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Batman & Robin (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Batman & Robin (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £11.14

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was It Really That Bad?, 23 Mar 2014
Batman & Robin was the final nail in the coffin of the Batman film franchise, at least until Chris Nolan came along and salvaged it in 2005 with Batman Begins.

But was Batman & Robin really so awful? Let's look at the facts: Director Joel Schumacher was under tremendous pressure to follow up Batman Forever with a sequel, just 2 years after that had been completed. What's more, the toy companies were now so involved in the production that they were actually suggesting elements (i.e vehicles; everyone had to have a vehicle!) to use in the film.

That said, I'm not going to defend Schumacher for adding nipples to the suits or making Batman's ears so big that the whole thing now looked like a parody of superhero movies. Also, the criminal under utilisation of Bane, making Batgirl Alfred's niece and some 1960's Batman-style silly sound effects do little to endure the film to those who'd grown fond of the Batman through the previous movies.

It must be said George Clooney is a terrible Batman and Arnie is an awful Mr Freeze.

On the plus side, Uma Thurman does a great turn as Poison Ivy, Chris O'Donnell is as reliable as ever as Robin and Alicia Silverstone shows promise as Batgirl. I also enjoyed the moving side-story with Alfred on his deathbed; it really did bring across the importance and the bond of a family.

Finally, although the tone is often silly, the action scenes still look great and the special effects are admittedly impressive.

Overall, 3 out of 5 stars for both film and DVD extras.


Batman Forever (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Batman Forever (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Val Kilmer
Offered by Great Buys Uk
Price: £19.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Batman Soaked In A Neon-Glow...., 23 Mar 2014
Tim Burton only had a producer credit on this third instalment in the original Batman franchise; new director Joel Schumacher took over directing duties after WB felt the series had become too dark following Batman Returns.

The tone is lighter in Batman Forever and this was the first one in the series to truly look like a comic book come to life. Gotham is bathed in neon lights and gives the film a "pulpy" 90's feel compared to the gloomy design of Burton's movies.

The story sees Batman still defending Gotham, this time against scarred former District Attorney, Harvey Dent, now known as "Two-Face", an off-the-rails villain who decides his and the fate of others by the flip of a coin. Psychiatrist Dr Chase Meridian has an interest in the minds of Gotham's criminals, but has a bigger interest in Batman himself. And Wayne Enterprises worker Edward Nygma is so obsessed with Bruce Wayne that when Wayne declines giving funding to his wacky invention (beaming television into viewer's brains by taking control of their brainwaves), he commits murder and morphs into the even more deranged "Riddler."

The film also sees the addition of Dick Grayson, who loses his family in a tragedy at the Gotham City Circus. Grayson (former member of the "Flying Graysons" acrobatic team) is taken in by Bruce Wayne and Alfred but is tormented by the loss of his family and blames himself for their deaths.

Batman Forever is more action-packed than the previous instalments and is much more child-friendly. However, there are darker elements. The aforementioned Nygma murder (which UK viewers can now see in full unedited form), the death of Grayson's family as well as Bruce's frequent flashbacks to the death of his own parents (unfortunately, the darkest aspects of these scenes were cut, again to lighten the overall tone of the film, but some excised clips can be seen in the DVD's extras, as well as a disturbing alternative intro to the Two-Face character).

The question is, does Batman Forever hold up today? Val Kilmer is a good (but not great) Batman, Tommy Lee Jones' interpretation of Two-Face now seems like parody next to Aaron Eckhart's incarnation, whilst the "jelly" make-up now looks very dated. Jim Carey's Riddler also may be too excessive for some; although I think for the time and the tone of the film, he nailed the part perfectly.

I think this film still has a certain nostalgic appeal; although I realise that many people hate it as it was the "beginning of the end" for the first series of Batman films. It's more of a "Batman film" than the original, but not as effective as Batman Returns in my opinion.

3 out of 5 stars for the film but 4 out of 5 for DVD overall as the extras are truly great, especially the deleted scenes. Had these scenes not been cut, we would have had a much different (but probably less successful) film.


