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      11.10.2010 14:58
      Very helpful



      fab place in the sun

      - Ooh ahh Malia-

      After a long hard working year, i managed to actually get a holiday! We didin't have a lot of money to spend so we surfed the net for a fairly cheap, sun holiday in September. Knowing all the kids would be back at school, going at this time gave us more opitions for our money. We had both booked off the same week 10th - 18th September, so two weeks before this, we aimed to book something. We came across the Thomas Cook website which was very helpful. Usually i find Thomas Cook quite expensive, but we found many amazing deals in this time period.

      I usually like a holiday with sun, sea and a good nightlife experience, so when i came across Malia in Crete it sounded the right place to go. A work collegue of mine had gone their a few weeks before and said it was amazing, so when i found that it would only cost us 300 pounds for the both of us to go there i was amazed.

      The next day instead of just booking it online we went to our local travel agents to make sure the deal was not false, as it sounded too good to be true. She looked up the holiday and said the price was right so we booked it then and there. This was only ten days before our flight date so i was so excited. We were told that Malia, was one of the new clubbing places to go which suited me just fine, as i love dancing and good nightlife. A few weeks ago before when my friend went there i had never heard of Malia, but it sounded great and i have been to Corfu, which is also a Greek island so knew it would be great.

      THE FACTS - Holiday deal, Crete Airport and the flight over

      For the price we paid, 280 pounds, our holiday included the flights and a weeks self catering at the resort of Yiannos Manos appartments. The flights were night time flights which made the price cheaper, but we are quite flexible so didn't mind. We set off from Gatwick on the 10th September to enjoy a weeks peace and relaxation.
      The resort of Malia is situated on the North East of the island of Crete, so you fly into Heraklion, which is the capital. This was only about half an hour from Malia which was good as i hate coach travelling. The airport is very small, on the way back we had to stay there for a few hours to wait for our flight home. The seating area itself is large with a separate smoking section, but there aren't enough seats when you have a few flights leaving near the same time, so many people including us sat on the floor. The food and drinks are also very pricey, but as we had some euros to use up we didn't mind.

      Anyway our outgoing flight was the worst. We flew from Gatwick South Terminal into Heraklion, and even though i have no complaints about Gatwaick, the flight out was bad. We flew with Monarch airways who i haven't flown with before but my boyfriend had. The plane was the oldest one i had seen, there was no room onboard making my tall boyfriend angry as he couldn't fit his legs behind the seat infront. There was no inlfight movie and we weren't even sat next to each other. This annoyed me as i don't fly to great so was nervous that i may feel ill and be sat next to strangers. I had no sleep during the whole flight. As i was sat on an aisle seat everytime i drifted off, the trolley cart would come past or the girl next to me wanted to get up, so when we landed 3 hours and 40 mins later, i wasn't in the best of moods.

      - Yiannos Manos Appartments-

      After finally getting to our resort two hours after we landed i was knackered. We were the last stop so it took ages to get there. By then it was light so i had no chance of getting sleep. The room
      Pictures of Malia, Crete
      Yiannos Manos appartments ..we had wasn't the biggest, but it was ok for two of us and what we paid for. It was pretty basic, like a studio flat,but very small. The rooms were well equipped with a shower, kitchen including fridge and cooker and a nice sized balcony. For the price we paid, we were really happy.The beds and kicthen were in one room but it was fine. We had mostly everything we needed except a kettle, which did annoy me a bit.
      Being the middle of September the season was nearing it's end for tourists so, i didn't expect everything to be at it's peak. The pool bar stayed open until the late, it did say it was suppose to be open until 2am, but on several occasions we were sat outside at 1am and it just shut up without telling us. It was pretty quiet on the resort on our last few nights so i can see why they didn't open all night. A added advantage to Yiannos Mannos was that it was in a good location. It was a ten minute walk from the centre so it wasn't too loud when we eventually got in, and there were many beaches to go to around it.

      What attracted me to this resort was that it had its own facilities rather than just being a block of appartments. On the site we had the pool bar, reception, two pools and internet access. It had it's own security at night so no locals could go anywhere near our rooms. Even though this was good, we also found it a negative as the security man wasn't all there and we had to make a complaint about him. One night when we got in around 5am, we approached him and he asked our room numbers. After we gave them, he said to keep the noise down which we did. We decided to go up to our friends room as she has a huge balcony, where we played cards for a while. After following us up, this man just walked in the room and said, 'I told you to keep it down'. I thought this was bad as he didn't even knock he jsut walked in. We thenfound out that he told the reception that our friend invited strangers into the resort. What an idiot!
      They provide good meals on the site which was open until 9pm. They were really nie and were alright prices and sizes. One negative i would say is that they only did main meals and breakfast. They did not sell crisps or snacks and had hardly any ice creams. They had a rule there that we were only allowed to eat what we brought from the bar around the pool, so we couldn't buy snacks or drinks from the shop and eat it at the pool. It was rather annoying.

      - Malia Town -
      At the height of the season, Malia in mid August is said to be very busy! so i was glad that we went in September. On the first night, we met two women who were on holiday by themselves so we got talking and the four of us decided to take a trip into the town for some drinks. The town was beyond what i thought it would be like. It was pretty busy, with many english staff and tourits. The temperature was about 30 degrees even though it had rained for two hours before we went out. The Strip (main town) was a 10 minute walk from our resort which was ok, but we rented a quad bike for a few days. There are many companies that do this and even though the reps tell you not to, we did. It cost around 10 euros a day and you have to fill the tank, which only came to 9 euors. They are handy to have as you can ride anywhere you want on any roads. I would advise if you get one to get helmets, for your own protection and someone on our resort got fined 400 euros for not wearing one ona main road!

      - The Strip -
      The main part of Malia town is known as 'The Strip' as most of the bars and clubs ran along one main road. There were bar after bar after club which gave you too much to choose from. Not that you get a choice most nights as when it reaches about 11pm, each place as its english group at the door waiting to pounce on you. The businesses are very clever. They have young girls in short skirts and young guys who approch the oppisite sex and lure them in their bars with great deals. Even though some times i found this annoying, we managed to bargain some good deals. This happened more often when we met three guys and they joined our group making it a group of 6 or 7 when we went out. They seem to approach bigger groups as they can get more money.

      The clubs and bars don't really get busy until about midnight, before this, it is very quiet and there aren't really any staff hassling you in. The evenings are warm, which i loved as i could go out in a dress or skirt and be warm enough. We usually went out about 9 if we wanted to get food somewhere else than the pool bar. It is quiet and pleasant at this time, so older couples and families tended to go out more then.
      The Strip is aimed at the young. Even the food places. Along your way of bars and clubs, they have a McDonalds open nearly all night, lots of bars that serve food and Dominoes. In daytime from experience, the Red Lion Pub was nice for good English food. They did sunday cravery and plenty of steaks, grills, pasta and pizza meals.

      Going in September was a perfect time to go in my it was busy at the start, busy enough to be a party, but not too busy and by the last wto nights it was pretty quiet, which was nice. Being out of season with less people, I found the staff friendly and a lot more comfortable, engaging you in more conversation.
      - Beaches-

      I am not really a beach person and won't spend all my time on a beach, but there were some lovely beaches. The nearest beach was about a 5-10 minute walk and it was known to be the quieter beach out of the lot. It looked very peaceful and we spent a hour or two there on one of the days. Everything there was relaxed, there was no music or busy sunbathers, or rows of sun beds just natural sea, sand and people chilling. The other beaches were on the end of the strip and were busy with bars and music. Sunbeds were on the dear side usually costing 5 euros a bed. Depending on what mood you are in, i thought it was nice to have such a mixture of beaches so close to you.

      - Saftey -

      The Gypsies
      As with a lot of countries, in Malia, there is a small problem with gypsies. Along the strip at night time there are lots of women and children trying to sell roses, hats and flashing necklaces. They aim for the drunk tourists and appear on the street trying to sell their products but you have to be very careful, and we were warned about them when we arrived in our rooms on the first night. They mostly consist of cute kids but they do short change you and they also try and take money from your pockets or steal your handbags. Several times the guys in our group had women at their pockets but being warned we stayed clear. I did buy a hat of one but i had my handbag tightly gripped under my arms and my boyfriend was stood next to me. Jamie my boyfriend also did not carry anything in his pockets except his fags. I kept his money in my bag so if they did try to get in his pockets nothing would be there. Be careful of them! The children are not always so polite as well. My friend dropped a 5 euro note and when she went to get it, one of them grabbed it. She grabbed his arm and got it back, but the child replied- 'suck my D***' to her. Charming!! He must have been about ten years old.

      - Best Places on The Strip -
      Candy Club- we went here on one of our last nights there. This was the night that by 4am it was only me and Jamie left and we didn't want to go back, so decided to go to a club to have a dance. It is known to be the most popular of the clubs and has many famour dj's play there. The club was really good offering 2 for 1 on drinks which was not bad. The music was amazing and i loved it. Even though we only spent about an hour or so there until it shut, we had a brilliant time. It was heaving, everyone decended on the club which is no suprise.

      Apollo Club- we went here one night in our group. They Played a mixture of RnB and dance, it's a good club to go to. There are lots of podiums with poles on them, which me and my friend found entertaining. The lads in our group including my boyfriend didn't seem to mind our dancing on the poles either lol The club is free to get in and mid season you will find they have guest acts like Twice as Nice and DJ Luck and MC Neat playing.
      Other places- Street bar. This was a good bar to chill at the start of the evening. They have a pool table and the staff are very friendly. We went there many times and made good conversations with the english girls behind the bar. The music was good and the deals was properly the best we had from anywhere else. For 5 euros we had a pint of any drink, i had sex on the beach cocktail but you could have anything you wanted. You also got 4 shots of your choice and 2 fishbowls between the group. I couldn't believe how much you got for that price, which would get you one drink back here on a night out!

      - SHOPS -
      The Strip also had many great shops in the daytime open as late as 9pm. There were many items to keep shoppers busy and there was even a shop selling fake designer bags, purses and perfumes. There are plenty of gifts to buy and one shop i loved was one where they sold natural foods, herbs and spices. You can test proucts you want to buy including local nuts.

      One major down side of Malia is that the mini supermarkets are so expensive! The food is really bad so would stick to bars and your local pool bar. Foods such as butter, jam, pastas and snacks are really bad so i wouldn't reccomend buying stuff there. I was very angry that on the last night when trying to waste time we walked to the top of the Strip and found a Spar shop. This huge supermarket was so cheap and sold drinks and snacks for little prices. My friend brought a huge bag of cheetoes for 50 cents. I was so annoyed we could have brought loads here on the first day and spent less money. So i will remember this if i go back!
      The food was quite reasonably priced though and In most places the prices for a main meal is usually about 8 euros.


      As with most holidays, there are many day trips to go on. There were so many great places to visit that it was hard to choose from, but they are quite expensive. We went on two, which cost us 70 euros each.

      Watercity - Watercity was our first trip and is the islands biggest water park. It was an hours coach trip away, but the price covered the trip there and back, and also the entry fee. The park was pretty good with lots to do and see. I am not a huge fan of water parks, but a few lads from our resort went so when i had enough my boyfriend went off with them for a bit and i just sunbathed. There was a nice mixture of slides to go on and i especially enjoyed the ones with the dingies. Rating- 7/10.

      Chrissi Island- This is a deserted island to the south of Crete. The journey there was quite long consisting of an hours coach ride and a 40 minute boat trip, but it was worth it. The island was beautiful. White sand and brilliant blue, clear seas. A place for beach lovers and well worth a visit! Rating- 10/10.

      - THOUGHTS -

      Going out of season was a good idea and it is properly too busy in August. Most people there were the average age of 20-30, and i was suprised that there were many staying in our resort who came there by themselves. The atmosphere was friendly and the staff were funny and polite. It is a young resort, but there were several older people there as well, who just relaxed. The holiday was brilliant and it had everything i needed. I rate Malia- 9/10.

      website - www.malia.co.uk. For all the information you need.

      Thanks for reading Balckmagicstar4 - Oct 2010 xx


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      • More +
        04.08.2010 20:01
        Very helpful



        Mel Gibson is back

        - Some secrets take us to the edge -

        This week i had a few days off from work so wanted to catch up on the latest fims out on DVD. When visiting our local Blockbuster we came along 'Edge of Darkness' on Blu-ray. It had Mel Gibsons name on it which attracted me to read the back as i am a huge fan of his. All the characters he has played are really easy to connect with and he is so multi talented he can play many different kinds of characters. I also haven't seen him in a good film for a few years, so wanted to see if he still had his usual talents. The plot sounded quite intruiging, so we sat down last night and put it on. I hadn't seen this film advertised for some reason so i did not know anything about it before i watched it other than it was a thriller film which had Mel Gibson as a Boston Cop. I knew he was going to be his best hero type character he plays. The movie looked well worth watching and included a few other well known actors which i thought made me want to watch it more.

        - INFO -

        Director- Martin Campbell

        Martin is a well liked director from New Zealand and knows how to entertain his target audiences well. He has directed many succesful films inlcuding the Globe winning movie- 'The Mask of Zorro'. Campbell was known as one of the UK's best directors in the 1980's and has still now got a amazing reputation in the Uk and America. He has won many awards including- a BAFTA TV Award for the series of 'Edge of Darkness' 1985 and Best Film for 'Criminal Law' 1988.

