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Darren Harrison "DVD collector and reviewer" RSS Feed (Washington D.C.)
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Logitech S150 USB Speakers with Digital Sound
Logitech S150 USB Speakers with Digital Sound
Price: $10.53
106 used & new from $8.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for, May 22, 2014
It's been so long since I had a desktop computer that when I received a new Acer Aspire desktop computer (as part of the emachine redeem settlement) it didn't occur to me that I would need external speakers. So, I ordered these Logitech speakers based on some of the glowing reviews I have seen on the web and can report they work like a dream putting out more output than one might expect from a pair of small speakers. They sit on a shelf to either side of my monitor and provide a nice little stereo sound that I have been missing in my years of laptop ownership. These little beauties are highly recommended.


BearExtender PC USB WiFi Booster and Range Extender for Microsoft Windows
BearExtender PC USB WiFi Booster and Range Extender for Microsoft Windows
Offered by Quantum Wireless
Price: $44.99
3 used & new from $34.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It works...[Windows 8], May 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When I received a new Acer Aspire desktop computer (as part of the emachine redeem settlement) I had terrible trouble with the wifi connection which would randomly drop, and when it was connected register no more than 1 or 2 bars. Of course the location of the computer did not help being on the opposite side of the house from the router, but my work laptop was able to register 3 bars when sitting next to the Aspire. We tried an extender but the signal would still drop and it didn't seem to work well with Windows 8, so I knew we needed to try another approach. That's when I came across the BearExtender and was particularly interested in the fact that it does not use the computers wifi card (since that was a possible suspect in addition to the location) and indeed one of the setup steps is to disable the computers wifi card. Last night I unpacked the BearExtender, loaded the software (which was very easy to follow) and then connected the USB cable to one of my 3.0 USB connections. Within minutes I was watching a movie streaming on Netflix and checking my Outlook inbox. Of course it's early days since I only had a couple of hours to play with it, but it certainly seems to be working a charm regularly pulling in anywhere between 3 to 4 bars. I am very happy with my purchase and recommend BearExtender to anyone suffering from wifi connectivity issues.


The 39 Steps
The 39 Steps
DVD ~ Rupert Penry-Jones
Price: $11.99
47 used & new from $3.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo BBC for finally having the courage to bring Buchan’s novel to the screen., May 8, 2014
This review is from: The 39 Steps (DVD)
I have lived in hope for years that we might one-day get a version of “The 39 Steps” that was faithful to the John Buchan source novel. I remember, of course, the 1935 Hitchcock version and being surprised to find no Mr. Memory, and no escape from the police across the Forth Road bridge when I picked up a copy of the book from the school library while at University in England. As I read the book it became apparent that Hitchcock had decimated Buchan’s original plot to the point that his 1935 film is “The 39 Steps” in almost name-only. The Hitchcock movie was remade in an almost frame-by-frame version in 1959 starring Kenneth More, so Hitch’s plot has become entwined in people’s memory, erroneously, as the “39 Steps:. In 1978 Robert Powell starred in another version of the film, and went someway to redressing the balance. For although Powell’s version is closer to the book, and had the movie set in the right time period, there were still areas where it diverted from Buchan’s plot. I assumed that we might never get a faithful version, that is until I happened across this BBC TV movie. Here at last is a TV movie that can accurately claim to be based on the Buchan book. The action moves thick and fast and we have a series of exciting escapes as Hannay tries to clear his name. In this version Hannay is again framed for a murder he didn’t commit and again travels to Scotland to clear his name and unravel the clues. There are tips of the hat to the Hitchcock version, with a hint of romance that was completely absent from the novel, and even a scene that harkens back to Hitchcock’s other spy movie “North By Northwest” as Hannay is buzzed by a biplane, but the pre-WWI era plot of Buchan’s book is largely intact. Bravo BBC for finally having the strength of character and courage to bring Buchan’s novel to the screen.


