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Member since: 22.01.2010

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    • The Eco Kettle / Kettle / 38 Readings / 38 Ratings
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      12.07.2010 12:21
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      Disappointing

      The Eco Friendly Kettle Living in a fairly environmentally conscious household, recycling as much as possible, turning off plugs and so on, it was decided to up the ante on our electricity consumption. Hence the reason for purchasing an Eco-Kettle Appearance In my eyes, this has got to be one of the ugliest household appliances on the market. Before this was purchased all the appliance on the worktop were matching, chrome silver. Nothing spectacular, but matching nonetheless. Now we have a giant white monster sat in the middle of them all, it reminds me of an Elephant Seal. The kettle is mainly white, with the switch and filter button light blue. There are two clear panels showing the water levels in the boiling part and storage part. In my opinion all of these points make the kettle look very cheap and tacky. It sits on a white base, nothing more to be said there. The handle, is just a white plastic handle, curving from top to bottom. Again, nothing extravogant or special. The spout is the main part of the kettle that makes it as ugly as it is. Its curved, with a lip around the outside edge, and just protrudes from the top of the unit. It reminds me of the nose on an elephant seal, just an unsightly piece of apparatus. Another thing that annoys me about its looks is where the spout and filter button "meet". There is a huge gap in between the two where the lid is lifted to fill the storage part. Now in my mind this could have been avoided by simply placing it elsewhere to at least keep a solid line. Obviously appearance was not a high priority in the design. The kettle is also quite large in size, I assume this is to store two sets of water. Howver it holds 1.5 litres of water. Which is less than our old kettle, that seemed to be much smaller. Why do you have to sacrifice style to be eco-friendly? Also, the manufacturing of the plastic itself can't be that good for the environment can it? Unless it is made from recycled plastic - I couldn't find anything to say that it was or wasn't. Features The main feature of the kettle is the two chamber system, meaning that you only boil the water you need. This is good, because it means you are using less energy, therefore, being kinder to the environment. It also has a 3000 watt quick boil element. This makes the water boil quickly, meaning less waiting time, for that all important cuppa! Ease of Use I don't find this product easy to use. When you are filling the kettle, the lid is easy to open and there is a wide area so the water flows in easily. This however, is the only feature of the kettle that is easy for the user. Once the storage unit of the kettle is full, it seems remarkably heavy compared to other kettles I have used. This makes it relatively hard to get back over to the stand. The boil chamber has a maximum level of 1.5l and then you have roughly the same again in the storage chamber. Three litres of water and the kettle make for heavy lifting. Once the kettle is full, and ready to boil, you simply push down the button on the top, this lets the water into the boiling unit. The button is quite stiff and hard to push down, then, once you have the desired amount of water the button sticks a little. It doesn't come back up straight away. Another problem in the usage of the kettle. The kettle boils quite quickly, and once it has boiled it is quite hard to pour into the cup. The fact that it is quite heavy doesn't help it. Also, because of the fact that there are two water chambers, I am always wary of leaks. (I have not encountered any yet). The spout lets the water out easily, however, if you have only boiled enough water for one cup, then you have to tilt it a lot for the water to come out. If there was a leak from the storage chamber at least you won't get scolded, as the water has not been boiled. Overall these factors make the kettle quite hard to use. It is not just a simple case of picking it up, filling it, boiling it, pouring it and drinking it. There seems to be a lot of other things you have to do, just for a morning coffee or relaxing tea in the evening. We have not had the kettle for long, so hopefully the lengthy process will come as second nature to me soon. There is a leaflet that says it will take a while to get familiar with. Prices The price for this particular kettle is £39.99 from Argos. This was the best price that I could find for it online. The cheapest kettle on the Argos website is £4.78, meaning the MAW-894 is over 8 times the price (and is on a par as far as looks are concerned). This could create an issue for the less environmentally concerned/conscious among us. There is a wide range of other eco-kettles available, ranging from £24.99 - £39.99 However, ours was purchased at half price through a promotion with our electricity supplier E-ON. There may also be other promotions available, however I am not aware of any. Other Points To Note * The kettle boils cold water very quickly, this is partly down to the fact that you are only boiling the water you need. However, when it is full, the boil still comes quickly. * The cup size measurements on the side of the kettle, these are for cups, not mugs. You need about 1.5 cups to fill a mug to a reasonable volume. One cup measurement on the side of the kettle is 200ml. * If you do boil the kettle with no water in, there is an automatic cut-off feature, which means the element will not overheat. This is useful, as it is very easy to forget to filter the water through. * As long as the storage unit is full, or has enough water in for the desired amount of drinks, it is quicker than a normal kettle. However if you have to go through the filling process, it seems a lot longer. * The lid of the kettle should clip into place when it has been lifted to be filled. It is hard to tell by looking at it, as it seems to be raised slightly. I always make sure it is clipped down, otherwise water will go everywhere. This could have been resolved in the design process I feel, by simply chaning it so the lid didn't seem raised. We have had a few incidents with water over the kitchen side. * The most dangerous point about the kettle is that for some reason, when the water level is low, after you have poured your drink, boiling water can spit from the spout of the kettle. This is probably where it hits the element at the bottom. This is dangerous and scary, luckily, nobody has been burnt yet. * They say that to make a cup of tea, you should only boil the water once, the fact that you only boil the water you use means that you can do this. Advantages Environmentally friendly Quick boil Disadvantages Ugly Heavy Slightly dangerous Hard to use Expensive Conclusion and Recommendation My overall conclusion is that this product has its positive and negative points. I would not recommend this kettle to those people who are looking to buy it. Although it has a quick boil, and is environmentally friendly, I find it ugly, hard to use and slightly dangerous in some cases.

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      • Sony Vaio W11S1E/W / Netbook / 21 Readings / 21 Ratings
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        05.07.2010 01:23
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        An excellent little laptop

        Sony Vaio W Series VPC-W11S1E/W - A.K.A. The Notebook Appearance The notebook looks very stylish. Completely white with the Vaio logo on the lid. The keyboard is silver. That is it in a nutshell, not much more to say. The Product Size - The dimensions of the Notebook are - Depth - 179.6mm Width - 267.8mm Height - 32.4mm Weight - 1.19kg Display - 10.1 Inches Portability - Obviously, one of the main designs for notebooks is being portable. Designed for people who are on the move and do not want to lug around a full sized laptop. Be it students, businessmen or people with a generally busy lifestyle. The Sony Vaio, fulfills this purpose ideally. Being so light and small and coming with its own protective bag, it means it can be transported within most bags. Although I would still recommend purchasing a laptop bag for extra protection. Features - It has a built in webcam in the middle/top of the notebook lid. The quality is not amazing, but adequate. It also has a built in microphone. Both of these features can be used on instant messengers and skype, for chat. Sound - The volume limit on the notebook is very low. Obviously using it for media purposes is not a priority in its design. However, it seems as if the volume limit is extremely low. This is not a major issue, as I mentioned. The main purpose is not for media usage. Battery Life - The battery life is not the best feature of the notebook. As has been discussed in other reviews. Obviously the battery life depends on the usage of the notebook, if you are using it to watch videos/listen to music or other media usages then it will be shorter than internet browsing or using office applications. The standard battery life is stated as 2.7 hours around 165 minutes. Disc Drive (Lack of) - Being a notebook, the Vaio doesn't have a disc drive. This was an issue at first, and to an extent still is. It took a while for me to remember it won't take a disc. This means the installation of software can be very difficult. Alot of suppliers these days offer an online downloading service. I used one of these to download Microsoft Office recently for £35.00 on special offer. You can buy an external drive if you are desperate, but these can cost an extra £40 or so. Specs Here is some boring, but important information: Processor Name Intel® AtomTM Processor N280 with Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology Processor Manufacturer Intel® Processor Speed (GHz) 1.66 L2 Cache (KB) 512 Frontside Bus (MHz) 667 Number of Cores 1 Memory Memory Size (GB) 1 Memory Speed (MHz) 533 Memory Type DDR2 SDRAM (1x1GB) Max. Supported Memory (GB) 1 Thats enough. If you want to know more, here is the website: http://www.sony.co.uk/product/vn-w-series/vpcw11s1e-w (I'm not sure what all of that means, but there is a gloassary on the Sony website link.) Extra Points Built in wireless connector 2 USB ports Headphone/Microphone In-built McAfee internet security suite Integrated Bluetooth Price The price I paid for the Vaio was £299.99 from my local Comet. I shopped around and all retailers seemed to be around this mark. It is always best to compare suppliers to see if you can find a better price elsewhere. For example, buying direct from a Sony Centre will cost you around £350. Overall Overall I would say that the notebook serves its purpose well. To be a small, portable and stylish device, still keeping a good amount of features. It works well at all times, however, can slow up considerably when a lot of windows are open and it is restarted, although this does happen with most laptops. My Opinion/Conclusion Personally, I think that this is a very good notebook and would recommend it to anyone looking to buy this, or something similar. It has all the features needed, looks good and is reasonably priced

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        • More +
          26.05.2010 23:15
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          A very different sound, for those who like to experiment.

