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Funzo

Funzo

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Determined to get back into Ciao...

Reviews written

since 02/07/2001

68

Aquatina Collapsible Water Bottle 01/06/2013

Size Matters

Aquatina Collapsible Water Bottle Living in a hot country as I do, the need to hydrate is something that has to be thoroughly considered on every cycling, hiking and long dog-walking trip I take. Despite the abundance of cold water fountains in parks and streets, it is essential in a hot country to make sure you have enough water at all times. One way of ensuring this happens, without having to schlep a great big environmentally unfriendly plastic water bottle around the whole time, is to purchase the Aquatina Collapsible Pocket Water Bottle which provides an environmental and practical solution to ensuring you can fill up a water bottle without compromising space. The Premise The design behind this little gem is simple ...too simple for the TV's Dragons Den, who decided not to invest in this product. It is a collapsible plastic which when fully extended holds half a litre of water and when collapsed, goes down to about a third of its size. The bottle is PET and BPA Free which means it is safe to refill and use again and certainly a lot safer than an ordinary plastic bottle. The bottle comes in different colours - I opted for the Blue - because I am a boy, but there are also pink, green and white bottles to choose from. The bottles are dishwasher safe with an easy, yet secure screw-able black lid, which mercifully under quite extreme conditions has not leaked once. The bottle itself appears to be very well made and admirably durable, as in the 6 months I have owned it, it has come under relatively tough ...

Eastern Promises (DVD) 01/06/2013

Promises....and delivers!

Eastern Promises (DVD) Film Only Review Every now and again, I have the good fortune of stumbling across a film that I have never even heard and which turns out to be actually very good. One such film that I stumbled upon was Eastern Promises - directed by legend David Cronenberg and featuring a strong cast of actors that include Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Viggo Mortenson. Its difficult to describe the plot of this 2007 film without giving too much away, so in the interest of preventing spoilers, what i can tell you is that this is a film that beautifully and authentically probes the seedy underworld of the Russian mafia in modern day London. The film centers around a Russian crime family in London, headed by Semyon ( played majestically by Armin Mueller-Stahl), and includes his son Kirill (another fine masterpiece of acting by Frenchman Vincent Cassel) and Kirill's driver Nikolai (again , superbly acted by Viggo Mortensen). A london midwife Anna (Naomi Watts),find herself involved after she discovers a diary belonging to a Russian teenage mother who died during childbirth in the hospital Anna works in....... The dark and dreary side of london is captured well by Cronenberg, with the sinister and rarely seen side to London exposed by clever cinematography aided by the good ol' British weather. Often, when Russian gangsters are involved there is a wide array of almost comical accents and caricatures on display, but in Cassel and Mortenson, we are treated to a masterclass of authenticity, ...

The Bank Job (DVD) 27/04/2013

You can take this to the bank...

The Bank Job (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW I will openly admit that I am not the greatest fan of Jason Statham; I found his films very one dimensional and his acting so wooden I have an urge to varnish the screen every time he is on. So it was to my surprise, I actually enjoyed a film he starred in. The Bank Job is an enjoyable British made film written by the British legends Dick Clement and Ian La Frenias, that thankfully lacks the explosions and unnecessary car chases seen all too often in heist and robbery movies made the other side of the Atlantic. There is something uniquely British about both the story and the film which warmed the cockles enough to ignore the wooden like nature of Mr Statham...which to be fair...London gangster? It's the part he was born for. The Bank Job is the incredible true story of a bank heist that happened in London in 1971 involving a motley crew of thieves, pimps, royalty, London spivs and government officials all involved in an intricate plot to rob a bank because of the contents of a safety deposit box. I went into this film knowing virtually nothing of the actual events that happened in real life but this in no way detracts from the film. In fact, the more you learn the events in the film are real, the more intriguing this film becomes. Jason Statham puts in a solid performance as Terry Leather - the East London car dealer leading the bank robbers, whilst the beautiful Saffron Burrows puts in a solid shift as Martine Love. There is also a very ...

