Profile for m > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by m
Top Reviewer Ranking: 211,438
Helpful Votes: 535

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
m "macey" (United Kingdom)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
pixel
Autopsy [DVD] [2006]
Autopsy [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Robert Patrick
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £9.99

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not to moan, but a few questions..., 8 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Autopsy [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
to start with:

1. I question the running time of this as stated online - I sat down to watch it and I'm sure it was only just over and hour and a quater. That's not a film, that's a 60 minute documentary that ran over a bit
2. Is this what Robert Patrick's career has been reduced to? The guy who set the screen alight in Terminator 2 and did some respectable work in the last seasons of the X Files? Did he actually read the script, weigh it up and think "Hmm...I'm really drawn to the role of the thinly written, stilted and utterly unbelieveable mad doctor that we've all seen a thousand times before who is hardly on screen anyway"?
3. Where's the story? I mean actually WHERE IS IT? Did someone lose it somewhere, at an early pre-production phase? Was it stolen away by the makers of Weekend At Bernie's III, who then decided it wasn't actually good enough for that movie?
4. Although this has to be the shortest mainstream 'film' I've ever seen (see 1 above)you have to hand it to them: pound for pound and minute for minute there is more insult to your intelligence (particularly if you are a horror fan)than I've ever experienced: no characterisation, no grasp of storytelling basics, no imagination in the plotting. Actors who run the full range of their emotions from A right through to B.
It might have been OK, if they had managed to acknowledge the massive get-the-lawyers-on-the-phone-now-because-we-can't-lose-this-one debt/plagarism owed to Texas Chainsaw Massacre (think that film, minus the fun characters, gothic atmos and nerve-shredding story twists and you're still not there by a mile.)
5. Not to repeat myself, but WHERE IS THE STORY??

I could go on, but truthfully I am trying hard to forget I ever wasted and hour and a quater of my life on it. I will always look for something good to say about a film, and I have wacthed some tripe over the years, but for 'Autopsy' I am at a loss. OK...the effects were borderline acceptable, and truly that is as much as I can say.

It's not a case of approach with caution, it's a case of do not approach under any circumstances. If it's the last film in the shop a)there is a reason and b) better to buy a book instead.


Moon [Blu-ray] [2009] [Region Free]
Moon [Blu-ray] [2009] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Sam Rockwell
Price: £6.45

27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction finds its heart again..., 2 Nov. 2009
And it just goes to show that all the CGI billion dollar budgets in the world can't save you if your film has no emotional centre. What a thrill it was to see this then, where for great swaths of screen time you never even see outside of the space moon-station and yet it never tires or drags.

Its hard to review the film without wandring into spoilers but suffice to say Sam Rockwell's performance is superb, and it's only as the film progreses that you really get a taste for how much effort he put in.

Since much of the story takes place inside, I can't really say that the blu version I've seen adds much in terms of crispness/clarity, but you'll have to decide for yourself.

Hats off, too, to one of the most 'blink and you'll miss it' endings I've ever seen - more of a stop-listening-and-you'll-miss-it. It was very brave of them to throw all the resolution of the story into a 20 second-ish half-heard voice-over just before the credits roll, but I liked that!

Well worth your time - put it on the DVD shelf next to 'Contact.'


The Beatles Box Set - Remastered in Stereo
The Beatles Box Set - Remastered in Stereo
Price: £144.10

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half wrong, half right?, 9 Sept. 2009
This is only a partial comment/review because I haven't actually listened to the remasters yet - they are only coming out today!

I own the current CD box set of the albums and the point that I wanted to make is this: the issue is not Mono vs Stereo, it is the transition from Mono to Stereo DURING THE BEATLES CAREER. People really looking at the history of the time will appreciate that Mono was the dominant end-format at the time when the Beatles started to record. Strange as it seems now, Stereo took a while to really take hold as the preferred aduio format. This happened 1965/1966 - just at the time when 'Ver Lads' were starting to really explore the recording process and experiment in the studio. This was one of the reasons that Pepper took as long as it did (about six months - not long these days, I know!) to make. After years of perfecting their songs through the aural funnel of Mono, the desire was to make the most of the Stereo format, which people could appreciate now that 'home stereos' were more easily available.

