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Mr. C. Gelderd "aka GelNerd" (Basingstoke, UK)

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Jurassic Park - Augmented Reality Edition [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Jurassic Park - Augmented Reality Edition [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Richard Attenborough
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Roar-some!, 7 Aug 2014
The first of the current trilogy stands alone as the original and best mainly for showcasing the ground-breaking special effects. Director Spielberg brings together a solid cast to tell a thrilling adventure of survival set around beats long since extinct. It’s a very simple story of an isolated team trying to survive a tropical island inhabited by the dinosaurs and reach safety, echoing that of the classic stop-motion films of the 1940s and 50s featuring the huge lizards and puppet monsters. Only this time the effects are second to none, really faithful to what we would expect dinosaurs to look and sound like, blending in seamlessly with the live action.

With a cast who are 100% passionate about the fantasy they are conveying, literally walking with dinosaurs (as well as running and hiding from), the tension builds up at the notion of the park and when it goes wrong, the thrills don’t stop and the jumps keep coming as you also feel part of the team trying to survive being prey.

This is a brilliant film that looks rich and vast thanks to the cinematography and use of day and night time to convey sense of beauty, death and fear in one shot. With an iconic score by John Williams, all the elements work so well to make this a real stand out film of the 90s for more reasons than just benchmarking special effects.

Jurassic Park II: The Lost World [Blu-ray] [1997]
Jurassic Park II: The Lost World [Blu-ray] [1997]
Dvd ~ Jeff Goldblum
Price: £7.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Not So Roar-some, 7 Aug 2014
Like all sequels, “The Lost World” takes what worked in the first film with the brilliant dinosaur special effects that now look and blend perfectly with the real world environments and actors. There are new species to marvel at and the same thrills, action and shocks as they roar, stomp and run through the 2 hours. However, the negative point opposite the dinos is the mix of characters. Some work; some don’t. It’s like Spielberg is trying too hard to cut a representation of good and bad, which at times is TOO obvious. As the first film had the basic group who had interesting and conflicting personalities but were all good, now we need staple goodies and baddies, away from the dinosaurs. We have the rookie headstrong hero, the wise guide, the damsel in distress, the young child in danger, the hot-shot mercenary and the techno-genius all used for their own moments but all run-of-the-mill.

However the tone is darker, more people die at the hands (or teeth) of the reptiles out there and the shocks still come from surprising ambushes and reveals. The story of survival is repeated, but there seems to be more danger this time, stretching the suspense and stunt work even more with the use of added action staples such as powerful vehicles, weapons and military tactics. When the action reaches mainland America, in an almost “Godzilla”-esque finale, the fun is mixed with dark humour and all the stops are pulled to create a very memorable sequence involving the dreaded T-Rex and a simple suburban town under siege, with the army and federal government trying to save the city.

In all, the spectacle is amped up for a film trying to deliver more thrills and action on the foundations of the first. It’s still a great action film and saved by the great use of CGI and live-action to deliver another fresh looking, atmospheric and, at times, haunting monster movie.

Jurassic Park 3 [DVD] [2001]
Jurassic Park 3 [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Sam Neill
Price: £2.70

3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than 2, Worse Than 1, 7 Aug 2014
This review is from: Jurassic Park 3 [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
The return of Sam Neill was always exciting, helping bridge the films with a solid character who won over audiences in the 1994 original film – mature, skilled and leading the audience on an adventure filled with danger, knowledge and suspense. So too are the cast, more mature and skilled in what they do to form a rescue team with the notion of heroes and villains scrapped and basic man vs nature element introduced, along with a search and rescue narrative which is exciting and developed well as a story.

It’s a shame that as the film once more introduces a new “villain” in the guise of the Spinosaurus dinosaur, dwarfing the T-Rex, the setting of the jungle and usual threat is a little common and expected with no real surprises or ground breaking methods. The team is picked off one-by-one as relationships are tested and people are battered, bruised and beaten around their surroundings as the cat-and-mouse chases fill most of the film as they seek a way off the island.

Great visuals, a decent soundtrack and nice action and stunt-work mixing the CGI dinos and the live-action cast make this a fair entry in the series, but doesn’t offer much new or tread new ground.

