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Leonidas (Italy)

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Cold Prey/Cold Prey 2 [DVD] [2006]
Cold Prey/Cold Prey 2 [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ingrid Bolso Berdal
Offered by xyxxxx
Price: £17.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original slasher? Not at all. A great one? Absolutely!, 14 May 2011
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Does a movie have to be original to be good? In my opinion, absolutely not. Originality does help in creating a good movie, but it's not mandatory, and more often than not the search for originality at all costs has ruined movies that would have been much better if the director wasn't trying so hard to prove something. For example Switchblade Romance in my opinion is a really good slasher, but it would have been MUCH better if the director wouldn't have done that final "twist" that 1) doesn't make sense at all and 2) it's just lazy and badly executed. Without that "original" twist, Switchblade Romance would have been a "perfect classic slasher".

So, are Cold Prey 1 and 2 original movies? Absolutely not. Are they good movies? Absolutely yes (the first one in particular, not so the second one, even if it's not bad at all). If you've seen at least a few slasher movies in your life (i just love the genre) you'll know almost exactly what's going to happen. So, why purchase these movies if they don't represent anything new? The answer is: because they're good. The first Cold Prey was defined "Probably the most perfect slasher movie of all time" and whoever wrote that wasn't so far from reality. In my personal list of "classic slasher", Cold Prey is in the top 10, maybe even in the top 5. The added value of Cold Prey is the quality. You've a really good director, great photography, good music, a good cast, believable/life-like (and likeable) characters and a good development of interpersonal relations between them. In other words, you can grow to care about them and you're almost sorry when they begin to die (one common thing of many slasher is that the acting is just terribly bad and that you couldn't care less about the fact, more often than not they are so obnoxious that most of the time you're on the side of the serial killer!). The quality of the execution and the great atmosphere are the thing that make the difference between Cold Prey and the "just one in a crowd" slasher. Just don't expect a lot of blood and gory death scenes. The deaths are brutal, but the director cares more about creating a great atmosphere that in displaying buckets of blood and guts and in the ends it pays off a lot.

Now, what about the story? In Cold Prey there is a group of friends (two couples and a funny single boy) that go in a remote location in Norway to have some fun with their snowboards. The single boy isn't lucky and he badly breaks one leg. Since the group is too far from the car to drag him back and that the cell phone don't receive, they decide to take shelter in an abandoned hotel (which, by the way, is quite creepy). Obviously the hotel is NOT abandoned. In Cold Prey 2 the police find the body of the killer (i'm not saying more because i don't want to spoil the first movie) and take him to the hospital (which is going to be closed definitely very soon and so it's almost empty). But the killer is NOT dead.

The first movie in my opinion is by far the best of the two (the director isn't the same) and it deserves 5 stars. The second one is not bad at all, but i wouldn't give it more than 3 stars, it just doesn't have the outstanding quality and execution (and the great atmosphere) of the first one. I think that, since for a few bucks you get a great movie and a good one, the whole package deserves 5 stars.

On the technical side, both movies displays excellent audio (Norwegian, with English subtitles) and video quality, with a lot of perceived details, a clean print, good use of the surround channels, clear dialogue, good sense of depth and no black crush in dark scenes. The colors are quite muted, but it's just the kind of photography chosen for both movies, and it delivers. Upscaled to 1080p on my Panasonic plasma, both movies looked great.

Cronos [DVD]
Cronos [DVD]
Dvd ~ Federico Luppi
Price: £10.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A quite good movie, but an awful DVD edition, 14 May 2011
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This review is from: Cronos [DVD] (DVD)
I'm a great fan of Guillermo Del Toro, he's one of my favorite directors and i'm always looking forward for his movies (will he ever direct "At the mountain of madness"??) with great expectations, so i just couldn't pass the chance to buy Cronos from Amazon, since it was his first movie and the only one that i have never seen. Well, to be precise he directed 2 more movies before it, but i'm pretty sure that they were never released on DVD, or at least they are impossible to find, so i suppose that i should simply forget about them.

As many reviewers before me pointed out, it's true that this movie is slow and it's not even remotely scary, but nonetheless it's an interesting twist on the vampires' theme. About 500 years ago an alchemist invented a device that could grant eternal life (or at least prolong life for hundreds of years), but at a price. The alchemist died in an accident and the device was lost, but a rich man, deadly sick, learned of its existence and now it's trying to find it at any cost, with the help of a ruthless man (played by Ron Perlman). An old man, an antiquarian, accidentaly finds the device and activates it.