Warm Bodies (DVD) 23/02/2013

Warm Bodies is Warm Hearted

Warm Bodies (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW Zombie films are very hit and miss for me. Some I have found excellent like the brilliant Danny Boyle flick 28 days later and some I have found very amusing like Shaun of the Dead, however, most of the zombie type films I have found to be a bore - too simplistic, too incredulous and too much like all the others. It is nearly 50 years since Romero's Night of the Living Dead and although Zombieland in 2009 gained popularity for the Zombie genre, I could generally take or leave a zombie movie. Having said that, I was treated to Warm Bodies last night at the cinema and although this does not capture the brilliance of 28 days later or the humour of a Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies stands out as an unusual and entertaining zombie movie. What makes this film stand out from any zombie movie I have ever seen, is the fact that this is essentially a love film....yes a zombie love film....it could even be described as a zombie-rom-com.....as there are differing levels of good humour in the film - everything from slap stick to intelligent and subtle comedy - directed brilliantly Jonathan Levine (he of 50/50 fame). I don't want to give much away in the plot as i would recommend go seeing this film and finding out yourselves, but the basic gist of the film is the story of R - a zombie played artfully by Nicholas Hoult and a non-zombie woman -Julie - whose boyfriend R has just eaten the brains of. The story is told from R's point of view, an unusual concept in itself to ...

Tesco Value Stretch 5cm x 4.5m Bandage 17/02/2013

Not budget stretching at all!

Tesco Value Stretch 5cm x 4.5m Bandage Be prepared! that's my motto - or one of them at least - the others focus on never saying no to free food and trying everything twice! Part of this preparedness is to have a well stocked first aid cabinet, which includes the Tesco Stretch Bandage. What is it It's a 5cm x 4.5m stretched white bandage, part of the recently revamped Tesco value range, and priced very competitively at just 28 pence. The normal crepe bandage was priced at 84 pence and of the same size. Usage A nasty fall on a wet floor meant my elbow was poking out of the skin and not tucked neatly under as it should be. Whilst, explaining to my concerned wife that a litre of blood and a protruding elbow bone were not sufficient reasons to go to a hospital.. I am a man after all!... i relented to the use of a bandage. Easily taken out of its cellophane wrapper, the bandage was applied to the elbow after applying a dressing, stretched around a few times and fastened with a safety pin (not supplied). The bandage held in place and absorbed the blood, noticeably stemming the flow instantaneously. I would recommend the use of some dressing before applying the bandage, as the combination seemed to work very well indeed. After a short while, i agreed to go to the hospital where stitches were indeed applied. In the two hours in between I had noticed the edges were getting frayed already, which raises concerns over the long term durability of this product. Other than that, i found this to be useful and very ...

Tesco Micro-Lite Mummy Sleeping Bag 25/06/2012

One Snug Mummy

Tesco Micro-Lite Mummy Sleeping Bag Tesco Micro-LiTesco Micro-Lite Mummy Sleeping Bag: Microlite Mummy Slowly but surely after a complete change in location and lifestyle I have been building up my survival cupboard - a wardrobe in the spare room that is gradually building up to be my ‘in-case-of-nuclear-war-break-mdf’ store; complete with Swedish Army Ration Packs, 5 different cooking stoves, a Gas Mask and whole manner of assorted bits of rubbish I’ve considered cheap enough to drip slowly into the store. One such item is the Tesco Microlite sleeping bag priced at £15.76 from Tesco online. I have a few sleeping bags already, but what attracted me to this one, other than a credit card limit apparently burning whole in my pocket, was its size. I know size isn’t important to some (ahem) and that’s what I have told myself for years, but a nice small sleeping bag is a godsend in a full backpack. The bag itself is in the Mummy style, which doesn’t mean it listens to Abba and tells you to eat your greens, but is shaped like the Egyptian Mummy, tapering down to the feet with a hood on top which can be pulled in using the attached cord and thus making you look like a Mummy. Coming with its own sack, the graphite and lime sleeping bag when it is unfurled stretches to 218cm in length and is 80cms at its widest point, and the depth being 80cm. Made entirely out of polyester both inside and out, the bags weighs just 0.9kg with a two reversible zip. The comfort rating +13.2 - +16.3c with an extreme rating of +1.7c, ...

