Profile for Mr. S. K. Mackie > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mr. S. K. Mackie
Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,338,820
Helpful Votes: 145

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mr. S. K. Mackie "seanmackie" (NW England)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Goodfellas [Blu-ray] [1990] [Region Free]
Goodfellas [Blu-ray] [1990] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Joe Pesci
Price: £6.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic (spoiler), 3 Jan. 2011
Gangster films have played a big role in changing the way I look at film through how dark and edgy they are, THE GODFATHER trilogy and SCARFACE (1983) certainly proved that factor with some great characters and infamous moments. I was then recommended Martin Scorsese's gangster epic GOODFELLAS (1990), at the time I hadn't come across Scorsese much though I was to watch THE DEPARTED (2006) shortly after watching this. However I came to appreciate this masterpiece of a film which set the boundaries for violent cinema and since then, no gangster film has really been as well acclaimed as this was. The idea of this film teaches us that gangsters are all around us, everyone knows it, but not everyone wants to accept it which is suggested throughout as one man's chronicles in the mafia became a horrific but fascinating true story.

We see a flashback involving a trio of gangsters stopping their car to find their victim still alive, and decide to finally finish him off. One of the gangsters named Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) recollects how 'as far back as he could remember he always wanted to be a gangster' which sets up the story of how Henry became part of the mafia which traces back to 1955. As a teenage boy, he ditched school to work for a group of gangsters led by fussy yet reserved boss Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino) and ended up building his reputation as a young man with bright ideas to get involved in the mob. Paulie would introduce him to fellow gangster Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and his henchman Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and together the trio would become involved in mob dealings such as robbery, drug dealing and even murder. After escaping prison for illegally selling cigarettes Henry learns to never rat out his friends and keep his mouth shut, a lesson that he is willing to accept which leads to him being regarded as one of their own. The film however focuses on Henry's gangster involvement also affecting his personal life, as the years pass in which he gets involved with Jewish woman Karen (Lorraine Bracco) and the pair end up getting together and marrying. Despite his profession though, Karen supports him throughout enjoying the thrill of being involved with a wiseguy.

But clearly the reputation for Henry becomes daunting for him with Tommy showing psychopathic motives towards those who ridicule him which is confirmed when former client Billy Batts (Frank Vincent) who is a 'made guy' ends up being murdered by Tommy in revenge for teasing him about his past. Jimmy is also someone not to mess with, as different time periods take place, the gang get involved in pulling off a major heist which goes successfully well. Unfortunately more bloodshed happens as Jimmy and Tommy try to ensure that anyone involved in the heist who gives themselves away to the cops will suffer the consequences which in typical gangster film fashion does happen. Henry tries to keep together his mob profession and his home life, but the sleaziness of the profession sees him cheat on Karen with other women but also become associated with cocaine which affects his state of paranoia. Ultimately prison does happen to Henry after he and Jimmy attack a client in another state, but the case of surviving whether it be inside or outside, affects his judgement. This is made more apparent with the shock death of one of the major characters and another major incident with the authorities which leaves Henry to consider whether he and his family can survive the connections with the mob or also face being bumped off, leading to him taking a stand....

The movie is based on the true-crime memoirs of the real-life Henry Hill, whose novel from Nicholas Pileggi; "Wiseguy" was adapted into a screenplay by Pileggi and Scorsese. The book itself is insightful; but the screenplay for the film is even better. The dialogue is incredible. The story works on two levels, both as an expose of how the gangster world and the gangsters themselves actually have very similar ambitions and worries as normal 9-5 people with regards to families and staying on top. Ray Liotta is perfect as the title gangster Henry Hill as he captures a sense of innocence yet at the same time a feeling of violence. One scene that proves that is his confrontation with a guy who tries to touch up Karen, leading to him being composed when confronting the guy, and after the incident having a big horrid look of revenge that is just terrific acting. Though not in the film as much as the poster shows De Niro's portrayal of Jimmy Conway is solid. The character's persona is that of a calm and reasonable nature, but really he is a paranoid killer who would kill even his closest associates for money behind the forced smiles. Joe Pesci however steals the film whenever he's on screen playing a short, deranged, loud-mouthed man with something wrong in his head. Someone makes an insult toward him and he shoots them, and then laughs. It's quite disturbing. Paul Sorvino gives great screen presence as Paulie and does a good job in the scenes he's in. Future Sopranos actress Lorraine Bracco has such a fiery attitude but a sparkling personality which translates well on camera and is very good alongside Liotta. Other Sopranos characters including Christopher Moltisanti, Paulie and Phil Leotardo also figure as well as a brief but ill-fated appearance from Samuel L Jackson. The reason the whole ensemble shines in their performances comes from the fact that they aren't acting like their characters; they are behaving like them.