Batman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Batman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Keaton
Offered by Great Buys Uk
Price: £12.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Batman Faces A Triple Threat...., 23 Mar 2014
When WB approached Tim Burton about a sequel his 1989 Batman, Burton was reluctant. However, WB pitched it as less a sequel but more a "Tim Burton film." Burton was then on board.

The result is a dark, creepy piece of filmmaking, typical of Burton but probably not many Batman or comic book fans were looking for in 1992.

The film sees Batman return to defend the streets of Gotham when they're besieged by the eerie "Red Triangle Circus Gang", who may or may not have links with grotesque sewer-dweller Oswald Cobblepot (AKA The Penguin). Cobblepot wants to discover the identity of his parents, and why they abandoned him as a baby. He also wants to run for Mayor of Gotham, with the help of evil Billionaire Max Shreck.

Shreck has a loyal but disrespected secretary, Selina Kyle, who after being pushed out of the top story window of an office building, dies but is brought back to life by group of feral felines. She then dons PVC and literally stitches herself into an "S&M"-style costume; dubbing herself "Catwoman."

Catwoman has the 9 lives of a cat, as well as a cat's agility. She has a love/hate relationship with Batman but is consistently intrigued by him. Things get even more complicated when her alter-ego Selina Kyle starts dating Bruce Wayne.

Anyone who found the 1989 original dark will find this sequel to be pitch-black. Burton creates a nightmarish Gotham where the line between "good" and "evil" becomes increasingly blurred. Batman, Catwoman and Penguin are all victims of circumstance; the difference is the choices they choose to make.

The film focuses more on Catwoman and Penguin, however although I wasn't a huge fan of how Jack Nicholson's Joker dominated proceedings in Batman, I had no issues with Batman taking a back seat here. Though Penguin is evil and Catwoman has evil tendencies, in a way they're victims of human tragedy.

The action scenes are superb and Keaton, Pfeiffer and DeVito are brilliant in their respective roles. I first so this film in 1992 when I was 9 years old (on video, as the "12" cert was in full effect in cinemas) and loved it; prior to Nolan's Batman's it was always my favourite and it still holds up today.

4 stars for the film, but 5 overall for DVD as extras are great. Music videos, interviews, making of; it's all here in all its glory.


Batman Begins (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2005]
Batman Begins (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Price: £3.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where It All Begins...Again..., 23 Mar 2014
After the poorly-received Batman & Robin in 1997, it seemed the Batman franchise was broken beyond repair. What had once been a lucrative cash cow now had to be put on hold. It was back to the drawing board for the Dark Knight on film.

Enter British director Christopher Nolan. He wanted to take Batman back to the basic human premise: Why would a man dress as a giant bat and stalk the streets as a vigilante?

Batman Begins is a reimagining of the comic book character. It has no link to the previous films (Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin).

It's actually a good hour into the film before we even see Batman. Bruce Wayne's backstory is given detailed coverage. It explains how Wayne lost his parents at a young age and later disappeared off the radar to undergo training with a group known as The League Of Shadows.

However, when Wayne discovers that the League's next target is his home city of Gotham, he declines their offer of joining them somewhat explosively and returns to Gotham City as "Billionaire Playboy" Bruce Wayne.

There he finds the city awash in crime, drugs and corruption with the inhabitants fearing the wrath of mafia boss Carmine Falcone. When Bruce's childhood friend and Gotham District Attorney Rachel Dawes gets to close to the situation, she too becomes a target.

Wayne soon decided to use his childhood fear of Bats against his enemies and becomes the cape and cowl-wearing Batman. As Batman, his only real allies are faithful butler Alfred (who took on the fatherly role following the death of Bruce's parents), Lucius Fox (who worked closely with Bruce's father and now works in the Applied Sciences division of Wayne Enterprises; it is he who helps Wayne become Batman by showing him the protective suit and weapons he could use) and Sgt James Gordon of the Gotham City Police; who initially thinks that by taking the law into his own hands, Batman is no better than the criminals he's pursuing (however, he later sees the good in him and respects the fact that someone is taking a stand and attempting to clean up the city, which is a hard thing to do when many members of the police force are corrupt as well).

