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Crime Zero
Crime Zero
by Michael Cordy
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Cordy of old, but a good effort., 15 Aug. 2000
This review is from: Crime Zero (Paperback)
Michael Cordy, together with John Case, is a clear cut above the rest with his knowledgeable and fast-moving biotech thrillers.
Whilst not on a par with the brilliant Miracle Strain, Crime Zero is perhaps actually a more realistic look at the uses and abuses of bioengineering in the near future (or perhaps even today). The plot to is centred around the 'need' to finally end crime and war by negating male-based violence through globally eliminating an entire generation of males to be replaced by a male population that will become gentically pacified. Of course, bioethics don't really enter the equation as the world will be a much better place once the programme is complete. Thus, billions of innocents who will probably never commit a crime or violent act are therefore in imminent danger of extinction as the programme quickly progresses, and human males will have been artificially 'evolved'.
However, the execution of the plot is ocassionally plodding and the characterisation is somewhat limited (it does not quite have the soul or the breakneck storyline of The Miracle Strain). Furthermore, the finale looks rushed and could have been a little more thought-out.
Nevertheless, this is a certainly a good book for taking on vacation and is still well-worth a read, as the basic plot is excellent.

The Genesis Code
The Genesis Code
by John Case
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Case's ultratense bio-thriller, 15 Aug. 2000
This review is from: The Genesis Code (Paperback)
John Case has once again provided us with a biotech-based thriller, very much a flavour-of-the-month subject with late-1990's thriller writers. However, Case is a cut above the rest. His storytelling is motored by a powerful plot and a cruel, demonic nemesis attempting to control the key characters.
Although there is a slightly supernatural subtext to proceedings, it is never out of proportion with the plot and never gets overly fantastical. If there are any criticisms, it is only that the ending is perhaps a little rushed and contrived, but overall this is a scintillating, unputdownable read. Highly recommended.

Armageddon [DVD] [1998]
Armageddon [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £2.70

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bruce & Co's superior sci-fi disaster vehicle, 14 Aug. 2000
This review is from: Armageddon [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
The likes of Deep Impact (1998) and Meteor (1979) are dead-in-the-water compared to this superior Jerry Bruckheimer-inspired Bruce Willis vehicle.
There are moments of ultra high-tension, sympathetic, likeable characters (unlike Deep Impact where you just could'nt wait them to be wiped-out !) and some great one-liners.
The redesigned 'supershuttle' spacecraft look great and are realistic (albeit with somewhat unbelievable maneouverability !), whilst the black asteroid itself is made to envisage a living organism, massive and brooding and with one relentness objective. 'Cue' Bruce and his team of deep sea mining experts to save the Earth from the impending apocolypse. The built-up is great and we get to know and like Willis's mining team, whilst plenty of time is dedicated to their mission on the asteroid itself. If you're into sci-fi/disaster movies with some soul and don't take the subject-matter ridiculously seriously, then Armageddon comes highly recommended.

What's This for
What's This for
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £36.95

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Listen to this if you're in a particularly bad mood., 14 Aug. 2000
This review is from: What's This for (Audio CD)
Jaz Coleman & Co's 2nd outing from 1981, after their promising eponymopus 1980 debut, is perhaps their most extreme and perhaps inacessable album to date. Not that this a poor album by any means, just 'difficult'.
There's certainly a lot of dark, brooding angst here with the combination of Geordie Walker's chopping, churning guitar and Coleman's angry, growling and terrifying vocals to which the likes of Ministry and Korn certainly owe a great deal. Key tracks include the classic independent single, Follow The Leaders, whilst you really should know what the expect with titles such as Exit, Butcher, Unspeakable and Madness onboard. It takes a few listens to get into, once you begin to understand what Coleman is trying to say.
Overall, this is perhaps not the best place to begin if you wish to enter the world of 'the Joke'. However, you'll be sure to investigate this as an interesting piece of early-80's post-punk music, once you've heard the rest of their brilliant material.

