land here on earth, and creates his own land mass which will destroy any land mass already in its path. Lex is very aware of Superman's weaknesses and uses his knowledge to his full advantage.
                  Superman is once again tested to his very limits to save the world again from Lex Luthors evil plans, and also try and rekindle the love Lois Lane once had for him.

                  My thoughts on this movie:
                  Finally, talented director Bryan Singer brings back and revives the Superman character back to our big screens in such a way that any Superman fan would be proud of.
                  Not only does Singer make the character as believable as he can do, but also Superman's powers have a realistic impact on anything he may use them on.
                  Also a big achievement of Singer's is the fact he stayed true to the original movies, not discarding the work that director Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve's Superman done in the first two movies, but rather carry it on and stay true to the character we all loved, even reliving the famous Superman theme tune music.
                  The special effects were amazing in this movie, and most costly to date in cinematic CGI history. You really will believe a man can fly!
                  There are scenes which are completely breathtaking, including the one which is shown on most adverts of the plane falling to earth and Superman trying to regain control of it. .
                  The storyline is far from weak, every angle of Superman's history has been carefully backtracked and tidied up to the present day within the movie.

                  The cast was also very well picked in my opinion. I never thought anybody else would be able to play Superman and do it justice like Christopher Reeve did, but the movie proved me wrong. Brandon Routh, not only does he very much resemble Reeve, especially as the Clark Kent persona, but also makes a very credible Superman. The characters mannerisms of Christopher Reeves Superman was very much revived in Brandon Routh Superman, which for me was a joy to see as I would imagine anyone else's who were fans of the original movie.
                  Kevin Spacey played a much darker Lex Luthor than that of Gene Hackmen's portrayal in the original movies, but worked so well with the movie over all. And as for a new Louis Lane, Kate Bosworth's performance was exceptional, giving us a more feisty Lois than previously characterised.
                  The Superman revamp to the big screen had been a long time coming, many directors had attached there selves to the project and abandoned it, as did many actors assumed to fill in the late Christopher Reeves boots.
                  They have even give Superman's costume a revamp making it look a lot more retro but still close to the same design as the comics and movies.

                  This movie had been a long time coming for me, and was always hoping it would deliver justice to the original movies with Christopher Reeve's and Richard Donner's Superman, and I was delighted to think it did. It exceeded my expectations and I really enjoyed the movie. The plot, the acting of each of the characters and the special effects were all fantastic for this movie. Bryan Singer's approach and directorial skills with this movie never faltered once and certainly pleased many Superman fans including myself.
                  Overall I would give this movie 9 out of 10.
                  Running time approximately 154 minutes.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 11:
                  Superman Returns- Bonus Material

                  The bonus material of Superman Returns is fantastic and very insightful.
                  It has a 7 part documentary of the making of Superman Returns, showing just how complicated the CGI graphics used in this movie actually were.
                  There are outtakes of Kevin Spacey fluffing up a line many times which are quite funny. The theatrical and teaser trailers are included, and also 11 different additional scenes that weren't in the movie cut all with commentary if you require them.
                  The most interesting part of this DVD for me was how they brought Jor El, Superman's farther, played by Marlon Brando back for this movie in the 'resurrecting Jor El featurette'.
                  It really is amazing what CGI can do and this particular featurette showed it off for me. Marlon Brando's estate had actually given permission for the now deceased actors footage to be shown in this new movie, and how they bring him to life with CGI is amazing and well welcomed from Superman movie goers.

                  Very interesting disk which I would also rate 9 out of 10
                  Running time approximately 172 minutes.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 12:
                  Look Up In The Sky - The Amazing Story Of Superman
                  This disk is a two hour documentary detailing the history of the Superman franchise, looking into all the cartoons, series and movies that have appeared on our screens, and all the characters that have played the man of steel, including Christopher Reeve, Dean Kane, and Brandon Routh.
                  There are also many interesting interviews by cast members that have had any involvement with the Superman screen appearances, including Margot Kidder who played Lois Lane in the Superman movies, Jackie Cooper (Perry White in the Superman movies), Bill Mumy who played Superboy in the TV series, and many other interviews by cast of the screen franchise.
                  All interviews are a very interesting insight to the history of Superman and why the cast wanted to be involved and how they got approached.

                  It is very enjoyable if you're a fan of the franchise and I would give it an overall rating of 8 out of 10.
                  Running time two hours.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 13:
                  You Will Believe - The Cinematic Saga of Superman and Featurettes
                  This disk is exclusive to the Ultimate edition box set and focuses on the Christopher Reeve Superman movie Saga.
                  I have covered parts of this DVD in my reviews already. But this disk was one of my main interests in exactly what went wrong with the series after the first original Superman that many people didn't know about.

                  This DVD explains the dispute that the original Superman movie director Richard Donner had with the Salkind producers, thus being fired and most of the work he had done for the sequel being abandoned.
                  It then follows on from the Donner/Lester cuts and the success of the first two movies, to the disappointment and heavy burnout of the third and fourth instalments.
                  It is here you learn that it were not only the producers and directors falling out, but many of the cast falling out also over the Lester and Donner dispute, one of the reasons Gene Hackmen decided not to take part in the third instalment was the sheer bad treatment previous director Donner had with the producers and wanted to stay loyal to Donner, although that is stated to be rumoured.
                  There is also a very touching tribute to Christopher Reeve which I found most appealing to this box set.
                  This disk, like many of the bonus material found within the box set is most interesting and enjoyable to watch.
                  Overall rating 8 out of 10
                  Running time approximately 152 minutes.

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Disk 14:
                  Bryan Singer's Video Journals of the Superman Returns movie

                  This is another bonus disk and focus's on the new Superman movie, and how Bryan Singer approached the new movie. Again it is insightful but felt a lot had already been covered in the previous bonus disks. But still some interesting thoughts that he does share with us.
                  My overall rating for this disk is 5 out of 10.


                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  PRICE

                  I brought the ultimate collection brand new on Amazon for £62.50 in January 2007. Since then I have seen it constantly drifting between prices of £58-£78 to buy the purchase brand new.
                  There are also damaged and second-hand purchases of this box set on Amazon starting from £45 (this amount is liable to change).
                  Some big chain DVD stores do also sell this box set like HMV and Virgin, but I have yet to see it fall in price under the £70 mark.


                  CONCLUSION
                  I am very happy with this purchase, and have no problem giving it a top rating.
                  The box set really is an ultimate edition to all fans, not only because it contains all theatrical movies that have ever been released, but the fact that the bonus material is so great.
                  The bonus material is definitely what makes this box set what it is and is just as interesting as the movies themselves. There is a whole history behind the Superman franchise I never knew about before viewing this. The extra footage you get along with each movie is superb, especially with the Richard Donner cut of Superman II which resembles a completely different movie than that of the theatrical release of Lester's cut.
                  The interviews, journals and the 'making of' diaries are all insightful features to the box set.
                  The Superman Ultimate Collection box set has hours of viewing pleasure and I would certainly recommend anyone interested in purchasing it.

                  It also might be useful for you to know that some sites display this as a 13 disc box set, yet it has 14 discs. I have noticed it displayed correctly on Amazon however.

                  Thanks for reading. Dempsey

                  *Please note: I am the former author of Dempsey_Review on Ciao*

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                  • The Covenant (DVD) / DVD / 50 Readings / 47 Ratings
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                    17.10.2007 12:45
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                    do not expect too much from this movie

                    The Covenant

                    When I first saw the Covenant advertised on one of my other DVD’s I knew it would be a movie I would enjoy, even if it did look like your typical teenager suspense/horror movie with the plot being reinvented from other movie ideas that I would no doubt find familiar.
                    Knowing that I enjoy such movies regardless of how familiar they are to others in their genre, it was an easy buy with the hope of the added bonus it would actually be completely different and blow me away.

                    ----------------------------------
                    I give you the plot outline:
                    ----------------------------------


                    Back in the 1600’s there were five families from Ipswich Massachusetts who possessed amazing powers.
                    They formed a covenant of Silence to protect their families from being outcasts amongst locals who wouldn’t understand them.
                    However, one of the families had always lusted for more power, and threatened their covenants law of secrecy, and was banished from Ipswich with their bloodline disappearing without a trace.

                    Now in our present time, four young male students of a top academy school, better known amongst the locals as ‘The Sons of Ipswich’, bound by their ancestors past, are the key to the covenants and their family’s survival.