There is drama but the humourous moments help the film including the famous tensioned "Am I funny" scene between Henry and Tommy which ends with the popular hysterical laughter of Henry adding to the hilarity of the film and showing great chemistry between the main characters. Technically too the film is fabulous with the time period focusing well between the 50's and 80's, arty costumes and a loud but energetic soundtrack including songs from Tony Bennett, Sex Pistols and of course The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter (used in future Scorsese films). The camerawork though deserves credit too with the long, tracking shots, especially the much-copied entrance through the kitchen. One flaw though to this film maybe Henry's narration throughout the film which paces well at the start but towards the end drags out and looks too much into the mafia aspect, while the final five-ten minutes feel rushed for the whole point of the story about what Henry and the family were forced to do. As much as the true events of Henry's life have been glamorized to a certain extent, the focus of the film is more a damning portrayal of the characters and lifestyle of mobsters and is done to perfection. Goodfellas makes you feel like you are watching guys that you know or knew. It all paints us a perfect picture of what mob life must be like.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 4, 2011 4:06 PM GMT

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps [DVD]
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Douglas
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £3.64

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On par with the orginal (spoiler), 3 Jan. 2011
At the moment I've been going through a Michael Douglas phase watching some of his best films notably FATAL ATTRACTION (1987) and FALLING DOWN (1994) which have added to the composure of the man in his acting vicinity. However I did watch his best performance in the money-making drama WALL STREET (1986) which allowed him to play his infamous character Gordon Gekko with such venom and deceitfulness that earned him the Best Actor Oscar. Now 24 years later, Douglas reprises his role as Gekko in the long-awaited sequel MONEY NEVER SLEEPS which sees him reunite with Oliver Stone (the director) and make a worthy installment which in some ways is as good as the original.

The film opens with notorious businessman Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) being released from prison after serving time for his crime in the first one. However the focus shines on upcoming hotshot Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) who works in Wall Street similarly to Charlie Sheen's character Bud Fox from the first film but he is determined to ensure his investment firm doesn't go under but his mentor, Louis (Frank Langella), is making some bad decisions for their firm. But when Louis ends up having to sell his share of the firm to arrogant investor Bretton James (Josh Brolin) for a very small price, he commits suicide much to Jake's devastation. He is comforted by his activist fiancee Winnie (Carey Mulligan) who happens to be Gekko's daughter but is estranged from her father. She tries to help Jake recover from his loss but soon he switches his attention to Gekko, firstly by watching him in a lecture and then seeking advice from him about rebuilding his firm. Gordon though wants to be reunited with Winnie who is reluctant to see her father again but Jake is determined to learn more from Gordon especially when he is hired by Bretton to orchestrate his own firm but clearly the young rookie plans to make him suffer for what happened to Louis. But the question is has prison helped Gordon or is he plotting something sinister to bring himself back on top of the game?

It is rare for a sequel 24 years after the original not only advancing its story but also having something new to say. Director Oliver Stone has changed the pace of the film from the original as he takes his time to paint his modern pictures of high society. People are no longer wearing power ties and having lavish lunches. We are going green and eating less red meat. Stone understood the dynamic shift in the culture on Wall Street and captured that change on film which is what he does well with the sequel. Using relevant editing techniques like the "split-screen" effect to emphasize on the hurried interaction among stock traders and brokers, Stone succeeds to a certain extent in depicting the frenzied drama of phone-calling, and "time is money" mentality that personalize these people. The return of Michael Douglas to the role that garnered him an Oscar was always going to gain the majority of anticipation and he doesn't disappoint. He portrays the supposedly rehabilitated Gekko as a man who is just as self-antagonizing as he was two decades ago, but now has the new found characteristic of subtlety. La Beouf nicely balances his character's idealism and shrewdness with angst and proves that he isn't a franchise ruining actor, there is dramatic potential in the man. Brolin adds slickness and deceit proving to be like Gekko in the first film while Frank Langella and Eli Wallach also give stellar supporting roles.