        Writer- William Monahan (screenplay) and Andrew Bovell
        Release Date-29 January 2010 (UK)
        Runtime- 117 Mins
        Distribution Company- Warner Bros Pictures

        - PLOT -
        Mel Gibson plays 'Thomas Craven', a Boston Cop who is well respected and is very talented. He has spent years working on the streets of Boston and the whole

        Pictures of Edge Of Darkness (Blu-ray)
        Edge Of Darkness (Blu-ray) ..squad honors him. He is a lonely man, but works a lot to keep himself entertained. He has little contact with his only child 'Emma' who is now 24 years old and quite independent.
        When his only child is gunned down in his arms on the front porch, it appears that he was the target for the bullets, but Craven investigates and gets himself involved in a shadowy world of corporate collusion with the government. Will he find answers to his daughter's murder and what is now happening to himself?

        - CHARACTERS -

        Mel Gibson- Thomas Craven
        As mentioned before Thomas Craven is a highly respected Boston Cop, who
        has served many years with the police force. He lives on his own, but is dedicated to his job. He seems to have had a good life, but misses his child who doesn't live with him. Even though she is grown up, Craven always thinks about the past. He seems to regret past choices, but is dealing with his life just fine. I think this character although showing he is tough and strong minded, has a weakness which is his family and emotions. He shows courage, ambition and motivation in his story.

        Mel Gibson is one of my favourite actors and i have a lot of respect for him. He has played some of the most famous and amazing characters. His acting in this is at the highest level and you can connect with him throughout the film. He plays this role very well. Some of his other films include- 'Signs' 2002, 'What women want' 2000 and 'Braveheart' 1995. He started acting in the late seventies and is still got a superb career. I was quite suprised though how old he is starting to look.

        Ray Winstone- Jedburgh

        Jedburgh is a goverment agent who meets with Craven after his daughter's death. He is a mysterious character who lurks in the dark and appears when Craven is alone. Even though he is good at his job, the other agents don't seem to trust him.
        He works alone and seems to be very intelligent and switched on. He shows that he will do what is right and not what others think he should do.

        Ray Winstone is a brilliant english actor, who has played many great character in his time. He has won many Bafta's and is a credit to the British filming industry. He has also starred in- 'Fools gold' 2008, 'The Departed' 2006 and 'King Arthur' 2004.

        Danny Huston ... Jack Bennett
        Jack Bennett is a director for a company called Northmoor, where Craven's daughter worked. It is a researching facility which looks at radiation and dealing with science for the goverment. You can tell he is very rich and only cares about his success. He owns a huge estate and has body guards around him. Some think that there is more to him than just a director of a company. Bennett is sneaky, dark and sinister. He does not like Craven too much and seems to have little interest in helping him.

        Danny Huston is a known actor who has had a unique career. He was born in Italy and has come from a family of actors. His his grandfather Walter Huston starred in a film called Edge of Darkness (1943). Many of his other films include- 'Robin Hood' 2010, 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' 2009 and 'Children of Men' 2006. He is very easy to remember as he has great talents and has one of those faces you cannot forget. He plays really good evil characters.

        Bojana Novakovic - Emma Craven
        Shawn Roberts - David Burnham
        David Aaron Baker - Millroy
        Jay O. Sanders - Bill Whitehouse

        - ANALYSIS -


        The film is based on the popular British show of the same title 'Edge of Darkness' which appeared on TV twenty years ago.
        The story has a simple base plot but is still complex and interesting. The main storyline was just a honest hardworking father who wants answers for his daughter being killed. The film has many ideas and values of a loving family man. Even though Craven does not have a close relationship with his daughter they show that they would still do anything for each other. He thinks about her all the time and has many flashbacks which keep the filming intruiging and unique. The story includes
        what a father would go through to find out the truth and what each character
        brings to the film in order to attract a wider range of audience. The pacing is pretty quick in some places, so it keeps you interested. Sometimes the plot may be a little convoluted, but it makes sense if you pay attention to the conversations.

        I think 'Edge of Darkness' has everything you need for a good interesting film. My favourite category of film is thriller so this was a good choice. The film has great action scenes, family views, comedy and horror. I felt every emotional watching it, sad when something bad happens and sitting forward with wide eyes when the film offered interesting twists and suprising discoveries. The movie had many sub plots to keep it interesting and i think it was a great success. I liked the way we follow Craven in his mission and ony find out things when he does. That way we feel more connected to him. The ending was pretty good and i don't think it would have been better to do it any other way.

        The movie is definitely heavy on violence so i would say the age certificate is about right. Even though there isn't really a lot of swearing or sexual scenes it still requires a mature audience as Craven's actions are probably not ones you would want children to see. I don't usually jump at films, but there was a few times in this i did due to the violence and shock factors.


        The main characters did well in their roles and the acting by Mel Gibson was the best feature. He was his typical hero self, but i was still happy with his character. Mel Gibson's performance was very good, he is a likable character and i found myself feeling bad for him especially at the start.
        Ray Winstone gives a great performance. His characters interaction with Craven provides much of the films intrigue.

        Many of the supporting actors were good and everyone was believable in the story. The bad guys were typical bad guys and showed that they did not care about anyone but what they are doing.

        FILMING and SCENES

        The Cinematography was really good and the film had high energy and tempo.
        The scenes were well structured and the effects were well put together. The action scenes were dramatic, firey and fast, which is why they caught me off guard a few times. The shots were perfect and there were many different ones to keep the fast pace of the action. The cuts were quick and there were panning shots to follow what the characters were doing. The music also came together well with the cuts, to give the experience of watching the violence cruel, but exciting.

        - BLU-RAY DVD-

        DVD Release Date- 11 May, 2010

        Special Features-

        DELETED SCENES- Four deleted scenes. Consits of several scenes shot were seen briefly in the trailer.

        MEL'S BACK - Mel Gibson returns to film.

        MAKING A GHOST CHARACTER REAL- A discussion of one element of the film.

        SCORING THE EDGE OF DARKNESS- Howard Shore talks about the soundtrack.

        REVISITING THE EDGE OF DARKNESS MINI SERIES- Martin Campbell discussed his original mini-series of the Edge of Darkness.

        ADAPTING THE EDGE OF DARKNESS MINI SERIES- How the mini series was developed into the new film.

        THOMAS CRAVEN'S WAR OF ATTRITION - Discussing Mel Gibson's character.

        BOSTON AS A CHARACTER- The crew talks about filming in Boston.

        DIRECTOR PROFILE MARTIN CAMPBELL- A blog from the director.

        EDGE OF YOUR SEAT - More on the action elements of the story.

        You can find the DVD on-
        Amazon- 8.99
        Lovefilm- 12.93

        The Blue ray DVD has good special features and commentaries with the cast and crew of the film. This edition is worth getting or renting, as the blue-ray has better picture and unique sound. The sharper sound from blue-ray makes the action more dramatic, making it feel more like a cinema experience than a dvd in the living room.


        I really enjoyed this film, and even though some parts were slow because of the conversation scenes, the action was good and it had nice twists which kept the story alive and motivating. Mel's performance was great and i was glad to see him back to what he does best. I will rate this film 9/10. Hope you all like it as much as i did.

        Thank you for reading- Blackmagicstar4 * Aug 2010. xx


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        • Sherlock Holmes (DVD) / DVD / 57 Readings / 56 Ratings
          More +
          27.07.2010 15:21
          Very helpful



          A modern, seductive version of Holmes

          - Nothing Escapes Him -

          This week i had the chance to finally sit down and watch the newest version of Sherlock Holmes. I wanted to see this when it was out lat year in the cinema , but forgot about it. My boyfriend had the DVD, so we sat down monday night and put it on. I am not really a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, but i quite like his stories and i do like Robert Downey Jr the actor stepping up to play this role. I had not heard a lot about it before i watched it so i was open with opinions. From what i can remember from the trailers the movie looked exciting, with a good comedy and modern aspects to the characters.The movie looked worth watching and included a well known cast which i thought made me want to watch it more.

          Director- Guy Ritchie
          I was quite suprised when i saw that Guy Ricthie was the director. Guy is a brilliant English director who made his debut in 'Lock Stock and two smoking barrels' in 1998. Since then he has been known to make the best gangster, gritty and thriller movies. He is respected by a lot of American directors and has become one of the best directors from England. Many of his other films include- Snatch '2000' and Rocknrolla '2008'. Having a director like this gives the film a boost of respect and creativity.

          Writer- Michael Robert Johnson and Anthony Peckham (Screenplay)
          Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
          Release Date- 26 December 2009 (UK)
          Runtime- 128 Mins
          Certificate- 12A
          DVD Release- 17 May 2010

          - Background of Sherlock Holmes-

          Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character made up by a Scottish author named Sir Authur Conan Doyle. He is a detective who is famous for his expertise in science, logic and cunning plans. Holmes is based in London and was first published to the world in 1887 in a series of short stories. The character grew tremendously in popularity with the beginning of the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine in 1891. Everyone then knew who the character was and loved the stories that came with him. There are now many different protrayls of Sherlock Holmes, but his character and values remain the same. Although his methods of thought to be the most methodical of mankind
          Pictures of Sherlock Holmes (DVD)
          Sherlock Holmes (DVD) ..he was known to as a drunk, cigar smoker and was not the best housekeeper. He is shown to always loose important documents and had moments were he would live in his tiny room for weeks just thinking of theories and methods of science. In the stories he is also known as a drug taker, but this did not reflect on his work.

          Sherlock Holmes was one of the most famous fictional characters ever made and has carried on for more than 100 years.

          - PLOT -

          In this recent version, it is set in London 1891 where Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Watson are investigating the murders of several people from a result of black magic being used. A evil man named Lord Blackwood is behind this and even though they both know this, Blackwood has the dark magic on his side. After he is caught and hanged, there is a sinister turn and Holmes finds that he is the only one who can stop more murders being comitted.

          - CHARACTERS -
          Sherlock Holmes- Robert Downey Jr

          I think this role was played pretty well. Robert gives Sherlock a new look of modern man, but still keeps in character with the real man. Most of the protrayls i have seen of Sherlock Holmes are nothing like this character, but i think this is the best one so far. In this version he shows his skills in boxing, martial arts and a master of science. What i liked about Robert Jr is that he looks like he was made for the part, especially when he is tormenting his sidekick or the police. He has a great look, making Sherlock Holmes an intruiging character to follow. I also think he gives a sexy image to the main character. I think it was a good choice of actor and he plays his character with perfection.
          Robert Downey Jr has brought toughness, quick witted humour and a cunning new image to Sherlock Holmes. He has unique style and appearance which provides a smoothly modern look to Sherlock Holmes. As a excellent actor who recently played super hero Iron-man and seemed to pull that off, he plays this famous character extremley well.

          Dr John Watson - Jude Law
          Dr Watson is also played very well by Jude Law. I think he was a quite good fit to this role. His chemistry with the main character is perfect, like an old married couple. and he is smart, elegant and an interesting actor to watch. There are not many other actors who could have fitted this role so well, i was impressed with his performance.

          Irene Adler - Rachael McAdams
          Don't get me wrong i think that Rachael McAdams is a great actress and i have enjoyed her in many nice films, but i was not sure if she was cunning and devious enough to play this women who is suppose to of out smarted Holmes. Irene is Sherlock's weak link and in the stories she is smart and is his love interest. We can see the connection in the film and they both give a good sexual tension between them, but to me the actress has to much of an angelic face, but she does play her role extremley well as all the others do.

          Lord Blackwood - Mark Strong

          Mark Strong plays a cunning vilian and i think he was a great actor to choose. Even though he is a well respected and highly fantastic actor, his name is not really known that well. He does provide a excellent bad guy in this even though it was not the best performance i have seen him do. I likied the character though and thought he acted very well. The last series i saw Mark Strong in was 'Sharpe' with Sean Bean he played the character Colonal Brand who was also very sinister in this. So it was good to see him back to what he does best.

          - NARRATIVE -

          I did not know what i was expecting really, but i thought that it was going to be a ok, but boring story as tit is only a 12A film, but the story was both interesting and humourous to me. The opening was gritty and got me hooked staright away. There was mystery and many events you wanted to know about. The story flows well and is smart, entertaining and well put together. The film includes everything you need for a good film, action, humour, comedy and a love interest. Even though this version seems to be more of a Bond film, it still includes all of the right historical protrayls and Sherlock Holmes is still shown how he was suppose to have been. The supernatural included in the film were first a bit off putting as Sherlock Holmes is not really known for magic and magicians, but once he was explaining the logic behind the magic it came back to the orginal stories of Holmes. I liked how the Black Magic parts were a mystery until the very end and they were quite realistic.

          The Victorian England is protrayed so well by Guy Ritchie. The muddy, grimey back streets, the dark, sinister alleys and the incredible scenes of the town. The sets are perfectly placed and gives the film a amazing sense of the XIXth century in London.
          The views of London are just as seductive as Downey Jr, who exudes an aura of excellence and mystery, rarely a moment to think between all the fights and explosions. The special effects were suprisingly good, but this is not actually a suprise when you read that the film had a budget of $100 million. I thought the action scenes were fast, unique and exciting.

          I especially liked the bare knuckle fighting between Holmes and a obvious champion fighter. The scene is filmed with such a high intensity you feel so involved in what he is doing. Sherlock Holmes is in a fighting ring and even though you can see he is small and does not seem as strong as his opposition he explains to the audience how he will win. Holmes explains his expertise in martial arts and boxing and provides you with a visual plan of action in slow motion. He shows you what he will do and what affect it will have on the other man. After this, it goes back to the start and shows you in real time, it is amazing to watch. The moves are so fast that it is over in a few seconds. This scene is one of the best as it shows, excellent effects, great imagination and good comedy.

          Sherlock Holmes is entertaining and the marvellous chemistry between the leads practically demands a sequel.

          - DIRECTING -

          I am a fan of Guy Ritchie and i loved 'Snatch' and 'Lock Stock'. He brings a cunning and dark outlook on films and i think he was great for this modern version. His films even though can be seen as violent and abusive, give a different outlook on things. He gives Sherlock Holmes a even deeper sense of dark magic, violence and seduction. The atmosphere created in this film is amazing, it shows another side to how the Victorians lived.

