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S.D McKibbin

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The Place Beyond The Pines [DVD] [2013]
The Place Beyond The Pines [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Ryan Gosling
Price: £5.00

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Potential, 12 May 2013
My experience of The Place Beyond The Pines seems to be similar to others, so I'll keep this relatively short and to the point.

Ryan Gosling is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest actors of this generation. He brings a quiet intensity to every one of his roles, of the likes no other modern actor can. This movie is no exception.

The premise of this movie is fantastic, and shows so much promise: the blurring of morality, the sins of the father, action and consequence, to name a few. However, every scene which didn't involve Gosling seemed to lack brilliance, which is very telling for what an actor can bring to a film. Sometimes a premise/script just isn't enough. While Cooper's character was interesting, I was nowhere near as emotionally invested in him as I was Gosling's. The final forty minutes of the film really did descend into tedious stereotyping and clichéd scenarios, which I felt was a real shame. It felt like two separate movies had been pasted together.

The four stars is really for the weight Ryan Gosling brings to this film, as well as the potential it had. Cooper's performance, as good as it was, suffered massively in comparison. As for the sequence with their respective sons, for me it felt like a cheap tack-on, to tie up loose ends.

You're going to want to watch this film regardless. It is infinitely better than most films that are being churned out these days.

****


The Cabin In The Woods [DVD]
The Cabin In The Woods [DVD]
Dvd ~ Chris Hemsworth
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Meta-Horror, 7 April 2013
This review is from: The Cabin In The Woods [DVD] (DVD)
I thought this was fantastic. The majority of people complaining that was awful have most likely missed the point of this movie. It is essentially meta-horror, but it's also strong social criticism - specifically Richard Jenkins' character, and the organisation he works for. I won't go into detail on the plot, as many reviews have already done as much, but I would strongly recommend watching this. There are elements of horror, there are elements of humour and while some direction is predictable, it is intentionally so.

The Cabin in the Woods takes the classic horror formula and holds it up for us like a mirror, to reflect on our own morality in terms of entertainment, but also in terms of our survival as a species.

This movie also contains a scene with a merman. Seriously. Check out this movie.

*****


Les Misérables [DVD] [2012]
Les Misérables [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: £5.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brotherhood of Man, 27 Jan 2013
This review is from: Les Misérables [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
No amount of words I could say would do this masterpiece justice. So I will keep this short, to the point, and spoiler-free:

- I saw this movie three times in three consecutive days.
- Each time, the audience clapped and cheered at the end.
- This movie deserves more than 8 Oscars.
- You'll realise why the Wolverine movies are a gigantic waste of Hugh Jackman's talent.

See this film in the cinema, before it's too late.

*****


Django Unchained (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [2013]
Django Unchained (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [2013]
Dvd ~ Jamie Foxx
Price: £8.00

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Count Two Guns., 27 Jan 2013
I'm not a huge fan of Tarantino's work, although I can appreciate why he is a success in what he does. This movie follows said tradition - a legacy of outrageous violence, larger-than-life characters and the darkest of humours.

And I loved it!

It acts as a gratuitous release for the audience, and does it well. Performances were fantastic all around; Leonardo DiCaprio was fantastic in this movie, as expected. His ability to inhabit a character really is second to none. However for me, it was Christoph Waltz who stole the show - the man was born to deliver Tarantino dialogue.

The reason I am giving this film four stars instead of five, is for two reasons:

1. The movie drags on a little towards the end. It would have done well to end about fourty minutes earlier.
2. Tarantino's cameo is a huge face-palm.

If you love Tarantino, then I imagine you'll go crazy for Django. If you don't particularly enjoy Tarantino, but you have an open mind, then I would still advise you to give it a shot!

****


Xbox 360 250GB Console
Xbox 360 250GB Console
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £228.92

5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Product, 22 Jan 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This Xbox 360 is better than its predecessor in most every way.

- It is much quieter.
- It takes up much less room.
- The touch-buttons make life a lot easier.
- The 250GB is a mountain of memory that most people will never fill (I certainly won't)
- The matte finish means it is less likely to gather dust/fingerprints.