Unfortunately for Carey Mulligan, her Winnie role isn't all that fleshed out, being just the romantic lead opposite Shia (a real-life relationship) and her reconciliatory difficulties with her dad but shows her potential as a future British star in Hollywood (a'la Keira Knightley) while Susan Sarandon is rather wasted in the film too. The film also fails to get a message across in relation to the global financial crisis and all it offers are a couple of brief scenes where the big banks get together and discuss a bail out policy with the U.S. treasury. So does the sentimentality of the film which detracts the reason why the first film was so cunning with Gordon's humane side being demonstrated a lot more here with the writers going for a safer, more commercial option especially in the final ten minutes. There are some clever references to the first film from the reappearance of Gordon's mobile phone to Sylvia Miles's brief cameo as Gordon's former receptionist but Charlie Sheen's cameo is a little disappointing for some as if to say it was played too "let's-make-a-funny-reference-to-the-first-film" instead of a serious attempt at a dramatic moment. But still it's good to see him pop up in it. To conclude, this is a revenge and redemption movie with Wall Street and market crash as a backdrop. Douglas certainly is back with a vengeance and this is a sequel that deserves as much credit as the original: greed certainly is back!

The Social Network (2-Disc Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]
The Social Network (2-Disc Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Jesse Eisenberg
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £3.70

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching (spoiler), 3 Jan. 2011
The phenomenon of using modern technology has escalated over the past couple of decades but it is the Internet which has proved to be the big stepping stone towards global success. However in 2003, a young, problematic student at Harvard University named Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea to create one of the most used websites in the computer age and make it become a sensation across the world: Facebook. But from then on, Zuckerberg was to encounter many flaws along his journey to becoming the world's youngest billionaire which would mainly include betrayal and lawsuits. Yet the story of how Facebook was created by Zuckerberg is adapted onto the big screen by renowned director David Fincher (SE7EN (1995), FIGHT CLUB (1999)) and writer Aaron Sorkin and emerges as one of the films of the year with a solid cast, a masterful script and a production that should gain support from users of Facebook including myself.

The desire of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Einsenberg) to create Facebook back in 2003 starts off with him being dumped by his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) who struggles to cope with his idealistic opinions about Harvard, resulting in him taking payback on her by posting a blog ridiculing her personality. This allows him to begin setting up an online social-networking site originally titled Facesmash, to allow fellow Harvard users to create profiles of themselves. With the help of best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), the pair finally begin to improve the website with crucial changes such as friend requests, wall posts and relationship statuses and soon the site becomes an overnight success. But ultimately there are complications to that success with Zuckerberg facing legal action from two brothers (both twins) based in Harvard who initially came up with the idea of a website similar to Facebook but would make accusations that Zuckerberg stole their idea. The website however continues to gain more users not just from universities but from around the world which eventually leads to Zuckerberg becoming the world's youngest billionaire. Ultimately the arrival of a fellow Internet entrepeneur named Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) was to cause complications with the friendship between the young billionaire and his co-founder Eduardo leading to a more personal legal battle between the pair. Nevertheless there is nothing to stop the global achievement that Facebook is getting but it still impacts itself on the two people who made it all possible......

Many people will think The Social Network is about Facebook but in reality it isn't. It's about Mark Zuckerberg and the people associated with him and the consequences that occur with the evolution of Facebook. It's about friends being driven apart due to money and betrayal as seen through Zukerberg and Saverin's fallout. What makes the film so brilliant is an impeccable script by Aaron Sorkin and from the first scene of Zuckerberg being dumped by Erica to the last shot, the dialogue is just witty and so well written, one of the best scripts in recent years with the way the characters interact e.g. Zuckerberg is never quite capable of shutting up or Eduardo always stops just short of explicating his emotions. Director David Fincher also does a great job keeping the audience captivated at a considerable pace. It is completely different to his previous work e.g. SE7EN (1995), FIGHT CLUB (1999) but is still another fabulous piece of work from him. Fincher also has the advantage of casting young actors, rather than major Hollywood actors, to step out of their comfort zones and deliver some truly phenomenal work which is justified by the performances of the three main actors. Jesse Einsenberg plays Zuckerberg as a cold, simplistic and determined genius who knows what he wants, is very confident and will stop at nothing to get it. His friend turned rival Eduardo is played with warmth and sympathy by British actor Andrew Garfield (recently cast as the new Peter Parker/Spiderman) who lends his support to Zuckerberg throughout the film before feeling betrayal by his friend. That bromance is the heart of The Social Network and keeps the emotional factor of the film together. The big surprise though is pop diva turned actor Justin Timberlake who plays Sean Parker as smooth yet smarmy as he comes into the film half-way and makes as big an impact as many with coming between Zuckerberg and Saverin's friendship while trying to boost Facebook's popularity. The rest of the mainly unknown cast have their chance to shine as well with shiny-eyed Rooney Mara showing her impact in two key scenes of the film, small but effective. This is also the latest Fincher film to feature great technical ability with the editing side a crucial aspect as well as a riveting score (the end credits song spot on for a film about wealth).