          - DVD and EXTRAS -

          The look of the DVD is pretty simple but interesting.We can see both Sherlock and Watson stood in the middle of the front cover looking like they are posing
          for a lads magazine. You can tell they have made this film with modern touches as i never had the image of Sherlock Holmes being young, stylish and had spikey hair?
          Anyway the DVD looks good, nothing to eye catching, but this reflects the dark story and gritty time period it is set in.


          Region 2
          Note: Sherlock Holmes: reinvented
          Dual Layer
          Dolby Digital 5.1 - English, French, Spanish
          Subtitles - English, French, Spanish
          You can find the DVD play.co.uk for 8.99 or on Amazon for just 5.90.

          - RECEPTION -

          This movie received both negative and good reception when released. It holds quite a good rating and has done well at the box office.
          Rotten Tomatoes rating - 69%

          The film has received a number of awards and was even nominated for two Oscars this year. Robert Downey Jr received a Gloobe for his acting in the film which i think is well deserved.

          - OVERALL -

          I think it is an excellent version and it is worth watching. The characters are played well, the Victorian London is both moody and fills you with dark and sinister atmospheres. The acting is good and the i loved the action sequences. It has a few flaws, but makes up for them in the narrative, scenery and filming. I would rate the film a 8/10.

          Thanks for reading- Blackmagicstar4 * July 2010.


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          • More +
            10.07.2010 13:24
            Very helpful



            a nice little town

            - B is for Brackley -

            As many of you know, i have been in Bicester, Oxfordshire for a few months now, but recently me and my partner moved to the town of Brackley. Bicester was a good place to live but we needed somewhere bigger and the house values further out are better value. After weeks of house viewings we choose a nice two bedroom house for rent. As soon as i walked into the front room i loved it. For the last month now Brackley has been our new home and i thought i would tell you about the town for those who do not know about it.
            I havent explored everything in the town yet but i really love living here and cant wait to find out more about it.

            Brackley is a small town situated in south northamptonshire. It is only 20 mins from Bicester which is helpful as both of us still work there. It is also close to Banbury and 20 miles from Northampton. It has easy access to the M40 travelling to London and Birmingham.

            The population recorded last year was at 13,916. This has made the town build in popularity and profit. There is also much attraction through and to the town because of the famous Silverstone race track which is only a mile up the road. I can actually here the races going on from my back garden on weekends. This saturday i could here the bikes from the Moto GP weekend, so those who are interested it is ideal place to stop or live. As well as this three miles further down the road is a popular racecourse in Towcester.


            The town has a very interesting history and is a very charming little place to live. Brackley was first owned in 1086 by Earl Alberic and was then owned by families of Leicester. It was once a market town where wool and lace were traded. The town was built so that travel from London to the Midlands became easier. There were places to stay there and a good trace of food and materials. The town has famous links which include Richard the Lionheart and Henry VIII.
            In more recent dates, since the early 1950's, Brackley has grown considerably and new industry has been attracted to the town now include food processing, chemical engineering and many manufacturing industries.

            Brackley has mentioned before has easy access to the M40. The town also has many bus routes which include major towns such as Banbury and Oxford. It is very easy to get to and has several ways for you to get there. If you are driving i find that it is a very direct route especially from the Oxford direction.

            TOWN EVENTS

            There is a major carnival event which is largest one day event and falls on the second saturday of June each year. The day is seperated into fun, colour and laughter. It begins with a large parade through the town with marching bands and large floats. There is then many activities and family entertainment in the town centre and runs all through the day and evening. This event is organised by a group of volunteers under the umbrella of Brackley Community Events Ltd. For more information you can visit the website- www.brackley-carnival.co.uk

            Brackley has many organised clubs and events for everyone. Some of these include-
            - Army Cadets
            - Bowling Club
            - Over 50's club
            - The Art Society
            - Badmington
            - Football Club

            PLACES TO VISIT .
            - Brackley Swimming Pool, Manor Road, Brackley NN13 6EE
            Contact (01280) 704906 www.brackleyleisure.com

            A large 25 metre 5 lane swimming pool. It has a health suite which also has a solarium, sauna and steam. There is also fitness room with a mix of resistance and cardio vascular machines.
            - Brackley Leisure Centre, Springfield Way, Brackley NN13 6JJ
            Contact (01280) 701787 www.brackleyleisure.com

            There is a wide range of facilities at the Recreation centre which include: Sports hall suitable for basketball, netball, gymnastics, aerobics, martial arts and indoor football. It also caters for young children. The Tiny Tumblers sessions, Crèche facility, provides fun for the little ones. There are also four football pitches and associated changing rooms. Fitness suite, with 60 pieces of equipment, Health suite with sauna/steam and sunbeds, A large aerobics/dance studio which can also be used for private functions. This is a fantastic way to have fun with the family or to chill out on your own.
            - Town Centre

            In the the centre of the town there is a row of shops and a pleasant area for meeting people. It is a very pretty little viallge and although this maybe a downfall to some, it is quiet and peaceful. There are a few pubs around if you want some entertainment and there are a number of nice resturants and places to eat. Near our house there is a pub which holds event evenings such as pub quizes and karaoke. It is good fun even if you just sit and listen. This is also in a small rank with take aways, a shop and the main leisure centre.
            Brackley boasts a large Market Square with free parking and this is attractively enclosed by tree-lined avenue. It offers a number of small individual shops and businesses which pride themselves on their range and their services.


            Brackley is a great charming little town which is quite quiet but interesting. It has a great community and lots of activities and places of interest. I like living here and i hope to find more events soon to go to. It has nice scenery and a good village market. I would give it a 8/10. I would reccommend a visit if you are in the area.

            Brackley Town Council
            Town Hall,
            Market Place,
            NN13 7AB

            Tel Enquiries:01280 702441
            Fax Enquries: 01280 709866

            Thank you for reading. Blackmagicstar4* July 2010 xx


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            • More +
              09.07.2010 21:57
              Very helpful



              The third movie full of vamps and werewolves with fantastic abs

              - It all begins ... With a choice -

              FILM ONLY REVIEW !!!

              Today after thankfully getting a day off from the busy Bicester village, i had the whole day with my boyfriend to enjoy. We decided to head for Banbury and have a look around. I also had another agenda on my mind, which was to see the new Twlight Saga film- Eclipse. After recently finishing the book, i was very eager to see it. It was released in the cinemas today, so i was glad i could have the time to see it. We went to Vue in Oxford to see the film and went for an afternoon showing as i thought it would be packed later this evening. After sitting down in my seat and taking a sip of my drink i was on edge to see what this film would have to offer. I loved the first two films and hoped this would not be disapointing and include the drama's which the book did.


              Director- David Slade

              David is a respected English Director and has made films for over ten years. He is known for his sci-fi and horror values and continues his talent with this unique movie. He has a mixture of ability, using comedy, action and sci-fi. Another film which he directed is- '30 days of night-' 2007.

              Writers- Novel- Stephenie Meyer
              Screenplay -Melissa Rosenberg

              Release Date- 9th July 2010 (UK)

              Runtime- 124 Mins

              Cert- 12A

              - PLOT -

              Eclipse is the third installment of Stephenie Meyer's novels The Twlight Saga. It continues with the romance story and the life of a girl called Bella Swan. Bella is coming up to graduation and still wants to be changed. There are also mysterious killings in Seattle making the vampire family she roles with on edge. She is also being forced to choose between her love for Edward and her werewolf friend Jacob. Bella has many choices ahead of her and many who want her future to end.

              - CAST - Main characters

              Bella Swan- Kristen Stewart

              Edward Cullen- Robert Pattinson

              Jacob Black - Taylor Lautner

              Alice Cullen- Ashley Greene

              Victoria - Bryce Dallas Howard

              - ANALYSIS -

              As the opening sequence commenced i was intruiged to what this film was going to do to out do the rest. The first scene was good. It was dark, mysterious and exciting. It made you think of a thousand questions, such as what has this person got to do with the others. It was random, but gripping and caught my attention straight away.

              - Characters -

              One of the things that i noticed instantly about this film compared to the others was that the acting had improved quite a bit. Everyone seemed much more into their characters. The dialogue between them all was more intense and less cheesy. Bella has improved the most and in Eclispe she shows that she can act. Her character is matured and she gives a very good performance. She also keeps adding to the chemistry to her on screen and off screen boyfriend, Edward ( Robert). They do have great chemistry and this is also shown between Bella and her best friend Jacob. In this film they are more appealing to watch. The love and compassion he has for Bella is shown more in depth and i thought it was realistic.

              The film also showed a new comedy value to Bella's dad Charlie. I liked this and it kept his character in the light. He made good jokes and quotes which keeps his character in the story. It was good to see a bit more of Bella's mum. We do not see a lot of her and this film shows that Bella and her mum do have a good connection.

              It was nice to see that other characters had been added and it made the film more interesting. Also the character development has improved majorly. We get to learn more about each of the Cullen family and i liked the fact that each one had their one part in this film. All of the supporting actors did well and i didn't think that anyone acted badly.

              - STORY -

              Even though i think there is a lot more climax in the novel the film did quite well to fit everything in two hours and not make it boring. Eclispe has quite a lot of charcter building, new characters and moving the story forward. Eclispe is the best one so far in my opinion, it has plenty of romance, climax and drama. Even though the action scenes were good i feel i would have liked to see more of it and less of Bella and Edward snogging each other. Some of the scenes could have been cut slightly and more minutes added to the battles.

              There is so much going on in the novel which makes it difficult to turn into a film. I think David did this well and included all the relevant parts to make an interesting story. The flashbacks of the Cullen family stories were good and made it unique. I liked knowing more about each one and it gave a real dark and sinister take of their lives. The love traingle continues and some of it was good and some were a bit cheesy. I loved a scene where Jacob has to warm up Bella in a tent while Edward watches with disgust. It has great humour and gives the audience a new chemistry to feel. This scene was funny, romantic, sexy and very well done. While you feel all of this, Jacob and Edward actually have a heart to heart. This is not done in the other films and shows that even though they hate each other, they have an understanding.

              - FILMING -

              Eclispe has some outstanding scenes just like the other two movies. There are some lovely shot of landscape including the sinister woods of Forks. The scenes including the woods are always filmed just right. Dark and shadowy with a lot of eerie sounds, just the right place for a family of vamps to roll in. The very first scene in Seattle was also well put together. The back alleys where a boy is running from something evil, is surronded by darkness and includes the pouring rain.

              The action sequence was one of the best so far. The fight with vampires, werewolfs and the new borns show how great CGI can be. The fights were fast, fresh and intruiging. You feel as though you cannot take your eyes away or blink as you may miss something. David makes them bloodier and more gritter. Even though the movie could have done more of this action, the scenes which were done were very good.

              - OVERALL -

              Good points

              - Improved acting and dialogue
              - Fab action scenes
              - Great character development
              - Jacob's hot body on display!
              - Fast and exciting scenes

              Negative points

              - More action needed
              - Too much of Bella and Edward snogging
              - Some slow scenes

              - QUOTES -

              I have added a few of my favourite quotes which i think made the film-

              Charlie Swan:What's going on?
              Jacob Black:[pause] I kissed Bella.
              Jacob Black:And she broke her hand.
              Jacob Black:Punching my face.


              Edward Cullen: [about Jacob] Doesn't he have a shirt?


              Jacob Black: [to Edward] Well, I *am* hotter than you.

              I think that even though some improvements could have been made it is the best film of the Saga novels yet. It has a lot more drama and much more great action. The acting was greatly improved and the humour made it a lot more appealing to others which are not teenagers. I think it was worth the watch and i will be out to buy the next book asap. I rate Eclispe a 8/10.

              Website- http://www.eclipsethemovie.com/

              Many Thanks for reading. Blackmagicstar4 * July 2010. xxx


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              • More +
                09.07.2010 13:02
                Very helpful




                - The Next Chapter Begins-

                I have finally got myself together to write a quick review. Sorry it has taken a while and this maybe shorter than usual as this laptop does not have word! which makes it difficult to not make mistakes. Hope you enjoy this anyway!
                Since Twlight first came to the screen i have become a huge fan of this series. I had not read any of the books and after seeing the first film i was anxious to watch the rest. Christmas time last year my boyfriend brought me 'The New Moon' book. I read that in three days and then i was desperate to see the film. What was most annoying was that i had missed the viewings at the cinema and had to wait until this year for the dvd to be released.

                As soon as the dvd was released i went straight to tesco and brought it for only seven pound. I was so eager to see the film i claimed the tv and stuck the dvd on. My boyfriend was not that eager but didn't mind the first film.
                - INFO -

                Director- Chris Weitz
                Chris is a well known American Director who has written, produced and directed many great films. Some of his movies have been top sellers and he has been nominated for several awards including an Oscar. Other films he has directed include- 'The Golden Compass' 2007 and 'American Pie' 1999.