          This is one of the latest CDs that I have bought, to add to my very small, but very diverse, collection of music. (One of the other recent additions being the "Back to the Old Skool" Garage CD.) The sound of seasick steve could not be further away from this if he tried. With most of his songs being played on a 3 string guitar. There is a lot of deep south country music influencing the sound. However it is also extremely unique. I have never head anything like it, and probably never will hear anything like it either. I must admit though it definitely would not be for everyones tastes. I would advise looking on youtube at a couple of live performances. I first saw him on Later with Jools Holland.. I thought he was amazing straight away, and very talented. I do think you have to see him perform to gain the full appreciation of his talents. The album is quite cheap and I got mine for roughly £7.20 from HMV with my student discount. Originally £7.95 I think. You can get it from a variety of stores and most music stores will be stocking it because of his recent performance on BBC2. When I bought mine I was told that it is quite popular at the moment. The Tracks - 13 altogether, and admittedly, some are better than others. But this is the same with any album. My favourite being Cut My Wings, Dog House Boogie, Hobo Low and My Donny (the track I saw performed on Jools Holland) The songs are very hard to describe and have a very alternative country sound and this comes through very strong in every single track on the album. Each track is heavily based around the guitar and vocal performance of Seasick Steve. With many of the songs sounding like they have a Blues influence, which I believe he does have. And has played for many years. The main track that illustrates this is Hobo Low - "There aint no lower than a hobo low" Overall though, throughout the duration of the album, there is a lot of variation. All being very different from each other, and each unique in their own way. The album artwork is very simple but looks good, and this theme keeps in line with what the style of music it is. I like the picture on the front cover. A small dog kennel made from broken lolly sticks and things. If you are interested in new music that is aside from the mainstream then i would advise looking into this CD. It is very different and strong and i wouldn't advise listening to it all the time as it can become quite grinding. But as something to listen to now and again, or something to show your friends i would definitely recommend it.

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          • Acoustic Energy Aego M / Speaker / 63 Readings / 55 Ratings
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            20.05.2010 00:13
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            Excellent speakers, if not a little pricey

            Introduction The Acoustic Energy AEGO M speakers comprise of three parts. One sub-woofer and 2 smaller speakers, all of them with a white body and black front. The two smaller speakers are designed to act as a left and a right sounds, similar to headphones, with the sub obviously offering the bass and middle sounds. Acoustic Energy is a company that specialises in hi-fi and speaker systems, the company was founded in 1987 in West London and has been producing award winning speaker systems since 1991, with the first speaker system the company ever produced - quite an achievement. More information on the company can be found on http://www.acoustic-energy.co.uk/About_AE/index.asp which is where I have found my information. The Product Appearance The particular set of speakers that I own are the white version, which I will go on to describe, however they are also available in black. The sub-woofer and the pair of peripheral speakers are all of the same design. A box with curved edges, the main unit, as I said is white and the speaker part is black. On the main unit there is the volume control dial with a red LED. It is a very simple sleek desing that looks very stylish. The minimal controls on the front enhance this design. On the back of the main unit you have the other changeable options. These are a "loudness" function and a bass setting (which there are 3 of). The other 2 parts of the system set are almost exactly the same as the main unit, however they do not have the control dial on. They also have a small slant at the back which means they sit at a slight angle, to give them extra sound projection. Sound *Sound Quality - With some speaker systems, the louder you have them, the more crackly they get and lose the quality they have at lower volumes. Sometimes we sacrifice sharpness of sound for loudness, however, with these speakers this certainly is not the case! No matter whether they are on very quietly or extremely loud they still hold the same quality of sound. You can hear every beat and note, every vocal and all of them are heard clearly. *Bass - There are 3 bass settings on the speakers, levels 1,2 and 3. Level 1 reduces the bass, level 2 is a medium setting, and believe it or not level 3 enhances the bass. This is one of the good features on this product as I found it useful to be able to change the settings depending on what type of music I am listening to, or even from song to song. The bass comes mainly from the sub-woofer but can also be heard from the other smaller speakers. *Melodies - The melodies can be somewhat overpowered when the bass setting is turned right up along with the loudness feature. However if you can get the settings right for your songs then there is no issue. The melodies, along with everything else, can be heard clearly. *Volume - As I mentioned before, the volume does not affect the quality of the sound. The volume control of the speakers is affected by 2 things. For example if I am playing music from my laptop, and turn the volume up on that, the volume through the speakers goes up. Also, by turning the speaker volume control clockwise, it has the same effect. Therefore, if the device you are playing from has a louder volume capacity then you do not have to turn the speakers themselves up as far. My laptop is the loudest device I have in my house, and I have only managed to play music where the speaker control is only halfway round - it was THAT loud!! I don't know quite how loud it does actually go, but at that time, my face was vibrating to the bass, as were DVDs on the wall and my can of coke on the floor. I will find out when nobody else is in, if I can survive it. *Overall - In conclusion, I think that the sound quality in general is excellent for all types of music and listening. They are useful for personal use, or for parties and there is no compromise on sound quality with increase in volume. All elements of songs can be heard and sound good, meaning that listening to your favourite songs can become even more enjoyable. Installation I have heard from a few sources, including the acoustic energy website that these speakers are easy to install. They are like most speakers that connect to a normal stereo, a set of wires for the right speaker and a set from the left - in this case they connect to the sub-woofer rather than a stereo itself. Now I would hardly call myself an expert in this area, but I know enough to connect a few wires in some speakers. Me and my brother undertook the task together, after briefly consulting the manual. (Its one of those where it has a picture of one thing a picture of another, a set of arrows and then it miraculously comes together, like a flat-pack wardrobe!) After struggling for about 20 minutes we finally got it to work properly, with all 3 speakers playing at one time. The installation itself is a simple task, I think it is just a case of making sure the right wires are in the right holes, and we probably got it wrong a few times before getting it right. Once this is done, you simply place the 2 peripheral speakers where you want them around the room. The connecting wires are quite long probably between 8-10 foot long, so you can place them almost anywhere in an average size room, with the sub-woofer acting as a hub for the sound in the centre. Once this is done, simply plug it in to a socket and your done. You can play music through them simply enough has they come with a normal jack that connects to the front of the speakers and a connector to plug into anything else you want. Cost The price of these speakers, and what a price it is, is extremely high in my humble opinion There are currently a few items for sale on ebay, ranging from around £45 (including p+p) to £130 for a new set. I think that if you hunt around a little further, you could probably find a good deal on a set that are second hand like I did. As you can see by the offers that ciao are showing they can range up to quite a high price. Mine were purchased from playtrade, they are also used. However, due to some damaged packaging they were considerably cheaper than anywhere else. Half the price in fact at £63.00. There is no damage to the speakers themselves, so this is an absolute bargain. I would advise trying to find a second hand set of speakers if possible, as a lot of people would not be able to spend a lot on this type of thing. My Opinion These speakers are essential in all my music listening now, before I had these speakers I just used to listen to music through my laptop. Being easy to set-up and the sound being absolutely amazing it makes the speakers absolutely worth it. They look stylish and aren't too big or imposing, so they will fit in most people's spaces. Whether that be a living room or bedroom - which is where I have mine. I wouldn't however recommend these speakers to the casual music listener, who just listens every so often. Between me and my brother we have them on all day every day, making them worth it! * My recommendation and final opinion on these speakers are that I would recommend them to anyone who listens to a lot of music, as well as watching films or gaming, as they are compatible with anything. The sound, especially the bass is absolutely immense, however, it can sound very "bangy" for the people in the next room/downstairs, so if you have company in the house who would object, I would not advise the strongest bass setting. If you would not use these speakers regularly then these are definitely not for you as there is no way that you would get your moneys worth on them. Overall, I will rate them at 10/10 for my usage.

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            • War (DVD) / DVD / 25 Readings / 23 Ratings
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              12.05.2010 00:33
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              A rubbish film, that I certainly will not watch again!