But if, like me, you are buying it to replace your older console, TAKE NOTE: to transfer your data from your old hard drive to your new one, you will need to purchase a Transfer Cable seperately.

The console itself is excellent, and worth every penny. Just be sure to purchase whatever else you need upon getting it.


Call of Duty: Black Ops II [Standard edition] (Xbox 360)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II [Standard edition] (Xbox 360)
Offered by stocked out
Price: £18.32

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best COD title yet?, 11 Dec 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review will focus mostly on the Campaign, as there are plenty of reviews focusing on the Multiplayer and Zombie modes. It will be spoiler-free - I may allude to some things, but I will not exclusively ruin anything for those who haven't played yet.

Black Ops 2's Campaign follows nicely on from Alex Mason's story in BO1. Similar in style, the narrative is propelled forward with every mission. There are even more gadgets and gizmos to get your head around, which I found refreshing for the most part! Guns too, are widely varied and you will even experience various transport combat (if I can call it that): from riding on horseback, to flying a V-Tol plane. Overall, the frame rate seems smoother, sound is excellent, and those little annoyances that featured in earlier titles (such as dying every two minutes from a stray grenade or exploding vehicle) are reigned in.

For me, what makes this the best title for COD to date, is how in a large way, the story is tailored to how you play. This has never happened in previous titles; in the past, COD games would have a set mission objective which you would either do by the book, or you would fail the mission. In several points throughout BO2, you are able to make moral choices which will affect future levels and ultimately, how your story ends (some of these choices can have drastic consequences for major characters - so take care with these).

Also worth noting are the new (optional, but advised) Strike Force missions, which add a very interesting, strategic-based side-piece to an already very strong game. Slap smooth, fun Multiplayer gameplay and Zombies mode on top of this, and you have a title not to be missed. Worth every penny.

*****


Supernatural - Season 7 Complete (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Supernatural - Season 7 Complete (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Dvd ~ Jared Padalecki
Price: £10.21

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One step forward, two steps back. [Spoilers], 31 Oct 2012
Any of you who may have read my review of Season Six will understand that my primary gripe was the lack of direction - trying to do too much in too little time, and ultimately falling flat in each respect. I believe that what makes a good season great is a main story arc, complimented by a smaller secondary arc, both of which should be woven around one another. This way, we aren't bored with the tedium of one seemingly unending plot, and at the same time we aren't over-whelmed with too many (Season Six was a great example of this). Season Seven corrects its predecessor's mistake in this way, and we get our main and sub-arcs: the Leviathans and Sam's slipping grip on reality. Finally, we have direction again. Great, right? On paper, yes.

So, why didn't it work? A few reasons. The first is purely personal taste, and I know many will disagree, a number of the filler episodes this season were just not up to scratch (bar two, which were episodes three and four, in which we get a great throw-back to John's influence on Dean as the "good soldier, and nothing else"). In this season we get unicorns, rabid fangirls (Really?) and witches done to death (Two in one season. Running out of ideas?). I understand that a dark show does need some occassional reprieve, but it just seems like the reprieve:drama ratio is slightly unbalanced.

Reason two: Dick Roman (and the Leviathan's agenda in general). In episodes one and two, the reputation of the Leviathan was frightening - and rightfully so! What could be so dangerous that God himself felt he needed to lock them away, even from the angels? Unfortunately, this is where the fear ends. God can't contain them, but they're nothing a little washing-up liquid can't handle? I don't understand. Is this a joke?
Older than angels, imprisoned for all of time - they finally bust out. What's the plan? Run havok and drink the world dry? Nope. Let's get in on fast-food franchise and fatten people up, so they're slow, slovenly and easier to catch etc. McDonalds are way ahead of you boys! Too much corrupt business man, not enough terrifying monstrousity of God. Just an anti-climactic agenda. Also making McDonalds sweat slightly, I imagine.
That said, James Patrick Stuart does a fantastic job playing Dick Roman. His subtle grins and snarls lent themselves nicely to the idea that there is something much less human behind his eyes, like he really does look at everything as if it was a meal. Sorely under-used talent.