James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me
James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me
Price: $6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition of my favorite James Bond continuation novel, May 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I already own a paperback copy of this book and happily bought a Kindle version from Amazon (along with a Kindle version of the follow-up "James Bond and Moonraker"). Written by the screenwriter of the 1977 James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me", this novel follows the basic plotline of the movie with some key differences. Bond teams up with SMERSH agent (in the movie version a KGB agent) Anya Amasova to investigate the disappearance of a British and a Soviet nuclear submarine. Their investigation takes them from Egypt and Sardinia. Of course nobody can write James Bond novels like Ian Fleming, with many writers over the years taking a stab at it under license from Ian Fleming's estate. Kingsley Amis wrote "Colonel Sun" under a pseudonym in the late 1960s which came close; John Gardner wrote 14 Bond novels (including a personal favorite in "Icebreaker") from 1981 to 1996; and Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver, and William Boyd taking cracks at it. To my mind none of these captured the essence of Fleming's Bond as Christopher Wood did in the novelizations of the 1977 and 1979 movies on which he served as a screenwriter. These however are not merely narratives of the on-screen action, Wood gives us tantalizing views of some elements which likely were in his original script and were either excised or changed. For example, following the death of Fekkesh, Bond is captured and tortured by SMERSH in attempt by the Russian agents to determine the location of the microfilm. Wood also gives us backstory to many of the characters which provide greater depth than these characters were afforded on the screen. Not the one-dimensional characters that occupied the film, Anya Amasova, Jaws and even Sigmund Stromberg (changed to Karl Stromberg for the film) are more fully developed in the novel. I consider it the best of all the continuation novels.


VIP Very Important Person
VIP Very Important Person
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $48.88
5 used & new from $9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars WWII POW movie genre gets the British comedy treatment - with fantastic results, May 6, 2014
This review is from: VIP Very Important Person (DVD)
Forget "Hogan's Heroes" or "Stalag Luft" (in which I played an extra) - this 1961 comedy beats both in not only laughs but also suspense and tension. The legendary British actor James Robertson Justice is joined by such British comic icons as Leslie Phillips, Stanley Baker and Eric Sykes in this improbable but entertaining romp in which Justice plays a scientist who is shot down over Germany and must escape his P.O.W. camp at all cost to help the British war effort. I remember seeing this years ago sometime in the early 1980s and several times trying to figure out "What was that POW movie featuring James Robertson Justice?" I'm glad I found this on Netflix because it brought back all the nostalgic value of those rainy Saturday afternoons (I was raised in the UK) curled up on the sofa watching old movies. This is truly a classic.


Diamonds
Diamonds
DVD ~ Robert Shaw
17 used & new from $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I greatly enjoyed this movie, March 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Diamonds (DVD)
I'm not sure if all these negative reviews were written for this movie that I greatly enjoyed, perhaps its my love of heist movies that clouds my opinion or my admiration for Robert Shaw. The movie deals with a suave diamond dealer attempting to reveal flaws in a security system designed by his twin brother with whom he has an intense rivalry.


Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy
Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy
DVD ~ Jane Fonda
Price: $7.34
100 used & new from $1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars So bad, it's good, March 8, 2014
Barbarella is a movie that is easy to find fault with, but I cannot help but think that those who deride its cheap sets, laughable plot, horrendous special effects and overacting are missing the point. Simply put, Barbarella is a touchstone on the late sixties sexual revolution that belongs to that category of movies that are so bad, oh so terribly bad – that it is good. Reportedly Jane Fonda now regrets making this movie which is a shame since she has never looked so good. Simply put Fonda looks so incredibly hot in this movie that as you watch the train wreck all around her, one stands in awe of this amazing looking woman. Starting the movie with a zero gravity striptease the viewer is immediately clued into just the type of movie they are about to witness, and this is a movie that is so unique, so unlike anything you have seen before that you will cheer its cheesiness or hate it for the same reason. The plot is unimportant but (as far as I could tell) involves the search for a missing scientist named Durand Durand (yes, the 80s pop band obviously were fans).But, the psychedelic visuals and Fonda overpower the proceedings that the plot is irrelevant. Sit back and enjoy.


