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since 26/08/2006

16

National Geographic Kids 11/09/2006

Winner of 'Periodical of the Year' in the USA.

National Geographic Kids National Geographic Kids Wildlife - Geographical monthly mag for kids Full colour, 56 pages. Winner of 'Periodical of the Year' in the USA. Published by the super-famous National Geographic Society, this award winning magazine is produced for children of about 7 to 12 years of age. As far as I have been able to find out, it is not available outside the USA. However in these days of internet shops and web sites it is a sinch to subscribe online. Just go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngkids and sign up. The process is simple, transparent and quick. All types of credit card are accepted. You get a printable receipt and a confirmation email. I was especially pleased with the service and the helpfulness and friendliness of staff. The first issue took quite a while but after that we receieved subsequent issues at the same time as you would expect a monthly to hit the local newsagent's shelves. . My son was thrilled to get a welcome letter and a gift for subscribing (he got a blow up beach ball which is also a world globe). My email queries and suggestions were all answered and very promptly too, they obviously value their reputation! One of the first issues was a summer special bumper edition with animal cards to collect, excellent! Now for the content… I have to say that my son is delighted with it. When it comes, he rushes to open it and immediately sits down and reads it at length. He often read the jokes to me, shows me the funny animal photos and ...

Everything that starts with C ... 05/09/2006

Flamenco Chill Out

Everything that starts with C ... As I live in Spain for part of the year, I often get to hear Spanish music. Fusing Flamenco melodies and rhythms with all sorts of music has been very popular for a quite a while now. Ultimo de la Fila (Last in Line) have been mixing rock with it, since the 80s. However more recently on the fusion scene, a new group, 'Chambao' has made quite an impact. The duo have created a cool smooth jazz-funk, electronic and flamenco blend that is being labelled flamenco chill. La Mari and El Edi form one of the few bands that have been able to achieve a fusion that is full of harmonies. Their name comes from the tents that are improvised by people on beaches to shelter themselves from the sun and wind. Originally a threesome: La Mari, Edi and Dani, took part in a double CD by various artists, contributing 8 songs, that was released by Sony under the title "Flamenco Chill" (2002). It sold 90,000 copies and the record label has made similar later releases, but without Chambao. Their first CD came out in 2003 entitled, "Endorfinas en la mente". It was released in more than twenty countries, sold over 80,000 copies and received the Spanish National Radio Award 'Premio Ondas' (Ondas Award) for the Best Musical Creation. Later "Pokito a poko" (2005) followed, but Dani left the band, leaving La Mari and El Edi to continue creating their unique wall of sound. It was very popular. Constantly adding to their repertoire, the musical styles now include bulerías, sevillanas, rumbas, tangos, ...

One Care 04/09/2006

Bill Gates Does it Again

One Care Bill Gates Does it Again The man who some admire but many don't like, has done it again. Microsoft has just gone global on Onecare. Global Onecare care is available in beta form on an open basis. You can download it from http://www.windowsonecare.com. The new product available commercially costs 49.95 dollars but is available in some online stores for as little as 29.95 dollars. Until recently (as little as two weeks ago) it was only available in the US, so prices in Europe are still higher. The aggressive pricing is good news for consumers as the price of internet security suites and antivirus software will be pushed down. Also there is a generous 90 day trial version for download. The software also is aimed at 24/7 support and will cover 3 PCs for the fee. It checks for spyware, antivirus, removes disk clutter, defragments your files and will update all Microsoft products from one point. Additionally it incorporates a backup system. You need Windows XP and Service Pack 2 to be installed. At the moment there are no foreign language versions. It is worth noting that Symantec and Mcafee amongst others are already preparing to bring out similar products, although their current prices are almost 20 dollars higher. However there are some drawbacks with this software:- Onecare will give you a "green" OK for your system even when the antivirus and spyware definitions are out of date. Onecare will carry out a scan after installation without informing if the ...

Witness (DVD) 04/09/2006

A Thrilling Thought Provoking Film

Witness (DVD) The Witness This film is a Drama, a Romance, and a Thriller all packed into one. Certificate: 15, Running Time : 1hour 48 minutes Released: 1985 Directed by Australian director Peter Weir (Who also directed "The Year of Living Dangerously"), "Witness" brings two cultures into direct conflict. The drama centres around an Amish boy (Lukas Haas) who witnesses the murder of an undercover policeman in the men's toilet of a train station. His mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) is travelling with him and both become involved in the police investigation. However Captain John Book (Harrison Ford) who is investigating the case doesn't know that someone is out to kill them. Book, undercover, goes with them to the Amish community and lives there until he can resolve the threat. DVD features As far as extras go there is only an interview with Peter Weir and the usual trailer. If you want extras you may want to get the Special Collector's edition which I haven't seen. Apparently it contains a fascinating 75-minute documentary split into five episodes including comments and interviews with director Peter Weir, cinematographer John Seale, and actors Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, and Viggo Mortensen (He was an Amish extra). Brilliant acting by Ford, Haas and a great contribution Kelly McGillis. "Witness" will amaze you with the mounting suspense and the conflict of values that the characters face. I'm not sure that the film was very favourable to Amish convictions but ...