Though this is a monumental film, there are a couple of big flaws that deny it the five star rating. The fact/fiction debate is something to dwell on especially with regards to the fallout between Zuckerberg and Severin and whether the Erica character existed (possibly as a ploy for the emotional factor behind Zuckerberg's determination). The subject of women however is what leads to the controversy of the film particularly with how they are presented. While Erica's character speaks the truth, the other females are shown as sexually obsessed and seedy e.g. Parker's girlfriend parading around in a shirt and thong or the party scenes which makes me doubt there'll. It's very compelling and it certainly keeps your attention all the way through and that's no small task considering the subject matter and the fact that it's all depositions and flashbacks. It is undoubtedly the CITIZEN KANE of our generation. But even with a stark portrayal of women and a segment of the film being fiction, this is one of the early contenders for the Oscars and for myself certainly, this film deserves recognition and gets a "like" from me!

Another Year [DVD]
Another Year [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jim Broadbent
Price: £3.67

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of his best films, 3 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Another Year [DVD] (DVD)
In the past twenty years, no British director has made such gritty and compelling films about the downturns of British society as Mike Leigh has. Since his majestic adaptation of ABIGAIL'S PARTY to the small screen almost forty years ago, he has made some strong powerful films that reflect the struggles that his characters go through with their everyday lives and the situations they get into. But perhaps his biggest accomplishment has been getting the best out of his main female performers who each play different types of roles whether they be happy, depressed or just a typical person. Once again he has pulled it off with another marvelous piece of film-making that combines grimness with subtle humor through ANOTHER YEAR (2010), which plays over four different time periods in a year focusing on the same family and their friends who go through many trials and tribulations. All this done in typical British fashion with the kitchen-sink element evident here again in a film close to Leigh's heart.

Set during the four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), the film introduces us to devoted middle-aged couple Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) who have been happily married for many years and both have decent jobs as well as a thirty year old son named Joe (Oliver Maltman) who works away. In the first segment we are introduced to the careers of the three family members with Gerri having the tough job of giving councilor advice to depressed people. However one person who is depressed but isn't looked at is her colleague Mary (Lesley Manville), who is also middle-aged but unlike Gerri, she is mostly lonely with no husband or children, lives in a small flat and is an alcoholic. She yearns the attention of Tom and Gerri which is evident from her first visit to their house and is secretly bitter about how their lives have played out. In the Summer segment, Tom's childhood friend Ken (Peter Wight) visits the family for a barbecue but like Mary he too is an alcoholic but his reasons are more obvious as he feels alienated from the current generation and misses the good old days in which most of his friends are now dead. Mary again though is clingy to the family and also has feelings for Joe despite being seen as more like an auntie. That factor is more distressing for her in the Autumn period where Joe finally gains a girlfriend in kooky but happy Katie (Karina Fernandez) who is welcomed by the family but Mary is left bitter about the romance. Concluding the year through the winter story sees the family attend the funeral of Tom's sister-in-law who was married to his brother Ronnie (David Bradley) but the day is overshadowed by Ronnie's son Carl (Martin Savage) not caring about the tragedy. But the point of the overall film suggests that Tom and Gerri can keep supporting their despairing friends, yet knowing at the same time that their married happiness can only serve to mock their friends' lonely lives further.