To be honest, this is by far the worst of Del Toro's movies. This doesn't mean that it's a bad movie at all, in fact it's quite good if you're not put off by slow movies and if you aren't craving for a horror movie (which is not), it's just that it can't hold a candle to his later works.

Now the bad news. This DVD edition is just awful. I don't know how they could make such a mistake, but the interlacing of this movie is completely wrong and my DVD player (which never had a problem with hundreds of movies) couldn't deinterlace it properly. The result is that everytime something moves on the screen, you can see clearly that the image of the moving parts breaks up in many thin horizontal lines. As if this wasn't enough (i just couldn't stand it and i really don't understand how no one noticed this, unless everyone saw this DVD on a CRT TV...), there is a lot of black crushing, i.e. in darks scenes, which are the majority in this movie, it's hard to distinguish the details in dark areas. For example in a scene with Ron Perlman his dark jacket is one with the black background! And the age of the movie obviously doesn't help with the perceived definition/details. Also there are NO subtitles for the English spoken parts. This movie contains a weird mix of Spanish and English, but only the parts spoken in Spanish are subtitled.

I would have rated this movie 3 stars, but this DVD edition is so awful that it detracts terribly from the score. I see that Amazon is selling a Blu-Ray edition of this movie now, but the price is just too high and frankly i don't know if i'll ever watch this movie again.

Bionic Woman: The Complete Series [DVD]
Bionic Woman: The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michelle Ryan
Price: £7.00

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A potentially good remake, but the script is just awful. Avoid, 6 Jan. 2011
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I remember fondly the old bionic series (Six Million Dollar Man with Lee Majors and Bionic Woman with Lindsay Carter) and i thought that a remake of both would be cool. However, the movie with Jim Carrey playing Steve Austin seems just a little more than a rumor (and an old one too) and this tv series about Jamie Summers was cancelled after 8 episodes.

I wasn't expecting much (even if the networks have the bad tendency of cancelling good shows too, such as The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which rocked!), but i never thought that this series would be so bad. Wasted money.

Michelle Ryan is not believable as the bionic woman, she looks too young and has an air of "cheesyness" around her that really doesn't help. I don't think that she is a bad actress, she was just miscast, and the script is so bad that you can't really blame her too much, i doubt that another actress in her place would have saved the show. Katee Sackhoff plays Sarah Corvus, the "bad" bionic woman of this show, and she delivers a cool performance that really steals the scene from everyone: she is a far more interesting character than the moody teenager Jamie Summers. I feel that the actors of this series aren't bad at all (actually some of them are quite good), but the script is really awful and so the personalities of the characters that they are playing aren't developed enough (or are developed in a bad way).

So, what about the story, without spoiling it? Well, nothing to tell home about. There isn't that sensation of continuity that goes hand to hand with the better tv series. The episodes are too much stand alone and the stories aren't really compelling. The action scenes don't deliver at all, there's almost no tension and even the more dramatic scenes (well, "should be dramatic scenes" is a better definition) don't keep you on the edge of your seat. The episodes are pointless or just too simple and the personalities of the main characters are too bidimensional and not very believable, they aren't developed enough. The first episodes weren't too bad (kudos to Katee Sackhoff for this), but then the show really sinks in a sea of boredom. In the end, i just wanted the show to end as soon as possible and i felt almost relieved when i removed the DVD from my player.

The video and audio quality is nothing special and there are no subtitles at all (sic!). I didn't bother too much about the extras (i really wanted to forget this show as soon as possible), however there is some material, including interviews to the main actors of the cast.

Demon's Souls - Black Phantom Edition (PS3)
Demon's Souls - Black Phantom Edition (PS3)

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It could have been a great game, but in the end it's just dumb grinding, 11 Dec. 2010
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I admit that i have mixed feeling for this game. I have bought it the last summer, but i began to play only a few months ago, since i was too busy and i knew that this is a game that requires a lot of dedication. I'm writing this review now, after many weeks since my last play with Demon's Souls. I have made up my mind and i think that now i can offer an objective review.

First, let's start with the extra contents of the Black Phantom Edition. I was lucky, because i paid the game less than £40 and, considering all the stuff included in this package (guidebook, nice artwork booklet and audio CD) and the fact that i played this game for almost 200 hours (with 4 different characters), it wasn't certainly a waste. So, if you enjoy this "collector's stuff", you'd better buy this edition if you find it at a good price.