However, putting Falcone away is only one step to cleansing Gotham City. Batman later discovers a plot by Dr Jonathan Crane (who's alter-ego is "Scarecrow", a creepy character who wears a burlap sack on his head and paralyses his victims with a fear gas that usually ends up driving them insane with fright) to poison the city's water supply and mentally cripple the people of Gotham, whilst opening the floodgates for some of the most dangerous criminals to break out of Arkham Asylum and cause mass rioting and violence.

From start to finish, Batman Begins is awe-inspiring stuff and superbly acted by all involved. Christian Bale is a great Batman, but just as important, he's a great, believable Bruce Wayne.

Director Christopher Nolan gets the tone just right and gives us a Batman that's even darker than Tim Burton's original two films. However, what Nolan does (unlike the directors before him) is create a realistic world that doesn't feel like some comic-book fantasy setting. This goes back to the development of Bruce Wayne and the "humanising" of the characters. In that respect, it's similar to Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, although this takes things even further and makes things seem real in a scary way.

The ending also sets up The Dark Knight brilliantly and kick-starts and revitalises a franchise that looked to be truly grounded all those years ago.


A Way Away (Superjewel+dvd)
A Way Away (Superjewel+dvd)
Price: £6.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Very Catchy Tunes!, 18 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I like all the female-fronted metal/symphonic bands like Within Temptation, Delain, Nightwish etc and had heard a few things about Indica, so was intrigued to hear their work. I have to say this all-girl band are superb, at least on this evidence.

The best songs on this CD are "Children Of Frost" (hauntingly beautiful), "In Passing" (flawless) and "Scissor Paper Rock" (totally unforgettable!), however all the songs hit their mark and this album overall is near-perfect.

I would recommend buying the CD/DVD combo as the DVD features a few warm-up live performances, videos and more.

I'm now eager to discover Indica's other albums; I think they have a new fan in me!


The Crow : Special Edition [DVD] [1994]
The Crow : Special Edition [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ Brandon Lee
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.75

5.0 out of 5 stars The Crow: A Stunning Showing From The Late Brandon Lee...., 18 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Crow is an adaption of a then-little-known graphic novel of the same name by James O'Barr. There was much hype and anticipation surrounding the film, however, unfortunately all this was overshadowed by the tragic death of star Brandon Lee (son of legend Bruce Lee) prior to its completion (Lee was accidentally shot by a loaded gun during filming and later died from his injuries).

While the tragedy hangs over the film (which was completed and released with permission from Lee's family, with a double standing in for Lee for the few remaining scenes the actor hadn't done), this is still an incredible, albeit haunting piece of film-making.

The story begins when rock musician Eric Draven and his fiancée Shelley are brutally murdered by a gang of thugs on "Devil's Night." One year later, Draven rises from the dead and under the watchful eye of a mysterious crow, dons leather, barbed wire and "Kiss-style" clown make-up and seeks revenge on and his and his fiancée's killers. The powers of the crow have made Draven immortal and with increased senses and super vision; able to stalk the streets and catch his victims completely unawares.

The film raises many controversial moral questions and while you are sympathetic to The Crow character, the ease he picks off his victims and the complete lack of emotion he shows when carrying out the terrible deeds is eerie. However, by no means does that mean that the film condones such behaviour; it's definitely used more as a "What If?" scenario (i.e if what happened to Draven happened to you and you could come back and seek retribution with no repercussions, what would you do?). Again, you don't necessarily agree with his tactics, but you can feel his pain and understand why the reborn Eric Draven can seemingly act without conscience.

The addition of the little girl Sarah, adds some more human emotion to proceedings and shows a more softer side to Draven's Crow persona.

It should also be noted that this is a truly mesmerising performance from the late Brandon Lee. On this evidence, he could have gone on to have one hell of a film career. He completely engulfs himself in the role and owns every scene he appears in, just like Heath Ledger does as The Joker in The Dark Knight (again, another film etched in tragedy due to Ledger's passing just after its completion).

While the story is very simplistic (it actually needed "fleshing out" as the original graphic novel had less characters and less of a "story arc"), the film is well-acted (not just by Lee, but by a fine supporting cast) and beautifully shot. The action scenes are also superb and many scenes play to a thumping heavy metal soundtrack.