The film is a story of growing old with the small events that can make life either comforting or unbearable but also allow companionship from others. The four different seasons of the film point towards a growing anxiety that it may in fact be too late for these lost characters e.g. Mary, Ken while the circular nature of the structure suggests that there is no real hope for those left unloved and lonely at the film's conclusion. All of life is there too from birth (Gerri's colleague having a baby) to a funeral (Ronnie's wife) and marriage associated with long-term e.g. Tom and Jerri and future bliss (Joe and Katie). Typically Leigh always seems to get the best out of his actors, with the women standing out better as they truly own the film. Ruth Sheen portrays Gerri as comforting with those feeling depressed around her but is also secretly irritated with her friend Mary's miserable personality and that type of role seems to suit Sheen. The main acclaim deserves to go to regular collaborator Lesley Manville who is perhaps the complete all round female character that Leigh wanted. There is a mixture of Cynthia (SECRETS AND LIES), Vera (VERA DRAKE) and Poppy (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY) about Mary who tries to make herself feel happy and is attractive for her age but is clearly suffering the wasted opportunity that she couldn't take when she was younger unlike Gerri. Her facial expressions tell it all too from her disappointment of seeing a random man at a bar who she plans to chat-up embracing his younger girlfriend to her reaction of being seen as an auntie figure to Joe who she clearly admires. Award recognition deserves to go to her no question having starred in other Leigh roles. Nevertheless the men always contribute in their own compassionate way adding to how great the cast in Leigh's films are. Jim Broadbent's Tom is charming and confident in his own happiness yet feels aggrieved at the failure of his friend Ken who struggles to come to terms with growing old. Ken is played by Wight with such devastation and fear of aging that pays dividend when he tearfully recalls seeing something which reminded him of his late friend. David Bradley also contributes another effective role as the silent individual who struggles to see sense following his wife's death. In Mike Leigh's world some characters never get happy endings and this is thanks to Leigh's cracking script as well as a haunting musical score which will probably be overshadowed by the brutality of the film.

But like most British films, you can tell when it tends to drag on. It requires a lot of patience to watch something which requires slow, quiet scenes with many silences and awkward moments which stretched a bit too far such as Mary's conversation with Ronnie which seemed to slow the process of it down. I also felt that Leigh's treatment of Mary by Tom and Gerri as little more than a baby was very degrading. She is never allowed to help with anything, though this does not excuse her, at times, appalling behaviour which is clearly rude on occasions but the irritated expression on the couple's face when she invites herself round for tea (near the end) is a little selfish on her behalf. And having watched Leigh's multi-Oscar nominated SECRETS AND LIES (1996) recently, I was hoping from some of the hype that this film would be more raw and tragic which in some ways it was, but I felt more sadness watching Jack Duckworth's death on Coronation Street the other night then I did with this. But many people particularly older than 30 will sympathise with the story and understand that like the characters they too can find themselves in circumstances that leave them fearing ageism. A gloomy story by Mike Leigh and fabulous performances from Broadbent, Sheen and of course Manville proves another year, another great British film!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (Blu-ray + DVD) [2010] [Region Free]
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (Blu-ray + DVD) [2010] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £14.96

26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see!, 3 Jan. 2011
The final Harry Potter film has finally arrived....well half of it anyway. But never fear, for this is the best one of them all (pending on how Part Two holds up) as the wizardry franchise nears its end. I was treated to the film during a late night showing and was left mesmerized by how dark and adventurous this edition was, as we are slowly but surely bidding farewell to one of cinema's most successful and imaginative franchises. The franchise, like Harry Potter himself, has grown and matured as the years (and films) progress. Part I of the Deathly Hallows is ultimately a strong build- up to what will be a triumphant, bittersweet finale for everybody. In fact when you do think back to HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE (2001), you forget how different the young actors were and how innocent the story was, but as the films have gone one, the dark element has proved why these later films have earned a lot more credibility than at the start of the franchise.

Following on from the previous film involving the death of Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gamdon),
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) know that their only hope is to find and destroy the Horcruxes before their enemy Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) restores his full powers by killing Harry.Voldemort's task is to track down Dumbledore's wand and use it to gain control of the wizardry world and starts this by sending Death-Eaters and Snatchers into the Muggle world, killing the mudbloods with the assistance of witch sidekick Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter). After gaining help from the Order of the Phoenix which includes Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) in a thrilling ariel chase sequence, Harry knows his mission is to find the Horcruxes and gets the help from Ron and Herminone. They head on an epic quest across the country in which they find themselves in London's busy streets, trying to claim one of the Horcruxes from former nemesis Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) at the Ministry of Magic, trekking through many fields and forests and then learning about the Deathly Hallows (explaining what the title of the book/film meant) which are crucial to Harry's quest to overcome Voldemort. However many dangers threaten the objective not only from Voldemort but from each other as the pressure of the task takes its toll, but the long-term association between the trio must hold its own in order to save the wizardry world from evil.