The Bourne Identity (TV Miniseries)
The Bourne Identity (TV Miniseries)
DVD ~ Richard Chamberlain
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $62.50
27 used & new from $9.94

4.0 out of 5 stars The extra hour allows this miniseries to go where Damon's could not, February 23, 2014
I first saw this movie on television many years ago, long before the Matt Damon Bourne Identity appeared on the screen, and even with the impressive production of the 2002 Damon-Liman collaboration, this 3-hour 1988 television movie remains my favorite adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s 1980 thriller. For one thing the extra hour plus that Chamberlain’s production has on the Damon effort gives the production a greater opportunity to focus on the very human conflict and remain more faithful to the source novel. One of the things that felt so jarring of the later effort was how it diverged so sharply from the Ludlum source. Of course world events had moved on in the 22 years between Ludlum’s book and Damon’s film so I understand they had to do some updating. This works to the benefit of the Chamberlain starrer which had no such encumbrance. The story details the struggle of a man washed up on a shore in southern France and nursed back to health by an alcoholic doctor (wonderfully played by Denholm Elliott) to regain his memory and recall his real name. Along the way he kidnaps and eventually befriends a beautiful doctor (of economics) played by my favorite of Charlie’s Angels Jaclyn Smith and evades pursuers working for the famed international assassin Carlos. Of course, to provide much more of a synopsis would spoil the enjoyment of the surprises of this film, but fans of the Damon actioner should be aware that, while this TV miniseries does feature some action sequences, the action is not the main emphasis of the movie, the concentration is most definitely on the human drama and intrigue (which I greatly enjoyed). All in all this is well worth a look-see and I recommend it wholeheartedly.


The Dalek Collection
The Dalek Collection
DVD ~ DR. WHO:: Peter Cushing
Price: $19.98
9 used & new from $17.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Bigger budget+color+tighter scripting+better acting+Peter Cushing=Much better than the television serial, February 13, 2014
This review is from: The Dalek Collection (DVD)
Growing up in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s, the classic Dr. Who series was a staple part of my television diet. I didn't care about the cardboard sets and painfully lame special effects. One of my chief guilty pleasures at the time were the two Peter Cushing feature films of the 1960s that featured the character and were shown regularly on BBC2. In particular the movie of "Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 A.D." with its vibrant colors, exciting sequences, and one of my favorite actors Peter Cushing in the title role. I would watch it whenever it appeared on BBC2 and read and reread the novelization. Shortly after I emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1990s I picked up a DVD copy which I watched over and over and even purchased the audiobook of the adaptation. I hoped to one day get to see the William Hartnell series on which the movie is based. Now, over three decades later that dream was realized when I saw it on DVD and the reaction - overwhelming disappointment. It's not just the shoestring budget or the low-quality black and white picture, I knew that both those would be elements in the television series. It's the plodding plot, the cringe-inducing lines and terrible acting. It's obvious comparing the two productions that the weaknesses in the series were evident to the movie makers because they excised all the superfluous elements and made a leaner and more exciting production. Having had the endure the Hartnell version (an actor I have long admired for his non-Dr Who work), I'll stick with the Cushing version.


Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks (Story 60)
Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks (Story 60)
DVD ~ Jon Pertwee
Price: $26.44
27 used & new from $19.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Dr Who serial made better by DVD updates, February 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Growing up in the UK in the era before home video I used to read Doctor Who novelizations all the time and my favorite was always "Day of the Daleks" which I must have read several times over the years. In this adventure the Daleks have discovered the secret of time travel and use this ability to ensure their future conquest of the Earth. The story is well constructed and I only recently had the opportunity to watch the original serial. Although the special effects are somewhat lacking and budget constraints obvious in the Dalek "army" consisting of only three Daleks (the special edition corrects this), I found this adventure featuring third doctor Jon Pertwee to be highly enjoyable and entertaining. The updated CGI effects seemed to be used thankfully sparingly and fit in well with the original footage. Recommended.


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