              Plot Basically, The Yakuza are running San Francisco. However the Triads have something to say about this. FBI Agent Jack Crawford (Jason Statham - Crank, The Transporter) has been put on the case to find the notorious mercernary killer Rogue (Jet Li - The Mummy 3, Romeo Must Die) . It seems Crawford has mixed feelings, both of duty and revenge, after his partner was killed, he believes by Rogue. The story untangles through a web of lies, deceipt and mainly killings. All is not as it seems and Rogue is instigating war between the two feuding gangs. You wouldn't be able to count the amount of cliches in the film if you used all your fingers and all your toes! Fast cars, naked women, corrupt cops, betrayals, chase scenes and fight scenes. None of them done to a particularly high standard! Characters * FBI Agent John Crawford - Jason Statham Crawford is the all singing all dancing hero of the film. He plays the "bad-cop" role, who has total disregard for the rules and will catch his man at any cost. (Cliche). His partner is killed by the Yakuza (namely Rogue) and he is out to seek justice and revenge, against both the man and the business. He is involved in a lot of the action, including some chase scenes and fight scenes with Rogue. I'm not sure where he is supposed to be from, this is a trait of Jason Statham though - What is that accent he has?!?! We are supposed to like Crawford, being the unconventional good-guy. But as the plot develops, we find out more about his character. Will he redeem himself? * Rogue - Jet Li Former CIA agent turned bad-guy. Another cliche to add to the list. He is a highly trained killer with expert use in a variety of weapons and fighting techniqes. It feels as though we are supposed to hold Rogue as a mysterious character, as not a lot is known about him. He is called a myth by many of the characters. He is the main "baddie" and is the vehicle for progression of the film. Not all is as it seems with Rogue, however, as the story progresses and unfolds, we understand why. There are a few other minor characters who we see. They are not really important to the story line. Most of them do not live very long for us to find out much about them. * Yakuza Boss - Sanagawa He is the most powerful man in San Francisco, controlling the Yakuza enterpirse from Japan. Rogue's master who is both instructing him and blackmailing him to perform hits. He orders one hit too far and gets what he deserves in the end. He is not in the film very much, but is talked about a lot by the other characters. Giving him a sense of mystery and power. * Kira Sanagawa The daughter of the powerful Yakuza boss. She doubles up as a beautiful killing machine. (Another cliche). She is sent to America to clear the way for the arrival of her father, one day she will take over the family business. In the final scene, we see her, still alive, and she has become the leader what is left of her legacy. (Hopefully this is not laying the foundations of a sequel!) What's wrong with it? In a word - everything, but I will have to be more detailed than that. Amazing discrepancies just to facilitate the story line: I wouldn't expect a film like this to have the most immense and gripping plot, and that there are always going to be points in the film that just don't add up. My main gripe though was in one particular scene. A bomb explodes in a room, killing all except one of the men inside. Coincidentally, the more important of the characters, who just so happened to also be the closest to the bomb. That was a bit of luck. These keep happening throughout the film and get very annoying. Another of the more annoying points is that apparently Rogue, and I quote "recuts his face every 6 months" therefore giving himself a new identity. Is that even plausable? Let alone possible? In one scene, we see Rogue driving his sports car along The Golden Gate Bridge, to one of the Yakuza boss's house. He is driving among some non-descript vehicles, however, for some reason I noticed 2 of them. A red car along side, and a black truck in front. The camera pans out giving us a wider scope of the view and to give the idea of travel. This scene happened around one third of the way through the film. In the final scene, there is a similar scenario, the same sports car being driven, along the same bridge, obviously this would be a few days/weeks later, depending on the film's timescale. There will be no prizes for guessing which 2 vehicles I noticed driving alongside the car... No familiarisation or personal feeling for the characters: Pretty self explanatory. I think that a film tends to be more successful when it creates a feeling for the characters. Whether that be empathy and hope for the main character or makes you despise the lead villain. War has none of this. I don't feel anything for any of the characters. Maybe sympathy for the actors, knowing that they have to live with themselves after making this film, but other than that, nothing! Predictable at times and unrealistic: As I have mentioned, the film is very predictable and extremely unrealistic. I hate watching films where you know what is going to happen. This is one such film. Nothing truly exciting or shocking happens to the plot, and there are few deaths or scenes that set the pulse racing. Ultimately you know the culmination of events will lead to a showdown between our 2 main protagonists. Boring, in all senses of the word. Some of the scenes are unbelievably predictable, even a blind man could see them coming. Jumpy without reason: There are a lot of instances involving flasbacks/flashforwards. These seem to be the director's attempt at trying to make a stylish film. However, these just do not work. They are completely unnecessary, usually used to facilitate the storyline, but in the case of War, just make it even more confusing. Even for a film veteran such as myself, I found it confusing to know who was killing who, who was doing the bribing and to be honest, what was going on in general. Level of acting is very poor: Nobody is pretending that the level of acting from anyone involved in this film is oscar-worthy. However, these actors are professionals, and as such I would expect at least a half decent performance. Again, I was not in luck. The worst culprit I felt was Devon Aoki (Dead Or Alive, Sin City) who plays the Yakuza boss's daughter, Kira Yanagawa. She is just very uninspiring and unconvincing in this role. Of course, Jason Statham is no Tom Hanks or Johnny Depp. Was there ANYTHING good? The fight scenes were O.K.: The fight scenes in the film were average, nothing spectacular or innovative, just average. They were well choreographed and I would expect good fight scenes from both Jet Li and Jason Statham. I was not overly impressed, but there has to be at least one minor good point. Price It can be found on www.play.com for £7.99. If you still want to buy it, begrudgingly here is the link: http://www.play.com/DVD/Blu-ray/4-/3516778/War/Product.html DVD Extras The extras that can be found on the DVD are as follows: *Director's commentary/Writers' Commentary Watching the film once, with the correct sound is bad enough, let alone watching it with the Director trying to explain what he has done. *Behind the scenes This is a behind the scenes tour, taking a look at the special effects and the sets. There are also a few small interviews with some of the cast members. *Scoring War This is a featurette describing how the music was composed for war. Why they chose a certain piece, where it fits how they did it and so on. Not really a memorable or important feature in my eyes. *Deleted/Extended Scenes Pretty much what they say they are. I am glad they are in the special features section, not the actual film. That would have meant I would have had to watch even more of it. My Opinion I think it should be obvious by now, that I didn't really enjoy the film. It was too mixed up and just didn't grip me in any aspects, whether it be the characters, plot or action. I was expecting more from the film, as I have enjoyed films by Statham and Li in the past, and the type of film it is can often be quite successful. Sadly it was not to be the case with War. I would not recommend this to potential buyers, however, if it is on tele, and there is literally nothing else on, then I guess you would have to watch it. It just seemed to lack in every aspect and it was one of the few films (another being Ghosts of Mars, also a Statham film) that I just wanted to finish and get to the end of. Highly disappointing. Extra Info Director: Phillip Atwell - No other films, 2 Episodes of "The Shield" and some rap videos. Released: 2007 Genre: Action/Crime Thriller Running Time: 103 mins IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 - Very generous! Mine would be closer to 2.6!

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              • Braindead (DVD) / DVD / 30 Readings / 27 Ratings
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                29.04.2010 12:52
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                An excellent film, with high levels of gore and comedy

                Braindead is a lesser known film directed by Peter Jackson, of Lord Of The Rings fame. The New Zealander directed this film in 1992, he is also credited with the screenplay writing, along with Fran Walsh (The Lord Of The Rings) and Stephen Sinclair (The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers). This is the first time the successful trio had worked together, the budget, concept and acting is a far cry from later success. But for what it is, Braindead is a very good film. Plot The plot for Braindead is very simple. It is not laced with intricacies and as complicated as more recent zombie/virus films such as 28 Days Later ir The Crazies. However, this simplicity is a benefit to the film, as it works well. The virus, in it's original host form is introduced in the opening scene of the film. The 'Sumatran Rat Monkey' has been captured by a group of explorers, to be sold on to a New Zealand zoo. From the first instance, you can tell the creature will be trouble, as there is an ensuing chase from some natives, some limb chopping and decapitation. These outbursts of violence and gore, are a sign of things to come, from this point, if you are squeamish, you will know the film is not for you. The main characters of the film are Lionel and his mother Vera, Lionel's love interest Paquita and towards the end, Unce Les. Lionel, played by Timothy Balme (no notable performances) is a mummy's boy, entrapped by his mother, who blames him for his father's premature death. He is a doting son, and is available at Vera's every beck and call. When the character of Paquita (Diana Penalver (no notable performances)), a local store employee is introduced into the mix, there is a battle for Lionel over his affections. This underlying love story, is important in the progression of the film. It is on a date, where Vera follows the young couple that she becomes the first victim of the virus. The Sumatran Rat Monkey bites, her, but she exacts her revenge. The film unfolds from here. Vera becomes drastically ill, with very funny, and very disgusting side effects. As with all films of this genre, she gains a lust for meat, namely, the human variety. More victims fall, while Lionel is trying to contain the outbreak and keep Paquita happy. Obviously, there is a culmination of events, leading to an extremely funny and epic final few scenes. With some outrageous parts in between. Lionel has to decide between his newly found love and the grip of his mother's love. Overall, the plot is pretty simple, but pretty good. It doesn't seem as though it is a horror exactly, more like a horror-comedy, in the same sort of style as Evil Dead, and more recently Drag Me To Hell (directed by Sam Raimi). There is not a lot to think about, as it is pretty obvious, however it suits the film perfectly. "Acting" The characters' performances in Braindead were distinctly average. It is no wonder that neither have had any oher notable successes in mainstream films. However, being a low budget film from the early '90s I wasn't expecting oscar-worthy acting from any of the characters. It seems as if many of the parts are being overacted on purpose. Graphics/Animation/Make-up The graphics and animation in the film are very primitive. They are a far cry from the CGI used in today's films. I believe the technical term is "claynimation". This technique was used in the original Clash of the Titans and the Evil Dead series. Again, given the budget, this is fitting and appropriate, I would not expect much in the way of animation. The make-up, on the other hand, is excellent (the majority at least). There are clearly masked and body suits used, but these are quite graphic and relatively realistic. It seems as though most of the budget was used on these. The zombie faces used for all the characters, although simple, they keep the characteristics of the original unchanged character, whilst adding gruesome features. In one instance, Vera's skin begins peeling and boils start popping, this doesn't look realistic by any stretch of the imagination, but, it is once again, suitable for the film. (Think Thriller). I rate the make-up and animation quite highly, when compared with similar films. Those who are used to the newer, high budget films would definitely not be satisfied, thinking it to be poor and primiive, not taking it for what it is. Gore There is A LOT of gore in Braindead, albeit not the most realistic you will ever see. It isn't gorey in the sense of a film like Saw, but more in a comedic manner. There is a lot of chopping/hacking off of limbs, decapitations, multiple killings and maimings as well as boil popping, skin peeling, cannabilism and blood spraying. Something for everyone in the gore department I would say. This over the top gore is something that I like, though it would be very off-putting for some people. As I have mentioned, I'm sure the budget didn't allow for an extensive amount of realistic gore, but what has been achieved, in my opinion at least, is brilliant. It is "laugh out loud" funny at some points, which is good, as it isn't meant to be taken too seriously. Funny Bits There are alot of funny bits in the film. A lot of them involving deaths, the following few points, are slightly spoiler-ish, but not really. *Kung-Fu Priest - There is a fight scene between the priest involved in the film and a group of 3 thugs. This is a very funny scene and has a sense of slapstick humour about it. *Zombie Sex Scene - Pretty self-explanatory. Zombies have urges after all. Again a very funny scene. *Zombie Baby In A Blender - Unprotected zombie sex, leads to a bastard zombie baby. And this baby certainly is a little bastard, he is less well behaved than some of the little bastards I see at work! Being mischievious and devious Lionel, must capture and kill him. Conveniently it fits in a blender, and a bloodbath ensues. *Lionel's Lawnmower - Picture the scene, a zombie house-party. Lionel, with his lawnmower and a mess of limbs, blood, guts and everything else flying around. One of the most memorable scenes of the film. Opinion Braindead is just the sort of film that I love, an older, low-budget, funny gore-fest. It is not the best film I have ever seen, but is easy to watch and entertaining. There are a lot of memorable scenes, many of which are unique. I have not seen anything like them in the vast catalogue of films I have seen. I would definitely watch it again, having already seen it twice. Recommended? Personally, I loved the film. I understand though, that it is certainly not to everybody's tastes. I would recommend this to people who don't mind watching a not too serious film, with a lot of gore and humour. For those who are used to more modern films it probably isn't worth watching. If you like Evil Dead, then this is for you!