Right from the very start, when the Warner Bros logo appears, this film feels different. The colours are gray, the sound is low and even the famous theme from John Williams seems to have given way to a much darker tone. It doesn't even feel like a Harry Potter film anymore. It makes the first two films from Chris Colombus feel like they are from a whole different universe. You get the impression this is THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of the franchise, setting itself up for the storming finale in July 2011. David Yates' direction is he captures the actors and actually makes them seem mature and realistic without coming off as forced. Screenwriter Steve Kloves doesn't forget to add the mood and gloom to the story as it slowly unfolds, but like other Potter films he adds some light humor to the film when it needs it. This proves a key with making this not only a visual spectacle, but also a character-driven ensemble as proven by its stunning British cast (try getting John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs and Bill Nighy in the same film again). Alexandre Desplat's score also makes a difference, as it literally puts you into the world with its beautiful, harmonious, and emotional tones. Thanks to the decision to split the final book into two films, Yates doesn't hurry through these scenes. Instead, he allows the audience to experience the frustration, jealousy and uncertainty of his characters, and allows for Radcliffe, Watson and Grint to display some fine acting with the lack of distraction from any visual effects.

Radcliffe makes every scene his own, and makes us laugh and gasp and cry if he wants to. His transmission of emotion when a certain character dies is breathtaking. Watson shows growth in her acting and seems confident than ever while Grint shows some growth in his acting too by the emotional scenes given. Fiennes conducts the foul-faced Voldemort with such terror and theatrical charisma; he's assured to earn a seat in the category of cinema's greatest villains with Carter also menacing as Bellatrix. Both Bill Nighy and Rhys Ifans make their debuts in the franchise but only make brief roles (the latter's more significant) while the likes of Rickman, Staunton, Isaacs and Hurt also contribute in their own way. In many parts it is thrilling, as there are quite a number of intense action sequences which are done with well-made visual effects. However, the action sequences are perfectly blended in with the gripping, dramatic moments. They don't feel heavy handed and it's beautiful to look at. The additional time for the film also turns out to be a blessing for fans and audiences, allowing them the opportunity to see their favourite supporting characters back on screen- most importantly of course Dobby the Elf who returns to give the movie a touching finale. The inclusion of the animated sequence about the origins of the Deathly Hallows is an absolute masterclass and very beautiful to both watch and listen, a very good bonus to those who never read the book but get given the specific details here.

There is a sense of isolation and loss which plays out in the middle stretch in the film which may be tedious for some impatient viewers particularly young children who expect to see magical action scenes. The darkness of the film may put parents off taking their children especially the scenes of Voldemort's pet snake which attacks Harry is an edge of your seat moment. Of course, the main factor for the film's problem is again, the decision to cut certain scenes or take away the emotional impact of certain key moments (the death of a couple of key characters early in the film are only briefly mentioned and forgotten straight away). This is a shame considering the decision to half the book into two films but still you get your entertainment's worth from what's in this film and the addition of new scenes including Harry and Hermione dancing are beautifully done. As we conclude, Harry Potter is a phenomenon, not even Twilight will overcome it. But, like all things, it most come to an end eventually. This is the beginning of the end, and fans wouldn't have it any other way.

London Boulevard [Blu-ray]
London Boulevard [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Keira Knightley
Price: £5.98

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars underestimated film, 3 Jan. 2011
Having been involved with the critically acclaimed Oscar winning film THE DEPARTED (2006), writer turned director William Monahan has gone with trying to recreate a film of that grittiness and taking it to England with LONDON BOULEVARD, the final result being a decent but modest crime thriller. Essentially it is just another film involving crime in London but this time featuring a strong cast including Colin Farrell, Ray Winstone and the always consistent Keira Knightley alongside a foul mouthed script and a brutal narrative.

Recently released convict Mitchell (Colin Farrell) is brought back to his familiar territory in the violent streets of London and straight away is back in business with partner Billy (Ben Chaplin). It is clear that Mitchell wants to steer away from crime and instead be more helpful towards others which comes when he chases a couple of thugs away from a young woman. She ends up meeting him at a party and recommends that he should work for her friend, reclusive film actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley) who has kept herself away from the paparazzi by staying indoors all the time. Mitchell gets the job of protecting her and is supported by another helper Jordan (David Thewlis) in trying to ensure that she isn't intimidated by the press. However away from Charlotte, Mitchell tries to find out who was responsible for the death of his friend, a dosser, and gets Billy to ask round. But when the leading figure in the London underworld, Mr Gant (Ray Winstone) comes looking to place Mitchell high up in his crime organization, he must find a way to refuse the advances of such a dangerous man, while also protecting those closest to him while at the same time growing closer to Charlotte as she seeks a way out.