The Net 2.0 (DVD) 03/09/2006

Don't go out of your way to see it.

The Net 2.0 (DVD) Well I actually got this one from my local video shop. It was around a pound. I don´t think I am that hard to please, but we watched this in unbelief, waiting for the acting to get better. Nikkie Deloach plays Hope Cassiday, whose identity is robbed via internet and finds herself totally isolated in Istanbul. Intended to be a follow on from the Net, starring Sandra Bullock, it falls in the trap of trying to imitate the origial too much. Hope is down on her luck and wants to improve her carreer chances by moving to Turkey where she has been offered a job with very good pay. On the plane all her money is stolen. Once in Turkey her passport expires and she gets a new one from the US Embassy but someone else's name is on it. She is advised to keep it until it can be rectified. She then goes to work but after receiving a phone call from someone claiming to represent her warning that she (the real Hope) is an impostor, her new boss asks her for ID. Of course she only has the passport with a false name and so is arrested and interrogated. Unknown to her, the boyfriend, whom she left behind in the US, is part of a gang who have used her to steal money and have changed all her IDs and records into the name of woman wanted for murder. She struggles to clear her name, as another women impersonates her real identity. The actors try really hard and there are some good moments, like when things reach a real low for Hope, she seemed so vunerable. The taxi driver who befriends her is ...

My Dog Skip (DVD) 03/09/2006

Funny, tender and moving entertainment!

My Dog Skip (DVD) My Dog Skip At a Glance Certificate :PG Released :2000 Length :92 minutes Director :Jay Russell Based on :Novel by Willie Morris, "My Dog Skip" Company :Warner Family Website :http://www.skipthedog.com Format :Widescreen Best Prices Amazon UK :5.97 pounds sterling, 1.45 pounds delivery. Amazon UK, Market Place: 3.97, 1.45 delivery Blah: 5.99, free delivery The Cast Frankie Muniz (Willie) Excellent portrayal by this young actor. Kevin Bacon (Will's father) Convincing role played by Bacon Diane Lane (Will's mother) Doesn't give us a deep insight to her character but sufficiently believable. Luke Wilson (Will's older baseball friend and hero) Good. Didn't spot any moment when he seemed to be out of character. Was really good at being down and out. Skip (Skip the Dog) One intelligent Dog! Director's (Jay Russell) Filmography Ladder 49 (2004) Tuck Everlasting (2002) My Dog Skip (2000) End of the Line (1988) Author's Bibliography Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood (made into a movie) The Last of the Southern Girls My Dog Skip ( made into a movie) After All, It's Only a Game The Story The tale unfolds against the background of the second world war and rural America in the 40s. The main character is a young boy whose father fought in the Spanish civil war and was injured during a skirmish, losing a leg. He is unemployed and has to cope with that. The mother is a dynamic character who keeps the family together by ...

Shrek/Shrek 2 (Box Set) (DVD) 01/09/2006

Hillarious and entertaining.

Shrek/Shrek 2 (Box Set) (DVD) This 2 DVD pack is a really good buy. It has lots of extras on both discs. The games aren't very good really but the Shrek Karaoke party is very very funny. We were rolling on the floor with laughter. Also the alternative interactive endings are good fun too. It kept us all entertained for quite a while. You are presented with several options and according to your choice an alternative end to the Shrek 2 is shown. Also watch out for the character interviews. Short but well worth you watching it. One oddity, the second DVD has only English subtitles, I mention it just in case you wanted to brush up your foreign languages. What can one say about this film that hasn´t already been said? For me the first one is the best. Apart from Eddy Murphy´s brilliantly funny voice over for the donkey, Mike Myers voice is just right for Shrek. My favourite parts are the bits pinched from other films for a laugh. Especially the Matricx-like scene where Princess Fiona flies slow motion through the air and belts two guards at once. In the story Princess Fiona is under a spell which turns her into an ugly ogre at night. She is locked in a tower and can only be freed by a kiss from her true love. Unfortunately or fortunately for her, whichever way you see it she is rescued by Shrek, another ogre. Meanwhile the evil Lord Farquaad banishes all the fairytale cahracters from the Land and plots to marry Princess Fiona. There is a surprise ending in store. In the second film the Princess is ...

Miss Marple - A Murder Is Announced (DVD) 01/09/2006

Who did it? Read on and find out.