                    As descendants of the original families who settled in Ipswich in the 1600’s, the four boys were born with special powers and bare the burden of the covenant that protects their families. The powers they each possess are seductive, and the more they use them, the more they want to keep using them. Upon their 18th birthday, they each ‘ascend’ and their powers will be fully matured and more seductive than ever. Every time they use their power, they age faster, so their powers come at a great price.

                    When a mysterious young male student arrives at the four boys school, it becomes apparent that he could be a descendent of the family that was banished years ago, and when the body of a dead student is discovered after a party in which the ‘Sons of Ipswich’ attended, secrets begin to unravel which threaten the covenant of silence that have protected them and their families for hundreds of years.

                    ---------------------------------------------
                    The Cast and my thoughts on them:
                    ---------------------------------------------

                    The casting of this movie itself targets a younger audience. Most of the main actors/actress’s are new comers to the big screen, most of which are stunning.

                    First of all you have the movies main characters, the ‘Sons of Ipswich’:

                    Calab Danvers acted by Steven Strait

                    Calabs character is everything you would imagine your typical American school academy super-boy to be.
                    Not only is he drop dead gorgeous, with a body that would give Stallone a run for his money, he is the schools star student, and the schools champion swimmer, very popular, very rich and the leader of the ‘Sons of Ipswich’.
                    Danvers is the oldest of the sons, which means he will be the first to ascend and have his powers fully matured. However, his character would rather be as normal as everyone else and has more respect for the power than that of his group.
                    He not only bares the burden of the Covenants leader, but also hides a family secret which weighs down heavy on him.

                    His character is definitely the star of the show, and if I was to have a favourite it would be his. Steven Strait does give the right depth to his character, and a quite likeable performance.


                    Pogue Parry acted by Taylor Kitsch

                    Pogue is ready for anything. He can be rude and rowdy and is most certainly the adrenaline junkie of the group. He loves nothing more than to joyride on his beloved motorcycle and spends time with his girlfriend.

                    His character for me left a lot to be desired, I didn’t think it was well acted, and rather than the hunky horny one of the group, that didn’t take no crap that I imagined the writer imagined his character to be portrayed, he came off more like Oliver asking ‘please sir can I have some more’.

                    Reid Garwin acted by Toby Hemingway

                    Reid is the son with attitude. He is devious, mischievous, your classic practical joker and likes to push all the wrong buttons. Although extremely loyal to his friends, he loves using his powers which is not looked upon very highly with the rest of the sons.

                    I liked this character. The film definitely picked up a few times when his presence was on screen. I also think Toby Hemingway did a fair job of portraying him.


                    Tyler Sims acted by Chase Crawford

                    Tyler is the youngest son of Ipswich. He is quiet, the peacemaker and probably the weakest out of the group and would much rather follow orders than give them.

                    There is not much I can say about his character as he seemed more of a spare part than one of the main cast. Unfortunately to sum his character up in one word as ‘unmemorable’.

                    That basically sums up the Sons of Ipswich; however, there are two more parts that lead the way in the movies main cast:

                    Sebastian Stain plays Chase Collins. The mysterious new boy to the elite Spencer School. Supposidley an Orphan, Chase comes across quite nice and full confidence. It doesn’t take long before he becomes friends with the four ‘Sons of Ipswich’, and a more sinister side of him is shown leading to his characters main involvement in the movie.

                    Although one of the stronger characters and better acted, the main let down with him was rather than his character actually being the suspense of the movie, it was predictable which let him down greatly.

                    And finally we have our main girl, Sarah Wenham played by the gorgeous Laura Ramsey. Her character is also new to the school, and worries about fitting in. Her nerves are soon settled when she realises she is a babe and pulls the hottest guy in school, that being Caleb Danvers. But her involvement with him is surely going to have impact on the covenant.
                    Her character for me was just the ‘typical love interest’ that didn’t bring much presence to the movie at all.

                    -----------------------------------
                    My thoughts On the Movie:
                    -----------------------------------

                    Well I was suspecting a horror/suspense movie, but unfortunately this film fails to deliver any horror, and the suspense was certainly lacking because most of the plot was predictable.
                    The story behind the movie is actually quite good, that being credited to writer J.S Cardone, however I think it was poorly delivered in the way it was shot by Renny Harlin with lousy editing and dodgy special effects.
                    The movie starts with an interesting back story, and a promising start (even if it did kind of remind me of The Lost Boys Movie), unfortunately the movie seemed to loose its direction after that and began to look more of a teenage supernatural drama.

                    I guess the main disappointment for me was that it did in fact have a good story line to it and could have been so much better rather than it ending up looking like ‘The Craft’ movie, just with its main characters being male rather than female.

                    As far as the acting goes, The Sons of Ipswich were obviously cast for their biceps and abs rather than their acting (although to be completely honest I was not complaining).

                    Now with them harsh words out the way, this movie shouldn’t be completely thrown to the dogs. There is a decent enough story to keep you entertained, if you ignore the sloppy special effects, the fight scenes are quite good, and the amount of eye candy in this movie for both you girls and boys might take your mind off some of the poor acting.
                    If nothing else, it’s certainly a worthwhile watch if nothing else is on to keep you entertained.


                    ----------------------------
                    DVD special features:
                    ----------------------------


                    The special features does not really treat viewers much either, you have your typical subtitles and language option with the trailer to both this movie and David Cronenbergs new thriller ‘Eastern Promises’.



                    The cheapest I have seen this DVD available is on the Amazon website at a respectable £5.97 (subject to change).

                    ------------------------------------------
                    My final comments on this movie:
                    ------------------------------------------

                    Don’t expect too much from this movie and you won’t be too disappointed. It is your typical teenage horror hype that you get these days, but makes an ok viewing if there is nothing else to watch. I think there are a lot of people out there that would enjoy this movie for what it is, and many I know have, unfortunately for me, I was a little disappointed.

                    Thanks for reading.
                    Dempsey

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                    • More +
                      16.10.2007 13:54
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                      Best of Savage Garden years

                      TRULY MADLY COMPLETELY: THE BEST OF SAVAGE GARDEN




                      A brief introduction to the band-
                      Savage Garden first began with Daniel Jones, one part of the duo with Darren Hayes. Daniel had a band called 'Red Edge', and was looking for a lead vocalist which he had advertised in Brisbane music publication 'time off'. Darren Hayes was their favourite choice, and immediately joined the group. However, after a while the band got tired of doing covers and left 'Red Edge' to form their own band, 'Savage Garden'.
                      The Australian band Savage Garden first got noticed in the UK with their hit single Truly Madly Deeply, although the song 'I want you' was their first release. They first formed in 1993 and since then they have been ever growing popular. The band mainly fit in the rock and pop genre, however some songs are very easy listening which may contradict this.
                      Their band name 'savage Garden' was inspired by an Ann Rice novel with the same title, and the duo of Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones released two albums that went platinum and gold worldwide.
                      After many tours, and their success of their second album 'Affirmation' the band split, as they both wanted to do other things, Daniel Jones wanting to focus more on the writing side of it, and Darren Hayes perused a solo career.
                      Darren Hayes has become a very well known and much loved artist around the globe, and somewhat under-rated here in the UK. His first debut solo album 'Spin' did very well in the US, and so has his new second album 'Tension and the Spark'.

                      The greatest hits Album
                      This album, titled 'Truly Madly Completely' is the collection of Savage Gardens' greatest hits, and also Darren Hayes new single 'So Beautiful'.

                      Their vocal talents are truly groundbreaking, with very emotive lyrics that will truly captivate many audiences. They both have a profound sense of melody which undoubtedly works in every song. Especially the voice of Darren Hayes in which every note has a brilliant turn of phrase with a sort of angelic voice.
                      Their work together was amazing and vast one of my favourites. Below you will find the list of the songs on this album, and some comments on my favourite songs from them.

                      TRACK 1: I WANT YOU
                      TRACK 2: I KNEW I LOVED YOU BEFORE I MET YOU

                      TRACK 3: TO THE MOON AND BACK
                      TRACK 4: HOLD ME

                      TRACK 5: SANTA MONICA
                      TRACK 6: CRASH AND BURN

                      TRACK 7: BREAK ME SHAKE ME
                      TRACK 8: TRULY MADLEY DEEPLY

                      TRACK 9: THE ANIMAL SONG
                      TRACK 10: AFFRIMATION

                      TRACK 11: SO BEUTIFAL ( NEW SONG BY DARREN HAYES)
                      TRACK 12: CALIFORNIA (ALSO NEW SONG BY DARREN HAYES)

                      TRACK 13: I DON'T CARE
                      TRACK 14: I'LL BET HE WAS CALL

                      TRACK 15: LOVE CAN MOVE YOU
                      TRACK 16: FIRE INSIDE THE MAN

                      TRACK 17: THIS SIDE OF ME

                      The tracks above are 12 digitally re-mastered Savage Garden classics (1-12), and also rare B-sides that you may not of heard before ( tracks 13 - 17)
                      Also two tracks, 11 and 12, are the new releases from Darren Hayes himself.
                      On CD2, (limited version of this collection), are the DVD videos of the songs, I want you, To the Moon and Back, Truly Madly Deeply, Break me Shake me, I knew I loved you before I met you, Crash and Burn, Hold Me, and also parallel lives documentary which focuses on Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones history and Savage Garden.