                Release date (UK) - 20th November 2009
                Runtime- 130 Mins

                Cert- 12A
                - PLOT -

                Following the first chapter of this vampire love story, Bella celebrates her 18th brithday and is dreading becoming older than her vampire boyfriend Edward. She finds it very difficult to cope when a sudden event which causes her to feel like she has lost everything. The story follows her as her friendship with Jacob Black grows and her relationship with Edward is always twisting and turning. Bella's dad Charlie is very worried, but helps her along her way and Bella finds out more secrets about Forks which will change her life yet again.
                - CAST - (Main Characters)

                Bella Swan- Kristen Stewart
                Edward Cullen- Robert Pattinson

                Jacob Black- Taylor Lautner
                Charlie Swan- Billy Burke

                Alice Cullen- Ashley Greene

                - The Full Events -

                I think that The New Moon was better produced, written and directed than the first film. Overall i enjoyed it much more and thought there was a lot more interesting events included. Even though i liked the first movie, The New Moon had better acting and more exciting adventure. Bella's character is really pushed to the limit in this film and i think Kristen Stewart acts with improvement. I didn't think she gave much expression in the first film, but in this she just seems to be a more interesting character in this. There are events in this film which affect Bella and it is good to see that her acting has become more mature and unique.
                Her relationship with Edward is very up and down which is interesting to see. To be honest i think there is not a great connection between the two characters and Kristen and Robert do not show an amazing sexual attraction. When they are together it looks awkard which is suprising as they are a real couple now. It is good to see some down sides on the relationship as every couple do not have a 100 percent happy time. When Bella rekindles her friendship with Jacob i was pleased. I really like Jacob's character and we did not get to see a lot of him form the first film. I was very impressed with the change of Jacob's looks, he was very nice and was then asking myself why the hell Bella was not with him. I think the connection bewteen Bella and Jacob was a lot sexier than with her actual boyfriend.

                The character developments are great in this film and i really enjoyed finding out more about each character and more secrets within the town. The story line is pretty good even though i think the start was a bit boring it got more interesting as it went along. There was a lot more action included in this which made it intruging to watch. The special effects were also ok in this. The best parts were in a fight scene and it made the film feel more realistic.
                Overall i think that the film deserves a much higher rating than it is receiving. It is unfair that it is put down based on opinions of the first film. This is a interesting and beautiful chapter of the story. I think people should give this film a chance as it is better than the first. Fans will really like this next addition and i am really happy to wait for the next film. I am half way through the third book 'Eclispe' and will be interested to see more improvement in the next film. I rate this film a 8/10.

                - DVD -
                Like i mentioned before i brought the standard one disc DVD from Tesco for a cheap deal at £7. This can also be found on play.com for £9.99. My DVD did not include many features and only had clip of the next movie which was annoying. It was great value for £7 though. You can also get a two disc special edition which inlcudes many special features. This dvd includes commentaries, how parts of the film were made and clips of the new Eclispe film.

                - GOOD POINTS -

                *Acting has improved.
                *Better dialogue.
                *Great Special effects.
                *Sexual connection with Jacob and Bella.
                *Interesting story events
                *Good character developments.

                - BAD POINTS -

                *Some acting is not great
                *Connection between Edward and Bella
                *The start is slighlty boring.
                Thank you for reading. Blackmagicstar4. July 2010.


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              • The Hangover (DVD) / DVD / 61 Readings / 58 Ratings
                More +
                16.02.2010 23:57
                Very helpful



                Best comedy for a while

                ~ Live Your Life ~

                As most of you know I am a huge movie fan and watch a lot of DVDs. As we now have a local blockbuster near our house we go there often. They always have an offer on so we get four films for four nights. I know I haven't been on Ciao for a while so i have watched a lot of films since my last review. A couple of weeks ago after looking at the new releases we decided to rent out The Hangover. I had seen many trailers on the TV for it weeks before and thought it looked really funny. Comedies are always good to get when you have had a long day at work and want to chill out. The trailers made the film looked very entertaining and it included several stars I knew including Mike Tyson and Heather Graham. I have also had a few people telling me that it was brilliant so thought it would a good.

                The main characters had a mix of a few that I recognised and some new faces. Reading the plot it sounded like a simple idea but a lot of questions ran through my head when thinking of how this film was described to me as one of the best comedies in years. We rented the blue ray version and was anxious to see if The Hangover was just another comedy trying to hard or if it was one I would want to watch over again and again.

                ~ INFO ~
                Director- Todd Phillips
                Todd Phillips is a known American Director who has done many other American comedy hits. His other films include Road Trip 2000 and Starsky and Hutch 2004. Both of these did quite well and I was eager to see how he would develop his comedy further.

                Writer- Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
                Release Date- 12 June 2009 (UK)
                Runtime- 100 Mins
                Certificate- 15
                Distribution Company- Warner Brothers

                ~ PLOT ~
                A fun filled comedy surrounding four men who decide to go to Las Vegas for one of their stag nights. The three other men want to make their friends night all it can be before the big wedding. The film shows what can happen on a night in Vegas and how events can change them when they return. After what looks like an amazing evening the four cannot remember what happened and have to retrace their steps to discover what they did on the unforgettable stag night.

                ~ CAST ~
                Justin Bartha- Doug
                Doug is the groom and is excited to see what his friends have planned for his big night. He seems to have a well respected lifestyle and gets on well with his in laws. He is young, outgoing and enjoys time with his friends. He is excited about his future with his fiancée and seems to be happy with his life.
                Justin plays the main role really well and brings a genuine nice guy to the film. Even though I could recognise him I had to research to remember what films he has starred in. The actor has been in a few well known films which I have enjoyed including the National Treasure films and Failure to Launch. He was also quite a nice eye candy for the female viewers. I found him to be believable and his character well presented.

                Bradley Cooper- Phil
                Phil is the host of the stag night and has organised the whole trip. He seems to be the young, single male who just wants to have fun but he is married and respects his marriage. He is a primary school teacher and even though he seems to be good at his job he doesn't take it very seriously and enjoys his weekends and seeing his friends.
                Bradley Cooper brings brilliant comedy and fun events to the movie. He is the leader of the group and acts really well to give us a amazing performance. I really liked his character and think he did well to play this huge part. Bradley has also starred in films such as- Yes Man and Failure to Launch.

                Zach Galifianakis - Alan
                The role of Alan was the best part of the film. Alan is Doug's brother in law to be and is slightly strange to the others. He doesn't seem to be all there and is honoured to be part of the stag evening. Alan still lives at home, does not have a job and others think he is a loser. He provides the film with all the major comedy values and I loved his character.
                Zach is a great actor and I recognised him straight away. He is known for his great performances in both film and television. Other productions include- Youth in revolt 2009 and the voice for Puss in Boats in the Shrek films. I think he acts so well in this film and was defiantly the best actor in the movie. I found myself laughing at him through the whole time I watched him.

                Heather Graham- Jade
                Mike Tyson- as himself
                Ed Helms- Stu
                Jeffery Tambor- Sid

                ~ ANALYSIS ~
                The story was simple but had many sub plots to make it more complex and interesting. The main storyline was not really anything exciting and loads of films and focused on stag or hen evenings. The film is original and has great stories all the way through. I liked the way that you as a viewer found out things at the same time as the characters did, which makes you feel involved with the action. I felt that it included so much great comedy that I could not stop laughing through the entire film. It was strange how you did not see the stag night plan out when it happens and that you are left not knowing what they got up to but I loved the way they did this. It kept everything a mystery and I was constantly asking questions to myself.
                The film was not too long or short and include so much that you are hooked as soon as it starts. The ending was brilliant and you felt yourself still laughing when the credits were rolling. It included everything a film needed- comedy, romance, action and a few gruesome parts. This makes it attract a wide range of audience.
                There were many themes in the film which I liked seeing the morals behind different situations and events that happened.
                - Drugs. It shows you what affects drugs can have and why it is wrong to take them. The consequences of taking them can be really negative and can mess up your life.
                - Friends. The film shows how spending time with your friends is important to having a happy life. Even though you can be in a amazing relationship you need time with your friends and they will be there for you.
                - Stag and Hen nights. Even though this is a very extreme case these nights can get out of hand. From this film i take away that if I ever had a hen do it would be a lot more than a day or two before the big day. Also even though your around friends be careful as consequences can come back to haunt you.

                ACTING and CHARACTERS
                The main characters did well in their roles and the acting by Zach and Bradley were amazing. The supporting actors were just as good and made their character very believable. The four male main characters worked well together and each gave different insights to how people react. Each guy was different and it was nice to see how four different people can be best friends. There was not any bad acting in the film at all and I was happy to watch them all.

                The film had good character development and you see how each of the men change throughout their time together. There are many events which happen that affect the guys differently.

                DIRECTING and FILMING
                The directing was well done and I thought the action scenes were very nice. The scenes were well structured and had everything included which you needed for entertainment. Each scene was filmed very well and there was a wide range of affects used to keep it interesting.
                Even though the story is based in Las Vegas there were so many different locations within the city it was well paced and exciting.

                This is defiantly one of the best comedies I have seen for age and I will be buying the DVD when it is released. I have seen on the movie website that there is a second film being made which I am excited to find out about. I hope it doesn't ruin the first one. I really enjoyed it and have not laughed at a film so much in a long time. It is very over the top and but quite realistic at the same time. The narrative consisted of loads of sub plots and themes which were interesting and everyone gave a top performance. I was very satisfied at the end of the film and I even watched it again a week after with my brother. I would recommend this film to everyone and would give it a 10/10.

                GOOD POINTS
                - Excellent jokes and comedy
                - Good morals
                - Great acting from all characters.
                - A mystery plot keeping you interested.

                Filming Locations- Las Vegas, California.
                Rotten Tomato Rating- 78%

                ~ QUOTES ~
                Alan Garner: [while picking up Phil at the school where he works] Did you have to park so close?
                Doug Billings: Yeah, what's wrong?
                Alan Garner: I shouldn't be here.
                Doug Billings: Why is that, Alan?
                Alan Garner: I'm not supposed to be within two hundred feet of a school... or a Chuck E. Cheese.

                Website- www. hangovermovie.warnerbros.com

                Also published on Ciao, *Blackmagicstar4* Feb 2010.


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                • Apple iPod mini 4 GB / MP3 Player / 114 Readings / 112 Ratings
                  More +
                  15.12.2009 10:32
                  Very helpful


                  • Reliability


                  My little pink music box

                  ~ It's Kind of Magic ~ Short review!!

                  I have had my Apple Mini Ipod for nearly five years now and I think they are brilliant. My ex boyfriend brought me this back in 2005 for my birthday and I am very happy with it. I don't use it as much as I use to now as I have a car but I do use it in there sometimes. I remember wanting one because my sister had got one a few months before and I thought they looked really good. They weren't the newest Ipod's out but it just sounded what I needed at the time. When I first got the Ipod until the last year I would listen to it every day to and from college.
                  In the four and three quarter years I have had the machine it has given me no problems what so ever. I have known some peoples to crash and have problems with the battery, mine has decreased over the time but it is not really bad. I am amazed really that even though it is quite old now compared to the newest gadgets, it still plays all my songs and has a good battery life.

                  ~ MINI IPOD ~
                  The Apple Ipod Mini was released in 2004 and became popular straight away. MP3 players were the new craze as cd players went out of fashion. The public choose the MP3 player because they were lighter and more convenient to carry around. I remember having a old CD player on the bus to school, all those CD's you had to bring with you and then you would have to change it if you got bored.

                  It uses a touch sensitive wheel that you use to scroll quickly through songs and options. The click wheel is now used on other Ipod's due to it's success on the mini. There were two versions of the Ipod mini brought out but both pretty much had identical features. The only difference was that the first has 4GB storage while the second version had 6GB. The mini was brought out in all different colours, pink, blue, silver and green were the favourites. When released Apple wanted to storm the shops with this new music player but after the first year sales dropped as they made a new successor.
                  The Ipod Mini even though should have a payable time of 8 hours before the battery runs out, the batteries doe decrease over time. Many started to go wrong and there were a lot of Ipods that crashed or froze. The Ipod nano was released in September 2005 and the mini fizzled out.

                  ~ INFO ~
                  Size- Width 5.1cm, Depth 1.3cm, height 9.1cm, Weight 103g.

                  Colours- All Colours but mine was pink.
                  Power- Lithium-ion Battery

                  Connectivity- USB 2.0, Dock Connector, Firewire.
                  Media- 4GB (1,000 - 1,500 songs ) or 6GB.

                  ~ DESIGN ~
                  I really like the way the mini looks and think it is classy and straightforward. The touch sensitive wheel is located in the centre and is surrounded by the four buttons of play/pause, fast forward, rewind and the menu button. The buttons in the centre are white making the pink brighter. On the back of the Ipod is the Apple logo and serial number in small writing at the bottom. The rest of it is just colour and more colours.

                  At the top there is a hold button like the CD players had, to stop it jumping or skipping while on the move. The connective slot can be found on the bottom and the headphones socket at the top next to the hold button. The menu is easy to use and the backlight is helpful for finding what you want when it is dark.

                  ~ USE ~

                  As mentioned already the Ipod Mini is really easy to use. There are not a lot of different options to make it complicated and everything is explained with the instruction manual. The menu button allows you to scroll through the options which I think is a quick and efficient way. Scrolling it clockwise will go forward and backward to go back. The menu lets you select songs by artist, song or album and also choose the shuffle songs option.

                  ~ THOUGHTS ~
                  I really like my Ipod mini and think I would not change it for anything newer. It is very durable and easy to carry around as you get a white holder to clip on your waist.
                  For me it had enough memory on it to store my music and I think I would not want any more than that, as I got bored of the same stuff and just updated it now and then. I brought a protective case with a tiger print on it to help protect it from scratches and damage which it did brilliantly. You could buy all different funky cases to make your Ipod more personal to you and the cases could be picked up very cheap.

                  It is a real shame that Apply decided to discontinue this product as they are really good and reliable. I will be sad when my Ipod does finally crack with old age as I would not be sure if I would want a nano or newer Ipod. The Ipod mini is simple to use and has a classic look. Even though it is not the smallest machine in the world it was hard to loose and the screen was a nice display size. The Ipod was quite heavy and bulky but I would prefer it that way to the small nano as I would easily loose it.
                  The only one nig negative I have now while using my Ipod is that I cannot update it anymore. My laptop with all my songs crashed a while ago and had to be wiped and started again. Even though I can download itunes again and load it up, all the songs on my Ipod will be wiped. It would take me a while to get it back to normal and add more newest songs on there. One thing I also hate is the connective USB leads. I always used to loose mine and it was annoying to have to plug it in every time it needed charging. Now it is good as it can charge while playing in my car.