Night Time
Night Time
Offered by westworld-
Price: £12.93

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Joke's biggest success isn't a sell-out, 14 Aug. 2000
This review is from: Night Time (Audio CD)
By 1984-1985 the, Killing Joke's 'mad years' were behind them, the impending apocalypse had'nt happened and their collective trips to Iceland (to escape the coming of Armageddon) were perhaps becoming a tad expensive.
Nevertheless, with all this going on, they still managed to produce some fine albums in the form of Revelations (1982) and Fire Dances (1983). Thus 1984 saw a change of direction in terms of their music and the introduction of a tighter production team. Their 1984 track A New Day produced a more accessable, even commercial sound whilst not letting-up on the quality control.
The outcome was their classic Night Time album, and their biggest hit single to date. It was a Top 10 album (peaking at #9) and the classic Love Like Blood single (a Top 20 hit) flooded the club scene across the world as it's riff was, incredibly, 'danceable'. It was the album that people bought in (relative) droves and brought the Joke to the attention of the dreaded 'mainstream'.
However, Night Time is perhaps the Joke's darkest album in terms of lyrical content. There are some classic cuts here. The fabulous, breakneck and cutting opening of the title track is the perfect intro, Darkness Before Dawn is bleak and deadly and Europe is the hit single that never was. The closing track, the brilliant Eighties, was the song that characterised the anti-establisment generation in Thatcher's 'Me First' Britain, yet amazingly it was not a big hit, and only just made the Top 60. There's not a dud track in sight although eight tracks is perhaps a little lazy, and the inclusion of A New Day etc may have been a good idea (although perhaps it was deemded a little out of sync with the rest of the album).
Overall, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more brooding, exciting album emanating from the mid-1980's, and this album has been much-copied but never bettered. The success of Night Time led to their era-defining Brighter Than a Thousand Suns album the following year. Buy these two albums and you have bought-into two of the finest British albums ever made.

Battlestar Galactica: Volume 1 [VHS]
Battlestar Galactica: Volume 1 [VHS]

3.0 out of 5 stars Good old Galactica was'nt too bad actually !, 11 Aug. 2000
It was always going to be difficult for the 1978 Battlestar Galactica movie (and ensuing TV series) to follow in the footsteps of Star Wars and get any kind of credibility.
Many thought this was an inferior production purely for the sake of bandwagonning the sci-fi revival. True, Star Wars 'was' better, with quirker characters, fabulous production design, a slim but gripping storyline and fantastic special effects, courtesy of ILM's John Dykstra.
Dykstra was brought onboard for Galactica and his technical proficiency shines throughout. The spacecraft are all as memorable and original as those in Star Wars (The Battlestars themselves, Colonial Vipers, Cylon motherships and attack craft), although today you'd be hard pressed to find the man-on-the-street remembering Commander Adama, Captain Apollo, Starbuck and Boomer as popular icons of the late-1970's. Moreover, the Cylons were far too corny, and even more useless than Imperial Stormtroopers.
The plot (a lost human 'tribe' looking for their Earth-based cousins) is actually pretty good and quite believable, with their nemesis being the automated Cylon Empire, dedicated to total human genocide throughout the galaxy.
Although the overall franchise had lost the plot by the time of Mission Galactica : Cylon Attack in 1980 (which was awful), the first film still stands-up as a very good example of late-70's sci-fi, but it would be unfair to continually compare it with Star Wars, which is one of the greatest films ever made.