                      Comments on my favourite Savage Garden Tracks from this album-
                      Truly Madly Deeply has to be one of Savage Gardens best and one of my favourites, I hear it playing at a lot of weddings actually, but certainly an easy listening song.
                      Crash and Burn is my all time Savage Garden Favourite, I think the lyrics are brilliant, and I love the guitar and drums in the background, fantastic song!
                      I knew I loved you before I met you has again got some truly emotive lyrics behind it, making it a lovely song and a great edition to this collection.


                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------

                      The DVD bonus material on this CD was brilliant, you get to see some of the songs in which they played live on their Australian tour, watching it made me wish I was there.
                      Also the videos to their music is a very good bonus to have.

                      I Brought the album from Woolworth's for £8.99, but can be brought from Amazon and other websites.
                      The bands official website is www.savagegarden.com, with updated news, and online memorabilia

                      Overall I think this is a worthwhile purchase for anyone as the songs are very eclectic and would appeal to most people, a must purchase amongst you Darren Hayes and Savage Garden fans.
                      The band may have split, but their songs will live forever.

                      Thanks for reading, Dempsey x

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                      • bebo.com / Internet Site / 61 Readings / 57 Ratings
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                        06.10.2007 12:53
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                        A social networking site for anyone who has spare time

                        What is Bebo?………

                        Social networking sites have been the internet buzz for a while now.
                        You will no doubt have heard of the popular Myspace network, and others like 'Wayne' and Ringo where users get to make new friends, get in touch with old friends and generally hang out and talk about whatever. Bebo is the next generation of social networking sites.

                        I believe Bebo.com to be one of the best sites for social networking, even better than Myspace.com.
                        Once registered members can stay in touch with their college and school friends, connect with friends from other sites such as MSN, share photos that you have uploaded onto the site, and discover new friends and new interests.
                        Bebo is only available for personal, non-commercial use only, and you have to be 13 and over to use the service.
                        Bebo did start as just an online address book, or so I have read. But it has constantly evolved to what it is now, more of a social community.


                        How do I register?

                        As mentioned above, you have to be 13 and over to register. Registration is free and easy, you are required to give your e-mail address, choose a username and password and fill out additional details if you so wish. Once you have confirmed your e-mail address your free to start using your own Bebo space.


                        What do I do once registered?

                        In short- anything you want!
                        First thing I did was personalise my bebo a little to suit me, like change my page's appearance, upload a homepage photo, and upload some photo albums of me and my friends. Also I wrote a little bit about myself to give others an idea of what I'm like.
                        Obviously you do not have to do any of this if you do not wish to, you can keep your bebo as personal or as discreet as you like.

                        The next thing to do really is to add your friends to your bebo.
                        Either adding them by sending e-mails to your existing friends which might not have bebo, adding people you know who already have registered with bebo, or adding completely new friends on bebo to whom you may just like the look or sound of.
                        You can even enter which School or college you went too and find others who went to the same place, therefore the possibility of re-uniting yourself with an old school/college friend.


                        What other features can you use on Bebo?

                        When writing to other contacts on Bebo, you can either write them a personal message that only they can see, or write them a comment which the rest of Bebo will be able to see as well, but if that does not take your fancy you can always draw them a picture on the whiteboard facility.

                        Also to personalise your Bebo homepage even more the 'Bebo TV' feature is available, where a flash-box will be put onto your page with what ever video you choose in it, I.e., a pop video or a movie trailer. And if you are really clever you can make up your own video flash-box.

                        Also you can publish your own quizzes on the site such as 'How well do you know me?', a quiz where your friends will have multiple choice answers at getting your quiz right.
                        It's quick and easy to make up your own quiz, all you have to do is think of some questions for your quiz, then think of some possible answers along with the actual right answer and Bebo does the rest for you.

                        There is also a blog facility on Bebo for you to write just about anything you want in, as if you were using it like a diary or journal.

                        You may also set up your own polls on Bebo to see what percentage of people agree or disagree to whatever your poll subject was.

                        Bebo also allow you to show your commitment to what bands you really like, by becoming a 'groupie' with whatever bands you select, I.e., McFly or Greenday.
                        You can write to your bands and show your support for them, and occasionally you may get a reply.

                        Also Bebo allows you to sort the order of how your friends are displayed. You may choose your top 16 friends to be displayed on your bebo homepage if you wish, if you do not, your friends will just appear in a random sequence.
                        The same goes for your photo albums and the photos you have in them. You may sort your photos in order how you want them to appear, and the same can be done for how you want your actual albums to appear.

                        If you are clever enough, and consider yourself a bit of a web artist, Bebo lets you design and use your own homepage skins. If your designs are good, you can become a featured skin artist, and your skins will be published for other members to use.

                        You can also use Skype along with your bebo to connect with calls to and from your computer. Skype and Bebo joined forces a while ago and now if you want to use your Skype on the Bebo network you can by just simply adding your skype username to your Bebo.

                        Bebo also constantly evolves, adding new features every day, such as widgets, friend storys and other features to make your page more interesting.

                        So what do I think about Bebo?

                        I have been a member of Bebo for over a year now, and I must say I really like the site.
                        I do find it very addictive (maybe a little too addictive than one should allow a site to become).
                        It easy very easy to navigate around the site, and the use of features are self explanatory and again, easy to use.

                        I definitely think it's one of the best Social networking sites I have come across, and much better than that of it's rival - Myspace.
                        I found that when using Myspace.com, my computer caught lots of virus's, the site itself run extremely slow and not all that easy to use. Bebo however, is faster, safer and much easier to use in comparison.

                        I think the layout and design of the website is great. You can basically choose what you want your own page to look like. But as for the layouts, all tabs and option boxes are self explanatory and easy to use and navigate. Like writing comments, drawing a picture, uploading a photo etc. All your main options are listed on command tabs at the top of your homepage, and other options are easy to find and use.

                        In 2006, Bebo won the Peoples Choice Award for the best Social Networking website at the 'Webby Awards'. Out of the 5 websites nominated, Bebo gained 57% of the votes.
                        This year Bebo became the first social networking site to integrate with Windows live Messanger and Windows live contacts, and in March 2007, was also
                        named 'Hottest Global Technology Prospect' at the
                        UK Technology Innovation & Growth Awards 2007.

                        I have witnessed Bebo constantly adapt and improve even in the short time I have been there. They are always open to suggestions from there members to improve the site, and you at least always get feedback from Bebo weather your suggestion is good or not so good.

                        From what I can gather, Bebo went live in January 2005, so it is still pretty new.

                        The only disadvantage to that is, most of its members are very young as the younger generation are normally the first to hear about these types of social networking sites, the majority of its members being under the age of 25, and more likely to be in the age range of 16-21 yrs.
                        HOWEVER more and more members are joining everyday, and thankfully, older or should I say..more mature people are taking an interest which is definately what this site needs.

                        Also you may of heard Bebo on the news lately recieving bad press because content put on the site by some users has had a bad effect concerning their own job applications and future prospects. I think their is ONE SIMPLE ANSWER to this, what you don't want people to know or see, do not put it on a public socail site!
                        You need to respect not only other peoples privacy, but your OWN. More and more employers now look on the internet to see if there is any reference to you on there, and Social Networking sites are normally always a good place to start, weather it be Bebo, Myspace or others like it, so it is up to the sole user to use discretion and be safe and responsible.

                        With all that in mind, I recommend this site to anyone who has a bit of time on their hands, and would like a bit of social fun and engagement on the net. I think Bebo has a lot to offer, you can discuss anything you want too and I personally think the site is brilliant.

                        The only information you need now is the website address, which is simple - www.Bebo.com

                        Thanks for reading. Dempsey

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                        • More +
                          14.11.2006 12:40
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                          Funniest women on our screens today

                          In my opinion, Catherine Tate is one of the funniest women on our screens today.
                          Not only is she diverse enough to play many different characters, all of which extremely funny, she also writes her own material.

                          So who is she?

