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oxonian

oxonian

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I'm Mike - law graduate and Senior Recruitment Consultant for an international company. Incredibly happy with being awarded a diamond!! Hope you enjoy my reviews!

Reviews written

since 23/12/2007

38

World Snooker Championship 2009 06/05/2009

Could a Wizard and a Magician produce Magic Snooker?

World Snooker Championship 2009 It's that time again! The 18th of April 2009 heralded the beginning of two glorious weeks of the Betfred World Snooker Championship. Unsuprisingly, the World Championship, held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, is the ultimate tournament in Snooker and worth double the ranking points of any of the other competitions. The winner will receive £250,000 prize money, but they will have to go through a marathon format of games, with the final being the best of 35 frames (aka first to 18). The 32 players that comprise the World Championship are the World's top 16, who get automatic admission, and 16 qualifiers - which give people who can be way outside of the top 16, e.g. Jamie Burnett (no.45) a chance at the big title. As usual this year's World Championship was an open book. The season started near the end of 2008, and the results of the major ranking events, leading up to the Worlds, were as follows: Northern Ireland Trophy: Ronnie O'Sullivan Shanghai Masters: Ricky Walden Grand Prix: John Higgins Bahrain Championship: Neil Robertson UK Championship: Shaun Murphy The Masters (non-ranking): Ronnie O'Sullivan Welsh Open: Ali Carter China Open: Peter Ebdon Apart from the bookies favorite, the contentious and enigmatic Ronnie O'Sullivan, who had won more than one title this season, there has been a unique winner for each tournament. MY PREDICTIONS Going into the Championship, I backed the measured and methodical Peter Ebdon who had just won ...

Lewis - Series 1 And Pilot - Complete (Box Set) (DVD) 17/02/2009

Prime Time Crime!

Lewis - Series 1 And Pilot - Complete (Box Set) (DVD) In 1987, the beloved super-sleuth Inspector Morse came onto our screens. John Thaw played the Oxford-educated, introspective and melancholy enigma, whilst Kevin Whately played his slightly naive but upbeat northerner sidekick Sergeant Lewis. In 2000, after 33 fantastic 2 hour episodes where Morse and Lewis deciphered the most complex and intelligently thought out crimes, Morse had a fatal heart attack after having solved a case with which he had personal involvement. After an emotional final scene where he kisses Morse whilst on a mortuary slab, we are left wondering where Lewis is headed in his career as the series ends for good. In 2005, Lewis appeared on our screens, as a spin-off series to Morse. In the pilot episode we see how his character has developed since the death of his boss and mentor. He returns to the University City of Oxford after a long stint on the British Virgin Islands with the status of Inspector. His first trip in Oxford is to the cemetery, which one would assume would be to visit Morse's grave, but we see that it is the grave of his wife Valerie who died in a tragic hit and run incident in 2002. Lewis's character, consequently, seems to have adopted the same melancholy and introspective disposition that Morse had, giving him an engaging and intriguing appeal as a leading man. He adopts a sidekick - Sergeant Hathaway, who unsurprisingly was educated in Theology at Cambridge University, hence straight away we see the social divide materialise once ...

Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story (DVD) 31/01/2009

The Dragon breathes on!

Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story (DVD) In the wake of Bruce Lee's untimely death back in 1973, Chinese film companies cashed in on his name and produced a bucketload of films to dramatise his life. These films, which boast daft titles such as 'Bruce Lee Fights back from the grave', 'Bruce's Fist of Vengeance','The True Game of Death' and 'The Real Bruce Lee' are well known as Bruceploitation films, and they starred equally ridiculous main stars like Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Bruce Leung and Dragon Lee. These films were created on the back of various theories behind his death. Officially Bruce Lee, the greatest oriental Martial Arts star of all time, died of a cerebral oedema (brain swelling), as an allergic reaction to a painkiller, however various myths came to light that he had faked his death to go into hiding, or had died of a delayed ninja death touch, or that the painkiller was a poisonous drug that was planted by a triad gang. I watched these pathetic films growing up, which all suffered from horrible acting, terrible storylines and unforgivably awful fight scenes. Dragon the Bruce Lee story came out in 1993 and is far removed from the previous biographical movies that have been made on Bruce. Dragon depicts American-born Bruce as he returns to America following troublesome teenage years and looks to carve out a career for himself. After obtaining a University education, and starting a Kung Fu school, we see the development of Bruce's TV and movie career. However, along the way, we see how his Martial Arts ...