When this film went into production, it seemed like it would be a British version of SUNSET BLVD (1950), but clearly I was proved wrong by the way it was made more like THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY (1980). It does prove to be a promising first effort for Monahan, and while the film contains flaws, which you expect from a first-time director plying his trade, it is also an engaging gangster drama which is also smartly written. The writing is clever on occasions including the dialogue between Mitchell and Gant though also shocking on occasions e.g. Jordan's comparison of Charlotte with Monica Belucci. Monahan also manages to get the cast to all deliver in their own manner though they are either effective or wasted. For the first couple of scenes, Colin Farrell's middle-class cockney accent comes across as forced, but once he settles into the role, his performance takes limelight as a cynical criminal with some heart. His brash use of violence, and utter respect and protection of friends and family, provides a conflict within Mitchell that he constantly battles throughout the film. Knightley makes her big screen comeback as Charlotte and does a good job despite only being in several big scenes. Her story with regards to the paparazzi is very ironic for her real life personna of being stalked by them in recent years and that seems to make her involvement in the film more of a biopic reflection. Ray Winstone never puts a foot wrong, but his role becomes predictable and uninteresting, especially since every other word out of his cockney mouth is mostly volatile. Monahan really missed a trick, by failing to provide Winstone's character with any further depth having worked with him in The Departed. David Thewlis and Ben Chaplin give great performances as the hippy, wannabe actor and scared, low-level gangster respectively though Chaplin's character got annoying towards the film's climax while the lovely Anne Friel's role as thieving and childish sister of Mitchell is clinical but not the most sympathetic female character.

With the film's flaws it has to be said that the film and its story feels rushed. The sub-plot of Mitchell's old friend Joe and Mitchell's subsequent attempts to find out who is responsible is an adequate story that is supposed to accompany the main narrative but neither Monahan's direction nor his screenplay seem to follow it to any decisive conclusion. It seems that sub-plot is simply included to allow the irony of the ending and provide a twist which the film itself certainly does not need. He also seems to be tipping his hat towards Guy Ritchie in style of the visuals, soundtrack and occasional attempts at humour. It's a rarity when a film could be said to be too short, but one way London Boulevard could have been improved is an extra 45 minutes or so to pay attention to its many details.The minor characters including Eddie Marsan, Stephen Graham and The Kumar's Sangeev Bhasker aren't given nearly enough time to do anything and was a wasted opportunity for them to do something. However for Monahan, while this doesn't live up to the hype of The Departed, it does deliver in its own ways and seems to be harshly reviewed by others though it should get more support from audiences who love their crime films. The Brits mostly do them best!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2011 6:03 AM BST

Tron Legacy [DVD]
Tron Legacy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Sheen
Price: £3.00

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not everyones cup of tea!, 3 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Tron Legacy [DVD] (DVD)
Having finally got round to watching the original TRON (1982), a couple of months back, I was pleased to see the idea of a long-awaited sequel being made, and updated for this modern generation. The original wasn't a huge hit when released back then having been overshadowed by E.T: THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL which came out in the same week. This particular edition does the original film justice, and gives you the perfect vibe for an visually spectacular film that should do well at Christmas although it also leaves those who didn't see the original a little whizzed out!

The original film's hero Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), has made his Tron universe a massive success to the world during the 80's but he ends up disappearing without a trace leaving his son Sam distraught. However in the modern day, Sam has grown up (played by Garrett Hedlund) and is trying to track down information of his father with his company Encom now being run by greedy executives. Through the help of another familiar face from the original Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), Sam discovers his father's arcade facility and just like his father back then, Sam goes through a similar portal system and finds himself in the Tron world. There he becomes prisoner and finds himself taking part in various games to try and survive, for which he does, before being reunited with his father (who hasn't aged). Unfortunately for Sam, his dad isn't who he thinks he is and is in fact the person who betrayed Kevin Flynn to the Tron world; Clu. Sam soon escapes from Clu thanks to sexy warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde) who reunites Sam with Kevin properly (this time he's older), but now face the prospect of a new plan to escape from the Tron world by returning to the portal from which Sam entered. However with Clu threatening to lead a mass army into the real world to overthrow Earth, the trio must make their way back home before it's too late!

