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Brothers In Brooklyn
The Dreaming Spires - CD
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When the rain continues to tap a cadence on the window panes, and the summer sun seems to be something that only exists in my memory I've found myself reaching for 'Brothers in Brooklyn' by The Dreaming Spires, closing my eyes and drifting off to warmer climbs.If I lose myself enough in the music I could swear that I can feel the heat of the sun on my face as I travel with the band on a tour of the USA.It's a journey that has grand rural vistas rolling past as the miles are eaten up, it's got large mirrored tower blocks with a thousand suns reflected in them that are vying for attention with shimmering highways that point to the horizon.It's not often that an album can manage to transport the listener so completely - and keep them in the world that the music conjures up - but 'Brothers in Brooklyn' does.The quality of the songwriter is beyond reproach, with the music and lyrics appearing to simply flow into existence.I suspect that while many of us have an idea in our heads that we fail to transfer over into reality, that this is quite probably very close to what brothers Robin and Joe Bennett heard in theirs.That they managed to take thoughts, feelings and experiences and provide such an organic sounding facsimile is something that I would consider to be a very rare thing indeed.There's the essence of The Byrds, Tom Petty and more big hitters from the US flavouring the album, but it's all filtered through the eyes of strangers in a strange land, and it is this mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar that adds a little more frisson to it than most can provide.Even when the rain does fall, as it does on the beginning of Strength of Strings, it manages to add to the sonic shading, rather than stand out as a pothole in the road that jars.Instead of approaching this as an album of a collection of songs it should rather be considered as a ticket for an enjoyable journey.One that will leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on whatever the world wants to throw at you.(itsaXXXXthing)
Get Smart (2008)
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I was told that Get Smart was a silly film, but isn't that missing the point. The whole premise is that it's silly. In fact the sillier the better. It helps that they actually have a story to carry this along though. So it's not completely daft.Basically it's a spy caper/action movie, with a buddy angle and a love interest thrown in, and surprisingly enough it works on every level.In fact after watching this I'm a bit surprised that it wasn't a bigger hit in the cinemas than it was.This is a great little movie, and one that the whole family can enjoy.
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (2008)
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Watching a 3D film in 2D is a bit cheesy. All the parts where the effects are in place just seem contrived and this film is no different.Guess what's in it? Go on. Yep the kewpie doll goes to the they guy at the back who said a yo-yo. Congratulations sir. The yo-yo is actually thrown at the camera enough times that you start to think that they are really over doing it. So okay we get it. It's a 3D movie.Let's make this very clear. There's nothing original about this film at all. It even has a mineshaft rollercoaster ride straight out of Indiana Jones, but after saying all that I will still have to raise my hand and admit that it's a cracking yarn in the style of the old time matinees. It's a modern day boys own adventure that really keeps the pace up from start to finish. Brendan Frazer even manages to redeem himself after the awful latest instalment in The Mummy films. I've had bowel movements that have held my attention longer than that, but I digress. There's plenty of silly inoffensive wisecracks in this that the whole family can enjoy and the action never goes to the extent of frightening the bejesus out of the kids.Buy it and get the popcorn in and watch it as a family night in and you'll not hear many complaints.
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Finally Guy Ritchie get's back on track by revisiting the niche he carved for himself with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Not so much a gangster film, but more a trawl through the London underworld as it denizens jumps from one shady deal to another while trailing the audience along in their wake.As an ensemble piece Ritchie has excelled himself in creating this. The plot spirals around itself and pieces fall into place randomly until the whole picture is laid out just in time for the closing scenes.This is a movie that barely pauses for breath. His best since Snatch.The whole cast pull their weight, and in some cases punch above it. No one slacks on this. They all deserve equal credit for what they brought to the screen.It's outstanding in the breadth of its scope and unflinching in the entertainment stakes. Even the soundtrack aint too shabby.
Alice Cooper Men's Nightmare T-Shirt (Grey)
How can you review a t-shirt? All I'll say is that it looks good on. Very seventies, and the logo on the back is bigger than I expected.Great album, great t-shirt.
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This was the movie that introduced me to Guillermo Del Toro and I remember thinking that it was a cut above most horror films of 1997. Obviously he has went on to do much bigger and critically acclaimed movies, but this still stands up well after all those years. What is it with him and bugs though?The shadow play and the slow build up to revealing the genetically evolved cockroaches is well done throughout and the tension is palpable. As creature features go it up there with the best of them.It's not a patch on Devils Backbone, Pans Labyrinth or the Hellboy movies, but I'll take this over Cronos and Blade 2 any day of the week. Worth a fiver anyway.
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Bit hit and miss really. Some good ideas and Kidman and Craig are fine in their roles, but it's lacking in something. Maybe it just that it doesn't stray far enough away from the premise of the original Invasion of the body snatchers, and therefore we've really seen it all before.If they were going to have a re-imagining of the story they could have tried to bring more to the table I suppose.Not a bad film, but slightly unsatisfying as the end credits role.
History: The Best Of
New Model Army - CD
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It's been a long time since I listened to New Model Army.I'm not even sure why. I'm even less sure now that I have this retrospective playing.In the years when I was rabidly attempting to remain on the outside looking in they provided an agit-folkpunk soundtrack that mirrored my views perfectly. My political stance dovetailed with the lyrical content of just about every NMA track you could care to mention.I may have been allied to a minority, but it was where I wanted to be.Now all these years later these songs still manage to light a fire within me. As long as there is injustice in the world these tracks will remain relevant.Is that a stupid statement? Is it ridiculous that music and lyrics can elicit feelings like that?Personally I don't think so.The disillusioned and disenfranchised need more than just political firebrands to rally round. They need the songs that will carry them through to the dawn. Songs that will give them hope and a lifeline that screams you are not alone. This is what NMA provided, and still do.For those not familiar with the band then this is as good a place to start as any.
We are old, we are young, we are in this togetherVagabonds and children, prisoners foreverWith pulses a-raging and eyes full of wonderKicking out behind us again
Step Brothers (With Bonus Digital Copy)
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I don't know if this would stand up to repeated views, but watching it once is enough to leave you with sore sides from laughter. This may be one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. Don't expect a heavy duty story. It's thin, but filled with one crack after another that could draw a chuckle from a corpse.This is the first time I have went to the cinema and people were in reality rolling in the aisles. It's as stupid as mud, but just leave your brain at the door, sit back and enjoy.
The Mummy 3: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor
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As celluloid brain farts go the latest instalment of the Mummy franchise could clear a room in record time.It's only saving grace is that it in coming months it will bolster my argument that heavy on effects / light on story movies will always be destined for the ignominy of the bargain bin.Thanks must go to Rob Cohen for providing ammunition to back up any future discussions on the subject that I may have.I will no doubt triumph by just uttering the cursed words "Tomb of the dragon emperor" to anyone who genuinely thinks that big budget franchises equate to some sort of quality.You can obviously swap Cohen for Lucas, and Tomb of the dragon emperor for Star Wars I, II or III if you wish. The argument will still hold water