                  Website- www.apple.com/uk/ipodmini/

                  Thanks for reading- also on Ciao x x


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                  • More +
                    11.12.2009 10:18
                    Very helpful



                    A nice small town with everything you need.

                    ~ BICESTER ~

                    As some of may know I am relocating to the Oxford area next week and I am moving from Bath to the town of Bicester. Before my boyfriend was based there I had not ever heard of it. As this will become my new home from the 17th December I thought I would write a quick review about the town and what I will have nearby. Bicester is a small historical town and has some very unique buildings.

                    ~ INFO ~

                    Bicester is situated in the county of Oxfordshire and is five minutes away from the city of Oxford. For the past few months I have been driving to and from Bicester and the journey from Bath takes around 90 - 120 minutes. I travel up the M4 and head for Oxford and now I know the journey very well. There is quite a lot of history in Bicester and links to the military and international shopping where people from all over come to the town to shop at the new outlook. To me I think Bicester is quite a small town but there are always a lot of people there.

                    Even though the size seems small the population in Bicester has reached over 28,000.
                    The town is known for its historical market centre and is growing very fast in business and homes. It is also linked to the M40 motorway so it has easy access from London, Birmingham and Banbury. It also has its own rail station so you can easily get a train to visit. Bicester is a nice place to be in. It is a busy place but has country surrounding it.

                    ~ HISTORY ~

                    Bicester has a long history reaching back to the Saxon era. There are many interesting buildings and ruins nearby. A documentary reference for the town is the Doomsday Book survey of 1086 where it is written that Bicester was being held by Robert D'Oily who built Oxford castle and the town became established then as settlements. In 1597 the Lord of the Manor of market End sold 9,999 leases to tenants which gave Bicester its population.

                    A Roman ruin can be found two miles from the centre. The town was first used as a trading centre with a market running between Oxford and London. Bicester's main form took place in the 1800's when cottages were built and the market place was up and running. The shops, high status houses and market place gave Sheep Street a status which was considered very respectable. Bicester was a mixture of populated trading centre and its north end of overcrowded buildings and poor inhabitants.

                    The town now has a mixture of buildings which is quite fascinating. From each era there are different structures to see made from all types of materials from that time. Those early buildings which survived including the medieval church of St Edburg and the vicarage are mainly grey built of limestone. There are also timber structures and stonework on the other side of the town. The mixture of buildings gives it a real sense of culture and I think it is a very nice place to visit.

                    ~ MILITARY LINKS ~

                    Bicester has a long connection with the military which I only really found out when I first went to the town. As my boyfriend lives here they obviously have many military around, but the last month I have been in the town, there have been many parades for the soldiers and found that it is a town that really supports their troops. One of the parades recently was for the return of 23 Pioneer Regiment who have just finished a six month tour in Afghanistan. The town was filled with flags and the parade was really nice to see and a shame that other places do not do the same. There is a real sense of support and culture in the centre of parade days.

                    It is said that during a civil war in 1642-1649 Bicester was used as the headquarters of the forces. The town has built on their military and from WW1 an airfield was built and the British Army's largest depot including the Royal Logistic Cops.

                    ~ Things to see and do ~

                    There are many things to do and see in Bicester and surrounding cities. Bicester itself as two shopping areas, the outlet and the town centre which offers other shops which are not expensive such as Argos, Iceland and New look. The town centre is good for parking and costs 60p an hour right next to the local shops. There are also some national shops here and cafes to eat in. The town has many pubs to chill out in and has two nightclubs. In the market square there is a market held every Friday along with farmer's markets and the occasional French markets. This part of Bicester is about to have a £70 million re-development taken place. Despite the gloom over many high street retailers it has been agreed to build a new shopping centre this year.

                    The town is the fast route between London and Birmingham so many people use the route. The Great First Western trains also stop through the town. Bicester benefited from the Railway mania of the 1840's and they had their own rail link running by 1850.

                    The centre is also known for being sporty and there are several golf clubs nearby. The Country Club has an 18 hole golf course for you golfing fans. It also provides spa facilities, gyms and tennis courts. The town also has its own rugby club, which I am not sure I will be forgetting about Bath Rugby and supporting Bicester any time soon but it will be nice to go watch a few matches one weekend.

                    * NEARBY *

                    Rousham House - found on the B4030 road across from the A43.

                    The attraction is a 17th century gothic Tudor mansion with gardens and acres of woodland. This is a lovely place to visit and learn about its history even though no children under 15 or dogs are allowed. This is the home of famous Colonel Robert Dormer and it has survived through alterations of the 18th and 19th century.

                    Opening times- Daily 10:00-16:30. You must arrange by prior engagement if entering the house.

                    01869 347110.


                    The city of Oxford is only five minutes away and there is plenty to see and do there. The city has fantastic stores, many places to eat and several cinemas. The student city is based to accommodate you in whatever you like to do and for all ages. You can find out about the history, visit museums, go shopping or eat out in the busy town centre. There is a local park and ride service which I would advise on as the parking is very expensive and the traffic is as bad as London. The first time I had to go for an interview there I had to pay three pound an hour for parking, good job I was only forty minutes!

                    Boarstall Tower - Boarstall, Aylesbury, HP18 9UX. 01280 822850

                    Boarstall Tower was built in 1312 and is the only surviving Medieval Military building in Buckinghamshire. It was once used as a significant part of the Civil War and much of it was damaged by cannon fire which can still be seen. The building was updated in the 17th century but all it's original features are still intact. A nice place to visit if you like history and historical sites.

                    ~ Bicester Village Shopping Outlook ~

                    Bicester Village Shopping Centre is the leading outlet destination in Europe and is visited annually by more than three million customers from all over the world. It has approx 120 stores of which are all high end brands such as Ted baker, Gucci and UGG Australia where I have just been offered a job. As well as high quality shops there are restaurants and cafes. It is a huge tourist attraction and I see ques for the centre every weekend. The shopping centre can be found just off the A41.

                    The first time I visited the shopping centre was a few months ago when Jamie decided to show me around the town. It took ages to park as the car park is always full and cars waiting to get in. There is also a VIP parking section which costs five pounds for someone to park your car for you in a different section. Once parked, we walked from one end to the other. I could see that I would not be spending any money as it was all designer and well to expensive for me. We spent approx fifteen minutes there just looking at all the nice shops and well off people shopping. There were many shops that I hadn't even heard of before which was not welcoming. Each shop was immaculate and everyone there is presented to high standards. This shopping centre will be packed next week when I am supposed to be starting my new job in the UGG shop. I was told that when the shop opened in London people were queuing for an hour just to get inside.

                    ~ WHERE TO STAY ~

                    There are many fabulous places in Bicester to stay including hotels and bed and breakfasts. I have listed a few for you.

                    - Bicester Country Club, Chesterton, OX26 1TE. 0870 4786316

                    The Country Club was recently finished with 52 deluxe rooms with ensuite bathrooms and many including balconies overlooking the golf course. Prices are from £79 a room. It is set in acres of stunning woodland and has a health club, tennis court and many more.

                    - The Kings Arms Hotel. 40 Market Square, OX26 6AH. 01869 249040.

                    In the centre of Bicester, this 17th century hotel was once a favourite for Queen Victoria's sons known to consort here with his mistresses. It is a comfortable, clean and famous place to stay where it is rumoured a ghost of a Victorian lady still haunts! So a bad idea for the weak heartened!! There are many facilities including free parking, games room and internet services.

                    - Bignell Park Hotel. Chesterton, OX26 1UE.

                    A friendly and lovely country hotel on the outskirts of Bicester in a pretty village called Chesterton. The hotel has beautiful gardens and nice views. The small but beautiful place has twenty two bedrooms all clean and presented with high standards.

                    ~ LIVING THERE ~

                    Bicester is slightly expensive to live in and the cost of living is slightly higher than the average UK large towns. I found an overview and features of likely sources about living in Bicester-

                    Family Income- High
                    Interest in current affairs- Low
                    Education- Medium
                    Housing (mortgage) - High
                    Couples with children- High
                    Satellite- High

                    Most people found in Bicester are young couples and families with children. The young people could be from the student life of Oxford. The income from this town and in Oxfordshire is well above average. There are many benefits and packages that come with certain jobs and many families tend to live well here. The Cherwell Council says it is committed to provide Bicester with outstanding qualities such as excellent public transport and zero carbon technologies.

                    Even though this area is quite high in costs for living one aspect I really like is how the petrol is cheaper there than it is in Bath. I know it is stupid but when I fill up my car in Bicester it costs at least three pence lower and seems to last a lot longer.

                    ~ FACTS ~

                    - Police- Thames Valley.
                    - Bicester has a lot of churches belonging to the ecumenical organisation churches together.
                    - Bicester is twinned with Canton des Essarts, Western France, Czernichow in southern Poland and Neunkirchen-seelscheid in Western Germany.


                    Bicester is a lovely place to see and a great place to do some shopping. It has a huge variety of shops, pubs and hotels and some lovely countryside views. Oxford is only down the road which is very handy, and it has its own rail line. I am excited to be moving somewhere new and I hope I like it as much as I love Bath.


                    Will also be published on Ciao- as soon as they add it on!!

                    Blackmagicstar4- DEC 09 xx


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                    • Purple Pink & Red / Online Shop / 77 Readings / 73 Ratings
                      More +
                      09.12.2009 15:09
                      Very helpful



                      Online shopping

                      ~ Going Purple, Pink and Red ~

                      After seeing this website on the Ciao list for this week's product of the week I thought I would have a browse at the site. I have also got a few presents still to get and wanted some ideas. I have heard of this site before from some of my friends who had used it, but have not been on it myself until the other day. There were mixed opinions from my friends so I decided to find out for myself what the site was like. Purplepinkandred.com is a random name for a site and I was instantly intrigued to what I would find on it. I knew that it was a site which sold gifts but that was about it.

                      As I prefer to do Christmas shopping online because it's easy and I hate shopping I thought of buying a few gifts from the site.

                      ~ THE SITE - INFO ~

                      Purplepinkandred.com is a website offering boutique gifts with style and beauty. It provides high standard products for you to buy for a loved one. There are many different gifts you can find on the site and there is something for everyone. There aim is to find you something unique and different for your friends or family which you will not find anywhere else. The site was first set up by a mother of three boys. On the site she says why she set up the site and her aims. Having three 'monkeys' as she describes them, the colours were always blue and greens. She was unable to buy gifts of other bright colours for boys and so decided to set up a gift site. The website is from a small English company which does make you think of supporting it. I like to see small companies who excel. Having a family build this site and run it gives you the impression that you are buying gifts from a working family who has put thought into each one of their products.

                      There is also the point of having somewhere where you can buy different gifts from normal shops. The website provides high quality products that are pretty, beautiful and original. The idea is great because you know that the person who set up the site has added something personal to the page. It made me feel more relaxed browsing the site and that everything has had thought put into it.

                      Not only does the site provide you with some divine and beautiful gifts but it supplies products for every occasion. On the main home page the central part shows different sections you can look in. These include- The Sale rail, Gifts for her, gifts for babies, Gifts for children, Gifts for him, Special occasions, Gifts by money and Gifts for personality which is a good idea. The gifts for personality include sub sections like- gardening, youngsters and yummy mummy. I have not seen this kind of group before. Another aspect I like about the site is that you have a search button as well. So if you can't find what you want in the different sections you can just type in a word, easy and understandable. It makes shopping on the site easy going and not complicated. I hate shopping especially at Christmas time, so the idea of having a site that is trouble-free and straight forward makes it a better experience. I also like shopping online as I can't stand going into town with crowds of people and long waiting lines at every till. Online shopping is easier and this site is a good example of this.

                      ~ SERVICES ~

                      The process of buying gifts on the site is simple and quick. Once you have found what you want like other shopping site you just click to add it to your basket. When going to the checkout all your selected gifts are listed and then all you need to do is provide the delivery address and your payment details. The site also uses paypal so it is safe and convenient. At the bottom of the site homepage it shows you that it is supported by shop safe.co.uk and is also a member of the federation of small businesses. It makes you feel at ease seeing that it has connections with other companies and secured by safe paying methods. The delivery options are brilliant and for the customers convenience there are several options you can choose from. These include- Standard UK post, Express UK (next day), Same day UK and Free local delivery. The free local provides the delivery for free who live within the area and all the postcodes which are included are shown on the site.

                      Gift wrapping is very important if you want to make an impression and this matters to this site. They offer a free gift wrapping service with all of your orders to make it just a little more easily done. I really like this and think it is a brilliant idea. I am not so great at wrapping up so I would find this very helpful. Choosing this service means they will choose the paper and gift box to go with the gift and it will come all ready for you to give to your loved one. The site has pictures below the information about this, so you can see examples of their gift boxes and styles. They look really fashionable and well presented. With this service you can choose to include a gift card with a special message this makes the gift personal and completed by yourself. The gift wrapping is said on the site to be done by trained employees who have been trained by Jane Means who apparently is regarded as the UK's expert in gifts. Not sure has I have never heard of her!

                      The site also provides you with external links recommended by them which could be helpful when wanting to visit several gift shops. You can find these on one of the tabs saying external links.