The Karate Kid [Blu-ray] [2011]
The Karate Kid [Blu-ray] [2011]
Dvd ~ Jackie Chan
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £4.50

3.0 out of 5 stars No "Wax On" Or "Crane Kick" However...., 7 Aug 2014
Following on the recent trend of re-booting and remaking classic films for a modern, more seasoned audience and generation, there is the risk of it not working or working. Thankfully, this does work in capturing the spirit of what made John G. Avildsen’s 1984 offering so charming and in touch with society. The story of the young, isolated teenager picked on by bullies manages to rise up and take on the thugs and win! The ultimate feel-good film for many others in a similar situation. It’s exactly the same here, except set in China rather than America. There are funny moments, emotional moments and well-staged fight scenes.

The downside is that the age gap between Dre and his co-stars is too small to be really believable. He’s too young to go through the ups and downs of emotional heartbreak and feel that the whole world is on him. Daniel LaRusso, the “first” Karate Kid, was 24 when he battled for love and honour, and it felt real. Because Dre is 12 here, it all feels very “school-yard bully” based with nothing else at stake rather than a beating after classes. There would be room for so much more if they were old enough to tackle more sensitive subjects relating to this issue.

Thankfully, it’s not a major flaw and can be over-looked. Smith and Chan have a perfect partnership as the street-wise Afro-American youth mixing with the world-weary Chinese janitor working towards a common goal. It shows that no culture and no age can blur the lines between learning to stand up for yourself; to believe in yourself and defend yourself. It’s these touching and funny moments they both share that really root the film and keep it real and emotional, with a visible strain put on Smith as he suffers many scuffles and scrapes along the way. A great turn from them both.

A very faithful remake set in a new era of expectation, but with the story sticking to the humane side of action and drama, this is a knockout.

A Good Day to Die Hard [Blu-ray]
A Good Day to Die Hard [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Price: £13.53

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not A Die Hard Film!, 7 Aug 2014
The 5th film in the Die Hard series, this effort was directed by John Moore and written by Skip Woods. A 57 year old Bruce Willis is back as New York cop John McClane. This time we find McClane travelling to Russia to get his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), out of prison, but is soon caught in the crossfire of a terrorist plot that threatens to unleash a torrent of death and destruction across the globe...

The main problem I have with this, is that it isn't a 'Die Hard' film. The series bases each film on everyday situations gone wrong; characters that are interesting and well presented, and iconography that makes the plots engaging and exciting, while all the while keeping John McClane rooted as a normal cop in extraordinary situations. He has saved a building, an airport, a city and a country...but it's not clear what he's saving here at all under the muddy story. The world? A continent? His status as a Dad?

Here we see McClane looked useless most of the time and worn out, and just fronted as an action hero. Any action star over 50 could have played McClane in this film, as the traits Willis used so well over the previous 4 films is lost in a mis-guided effort here. It's not clear who the "star" of this film is either - McClane Snr or McClane Jnr. It plays out more like a family therapy session with guns and car chases.

I knew that through the first 20 minutes or so I wasn’t comfortable with the way it was going for a number of reasons:

- Clichéd Russian villains that look and sound like your average B-movie villain. No charm, or good build up like Hans Gruber, Col.Stuart or Simon and even Gabriel at times. They had a sense of menace, danger and determination to them from the moments you saw them, but these Russians were all just the same, loud shouting villain – almost like they were American actors trying to speak Russian to be a “Bond villain” character. Too much over acting and nothing to make them stand out from usual action villains.

- No character development. Just lots of people introduced and then skimmed over with no real motivations, backgrounds or anything. They were all very cardboard and generic. All the other films had characters that were built up really well and we understood them. This didn’t.

- Shaky cam. I don’t know why this was invented bar to use in big movies to make you feel like you’re part of the action and it’s real. I think the only film I saw it work without even knowing it was used (because it felt so natural), was ‘Saving Private Ryan’. That whole concept of that camera style worked. ‘Die Hard 5’ abused it, and the first time we see McClane on that shooting range – I felt sick! Two people talking and the camera was all over the place! No need at all.

- John McClane looked out of place. His son, Jack, seemed once more to be a little hammy (as in they had to make him seem tough and macho because he is the son of John McClane – he didn’t appear natural), and McClane just stood around looking confused, shouting names and falling down. Bruce Willis was good, as usual, but he wasn’t brilliant in the first half until he was allowed to do a bit of the action again rather than just follow everyone else.