Game of Death 30/01/2009

The Final Cut!

Game of Death On July 20th 1973, Bruce Lee - the grandmaster, legend and king of the martial arts genre, was pronounced dead at 32 years of age after a fatal allergic reaction to taking a painkiller. He was at his physical peak and on the verge of superstardom in the wake of the Hollywood production Enter The Dragon. What many do not know is that Bruce was half way through making a film - it was to be his fifth, but his second own production. He wanted this film to showcase the efficacy of using his Martial Art Jeet Kune Do. However, he had only filmed around 20 minutes of footage, and was going to go unfinished. However, in 1978, five years after Bruce Lee's death - Game of Death was finally released. In GOD, Bruce plays Billy Lo - a martial arts film star (ironically), who is being pushed into signing with a syndicate for protection. The syndicate threaten him by having him beaten up and hounded, but he is not persuaded, even when they tell him that something bad will happen. Things come to a climax when, during filming, Bruce is shot in the face during a take. The syndicate think he is dead, but behind the scenes, he has survived and plastic surgeons put his face together again. A public funeral has taken place (using footage from Bruce's actual funeral) to make his friends and enemies think he is dead, but whilst they think he has departed the world, Billy Lo seeks revenge, and deals with each member of the syndacate one by one. Will he get his ultimate revenge and kill them all? ...

The Apprentice 21/01/2009

Series Phwoarrr!

The Apprentice I admit to being a fan of reality TV, I watch them all - Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity and even Celebrity Scissorhands... I really do watch them all. However, the Apprentice, which normally hits our screens each March on BBC1, offers a slightly more serious slant to the reality TV genre. In essence, the premise is that 16 candidates are competing for a top job as an 'apprentice' to a well known Tycoon. In America, the tycoon is Donald Trump, and in the UK it is Sir Alan Sugar. Sir Alan is best known for founding and building from scratch the hugely successful IT company Amstrad. Due to his mammoth business acumen, the candidate that wins the competition will learn from the best and and scoop a position with a six figure salary attached. The series starts with the 16 candidates being seperated into two teams - normally boys and girls. Each week there is a task where someone in the two groups must be the project manager, who will lead and motivate their team to success. The tasks can range from selling fish in a london market to creating an advert to promote a new product. The team who wins will be treated to a special experience - e.g. dinner at the ritz or a balloon ride, courtesy of Sir Alan. The team that loses will have to face Sir Alan in the boardroom to explain their flaws, and the project manager has to choose two people from the team to face the firing line. The member that is most to blame for the defeat is forced to hear the famous words "You're ...

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo DS) 19/01/2009

Going for Gold!

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo DS) Being the Dad of an incredibly mischievious two year old boy, that likes to break things, I have found that handheld consoles are the way to go for me. If I have my Wii or Xbox out whilst he is around, I am just asking for trouble. Despite this, I've played my DS only sporadically throughout the past year as my PSP has been the choice portable system for me. However, this Christmas, when all of my nieces and nephews got together with their DS's, I managed to play Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games and it re-ignited my love for the DS all over again. I had chiefly heard about this game via it's superb reviews of the Wii version, but I imagined that the DS version would be pretty exceptional. Mario and Sonic, back in the early 90's were the faces of Nintendo and Sega respectively - the two giants within the video games world at the time. Nearly 20 years later, they are both still synonimous with their brands, and Mario & Sonic brings them together once more in an ultimate battle in Olympic events. Getting started When you start the game, you are able to create a profile - meaning that any medals, World/ Olympic records and any unlocked events will be attributed to you. There is capacity for three profiles on the game, meaning relatives can have their own profile too. Once you get past this stage you are able to play Single Player or Versus Play. Single Player Single Player is a mode where you can play any of the events on the game - although at first, there ...