Reason three: Castiel. Started off fantastically at the beginning of this season, following the shocking twist of fate at the close of Season Six. However, his character fluctuates too wildly for anyone to sympathise/relate with. He features in around four episodes this season (roughly), and in that small space of time he goes from power-hungry to without memory to utterly insane to uncharacteristcally cowardly. I'm struggling to see exactly where they are going with his character, or whether they are just picking an attribute out of a hat every week and projecting it onto him. This show has a terrible habit of giving epic, poetic endings to characters, only to undermine this by bringing them back in the cheapest fashion (A prime example of this is Bobby).

Reason four: The finale. Just for a second, hark back to previous season finales. How dark they were; how gloomy the circumstances had been, and how the brothers struggled to overcome their opposition. The YED escapes in Season One, and John's death follows. Season Two sees Sam die, and Dean sell his soul - after two seasons, they kill the demon that ruined their lives. In Season Three, Dean goes to Hell and Lillith escapes. Season Four, the brothers' relationship is destroyed and Lucifer rises. It all builds up to the perfect show-down, where Dean goes toe-to-toe with his Lucifer-possessed younger brother, and Sam makes the ultimate sacrifice. Fast-forward to the Season Seven finale. Need a righteous bone covered with the blood of the King of Hell, an Alpha and an Angel? Easy peasy, no problem. Walk into the Leviathan's "lair", simple as that, gank the milenia-old monster - no worries. It all just seemed a little easy, didn't it? Sure, there are adverse consequences for Dean, but at this rate I imagine he'll just ride a magic carpet back to safety.

This season did have some major pluses too though, which is why it gets a three star review. I've rambled enough, so I will rattle through the positives:

- The standards of acting throughout the cast are maintained - Jensen, Jared, Mischa and Jim continue to do an amazing job.
- James Patrick Stuart.
- Mark Pelligrino's return, and in general the whole Hell-Wall arc were very, very well done.
- Refreshing new characters, such as Frank and Garth bring interesting character dynamics to the show.
- Mr. Fizzles.
- Death's Door was a fantastic episode, and I imagine it will remain a fan favourite.

I apologise for the rant, but I thought I'd give an honest review. Great show that is still in the process of getting back on track. I imagine Season Eight will bring us closer still to Kripke's much-missed brilliance.


Supernatural - Season 6 Complete [DVD] [2011]
Supernatural - Season 6 Complete [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Jared Padalecki
Price: £10.82

2.0 out of 5 stars Potentially Great [Spoilers], 26 Oct 2012
Before I get started, everyone that knows me (and many that don't) know that I am a huge fan of this show, and have been since it first premiered in 2005. For the most part, seasons one through five were among the best of modern television.The writers were truly unrivalled in their ability to shock, grip, stomp on your heart and leave you wanting more; to take one family's quest for revenge and then step it up to a biblical scale. I must have seen the season five premiere fifteen to twenty times - it was near perfect. What wasn't perfect - was their decision to continue (i.e. saving Sam).

But these writers are fantastic - they can make this work - they can go from strength to strength. I was anxious, but at the same time excited by the free reign they would have with this fresh start for the brothers. Although, I can't help but feel this free reign may have went to their heads and as a result, they tried to do too much - and nothing came off strongly.
The worst part is that each aspect of what they tried to introduce was genuinely brilliant - but they should have stretched it out. Spoilers for the season will now follow.

Soulless Sam was a great way to justify bringing him back from Lucifer's Cage: it was a fresh take on the youngest Winchester, since throughout he had been the heart of the show. This arc lasted until episode eleven, which I believe was long enough, so I was happy with that. It neither underwhelmed nor over-stayed its welcome. Unfortunately, this was the only thing that did so.

The War in Heaven, or realistically, the small confab happening behind the scenes: I know the CW doesn't have the funds to show an actual angelic war, and so much of it can only be alluded to, but this War seemed to have no effect on anything other than Castiel's ego - slightly underwhelmed.