Atlantis Found (A Dirk Pitt Novel)
Atlantis Found (A Dirk Pitt Novel)
by Clive Cussler
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting yet implausible Dirk Pitt thriller, 10 Aug. 2000
The megalomania of a genetically perfect and super-rich masterfamily, looking to initiate the apocalypse and create a Fourth Reich after the deluge, is the premise for this latest offering from Clive Cussler, featuring his regular NUMA hero Dirk Pitt.
Cussler's plot is highly original and well thought-out, with some excellent twists and turns along the way. However, most of the action is very James Bondish, with Pitt having the luck of a lottery winner in any given 'get out of that' situation, and thus some scenes are completely implausible, even by Cussler's standards. Pitt may be a crack NUMA agent, but you ocassionally sit back and think, 'come on, no way' !
This kind of plot could make for an excellent action movie, given a decent screenplay which lacks the corniness of Cussler's novel.
Overall, not exactly a Cussler classic, but it should keep thriller-lovers amused for a few days whilst lying on the beach this summer.

Hannibal: (Hannibal Lecter)
Hannibal: (Hannibal Lecter)
by Thomas Harris
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent thriller let down by a rushed ending, 9 Aug. 2000
I bought the third instalment of the Hannibal Lecter saga in France and read it within 5 days, such was the intensity of the storyline, although some mini-plots including the pickpocketing of Lecter for fingerprinting purposes go on way too long.
Again, Harris plumbs the depths of human evil with some of the most twisted, unsympathetic characters ever put into print, while the gore factor is only used in moderation. However, we find out a lot more about the two key characters in this volume, all of which is relevant to the plot, unlike Stephen King's unbearable twenty-page monologues on minor characters and background incidents bearing no real relation to his stories.
The ending, as many reviewers have noted, is somewhat disappointing and a little over-the-top even for Harris, but of course Harris has left the ongoing plot open-ended and ripe for another sequel to the Lecter franchise.
We'll have and see what fate has in store for Dr Lecter and Agent Starling in the next episode of this gripping saga, and let's hope for a more fitting finale next time around.

Laugh? I Nearly Bought One!
Laugh? I Nearly Bought One!
Price: £5.99

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adequate but incomplete Joke collection, 9 Aug. 2000
A decent but imperfect introduction to the world of Killing Joke, concentrating on some of their more abrasive material (especially on the earlier tracks) rather than their more accessible stuff, which could be misleading to the first-time 'Joke' listener.
This is more of a generic overview of the Joke's material between 1979-1990 rather than a greatest hits / best of collection (they only had one real hit with Love Like Blood, which made #16 in 1985).
The omission of great tracks such as Are You Receiving, Complications, The Wait, A New Day, Rubicon (and absolutely nothing from the great Fire Dances album) is surprising. Perhaps this was through lack of space although there are a number of somewhat limited tracks here, such as Butcher, Exit and Unspeakable, which show KJ at their post-punk musical extreme. A double-CD compilation would have done proper justice to their generally fantastic work.
Nevertheless, with gems such as Turn To Red, Follow The Leaders, Love Like Blood, Eighties and Wintergardens all present and correct, this is certainly a pretty good place to start.
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Superman - The Movie [1978] [VHS]
Superman - The Movie [1978] [VHS]

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it a bird, is it a plane, no..... it's an overpaid Brando, 20 July 2000
Superman (1978) was the first big-budget reinvention of a super hero for the modern-day audience, and overall delivers on most counts (especially for Marlon Brando, who was paid a record amount for just a few minutes screen-time).
The initial sequence on the dying planet of Krypton sets of a chain of events which are well choreagraphed throughout, from Clark Kent's problematic youth to Superman's final showdown with his arch-enemy Lex Luther (brilliantly plated by Gene Hackman), who is intent on global domination by redirecting nuclear warheads into the San Andreas Fault etc.
The visual effects are very 1978 but are certainly adequate for this movie, and with some great 'get out of that' and 'no way, he'll never do it' sequences, it all makes for pretty entertaining viewing.
Superman never pretends to be something it's not and the lead actors perform their parts very well (cue a touch of deliberate over-acting from Gene Hackman and Ned Beatty).
This film is now rarely shown on network TV, so you'd be advised to rent a copy of this if you like a bit of popcorn action on a rainy night indoors.
The sequel, so originally entitled Superman II (1980), is one those rare follow-up's that is actually better than its predecessor and is also well worth investigation.

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