Football Director (Nintendo DS) 18/01/2009

DIRE-ctor!

Football Director (Nintendo DS) At last! A football management game for the DS! They are available, pretty much, on every games system, and given how basic they are to navigate around, why hasn't one been available for the DS before? I had been waiting for a football management game for the DS for a long time and, just after Christmas, I saw Football Director on the shelves of HMV for the price of £22 and thought "That's definitely worth it!". Having happily purchased, I had high expectations considering I had been waiting so long for Nintendo to release such a game. The title of 'Director' was already distinct from the classic 'Manager' designate that you see on 99% of all football management games, which had an instant and positive impact on my decision to purchase. However, was I hustled? Getting started = Football Director revolves around the 2008/09 season, so it is totally updated with all the latest teams. When you turn the game on, you start by creating a profile and choosing a team to manage. You are able to select any team from the Premier League, Championship, League One or League Two. The top screen will be exhibit the date, the club's kit and badge, your league place, club balance, fan confidence, board confidence and date of next match. The bottom screen will feature the menu screens / the news page / the written commentary of the game. When you play Football Director for the first time, you will be taken through a very thorough tutorial which shows you how to play and navigate ...

About A Boy (DVD) 18/11/2008

Where there's a Will, there's a way!

About A Boy (DVD) I came across About a Boy in mid-2002 during my first year of University. At the time, I was enjoying the experience of living away from home and fending for myself, and this film was to provide a character I could identify with. As a fan of the Romantic Comedy genre, and of Hugh Grant's previous works, I was inevitably going to watch About a Boy at the cinema. About a Boy, which is based on the Nick Hornby novel, features Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) a rich 30 something that resides in a London Bachelor pad, living the ideal single life. He is footloose, unattached, and does not need to work, and suddenly develops an attraction to single mums. This attraction leads him to meet Marcus, an 11 year old boy that cannot fit in at school and has a suicidal mother. Will and Marcus soon form a friendship, but how will the cool, smooth and uncomplicated Will make a difference to Marcus's life and, more importantly, vice versa? At the time, Hugh Grant had only ever played the floppy haired architypal posh English gentleman we saw in Four Weddings and Notting Hill. About a Boy showcased him differently, with short spikey hair and a London accent. Nevertheless, Hugh did not look out of his comfort zone playing a contrasting stereotype. As opposed to playing a romantic, bumbling and reserved englishman, Will shows his ability to be a non-commital, trendy and confident character. Significantly, his character undergoes some serious soul-searching and maturity through the course of the ...

Sega Rally (PSP) 16/11/2008

Get Stuck In!!

Sega Rally (PSP) I played the original Sega Rally back in 1996 on an arcade machine, and loved it. I subsequently bought it for the Sega Saturn in 1997, followed by the superb Sega Rally 2 for the Dreamcast in 2000. In short, it is a series I have always been a fan of, hence it was inevitable that, when I saw Sega Rally (PSP) for £8 in HMV, I was going to be taking it straight to the counter. Gameplay Importantly, Sega Rally is not a remake of the arcade classic. This is a new game altogether and very similar to the V-Rally series on the PS1. When you turn on Sega Rally - the initial options that are presented to you are: Quick race - this is an option to choose if you really just want to get stuck into a race, and try out one of the many tracks available. You will race five cars within the class of car you have chosen. Championship - You can race in a series of championships against five other competitors. Time attack - this mode sees you take to the track solely with the purpose of achieving and breaking lap records for each of the circuits available. Multiplayer - using wireless connectivity, you can race friends or online competitors. When you enter into Championship mode, there are four main championships you can take part in - Premier, Modified, Masters and Final. These four championships revolve around the different classes of car available, for instance Premier cars are the Subaru and Mitsubishi, and the modified ones are the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia. Once you select a ...

