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thedeadparrot

thedeadparrot

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Reviews written

since 20/03/2001

61

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (DVD) 19/07/2001

What do you think we've been doing all our lives

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (DVD) Well, it's been several weeks, but I'm finally back here. I've been getting pleas from Anna (eca99ajm) for more film reviews, so I'm getting right back in here and continuing my Disney series of ops. And where better to continue than with the first ever full length animated motion picture - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Oh, and it almost got scuppered by ciao's lack of a category for the film, and then the several day wait for it to be added! To many people, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the quintessential Disney film. Released in 1937, it was the first full length animated motion picture, and also the precursor to the popular musical genre, predating Broadway's fascination with song-and-dance routines, which began in the early 1940's. Snow White had always been Uncle Walt's favourite fairy tale, ever since he was a child. In fact, he thought it was the perfect story, combining the love of Snow White and the Prince, the evilness of the Queen, and the comic nature of the Dwarves. So really, it's not too much of a surprise that he chose it to be the basis of his first feature. The film opens in the way that all good fairy tales do - with the reading of a book. This does the tedious work of setting up the characters, so that by the time the film proper starts, we know who the queen is, what the magic mirror is, etc etc. One point to make here is that the book used is a real book - either that, or the artists have some unbelievable (and unreproducable) ...

Face/Off (DVD) 14/06/2001

Lets go, lets go, I'm bored, lets go...

Face/Off (DVD) Well, as many of you will know, I'm in the middle of writing my Disney series of ops. So what am I doing writing about a film that's about as far from Disney as you can get, I hear you ask. Well, I had thought about writing one about "Beauty and the Beast", then I started one on "Aladdin", but I just wasn't having any fun. So, for a change of pace I decided that I ought to write about an all action movie, full of explosions, two handed gun play and high-tech gadgetry. The film opens in sepia-and-white, that technique which directors use to show us that what we're watching is, in fact, a flashback. It's six years ago, and Sean Archer (John Travolta - Grease, Pulp Fiction) is with his son, riding an old fashioned merry-go-round. The camera zooms back, and we see Castor Troy (Nicolas "I want to play a superhero before I die" Cage - Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona) uncovering a rifle. He aims for Sean and then hesitates, not wanting to hit his son. He waits and re-aims, only shooting once the child is not in sight. Archer falls to the ground, but Castor has not killed him. By some fate, the bullet missed his heart and carried on, killing his son instantly. The look on Castor's face is clear, the killing of Archer's son was an accident, he was only after Archer himself. We zoom forward six years, and Archer is still on Castor's tail, who it turns out is something of an international terrorist. He's still hurting from the death of his son, and will not rest until Castor is ...

Sing When You're Winning - Robbie Williams 11/06/2001

The money won't change ya...

Sing When You're Winning - Robbie Williams Well, I bought this one on the day that it came out and I can't say that I was disappointed. Robbie's third solo album is in my opinion his best effort yet. While there have been classics on both his previous albums, neither have come close to the consistent quality visible in "Sing When You're Winning". The standard issue of the CD comes with twelve songs (the special edition has a couple more). These are: 1: Let love be your energy A great start for the album. Contains a lot of background speech that I still haven't managed to decipher all of. Anyone want to help? 2: Better Man A nice slower number after the energy of the first song. Very strong vocals as per normal. 3: Rock DJ The first single of the song. I wasn't sure about this one the first time. But it definately grows on you. 4: Supreme Contains a fair bit of sampling from Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive". Simply Supreme. I'm not sure if anything was changed on the radio version, but I always think that it sounds better on the CD. 5: Kids The Kylie duet. Originally intended to be The Kylie solo, she got a bit miffed when Robbie wanted it on this Album. But she relented, and we got one of the best lines on the album: "Press be asking, do I care for sodomy. I don't know - yeah, probably". 6: If it's hurting you After the joy of the last three songs we have the melancholy of this one. It's a great song that really slows the tempo of the album. After all, you can't be turned up to 11 all the ...