Now, let's talk about the techinical stuff. The graphic is nothing special, but it's functional to the game. The native resolution is low (lower than 720p) and the game doesn't scale to 1080p (a big let down for me), the texture are low res, etc. In other words, don't expect too many details in the background. However, the light effects, the framerate and the animations are quite good and, best of all, the atmosphere is great (very dark and oppressing). You're not really free in your roaming (there are many barriers, you can't climb or jump down where you want, etc.), but the furnishing is destructable. The audio effects are good and the music is ok, but gets repetitive very soon, as the game itself.

What about the story? Since it's a RPG, it should have a great story, a lot of NPCs and character interaction and so on, right? Wrong. In fact, if you play the game straight ahead, without reading a guide (as i did on my first run), you'll miss almost all NPCs encounters and sidequests (well, calling these "encounters & sidequests" is exagerate, since they're really short-lived). The interaction with the NPCs is almost non-existant (you'll end "speaking" always with the same ones and just to buy stuff), the story isn't bad at all, but it's dried to the bones. This is an action adventure game with some RPGs elements, so forget about the story.

The RPGs elements aren't bad, but you have no skills at all, only items (armor, weapons, shields and ring, with some consumable items thrown in) and a few spells (the amount of spells, even after acquiring all of them, is laughable, and many of them are too similar to each other).

The multiplayer is just PvP (or a sort of "co-op", but quite pointless in my opinion) and sometimes very laggy. I didn't like it very much, even if PvP combat can be funny and it's much better than fighting over and over the same dumb AI enemies. A pity that there is no chat and no way to invite friends...sigh!

So, what's this game all about? Fighting and grinding to kill enemies and acquire souls (both the "money" and the "experience points" of this game). That's all. And this is the great problem of this game. I have read a lot of stuff about this game being very rewarding because it's so difficult and frustrating, but what are these rewards? The satisfaction of killing a boss after 9 times that he killed you and you had to replay all the stage from the beginning? Hardly a satisfaction for me. Where is the story? Where are the feelings? Playing this game, i felt moved just a pair of times, because this game is not involving at all, this game is just addictive. You want to play on and on because you're frustrated and you can't accept that you die again and again at the same point of a stage, so you play on until you can do it. You want to gain souls to upgrade your weapon or to buy a new spells, so you play on and you replay 10, 50, 100 times the same stage to gain souls for these ends. But where is the fun in this? Where is the joy? I have given this game 3 stars because, being objective, it's not a bad game at all (but not for everyone), but only 2 stars for the fun because this game isn't funny at all. It's highly addictive and challenging, but it's not "rewarding" in the right way. It's alienating. What's the fun in repeating 100 times the same thing, in knowing where are all the monsters (yeah, because every time you play a stage it's always the same, the mobs are in the same position and they behave in the same way, no random encounters at all), in knowing their attack pattern, which is always the same?

The combat is good, but, considering that's the only thing that you'll do in this game, isn't good enough. The attacks and the combos are very simple and not rewarding at all (i like counters, but that's all). Again, repetition is the main problem of this game. Also, the lock-on system is good, but far from perfect (it's very hard to lock on enemies that are on the other side of an open door/passage, even if they're right in front of you, and sometimes the game locks on an enemy that's very far from you, insted of the one that's right in front of you).

What about the boss fights? Some of them are good (Flamelurker, False King and Manhunter), but most of them are boring and some are too easy (you can kill a lot of bosses simply dodging around and shooting arrows with a lava bow). The dragons are a joke! What's the point in staying still and shooting 50-100 arrows in the same spot?! Where's the challenge and the fun in this?! I feel that many boss fight would have been much better if they weren't so deadly and if they could last longer (fighting in melee with the dragons and being able to protect yourself from the flames with a good shield would have been great!), without being less difficult (some boss could do less damage, but be less predictable and so more difficult to evade).

This could have been a great game, but for me it's not. What i would like to see:
1) more combos and combat moves
2) a skill system (social skills for NPCs encounter, stealth, pick locks, etc.)
3) more spells and more spell slots
4) more enemies (there is just a bunch of them and they get boring very soon)
5) better boss fights
6) a lot of NPCs (character interaction) and sidequests (to gain rare items)
7) more items (not just weapons, armors and rings!)
8) random encounters (and random black phantoms too!)
9) get rid of the "tendency" system (you should start from pure black in each stage and work on to gain pure white)
10) more character personalization
11) online chat and co-op mode (quests than can be done online online in co-op with a friend or offline with a "bot")
12) more story, more choices, multiple endings
13) etc. (i forgot something for sure!)