Boiler Room (DVD) 04/11/2008

Boiling hot!

Boiler Room (DVD) Despite boasting a law degree and some fancy letters to my name, I departed from the hallowed halls of academia with no career waiting for me. Fortunately, University equipped me with discipline, eloquence and enhanced interpersonal skills, meaning I could be a good temp whilst I sought a training contract to be a solicitor. However, the law career never manifested as temping led me to find my niche as a sales person. A company that liked to recruit University graduates into well-paid sales recruitment roles snapped me up, trained me and put me through an intense objection handling 'boot camp'. I was stretched and challenged to come out of my comfort zone, and subsequent to a multitude of awkward scenarios I found it seemless to manipulate and blag my way into easy money. Six months later, I decided I wanted more professional edification and left. Nevertheless, when I bought Boiler Room, it brought back fond memories of this job. * About Boiler Room* Boiler Room follows the character Seth Davis, played by Giovanni Ribisi. Seth has his own home casino business, a vocation which greatly displeases his father who is a high-court judge. In an attempt to obtain respect and recognition from his father, Seth becomes a stockbroker for a ruthless and ambitious firm. However, all is not as it seems, as behind the success, Ferrari's, and mountains of money lurks a disreputable practice that is dragging Seth into a gutter lower than his previous business managed. How will Seth ...

Volkswagen Golf V 03/11/2008

This Golf is my cup of tee!

Volkswagen Golf V A large part of my job involves having meetings with clients at their premises, hence my company has a decent selection of cars for the consultants to use for travelling. Amongst this fleet is a silver diesel-fuelled 1.9L VW Golf Mk5 TDI. As I drive a Ford Mondeo, I am used to a silky smooth and straightforward ride, however the Golf is a very different animal. Historically, the VW Golf has had a stigma attached to it that it is a boy racer's car. I remember back in the mid-90's that a few of my older brother's chavvy friends were incredibly proud owners of the Golf. Since then it has been accepted by the professional world as a sales rep/company car, meaning that it can be perceived more credibly by those at the sophisticated end of the market. The Mk5 was produced in 2003 *Exterior* The Golf Mk5 was produced in 2003 and boasts a gorgeous, sporty and exciting exterior compared with previous shapes. It is very curvy and smooth, far removed from it's former boxier look. It is also comparatively longer, but only just. Overall it is lovely to look at and admire. *Interior* The interior of the car is quite spacious for a hatchback. Though it does not equate to the size of a large family car, what you get it very reasonable. There is good legroom for back seat passengers and snug room for the passenger seat. At around 6ft tall, this car is more than spacious enough for me to drive and be comfortable. The dashboard is very standard, with no wacky designs. The colour ...

Premier Hits - Gary Numan 21/10/2008

Nu-magnicificent!

Premier Hits - Gary Numan The inimitable sounds of Gary Numan, along with OMD, The Pet Shop Boys and The Human League were formerly billed as the music of the future. However, now the future is present, the synthesizers that proved a catalyst for the electro pop movement are currently available in all good Early Learning Centre stores. Nevertheless, with eclectic taste, I do not feel uncool as I loudly blast out Gary Numan's Premier Hits album with the window down. The album boasts 18 of Numan's greatest hits and begins with an explosive 'Premier' version of Cars - a mix that provides an enhanced sound to the powerful and epic sounding belter that instantly transformed Numan into a worldwide celebrity back in 1979. The famous funky powerhouse hits of 'Are Friends Electric' and 'We are Glass' are interweaved with the cold, dark and sinister sounding tracks of 'I Die, You Die', 'Down in the Park' and, my son's favourite, 'Warriors'. Other notable favourites of mine are 'We take mystery to bed', which predominately features a jazzy beat that you find yourself nodding to, and 'White boys and heroes', which mixes a funky tune with a somewhat sinister sounding chorus. I found that at times, when I listened to the album in it's entirity, a lot of the sounds blended into one another, which goes to show that although his sound is his own, his sound does not differentiate massively from song to song. This is not intended to be a detrimental point. Gary Numan's music is like marmite - my partner cannot ...