And that was just leading up-to the jail break car chase! Other points that bothered me were:

- The fact McClane didn’t seem to care what he did very much – he seemed to be just an action hero rather than the everyday cop we’ve seen in the previous 4 films. He caused too much destruction for the sake of big screen thrills rather than one clever sequence. Like the first few films he had gun fights that were quite toned down and only caused a few big bangs for good purpose like taking out a floor of terrorists, crashing a plane thanks to petrol and fire, and even stopping a train bomb. Here it was just crashing cars, blowing things up and other assorted nonsense that made him more than what he should be. He punches an innocent man to the ground for his car? That actually shocked me, as that was too much out of character for McClane.

- Jack McClane’s relationship was boring. We had the estranged father/daughter mix in ‘Die Hard 4’ which was ok, it was different and got sorted. This one just was repetitive and something we’d already seen. McClane lost the feel of what he should be because he was too much of a father in this film rather than a cop in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that grounded him too much before he had a few chances to shine on his own. If they did a 6th film, what would that be? Him bickering with his wife for all the film until ANOTHER happy family reunion at the end? No thanks.

- The plot! What the hell was it about? Each previous film set it up in minutes:

o Infiltrate a skyscraper for bank bonds and take hostages. DONE.
o Sabotage an airport to bring in a drug baron. DONE.
o Bomb New York to hold the city at ransom. DONE.
o Use technology to bring down a country. DONE.

I had no general idea what this was about. I know it was based at Chernobyl at the end, but what was the rest of it about, what were they trying to do, or stop, or prevent? What was the threat? I don’t know if Russian baddies wanted to start a war, steal uranium, build bombs or what…I will have to look up the plot as I honestly don’t know even now what the main goal was!

- The CGI. Now that wasn’t TOO bad, and the effects did work and it did look pretty good. I just felt like we had more stunt doubles and CGI bodies than usual which made a 57 year old McClane a bit TOO actioney. But I did like the finale helicopter battle even if it was a big loud mess! And at least we got to hear the full “Yippie Ki Yay” quote. Plus my guilty pleasure through the whole film was that slow motion tracking shot following the McClanes falling down into the swimming pool as the helicopter fell behind them. That looked very good.

But the fact they fell into “rainwater” at Chernobyl and were ok doesn’t sit with me. You can’t wander around that place so easily like there is no danger at all.

But that’s just me being picky. There are some cute nods to the previous films hidden in the soundtrack which gave me a little nostalgia trip, and even I think one of the villains demise at the end harkens back to Hans Gruber's fate...

A nice, basic flashy action film for a wasted night with the popcorn - if you take away all your expectations from the name 'Die Hard', which is near impossible as you know it's trying to be one.

Dallas: J.R. Returns [VHS]
Dallas: J.R. Returns [VHS]

3.0 out of 5 stars For The Fans Only!, 7 Aug 2014
This is a 1996 television movie. It is the first of two Dallas reunion movies, produced after the series went off the air in 1991.

All original cast members return, such as J.R Ewing (Larry Hagman), Sue-Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray), Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), John Ross (Omri Katz) and Carter McKay (George Kennedy), along with some new faces such as Tracy Scoggins as Anita Smithfield and Christopher Demetral as Christopher Ewing.

It acts as another extension of the original TV show which tells more dark and dirty deeds between the feuding oil barons, the Ewings, as they battle each other and their oldest rival, Cliff Barnes and Carter McKay, in an attempt to hold onto Ewing Oil and stay one stop ahead of their rivals.

Mixed with the familiar back-stabbing, bitching and bust ups that made the TV show so iconic, this is a nice addition to the story and gives us more of what we came to love from back in 1978.

Dallas: War Of The Ewings [VHS][1998]
Dallas: War Of The Ewings [VHS][1998]

3.0 out of 5 stars For Fans Only!, 7 Aug 2014
This is a 1998 television movie. It is the second of two Dallas reunion movies, produced after the series went off the air in 1991.

All original cast members return, such as J.R Ewing (Larry Hagman), Sue-Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray), Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanalay) and Carter McKay (George Kennedy) for one more story from the richest family in Texas; the Ewings.

It acts as extension of the TV series and follows 'J.R Returns'. This time, JR must manipulate his brother Bobby and ex-wife Sue-Ellen into turning against each other to help him seize control of his greatest love; Ewing Oil. But nothing in Dallas is every so easy, or dramatic...!

Mixed with the familiar back-stabbing, bitching and bust ups that made the TV show so iconic, this is a nice addition to the story and gives us more of what we came to love from back in 1978.