Argos Value Range Gym Ball 23/06/2012

Me and My Big Balls

Argos Value Range Gym Ball In my quest to get back down to my ‘fighting weight’ I have stocked my home with a variety of exercise equipment which over time are slowly but surely being relegated to dust covered room corners and even dustier cupboards. One such item that falls under the soda-stream category of ‘good idea at the time, never use’ was the Argos Value Range Gym Ball. What Is It For? The Gym Ball or Swiss Ball as it sometimes known is designed for two purposes… Three if you want to recreate badly a scene from The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan. The first use is for exercise and is designed to tone and strengthen core muscles. The second use is for yoga-like exercise designed to improve balance and coordination. What Is It? Costing £4.99 from Argos both in-store and online, this off-white coloured exercise ball has a maximum user weight recommendation of 125kg (19st 10lbs) which thankfully I am well within. Coming with the 55cm white inflatable ball is a rather cheap and useless pump which after two pumps was quickly abandoned (story of my life!) in favour of a better pump I already had. Included are printed instructions for usage with pictures which were particularly helpful. Having had experience of a Swiss Ball at a gym, I was pretty au-fait with what to do but I can see how the instructions would be of great use to a beginner The Use After a pumping up session lasting no more than a few minutes (I would imagine using the pump provided would take a great deal longer), the ball ...

Wanderlust (DVD) 22/06/2012

An OK Comedy

Wanderlust (DVD) Film Only Review Funny comedies seem few and far between at the moment. I can count the number of films that I have laughed out loud to (what the kids call LOL) on one hand since Bridesmaids and so any sort of comedy release is met with a child like optimism Produced by Judd Appatow and staring Paul Rudd, Jenifer Aniston, Justin Theroux and Alan Alda, the signs were very good for this film. Indeed, it starts well as a humorous satire on American society but then descends into a mediocre, far fetched romp set in a hippy commune full of eccentrics and oddballs testing the boundaries of believability. I wanted to like this film and in truth there are some genuinely funny lines and a few laugh out loud moments. It's a fun and novel idea for a light rom-com movie - professional couple George (Rudd) and Linda (Aniston) leave New York with nothing to show for their life's work but a car filled with boxes, try the hippy life and encounter a plethora of odd ball characters with supposed hilarious consequences. Some jokes work superbly as you would expect from an Appatow (He of The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "Superbad" to name but a few) and had the cinema, including me, guffawing with laughter but these jokes were few and far between, and sometimes way too long to set up which meant long periods of watching Anniston, Theroux and Alda ham it up under the disappointing direction of David Wain (Role Models 2008). The jokes can be a bit ‘potty mouth’ in places which might be a problem ...

Tesco Value Toothpaste 21/03/2012

A false economy leading to false teeth

Tesco Value Toothpaste Sometimes in life, buying the cheapest version of something isn't always the best idea. Just ask anyone buying Goochi and Versarchi knock-offs from a stall in Wembley market... "honest guv'...Rollex does have 2 L's". I'm a firm believer in the old adage 'you get what you pay for'...unlike Tottenham looters who believe in 'you get what windows you smash in'. Having moved from England a few years ago, one thing I miss is the cheap toiletries available in the UK. Honestly folks....try living in Israel where no can of deodorant is less than the equivalent of 3 English pounds and no toothpaste is less than 2 English pounds....everytime you shower you get a second mortgage! So when I do make the trip back to Blighty I make sure I do 'the Tesco run' before heading back and stocking up on as many toiletries as the Easyjet 20k allowance will let me. One such item that made its way into my trolley was the Tesco Value Toothpaste Price and Size 30 pence (new money) for a 75ml tube. when you think about it...can you even get 75ml of water for 30 pence??? Packaging The traditional much loved and very plain Tesco Value packaging - white cardboard box with red, white and blue labeling. The Tube Was a terrible programme in the 1980's, but that's not important right now. The toothpaste tube is white with a fliptop lid. Relevant Information Approved by the British Dental Health Foundation Suitable for adults and children over the age of 6. Should be used within 12months The Tesco Value ...