                      ~ LAYOUT and STYLE ~

                      I really like the style and layout of the website. Even though it is pink and white (very girly) it does not have too much colour and keeps a white background. Each section is shown with a picture and has clear writing so you can find what you are looking for.
                      Everything is shown in clear writing and all of the sections are spaced out so you can pick what you need. As well as this I really liked the way that the website has their writing in grey and not black on the white background. This is really helpful for people with reading problems. It gives the site a nice glowing colour and it is not crowded. I like a site which looks professional and stylish and this is certainly one of those! The pink colouring surrounding the sections and main writing gives it a soft look which gives the impression this is a comfortable place to shop at.

                      ~ INFORMATION and EASY ACCESS ~

                      The site provides information which you can find in the tab bar. It tells you about everything you need to know such as delivery options, ordering, the aim of the site and much more including the support they give to charities. A site which supports charities gives a good impression that they are genuine and have good morals.
                      Puprlepinkandred have chosen to mainly support Breast Cancer research. They donate money to them and you can buy one of the pink ribbon badges on the site for a small fee of £1.

                      The site is just really easy to use and when I found some really sweet gifts for babies on the site, which the other day I decided to buy one for my niece for Christmas. We all need things to make us smile and children love cuddly toys. They have many toys and clothing you can choose from and I chose a small knitted mouse soft toy. The picture was clear and I was happy with what it looked like. The price was £10 which I though was on the more expensive side for a small toy, but it is not too bad for the promised high quality I was hopeful to receive. If you click on the picture of your product it will provide you with a bigger image and more details. One negative aspect which I have experienced a few times now when visiting the site is that there were quite a lot of products out of stock. I know that it is the Christmas season but having so many out of stock was quite frustrating. If you have time to go through the site properly it is not too bad but some people may find it annoying and quickly give up. Luckily, the product I chose at the time was in stock and I was only getting one so it was quick and easy for me. Some people I have spoken to have tried to find gifts on this site and found that they gave up as everything they wanted seemed to be out of stock and they did not want to browse through everything on the site.

                      Corporate Clients also have an option from the site. If you are a company looking for gifts for employees or customers then the website provides a service that will put together quotes and help with your enquiries. The site recommends that you can contact them to make special arrangements.

                      'Don't forget to treat yourself, life's too short not to'.

                      ~ CUSTOMER SERVICE ~

                      There is nothing better than having shopped somewhere and received superb customer service. In online shopping this is not shown by face to face contact but shown through delivery, product quality and your easy free experience. The site also provides a space where existing customer have written feedback from their experiences. All of them say how beautiful the presents were and that the post was fast and efficient. Gifts can also be sent international and there are customer's who said that it was easy to do and the gifts were of such high quality.
                      It is good to have other customer's comments on the page as it makes you feel more relaxed about the site and that you can trust them.

                      For me it was an ok service. The post did not take too long and my toy was high quality. I think the product was slightly over priced but everything ran smoothly for me when using the site. You could properly find gifts cheaper and just as good from other sites.

                      ~ OPINIONS ~

                      I think that it is quite a nice site to buy from and it provides some very nice gifts. I did not have any problems form the site but at this time of year you may find many items are unavailable. The products could be cheaper and I think that I would only recommend the site to those who want to find some different and personal for someone. Also it may take a while to browse through all the gifts so take you r time with the site and you find something worthy getting. I really liked the baby clothes and toys and found many small gifts such as the water bottles which would have been helpful to me. Another aspect I did like was the section for - gifts for personality. I have not seen this anywhere else and think it is a great idea.

                      If I had to rate the site out of ten I would give it a 7/10.

                      ~ Good Points ~

                      - Good Quality products
                      - Unique selection of gifts
                      - Something for everyone
                      - Easy navigation of site
                      - Layout and style of site

                      ~ Bad Points ~

                      - Price a little expensive
                      - Many out of stock items
                      - You need time to browse through everything

                      ~ CONTACT DETAILS ~

                      Phone- 08716629274

                      Email- info@purplepinkandred.com

                      Thanks for reading- also published on Ciao x


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                      • Mc Vities Mini Cheddars / Snacks / 84 Readings / 81 Ratings
                        More +
                        01.12.2009 10:50
                        Very helpful



                        Get some Cheddars

                        ~ Cheese, Cheese, Cheese ~

                        Don't ask me why I wrote a review about some crisps but I thought as I have some with me for my break I might as well write about them. Mini Cheddars are the ultimate cheesy snack and are one of my favourites. They are now one of the UK's top established snacks and you can find them everywhere.

                        ORIGINAL CHEDDARS

                        Mini Cheddars are produced by McVities and became popular in the 1990's. They are a baked cheese flavoured biscuit and is made differently to normal fried crisps. There has been many discussions to whether Cheddars are biscuit or crisps and even though they look like crisps they are more biscuit. The original cheesy flavour is the British style original of its kind but now the brand has many other flavours. Some of these include- BBQ Beef, Ham and Cheese and Marmite flavour.

                        McVities was formed in the late 1890's with the first introduction of digestive. The Mini Cheddar was first launched in 1984 and quickly became very popular. The company made its first product by a new employee called Alexander Grant in 1892 and are now a top selling company.

                        Cheddars come in different varied bags usually of 35g or 50g and are available in all superstores, corner shops and even petrol stations. We buy multi packs in our house to use them for snacks you can pick up a multi pack of 6 for around £1.50.

                        THE PACKET

                        I really like the look of the small bags of Cheddars. The colours are bright and it is very eye catching. The orange colour makes you aware of the cheese flavour. You would be able to pick it out amongst other brands easily and I think the contrast of the orange and white on the back works well. It also makes you think of sunshine as there are streaks of orange coming from the centre. The sun has connotations of being happy and having warmth.
                        The front consists of the logo of mini cheddars which is bold and easy to read. It is centred so you can see it well and recognise the brand. The McVities logo appears small in the top left hand side showing that even though this is the producer it is not as important as telling you what this product is.

                        The whole theme of the original snack is cheese! The colour, the writing on the packet and the smell. The word cheese is shown twice on the front of my packet. 'Now made with more cheese' and 'made with real cheese'. It gives you the impression it is made with fresh and real ingredients and also for cheese lovers to want this product. Also seen on the front are the words of no artificial ingredients being in these. 'No artificial colours' and 'no artificial flavours'. This gives a good impression that these are healthier for you than other brands and does not have any chemicals added.

                        The back of the packet is clear and simply presented. The back ground is white to contrast nicely with the orange border. There is all the information you need including the nutritional information, ingredients and address of the customer service branch. It has adjectives to lure you into them and includes a part about healthy eating. In big bold white lettering are the words 'BIG' 'CHEESE' and 'TASTE' all these are positive ways to think so you pick these over the rest. What is very noticeable about the packet of Cheddars is that it is a lot smaller than normal crisps such as Walkers. Even though it is a shame that it is small you get the packet full unlike Walkers who waste packaging. The bag is a sealed foil packet which brings the product quality and keeps it fresh.

                        NUTRITION INFO

                        Per Bag

                        Energy (Kcal) - 129
                        Protein- 2.8g
                        Carbohydrate- 12.7g
                        Fat- 7.5g
                        Saturates- 3g
                        Fibre- 0.6g
                        Sodium- 0.3g

                        TASTE and FLAVOUR

                        Cheese is one of my favourite foods of all time. I could eat it all the time and love all different ranges. Even though cheese in high in fat I love every mouthful of it. Cheddars is the best cheesy snack I know and I will always be loyal to the brand. Other cheese flavoured snacks don't come close to the quality taste of Cheddars.
                        The taste is a lot nicer than fried crisps in my opinion which makes it more biscuit than crisp. The baked taste gives it a unique blend so you taste more of the cheese. In some fried crisps I just find them too greasy and you can tell they are fried.

                        There is a taste of salt when it dissolves in your mouth. It is not an overpowering taste just enough for you to know it's there.

                        I love letting them dissolve and experiencing all the full flavour. They are very tasty and I find them very addictive. After one small bag I could eat another.

                        SMELL and SIZE

                        You can smell cheese as soon as you open the packet. Even though some may not find this the most appealing smell I think it is very nice.

                        The Cheddars are small and round covered in some tiny holes in the centre. They are a good size and I love the way they dissolve on your tongue if you hold them there. You can see tiny bits of salt covering the outside which you know where that flavour comes from. It gives the cheese a balance.


                        Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Dried Powered Cheese, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Salt, Dried Whey, Malt Extract, Raising Agents, Lactic Acid, pepper Extracts.

                        This product does contain ingredients which could be harmful to allergy suffers including- milk, eggs, wheat, gluten and it is handled near products of Soya.


                        Mini Cheddars are my favourite snack and I would choose these over any other snack or packet of crisps. They have unique flavour and are cheesy, which is one of my favourite tastes is. I would recommend this product to everyone. Even though cheddars are high in fat and calories the taste makes them irresistible.
                        They are the perfect little snack to fit in a lunch box and I used to have one for school every day.
                        I would rate this product a 10/10.


                        Customer Services: Tel 0800 0566 112

                        KP Snacks
                        PO Box No. 4
                        Ashby De La Zeuch
                        LE65 2UQ

                        Blackmagicstar4* DEC 09 *


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                        • Road Rage / Discussion / 56 Readings / 54 Ratings
                          More +
                          30.11.2009 12:28
                          Very helpful



                          Make me angry!!

                          ~ Just another day on the road ~

                          Driving on the UK's roads is a must for me everyday and road rage is easily found in everyone. I have only been driving for a year and have seen many different types of people's road rages and people who are dangerous on the roads. I myself find that I get angry when people do stupid things on the roads. I do not think it is a good idea to stereotype people on who is a better driver as everyone makes mistakes. I find that I still make mistakes but there is a difference between making small mistakes and being stupid on the road. Just a quick review about my road rage!

                          ~ MY RAGE ~

                          The one place I get road rage the worst has to be on the motorway. I drive on the M4 from Bath to Swindon almost three times a week to go to Bicester. It is not a bad motorway and I haven't experience any major problems on there yet. The thing about the motorway is that it should be easy and quickly to do. I know many people who have been driving for years who have never driven on the motorway! I think the quicker you do it the better. There are several things that annoy me when driving on here, firstly the lane hoggers. I have always been taught that the slow lane is the main driving lane, the others are for overtaking. Lane hoggers really make me angry, those people who sit in the middle lane for no reason. 'Get the hell over!' it is frustrating and when there is no one in the slow lane you should be in it. It does make it dangerous for other people.

                          This morning I actually undertook a car to make a point. He was in the middle lane doing 60mph and there was nothing in the slow lane. As the fast lane was busy I went into the slow lane and carried on doing 70mph. He was holding people up and I know you are not allowed to do it, but I had to show him he should not be in that lane unless overtaking.

                          You can also get people who just drive in the fast lane which is stupid although it looks like they are in a rush, it is dangerous. Sometimes I really hate driving but on the motorway at night is the worst. Recently, the roads have been really bad with the heavy rain and winds. The last few nights the motorway has been bad. You can see hardly anything and I have slowed right down myself. You still get people doing about 90mph in the gale force winds, heavy rain and fog. They have a death wish. If you hit a pot hole or aqua plain at this speed it can be fatal.

                          As I am a smoker when I get road rage I am able to light up a fag to calm down. Even though this is not the best way to do it, it prevents me from shouting anything. One day whilst on the way back home from work I swear I was invisible. My family believe it's a silver car thing. Four members in the family have silver car's including me and I always feel like no one can see me. That day I had six cars pull in front of me in fifteen miles. I get so angry but always restrain from using the horn. Unlike my boyfriend who gets major road rage and usually beeps and shouts to my amusement, I usually just take a deep breathe and maybe curse to myself.

                          Another aspect of road rage I get is people who tail gate. I hate it, especially at night it's distracting and dangerous. I usually find myself driving slower just to annoy them even more. There are many things that people do on the road that annoys me and I think some people really should not be allowed to drive. My driving instructor always said to take a deep breath and if you are not completely happy pull over and take a minute to relax. This is evident when people tailgate you. If you find them too distracting then pull over.

                          - Major Road Rage Provoking's -

                          ~ Pulling out in front of people.

                          ~ Tailgating

                          ~ Changing lanes without signalling

                          ~ Lane Hogging

                          ~ Full beam left on

                          ~ No observation

                          ~ Careless/slow/fast driving

                          ~ ADVICE ~

                          I am not an expert myself but there are some right idiots around! When you get into your car you have to be ready for anything. Assume everyone is an idiot and be aware of everything around you. Some other tips to calm down can be-

                          - Open the window for some air
                          - Take a deep breath
                          - Be patient
                          - Concentrate on the road
                          - Clench the wheel
                          - Swear in your head sometimes helps.
                          - Do not drive if you are really angry or upset

                          Just another day on the roads!!

                          * Blackmagicstar4 *


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                          • Four Christmases (DVD) / DVD / 67 Readings / 65 Ratings
                            More +
                            26.11.2009 15:17
                            Very helpful



                            A cute, funny christmas film

                            ~ Spilt in Four ~

                            Last night after a hard day job hunting and having interviews, we went to our local blockbuster and rented four films for £10. One of these which we watched last night was 'Four Christmases'. I remember this coming out a while ago and thinking it looked quite funny but forgot all about it till now. What made me noticed the film was mainly the famous cast and the plot. The cast consists of a range of well known stars including Vince Vaughan and Reese Witherspoon. I really like Vince and find his comedy great to watch, so this was a main reason for choosing the film. The film also included many other stars who I recognised playing the protagonists parents. The mixture of talent made it interesting and brilliant to see. Also Reese Witherspoon has not starred in a film for a while and it was intriguing to see these two celebrities work together.

                            The plot sounded really funny and I really wanted to watch an easy going film and a comedy was the perfect choice. Since we had already watched one film and it was getting late this film was good because of the running time. I was quite surprised that it was only 88 Mins long.

