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Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series Box Set (Limited Edition) (2010) (6 Discs)
So, after a year without Who on TV apart from the "specials", we were finally introduced to Matt Smith's Doctor in the last few seconds of the End of Time, and we waved goodbye to Russell T. Davis and David Tennant for good.
There was a lot of media speculation about Matt Smith's Doctor. Many cries of "he's too young", "he's the youngest actor to play the Doctor" etc...
However, age is no boundary when it comes to Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor. He IS the Doctor! He's nailed the character down perfectly, playing him as a bumbling, professorial eccentric, and adding that hint of "alien" back into the character that's not really been seen since the great Tom Baker's version of the Doctor.
Smith is of course ably assisted by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, who play Amy and Rory.
Moffatt has changed a lot of things in the series. The TARDIS has had a make-over externally - now resembling the 1st TARDIS from the William Hartnell days - and internally, where we see stairways, and doorways leading off into other parts of the TARDIS, giving an idea that it is MUCH BIGGER on the inside! We already know that there's a swimming pool and library in there somewhere, and I'm hoping we get to explore that TARDIS a little more in the next series.
One other re-design, which hasn't gone down too well in a lot of quarters, is the new "Power-Ranger-Dalek", "Telly-Tubby-Dalek", "iDalek", or multi-primary-coloured Dalek's that were introduced. I wasn't so keen on the re-design myself, but they are slowly starting to grow on me, and I can understand why they are much larger than the previous models (which had apparently been designed so that the eye-stalk was the same height as Billy Piper's eyes so the could go head-to-head!).
The stories are the usual fare that you'd expect from Doctor Who, and although there are a couple of clunky episodes, most of them are really good and from my point of view an improvement on the last full season!
"Vincent and the Doctor" is one of the most standout episodes of the series. Written by Richard Curtis, with Tony Curran as Vincent van Gogh, and a nice cameo by Bill Nighy.
It's great to see that the program still has the pulling power to attract talent like that, as well as in other episodes: Annette Crosbie, Meera Syall, Ian McNeice, Bill Patterson, Sophie Okenedo, Toby Jones etc...
When the BBC showed the series on BBC HD, the HD was near perfect, so the Blu-Ray transfer should be incredibly good, especially if they give it the 5.1 surround treatment.
The series could have done without being moved around the schedules every Saturday night, and also a much publicised smaller budget. Let's hope that they fix those issues next season.
Having seen the first season, I am convinced that the TARDIS is in extremely capable hands.
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Making a film based on real-life events, where the majority of the audience knows the outcome is always a tricky proposition, but Ron Howard pulled this off spectacularly. I saw this at the cinema and was blown away by it, and when I got this on DVD, I watched it three times in one day; once for the film, then with both commentary tracks. The commentary by Jim Lovell is extremely poignant.
There has been some dramatic license played to certain events, but these can be forgiven. The cast, especially Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, and Ed Harris do not miss a beat in their portrayal of the real life characters.
The SFX and music score are also fabulous.
One of my favourite films, and I'm so glad its now gone Blu!
Humax FoxSat-HDR Freesat 320GB HDD DTR HD Recorder
OK, so Freesat doesn't have the number of HD channels that Sky has, but what you do get, you get for free with no monthly subscriptions. I was getting tired of paying nearly 50 quid a month for Sky HD, and noticed that I was only recording things on BBC 1-4, BBC HD, ITV, C4, and C5! So decided to buy the Humax Foxsat-HDR from play.com (which will pay for itself in 5 months from the savings from the Sky subscription!).
The HDR itself is a fantastic product, and has many advanced features that even the Sky boxes don't have e.g. record 2 x channels and watch a third, search all channels for a specific program etc... Also the fact that you can "archive" your recordings digitally to a USB pen-drive, or hard drive.
The EPG is very easy to use and again, has one over Sky, as it can tell you when there are multiple showings of the same program so that you can record/watch the one that best suits you.
The box takes approx. 20 seconds to boot, but where you hear all sorts of noises from a Sky box, this little beauty is almost silent.
The multi-device remote, can be fiddly, but you soon get used to the layout of the buttons, and for me, the one remote has meant that three others are now in a drawer instead of littering the arm of the sofa!
The only criticism I have of this box, is that the LED's and the backlit LCD matrix screen are a little bright and can't be dimmed. That's a tiny niggle about an otherwise superb piece of kit!
The Genius Of Photography (2 Discs)
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A very informative series that goes from the birth of photography to the modern age, focusing in on important historic figures such as Lartigue, Cappa etc... along the way. This should be a must have for any photography students, or anyone interesting in the art of photography.
Absolutely: Absolutely Everything! (8 Discs)
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I have been following the news about this release for sometime now, and I can't wait to see this show again.
It is such a shame that this show has not received repeat showing like other comedy shows, which appear to be run on loops ad-infinitum ("Only Fools ...", and "2 Pints of Lager ..." come to mind), and up until now has been buried away in some dusty old video-vault somewhere.
Luckily for those of us who didn't get the original "best of" VHS tapes, there are some of the clips from the show out there on the interweb which have kept me amused while I've been waiting for this DVD release.
This is one of the best comedy sketch shows made in the UK ever, and definitely stands head-and-shoulders up there with Python, and was consistently laugh out loud, tears running down your face, FUNNY.
I do hope that Absolutely Productions have included some exclusive extras on the DVD like cast interviews etc... or perhaps even some new material!
That would be the icing on the cake!
Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer
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This film offered so much more than the first movie, and the characters all seemed to have their moment in the limelight, with Ben/The Thing and Johnny/Torch having the best moments.
Doc Doom was brought back for no reason at all, and was totally superfluous to the overall plot.
The Silver Surfer was realised brilliantly, and it has been left open for him to return in his own films.
A pity that they makers of the film didn't go all-out and show Galactus in his helmeted glory, but instead decided to show him as a menacing cloud (however look closely and you can sometimes almost see Galactus' form).
This movie isn't Citizen Kane by any means, but take it in its context of an action, super-hero movie, its a fun way to spend a couple of hours.
The Blu-ray picture is absolutley superb, and the surround sound mix will give your speakers a work-out!