Jungle Book (DVD) 06/06/2001

C'mon Baggy, get with the beat...

Jungle Book (DVD) Following swiftly on from my op on Disney's "The Lion King", we have another film which is thematically very similar. "The Jungle Book" is the first Disney film that I ever remember seeing, and as such it holds a very special place in my heart. However, it isn't my favourite Disney film, just the one that introduced me to uncle Walt's films. Based on Rudyard Kipling's famous "Mowgli" stories, "The Jungle Book" tells the story of a young, "man cub", Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman), who has been raised by a pack of wolves. So why isn't he with his real family, I hear you cry. Well, that isn't actually explained in the film. All we do know is that he was abandoned in a basket and left floating down the river. My guess is that he was an illegitimate child, and rather than face the scorn of the community his parents cast him adrift in the hope that someone would find him and look after him. But that's just my theory. Of course, someone does find him, and that someone turns out to be Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot - The Sword in the Stone, Miracle on 34th Street), the panther. Not wanting to look after the man cub himself, he dumps him outside a cave belonging to a local pack of wolves, and leaves him there (after making sure that the wolves have realised that Mowgli is there). But why didn't he just take Mowgli to the nearest man village, where he knew he would be safe? Well, according to Bagheera, the nearest village was ten days walk away, and by then the man cub would be dead. ...

The Lion King (DVD) 05/06/2001

They call me 'MR' Pig...

The Lion King (DVD) This is the start of my Walt Disney Corporation series. Over the coming weeks I'm going to be moving through my collection of Disney videos, and hopefully inform and entertain along the way. :o) ********** Back in 1993, a concept for a new film was raised in a Disney office. It was to be the story of a King's son, the rightful heir to the throne, who was exiled from the kingdom when his evil uncle killed his father. Whilst in exile he'd meet up with a couple of comic buffoons who would lead him through to adult-hood, and would then accompany him back to his true place in life. "Well, it's certainly a good idea", said the suit behind the desk, "but I can't help thinking that it's been done before." And indeed it had. You see, the Lion King is nothing more than Shakespeare's "Hamlet", with the actors dressed in animal's clothing. The parallels are there for anyone to see, right down to the young king's father reappearing to him from the dead in a dream. But enough of this insightful nonsense. What you really want to know is, did I think the film was any good. Well, the answer's a resounding yes. The quality of the animation in the film is such that it looks far more realistic than you'd get in many animated films of the time. This is a direct tribute to the fact that the animators at Disney had real animals shipped in for them to draw, which meant that they were able to capture the nuances of the various animals' movements. These are generally pretty small ...

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Beatles (The) 27/05/2001

I wrote an op today, oh boy...

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Beatles (The) Originally released in 1967, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" has been a milestone in many ways. But of course, you already knew that. Chances are you have a copy of this album somewhere in your house. The album could very easily be considered the first ever concept album as it was not the Beatles who were performing on this album, but instead it was "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" who were performing. This in fact lead to a bit of conclusion on the original release, but hey, The Beatles loved that. The album opens to the sound of an orchestra tuning up (with the mumbling of people in the background), before launching into the album with the words "It was Twenty years ago today...". And so "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" begins. This initial track is a delightful blend of electric guitars and brass, giving a fantastic conglomeration of the new and the old. (Hmm, that sounded a mite pretentious, didn't it?) The first track segues sublimely into "With A Little Help From My Friends" (well, it does if you're listening to it on vinyl), maintaining the feeling that we're listening to a live recording. It's sung by Richard, sorry, Ringo - and he does a rather good job of it. Next up is the song that's not about drugs at all, no sirree Bob. In fact it's about a picture that John's son drew. No, really, it is! In case you hadn't worked it out yet, the song in question is "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". Very trippy - fantastic lyrics. Following ...

Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette 23/05/2001

Slowly count to ten...

Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette This was an album that I'd had on my list of things to buy for a long time. I'd constantly been looking for it at a reasonable price (I couldn't look on the internet because I don't have one of those wonderful credit card thingies) and I finally found it at a price that I thought was decent. So I bought it (of corse, then everyone put it into their "specials" section - so that annoyed me). But I digress. "Jagged Little Pill" is a very angry album, there's no two ways about it. From the first song, right up to the hidden bit on the end, it's all anger. Here's a run down of the songs: 1: All I really want Starts the album off with electric guitar and harmonica. Fairly slow, but with a good strong beat behind it. 2: You oughta know Again, this song starts off slow, then kicks up a level. Before you know it, it's gone up again, and then once more. A lot of energy. 3: Perfect And this song brings the tempo right back down again. A very slow and sad song. 4: Hand in my pocket Nicely picks up the tempo again after "Perfect". Full of oxymorons. (Love that word). 5: Right through you Starts off with a fairly slow acoustic guitar, then goes into Alanis "shouting-singing" mode for the chorus. The shortest song on the album by far, but one of the best. 6: Forgiven Starts with slow deep drums. Continues with acoustic guitar. A lovely slow soulful, but still angry, song. Concerns the catholic church. 7: You learn The words in this song give the album its ...

Spy Kids Trilogy (Box Set) (DVD) 19/05/2001

True Lies for a younger generation...

Spy Kids Trilogy (Box Set) (DVD) So, what's this film all about then? Well, you've got a James Bondesque spy, right, but he's married and has a couple of kids. Hold on, that sounds familiar... Yep, it's the same sort of set up as "True Lies", but the difference is that this time his wife's a spy as well, and the film's for kids. So that's okay then. The film opens at bedtime in the Cortez household. Juni's (Daryl Sabara - His first film appearance) putting his anti-wart medicine onto his fingers, whilst his sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega - Twister) asks for a bedtime story. The one she gets told by her mother, Ingrid (Carla Gugino - Spin City, Snake Eyes), is the story of two spies from different countries who get drawn together and fall in love, and finally marry. Unbeknownst to her, the story is actually that of her mother and father, who gave up the spying game for a far more dangerous mission - that of parenthood. Into the mix comes Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming - Goldeneye, God the Devil and Bob), the host of a number two rated children's show. It's a show that Juni thinks is fantastic, as such children do, but everyone else thinks is a load of old tosh. Anyway, we soon find out that Floop is supplying high-tech weapons and gadgetry to a shady character called Mr Lithp - sorry, Lisp - (Robert Patrick - Terminator 2, The X-Files) and that the TV show is just a front for his operations. A bit worryingly though, he doesn't seem to know what's going on, as he has to be prompted by one of his minions, ...

Tonight the Midway Shines (Parental Advisory) [PA] - GA GA's 15/05/2001

It's Raining Tunes...

Tonight the Midway Shines (Parental Advisory) [PA] - GA GA's Tuesday 15th May 2001 Bought Bridget Jones soundtrack from Sainsbury's - only £9.99. Have listened to it five times since then, and not thought of food once. v.v.g Top artists included - 19 (including 1x snoggable, 1x v. thin and many singing type gods and goddesses) Total length of album - 70mins 51secs Songs which completely identify with - 3 Songs which remind me never to become a smug married - 2 ********** Well, enough of the "Jones-speak", what do I think of the album I hear you cry. It's very good. Simple as that. There's only really one song that I think doesn't work, and I thought the same thing when I saw the film at the cinema, but I'll get to that later. For this album I think it's only fair to do a track-by-track review. 1. Gabrielle - Out of Reach The album starts with Gabrielle's self-contemplating song. This is one of the two songs most closely connected with the film, and makes a nice soulful start to the proceedings. 2. Aretha Franklin - Respect A song from the summer of '67 next. This one picks up the pace a bit from the previous song, but unfortunately the sound levels don't seem to have been set properly, as I always have to turn this song up - it just sounds very quiet after Gabrielle's number. 3. Geri Halliwell - It's Raining Men The current No. 1, Geri's rendition of The Weather Girls' classic is a grower. The first time I heard it I was, to be honest, a bit angry, especially with some of the liberties that had ...