                            ~ INFO ~

                            Director- Seth Gordon

                            I did not recognise Seth Gordon's name and after finding out about him, it shows that he has not directed any other major films. I did not notice any from the list that I have watched. Some of these include- 'The Problem with Percival' 2006 and 'Fears of a Clown', 2004.

                            Writer- Matt Allen & Caleb Wilson.
                            Release date- 26 November 2008(UK)
                            Running Time- 88 Mins
                            Distribution company- New Line Cinema (US and UK)
                            Certificate- 12A

                            ~ PLOT ~

                            A couple Kate and Brad find it hard to cope with their families after their vacation plans are ruined. They have to meet each others parents and each other's strange members who sometimes they would like to forget about. Each parent is divorced so the couple have four places to visit on this special day.

                            ~ CAST and CHARACTERS ~

                            Vince Vaughan- Brad

                            Brad is a hilarious character who seems happy with his life the way it is. He makes plenty of money and shares an amazing apartment with Kate his girlfriend. They have been together three years and do a lot together. Activities are shared such as taking dance classes. He liked spending time with Kate and is a good loving boyfriend. Brad has problems with his family and hates seeing them all together. He has no reason to make changes but realises sometimes this has to happen. His character changes toward the ending. I thought that he was a very likeable character and even when he was showing off or saying things that I would not agree with I could not help but laugh with him.

                            Vince is a superb actor and I am quite a fan of his comedy. Everything he does makes me laugh and I think he works well with different people. He uses a mixture of comedy including sarcasm, impressions and just plain being stupid. Even though he is not a model looking actor I think he is quite an eye candy in the film. A guy that can make you laugh is a plus right? Some of his other films include - 'The Break Up' 2006 and 'Wedding Crashers' 2005.

                            Reese Witherspoon- Kate

                            Kate is an intelligent hard working woman who enjoys time with her boyfriend. She likes life the way it is and has her own morals in life. She finds it hard to get along with her family and has issues with seeing them. Kate likes living with Brad and despite pressures of people telling her they should be moving on and getting married she is happy with just being with him with no commitments. Kate is stylish, sweet and tries her best to please others. I thought she is quite a likeable character and you do feel for her when part of her troubled past is discovered.

                            Reese is a famous actress and I so like many of her roles. I have not seen her in a film for a while and think this was a good choice for her. She works well with Vince and provides excellent comedy values. She has appeared in films such as- 'Just like Heaven' 2005 and 'Vanity Fair' 2004.

                            Other Characters

                            Robert Duvall - Howard (Brad's Dad)
                            Sissy Spacek- Paula (Brad's Mum)
                            Jon Voight - Creighton (Kate's Dad)
                            Jon Favreau - Denver (Brad's Brother)
                            Mary Steenburgen- (Kate's Mum)
                            Tim McGraw - Dallas (Brad's Brother)
                            Kristin Chenoweth- (Kate's Sister)

                            ~ OPINIONS ~

                            Comedy and Acting

                            The acting from all of the characters was done to perfection. Vince leads with a strong lead role and just makes the film hilarious. I think he is a great comedy actor and I love many films he is in. Reese provides an excellent co star role and bounces the comedy from them both. The pair worked really well together and showed nice chemistry. Having these two as the main characters was their height differences. Reese is pretty small and it reminded me of me and my boyfriend. The height is about the same for us and that made me laugh a bit. The comedy was fast, witty and constantly made me laugh throughout. There are many places where I could not stop laughing. I will not share my favourites as I do not want to ruin the plot for those who have not seen it. The characters were nicely developed in the film and you get to find out more about each protagonist. Kate and Brad each find out more about each other and secrets of their childhoods are revealed. I liked finding out more about each of them and some of it gave the film a more serious approach.

                            Many others actors helped with the comedy including Robert Duvall and Jon Favreau.
                            Each family had different ways of making you laugh and there was a lot going on.
                            One part I really liked was when they got to Brad's mothers house and Kate meets her new boyfriend, Brad's ex best friend. Brad is not happy and the comedy in these scenes is really funny.

                            Narrative and Themes

                            The story was quite simple but very effective. Christmas films are always good in the festive time and this was a nice Christmas film. I think it is good that the story is simple as there is a lot of humour and some sub plot's to keep it interesting. I liked the way it only had two main characters. That way you could focus on them. The film ran quite fast and I was not bored at any point of the film. The narrative had everything you needed, comedy, action and romance. The mixture makes it an easy going, funny film to see. It is a well developed story with plenty to keep you entertained. The film did include some serious notes which I did feel sorry for both of them on different occasions.

                            The film included a lot of morals and themes which some changed throughout. I think this made it more appealing to a wide range of viewers.

                            * Step families. The two both have divorced parents which is very common today. It shows how they cope with their new relationships and what affect it had on them when they were growing up. I think a lot of people can relate to them in this way. They seem to deal with this well except Brad, who is not happy with his mother's choice in boyfriend, his ex best friend. Each family has the step mother or step father and neither Brad nor Kate is completely happy with their situations.
                            * Marriage and Children. There are different views about these in the film. Brad and Kate show that if you love each other none of this matters. I quite liked this as it tells people that you should not be rushed or forced into either. If you are happy with the way things are then leave them. Some family members give them grief over this but they seem happy enough.
                            * Christmas is about family. Four Christmases show that Christmas should be about seeing your family. Even though Kate and Brad have issues with certain people they have missed news and events because of their Christmases away from them. Kate's father has really missed seeing her and it seems they used to be quite close. I like this theme as Christmas to me is about seeing my family. I enjoy everyone getting together and catching up rather than presents and the shopping.

                            Good Points

                            - Brilliant Comedy
                            - Excellent Cast
                            - Great Story
                            - Good themes and twists


                            The only negative I would say is that I was quite surprised how short it was. It ends well and I was satisfied with the film but it does run fast with the action and could have been a little longer.

                            ~ OVERALL ~

                            Overall I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to others. I would defiantly rent the film and it may be a great present for someone for Christmas. It has excellent comedy which made me laugh all the way through and the cast was brilliant. I loved the varied cast and think that the two main characters were cast perfectly. I would give this film an 8/10.

                            ~ DVD ~

                            The DVD can be brought in major shops for around £10.99.

                            We actually watched this on Blueray and you can find this for £15.99.

                            Special features include-

                            * Behind The Story - Four Christmases: Holiday Moments, HBO First Look - Four Christmases: Behind the Madness
                            * Extras - Seven layer holiday meals in a flash with celebrity cook Paula Deen and cast member Katy Mixon
                            * Gag Reel
                            * Additional
                            * Footage
                            * Trailer

                            ~ EXTRAS ~


                            Darryl: Look, Brad. I'm not trying to be your father; you already got one of those. I'm just hoping for a chance to be your friend.
                            Brad: You were my friend, Darryl. You were my best friend. We grew up together, we rode bikes together, we used to smell each others hands. But now you're sleeping with my mom and it's a little bit weird for me. Can you appreciate that?

                            Rotten Tomato rating- This film only received 25% from the critics which I think is very unfair and think it should be more like 65%.

                            Thank you for reading. Blackmagicstar4. Nov 09

                            Also on Ciao



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                            • 2012 (Blu-ray) / Blu-Ray Movie / 65 Readings / 62 Ratings
                              More +
                              19.11.2009 11:59
                              Very helpful



                              Another disaster film

                              ** FILM ONLY REVIEW **

                              ~ WE WERE WARNED! ~

                              Last weekend spending it in Bicester, we decided that we were going to go to the cinema. I don't go very often as it is over priced but we hadn't been for ages and there were a few films out I wouldn't mind seeing. After driving to Bicester after work and arriving at the house at 8pm really tired we saw that there was a 10.50pm viewing of the new world disaster film 2012. I did want to see this as I quite like disaster movies, but there were mixed reviews of it. The trailers for the film had been shown everywhere in the few weeks before and despite the negative comments I did want to see it. There were a lot of people who said that it was too long, too unrealistic and boring but having these comments never put me off a film. We all have our personal opinions and I always make up my own mind about a film. It starred John Cusack who I think is a good actor. I loved his role in the classic film Con Air and it interested me that he played the main character. It is good to see actors going into different productions and I thought that it would be good to see how he did with this.

                              The cinema we went to was a Vue cinema situated in Cowley about twenty minutes from Bicester. It is next to Oxford football grounds and has many eating places next around it. The complex also had a bowling centre so when we arrived there at half ten it was still quite busy. The cinema was quite nice and had ten screens. Ours was quite large and I was surprised how many people came to see the film at this time. The room was packed by the time the adverts started so there were many people anxious to see what 2012 would consist of.

                              ~ INFO ~

                              Director- Roland Emmerich

                              Roland is a famous German director who is very successful and has won over 7 awards for his films. He mainly works on big blockbuster films with big budgets and a lot of special effects. He has directed some major films which have included the hits '10,000BC' 2008 and 'The Day After Tomorrow' 2004. Both big disaster films which have been very successful. He also directed 'Godzilla' 1998 and 'Independence day' 1996. As you can see he is a very talented man and so seeing his name as the director of this gives it an automatic reputation of being big, fast with lots of money spent on it. I was waiting to see what he had done with this as the other films all include brilliant special effects.

                              Writer- Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser
                              Release Date- 13 November 2009 (UK)
                              Runtime- 158 Mins
                              Certificate- 12A
                              Distribution Company- Columbia Pictures

                              ~ PLOT ~

                              John Cusack plays a divorced father Jackson who has a busy work life which destroyed his marriage. He likes working and does not see the importance of spending his time with his family. He still sees his children and is jealous of his ex's new man Gordon. His son seems to like him more than him and he seems to be doing everything right. He takes his children camping to spend some time with them when weird things happen and back home massive earthquakes shake the city. The epic adventure film shows how the family try to survive the end of the world and how everyone copes with it. It shows how the whole world is affected and tells of the heroic struggle of one man for his family.

                              ~ CAST ~

                              John Cusack- Jackson Curtis

                              Jackson is a work alcoholic and spends all his time attached to his laptop or phone. He is single and divorced and doesn't seem interested in finding new love. He is envious of Gordon who is now with his family and still thinks he has stolen his family from him. He seems to be a hard worker but has a lonely life. This changes when disasters strikes earth he takes charge to save his family. He is motivated, caring and strong minded. Being the main character you follow John all the way through. You can connect with him well and he is a very likable character.

                              John plays this role well even though I would not think him as the big hero type.
                              He brings a serious side to the film and I think he was a good actor to pick. He looks like a normal middle aged father like he is supposed to be. I quite like John Cusack and his roles in films such as- 'Con Air' 1997, 'Americas Sweethearts' 2001 and 'Martian Child' 2007.

                              Amanda Peet - Kate Curtis

                              Kate Curtis is a kind, loving mother who loves her children and work s hard to provide. She still seems quite sad about her separation with ex Jackson but is moving on with new man Gordon. Kate is strong minded and determined to save her children when they are stuck in a city of disaster. It is obvious that she still loves Jackson and throughout the film you can predict that they are getting closer.

                              Amanda is a good actress and I recognised her straight away from 'Martian Child' where she co stars with John again. She has also starred in other films including- 'The whole ten yards' 2004 and 'Changing Lanes' 2002. She plays her part well in this and has had a lot of success.

                              Danny Glover - President Thomas Wilson

                              The role of President is played well by Danny Glover and he shows everything that I think a president should. He is intelligent, caring and provides his country with whatever he can. He has good morals and shows good initiative when decisions are made. This is not like anyone today as he is willing to sacrifice himself for his country and pride, I don't think today's president would do the same. I really liked this character and thought he was very understanding and nice to watch. His relationship with his daughter is good and he shows his fatherly love throughout.

                              I really like Danny Glover and he has played some brilliant characters. He has been acting for a long time and he has won many awards for his roles. He has worked on all aspects of entertainment including various TV series and many films. I liked his roles in 'Shooter' 2007, Lethal Weapon films as Roger Murtaugh and starring as the main detective in the Saw films.

                              Thomas McCarthy - Gordon Silberman

                              Gordon is Kate's new man and is trying to be a good boyfriend and step father to Jackson's kids. He is also a hard worker and provides the family with what he can. He is a decent guy and even though Jackson is envious of him he does see that he is a good man. Even though he is living with a good partner and loves the children he is envious of Jackson as he always wanted his own family and own children. Even though Jackson does not like him at first you cannot help but feel sorry for Gordon and he is likeable.

                              I have not seen this actor before but he has had many small parts in big films. The films that he plays bigger roles in include- 'Duplicity' 2009 and 'The Guru' 2002.


                              Liam James- Noah Curtis
                              Morgan Lily - Lilly Curtis
                              Ciwetel Ejiofor - Adrian Helmsley
                              Thandie Newton - Laura Wilson
                              Oliver Platt - Carl Anheuser
                              Woody Harrelson - Charlie Frost

                              ~ ANALYSIS ~


                              The story was simple but had many sub plots to make it more complex and interesting. The main storyline was not unfamiliar of the man trying to save his family from world disaster. The film is not original but hides good morals and great scenes. The film includes aspects from every genre to attract a wider range of audience. It has the action scenes, the love plot, different family views, comedy and horror. I felt every emotion watching it, sad when something bad happens and laughing at the jokes and comedy values. However saying this one thing did disappoint me about the narrative. It did not mention much about the Maylan history or the calendar. I do not know much about this subject so it would have been nice if the film explained it a little more for those who have not heard of it.

                              The ending is pretty predictable but to be honest I don't think it could have ended in any other way. These films all have different solutions to what the world could do in these events. 2012 does not have an original ending but there are many sacrifices along the way to get there. It has a lot going on for you to focus on, but as the credits came up I felt satisfied enough with what had been done. Even though the film does not bring anything new it is one hell of a rollercoaster event.