Tesco Value FAN Heater FH11 03/03/2012

I'm a Fan

Tesco Value FAN Heater FH11 The cold has never been a friend of mine. Give me summer over winter any day of the week and although I do enjoy a nice toastie day in bed, all duvet-ed up with enough hot chocolate to sink a battleship; I would choose a beach, hammock, sunshine and pina colada every time. However, one of the downsides of living in England (and lets face it there are many!) is the cold. With this in mind, I purchased the cheapest heater that money could buy in order to keep myself warm at the times when I just don’t want to bankrupt myself by putting the central heating on. I purchased the Tesco Value Fan Heater FH11. What is it? Costing only 9 English Pounds, this is a 2 kilowatt stand up heater, not very big – just 24.5 cm high, 22.5 cm wide with a depth of 13.5cm. This white and grey heater weighs just 1.17 kilos. It is thermostats controlled with 2 heat settings with overheat protection and safety tip over switch. There is no timer unlike many fan heaters and it cannot be wall mounted, so has to be rested on a flat surface like a floor. It has a cool air feature which the weather has yet to be warm enough to use yet. Does it Work? To a degree, yes this cheap little heater does work. I have a few heaters scattered around the house and garage and although this heater was by no means the best, it does a decent enough job. It took about 10 to 15 minutes to heat up a smallish sized room, although the lack of a rotator in the fan means you physically have to move the fan to ...

The Woman In Black (DVD) 03/03/2012

The Woman In Black

The Woman In Black (DVD) This is a film only review. When you are in a relationship with someone from a very different background, in my case London suburb vs Santiago suburb, one of the joys of the internet, and let’s face it there are many, can be the sharing of different films and tv series that you loved throughout your years. So far, I’ve been treated to Chilean Telethon and Vina Del mar (Annual Music Festival – (think Live Aid without the charity) Whilst i was watching Supergran, pressgang and grange hill, ‘er indoors was watching a group of scantily clad dancers tripping the light fantastic to a variety of exotic and dance styles, the common dominator of which being that they would all receive a barrage of complaints should they be shown pre-watershed on Factor X, or whatever the kids call it. Anyway, the point I am making is that the Woman in Black was one of those films that stood out when I was a kid and when I downloaded it to show and share a ‘scary film from my youth’ Saturday evening this was the film I chose. She wasn’t very impressed. The film didn’t stand the test of time too well and in an age of gore and effects the film from the 80’s looked its age. With this in mind, I was excited to see a remake starring Daniel Radcliffe – yes, Harry Potter himself, and set about watching the film at the earliest opportunity laden with high expectations. Synopsis The Woman in Black is the name of the name of the 1983 novel by Susan Hill that was adapted for the screen by Jane Goldman ...

Cell 211 (DVD) 16/02/2012

More Intense than a Wet Weekend Camping in Llandudno

Cell 211 (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW – WATCHED WITH SUBTITLES Living with a Spanish speaker, every now and again, for as punishment for subjecting my fiancé to a classic British film which she has trouble understanding (Scum, Kes, Withnail etc)I get subjected to a Spanish or Latin American film which I have trouble following. One such film was Cell 211 or Celda 211 to give it its Spanish title.PlotCell 211 is a prison drama based on the eponymous novel by Francisco Pérez Gandul. It tells the story of Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) a soon to be a prison guard getting caught up in a violent prison riot and we follow his struggle to stay alive as madness and chaos perpetuates both inside and outside the Spanish prison. CritiqueI am going to lay my cards on the table and say I absolutely loved this film. Everything about this film worked – an excellent script tighter than a ducks backside, superb and faultless acting throughout the cast, gripping storyline that leaves you guessing right until the end and beautiful cinematography and directing by Daniel Monzon. Really, I cannot find fault in the little Spanish gem of a film.The script, fantastically adapted for cinema by Jorge Guerricaechevarria is realistic and powerful and made even more impressive by the fine cast of actors put in a top-notch shift under Monzon’s skilled direction. This was a story that was sometimes brutal, sometimes human but always realistic and believable. The much regarded Spanish actor, Luis Tosar (Mondays in the Sun, Take My ...