Miss Marple - A Murder Is Announced (DVD) Miss Marple - A Murder Is Announced Published by ABC/Roadshow Entertainment, lasts for 94 mins A local village newspaper carries the following strange advertisement. "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m...". The ad was sent anonymously and of course, everyone in the village thinks of some excuse to drop into the Blacklock's cottage later that evening. Letitia Blacklock (Zoe Wanamaker) is upset at all the knocks on the door and people asking for a cup of sugar or a glass of sherry. And yes, a murder is carried out. Of course you know who is at hand to find the guilty culprit? Miss Marple, played very well by actress Geraldine McEwan. Would you like to know who did it? Well I won't tell you. Just like the Mousetrap play when it was on the theatre in London as the butler said, "Don't tell anyone, they must come and see for themselves". What is an Agatha Christie tale all about if not guessing who did it? The DVD quality is slightly lower probably due to the conversion from analogue video to digital. The sound is also only two channel, so if you have good sound equipment you may notice this. However bearing in mind this is a made for TV drama and not a full film production, I think it is quite acceptable. I have seen all the series and this is a particular favourite of mine. Geraldine portrays Marple just as I imagined her from the books. Unfortunately there are no extras whatsoever. Strictly ...

The One DVD 01/09/2006

Great Martial Arts Film with a Sci-Fi twist

The One DVD Jet Li plays himself twice! OR more than twice actually. The film is about a "multiverse", not a very original idea but interesting. We are not alone as many other parallel universes exist and each individual has his coutnerparts in every other reality. So there are as many Yulaw-s (Jet Li's character) as there are universes in the multiverse. Some time ago it was discovered how to travel between universes and so the Multiverse Bureau of Intelligence was formed. Alongside this discovery another is made: that if an individual kills another version of himself he then gains all those abilities and characterisitics. The 'bad guy' Jet Li character (Yulaw) has gone on a rampage and assasinated all but one versions of himself, so as you may gather his in now pretty good at Kung Fu, Kick Boxing etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile in another part of the universe, the 'good guy' Jet Li character (Gabriel Law) is totally unaware of Yulaw's plan and the multiverse reality. Yulaw is about to break out of his universe and come into Gabriel's. If he can finish off Jet Li version 2 then he will become "The One", a superhuman being. The MBI agents track Yulaw and try to thwart his plan but confusion reigns and no one knows who is who, as you will certainly not as some point in time. I love this film. It is pure marital art action, great choreography, great fights, brilliant top notch effects, spins, jumps, flights, summersaults. Literally jam-packed with action. The characters are a ...

Supernova (DVD) 01/09/2006

A thriller in outer space!

Supernova (DVD) This is an entertaining action-thriller film in a futuristic outer-space setting. A small 6 man crew run the hospital-rescue ship the Nightingale. While on a mission they recieve a distress signal which appears to come from the son of a man known to a crew member. Once on board the man demonstrates to be fit and healthy beyond anything normal for a human being. Then an artifact is discovered in his ship. The rescues man, Karl and another crew member are drawn irresistably to it. Both men start to undergoe a transformation in which they develop super-strength, agility and become violent and malicious. Then a chilling chase begins as one after another crew member is brutally murdered by the increasingly monstrous Karl. However to make matters worse, the remaining survivors discover that a nearby supernova is on the point of exploding (Do they explode??). I wouldn´t rate this film as one of the best I´ve seen but it maintains really well a sense of mystery and suspense. The interplay between the characters is good. The ending is a nice surprise. Well worth watching, especially if like me you got it in a bargain pack of 3 DVDs for 5 pounds in my local video shop. I found the acting good for the type of story and situations. I thought the effects were good too. The story was strong on suspense and mystery and didn´t need many effects, so if you´re looking for hat skip this. There are some outakes on the DVD that are so FUNNY. If ther had done the film with these ...

Mercury Rising (DVD) 30/08/2006

Drama and Intrigue right till that last minute!

Mercury Rising (DVD) I bought this on Video some time ago in a bargain basket in a Video shop and felt I had made a really good purchase for a few pounds! Bruce WIllis plays a hard nosed detective with an addiction to tranqulisers. The National Security Agency invents a code to protect the names of its agents, called Mercury. It is believed to be the most secure code for decades. However the two principal code makers test out the code for the 'X' factor, a chance hunch by a person that enables them to crack it. They do this without their chief´s knowledge and publish it in a puzzle magazine. That magazine falls into the hands of a small autistic boy who cracks the code and calls the agency to the great surprise of the code makers. While they are trying to work out who the boy Simon is ´working for' the brutal assasination of his parents and himself is ordered. Simon is left alone defenseless when the WIllis characters discovers him hiding in a closet. The story then develops fast as the agency hunts Simon down and attempts to kill him and any one else who gets in the way. I liked the way the film showed a hard nut being cracked by the vunerability of a young autistic boy who of course is extremely difficult to handle. I don´t remember the name of the boy who acts the part of Simon but he did a brilliant job. In short an entertaining and well made story. Even if you think the bad guys are just too cardboardish, you will enjoy the race to protect Simon against all odds. Oy by ...