I have no problems with the difficulty of the game (in fact, in my last run, when i played the game from the beginning with my fourth character, i died only a handful of times before completing the game), and i don't think that this game is "cheap" at all (expect in 5-2, where everybody can run and roll around and you can't, and in just another pair of spots), in fact i thinks that it's hard in a "honest" way. It's the dumbness of it that i don't like at all. It's always the same. If you like a good challenge and you don't mind repeating the same things hundreds of time, than this could be a great game for you, but after playing it for so many hours i feel like i was just addicted to it, but not in a good way. I wasn't saying to myself "oh, this game is so good and i'm having so much fun that i just can't stop playing!", but "i MUST complete this stage and i'm not going to sleep until i'll have killed that £&$%@# boss!!!". No good.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2011 4:00 PM BST

Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £14.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another COD, more of the same lag for my money: enough of this!, 8 Dec. 2010
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
If they don't change a lot of things, this is the last COD that'll ever buy. Period.

Even if my connection is perfect and very fast, i always lag (and a minumum lag of 200-300ms, means "don't bother to play, you're already dead"). I don't know if it's a problem with the netcode, or what, since i have always had this problem with all CODs, but this time it's aggravated by the reduced weapon damage. I prefer single shot and 3 round burst weapons, but in COD BO they're useless, since you need to put a lot of bullets in someone to kill him. Even a headshot with a M14 from less than 2m won't kill your target, so why bother to play skillfully and make each shot count?

Aside from this, the single player campaign is even shorter (or maybe is just easier?) than COD MW2 (and after a good start it really sinks in the end), there are no special ops (a big let down for me, since i really liked them and i love to play in co-op mode with a friend), the combat training is good (but too limited and i don't understand why you HAVE to go online, even if you're playing alone!), the graphics is not as fluid as in MW2, the textures are too "dirty" and is very difficult to spot the targets from the distance. I like the "buying" system and they did a good thing in changing the killstreaks.

What i want for the next COD (or i won't buy it): full-option combat training with character editor/a lot of personalization/RPGs elements, a map editor (i know they'll never produce a map editor for online play, they gather a lot of money from maps' DLCs), a single player campaign that's not a railroad shooter. And gimme back the special ops!

Let's face it. Each year we're paying full price for a "new" game that's a little more than a DLC...

P.S. i've tried also the PS3 version and it's MUCH worse (frames per second, texture, audio and lag), so, if you really want to buy this COD and you have both console, go for the Xbox version.

King Boxer - Five Fingers Of Death [DVD]
King Boxer - Five Fingers Of Death [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lieh Lo

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite a let down, but Quentin Tarantino saves the day, 8 Dec. 2010
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Frankly, i was quite disappointed by this movie.

Aside from Bruce Lee's movies, which i love to watch again and again, it has been a while since the last time that i saw a 70s Kung Fu movie (15-20 years, maybe?) and i didn't remember that they where so obviously fake in the fighting sequences (this one is also very cheesy, but being an old Hong Kong movie i didn't expected something different...i mean, many HK movies are cheesy even today!).

No contact, slow moves, nothing so spectacular as in Jet Li's or Donnie Yen's movies, just to name two of my favorite martial artists/actors. However the action can be quite violent (even if the obvious fakeness spoils everything), with some gross results, and the plot, while nothing special, has a few redeeming moments, but this movie lacks that edge (both in figthing sequences and in seriousness) that marks real masterworks of the genre.

If you're accostumed to today's high standards, i doubt that you'll like this stuff, even if it has its good moments. If you want to see good kung fu movies of the 70s, stick with Bruce Lee's works.

The audio commentary by Tarantino is amusing and usual, as it really saves the day.

The video quality is really good, considering the age of the movie, and the audio isn't bad either.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2012 5:56 PM BST

Stander [DVD]
Stander [DVD]
Dvd ~ Thomas Jane
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.96

4.0 out of 5 stars A solid movie and a great performance by Thomas Jane., 8 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stander [DVD] (DVD)
This is the kind of movie that i love: no one has ever heard of it, but it's really good. It's like opening the pocket of an old jacket and finding inside it 10 bucks!

An excellent performance by Thomas Jane, that is perfect for this role (as he was completely miscast for The Punisher). A good script, nice direction, solid supporting cast, good rhythm, action and funny moments. With these elements, you can't go wrong.

Other reviewers have told anything you need to know about the story (which goes deeper than the average movie of this kind, given the social contest in which the story takes place), so i'll simply say that i really enjoyed this movie and that it was a nice surprise. I often go hunting for unkown movies on and sometimes i'm lucky and i find a hidden gem, like this one.

Technically, the DVD is ok. Better the audio (with a nice and unusual soundtrack, that really gets you in the mood) than the video (not bad, however). There are english subtitles for the hard of hearing (movie only).

Definitely recommended!

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