                          Catherine Tate graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama, and the Royal National Theatre. She then spent a year with the Royal Shakespeare Company before being noticed as a stand-up comic.
                          She appeared in the sketch show 'Barking' on channel 4, and then later appearing with Peter Kay and Harry Hill in their own shows. The big turn around for Catherine was when she became a part of Lee Mack's Perrier-nominated New Brits show at Edinburgh in 2000. After going down a storm she returned to the festival with her own one-woman show the next year.
                          Her show was hugely popular and now we have it for our viewing pleasure airing on the BBC, The Catherine Tate Show.

                          I recently brought the first series of her self titled show on DVD which has 6 half hour long episodes, I was so addicted and humorously entertained after the first episode I watched the next 5 episodes in continuance. Needless to say, I stayed amused throughout the feature length.

                          The episodes within the Catherine Tate show is set out like a series of brief comic sketches with more than several recurring characters, much like the Little Britain series. Every character is very different and all of them very amusing.

                          -----------------------
                          The Characters
                          -----------------------

                          Lauren the Teenager-

                          Her portrayal of this character made the phrase 'Am I bothered?' very much her own. She is a comprehensive school student with a bad attitude and no respect for authority figures such as train inspectors and teachers, needless to see her friends. If she doesn't agree with, or does not like what you say, she will rapidly fire you with repeated one liners like 'are you disrespecting me?', 'are you disrespecting my family'?, 'are you calling my dad a wino?', until the point her fellow characters crack under the pressure.
                          Lauren is probably one of the most popular characters Tate plays, especially amongst the younger audience. A very annoying, common as muck character who is constantly in your face but extremely funny.
                          Her character shares a lot of resemblance to the famous Vikki Pollard from the Little Britain Series.


                          The foul-mouthed Nan, Miss Taylor-

                          One of my favourite characters from series one of the show. This sketch always has a young, handsome well-mannered grandson come to visit his rude, opinionated, manipulative foul-mouthed Grandmother.
                          She is always overjoyed when her grandson firsts steps into her home to visit her, but give it a few minutes and she will begin to rant on about her neighbours, home help workers, or her family. The words that flow from the 'old dears' mouth are far from pleasant, but oh so funny.


                          The Office Workers-

                          These are sketches involving Catherine Tate playing the 'Just Guess Lady'.
                          She sits next to her co-worker, who is always rather keen to get on with her work, however Tate frequently disturbs her by asking the co worker to take a wild guess at her lifestyle, weight, distances and more. Even though the co workers is more than reluctant to go along with her game, Tate will not shut up until she has guessed the answer. However the guess is hardly ever the right one which results in Tate's character getting insulted and offensive.


                          Paul and Sam 'The overly Happy Couple'

                          Although these are my least favourite characters and sketch, the rest of my family find them hilarious. Paul and Sam, an Essex couple, find every day situations surprisingly hilarious, and amuse each other with their tales of their day. The simplest things that many would not find funny, they do, and continue to laugh at each other in a very fake tone.


                          Bernie the Irish Nurse-

                          In these sketches Tate plays an Irish nurse who is incompetent at any task given. She always seems like she is going to be sacked any second by her superior who is having to continuously give her written warnings. She also gets rather randy and seems to have sex on the mind all the time.



                          The over-aged majorette, Bunty Carmichael-

                          This time her character has been a majorette since the age of six years old. Now 31 years old the owner of the majorette club want her to move on, as most majorettes leave in their late teen years. Bunty however will not take the hint, and the owner drops her from the team. Obsessed with the children's majorette club, she persists to get back in the team, resulting in the owner being summoned to a local pub to pursued Bunty to move on with her life and forget about the majorettes, not any easy task!



                          Elaine Figgis, the "Death Row Wife"-

                          Tate plays Elaine Figgis in these sketches, a women who is about to set off on a journey to Texas to marry a serial killer to whom she has never met in person. Set out like a documentary style sketch, Elaine tells the interviewer the reason why she loves the cannibal murderer.


                          Margaret, the frightened women-

                          These are very simple funny sketches of Tate playing a middle-aged women called Margaret who is frightened of her own shadow. She screams at almost anything, including toast which has just pinged from the toaster, or when a phone goes off. It is one of the simpler sketches, but works very well and still very humorous.


                          The Detective-

                          Tate plays a detective with bizarre theories on murders. Much like a Mulder and Scully setting from X-Files, the detective is joined buy her assistant Whittikar, whose never sure where her theories are going.


                          The Help Desk Worker-

                          A women who works on the help desk of a large shopping centre, who is useless at giving help to customers. She most of the time misunderstands them and is never of any help at all.

                          New Parents Karen and Ben-

                          Again, one of my favourite sketches involving two seemingly relaxed parents who will do anything to keep there new born baby sleeping, including not leaving the car for a birthday dinner party in case doors slam. They mostly argue with each other until their baby wakes, and they both come together to sing the baby asleep again.
                          This sketch is very funny, especially when the parents argue.


                          The Airhead-

                          A brief sketch which only occurs a few times involving an American that talks really fast and ends it on a sour note.

                          The Upper-Class Women-

                          Unfortunately this is another sketch I do not find extremely funny. Tate plays a posh English women, who is always accompanied by her two children, who act just like her. She goes into panic at the simplest of situations, like running out of something. Comical for some, but not for me.


                          As the episodes go on you will also encounter some other brief characters like the 'backhander women' who advises people to lash out with a swift backhand to the face, also the 'Last Hit Women' who seems overly obsessed with the school game 'tag' and must have the last hit. The Drunk Estate agent who calls a potential buyer for the house she is trying to sell a homosexual, and Jill the Tragic Clown who has suffered a terrible accident and it shows in her clown training.


                          ------------------------------------------------
                          My Opinion Of The Series and DVD
                          ------------------------------------------------

                          Most of the sketches are hilarious, with only a small few in which I did not find very entertaining, although the rest of my family did, which brings to the point that I think the show offers a laugh for everyone in one way or another.
                          Catherine Tate is unquestionably a comic genius and a breath of fresh air to the comedy world.
                          I think the series really challenges some of the better known comedy sketch shows like Little Britain, and although a fan of Little Britain too, I find Catherine Tate's sketches funnier.
                          The whole series is well written, and well performed. The sketches don't always 'go' anywhere in terms of consistent plot and there is no big set-up for each bit, however, some sketches are broken up to give you a sense of continuity.
                          The program does have strong language at times, at it is certificated as 15 here in the UK. The feature length will run on for 189 minutes approx.
                          You might also be interested to know that this series has one several awards including Best Comedy for the BANFF Rockie Awards 2004, and also Catherine Tate received best newcomer from the British Comedy Awards 2004.
                          I payed £9.99 at my local video shop, but you may find it online for much cheaper on sites like Amazon.

                          The DVD only has limited extras but nevertheless they are good ones. The first extra feature is the 2005 Comic Relief Appearance, which was voted the funniest moment of 2005 by Heat magazine. Catherine Tate, dressed as her mouthy character Lauren, was participating as part of a panel that could ask the boy band known as McFly a series of questions. In Laurens rude and disrespectful way she makes it clear she was not 'Mc-Bothered' about McFly! Completely hilarious!

                          The second extra you get is a behind the scenes interview with Catherine Tate on how her characters came about. This is most interesting, especially as you come to realise that she has in fact based her characters on people she knows. You will also see the make-up artists get her ready for each character role. The transformation from her face to that of her character Miss Taylor's (Nan's) face is a joy to view.



                          To sum up, this is a very worthwhile purchase for anyone wanting a good laugh, and a must for Catherine Tate fans. Very enjoyable viewing, so much so, I can't wait to now purchase series 2.

                          Thanks for reading, Dempsey

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                          • More +
                            25.10.2006 21:28
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                            A great holiday destination to which I really enjoyed

                            A Grand Time In Gran Canaria


                            After a rather over-worked summer, and a few of my own personal problems I needed a good long break where I could forget the alarm clock and completely relax. My normal preferred holiday destination is Magaluf/Majorca, but I felt like going somewhere different, and this time not just for a lively holiday, but a more scenic holiday.
                            All of my friends had been to Gran Canaria before and raved about it for ages, and when they suggested for me to come along with them this year, for a two week break, it was too good an offer to refuse.
                            We booked our self-catering holiday with Thomas Cook as a holiday package - flights, holiday and transfers. The total cost of our two week holiday £380 each.

                            So in the words of Peter Kay (comedian)…..Packed it! Booked it and f*^*ed off!


