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The Forge Of God
The Forge Of God
by Greg Bear
Edition: Paperback

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest and most epic sci-fi stories of all time, 11 July 2000
This review is from: The Forge Of God (Paperback)
I read The Forge of God over the course of a single weekend (yes, sad but true) and have to say that it's the most fantastic, epic and disturbing book I've read in many, many years.
The build-up is well-paced, the character's are all fully believable and the finale is as epic (and as depressing) as it gets. Bear's sequel, Anvil Of Stars, is just as impressive.
This is crying out to be made into a film with a good sci-fi director (Scott, Cameron, Hyams, Fincher) at the helm, along with Bear's classic 'Eon'. Although Bear prefers to keep on writing epic, near-future sci-fi such as his brilliant new Darwin's Radio, perhaps he could consider taking time-out to carefully develop The Forge of God into a screenplay. Putting images to this fabulous story would be the icing on the cake (that's if Bear's infamous 'Planet Eaters' don't gobble it up first)

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers [DVD] [1978]
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers [DVD] [1978]
Dvd ~ Donald Sutherland
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £5.30

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior and under-rated sci-fi chiller, 11 July 2000
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (IOTBS) is a well-paced and highly creepy sci-fi thriller which has not really aged since it's initial release back in 1978.
This was perhaps not the best year to release a movie entitled 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'. Star Wars was still filling the cinemas a year after its release, and the big-budget remake of Superman was released at around the same time, while IOTBS was initially perceived as another shaky 1950's remake.
However, IOTBS is a genunely edgy, frightening film that has been critically under-rated for many years. The lead performances from Sutherland, Adams, Goldblum, Cartwright and Nimoy are excellent, and we have genuine sympathy for each of the characters involved as the unseen, parasitical alien forces close-in on them one by one. You will not 'sleep' easily after seeing this, so to speak.
Director Kaufmann accurately portrays an unsettling undercurrent of 1970's urban paranoia in the setting of San Francisco, and almost parodies the needless psychotherapy undertaken by millions of American's during this period, in a country not completely at ease with itself in the first place.
There is little in way of gore, although what shocks do occur are effectively dealt with,with creepy camera angles which shows a weak society slowly and unconsciously surrendering to superior extraterrestrial forces, which manifest themselves in an unlikely yet frighteningly realistic manner. The depressing, final scene with Veronica Cartwright and Donald Sutherland is one of the most haunting endings of all time. Overall, this comes highly recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2012 9:53 AM BST

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980) [VHS]
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980) [VHS]

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 'Cash-in' Maclaren at his best - or worst ?, 11 July 2000
There's really not much to merit in this compilation of The Sex Pistols' finest (ie, filthiest!) moments, although it's funny and ironic in parts, but certainly a product of its time. Maclaren was still enjoying moderate success with his controversial Bow Wow Wow project when this was released, so this was clearly another one of his blatant cash-in's on previous 'successes', but at least he was fairly honest about it.
Hvaing said this, it still accurately portrays the snivelling obnoxiousness of the Pistol's at their peak (no wonder, with a grey mid-70's UK in as depressed a state as it had ever been in), and the fact that they were one of the few bands in history that really did make a difference.
Best Scene : You've got to laugh when Sid Vicious jumps out of bed, stands spreadeagled before the camera and vigourously rubs his 'scrot' through his Y-fronts to the sound of a Steve Jones riff.

Excalibur [1981] [DVD]
Excalibur [1981] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nigel Terry
Price: £3.99