                              There were many themes in the film which was one of the best features of it. I liked seeing the morals behind different situations and what the film included especially the different relationships throughout.

                              - Step families. A main theme in the film is having step families and fathers. It shows how the relationship between the children and the new man can be. It also shows the strained relationship between the new man and Jackson. Many people may be able to relate to this is some way as more families are separated in today's world. I have a step father myself who I really get on with more than my father. It shows one side of this theme and that children are very understanding.

                              - Father and daughter. This film shows a positive side to a relationship between a daughter and her father. This is nice to see as I do not share the same situation. President Wilson shares a close bond with his daughter Laura and it is nice to see a man bring up his child. His wife dies some years ago and he was left to bring up his daughter. Even though he is the President he still treats his daughter with fatherly love and advice. She treats him the same and knows her father is a kind man and will make the right decisions.

                              - Self Sacrifice. There are many sacrifices made in this film including people sacrificing themselves for others and people coming together to survive. I do not want to say who sacrifices themselves as this would be a spoiler but there are many of them shown.

                              - World Destruction. This theme is becoming more and more on display which shows the current fears of the modern world. Many people believe the world is being destroyed and that many of these events could happen if we do not clean up the planet.

                              ACTING and CHARACTERS

                              The main characters did well in their roles and the acting by John and Woody was the best feature. Many of the supporting actors were ok but not up to the standard of John. The children although did an ok job were sometimes slightly unbelievable and it did not look as though they had a lot of experience in some cases. There was not any bad acting even though many could have done better.

                              Despite the great performance from the main characters there was a lack of development in the film. As a negative I think that they spent too much time on the exciting disaster scenes and maybe they could have spent a bit more developing each character. The dialogue was not complex and sometimes a little cheesy. If more time was spent on the characters I think it would have made it a little better.

                              DIRECTING and FILMING

                              The directing was well done but was not the best. The scenes were well structured and the effects were amazing. Roland should have made more time for other aspects of the film such as the characters. There was a lot of focus on these disasters. These were very good though and I particularly liked the scenes where they are driving through Los Angeles and everything is being destroyed. They are being chased by the ground sinking and they have to drive through. Even though it was unrealistic the effects were brilliant and it was quite manic. There were several shots of many people being slaughtered but they were done in a gory way. People are crushed and the sinking ground swallows them up. I actually expected there to be a lot more gore. As it is only a 12A this is quite an annoying aspect, I think it would have a bit better if you raised it to a 15 and added a bit of gore, as the film is about the end of the world it is bound to be devastating.

                              The shots were perfect and there were many different ones to keep the fast pace of the action. The cuts were quick and there were panning shots to follow what the characters were doing. The bird's eye view shots of the disasters were the best as you get to see everything that is happening. You can follow the characters and see what everyone else around is doing. It looks big, dramatic and frenzied. It is pretty scary seeing what could happen in the near future. I think the scene I was anxious about the most was the tsunamis as they were so high no one could survive them. When people saw these giant waves travelling toward them some gave up. There is nothing you can do unless you are in the air.


                              The film even though very long and enough to keep you entertained. Overall I really enjoyed it. It is very over the top and very unrealistic but every disaster film has to be dramatic to get the right effect. It had some brilliant scenes and I loved the way it was filmed, up close and personal. The narrative consisted of loads of sub plots and themes which were interesting and even though I thought having John Cusack has the hero type would be odd I think he did very well. All the supporting actors did well even the children were good. I was quite satisfied at the end of the film and even though I do not think it's as good as some of the other films like 'The Day After Tomorrow' it is a watch able film. It is long so be prepared, at two and a half hours long. I would properly suggest that you wait until it comes out on DVD and then rent it. I do not think it is worth the expensive cinema price. I will rate this film a 7/10.

                              GOOD POINTS

                              - Excellent graphics and effects
                              - Good morals
                              - Great acting from John and Woody
                              - Complex story to keep you interested


                              - Lack of character development
                              - Very long
                              - Unrealistic


                              Filming Locations- Los Angeles, USA - British Columbia, Canada - Vancouver, Canada.

                              The reviews for this film have been mixed but many people said they were disappointed with it. The rotten tomato rating is - 38%.

                              ~ QUOTES ~

                              Noah Curtis: Woah, big plane.
                              Yuri Karpov: It's Russian.

                              Kate Curtis: [on the "ark"] Where have you been all my life?
                              Jackson Curtis: Gift shop.

                              Website- www.whowillsurvive2012.com

                              Also published on Ciao * blackmagicstar4* NOV 09


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                              • Passengers (DVD) / DVD / 56 Readings / 55 Ratings
                                More +
                                17.11.2009 18:05
                                Very helpful



                                A twist with death

                                ~ The Truth Can't Hide Forever ~

                                A few weeks ago was my 21st birthday and after a busy and exciting weekend, Sunday which was the day of my actual birthday I decided to have a quite night. I had to drive up to Oxford to see my boyfriend as he had been on parade all day for Remembrance Sunday. I had to see him on my birthday so drove up in the afternoon after a meal with my family. After having a lovely meal cooked for me we went to the local blockbuster and selected a few films. After browsing for a while I found the film 'Passengers' starring Anne Hathaway. I had been waiting to see this for a while and totally forgot about it. I remember reading the plot and thinking it sounded interesting. The cover was dark and mysterious and it looked like a real intriguing thriller film.

                                There were other names on the cover that I recognised including- Patrick Wilson and David Morse, so it seemed to have a good cast. I quite like Anne Hathaway and think she plays all her roles well. This was different though as I had only seen her play comedy roles, so playing a serious thriller character would be good to see. The film is directed by- Rodringo Grace, who I have heard of but did not recognise straight away. I was really looking forward to watching this and hoped I would not be disappointed. I was in the mood to watch a good film that was different. Putting on the DVD and snuggling into the sofa with my man we were expecting something good.

                                ~ FILM INFO ~

                                Director - Rodringo Grace.

                                Grace is from Columbia and has directed both film and TV productions. Features that I have heard of include the series 'Six Feet Under' and 'The Sopranos'. He has quite a reputation for his work and has won many awards.

                                Writer- Ronnie Christensen
                                Release Date- 26 September 2008
                                Running time- 93 Mins
                                Certificate- 12
                                Distribution Company- Tristar Pictures

                                ~ PLOT ~
                                Claire Summers is a young therapist who is assigned to a group of five people who survived a plane crash. Just as she starts to get somewhere with facts on the crash, one by one her passengers begin to go missing and she finds herself at the root of a mystery.

                                ~ CAST and CHARARCTERS ~

                                Anne Hathaway- Claire 'Dr Summers'
                                Claire Summers is a successful therapist who has a well paid career with children. When a plane crash happens and there are five

                                Pictures of The Passengers (DVD)
                                The Passengers (DVD) survivors her boss wants her to step up and work with them and make sure they recover mentally from the disaster. She is strong minded, intelligent even from her young age. She is good at her job and over works to get results. Claire does not seem to have many people around her such as family but has a great boss who supports her. She is a very likable character and you are involved in what happens to her. The audience finds out information the same time as Claire which helps you connect with her.

                                Anne is a young, successful actress who has played in many blockbusters and high profit films. She brings youth, beauty and elegance to this film. I first liked her performance when watching 'Princess Diaries' and thought she will be in many more. Anne is great in comedies and has starred alongside other famous actress such as Kate Hudson. This film was interesting as this would be the first film that was not a comedy that I have seen her in. It was good to see her play another type of character and see that she could pull off serious characters as well as funny ones. Other films which she stars in include- 'Bride Wars' 2009 and 'Get Smart' 2008.

                                Patrick Wilson - Eric
                                Eric is one of the survivors from the plane crash and Claire meets him in hospital. He seems fine and has no problem getting on with things, which is a bit strange. He seems to change in his personality using the crash as an excuse to make life more exciting and different for him. Even though he refuses to go to the meetings Claire visits him at home to see his progress. Eric is a confident, happy man and seems to have an instant liking for Dr Summers. You seem to be interested in Eric has his character becomes more complex.

                                Patrick is a recognisable actor and has been very thriving in his career. He acts well in this and provides the film with eye candy as well as great twists. Patrick has also starred in films such as- 'Lakeview Terrace' 2008 and 'Hard Candy' 2005.

                                Andre Braugher - Perry
                                Perry plays Claire's mentor and boss. He is supportive and really believes she can do well. Giving her the opportunity to higher her career he gives her an important job. Claire seems to trust Perry and comes to him for advice and support; to me he seems to be a father figure for her. I really liked his character and thought it was played well.

                                Andre is a brilliant American actor. He has been acting since the late eighties and has had a great career. Some of his films include- 'The Mist' 2007, 'Rise of the silver surfer' 2007.

                                David Morse - Arkin

                                Arkin is the airlines manager and appears in the film a lot. He is quite a sinister character and does not seem to give a lot away. After the crash he becomes more mysterious and there are suspicious ways about him that suggests something is not right. He seems to work hard but has a lack of interest in anyone. Claire does not trust him and Arkin shows a good source of mystery in the film.
                                David Morse is a well respected actor. He has starred in TV and film some including-
                                Films - 'Disturbia' 2007 and 'The Green Mile' 1999.

                                Dianne West - Toni
                                William B Davis- Jack
                                Ryan Robbins- Dean
                                Clea DuVall - Shannon
                                Don Thompson - Norman

                                ~ ANALYSIS ~


                                I really liked the story line and thought that it was exciting, different and kept you interested. It provides you with a lot of sub plots and you do have to concentrate to follow what is happening. Despite the complex of the narrative I found it easy to follow and understood well. The story includes several red herrings and brilliant twists which I thought were brilliant. I did not find these predictable in any way and was sat stunned at the ending. I think that it was well structured and had everything you needed for a fantastic film. It includes all genres of thriller, romance, comedy and horror. It is dark and eerie and spends a lot of time creating this surprise ending. It is compacting, thriving and challenges your mind to think. This film takes its story seriously and has elements of suspense all the way through.
                                I really like thriller films that has a lot to think of and you find yourself thinking 'what the hell is going on'. I was puzzled a few times in the film. I love films that make you think hard and are really unexpected, both me and my boyfriend enjoyed this.

                                Acting and Directing

                                The acting was all done very well and all of the actors fitted their characters. I really liked Eric and Dr Summers and think they were the best two performers. There were many actors that I knew but are not Hollywood stars which was nice to see. They all seemed to work well with each other and there was a great chemistry between the two main protagonists. They share romance and mild comedy to make sure you see the connection between them.
                                All of the supporting actors did well too and there were some likeable characters surrounding them.

                                The film focuses a lot on character development which is done very well. You get to know more and more as the film goes on about each character although nothing major is spilled. I like films that do a lot with characters, it makes it motivating and you can connect with the characters more easily. Many of them change during the film and it acted very well. Eric goes through a variety of emotions including humour and comedy to depressed and suicidal.

                                Rodringo Grace does an exceptional job and includes many first class features. I think he has directed this superbly even though some parts could have been done better.

                                Scenes, locations and Filming
                                There were many scenes to keep up with and different locations which kept it interesting. Most of the filming was done in Canada which explains many of the nice establishing shots of country. There were some lovely places to view and several were shadowy and dark to help with the sinister narrative. The dark alleys help and one aspect I really liked was the glass room where Claire gives holds her meetings. The room is very exposed and when you see figures outside it becomes very peculiar. There are other creepy places including the rail tracks and when people disappear the houses become abandoned and just like a thriller, when Claire goes to investigate its pitch black and silent. It helps with the tense atmosphere.

                                The filming through out the film was fast paced and well done. You had a great variety of shots to see everything around you. I really liked the personal view you get when the character looks around, you see what they see.
                                One disappointment of the film was the plane crash. Even though you get to see more of what happened as the story goes on. The film starts when it has already crashed into land and you see people walking about. I would have really liked to have seen a bit more. It is easy to do and you don't have to give more of it away. I was thinking on the same line of the film 'Knowing' with Nicholas cage, where that plane crash has to be the best I have seen. I think some scenes like this could have been done a lot better with more effects.

                                ~ OVERALL ~

                                People have said that this film is another version of 'The Sixth Sense' or has similarities but I think that it has its own elements. I do not think it is like it in anyway. I think that this is a brilliant film and it was defiantly one of the best I have seen this month. It provided me with everything I needed for a fantastic movie. The twists were amazing and I really liked the way the film ended, unpredictable and creative. All of the characters were great and the story even more superb. I would recommend this film with five out of five stars. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I will properly buy the DVD if I can find a good bargain. A film not to miss!!

                                Good Points
                                - Fantastic characters
                                - Interesting story
                                - Unpredictable
                                - Nice twists
                                - Great acting

                                Negative Points

                                - You have to concentrate to not miss anything.
                                - Plane crash scene.

                                ~ BLUE RAY DVD ~
                                We rented the film on Blue ray which has better sound and the picture was amazing.
                                It is on HMV and play.com for £14.99.They include the same special features as the normal DVD including both featurettes below, as well as-

                                - Additional Release material
                                - Deleted scenes
                                - Audio commentary
                                The normal DVD was realised- 27 July 2009 and can be brought for £6.99. It offers special features such as- DVD Features: Commentary with Director Rodrigo Garcia and Star Patrick Wilson; Deleted Scenes; Featurettes: The Manifest and Making of Passengers; Analysis of the Plane Crash.

                                ~ EXTRAS ~

                                - Rotten tomato rating - I am very surprised by the low rating of only 21% on the site and think it deserves a lot more.
                                - The film was released in 125 theatres on Oct 24 2008.
                                - Grossed $172,544 on the opening weekend.

                                Thank you for reading Blackmagicstar4. Nov 09


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