                            Now my holiday started on the 2nd of October, and it being October I expected it to be quite warm, but no where near as warm as it actually was. From the first moment I stepped off the plane from England to my arrival in Gran Canaria, the weathers hot breeze whispered to me a recent summers history of Gran Canaria all of its own.
                            Throughout my two week holiday the weather in the day time did not dip below 32c all holiday, and on the night time it was only a slightly cooler temperature of 26c. The breeze we did get was like being under a hairdryer that the Sahara desert happened to bless us with while we were there.


                            I stayed at the Barcelona Apartments in the Playa Des Ingles resort of Maspalomas. We went self-catering as we intended to eat out every night.
                            The first thing I noticed as I gazed around the resort was just how quiet it was, this being the very hot hour of 3pm when I first arrived at our apartments. Being typically English, my first order of my holiday was to make a cup of tea, sit down on my top floor balcony and gaze at the pool and watch all the residents playing games and having fun. Finally, relaxation was upon me, and there was not another place in the world I would rather be at that moment, so blissful in-fact, that moment should have been able to be stored in a gift box, one which I could open again just so I can discover how relaxing it really was once more.
                            Now, without going into too much of a review on the apartments themselves, I stayed in a two bedroom apartment, both bedrooms had a lot of space, they were double bedrooms. The whole complex was very clean, no cockroaches were to be seen. In the complex we had three large glorious swimming pools, with a snack bar which served very nice fast food by the one pool. The staff were all very friendly and helpful to any queries we might have had, they even took the trouble to post my postcards for me. I even made good friends with some of the ladies who happened to be cleaners there, fantastic bunch of girls who would take any time out of their day to make my stay more comfortable. I was very pleased with our apartments, and would certainly consider staying there again.


                            Of course, my holiday was all about relaxing, but I did also want to visit the whole Island, and have as much fun as possible too. So we planned our days as best we could, We visited many resorts on the Island which I will tell you about, we also spent many days on the beaches and some of the water parks. Good food was never in short supply In any of the resorts I visited, so keep reading for my recommendations. And if you are like me, and spend your sunny days relaxing, your no doubt geared up for some sort of nightlife, weather it be a quiet drink, watching a show, or being a party animal at some club, there is always plenty to do in Gran Canaria when the sun goes down.


                            The resort I stayed in - Playa Des Ingles, Maspalomas:-

                            Although I initially went to Gran Canaria for relaxation, Playa Des Ingles happens to be known as one of the liveliest towns of the island, although the days seem very quiet (maybe the time of year I went?). However the beaches surrounding Playa Des Ingles, Playa de las Burras, Playa del Ingles and Playa de Maspalomas were very busy. All three beaches pose beautiful golden sands and clear blue waters. The beaches were very clean and attractive. And if you fancy a long energetic walk across the dunes that Playa Del Ingles beach has, this is also quite wonderful to see. I should also point out that Playa Del Ingles beach and dunes are considered very gay friendly, and part of it happens to be a nudist beach, if this should in anyway make you feel un-comfortable (I was fine with it), you may be wise to avoid this part.

                            -The Yumbo Centre-
                            For shopping, the Yumbo Centre, situated in the centre of Playa De Ingles, has many clothing, retail, and gift outlets for you to browse at your leisure, all of which are very competitively priced, and much lower in cost than what you expect to see here in the UK. For example, I love Versace, and as many of you well know, they are not a cheap brand, I brought a top from ‘Macys’, a popular fashion shop in the Yumbo Centre, for 180 euros, the same top costs £300 pound in the UK. And yes it is genuine, I do work in the fashion world!
                            Also in the Yumbo Centre, there are many restaurants, all of which will try and get you to dine with them. They have many restaurants to cater for all food types, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and English, plus many more. All restaurants compete heavily with regards to cost, and not only can you enjoy the great foods they have, it will not hurt your wallet/purse too much.
                            I personally enjoyed my Chinese meals at Restaurante Chino Slow Boat II. I spent at least three evenings dining at this restaurant, I found the staff, especially Ming (the owner) a pleasure to meet. Most of the time I chose ‘menu 2’, this comprised of a chicken and sweet corn soup, 2 large spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken balls with egg fried rice, and not only was it very filling and gorgeous, it only cost 5.50 euros! I know a bargain when I see one!
                            The Yumbo Centre is a very popular shopping centre in the day, and a good place to eat your meals, but also the Yumbo centre holds most of Playa Del Ingles clubbing nightlife on the evening, and plus various shows. This said, the Yumbo centre is very gay friendly, and in fact, a very popular choice for gay people to spend their evenings. Most people would find this uncomfortable, I did not. In fact, some of my most enjoyable nights were spent there, and I am proud to say I have made a few gay friends to whom I miss quite a lot. There are many drag shows, all of which are hilarious, and many families go and watch them on a regular basis. Ricky’s Bar, put on a very funny drag show, and entertain people night after night, The show is so popular in-fact, that its is often quite hard to get a seat unless you go early. A very family friendly pub, and great entertainment, fully recommend Ricky‘s Bar too all!

                            Playa Del Ingles is also a very active place if you enjoy sports. Weather it be water-skiing, horse riding, badminton, tennis, go-carting, football, other water sports, they are all in near reach of you. However Playa Del Ingles is just one of the towns in the resort of Maspalomas.
                            Maspalomas has the best well known dunes and beaches (29 beaches altogether) which have been awarded the blue flag from the European Union.
                            Near Maspalomas, there is an oasis with dense vegetation, and has a small lagoon. It is quieter than Playa del Ingles and more exclusive.
                            There is also the water park where I visited for the day -Aquasur, with numerous water slides and activities, which cost 20 euros for the whole day, and was great fun.
                            And there you have it, Playa Del Ingles in a nut shell, a genuinely nice place to stay, but also very much worth visiting the neighbouring resorts to discover their beauty also.

                            I was really interested in exploring the Island and seeing the other resorts, such as Las Palmas, Puerto Rico, and the mountains that occupy Gran Canaria and their highest mountain point in Pozo De Les Nieves.
                            To do this I had to hire a car. Canaria Autos were recommended to me, to which I hired a jeep which cost me 60 euros a day, and after haggling a little, I was able to hire it for three days at the cost of 140 euros, not too bad I thought. I found the company very professional, and the jeep to be very trustworthy and more importantly roadworthy.
                            Now that I had wheels, my first visit, the beautiful town of Las Palmas.

                            -Las Palmas-

                            Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria, and is Spain’s seventh largest ‘city’. It is a very popular area to shop, especially for shoes and Spanish clothing. It also has a beautiful historic centre, La Vegueta, which poses a lot of historic buildings including the home once occupied by Christopher Columbus in which he stayed when in Gran Canaria, a museum which is a cathedral dating from the 15th century and the Canary Museum which houses a collection of remains from the Guanche culture from pre-Columbian times. Also Las Palmas has a casino if you fancy an interesting change, called
                            Casino de Las Palmas.
                            The beach promenade of Las Palmas is full of many different types of restaurants, to which again compete heavily to their opposition.
                            Las Palmas made an interesting day out, and I was able to buy many gifts there, and enjoy some good food. Certainly a recommended venture.

                            After spending most of the morning and a few hours of the afternoon in Las Palmas, I still felt the need to explore, and the mountains were calling me like Tarzan to the jungle. So back to the jeep, and a steady drive up to the mountains for me.


                            -The Mountain Journey-

                            This was the highlight of my holiday, my jeep ride into the mountains took me a total of 4 hours, to which I saw breathtaking views and fantastic landscapes. My Mission- to reach the highest point in the mountains at Pozo De Las Nieves .
                            However, what I would advise is, if you are hiring a car, either be a very confident and safe driver on the Spanish roads or get a bus tour. The roads up the mountains a very narrow, and to be honest, sometimes a little scary, I had to remember to beep my horn when I was going around a corner to let on coming traffic aware of my presence.
                            There are many stop points along the mountains for you to take various pictures or just glimpse at various towns that seem miles beneath you. When I say breathtaking views, you really need to be standing up there to fully appreciate what I mean. I loved every moment. The lakes in the mountains, which also have stop points are also a welcoming visit. Maps of the mountains and certain routes you may want to take across them are available at a very cheap price at local tourist information centres, or even your hotel might have them.
                            It took me three and a half hours to get too Pozo’s highest peek, but it was well worth it. So many tourists were taking the walk from the car stop point up to the peek, you certainly do not feel alone, and once I was up there, I was in no rush to get down, I felt like shouting ‘I’m the king of the world’ out loud, just like Leonardo DiCaprio did in the Titanic movie (ok, I might have done this).
                            The mountains, known as the ‘Cumbre’, which translates in English to the word ‘summit’, poses lots of different landscapes, the more north you go, the land area has luscious green valleys and vegetations, on the south and west sides they can seem more desert like. The largest of the gorges can be found on the south and west sides of the mountains in places such as barrancos of Agaete, Aldea, Mogan and Fataga where the views can be considered as particularly impressive.
                            A journey up the mountains is something I would highly recommend if you are wanting to take a scenic day out from your holiday if you visit Gran Canaria. Well worth the effort!