Squash - General 30/09/2008

Squash your opponent!

Squash - General Our family sport is Squash - my father, mother, and older brother and sister all play to a high standard. At the age of 11, my parents thought it was time to coach and train me at our local sports centre. 14 years on, I have gone from strength to strength, and I find squash to be one of the most physically demanding activities a person can do. What is squash? Squash is an indoor racquet game played by two opposing players in a four walled squash court. The premise is to hit the ball at the front wall so that when it bounces off, your opponent cannot return the shot. Every time your opponent cannot return that shot, you either win a point (if you served) or you win the serve (if your opponent served the last shot). In the UK, you play to 9 points, unless you are 8-8 with your opponent, and then your opponent has the option to play either until 9 or 10 points. Usually the game is a best of five games, so the first to three wins. In the US, you play to 15 points. How to play The front wall has three horizontal lines that go across the wall, and a strip of tin along the bottom which is around 30cm high. The first line is drawn nearly a third of the way up the wall and the second is just over three thirds of the way up. The second line runs around all four walls of the court. Any balls which connect with the wall above the second line, or in the tin area is automatically out. The court that you stand in has a horizontal line that splits half of the court. The ...

Samsung SGH D900 24/09/2008

D-lightful!

Samsung SGH D900 There are certain essential requirements I prescribe when I am looking for a phone - an attractive appearance, high quality camera, video recording capability, excellent standard games and MP3 ringtones. When I looked through the spec of the Samsung D900, it initially seemed to satisfy all of these criteria. Unsurprisingly I wasted no time in buying it. Would it ultimately prove to be the ideal phone? Camera Starting with one of the most important details - the D900's camera is a 3 Megapixel, which along with the Ericsson K800i, was one of the first to boast this standard. The quality of pictures is quite high when pictures are taken in bright daylight - they tend to come out focused, clear and clean. However, in dim settings, the phone struggles to take a crisp picture. The autoflash does not do much to enhance pictures and they occasionally come out blurry. Furthermore, when you press the button to take the picture it can normally take a while for the picture to capture, which is a huge frustration, because your subject matter may have moved in that time, and you are left with a mediocre and unfocused picture. This is a significant flaw. Video = The video recording function is a lot better. Again, in dim settings, the quality is poor. The playback of the video is quite blocky, and jumps a lot, meaning you do not see seemless motions. Fortunately, again, in brighter lights, the video's are of much higher quality. With regards to sound, I have taken ...

World Snooker Championships 14/09/2008

Shef-field of Dreams!

World Snooker Championships The modern game of Snooker has heralded an emergence of remarkably gifted and talented young geniuses infiltrating the latter stages of ranking tournaments, and often walking away victorious. Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson are all players that have achieved dominance over the 'old hand' in recent seasons. The rise has caused the veterans of the game, such as seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry, two-time World Champions John Higgins and Mark Williams and World Champions Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon, to experience a gradual descent down the ranking list. On Saturday the 19th April 2008 - the 39th Snooker World Championship, sponsored by 888.com, commenced. This event is unquestionably the event that every Snooker player, who enters the professional game, wants to win. Taking place at the aptly named Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, this year's World Championship promised to exhibit one of the most thrilling contests it has ever produced. With the masters pitting themselves against pretenders to the throne in marathon-format games, it did not disappoint! The World Championship Thirty-two players comprise the televised stages of the 5-round World Championship. Half of these places are taken by the 'Elite top 16' players in the world who gain automatic entry into the tournament. The rest of the places are won as a result of winning all of the qualifying matches that lead up to the finals. Among the seven main ranking events in the ...
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