True Lies (DVD) 13/05/2001

We call it an op - a covert op...

True Lies (DVD) Or She will be mine yet again, oh yes, she will be mine yet again. After his work on The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, James Cameron decided to do something a bit different. An action comedy, yeah that'd be okay. So, who could we have in it? I know, how about Arnult - he likes me since I started off his box-office career with "The Terminator", and he's done a couple of comedies before. Yeah, he'll do. But what can it be about? How's this for a concept - James Bond has a wife and kid! Okay, so we can't call him Bond, but you get the idea. And that's basically what the film is about. Harry Tasker (Arnold Shwarzenneger - The Terminator, The Sixth Day) has been married, faithfully, to Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis - Halloween, The Tailor of Panama) for many years, and has a child, Dana (Eliza Dushku - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV), Bring it On). Harry is a member of a top secret government organisation, The Omega Force, which fight for Truth, Justice and The American Way, but of course his family doesn't know this - they just think that he's a computer salesman. The mission that Harry is currently involved in concerns the acquisition of several nuclear warheads by an Arab Terrorist group who, fairly obviously, have to be stopped. And it's up to Harry to stop them. During the course of his mission, Harry meets Juno Skinner (Tia Carrere - Wayne's World, Merlin: The Return), who he dances a superb Tango with. Skinner is a highly renowned archaeologist, who uses her ...

HoTMetaL Pro 4 10/05/2001

Powerful - but you need to know what you're doing

HoTMetaL Pro 4 I have always been a person who uses notepad to write HTML, and before using HoTMetaL Pro 4 that was all that I would use. My main concern was the integrity of my coding - I had heard just too many accounts of "bloatware", ie the software writing far more into your HTML file than is really necessary. Also there is the tendancy to get lazy and think that if your site looks good on one system it will look good on another with a WYSIWYG program. So I gave HMP a try. My first impression on loading one of my own pages was "why are there all these gaps between the images in my tables?" This I found out was just the way that HMP does things. That is my only major annoyance with the program - but it does of course mean that I am going to actually go and check my pages in a browser (or three) rather than getting lazy and relying on the WYSYWIG environment. HMP4 is fantastic (in my experience) at adhering to HTML standards, with every page that I have validated at www.w3.org has gone through like a shot (well once I'd redone HMP's DTD, but more about that in a minute). This, in my opinion is HMP's strength, as you are far more likely to get a site that looks good across a variety of systems if you actually write to standards. My other niggle about HMP's writing of HTML files is that it is determined to use it's own DTD at the start of an HTML file (that's the line right at the beginning of the file that reads ...

Wayne's World 2 (DVD) 06/05/2001

Just follow the weird naked indian...

Wayne's World 2 (DVD) Or, "She will be mine again, oh yes, she will be mine again..." After the success of "Wayne's World" a sequel was inevitable. But how to stop it being one of those cash in movies with no substance, and a plot that beggars belief? Well, if we knew the answer to that question, the world wouldn't had to put up with pictures such as "Highlander II - The Quickening", would it? But somehow, Mike Myers, Bonny Turner and Terry Turner have come up with a piece of comic genius that might even better the original. The plot sees Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) putting on the biggest music festival that Aurora, Illinois, has ever seen. You see, Wayne has been visited in his dreams by Jim Morrison (Michael A. Nickles) and a weird naked indian (Larry Sellers). Pretty plausible stuff really. The b-plotline regards Cassandra (Tia Carrere) being seduced to the bright lights of LA by her Producer, Bobby (Christopher Walken). Which Wayne, of course, doesn't want to happen. The opening segment of the film are thematically the same as in the original. The film opens at Wayne's home, we have a bit of a talk from him, the Mirth Mobile transports them the Stan Nikita's Donuts whilst being accompanied by music from the stereo. But even this short ten minutes is so much more than that. We start with a homage to Batman, with the guys opening up a secret door and sliding down a firepole just like in the camp 60s TV show. In a moment for true connoisseurs, the bust that ...