As readers of Mark Lewishon's books will know, the Beatles and George Martin , up to 1966 considered a song 'finished' once the MONO MIX had been done, and they usually supervised this closely. Up to Pepper, the Stereo mixes were...not given as much love as might be expected - sometimes the Beatles and/or Martin were not present for the Stereo mix sessions or left after the Mono mixes were done, since these would be the 'template'. That meant that engineers, in the course of making the Stereo mix, sometimes inadvertanly created slight differences from the Mono versions. My understadning has always been that this was not intentional, but is does lead to the perception that 'Mono is the BEATLES AS INTENDED.'

The problem is, circa Pepper (and probably before too) Stereo became the group's main focus, so you can, I think, make the argument that the split of the remasters should be Mono up to Revolver, and Stereo thereafter.

There was always a real difference between the 1980s CD releases and the earlier vinyl (Mono or Stereo!), so it's hard as a fan to know which way to turn. I was hoping for something like the Love re-releases, with Mono and Stereo versions each on a disc, combined in a two disc set for each album, but sadly not.

The flip side of this is: Ringo and Paul are still alive, were no doubt involved closely in the prep work (at least, McCartney would have been) so wouldn't they have said if they felt the albums should have a Stereo/Mono split circa Pepper? I can't believe that money was the bottom line, so does that mean that all this fuss about Stereo vs Mono is being made out to be more important than it is?

Like many, I will probably have to save up for BOTH to ensure my Beatle bases are fully covered, but I'll still be getting the Mono set first :)

The whole issue is one that they could have put to bed once and for all, but I think these releases mean we'll never get a definite answer...


The Beatles In Mono
The Beatles In Mono
Price: £179.00

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half right, and half wrong, 9 Sept. 2009
This review is from: The Beatles In Mono (Audio CD)
This is only a partial comment/review because I haven't actually listened to the remasters yet - they are only coming out today!

I own the current CD box set of the albums and the point that I wanted to make is this: the issue is not Mono vs Stereo, it is the transition from Mono to Stereo DURING THE BEATLES CAREER. People really looking at the history of the time will appreciate that Mono was the dominant end-format at the time when the Beatles started to record. Strange as it seems now, Stereo took a while to really take hold as the preferred aduio format. This happened 1965/1966 - just at the time when 'Ver Lads' were starting to really explore the recording process and experiment in the studio. This was one of the reasons that Pepper took as long as it did (about six months - not long these days, I know!) to make. After years of perfecting their songs through the aural funnel of Mono, the desire was to make the most of the Stereo format, which people could appreciate now that 'home stereos' were more easily available.

As readers of Mark Lewishon's books will know, the Beatles and George Martin , up to 1966 considered a song 'finished' once the MONO MIX had been done, and they usually supervised this closely. Up to Pepper, the Stereo mixes were...not given as much love as might be expected - sometimes the Beatles and/or Martin were not present for the Stereo mix sessions or left after the Mono mixes were done, since these would be the 'template'. That meant that engineers, in the course of making the Stereo mix, sometimes inadvertanly created slight differences from the Mono versions. My understadning has always been that this was not intentional, but is does lead to the perception that 'Mono is the BEATLES AS INTENDED.'

The problem is, circa Pepper (and probably before too) Stereo became the group's main focus, so you can, I think, make the argument that the split of the remasters should be Mono up to Revolver, and Stereo thereafter.

There was always a real difference between the 1980s CD releases and the earlier vinyl (Mono or Stereo!), so it's hard as a fan to know which way to turn. I was hoping for something like the Love re-releases, with Mono and Stereo versions each on a disc, combined in a two disc set for each album, but sadly not.

The flip side of this is: Ringo and Paul are still alive, were no doubt involved closely in the prep work (at least, McCartney would have been) so wouldn't they have said if they felt the albums should have a Stereo/Mono split circa Pepper? I can't believe that money was the bottom line, so does that mean that all this fuss about Stereo vs Mono is being made out to be more important than it is?