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                • Them (DVD) / DVD / 21 Readings / 20 Ratings
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                  28.04.2010 00:40
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                  A decent film, not for all with the subtitles.

                  We just want to play. Why won't you let us play? General The film itself is gripping from the opening scene. Although not original (but what is these days) we see a mother and daughter duo in a car, suddenly realising something is in the road and swerving. The events and plot of the story unfold from here. The first scene of the film sets the standard for the rest of the film, it is intense gripping and quite scary. The dark setting and surroundings of a country lane, the noises used to create suspense, shaky camera facial close-ups and dramatic tension all get the heart racing. As far as opening scenes go in horror films, this is quite memorable. Although you do not see much in terms of the culprits or indeed the fate of the victim, I think it works really well to get the viewer in a state of suspense for the rest of the film. After the initial scene and first couple of killings, we are introduced to our two main characters, a young, working French couple living in a secluded country house in Romania, not far from the first incident in the film. They are Clementine and Lucas, played by Olivia Bonamy and Michael Cohen respectively. This introduction of characters, although important, seems to be a little slow after the fast paced introduction. The change in pace, still creates suspense, graphically reiterating the secdludedness of the couple's home. Idea The idea of the film, has been the plot of many successful, and I'm sure not so successful, films in the past. The couple, imprisoned in their own home, gradually tormented, scared, injured chased and trapped as the film goes on. The tricks and games get more severe as it progresses, from lights, taps and televisions turning on and off, to the appearance of the dark figured hooded culprit(s). The two main characters, being a couple, means they are more likely to do anything for each other, risking their own lives to save their love, this works well given the premise of the film. Character Performances The characters played by Olivia Bonamy and Michael Cohen are really the only main and noteable ones to appear in the film, apart from the vandals stalking them, which we rarely see. The parts of the terrified victims are played as well as can be by the two actors. They both show good signs of fear and panic throughout. I would hardly call the performances stunning, but neither were they disappointing. Cohen plays the brave, rather nonchalant boyfriend character well, whilst Bonamy's character of Clementine relies on him, she is also relatively fearless in her own right. The performances of the characters overall, are satisfactory, they add another good dimension to the film as they are very believable. I have nothing to compare these performances to, as the only other films the two have starred in are all French. However, think of any film that is similar and you have the comparison. Good and Bad Points One of the noteable good points of the film, is the excellent camera work. There are many instances throughout the film, where I was very impressed with the camera work. It is as though you are there with the couple, enduring every second of the anguish and torment they are experiencing. The use of lighting and angles are also exceptional, viewing important parts of scary scenes in first person, not knowing what to expect round the next corner. This, to me, is an integral part of any horror film, it increases the suspense tenfold. As with any film in this genre, certain liberties have been taken, obviously things like this only ever happen to those living in secluded, rural oversized houses. Also, where is it the offenders hide after playing their tricks. There never seems to be any sight of them once they have turned the light off behind the victim, or when you catch a slight glimpse walking past. These do however, have to be forgiveen, given the context of such a film. The film is subtitled, mainly in French but also with some Romanian. This would be offputting for some. Personally I don't mind them and think that it adds to the film. It's nice to watch a film like this once in a while, that doesn't have an English or American accent for a French character. The fear portrayed is the same in any language, and being a French film, with French writers, directors and actors, I am glad they kept it in the original language. My Opinion I thought the film was very good, I have now enjoyed watching it twice. The idea of the film is relatively different when you realise who the culprits are, originally I was shocked by this. Obviously, watching it again, I knew what was coming. The scenes are shot well and the acting is good. These factors combined, makes for a good film. Although the film is not original in itself, it is a successful concept that is done well. Recommended? I would recommend this film, to those who like others similar. It's not the best film in its class, but certainly isn't the worst either. It would be worth watching one dark evening, just to pass the time. This said however, if you are not a fan of subtitles, then you should avoid it, there is no English at all, I am not aware of an option on the DVD for dubbing instead of subtitles. The film is quite scary/jumpy in parts, well shot and well acted by the two main characters, making for an enjoyable watch. *Running Time: 77 minutes *Certificate: 15 *Writer(s)/Director(s): David Moreau and Xavier Plaid

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                  • Philips 15PFL4122 / LCD TV / 21 Readings / 21 Ratings
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                    23.04.2010 23:32
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                    A tidy little tele

                    This is quite a nice little tele. It fits in perfectly with a smaller than average bedroom. Doesn't take up too much space, and is still stylish and good to watch. APPEARANCE - It looks good with its stylish black with silver trim. Which tends to be the way that most flat screen televisons are going at the moment. With the remote for the tele keeping in theme with this. In both style and shape. Also, with the small round stand underneath, it gives it the extra height on a bedside table/desk. This is detachable and therefore the t.v can be attached to the wall. Which is another good feature of this kind of tele. It is a space saving factor and would also look very good mounted directly onto the wall or onto a bracket and stand. However, with the screen being quite small, it is probably not advisable to place it too far away from the bed/chair/sofa or whatever you would be on. Also, if this is done, buy a stand that pivets/rotates to aid visibility. The logo on the tele keeps with the style, being silver and located within the black body. This ensures that there is no distraction to the eye when the tele is on. This can also be said of the standby light. Being situated in the lower corner of the screen it is not noticable when there is a program on. It is green when the set is on, red on standby and off when the t.v. is completely off. The same as all other televisions. PERFORMANCE - When you are watching the tele, it is nothing special. Just an average picture. However, this may be affected by the aerial being used. The roof aerial that is in use on the set. Still, for a small set, it is still quite a good picture and is visible. However, as with all LCD screens, if you are at the wrong angle to watch it, it seems darker/lighter than it actually is. But overall the screen is good for watching most things soaps/general tele/sport/films. Although obviously its better to watch films on a bigger screen. The sound is very good quality. The inbuilt loudspeakers make much better sound that your normal/average television. However, i feel they are put to waste when you are just watching normal tele. I can think of better uses than Peggy Mitchell from Eastenders with loudspeakers. Its better for usage on things like Match of the Day or films. (Which the screen doesn't really facilitate.) It goes quite loud, but i never really go past 25 and have it on around 15 on average. This is the type of volume to have if there is someone in the room next to you and you don't want to disturb them. CONCLUSION - Overall it is quite a good tele for the price, and i would recommend it for people with small rooms or for parents of 10-13 year olds. This is because it is still stylish, but easy to use. It also won't encourage too much television watching. I have found that it is a good television and have had no problems with it at all so far.

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                  • Doomsday (DVD) / DVD / 38 Readings / 37 Ratings
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                    19.04.2010 18:58
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                    An alright film to pass the time, but not the best in it's class.