Everything that starts with A ... 30/08/2006

Commercial Free Antivirus for a Year!

Everything that starts with A ... Free Antivirus for a Year! eTrust EZ I just came across this antivirus while searching for free trial products. My Symantec Norton Internet Security is due for renewal tomorrow and I have been annoyed at the price rises recently made by some antivirus companies. I found this and thought about sharing it here. CA is a very reputable company and although its antivirus does not figure at the top of the comparison tables it is well worth a look. The installation was very simple and it is working fine. You can try all their other products for free but only 30 days. The antivirus comes free for A WHOLE YEAR. Features: · Uses few resources - Small file download and not hungry for computer power. The download file is just 3.7Mb. It works with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, XP and 2000 and needs at least 32Mb RAM on 95/98/ME, 74Mb RAM on NT/2000 and 128Mb RAM on XP. · Automatic Virus Updates - Decide when you want updates and make it automatic if you want. They are daily and very quick due to small update files. · Settings locked by Password - This stops anyone getting in and changing things. No one can put your computer in danger. · ICSA Certification -The International Computer Security Association (ICSA). Sounds complicated, just means people in the Computer World think ICSA are the bees knees of security. They have the powers to say that an antivirus program works. The certificate means that the software detects 100% of viruses "out there" (in general distribution), and at least ...

Everything that starts with W ... 29/08/2006

John Woo's poetry in motion.

Everything that starts with W ... John Woo, Director Bio John was born in southern China. His real name is Yusen Wu and he grew up in Hong Kong where he began his film career. First he worked as an assistant director in 1969 for Shaw Brothers Studios. He then went on to direct his first feature film in 1973. A glance at his portfolio of films tells you that he can only be described as a prolific director. He has tried many different genres but it was his 1986 film, "A Better Tomorrow", that established his reputation for gangster movies with a lot of violence and "take-your-breath-away" action scenes. With "Killer" (1989) he gained himself cult status in the USA and was offered a Hollywood contract. His current plans are to stay there. He is married and has three children. Trademarks His action scenes are often highly choreographed and are punctuated with freeze framed sequences. Guns figure in many scenes, often with two characters facing each other both pointing their weapon at each other. He likes to use doves as a symbol of peace, and pictures the dove flying away as guns are shot. Also you may find a contrast of pleasant music with violent action. There are rapid flashback moments too! For me personally his sense of motion and choreography add a beauty to otherwise hard cold violent movies. He is already very good and I hope he directs some different types of films and uses some more thoughtful stories, it would be fascinating to see how he would handle that. Box Office Biggies He has ...

The Net (DVD) 28/08/2006

On the edge of your seat!

The Net (DVD) About the dangerous possibilities of internet and the robbing of digital identities. I bought this DVD at a discount in the UK, a HMV shop I think. Only cost me 5 pounds. Some of these older DVDs are well worth it. So much good stuff around, why pay more for something new? Angela Bennet, a reclusive freelance computer programmer, recieves a copy of a virus from a friend in a large software company. When the virus is activated, a strange symbol appears on the screen and access is granted to top secret information. That night her friend flies to see her to talk about it and his plane crashes. The previous day a famous politician commits suicide. Shortly after Angela goes on holiday and things go from bad to worse. She is robbed and tricked, abandoned without resources and obliged to accept a passport not in her name to get back into the USA. Her new name and photo is that of a convicted criminal. All her possesions are taken and the police send out a search bulletin. Meanwhile a secret organisation which made the virus, tries to kill her and succeeds in murdering all whom she contacts for help. Angela finds out that her identity has been completely taken by a women unknown to her. Since she had little contact with anyone and her mother is in a mental health institution, no one can vouch for her. The tension mounts as she runs and fights for survival. The story has many twists and surprises. Sandra Bullock plays her part wonderfully and you watch as ...

The Fugitive (DVD) 27/08/2006

Thrilling tale of a search for justice.

The Fugitive (DVD) Harrison Ford plays the part of Richard Kimble, a famous doctor, whose wife is brutally murdered one night whilst he is out a benefit do. Kimble is framed and jailed as the author of the crime. However his fellow convicts plan an escape and Kimble flees. A chase then takes place as Tommy Lee Jones and his team of detectives follow in hot purusit. Kimble investigates on the run and finds a trail of deceit and a plot to silence him. Harrison and Jones are really convincing and the team of detectives are great. Kimble´s enemies were somewhat shallow. The story line is moving, thanks to Harrison´s acting skills and you will find yourself hooked as the injustice builds. Time is running out.... will Kimble find his wife´s murderer and live to tell the tale. Brilliant!
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