                            -Puerto Rico-

                            The next day, I decided to visit Puerto Rico, an old fishing town.
                            This place is also very popular amongst the tourists. There are many shops, bars and nightclubs. There are too beaches nearby, one which is quiet and perfect for sunbathing, the other is mainly for people enjoying all kinds of water sports including diving and water-skiing. One thing I will point out about Puerto Rico is that it is very pedestrian zed , so much so, it is impossible to drive around sometimes, or get anywhere fast anyway. I would not advise this area for young children or the elderly or the less-able, its is very hilly, and sometimes very steep, even a young man like me found it to be a very tiring walk. But if you can mange it, the buildings and homes are lovely to look at, and the shops are definitely well worth a browse. Also I found many Tapas bars in this area, and the Spanish food was adorable.
                            Also, the yacht harbour they have there is lovely to visit if you would like to see all the boats on show. I often wondered by looking at the various boats and the way their occupants live if I could be a man of the sea myself, to be honest, I am better off still perfecting my driving before doing anything like that, but it is a nice thought nonetheless.
                            I very much enjoyed my little exploration of the Island, the itself has so much to offer all kinds of people, and the many resorts are all so much different in their own way, and no doubt if I had kept my jeep longer I would have liked to visit many more of the towns.


                            - Overall Opinion -

                            It goes without saying just how much I enjoyed my two week holiday in Gran Canaria. Sun Sea and sand was in bags of supply, there was not one thing I could moan about it………ok I saw ONE cockroach which happened to crawl across my foot and I screamed like a little girl all the way down the hill of Puerto Rico, but in these sorts of countries, you have to expect the odd one or two.

                            There was always plenty to do on the island, and amenities for all. I will certainly be visiting Gran Canaria again. I did not find anything too expensive, apart from some drinks in various nightclubs, but I guess that’s to be expected sometimes.
                            It was a perfect place to relax and have fun with my friends, and have the honour of making new friends.

                            In fact, me being a single guy, I even met a certain special someone, and although I will not get into too much detail without their knowledge, lets just say, Toney Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, I happened to leave mine in Gran Canaria.


                            That was my Grand time in Gran Canaria. A holiday destination I would definitely recommend.
                            Thanks for reading, Dempsey x

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                            • Silent Hill (DVD) / DVD / 77 Readings / 64 Ratings
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                              20.09.2006 17:23
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                              The best adaptation I have seen from a video game too movie I have seen

                              The Silence before the Screams


                              I was rather dubious about spending £3.50 to rent Silent Hill from my local Choices video store. Video games turned into movies do not really entertain me, the recently released Doom movie starring the Rock I thought was dire, not to mention a few other video games turned into movies. So I can’t say I was interested in viewing this at all.
                              However, so many friends were recommending it, and after reading some reviews on the film, which did not make it sound bad, I thought I would give it a fair shot.


                              ----------------
                              Plot Outline
                              ----------------

                              Sharon, a young girl, is suffering terrible nightmares of a place called Silent Hill which is haunting her, which in turn is causing her to sleepwalk and have seizures. After much concern over her ever growing condition, her adopted mother, Rose Da Silva, takes her to the place which is continuously haunting her daughters dreams, much against her husbands wishes.
                              Their journey to Silent Hill becomes increasingly difficult and a Police Officer ends up pursuing Rose, until they all suffer a blackout. Rose awakes from this ‘blackout’ to find her daughter has gone and she’s in an abandoned old town, blanketed by a eerie glowing mist. She is now in Silent Hill.

                              With the help of Cybil, the cop who was pursuing her, Rose desperately searches for her daughter through the hellish ghost town, following a silhouette which she’s sure is Sharon.
                              As she finds out the history of Silent Hill, and why the town has a grip on her daughters dreams, she encounters a variety of unworldly creatures, and the human inhabitants that were left behind to fight the darkness.
                              Will they all leave Silent Hill alive?


                              --------------------------------------
                              My Thoughts On The Movie
                              --------------------------------------

                              There are two main words that describe this movie for me - ‘Pleasantly Surprised’.
                              Having been far from what I expected to be another dull video game movie, it provided me with over 125 minutes of quite compulsive viewing.
                              I found watching it alone on a late Monday evening was not a good idea, I don’t easily jump at a horror movie but I was like Tigger from Winnie The Pooh that night.
                              To put it more sensibly, I found it quite horrifying, even for me, but even though, I could not keep my eyes off it for fear of missing an important part of the movie rather than fear of the movie itself.
                              The plot itself I thought was good, and I was really interested into the mystery of why the young girl was being haunted by this place so much.
                              The setting itself looks very eerie, which adds to the lasting effect of the whole movie. Never being able to see much in front of the main character it focuses on because of the rather disturbing mist, creatures and other nasties can surprise you at anytime.
                              The creatures themselves can range from zombie looking types to strange sorts of insects, all quite gruesome in their own right, especially when some unfortunate soul gets killed by one….awful I tell you!
                              At no point in this movie did I feel bored or confused. However, I can imagine that if I lost my concentration for any length of time during the movie I may have got lost with the story as a whole, so I would advise you watch the movie when you have time in which you will not be disturbed.

                              Silent Hill is directed by Christophe Gans (and yes, that is Christophe and not Christopher), not a director I had heard of until this movie. I was pleased with what he delivered here, there was always mystery in the way he followed certain characters through the movie, and too the fact that he never let you see to much until it reached out from the darkness to scare the living s*7t out of you. I would like to see him direct more horror movies.
                              Christophe experiments with lots of different graphical visualisations within this movie, with special effects sometimes going from a grainy scratchy visualisation to more of an ‘in your face’ image visualisation.

                              Now its probably worth mentioning that I have played the game before watching the movie, and if I am honest, it does assist with the plot of the storyline. However, I do not feel that the viewer would be at too much of a disadvantage with the plot if they had never played or heard of the video game before.


                              -------------------------------------
                              My Thoughts On The Cast
                              -------------------------------------

                              Main Cast List:

                              Radha Mitchell - Rose Da Silva
                              Sean Bean- Christopher Da Silva
                              Laurie Holden - Cybil Bennett
                              Jodelle Ferland- Sharon Da Silva

                              Casting was relatively well picked for this movie, a few new faces to which I had not personally seen before which always in my view makes a horror more entertaining as their reactions are not what you always expect from actors/actresses pulling the same expressions as they normally do.

                              Radha Mitchell, (Finding Neverland, Man On Fire) definitely provided the best performance as Rose Da Silva. Very believable as a concerned mother looking after the well-being of her adopted daughter. Her emotions through the movie are well acted and provided the best presence on screen.

                              Sean Bean however provided the least entertainment, and not as believable as most other roles he normally plays. His accents are extremely dodgy to say the least, sometimes sounding rather Irish for an American speaking role, and his presence on screen didn’t demand the attention as his peers on set.

                              We also get a very good performance by a young Jodelle Ferland playing the troubled girl Sharon. At the tender age of 12, she delivers a good screen presence and I genuinely felt concerned as a viewer for her well being.

                              Finally Laurie Holden (Fantastic Four) delivered a good back up role as Cybil the Police women, although she looked more like a striper-gram cop than your everyday police women, needless to say her presence got attention on screen rather than demanded.


                              ------------------------------
                              DVD Special features:
                              ------------------------------

                              * Note* This DVD was a rental version and may differ from the DVD released to buy, although it shouldn’t in many cases.

                              Apart from the 50 minute documentary ‘The Making Of’ Silent Hill, the special features that compliment this DVD is rather anorexic, boasting a Picture gallery and theatrical trailer.

                              The making of Silent Hill documentary is interesting, and gives you more of an insight into the plot and the directors views on his adaptation from video game to movie. Worth viewing.


                              --------------------------
                              Other DVD Details
                              --------------------------

                              Genre: Horror/Thriller/Mystery/Suspense/Gore
                              Rating: 15
                              Running time of Main feature: 127 mins approx
                              Official Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/silenthill

                              ---------------------------
                              My Overall Opinion
                              ---------------------------

                              I would recommend renting before buying this movie, especially if you have never played or heard of the video game. As I said, I rented this movie from Choices for £3.50, the average price to buy this movie at the present time is £12.99.