                    The Plot The Reaper Virus destroys life as we know it in Scotland, namely Glasgow, destroying all elements of human life. With martial law being declared, meaning the country becomes under military control and run by the army, the country goes into widespread panic. Understandably, trying to escape. However, with the army ahead of them and the virus behind them, they do not have anywhere to go. After some mayhem and panic we skip forward to the year 2035 in London. The country has gone into recession with hundreds of thousands homeless and unemployed in the capital alone. The reaper virus has reached London and a crack team, lead by our heroine must enter Scotland to find a cure. This is where the action happens. I am not going to recite anymore of the plot, however there are a couple of twists and turns throughout the film. With lots of action sequences and some scenes trying to be funny. The plot generally rests on the questions, can the team survive? And can they find the cure? The Setting The film is set in the future (2035), however at the beginning when this comes up, it does say "NOW" underneath, perhaps trying to suggest that this could happen. This is a feeling that I get with films set in the future, a lot of them try to suggest that this could happen. I would say this is true of Doomsday, as it does play a little on the current economic crises in our country. The majority of the film is played out in Glasgow and it's surrounding areas, with some sub-plots being shown in London. Scotland has become a post-apocolyptic, derelict, dystopian wasteland (so it hasn't changed much...) and is now ruled by the survivors of the virus who have returnd to their primal beginnings. In London, there is widespread panic and we are shown the gratuitous landmarks such as The o2 Arena, Oxford Street and Leicester Square, being shadows of their former glory. The majority of the film is set during the rain and at night time, this gives us the sorts of feelings that these tend to bring, such as fear, apprehension and danger. However, during one of the turning points of the film it is very sunny, (this bit can't have been filmed in Scotland, although that is where it is set). The sun brings a glimour of hope and success for our characters.The setting for this film, and indeed this genre of film is definitely very apt and suitable. It brings about the right emotions at the right time, the fact it is set 25 years in the future makes us think, this could happen, as it is not too far away. Overall i would say the film does well with the setting. Good Points and Bad Points Good Points *Action sequences - The action sequences in the film are well played out, fast paced and shot well. Often the build of of suspense before makes it slightly obvious what is going to happen, however there are often humerous twists in the scenes that are unexpected. These make them much more enjoyable, rather than the cliche sequences, with deaths, explosions and fast pace chases. The car chases in the film are probably the most action packed, and the majority of them also contain witty one-liners. *Concept/Plot - Although this concept and plot is far from original, there is enough of a difference to make it feel that way. We, as the audience, do not feel as if it is the same old story that we have seen time and time again. The virus is slightly different to those of other films, however I must admit, that there are a few holes in how the virus is transmitted, but I let this slip for the purpose of the film. The plot, is divided into different aspects and different peoples stories. Almost playing out the same sequence from different characters' point of view. It is not filmed like this, but we do see enough of each character to understand what they are feeling and thinking about the situation. *Comedy - One of the funnier lines in the film is "[upon seeing someone wearing knight's armor riding up to them] You don't see that every day." Said by the main character Eden. To understand this fully you would need to know the context of the film, just consider that it is set in the year 2035. Admittedly, this doesn't seem that funny written on the page, but it is in the film. The humour in the film is quite dark at times and cuts the seriousness of the film very well. The film is riddled with humorous scenes throughout, and are one of the more enjoyable parts of the dialogue. Bad Points *Script - The script in the film is pretty poor to be honest. There is not a lot of dialogue, other than the normal shouting and ordering that comes with these sorts of films. Considering that there are a lot of military based scenes this is to be expected. However, when we do here a little bit of dialogue and conversation it does not have a lot of depth at all, we do not feel involved in the conversations. The scenes do tend to drag quite a lot. The only good points are the witty one liners, which in some cases are not that good. *Continuity - This means how each scene continues on from one another and whether or not previous things have still taken their effect. For example, in a car chase, if the car gets crashed into one scene, does it still have it's damage? These sorts of things are much more noticable when you watch a lot of films. Doomsday definitely falls down on this point. One scene where the team cross the border into Scotland, the window-wipers are going on the vehicle (as it is raining heavily) however, the camera cuts back and we see on both vehicles neither of the window wipers are going. To me, i find this annoying as it is so simply recognised and fixed that it becomes a major issue for me. There is also a few more instances, like in the car chase mentioned previously. The Bentley Continental GT, gets scratched up and crashed into, but every time we see it again, it is glistening and gleaming with immaculate paintwork. The continuity of the film however, would not be noticed as much by people who do not watch as many films, so it possibly would not be so much of an issue for some people. Cast and Characters *Eden Sinclair - Played by Rhona Mitra (The Number 23/Get Carter) - This is our main character and heroine, we are first introduced to her when she is a child in Scotland, fleeing the Reaper virus with her mother. During the mayhem at the border, she loses an eye to a flying piece of shrapnel, but is resuced by an army helicopter. The fact that she loses an eye plays out and is climaxed at the end of the story. She is a powerful character, and indeed a powerful woman. She is the commanding officer sent to try and find a cure in Scotland for the newly infected London. She is fearless, independent and uncompromising in everything she does, making a perfect lead character for the film. *Bill Nelson - Played by Bob Hoskins (Outlaw/Maid In Manhattan) - We do not see too much of his character, however he is very important. He is obviously the father figure to Eden, that she has lacked since her chilhood, and there is a strong bond between the two. He is the do-gooder and the one with the strong prinicples and morals who balances out what is going on with other characters in the film. *Michael Canaris - Played by David O'Hara (The Departed/Hotel Rwanda) - The evil character who is in the film to play on our moral consciences. The general "bad guy", this is one of the more convincing performances of the film. The character of Canaris is played very callously and meticulously. *Dr. Kane - Played by Malcolm McDowell (Heroes/A Clockwork Orange0 - Kane is the doctor, and leader of the post-virus community in Falkirk. He is the target for the team in Scotland as it is believed that he has found a cure for the virus. *Sol - Played by Craig Conway (The Descent/Dog Soliders) - The rebel leader in Scotland and the main "baddie" of the film. He seems virtually insane and is played very well by Conway. I cannot say too much about his character without giving too much away about him. He is a charasmatic leader and has devoted followers who will do everything he says. Additional Information Certificate: 18 Running Time: 105 mins/113 mins (uncut version) Language: English Director: Neil Marshall (The Descent/Dog Soldiers) - The film has the same sort of feel as Dog Soldiers, although it is quite scary, and there is a lot of acton and violence, there is also alot of humour. My Opinion I enjoyed this film quite a lot and in some respects found it similar to other British films of this type, namely 28 days and 28 weeks later. The differences being the virus in Doomsday does not alter it's victims, it simply demolishes and kills everything in their body. I enjoyed all the action sequences that we were treated to and the special effects/make-up involved, making the stranded population looks very realistic and primal. This film definitely appeals to my tastes, as I like a lot of gore and action, however, obviously this is not for everyone. I can see why it has it's 18 certificate.I would recommend for people to go and see this film if they liked others such as 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, as it has a similar feel to it. However, if you are squeamish, or scared easily then this definitely is not the film for you. I enjoyed the film a lot and it was a lot better than I thought it would be. I will definitely be buying this on DVD when it comes out. If you like Dog Soldiers, also directed by Neil Marshall, then you would definitely like this film, as it has the same sort of feel to it. Overall this film deserves an 8/10 from me, because of all the action and graphicness of deaths, however being let down by the script and the continuity the film does not live up to its full potential.

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                    • Taken [2008] (DVD) / DVD / 45 Readings / 44 Ratings
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                      15.04.2010 17:10
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                      Overall, an enjoyable film, which I would watch again.

                      Taken stars Liam Neeson as its main character, Bryan. He is a "retired" U.S. Government secret agent. He referred to himself in the film as a preventor. Divorced from his wife, he longs to be a part of his daughters life again. This is part of the reason he decided to retire. Shortly after her 17th birthday party, she, and her mother, seek Bryan's permission for her to visit Paris with a friend. After some persuasion he gives her permissinon, as long as she abides by 3 conditions. She stays in contact being one of them. Given the nature of his previous career he is very cautious, and somewhat paranoid. After not hearing from his daughter, he rings her, just at the right moment. Her and her travelling partner are kidnapped. From here, the story unravels, containing various fight scenes involving Neeson and gang members, chase seqeuences (both foot and vehicle) and lots of clever tricks from his character. The premise of the film, is a father, trying to save his daughter's life, doing whatever it takes no matter what the cost. The film's plot, taps into many people's worst fears. Being taken. Especially in a foreign and unfamiliar land. Certainly, this is a massive fear of many members of the fairer sex that I know. Being only 17 Kim, played by Maggie Grace, falls into this category. The way this is portrayed is very good. The initial fear upon being taken, shown in the young character of Kim is excellent. Not only does she have to be kidnapped herself, she also witnesses it happenning first hand to her friend. The plot, as a whole is very good in my eyes. Obviously, they need to have a few things added to facilitate it slightly, like the fact Bryan is an ex secret agent, if he was a bin-man, it would not be such an exciting film. However, it does progress quickly, and you are completely taken in by the action. As Bryan finds himself heading deeper and deeper into the criminal underwolrd of Paris, you are wlling him to find his daughter. With the plot developments, we are introduced to new characters, some being associates of Bryan in the past, others, being his enemy. The line between the two does start to fade as the film goes on. Given his previous career however, Bryan knows not to trust anyone. He is a very intelligent man, and clearly knows lots of "tricks of the trade" to help him along the way. One of these skills is his fighting prowess. He is a very adept fighter and this is shown on many occasions. He is constantly breaking people's arms, ribs necks, stabbing them, shooting them, strangling them and in one scene torturing them. He is determined to find his daughter, and will use all the skills he has used to get her back. The camera work in these fight scenes (and all action scenes in general) is very good. The Director, Pierre Morel, has done a very good job, constantly moving the camera to flow with the action, creating even more suspense and drama. In "Le Making Of" a documentary, that can be found in the extras of the Hardcore Extended Edition. The main actors, Neeson and Grace, pay tribute to Morel, and how good he was to work with. Morel himself, operated the camera in some of the pivotal scenes of the film. I found the camera work throughout the film to be excellent, and of a very high level. The only part I didn't like, was a car scene. Just a gentle ride to the airport towards the beginning of the film. This was clearly "green-screen". Now in this day and age, why can't they make it look real? If this were the case in Taken, I would have given the camera-work full marks. Another of the excellent things to be aided by the camera-work was the choreographed fight scenes. As I mentioned, Bryan is a very good hand-to-hand combatant. Overall, the fight scenes were choreographed very well. The main disappointment for me, is the same with all action-orientated films. There is only so much punishment the heroes of the films can take. This must be the reason why all "baddies/henchman" are the worst shot in the world. You would think, having dealings in the criminal underworld, they would be able to shoot and have decent aim. There are quite a few scenes, as with most action films, involving shootouts. Neeson's character, could be outnumbered 10-1, him having a pistol, and the others, semi-automatic weapons and he still comes out as the victor. I understand that there is an argument that this shows extra skill and ability from the hero, and agree to a certain extent that he is an expert in his field. However, it just seems unlikely, that nobody can shoot him. The special features that can be found on this DVD are "Le Making Of". This is what it says it is. It is quite interesting, featuring interviews from Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Pierre Morel (who speaks in French. Subtitles advisable, unless you are, or speak French). The next added extra is "Avant Premiere", it is a short featurette, taking a look behind the scenes at the premiere of the film in France. There are short interviews with Neeson, Morel and Luc Besson (The Writer). It is an ok snippet, but nothing spectacular, worth watching once, but probably not again. The best of the special features, in my opinion is a behind the scenes/alternative view of some of the main action sequences in the film, it is called "Inside Action - Side By Side Comparisons". This is very interesting as it shows how the stunts are performed. In the final cut of a film, the scenes are well olied and flow perfectly, but when you see behind the scenes filming, you get a glimpse, that its not always so easy and perfect. Although it is good to watch, if you press "play all" it does seem to drag a little bit towards the end. Another thing I did like about this feature, is that they the scenes went in order of the film, and did not just jump about. I would recommend this film to those who like action films. Once it gets into it, the film moves along at a fast pace with lots of exciting scenes. Playing on fear, the plot works well and I enjoyed watching it. It is not the most imaginitive of films, however it is quite easy to watch. If you are scared easily, or have a fear of being kidnapped then I would definitely not advise watching it as the graphicness will hit home. *Running Time: *Certificate: 18 *Price: £4.99 (Amazon/HMV)