Like many, I will probably have to save up for BOTH to ensure my Beatle bases are fully covered, but I'll still be getting the Mono set first :)

The whole issue is one that they could have put to bed once and for all, but I think these releases mean we'll never get a definite answer...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 9, 2009 11:40 PM BST


Public Enemies [DVD] (2009)
Public Enemies [DVD] (2009)
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.21

29 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unengaging, 14 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Public Enemies [DVD] (2009) (DVD)
There is a scene in this film where the character of Dillinger says to his would-be-girlfriend something along the lines of "I like movies, pizza, my dad hit me when I grew up (etc. etc)...what more do you need to know?" And it seems that this attitude permeates the whole film: don't give us character, give us ACTION.

I speak as a fan (a 'Mann Fan'?!?) but lately he's slacking - you could summerise this film as like HEAT, set in the 1930s but without the emotional heart. I can't ever remember being flat-out bored by action/gunfights but here...there's no real sense of character to tag it all to. I see the reviews up already proclaiming this to be a masterpiece: do you really think so? I left the film knowing nothing about the Christian Bale character, at all, and practically nothing about Dillinger. Yes it looked great, very authentic etc. But where was the sense of the world these people operated and grew up in? Where was the depression that made the central character such a folk-hero.
I wanted to know a little more about Dillinger, and his persuer: knowing that ups the stakes in a story and it's not hard to do, nor does it take much time.

Look at how easily ASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES gave us a sense of the time and place, of an era coming to a close (much like for Dillinger some decades later) but there is no similar attempt here.

A word about editing: I'm no film maker but Mann's movies seem to be becoming less coherent in the narrative - there was a point during the 'Cabin ambush' that I and several other people in the cinema felt that Dillinger had been shot and killed, which a few moments later proved not to be the case. It was a different character but...bad editing left it confusing for the viewer.

Another thing which I find odd is the minute use of great actors - Ribisi, Crudup, even Steven Dorf (and it's nice to see him doing some high profile work again) they literally come and go with barely a moment or two on screen. The effect is like the Player or something - 'who can we spot next?'

In the end, there probably was a tale to be told, but it could have been deeper, richer and more resonant.
I don't like being so negative but when it all finished I was left with the feeling that there'd been too much attention paid to visuals and action, not enough to character and STORY.

I'm off to watch Heat or The Insider again...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2009 8:00 AM GMT


Van Helsing [Blu-ray][Region Free]
Van Helsing [Blu-ray][Region Free]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: £8.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can you hear that?, 6 Aug. 2009
...it's the sound of one of the best movie ideas of recent years being flushed down the toilet.
I was very excited when I learned this film was being made: it seemed like just the kind of thing us horror fans were waiting for. A minor but important character from the original Dracula novel is given his own free reign.

The main problem: it's all too big, too adrenalised, too slick. You can see the concept meeting in some Hollywood office: "Yeah! We could have Dracula - but why stop there? What about the Wolfman?!? But why stop there? What about Frankenstein's monster?!?" And so on.
So by the time we get to the film itself it is so chock full and bloated with half-baked story ideas to service the multitude of characters that they just 'had' to include. Adding insult to injury, the main character has become Indiana Jones in all but name, right down to a 'trademark hat.'

Now, it's not all bad: most of it looks fantastic - particularly on Blu, and there's no denying that the first hour or so is far and away the best of the film. On some of the creature creations (vampires especially) they really did a great job. Also, Kate Beckinsale looks pretty fantastic, although practically every other line she is given is a gigantic slice of ham (watch it again if you don't believe me!) But oh no! That dracula is awful, and has been watching too much of Gary Oldman. If they had got that charcter right, there would have been no need for any other 'baddie' in the film.

The sadness is that if it had been thought through more carefully, been treated with less steriods, and not had so many things jammed into two and a quarter hours, it could have been wonderful. The gem of the idea still shines through, but they were only ever going to get one shot at something like this. Maybe that's why they tried to cram it all into one story.

I can't write it off completely, but what a missed opportunity.


Buffy The Vampire Slayer - The Complete DVD Collection
Buffy The Vampire Slayer - The Complete DVD Collection
Dvd ~ Sarah Michelle Gellar
Offered by LTLE
Price: £89.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The closest TV has ever come to Jazz, 4 Aug. 2009
Like many British Buffy fans, I came to the show through snatched episodes here and there on BBC2 (when they weren't messing with times too much.) Life changes ensured that I missed most of the middle-seasons, catching up again only for most of the final season.