Jack Reacher [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Jack Reacher [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Price: £8.25

3.0 out of 5 stars Average From Mr Cruise, 7 Aug 2014
This film is thankfully tight on action, but it's not over crowded with what could be expected on the 'Mission Impossible' level of Cruise's work. Instead he does a lot of close-quarter combat which is brutal and very well done, and he sucks you in with his calculating methods in thinking like a professional; how, why, where and what all point to one big conspiracy and you have to keep up with him.

A good supporting cast stumble behind Cruise as he leads the film and drops clues for them to pick up and put together. With some great car chases and well staged action sequences, this dips in and out of pacing issues, but is a decent thriller for a more mature audience.

This could lead to the film being one of Cruise's lowest box-office grosses in the last decade, but it doesn't mean it's a bad film, just a different one than you may expect.

And with an opening sequence that is one of the coldest and breath-taking in recent history, it sets the tone perfectly for what is to come...

Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Price: £10.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bore Man 3, 7 Aug 2014
I like Marvel, and DC, but my favourite of the current Avenger heroes is Captain America, on the basis of his personality and what he does. I also appreciate the fact we see his face and thus when there is action and stuntwork (that make up 80% of these blockbusters), I love to see a hint of realism and danger to the scene. Iron Man, and fellow hero Spider-Man, hide behind a mask and half the time I just felt cheated in the respect Iron Man was just a CGI video game character interacting with the actors on screen. No matter how much awful slo-mo used or big, dramatic CGI heavy explosions and fights, there was no connection to the character and it just bored me.

Downey Jr, I assume, plays Tony Stark perfectly (I've not brushed up on the comics and his roots), as the opposite to Bruce Wayne's moody and recluse billionaire playboy by being and loud and flamboyant billionaire playboy, but his arrogance and constant mumbling witty one liners and quips just irritated me, and everything he said was just...I don't know, un-natural and scripted too much in the sense I didn't feel he himself was being natural as an actor, just going through the motions of another explosive action flick.

You get the idea of my view of the film, so I will not go on further. I found the action to be devoid of danger or threat thanks to the exaggerated CGI; the Terminator-style fire villains were just strange and felt a little out of place in this film, and the twists involving our villains Kingsley and Pearce...well, that was strange and mildly interesting, but it all boiled down to a messy final battle with more CGI and irritating one liners and quips.

The most confusing thing about this film for me, is that I enjoyed Iron Man in 'The Avengers' and found him engaging, interesting and well placed as part of a wider team. He doesn't work for me as a solo operative and the fact this grossed over $1bn at the box office REALLY confuses me as to what sort of film can gross that much money for being nothing more than a loud, visually stimulating video game.

Unforgiven [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [1992] [Region Free]
Unforgiven [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [1992] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Clint Eastwood
Price: £8.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Clint Back To His Best, 7 Aug 2014
Commonly voiced by Eastwood this will be his final Western film, it's a wonderful send off to a genre that helped make his name and he comes full circle from the portrayal of cocky, headstrong gunslinger in the "Dollars" Trilogy to an aged, retired murderer trying to live a quiet life and bury the sins of this past with his 2 children on a pig farm. However the inner outlaw can't stay buried for long, and most of the film shows the moralistic journey he and Freeman take.

With fantastic performances from all supporting cast that really embodies a people who are sick of violence and death, but embrace it in order to stay alive and keep their dignity in the Old West. There is some beautiful cinematography that portray a wintery and isolated town in Big Whiskey in which we've seen a million times before in other Westerns thanks to the whore house, the barbers, the saloon and the horse and cart riding up and down. However this is a comforting sight to remind us this is a iconic Western with a story that turns the usual scripts on their head.

60% of the cast are well aged over 50 years old and these are the men who are the main focus as killers, outlaws, sheriffs and bounty hunters all trying to lead a normal life while fighting their inner demons about the past life they led.

It's honest, emotional and wonderfully dark in places and with a haunting soundtrack that accompanies the outlaws on their journey, this is an engrossing Western and a masterpiece from Eastwood. While some scenes get a little repetitive as we cut back and forward between locations, it's a small irk of mine that doesn't affect the flow of the film and the steady build to a blink and you'll miss it climax that embodies the spirit of what Eastwood is telling us about himself as an actor, a director, as the character of Munny and as a lover of the American Western.

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