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                      • More +
                        09.04.2010 22:10
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                        An interesting read.

                        The book "Fightinf For Queen And Country" is written by a former Paratrooper and SAS soldier, Nigel "Spud" Ely. It follows his exploits throughout his army career, from training in Aldershot to the Falklands War and Gulf War. During these times he makes many new freinds and encounters countless enemies. Spud has written this book in such a way that we feel as though we are one such friend, sitting together in a pub. He recalls the accounts in first person and in a very informal way, as if he were conversing with us, the reader, thus making a fairly easy and very enjoyable read. The fact that this book is written in a very personal manner helps the reader to envisage the scenarios that Spud depicts so vividly. He is both very descriptive and very colourful in the language he choses to use. As you would expect, his former profession being as it was, there is quite a lot of swearing in the book. I know that this would be an off-putting feature for some, however, if you take into consideration the usage, and scenarios and put it into context within them it is completely understandable. If you had 250 of the enemy, trying to kill you from 100m away, imagine what you might come out with?! To me it adds to the graphic realism portrayed throughout, again giving it a much more personal feel. Alot of the swearing in the book is mainly quoted or arises during extremely heated situations or sometimes both. (Explicitness ranges from the word "twat" to"the 'C' word, and includes almost everything in between). Swearing aside, the book is written very well. As I have mentioned, with it being written in the first person it means the reader can imagine the situations very easily. I have often felt as though I have been plunged into the very battle or training exercise being described! This is a very important aspect of any book. If the author cannot develop a level of involvement with their readers, then, in my eyes, they have been unsuccesful in their task. Spud, has delivered a massive amount of tension and suspense throughout the whole of the book. His very personal, anecdotal way of writing seems to be the main driving force behind this. The book itself is split into two parts. After the introduction and preface, there is part 1 which includes his training days and initial application to join the SAS as well as a chapter each on his tour of Northern Ireland and the invasion of the Falklands. The second part, which is the longer of the two, contains 10 chapters in total. These chapters in general, are not as long as those in the first part. They include an account of Spud's involvement in The Lybian Embassy Siege, with other chapters talking about some of the more minor operations he has been on. The content of the book is excellent. There are a lot of gripping stories contained within the chapters, keeping the reader entertained throughout. Although the majority of the book comes from Spud, recollecting what happened there are instances in the chapter "Napalm And The Ridge Of Death" (a chapter about various battles in the Falklands) where some other members of his platoon give their memories.The extracts from the viewpoints of Dick, Greg and Bob give an interesting and alternative view to Spud's predicaments. Often they are different angles on the same event that Spud will have previously described. This makes for very interesting reading, as it can often seem one sided. I think the book would benefit greatly from more extracts like this. The memories from his friends gave extra insight into the situations, oftem with 2 or 3 of them mentioning the same exact detail, but each having a completely different take on it. For me, this was the biggest disadvantage of the book. The views of the events, can often seem very one sided. Although it is rivotting to read and genuinely exciting, in parts it can become slightly boring and repetitive. The extra viewpoints would help to stop this. They would also help the reader to understand and believe how genuine the events actually are. It always seems as though Spud manages to get into more situations than anyone else. Eye witness accounts would help to back-up these stories and get rid of the small feeling of exxageration. I would like to note that I am sure if I read accounts from 100 other veterans that they would each have their own exciting stories to tell, and I in no way wish to undermine the heroism displayed throughout the book. However, having read various other books of a similar nature (including Band Of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers by Stephen E. Ambrose and Tank Warfare In World War II by George Forty I feel that the addition of various other peoples' accounts, in some places, would make for a better read. As it is, I would recommend the book to people who like this sort of literature. Perhaps if you have read other factual books, based on eye witness accounts this would be a good addition to the collection. It could also appeal to those who enjoy fiction books on a similar category. Although there is no specific plot or developments it is very well written and exciting. Overall, I found it to be an exciting book an enjoyable read which was gripping from start to finish. ISBN: 9781857822168 Pages: 344 Price: £2.99 (My copy purchased from The Works(Cover price £7.99))

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                        • Diesel DZ1091 / Watch / 19 Readings / 19 Ratings
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                          08.04.2010 01:32
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                          An excellent watch.