Fast forward to my birthday 2008 in a rush of...I suggested that someone might want to get me the complete Buffy set which, at the time, was only £50 on Amazon. And so it was that in the weeks following I got to experience the full unedited glory of this show. Is there any other show from the 90s which had such a cultural impact and managed to last so long and so well? Perhaps there is, but I can't think of it right now.

Watching it all from start to finish, you really get a sense of the overall shape of the show - the early seasons where (particularly Season One) the `high school-as-hell' concept is fully played out: the lonely girl so ignored she becomes invisible, the crush on the beautiful teacher which goes...wrong, the (literal) pack mentality that can take hold amongst students.

I can't think of any other show where the writers where so clearly in control, and so crucial to the dynamic: it's almost a secondary concern who directed any given episode, the first question always seems to be: who wrote it. You start to look out for particular writers, and always look forward to those Wheddon-penned episodes. Has there ever been a show SO willing to reinvent itself SO often. Thinking of episodes where, for example, the whole of the continuity is rewritten for the show and we see how things would have been if Buffy had never come to town (THE WISH) or where the entire main story plot takes place off screen and we don't get to see it (THE ZEPPO) or the more well known ones: an entire show sung (ONCE MORE WITH FEELING) or played out without dialogue (HUSH) or done in just one long scene (THE BODY.) The list of invention is almost endless.

It's a testament to Wheddon and his team of writers that probably 90% of the time, they give you something fantastic. In it's own way it is an exercise in creativity: to be able to keep it going so well for so long.

You can see the peaks and troughs as well - the hesitancy of some of the first season episodes. Then, once success (and therefore a secure future) is in the bag, they really let rip in seasons 3 and 4. Even after the climatic events of season 5 they STILL manage to ramp it up further with the increasingly dark and morally complex tones of the last two seasons. And always the dialogue is sharp and often hilarious (my absolute favourite line, a throwaway from Xander: "If a man's looking at a woman's breasts, it just means his eyes are open.") For someone like me who's pretty resilient to mainstream comedy these days, it's a real joy to have the occasional laugh out loud moment.

And through it all the sense of friendship between the three leads and also the understanding that these people are not the wonder kids of the school, they're not the high flyers. They are, often, the struggling nerds - one way or another: dysfunctional, dealing with the onset of adult life; but most of all is the sense that they need each other. The idea that, although Buffy is the hero with the powers, she probably couldn't do it on her own, that without Willow and Xander she would, if not fail exactly, then at least not succeed in the way she does. This is particularly pertinent in the case of Xander, who - as is made clear many times, has no special power or skill at all. They cling to each other, and that is the heart of the story.

The box set is a great purchase - lots of features, a generous helping of commentaries too (although not always as insightful as you'd hope.) I also recommend getting one of the good `Buffy Episode Guides' which are out there - there is simply so much referred to in passing or implied that, even for a dedicated watcher (ha ha) there is so much that can be missed per-episode. The UK set play the last 2 or 3 seasons in a kind of widescreen, which is also nice.

The only sadness is when it all ends - and even then I think we're lucky that they went out on top: no sharks were jumped, everyone stayed to see the last hurrah, and the quality never fell below very good indeed.

Treat yourself - for those long winter nights when you're staying in.


All Star Batman & Robin Vol 1
All Star Batman & Robin Vol 1
by Frank Miller
Edition: Paperback

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All together now..."Huh?", 2 Aug. 2009
To be a Batman fan, I think, means to be ready to embrace reinvention. For a character who has become so iconic with so little (really) clearly established background and personality to draw on. In a way, that's the charm - if DC can bear to let go long enough, occasionally someone will give the character a shot in the arm and do something interesting (The Killing Joke, Hush etc.) And as such it seems to me that as a fan, you've got to be pretty much ready for anything. As such, I didn't really like Gotham By Gaslight, but you know, each to his own.

I'm sure most people know that Frank Miller is responsible for taking the Batman character up another level. With The Dark Knight Returns, he practically set down the tone of mainstream perception of the character which has persisted for the last two decades since it came out. In other words: gritty, moody and perhaps more than anything: DARK. And on the whole people have loved that take.

Whilst some people felt challenged by The Dark Knight Strikes Again, it's fair to say this release has been badly received, pretty much all round. How fair is that?
Anyone expecting another TDKR or such is in for a BIG SURPRISE. The tone is very negative, the character of Batman portrayed very differently: mean (to everyone, not just the criminals) distant and shallow pretty much sums it up.