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Boorman takes a decent stab at a great legend, 11 July 2000
This review is from: Excalibur [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
John Boorman's 1981 take on the Arthurian legend is a beautifully directed/photographed piece of work, let down only by some cardboard acting, where a cast of this quality should have known better.
Boorman's impressive flair for visuals provides us with a dark, dank and brooding image of the Dark Ages. Filmed in the deepest Welsh and Irish mountains, the whole look and feel of the film is distinctly 'of another age', an age where virtually nothing was written into the history books for want of protecting Christiandom against the 'pagan heathanism' of darkest Britain and the Middle East.
Nigel Terry was perhaps miscast as Arthur, a slightly bumbling and clumsy introvert who retrieves the sword from the stone to become the kingdom's reluctant ruler. Then-twentysomething's Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne put in a couple of early performances, but nothing to write home about.
Overall, this is certainly worth a look if you are into great looking cinematography and wonderful imagery, and this perhaps just about makes-up for the lack of decent scripting and the lacklustre performances of the main characters (although it is still very enjoyable, albeit in a slightly 'dumbed-down' version of the so-called 'semi-historical' events).
On the whole, well-worth watching, but this should not be compared against other, far poorer early-80's 'Sword & Sorcery' efforts, such as Hawk The Slayer, Krull, The Beastmaster and Dragonslayer. Compared to these, this is vastly superior.

Southern Comfort [VHS]
Southern Comfort [VHS]
Offered by dyerwilliams
Price: £4.99

6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Deliverance' in the swamplands., 11 July 2000
This review is from: Southern Comfort [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Walter Hill ('48 Hours', 'The Warriors' and co-producer of Alien) has produced a disturbing look at life in the USA's southern swamplands, with a team of US National Guard troops getting disoriented during a training exercise (I mean, how do trained soldiers manage this ! ) in an area where you really don't want to get lost.
Following an accidental altercation with a couple of the 'locals', the troops are relentlessly picked-off one-by-one by the irrationally malevolent local 'hicks' (very much in the vein of John Boorman's Deliverance), and it is up to 2nd in command Keith Carradine to lead the fight for survival, with the grisly climax located in the murderer's eerie village.
The climatic 'knife in the scrotum' scene will make all grown men cross their legs for several hours after viewing, and the overtly aggressive nature of the 'hicks' leaves you with the distinct impression that all such 'country types' are insane, repressed murderers who kill 'outsiders' for sport. The culture clash scenario is thus perhaps a little OTT (although perhaps without it, there would'nt be much of a film !)
After watching this together with Deliverance, it's enough to put you off meeting the 'good old country folks' of the USA for good ! Overall, not a bad effort and entertaining throughout, but the whole idea is very unoriginal and this type of scenario was handled with more aplomb by Boorman.

The Abyss (Special Edition) [1989] [VHS]
The Abyss (Special Edition) [1989] [VHS]
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £4.90

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Cameron's best work, but very watchable nevertheless., 11 July 2000
The overall premise of The Abyss (1989) is pretty much like that of 'Alien' to begin with. Set in the near future, a team working on a deep sea salvage/extraction facility (hostile, remote environment etc) make contact with an inner-space (therefore non-alien) race of beings whose advanced habitat is located in an ocean trench many kilometres below the surface.
Contact is only made when these friendly lifeforms are disturbed by human interference close to their environment, and Cameron introduces us to them via the new 'morphing' visual effects, used here for the first time to excellent effect.
Unlike Alien, this time the bad guys are a couple of dispirate US Marines intent on salvaging a stray nuclear warhead at the bottom of a trench, whereupon a battle of wills between them and the salvage team ensues as the warhead threatens the environment of everyone and everything around it. The ending to this movie could have been overly-schmaltzy, but luckily it is'nt. Contact is made following a great 'dive dive dive' sequence where Ed Harris goes where no man has gone before into inner-space and is beckoned into the Ocean City, to discover that the lifeforms are way in advance of human 'civilisation', both technologically and culturally (having had several more million years in which to evolve). Only then do they reveal themselves to the human's surface ships, believing that it may be possible to co-exist at some level with their surface 'neighbours'.
A sequel was always in the running, given this 'happy-ending' (ie, happy-ending goes sour due to those nasty, pesky humans, for The Abyss 2, etc) but perhaps the film should be left as it is as another excellent piece of work from James Cameron.
If there are any gripes, there are a few scenes which are annoyingly unbelievable (eg, where Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is brought back from the dead after she drowns / freezes to death / is subjected to massive ocean pressures etc), but these aside, The Abyss is recommended should you ever be at a loss to do something on a rainy Saturday night.