                          *****Introduction***** After a long thought process about what I wanted as a main present from my girlfriend for Christmas, i finally made the decision that i wanted a watch. Originally I wanted one with a metal strap, then decided that leather was more suitable and we kept looking round different jewellers for suitable watches. In the end we found one in H.Samuel in Watford. Unfortunately they didn't have any of this particular watch (The DZ-1091), however it was ordered to their store in Bluewater to be picked up, whilst my girlfriend was visiting. The main specifications I wanted on this watch was to be analogue (as opposed to digital), with a numbered face and to be slightly different and noticable. I definitely got what I asked for there. *****The Product Appearance***** The watch has a square face, which is made of solid stainless steel, (as it says on the back). It is roughly just over an inch from top to bottom, as well as across the face. The stainless steel connects to the leather strap on each corner, as you can see in the picture, by protruding from the main body of the watchface, and is once again, geometric in shape. Although the watchface is square, it is not sharp looking, the edges are curved slightly and this makes it look and feel very smooth. On the bottom right of the watchface, where the stainless steel connects to the leather there is a very small, neat and precise engraving of the Diesel logo. This logo can also be found on the small dial on the right hand side of the watchface, that is used to change the time. (A feature i used last night to put the time forward an hour). This dial has small ridges spaced evenly around the circumference of it. When i was trying to pull it out to change the time, I found it to be very hard and couldn't do it. In the end i had to use my teeth to pull it ever so slightly, therefore enabling me to change the time. Once it was out the watch stopped and I could change the time, quickly, smoothly and easily. The leather strap on my watch is black. However I do believe that it also comes in brown. Along one side of the strap there are 9 holes, so that the buckle can go through and be fastened. This means that a variety of people are able to wear it as it is adjustable to many sizes. I have to have it on the tightest setting to prevent movement, and it is comforablt for me. The other side of the strap, sports 2 loops of leather, to hold any excess strap once the watch is done up. This means that it is a smoother loop around your wrist once it is being worn. One of the loops moves along the strap and the other is fastened next to the buckle. Again, with this being fully adjustable it means that there is more comfort for whoever is wearing it. Whether it be a larger or smaller wristed man. The buckle is again made of stainless steel, as engraved on the back. It is rectangular in shape, and is slightly wider than the leather strap, but not quite as wide as the watchface. It is quite thin, but seems as if it is very stable and secure to the leather strap the company name "Diesel" is engraved ontp the bottom edge of the buckle. It rotates fully and can rest on both the back and front of the leather strap, as can the stainless steel pin part of the buckle. It is perfectly sized to fit through the holes on the opposite side of the strap. Now, I have mentioned the watchface a million times already, but i haven't said anything about it!! Well here is the information I know you have been longing for. The watchface itself is obviously round, encased in the square stainless steel. There are no numbers from 1-12, however it does have the 24 hour clock denominations running along the inside of the lines. i.e. 13-24. Each minute is indicated by a small line, which is black, and therefore in keeping with the colour of the rest of the watch. Every 5 minutes there is a silver line which looks to be raised slightly, and these are bigger than the minute lines. Again, the colour theme is kept, as is the style. The part of the watchface that stands out the most is the number 3. It is on a slightly lower level that the rest of the watch, this is because it is 3D. It gives the watch a whole new characteristic and looks very stylish. I have never seen anything like this before. With just the one number being like this it means that the watchface is not overcrowded, or flooded with detail. However there is that extra something that gives it the difference that i was originally looking for. This lower section is divided by a black slope, with a silver line through it running parallel to the top and bottom sections of the watch, and the word "Diesel" in the middle. Again, this gives the watchface a bit of a modern edge. It looks very stylish. As you can see from the picture. Overall, the watch looks very stylish and modern, which is something that I like alot. With the black and silver colourway running through the whole of the watch it means that everything compliments everything else very well. 10/10 for looks in my eyes. *****Time Telling***** Obviously the most important aspect of any time telling instrument, is how well it tells the time. There is not much that I can really say about this, as a second is a second and a minute is a minute on any watch or clock. However, with this watch it looks as though the second hand finishes ever so slightly before each of the minute lines. (Which, as standard act as second lines aswell). This seems to me to be a manufacturing error, however, does not detract from the time telling at all. The minute and hour hands lie directly on the lines where necessary. The second hand is not a smooth movement like in some watches, it jolts and stops for each second and does not make any kind of noise. The other day, whilst I was at work, for some reason the watch had become 30 minutes fast. I have no idea how this happened, as I am sure i didn't change it. It hadn't happened before, and it hasn't happened since, but if it does become a regular occurance then i will edit my review. I thought that it should be put in, just as a prior warning. But then again, why would it just go forward 30 minutes by itself?? (This has not happened again, so it must have been my fault somehow (April 07 2010) The time is visible from quite a distance and I do not have to squint or hold my arm up very far. I can just take a quick glance to view it. I think this is helped by the dominance of the number 3. This is good, because it means that you can just look at the time quickly. You can also view it in the dark/at night. This is because at the tips of both the minute and hour hands, there are glow in the dark strips. I have found that these have become more visible over time. This is a good feature, because if you have no other means of looking at the time. You know your trusty, clever little watch will not fail you. *****Comfort***** The leather is a bit hard at first, but as with all leather products, once it has been worn for a while it gets broken in and then becomes much more comfortable. At first the strap felt a little bit rigid, but now it feels perfect and is very soft on my skin. The stainless steel causes no discomfort and the watchface is just the right size so it doesn't aggrevate or interfere with my hand movements at all. As I mentioned before, there are different holes for the buckle, so this means that it is likely to be comfortable for everyone. This is the first watch that i have owned. (Since a talking Power Rangers one when i was about 8). At first it irritated me being on my wrist, but this is because i was not used to it. Now, I am so used to it like to wear it, as it has worn very well. *****Price***** My watch cost around the £80/85 mark i believe, but as it was a gift I cannot be certain. However it is currently retailing around $80-$100. I could only find it on American websites, and it seems to be hard to find. Perhaps E-Bay would have them. Either way, it seems as if the price has depreciated since I got it, however the pound is now a lot stronger against the dollar. Who knows. It was definitely well worth the £80ish that was paid for it though. After receiving a comment I decided to do some more in depth searches for a DEFINITE price for the watch. Here are my results http://www.buy.com/prod/dz1091-diesel/q/loc/64934/205682273.html Sold Out with a price of $85. http://www.amazon.com/Diesel-dz1091-DZ1091/dp/B000IQ7J2I Sold Out, with no price listed and no stock expected. I also searched ebay with no luck, however similar watches by Diesel were going for between £60.00-£75.00 on buy it now. *****Conclusion***** Overall I think that this watch is suitable for the younger man like myself, however, I would also say that it is suitable for the older man aswell, as it looks stylish, is easy to view and it is likely to be comforable for everyone. It is a good timepiece and i am very pleased with it. If you want something stylish but still practical, then this is a good watch. *****Extra Information***** Brand Name: Diesel Model number: dz1091 Part Number: aldz1091 Dial window material type: Crystal Clasp: Buckle Case material: Stainless Steel Band material: Leather Band length: men's standard Movement: Quartz Water resistant depth: 30 Meters Warranty Type: Manufacturer's (http://www.amazon.com/Diesel-dz1091-DZ1091/dp/B000IQ7J2I) Also on Ciao.

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                          • More +
                            01.04.2010 17:22
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                            An amazing film, which is a classic.

                            The film One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest has got to be one of the all time greatest films ever made. This is my opinion, probably the opinion of many others and certainly, of the critics and fans in the year of it's release (1975). The film won 5 oscars, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher), Best Director (Milos Forman), Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The plot of the story is based mainly around Nicholson's character R.P. McMurphy (Mac). He is transferred from a State Prison, to a nearby mental institute. Not understanding the reasons for this, and knowing that his release date is upcoming, he decides to have some fun. Both with the patients and staff. This includes, various escape attempts, gambling rings and parties. Mac makes many friends in his time in the institute, and the storyline predominently revolves around his relationship with them. The way in which the relationships develop, is scripted, shot and acted immaculately. Each of the characters, whether they are major or minor, demands that you acknowledge them, yet they do not overpower one another. Throughout the film, I was aware of each and every character. Something I that I am not used to, as many fringe characters can fade away into the background as their roles diminish. Each of them has something different to offer, and as each of them has some sort of mental illness or issue there are some quite funny characters and moments. Before the arrival of Mac, the main group of patients are in dissarray, constantly having petty arguments with one another, however this soon changes as he brings them together as a group of friends. This is mainly shown through the many group therapy sessions, held by Nurse Ratched. The character, played by Louise Fletcher, is the main anti-protagonist of the film, Mac's counterpart. She demands order, whilst he attempts to wreak havoc. The two counterbalance each other perfectly, and it is no wonder they both won Oscars for their performance. Mac's relationship, develops with all of the characters, some more than others. He is the catalyst in the start of a better life for each of the patients, and the source of anger and in some cases entertainment for the staff. As previously mentioned the reltionships between the characters seem totally genuine, as they are each portrayed perfectly. There is a major development throughout, not just from Nicholson's character, but with all of them. Martini, for example, played by Danny DeVito becomes more extrovert as the film progresses and is much less of a recluse. Confidence also comes to other characters, including Cheswick and Chief, two of the characters Mac's influence makes a massive difference to. It is a tribute to all the actors, that their characters have been portrayed in such a believable manner. The plot, although it takes a while to develop properly, is very good. It doesn't have the traditional twists and turns, though there are small diversions, it just keeps on developing. I have not read the original 1962 book, from which it was adapted, but the film seems as if it has taken a lot from it. The way in which it keeps on developing, is generally something I would associate more with literature. It works very well in the film though. The only real twist comes towards the end. With Mac pushing Nurse Ratched to her absolute limits. As I have mentioned, there are continual developments in both characters and plot. This all adds to how well the film is made. The main point to the plot is the battle of wills between Mac and Nurse Ratched. They are both big characters in their own right. Ratched, being the dictator-like ward sister and Mac being the rebel. Two characters destined to clash. Ratched doesn't like the fact that Mac has given the other characters a new lease of life, she seems to feel threatened by him. The director portrays this beautifully with a lot of close up shots of Nurse Ratched's face. The ways that her eyes and facial expressions change do not need to be aided by a script, they simply tell the story in their own right! Ultimately, the battle of wills has to have a victor, and we are compelled to want Nicholson's character to prevail. With Mac being the hero, bringing joy to the lives of his newly found friends and also finding friends of his own. But Ratched's regime is well established, and the other patients are torn with their loyalties. I think that One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a "feel good film" in disguise. We, as the audience, are touched, by the friendships and frailties of the characters. It is not generally the sort of location you would imagine to find such friendships, but there is something so touching about all of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the film from start to finish. (The biggest tribute I can give to this film, is on a personal level. I have now been with my girlfriend for over 3 years, therefore, watching our fair share of films, she had not managed to stay awake for the duration of any, until now. Given that we would generally watch a film lasting 90 minutes, and this lasts over 2 hours, it is a massive achievement. That, to me at least, shows how good this film really is!) Overall, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is an amazing film. There is an endearing relationship between all of the characters, and essentially, this is what the story revolves around. The plot is portrayed perfectly, both through the acting and directing, and with an immaculate performance from Nicholson adding to the film's credentials, the film is a massive success all round. With a plot that does not so much twist, but continually develops it keeps you interested and watching for the duration. I would definitely recommend this film to everyone, it is worth buying without a doubt. The extras found on the disc are. * Cast and Crew List * Memorial to Scatman Crothers (The actor playing on of the main members of staff) * A 13 Year Effort (Short featurette describing how long the film took to make) * Casting * On Location Generally, if a film is average, I would not recommend to watch the extras. However, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is not an average film, and the extras are definitely worth a watch. Duration: 133 mins Best Price Online: £6.89 from www.sendit.com Released: 1975 Certificate: 18

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                            • Prezzybox.com / Online Shop / 48 Readings / 47 Ratings
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                              31.03.2010 16:56
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                              A good site to check for prezzies at that time of year