                              In my view this is the best video game too movie adaptation I have ever seen. After being very dubious of viewing it in the first place I was very impressed with it.
                              I found the movie very compulsive viewing to the extent that the movie actually lingered with me long after I viewed it.
                              It is a good horror, which contains disturbing and gory scenes which will no doubt make you jump from time to time, so if you’re a bit week at the knees, beware!
                              As far the directing and acting performances go, on the whole, they are really not bad.

                              I do not think viewers are at a disadvantage not knowing the video game, the movie incorporates its own style and if you have time where you feel you won’t be interrupted and can stick closely with the storyline I think any viewer that likes this sort of genre will like this movie.

                              Overall, good movie and I would give it 7 out of ten.

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                              • Godfather (Xbox) / Xbox Game / 59 Readings / 54 Ratings
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                                18.09.2006 19:53
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                                Great game, addictive, but very difficult in places

                                Finally…..Crime PLAYS!


                                -------------------------------
                                Godfather - The Game
                                -------------------------------

                                The Godfather game is one of the latest creations from EA (Electronic Arts). The game invites you to be part of the mafia without risking a life sentence. And what better crime organisation to work for than the Corleone family?

                                The game allows you to become an unknown Italian-American, and a new member to the Corleone family. You now work for the Corleone family, and intimidation is the game. You are free to explore the street of 1940's New York, completing several tasks in which your godfather has set for you. You will also expect to get information out of certain enemies, but how you do this is up to you. As I mentioned before it's very much an intimidation game, and your control system surrounds that method.

                                This is a little break down of how your control system works:

                                1. Fists
                                Using only the analogue stick, the player can control exactly how hard they want to thump the enemy.

                                2. Guns
                                The pressure-point targeting system allows the player to specifically target areas on their enemy, from head shots to knee-cap blasts.

                                3. Intimidation.
                                You don't have to kill everyone! Why not just scare them into submission? By simply raising your fist, or even the method of dangling them off rooftops.

                                Whatever your method of getting the job done, or intimidating them enough to get the required information out of your enemy there are consequences! As you know, the gangster world is an eye for an eye, and that's much the rule this game goes by. You will be tested by your methods, and the harder you are on your enemy, the harder other enemy's will come for you, so therefore it is encouraged that you think hard before going overkill.

                                As well as performing certain tasks for the family in the game, you will no doubt rob a bank, or shake some businesses down, even steel a few cars and do a little Grand Theft Auto mafia style.

                                There is lots of areas to explore, Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey are all areas needed to be taken over, and if you do that within the story there are always extra missions you can complete.

                                The main aim of the game of course is to become a respected member of the family, and finally become the Don of New York!

                                ----------------------------
                                My views on the game
                                ----------------------------

                                This is a very mature game, and I personally loved it.

                                It shares many similarities to the film, one of which is the game fits chronologically into the timeline of the first movie, with many of the in-game events duplicating the actual scenes of the movie. The characters in the game are the cast that appeared in the first film also, them being Marlon Brando, James Caan and Robert Duvall (more about the characters later).
                                There is shooting, there's beating up and there's intimidation, just as there is in the movie.

                                The characters-

                                The animation on the characters is brilliant. They have approached many of the films cast, who have all agreed for their own voices to be used in the game, all of which excluding Al Pacino, who didn't want to take part in the gaming project. But nevertheless, the Don is back, played by Marlon Brando, who agreed on his part in the game not long before he sadly passed away.
                                From picture to pixels, they have done the characters with brilliant likeness, so alike in fact, that every line on Brando's sagging face and every shrug of his animated shoulders have been fantastically implanted into the game.
                                James Caan is also back as Santino 'Sonny' Carleone, and although you can't stop the plot of what actually happened in the movie, I.e., Sonny's and the Don's murder, you will be able to seek there revenge.
                                Other characters include Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, Lenny Montana as Luca Brasi, Richard S. Castellano as Pete Clemenza, all again with brilliant likeness to how they were in the movie.
                                And although Pacino does not play the lead character, the unknown new member to the Carleone family, played by you, the player has a likeness to his resemblance, voice and his role in the movie.

                                I think EA have kept the games resemblance as close to the movie as it could do, but obviously giving you tasks to do which keeps it to the same plot of the movie without players being able to change the plot of the movie altogether.

                                The bits I enjoy the most are the extortion parts where you can intimidate shop owners for money which in return gain your protection. Also if your intimidation tactics work, this will open up new avenues for you to explore, that being in the back of businesses back rooms, or taking over other illegal rackets.
                                However if your intimidation tactic does not work, it can greatly back fire, loosing the respect you may have so far gained, which gives the overall game its edge, as it is all about the loyalty, respect and the money you pony up for the family that gets you through the different areas of the game. You certainly need to think of your tactics towards your enemy's in this game!


                                ---------------------------
                                Anything I didn't like?
                                ---------------------------

                                I wouldn't say there was much that I didn't like, however the controls you need to use when in combat can be a little frustrating. Weather you use your fist, or a weapon of some sort like a bat or a gun you must tap on the X-BOX D-Pad to go through your weapon list, upon your choice you must then press up on the pad to draw that weapon out. This is especially not easy when you have a lot of people coming for you, or if you have a lot of people shooting at you and you need a quick response, I find myself getting quite far, then being killed because I am struggling finding the right weapon to use! Frustrating it maybe, but in time I am sure I will get used to it.


                                -------------------
                                My Conclusion
                                -------------------

                                Although I am reviewing this game for the X-BOX, it is available on PC, PSP and normal X-BOX 360.
                                I think the game is very playable and would give any mature person hours of fun. It is tactical, and you will need to think of your methods, but that is a good thing in my view as it allows you to bond with the game more, and gives the game more of its edge than just being a shooting gallery.
                                The graphics are very good (see for yourself, screenshots below), and the likeliness of the characters are amazing.
                                The game can be very hard at times, seeming like the odds are against the player, but then again, if it were too easy it would not be fun. One key thing to remember is the more violent you are, the more violent the world is going to be towards you.
                                The extortion elements of the game are very good and well thought out, and for me the most enjoyable part of the game.

                                I would recommend this to anyone who likes to think and plan with their games. It isn't an easy play, but a fun and enjoyable one if you stick with it. It will get quite addictive, as it is a very playable game.

                                I brought it from choices for £39.00, but I think you can expect to pay £25-30.00 now as it was released back in March 2006, which is not bad as I predict you would be glued to the game for about a Month.

                                To draw my review to a close, this game is like a crime family reunion and EA games are now giving you the chance to be a part of it!

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                                • Nokia N90 / Mobile Phone / 57 Readings / 50 Ratings
                                  More +
                                  16.09.2006 13:20
                                  Very helpful
                                  (Rating)
                                  13 Comments

                                  Advantages

                                  Disadvantages

                                  Great phone if you can live without the vibrate mode

                                  Nokia N90


                                  After having multiple problems with my new Moterola VR RAZR, I decided to go back to Nokia mobiles as I have always found them more reliable.

                                  I wanted a phone with all the latest features and furthermore, one that would last me for a while.
                                  I had been looking through many Nokia phones, and all though this one was not the cheapest, it was highly recommended time after time.

                                  This being the Nokia N90

                                  Not only does this mobile look stylish it offers all the latest features that many other mobiles do.


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                                  Nokia N90- The Look
                                  --------------------------------

                                  This phone is silver and blue, and has a camera that you can rotate. It is slim looking in the photos but not one of the lightest mobiles around weighing at 173 g.
                                  This is a flip phone style mobile. Once you lift up the front part of the phone, which is the camera that also rotates, the keypad is then viewable. It has your normal 1-9 number keys with a circular button at the top to access your menus, with 2 extra buttons either side of the circular button to help you navigate your phone options.
                                  In my personal opinion I think it looks the business, and one of the better looking mobiles in the Nokia N-Series. The antenna is internal so you have not got any annoying aerials sticking out.
                                  I have included pictures below.
                                  All in all, don't worry you won't be ashamed of your mobile!

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                                  Nokia N-90- The Features
                                  --------------------------------------

                                  The features on this phone are state of the art. Especially the camera itself. You can view all the specifications (which I am not going to bore you with) on the Nokia website - www.nokia.co.uk.