The Ides Of March (DVD) 09/02/2012

More twists than a bag of pretzels

The Ides Of March (DVD) Film Only Review Political thrillers can be very much hit and miss for me, often finding them slower than a Fiesta full of elephants going uphill and as boring as long bus ride to Wigan on a wet day. However, every now and again a film billed as a political thriller/drama will hit the spot, and The Ides of March, directed by and starring George Clooney most certainly did that. The Ides of March is the story of political and moral intrigue centred on the campaign for president by Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) and the battle fought for Ohio by the campaign team led by Paul Zara, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and assisted by the savvy and confident Steven Myers played by Ryan Gosling. If Morris can gain the delegates of Ohio he is pretty much assured the Democratic nomination and the presidency, so there is much at stake. Although this is a political melodrama, this film is more than that. It could have been written against any backdrop – sports, business, life etc for this is a film about the games people play to get ahead in life, not just in politics, but within themselves. We follow Steven at the in-between age of 30 where he's still young enough, confident enough naïve enough and motivated enough to take over the world and half savvy experienced-cynic; two very confrontational halves and when they clash within, the character takes some surprising and far-reaching turns. I have to talk about the acting and the casting; all of which absolutely superb. Clooney plays ...

Contagion (DVD) 31/01/2012

Go Wash Your Hands... Of This Film

Contagion (DVD) Now, those that know me or have read some of my reviews in the past will be aware of my fascination of preparing for the apocalypse. I make no secret of the fact that secretly I am hoping for a bubonic plague or nuclear meltdown, just so I can use my expired ration packs from the Norwegian Army and my Guatemalan Army jungle machete and ultimately prove my doubters wrong, who mocked me for my off-the-wall survivalist buys from ebay. Contagion is an interesting film, or at least the subject matter is. It’s a procedural thriller looking at how worryingly easy a pandemic virus can spread worldwide and the devastating after effects it causes and leaves behind. We follow the spread of the virus day by day as multiple deaths surface around the world. This truly is an all star cast with Matt Damon, Gwenyth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Elliot Gould, and Jude Law amongst the A-list ensemble and in truth none of them let you down as actors, in particular Jude Law and Matt Damon. The Director is Steven Soderbergh, probably best known for his Oscar winning directorship of Traffic, and with such a cast, such a director and such an interesting storyline it was a real surprise and disappointment that this film was so underwhelming. This is a film that did not know what it was – the story was told in a ramshackle and disjointed manner; following different subplots hastily and without connecting to the characters. It was hard to feel empathy for a character or truly ‘get them’ with just ...

Lynx Dark Temptation 30/01/2012

The Not So tempting Lynx Dark Temptation Body Spray

Lynx Dark Temptation In true Crimbo style, I received the usual array of ‘smellies’ from family members doing their Christmas shopping the night before in Boots. One such toiletry gift was the Lynx Dark Temptation Body Spray and Shower Gel set. ==The Premise== Lynx have always been quite innovative when it comes to body sprays and with this body spray they have really have pushed the boat out. Coming with the strap line of ‘with the effect of chocolate’ it is supposed to be the smell of tempting chocolate. I guess the thinking behind it is that women love chocolate so they will not be able to resist you if you smell of chocolate. Personally, I find women can’t resist the smell of chloroform and an old oily rag, but Lynx have yet to bring that one out. ==The Price== As this was a gift and part of a pack I cannot vouch personally for how much was paid for the gift pack, but a quick google (and who doesn’t like a quick google first thing in the morning?!?) will tell you that Tesco price this at 3.80 for the 200ml body spray, whilst on Amazon, the price is 2.79. Boots have this at 3.05. ==The Packaging== The spray comes in a black metal container with a black cap that you twist to be able to spray. The colours are black, gold and a dark brown – all quite befitting the name of the product ==The Smell== Oh dear… what an awful smell. I really do question what chocolate this is based on because I have yet to smell chocolate like this. It’s a musty, overpowering smell that actually makes you smell worse ...
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