The Mother Of All: Greek Mythology. When I saw them going down this avenue, I thought that my prayers had been answered - a villain with the juice to give Lucifer a run for his money. It took the boys two seasons to kill one demon. In one episode, they vanquished the Mother of all monsters (and what an anticlimactic end to her it was). An entity whom has been around for millennia falls for the ole' switcheroo. I'm just not buying it. She should have had at least a season - more new monstrous creations (such as the Jefferson Starships and the Khan Worm). Painfully underdeveloped.

Don't get me wrong though, I am not slating the show, or "trolling" - I will continue to watch and enjoy it as long as it is in production - but this season was a little too directionless for me. With filler episodes featuring fairies and leprechauns (Sera Gamble, what?), Supernatural begins to fall out of sync with the dark, thought-provoking masterpiece which I fear would have done better to go out on top under Eric Kripke.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2014 6:18 AM BST


Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter [DVD]
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter [DVD]
Dvd ~ Benjamin Walker
Price: £3.00

37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time Waits For No Man, 28 Jun 2012
If you go to see this movie with the expectations of an accurate portrayal of Abraham Lincoln's life/presidency, re-read the title of the movie, kindly slap yourself and then save yourself some coin. If you're going into this expecting a two-hour action film with more than enough axe-twirling, vampire-killing shenanigans AND you can take some historical inaccuracy on the chin, then I highly recommend this movie.

The movie is fast-paced, full of gore, packed with jump-scares and edge-of-your-seat fight sequences. It does not take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Go admire the cinematography, the CGI effects, the acting talent, and just enjoy yourself. Not the perfect action film - some characters were a little too shallow for me. The feel of the movie however was great, and the social-commentary is cleverly tied in with the film's plot.

Four stars. ****
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2012 7:29 AM GMT


Crysis 2 - Limited Edition (Xbox 360)
Crysis 2 - Limited Edition (Xbox 360)
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £14.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I just don't get it.., 28 Jun 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
First off, I want to acknowledge the points made by those that favour the game. Yes, this game is visually great - although I think even this has been slightly blown out of proportion. I don't think the visuals compare to the likes of 2K's Bioshock, but as far as FPS games go, it does look very good. Secondly, this game does require a little more thought from you, the player, than the likes of the running & gunning Call of Duty franchise - this may or may not appeal to you. For me, it was somewhat the latter.

I've played through my fair share of FPS games, including COD, and while I don't consider myself to be a huge fan of that series, I did get a lot of enjoyment out of playing them. With that said, I was more than open to a fresher, more logistical take on the genre and so - based on glowing reviews - I bought Crysis 2. I should mention that I've never played Crysis 1, but I think I got the general gist of the game - alien invasion, alien infections, super-soldier suit that was somehow influenced by alien DNA and a few angry army grubs, etc. Whether or not my lack of enjoyment at Crysis 2 was related to not having played the prequel is up for debate, but I suspect it wasn't.

My main gripe with this game is how loosely they use the term 'super-soldier'. For me, my character may as well have been running around starkers with a target painted on his back. Even when I was crouching, sneaking around, I was still spotted by an enemy AI - FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LANDSCAPE. The game does provide you with a cloaking device, which on paper is great, but in reality, is useless. The speed at which your energy drains while cloaked is ridiculous - and I found myself uncloaked through this in the most awkward of places. Not to worry - I have super-soldier armour - that will protect me! Wrong again! I was killed off far too easily to be plausible, considering what your character is supposedly capable of (as shown in the, admittedly cool, opening sequence) - and I'm shamed to say I was playing on the lowest difficulty setting.

Several times I made a solid go at this game, but I never finished it out of pure disinterest in the linear story and one dimensional characters. As for my constant deaths, you could argue that I wasn't skilled enough as a player - and that would probably be a very fair point. Nevertheless, the promising premise, stunning visuals, and seemingly nifty (but really just awful) perks of the nano-suit did nothing to hold my interest. To sum the game up in a word - frustrating. Really consider before buying.


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