                                  The Camera and Screen-

                                  You have two screens to this phone. One on the front of the mobile, and once you lift the front part of the phone, on the back you also have another screen, therefore giving you two ergonomic modes for instant photo and video capture.
                                  The camera lens itself uses Carl Zeiss optics, which I have said in my reviews before are one of the best makes for optical shooting.
                                  It operates in different modes, the clamshell handset can be used in shape of a regular phone, in a video recording mode - held much like a camcorder - and in a still shot mode with the lens barrel rotating and the external display acting as the viewfinder. At 65K colours 128 x 128 pixels it's quite a bit smaller than the internal display, but certainly is not a major problem with the design and still works very well.
                                  Nokia also included more advanced imaging functionality such as autofocus and a macro mode in the N90 than that of any other in the N-series . The built-in flash can be set to either on/off, automatic or red eye reduction modes, with users also able to adjust brightness and white balance. Pictures can be taken in resolutions up to 1600 x 1200 pixels, however the N90 is also able to record video in CIF format at 352 x 288 pixels, the quality of which is impressive - and even more so when viewed on the high resolution screen of the N90. It is a 2 mega pixel camera, roughly 113mm x 51mm x 24mm in size. When twisting the screen sideways photography mode is switched on which will allow you to create videos and stills. You may take stills with the flip closed, however, in this mode videos can't be taken.
                                  It features an integrated flash, making your night shots, or dark gloomy conditions much better quality. The camera also twists round 180 degrees to take your own video or snapshot, after all, we do live in a vein world.
                                  You can also edit your images with the software on your phone, allowing you to either have more fun with the photo by including funny borders or something, or changing the contrast of your photo, weather it be to make it lighter or darker.
                                  The shutter and camera menu joystick are located towards the edge of the N90.
                                  Did I forget to mention the camera had 20x zoom?

                                  As I have already stated, the phone has two screens. The main screen uses 262000 colours (TFT) 352 x 416 px, and the external screen 65000 colours (TFT) 128 x 128 px. They both are pleasing and not too strenuous to the eye. You can adjust brightness to the screens if so needed anyway.

                                  Function Modes-

                                  The N90 can operate in four different modes.

                                  Closed Mode:- This is where the flip cover rests on the keypad, allowing you to take stills and viewing them by your external screen. The camera barrel at the top of the phone also turns 180 degrees, making it look like a small standard video camera in this mode. Look at picture 2, to see what the phone looks like in this mode.

                                  Camera Mode:- When the camera barrel is swivelled it then changes from closed mode to camera mode.

                                  Imaging mode:- Ok, this probably being the most important mode for imaging purposes. This is where your actual flip part of the phone swivels. To get to the imaging mode you flip down the bottom part of the device (with the keypad) 90 degrees until the hinge part locks into place. You then flip the top part up towards you 90 degrees to a vertical position. The N90 is now easily held in your hand and the screen display serves as the camera viewfinder. If you look at the outside display you will see an image of a camera. The camera capture button and joystick are now readily accessible with your right thumb and rotating the camera barrel will help you frame your shot. You will also find the display goes into landscape mode and the camera application launches automatically. You can only use the camera or gallery functions in the imaging mode, but this does allow you to watch video in landscape mode.

                                  Fold Open mode:- The most common mode on all flip phones, the fold open mode allows you access your phone like you would normally do on any other flip phone by opening it vertically 90 degrees. The display will appear in portrait mode and the keypad will be fully accessible. At the bottom of the display you can see the light sensor that is used to adjust brightness on the display and keypad. You will use this mode the most when you are just making normal calls or going through your menus to access different features such as games.


                                  Moving on from the function modes, the N90 also features 2-way video call capability. Now this looks a great feature, but unfortunately and obviously you need someone else who has this feature on their phone, and as yet my list of contacts do not have that sort of feature, so I would advise that if this is a particular interest of this phone for you, to look at other reviews on the web from users that have tired this function. However, from what I have already read, this is a great feature, and in terms of image speed and sound quality, reviews have said it is very good, but I would still advise you to take a read yourself.

                                  The phone also allows you to do voice commands. Instead of searching through my phone book, I can speak a name into the mobile and the phone will search for a match. Now what makes this different to other voice command mobiles is that you do not have to pre-record your commands, it searches for the way it is spelt, which is very clever in theory, but in practice it has let me down a few times, finding matches that were not of what I have said. However that just could be down to the dodgy accent I have, and to be honest it isn't a main feature for me as it is just as quick to get the name out of your phone book by pressing a few buttons. You do have speed dial and automatic redial just like most phones, so phoning someone rather quickly is never much of a hassle.


                                  -----------------------
                                  N90- Usability
                                  -----------------------

                                  The mobile is quite easy to use in any mode. The menus are clear and self explanatory. I didn't actually find much use for the handbook as it was that easy. The menus are easy to navigate, especially sending txts or searching for a contact in your phonebook. The screen displays all options or information clearly.
                                  Finding things like your photo stills, videos or other multimedia is also a piece of cake, by pressing options and going to your gallery.
                                  With the use of your camera and the different modes, I would advise a read through the handbook, but like most mobiles, once you have played with it for a few hours it soon becomes clear how to use, so experiment the different modes and find which one suits you the most, which is exactly what I did.
                                  The battery life on this mobile is more than good, I use my N90 all the time, and charge it once every three days, which is not bad at all if you are continuously on the phone.

                                  Memory - I was quite impressed to know that this phone has a large memory for images and videos. You get 31MB of internal storage plus a reduced size Multimedia Card (MMC) to keep you shooting - enough for an entire feature-length movie.

                                  Print - Printing your images is possible with this mobile by selecting images directly from the Gallery with just a few pushes of a button. With the Nokia XpressPrint printing solution, users can select from a range of mobile printing options, including PictBridge, where the handset is connected directly to a compatible photo printer with a USB cable; wireless printing over Bluetooth wireless technology; or by extracting the Reduced Size Dual Voltage Multimedia Card (RS-MMC) from the side of the phone and inserting it into a compatible printer.




                                  ----------------------------
                                  N90- Connectivity
                                  ----------------------------

                                  The phone will come with a USB cable for your computer, which allows you to download multimedia both on and off your phone too and from your computer. This works very well, and I have imported a few photo stills off my phone onto my computer with ease.
                                  You also have bluetooth, in which you can send and receive all sorts of multimedia from and too other mobiles, and with your PC.
                                  Improved Web compatibility with support for HTML 4.01, including support for elements such as image maps, background images, and frames which is very good for those who use the internet on their mobiles.


                                  ----------------------------------------
                                  N90- Price and Accessories
                                  ----------------------------------------

                                  When I brought this phone it was only available on the T-Mobile network, but now I have seen it available on vodafone and 02. Some contracts may offer this phone for free.
                                  As far as I am aware it is still not yet available on pay as you go, but that might be just because it is new, as most phones do eventually go on to the pay as you go tariff.

                                  You can expect to pay around £200 for this phone now, and it is advised to have a strong browse around for deals. Like many mobiles however, once the next new one in the series comes out, this will no doubt drop dramatically in price.

                                  The accessories which came with my phone were a car charger and a hands free headset.

                                  --------------------------------------------------
                                  N90- Anything that I might of missed?
                                  --------------------------------------------------

                                  Although I do not play many games on any mobiles that I have owned, these do have them, furthermore, with the Java Script feature this phone possesses, you can download games to your phone without taking up hardly any room, and delete them again whenever you want.

                                  The ring tones are polyphonic, and although they have a good selection already integrated onto the phone, you can download and share many more, without it taking up hardly any memory at all.




                                  -----------------------------------
                                  N90- My Overall Opinion
                                  -----------------------------------

                                  I am mostly very pleased with the Nokia N90. It's major plus is the photography and video features of the phone, which have far exceeded my expectations, and are better than any other phone I have used.
                                  The phone was easy to navigate and use, with it all being mostly self explanatory, and not having to dig into the handbook.
                                  Nokia didn't go for a light phone, and looks are deceiving with this one. It is heavy for your normal day mobiles that we are used too of late, but that certainly did not put me off this one.
                                  The only disadvantages that I found was that this had no Vibrate mode, so when you select the phone onto silent mode you will not know when anybody's ringing or you have a txt unless you are looking at it. This for me was a bit of a let down as most phones have Vibrate modes, and I was surprised to learn this hadn't.

                                  However, apart from that little niggle, I really am pleased with it, although heavy, it don't take up loads of room in my pocket, I am pleased with all the features, and after having it for about three weeks, I have had no problems with it.

                                  I would recommend this mobile, and rate it 8 out of 10.

                                  For more information on this mobile or for a full list of specifications you can always visit the Nokia website www.nokia.co.uk.
                                  This phone is available in most UK mobile leading stores, including Phones 4u and Link.

                                  Thanks for reading, Dempsey

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