The world of Tron looks stunning with beautiful visuals ranging from awesome bikes and other assorted vehicles to sexy costumes all shining with darkly colours, a mix of sleek black and cool blue which looks deliciously unique and beautifully original. The way programs disintegrate when they're disposed of, the light cycle battles, airborne chases, and the many fight sequences in the film are just a small example of the dazzling display of some of the most exceptional and impressive special effects ever seen in a cinematic feature. It's a real treat for the eyes, and it's even better in 3D which is splendidly used to flesh out the dimensions and graphics of the cyber world bring you even deeper into the world. Of course the first film must be seen to understand the sequel anyway so it will be great to have more people coming to it. From the cast, Garrett Hedlund does a decent job of carrying the film and being generally astonished that not only was his father alive but the extraordinary world he always talked about actually existed, while Bridges has his strongest scenes with Hedlund alone while being rather flat the rest of the time though visually his villainous turn as Clu is impressive and technically mastered well by the visual artists. And Olivia Wilde provides for the token sex symbol of the film (along with Beau Garrett) who is ever ready to flex her battle skills with various weapons and vehicles, whose background is given a twist which seeks to expand the TRON universe a little bit more but her cuteness adds to the eye-candy of the film. And another personal highlight? Daft Punk's electrifying musical score which stands out throughout the film, and provides additional lift.

The negativity of the film does seem to come from a story that has familiarity to the original and that becomes a bit samey for fans of the first film e.g. Flynn escaping from the Tron world, a lead female character etc. There's interesting things going on like a rebellion, but it's only given a brief nod. The rebels play only a bit part in a single scene, which is a shame, even more so the lack of Tron's character himself who was an integral part of the first film. The script though is much poorer even for a cheesy action film. For example some of the lines Bridges muttered just made him seem way too much like The Dude from THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998), which seems awesome but really has no place in the Tron universe. Another big disappointment is the role of Michael Sheen as Zuse. His white hair strongly resembles X Factor contestant Rhydian, and he strongly hams himself up in the role, but it's a shame an actor of his talent was wasted in such a cheesy, over-the-top performance. Overall the film is entertaining enough, but probably not the non-stop action some people are hoping for especially for parents who take their kids but when it comes to an action blockbuster for Christmas other than Harry Potter, then Tron Legacy is just it.

Valve Caps 8 Ball fit BMX CAR Schrader Valve inner tube
Valve Caps 8 Ball fit BMX CAR Schrader Valve inner tube
Offered by Y Frame Discounts Ltd
Price: £4.42

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 balls, 19 April 2010
Really into your American pool? Follow the Chinese superstition that the number 8 is lucky? If so then these super cool dust caps are a much have for you!!! They do exactly what it says on the tin. Cover your dust caps.

Nokia N96 16GB Slide SmartPhone Unlocked Used Genuine UK
Nokia N96 16GB Slide SmartPhone Unlocked Used Genuine UK
Offered by Fone-Central
Price: £199.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars N96 a excellent device but also has its downsides, 19 April 2010
I have currently had my N96 for about 14months so only 4 more months till I can upgrade :). This model has not only its good points but also a few bad points. firstly let's face it, when you can sell you'r iPod as this phone contains 16GB memory you think your already off to a winner, but the only trouble I've found is my phone struggles to play music and play games at the same time. This isn't the case all the time but the majority of the time it will crash and turn itself off when trying to play music and play a game at the same time, something I never had a problem with my old iPod. secondly after about 6months of owning this phone the screen started to get dirty as though there was dust under the screen, unfortunately this model isn't like the old Nokia 3310's where you can take the casing off and clean the screen, and it is now hard to see the screen when out in sun light, which is very disappointing now the weather is improving. A family member of mine also owns a N96 and suffers from the same problem. finally over the last month or so the phone has popped up with another problem for me, if you leave the battery to run out of juice (like you should anyway) once you plug it into charge and turn it back on the screen goes blank and crashes. I've been resulted to getting a pen knife and poking around in the back to get it to work again. This doesn't work all the time and sometimes been left without a phone for a few days as a result. The God's honest truth I have never dropped or bashed this phone about so this error is not down to misuse. Every time I'm out and the battery is running low I start to worry if I'm going to be left without a phone agian. Apart from the few down sides I have named this phone is good (when it wants to be lol) the sound quality on the music player is very good quality and the internet is very fast and easy to use. I would recommend this phone to someone, but not if its intended to be used for a long period of time, my opinion would be to purchase the iphone, as many of my friends use these and none have encountered a problem so far.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4