BOOKS Masterpiece Theatre: A Celebration Of 25 Years Of Outstanding Television. Terence O'Flaherty (KQED Books) If there is one thing - and only one thing - Britain is good for nowadays, it is television. This book is a celebration of some of the finest-ever efforts by the creative teams behind the universally acclaimed UK TV series Masterpiece Theatre. Thanks to Masterpiece Theatre, all kinds of literary classics were brought to the small screen: Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray, all of these and more were brought alive through actors of the calibre of Jeremy Irons, John Hurt and Glenda Jackson. The book is filled with fascinating tidbits, and, despite the fact that some of the writing tends to be annoyingly flippant, the book is a fitting tribute to 25 years of a programme that really believed television exists not simply to entertain but also to educate. If only there were more people with that attitude. MUSIC Super Best Of 14 Karat Soul. Little City Music A cappella. You either love it or hate it. I can stand it for about one song before becoming bored. All those vocally reproduced bass lines and close harmonies always make me think of uptight preppies singing in barbershop quartets. However, if a cappella singing gets your juices flowing, then 14 Karat Soul is one of the best groups around. This, its Super Best Of collection, contains originals plus a number of soul standards, songs like Stand By Me, What A Wonderful World and I Can Dream About You. It also contains an outrageously camp version of YMCA. Each member of 14 Karat Soul has a marvellous voice, and the album is seamlessly put together, but, when all is said and done, this collection of songs lacks guts. Big Girl. Candy Dulfer (BMG) The people who designed this album cover really ought to be ashamed of themselves. To look at it you would think Candy Dulfer had had her brain removed. She looks like a bimbo and is wearing one of those grins that is meant to say 'come hither' but simply makes women look a touch retarded. This is a pity because the jazz funk contained within this compact disc is rather intelligent. Dulfer can blow sax with the best of them, as is proved on tracks like 2 Miles, Funkyness and ILU. So why the atrocious packaging? Maybe they are trying to attract a more mainstream market. But, let's face it, if you buy this expecting something that sounds like Kylie Minogue, you will hate the intelligent jazz within, and, if you are into intelligent jazz, then this cover will not encourage you to buy the album. Bad job, you marketing guys. VIDEO Die Hard With A Vengeance The original Die Hard was a thoroughly entertaining romp. It was Bruce Willis' first bite at the Hollywood cherry and he swallowed it stone and all. The movie's non-stop action and breathless pacing, combined with Willis' wise-cracking cop made for a highly watchable movie. The inevitable sequel basically transferred the same story to an airport. It was an altogether duller affair. Even the studio executives realised that III had better have a new tale to tell. Well, it does. The trouble is it is an uninspiring tale, and the supposedly shocking plot twist can be seen coming a mile off. The stunts are stupendous, the actions sequences marvellously put together, but the film fails due to a weak plot and a chemistry between Samuel Jackson and Bruce Willis, which is about as exciting as salt dissolving in water. The Cars That Ate Paris The Cars That Ate Paris was Peter Weir's 1974 feature film debut as a director. It's a strikingly different vision of society where a mutated Australian township sustains itself by cannibalising the vehicles of unsuspecting travellers. This idea of an isolated and psychopathic community is a theme that would be repeated to much greater commercial success in George Miller's cult hit Mad Max, but Max's manic world of roving biker gangs never quite captures the brooding sense of a deeply dysfunctional society so beautifully introduced and maintained in this movie. The superb direction and editing is supported by brilliantly understated comic performances from John Meillon and Terry Camilleri, who manage to keep the premise - that a whole town can go collectively mad - just this side of credible.