Deliverance [1972] [DVD]
Deliverance [1972] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Voight
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £19.98

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliverence 'delivers' on all counts, 10 July 2000
This review is from: Deliverance [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
John Boorman's violent and disturbing river-based thriller is packed full of tension and is well-acted throughout.
From the eery 'duelling banjos' and disturbingly realistic male rape scene, through to the (literally) cliff-hanging climax, this is perhaps Boorman's best work, together with 1981's Excalibur. There is an sense of menace and forboding throughout the film, which incidentally was Burt Reynold's best outing and a great vehicle for the up-and-coming Jon 'Midnight Cowboy' Voight.
This theme been copied many times in movies such as Southern Comfort and The River Wild, but never-bettered.

Cinema Paradiso (Subtitled) [VHS]
Cinema Paradiso (Subtitled) [VHS]
Offered by stephensmith_426
Price: £10.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful and uplifting films ever made., 10 July 2000
If you have'nt had the pleasure of viewing Giuseppe Tornatorre's wonderful Cinema Paradiso yet, get yourself down to your local DVD/VHS rental store now !
This is one of the most moving films ever made, a real Continental classic that does not suffer from the all too common over-prentenciousness of 1980's European film-making.
Grown men have probably cried at the end of this film (as does the star!), not through sadness, but with an overiding sense of joy that glows well after your initial viewing.
I won't give away any of the plot. Find out for yourselves, and I assure you that you will never forget seeing this unique, uplifting and beautifully-made film. An absolute classic, and the even better the Italian classic, La Dolcha Vita.

Planet Of The Apes [1967] [VHS]
Planet Of The Apes [1967] [VHS]
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £6.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Monkey business was big business back in '68, 10 July 2000
One of cinema's great literary adaptations, Planet of the Apes sees Charlton Heston actually managing to act a little in this epic 'future shock' sci-fi tale. In fact, it's a pity the humans did'nt get better lines.
Three American (of course) astronauts crash land on an 'alien' planet to find it is inhabitated by a human-enslaving, militaristic ape civilisation, and the more docile chimpanzees. They are duly captured, with Heston (playing the astronaut Taylor) being the only survivor kept alive for 'animal experimentation'.
Thus a battle for escape and survival ensues, along with a suspect love interest, with the pacifistic chimps aiding and abetting Taylor to enter the 'Forbidden Zone', off-limits to all chimps and humans... and forbidden for good reason by the apes following their recent archeological findings.
Great cinematography throughout and one of the most memorable finales to a film ever made. Thoroughly recommended and looking increasingly likely of being re-made.

John Carpenter's The Thing [DVD] [1982]
John Carpenter's The Thing [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Kurt Russell
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.89

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carpenter's excellent update of a creepy 50's classic, 10 July 2000
John Carpenter's excellent, albeit shocking update of the 1950's original is really a product of its time, when so-called 'video-nasty' films were all the rage with teen audiences the world over.
However, The Thing, while grostesquely bloody throughout, does not portray the gradual, horrific slaughter of the Artic Outpost team (led by Kurt Russell) for the sake of gore itself. There is actually some plot to this, and the opening scene of a sled-dog running through the Artic desolation (and promptly being shot!) is one of the great movie openers.
The shape-shifting alien is never actually seen in it's pure form (much like in Alien), and is brought to life via it's parasitical entry into the bodies of every living form it touches, in one horrific instance, a team of sled-dogs.
The gore factor here is quite unbelievable, if perhaps a little OTT at times, ie, one of the team's head's is decapitated and becomes a spider-like creature upon infection(whereupon a great one-liner appears 'You gotta be f****g kidding' !).
A sequel has always been a possibility, given the 'open' ending, and perhaps Carpenter should look into this notion to what could have been an Alien-esque frnachise, for at least one further feature(although his recent efforts have been somewhat poor, eg, Escape to LA).
By the end of the movie, including a highly tense 'blood-test' scene, you may be left exhausted by the gut-wrenching carnage that has preceded you, and while this not classic sc-fi to rival that of Alien, this is still tense, riveting stuff which truly evokes the character's deep sense of isolation, mistrust and paranoia throughout. A sci-fi shocker that, love or hate it, can't be ignored.
Recommended, but definitely not for the squeamish !

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