Sagem MW 936 03/05/2001

Easy to slip away, and it vibrates as well...

Sagem MW 936 After being without my previous phone (the Ericsson A1018s) for 5 weeks whilst it was in for repair, I went a bit stir crazy. I need my phone. I crave the beep of a new text message as it gets sent to me. I live for the ring as I get phoned for an evening of debauchery. ell, maybe it wasn't that bad, but it was pretty annoying not having a phone to hand. And on top of that I don't wear a watch, so I never knew what time it was. Soon the answer became clear - It was time for a new phone. My choice was limited by three factors. The phone had to be pre-paid (no contract jobbies for me), it had to be on the One-2-One network (it's what my family and most of my friends are on, so calls would be cheaper to them), and if had to cost £50 or less (that was all I had available to me). After having a look around the shops I decided on the Sagem MW 936. The phone itself is a pretty dinky little affair, measuring up at 11cm-by-5cm-by-2-cm without the aerial. The aerial adds another 2cm to the height. The phone's shape is nice and curved, with no sharp edges at all, which means that it's lovely and caressable. The phone is nice and light as well, but unfortunately I can't give you a proper weight because I can't find one in the instruction manual. The feel of the phone, unfortunately is a bit tacky when you're using it. The keypad feels as though it's made of cheap plastic and if you rub your fingers across the top of them they squeak a bit. That said, they don't stick, and they ...

Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey (DVD) 02/05/2001

Not bad... Yeah, lets make it bad...

Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey (DVD) Well, after having written my op on the triumphant "Bill &Ted's Excellent Adventure", I thought it'd probably be a good idea to write one about the sequel. Even better, I got the titles of the two ops to work together as well. Not bad. "Bogus Journey" is set five years after Bill and Ted's original journey through time. They've moved out of their parents' houses, and are now living together in a bachelor pad of their own. The band has got marginally better since the end of "Excellent Adventure", well, the babes have at least. All in all, things are going pretty well for them. In the future, things aren't going so well. A class taught by Rufus (George Carlin) is taken siege by Chuck De Nomolos (Joss Ackland) who has a chip on his shoulder about Bill and Ted. His plan is to send Evil Robot Bill and Teds back in time, to destroy the good duo's life and change the future so that it doesn't include Bill and Ted. To be able to do this he obviously needs a time-travel device, which he can find in Rufus' class room. (Presumably time travel is only used for educational purposes in the future, although you'd have thought that someone with the amount of money it took to build those robots would be able to procure a phone booth from somewhere, wouldn't you? But I'm over analysing). De Nomolos sends the Evil Robots back in time, but Rufus manages to get himself sucked into the tunnels of time behind the booth. Back in the present, Bill and Ted propose to the Princesses in a very ...

google.com 27/04/2001

Simple, fast, effective...

google.com Picture the scene: You're in the middle of writing your next award winning op on the film "The Fearless Vampire Killers" and you decide to look for a bit of background information about the film on the internet. Your first stop, of course, is the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com), but you don't hold out much hope, after all, they generally only have cast and crew listings, and a short plot summary. Going to the site you find that you were right - nothing you didn't know already. So, it's off to the search engines. You trundle off the Altavista and type in "the fearless vampire killers". To your dismay, only the first item on the list seems to have anything to do with the film, but on clicking on it, you find that it is in fact a fairly pithy review of "Rosemary's Baby". A similar thing happens on Hotbot. Then you remember about a fairly new search engine that was supposed to be pretty good, google. What the heck, you say, the others haven't turned anything up, let's try google. The first thing you notice when you enter the site is that there's nothing there. Just a Google logo, a search box, two buttons and a few simple text links. You type "thefearless vampire killers" into the search box, and press enter. A split second later, google has come up with nothing. That's a bit disappointing, you think, nothing like as good as I was told it was. But then you notice that Google is asking you a question. "Are you sure you didn't mean 'the fearless vampire killers'?", it ...
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