                              .I used this website recently, as i was browsing the internet for presents for Valentine's day. It was one of the top results after my search in google. So i thought it must be quite good and popular, although i had never heard of it before. The website itself was quite well layed out and easy to navigate. Which i feel is one of the most important features of this kind of site. Obviously it is beneficial for them aswell, because if the customer cannot find what they are looking for the company is likely to lose the sale. Anyway, i managed to use the site very easily. There are clearly marked sections and links to relevany pages which i found very useful. There was a Valentine's section, with some suitable gifts in that i used. Which again was easy to find. There must always be a link to the main seasonal gifts, as there is now a mothers day section on the front page. I may be using this site again for that. One of the other good feature sections that i noticed was the "browse by price" option. Which, if you are working on a budget, is very helpful. It means that you may still be able to find something special, that you didn't realise you could afford. Again, this section is very easy to navigate, layed out clearly and very informative - as are all the sections i browsed through. If you do not use the "browse by price" option then some of the gifts can be very expensive. I don't know if this is in general, or just the prices on this site. However, the delivery charges i feel are very reasonable. With the option of express or standard delivery. Obviously depending on how organised you are or how quickly you want the item. This is good, because with some sites you can be waiting for a while for an item, and by time it gets there it might be too late. My item was received very quickly, within the same week that i ordered it, so from what i can tell the delivery times are accurate and reliable, but i wouldn't make that claim 100% because i have only ordered once. As for the range of gifts, it is very vast, ranging from massage and home treatment sets to chocolates, toys, teddies and books. It is quite likely that no matter who you are looking for, you would be able to find something they would like, and more than likely it would be in your price range, so long as again you use the "browse by price" option. Overall i would use this website again and would recommend it to other users. It isn't perfect and some of the links can be small but on the whole it is easy to navigate and worth taking the time to look at. Review can also be found on Ciao, with the same username.

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                            • Pathfinder (DVD) / DVD / 26 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                              31.03.2010 13:52
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                              An okay film, with better historical epics out there.

                              *****The Plot***** WARNING, contains some spoilers. The story follows a Viking boy who was a member of the first exploratory force to America from the Vikings. 600 years before Christopher Colombus, as the film states in it's introduction. The scene is set quite well with his childhood being introduced in the format of a dream, after he is rescued from certain starvation on an abandoned Viking ship. This dream shows his fellow kin slaughtering innocent, defenceless and helpless Native Americans. His father, the Viking leader, instructs him to slaughter a young girl. Which he refuses to do. This instance in the film is very graphic as it show a lot of blood coming from the girl's head, as her skull is smashed in from the Viking king's blade. This sort of scene is recurrent throughout the duration of the film. Malice, gruesomeness, heartlessness, realism and brutality feature all the way through the film. The fact that the child refuses to do this, and takes the punishment, shows us that he is something alot different and is special. He grows up to become Ghost, the main character. His uniqueness follows him through the film. A viking, living with and raised by Native Americans, his appearance may be different, however his beliefs and ideals are the same, as we see towards the end of the film. This is illustrated after the second Viking force invades and Ghost fights against them to protect both the people he loves, and those that love and have protected him. The plot does not have a lot of depth to it and is not exactly gripping, however, it does develop steadily enough to mantain interest. It is slightly predictable, one man saving his race of people and winning the love of a beautiful woman is not the most original storyline in the world, though it does seem to be a successful one. It is a bit of a cliche. The fact that there are quite a few graphic action and fight sequences makes up for this fact and without these it would not be as successful. As well as this, the ending to the storyline is also quite disappointing. It is almost, "and they lived happily ever after". There are twists and turns, showing the fickleness of the Vikings, as they will kill anyone, including their fellow invaders to gain what they want. This is shown in a couple of instances, however, does not strengthen the plot at all. Overall, the plot is weak and thin, being repetitive at times, moving along at a steady pace, with a few good action scenes. Not amazing, however, interesting enough. *****DVD Extras***** Commentary by Director Marcus Nispel - This is pretty self explanatory. The director commentates throughout the duration of the film on why he decided to shoot in a certain way, and what scenes mean. Deleted Scenes - A selection of 7 deleted scenes from the film. In this section you can chose whether or not to have the commentary on from the director. Who explains why the scenes were not kept in the final cut of the film. This is quite interesting, as it gives you an insight into the production process of a film and the different things that don't make it into the final version. Featurettes - Which involves some more sub features. These features are - The Beginning - A short featurette about how the film came about, it is not that interesting, but puts parts of the film into perspective. The Design - This shows the design process behind some of the special effects and scenes from the film. The Build - A featurette illustrating how they built some of the sets. I generally don't like to watch these as i feel they tend to ruin the illusion of a film like this. The Shoot - Behind the scenes on the set of the film. The Stunts - Showing how the stunts were performed in the film. i.e. using wires and stuntmen. We Shoot Now! Marcus Nispel On The Set Of Pathfinder - This is pretty self explanatory, talking to the director Marcus Nispel about the film. Clancy Brown: Cult Hero - A biography of Clancy Brown, following him around the set and interviews with other actors talking about him. Concept Trailer - This is the original trailer that is put forward to initiate the ideas of the writers/producers/directors, and is similar to one of the scenes kept for the final film. It does not show the actual cast of the film, as it is only a guidline to what they want to do. Theatrical Trailer - The final trailer that is realised to advertise and promote the film. It gives an introduction on what to expect of the film and specific details. For example there are flashes of scenes, cut through by words that set the scene. Along with a voiceover, this makes for a very successful and accurate trailer, and does not misrepresent the film at all, like some trailers can do. www.fox.co.uk - This is just an item that promotes the fox website stating that you can find exclusive content if you sign up. *****Cast and Characters***** Ghost - Karl Urban Starfire - Moon Bloodgod Pathfinder - Russell Means Gunnar - Clancy Brown Blackwing - Jay Tavare Wind In Tree - Nathaniel Arcand Ulfar - Ralf Moeller Ghost - This is the main character of the film and is played by Karl Urban, also of The Chronicles of Riddick (Vaako) and The Lord Of The Rings (Eomer). He is introduced as a mysterious character very early on during the film and is obviously going to be the main character. He is an excellent fighter and has very strong morals and beliefes that are illustrated strongly, again, since his introduction as a child. He is the hero of the story and seems to be somewhat of an outsider. Starfire - The heroin and what looks like the main inspiration for Ghost and his braveness. The character of Moon Bloodgod (8 Below), is introduced into the story when 2 of the native tribes come together to trade. We are given the slow motion, hair blowing in the wind introduction, which seems to come as standard when intoducing a love interest into a film. She is a strong willed character, who only features towards the end of the film, as she joins Ghost and is hunted by the Viking hoardes. She is a beautiful native girl and the daughter of the Pathfinder. Pathfinder - This is the spiritual leader for the Native American Tribe, he is the one that everyone listens to and respects the most. He also knows, in his heart, and through his spirituality, that Ghost has something special about him. He is a very wise old man, stereotypical of one of the elders, in a Native American tribe. This character is played well by Means (The Last of the Mohicans). He brings an element of trust into the storyline, and we are able to feel for him, what the characters feel for him. Throughout the film he comes out with many sayings that help Ghost along his troublesome path. Gunnar - The leader of the second Viking invasion force. He is a formidable character, who will do anything to get what he wants. Including killing his own, loyal followers. He is a very viscious man, and this is portrayed very well by the actor, Clancy Brown (Highlander). As the featurette explains, he is a cult legend, although, i myself have never heard of him. We are made to feel a certain hatred for this disgusting man who is the opitimy of what the Viking race is known for. *****DVD Appearance***** My DVD has a protective carboard sleeve, with parts of the illustration being partially raised, including the title. It looks shiny, very clean and very neat. The case is very appealing, as is the picture. It shows a fight between Ghost and one of the Viking invaders with one of the Norse longboats in the background. The case is as action packed as the film. *****Price***** I purchased my copy of the DVD from ASDA for £7, although this was mislabelled and was meant to be £13.97. It can now be purchased for £4.99 from play.com flying up to a massive £19.99 from PowerPlayDirect. With a range of prices in between including sendit.com (£5.89) HMV (£5.99) and Amazon (£6.43). All prices were found using www.find-dvd.co.uk. URL: http://www.find-dvd.co.uk/3213901000.htm *****Additional Information***** IMDB URL: http://imdb.com/title/tt0446013/ Rating: 15, no sex/nudity, strong violence throughout containing graphic scenes with blood. Duration:107 minutes Director: Marcus Nispel Language: English Subtitles Available: *****My Opinion***** Overall i think that this is quite a good film. It has kept me entertained throughout the duration. The storyline moves along at a steady pace, although in some parts it is quite repetitive, the action scenes make up for this. I like the way that it is shot, with a lot of dark and gloomy scenes, which help emphasise the fact that the Vikings themselves are a dark race. I felt that the characters themselves lacked profile, as we do not get to know anything about them at all, apart from Ghost, the main character. This is not a good point of one of the films. This, to me, made a lot of the performances seem lifeless, and at some points pointless. Blackwing, for example is introduced, and we see him a few times, but i do not feel anything for him as i do not know him. *****Would I Recommend?***** I would recommend this film to people who like similar films, such as Apocolypto and to some extent, Braveheart. The sort of historical drama and battle films. However, do not expect a gripping epic from this film as it will be sure to disappoint otherwise, as it does not compare to either of these. All in all a good film, but not worth much more than £5.

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