It's one of those Emperor's New Clothes things: I kept reading it and thinking "Am I just not getting it? Afterall this is the guy behind TDKR and Year One."
For a good while I decided it was just satire of the highest order: something thrown out at us fans to make us really take a look at the character we love so much. But actually, I now come to the conclusion that, simply, it's pap. It's unreasonable to expect someone to pump out great stuff all day everyday, but here - there's no story, nothing which might make me say `well, it's a very different take, but what a great new tale told...'

Particular problem for me was the misogynistic undertone: the female characters (few though they are - and that's another grumble) look like, and come across as Playboy Bunnies on Steroids.

As others have said, it takes an age for simple steps in the `story' to pass. The art and colouring are great on the whole, but there's nothing underneath.

Surprised I am not, to learn DC have put this series on `hiatus' for now - whilst All Star Superman has (quite rightly) made it into a second volume already.
This should never have been pushed so hard - it should have been kept as a low-key artist-indulging independent mini-series.

Miller is now apparently intent on bringing us `Batman vs Osama Bin Laden' wherein we can search even harder for the (very well hidden) irony.

Thanks Frank, Dark Knight was great. Time to move on to other characters.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2012 8:08 AM BST


Torchwood - Children of Earth (Series 3) [DVD]
Torchwood - Children of Earth (Series 3) [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Barrowman
Price: £6.34

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheer yourself up...Torchwood style, 17 July 2009
This is one of those instances where ultimately, they couldn't pull off an ending to adequately support the GREAT initial premise. Although it borrows quite heavily from Stephen King's 'Storm of the Century' (and no doubt Mr King Borrowed his plot from somewhere) there's enough ingenuity to give it a freshness. Also on display: Torchwood's trademark willingness to wipe out key story settings and/or characters without a second thought - no-one is safe, anything might happen to anyone and that's very refreshing.

Two things really struck me after the last episode: First, however you slice it and depsite some great character actor performances, the resolution of the central problem is only half-baked and tossed off really only in the last 15 minutes as an almost afterthought, with techno-babble half-mumbled by Captain Jack, when so much time has been spent on the issue of the 456, the background of it's involvement with earth etc etc. I felt a bit cheated by that. Such a great villain deserved, to my mind, a really well thought out arse-kicking.

Secondarily, and this is personal preference speaking here, but I found the end result very depressing. This is not so surprising with Mr R T Davies if you have seen his work such as 'The Second Coming' and I fully take the point that it clears the decks for any future TW series (or not as the case may be) but ultimately it was all very dark. Whilst my 9 year old son is TW fan based on the earlier series, I wouldn't let him watch this until he is much older. They probably intended this, so perhaps not such a criticism, but I was still left felling miserable at the end of it all. Cheers Torchwood !!


Che - Part Two [DVD]
Che - Part Two [DVD]
Dvd ~ Demian Bichir
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £3.16

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Part two - a tougher watch, 15 May 2009
This review is from: Che - Part Two [DVD] (DVD)
I felt I reviewed the first one, so I should put something up for the second one too.
It's a hard watch. Where the first film was multi-threaded (Che at the UN, Che and the Cuban campagin, Che as civilian etc) this is much more focused on the one issue of the Bolivian campaign. Soderberg's "so real, it's almost real" style is harder to take without the multi-time threads and also the pretty linear focus gives it a pretty unrelenting feel. There is a lot of suffering going on as Che tries to drum up revolutionary feeling, and it's intersting to compare that with the Cuban episode: here, people either don't care or were too scared to act.

The last three quaters of an hour is the grim downward spiral. I was ready to say 'Not as good as the first part' but then the very ending of the film, the inevitable death scene, is played out SO WELL and yet so understatedly, that I found myself forgiving everything I had struggled with, and left the cinema with a real sense that we were given an almost-completely accurate experience. A dangerous assumption with 'Hollywood' but I think we can let our guard down a little in this case. The final moments with the helicopter pulling off and the flash-back, although very simple, seemed to be the most effecting of all.

I haven't yet watched both back-to-back, but intend to.

Well worth the effort (and effort, at times, is the right word.)


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11