Please be warned, though that this is not a typical "comic-book movie." It's a very bleak affair, shot in darkness and some would argue, writhing in misery and tragedy. However, it's engrossing from start to finish and had me close to tears in places. It is now one of my most favourite movies of all time, comic-book- based or otherwise.

I would give the film 4 out of 5 stars, but the DVD as a whole 5 as the extras are great. There are deleted scenes, the last-ever interview with Brandon Lee, and interview with creator James O'Barr and more.


Spider-Man [DVD] [2002]
Spider-Man [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Tobey Maguire|Willem Dafoe|Kirsten Dunst|James Franco
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spider-Man Broke The Mould For Superhero Movies...., 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: Spider-Man [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man was truly unique when it was unleashed on the world in 2002. There was much hype behind it, and the movie ended up living up to it's billing; even surpassing expectations.

The story begins with high-school nerd Peter Parker getting bitten by a new breed of genetically-engineered spider whilst on a school science trip. It results in him feeling drowsy and weak for a bit, however he later finds his vision has greatly improved (no more glasses!) and that he has increased strength and speed and can also shoot spider webs our of his wrists.

After a few "trial runs" of using his powers, Peter decides to use his powers to bring down criminals, after his beloved Uncle Ben is killed by a car-jacker (whilst about to give Peter a lift home). He becomes Spider-Man and becomes the hero of New York City.

However, he's later targeted by the evil Green Goblin; his alter-ego being scientist and Oscorp owner, Norman Osborn. The Goblin is the result of an experiment gone awry, Norman develops a split-personality and struggles to remember the awful acts he's committed as the Goblin (and when he does, he's appalled and tries to block them out). After carrying out attacks on the city, Goblin turns his attention to those closest to Peter, his Aunt May and love interest Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).

Spider-Man has superb action and special effects, however what made it stand head and shoulders above all other comic book movies back in the day was it's story; the way Raimi "grounded" the characters and humanised them. You really care about the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane and the "father-son" dynamic between Peter and Norman (as well as the friendship between Peter and Norman's son, Harry). It's a superhero film with heart, a heart that doesn't get lost in all the action and CGI effects.

Of course, the film caused controversy at the time with it's violence. Some scenes with the Goblin (particularly the transformation scene at the lab) are truly frightening and some of the fight scenes are brutal. However, it all adds realism to the piece and supports the argument that superhero films don't have to be superficial and that they can work on an emotional level just like any good drama or movie in a realistic setting.

Other Spider-Man movies have come along since, but this is the best, the original and the ultimate template.


Batman (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1989] [DVD]
Batman (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1989] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Keaton
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £8.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Burton's Batman: Where It All Began...., 16 Mar 2014
Tim Burton's Batman from 1989 saw the comic-book movie genre take a dark turn, which surprised many people at the time.
The story sees Michael Keaton's Batman stalking the streets of Gotham City, protecting the innocent and trying to prevent what happened to him as a youngster (his parents were gunned down in front of him in the street) happening to someone else.

He more than meets his match in Jack Nicholson's facially-scarred Joker, the criminal previously known as Jack Napier. The Joker terrorises Gotham and also pursues glamorous photographer Vicki Vale, who has an interest in Batman but also in the vigilante's alter-ego Bruce Wayne.

The Joker goads the Batman into a fight, culminating with one final showdown inside a cathedral (Burton's favourite location for a big movie finale).

This film was very ground-breaking at the time, however I for one, always thought that there was too much Joker and not enough Batman. Not only that, but Kim Basinger's Vicki Vale seems underplayed while Robert Wuhl's Alexander Knox (a Gotham City reporter) seems to be a wasted role (the character did not return for the sequel, Batman Returns).

That said, there's no denying that the action scenes are still great, the film has a whole holds your attention and there are two truly great stand-out performances from Keaton and Nicholson in their respective roles. Overall, not the best Batman of the series, but still worth revisiting.

The extras are superb and take you behind the scenes, featuring interviews with the cast, crew and director.

3 Out of 5 stars for the film but 4 out of 5 overall due to the extras.


The Crow: The Story Behind the Film
The Crow: The Story Behind the Film

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Behind The Scenes Look At The Crow Legend..., 5 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got the Kindle version of this as the paperback copy is now out of print.

I was initially expecting a very "loose", cobbled-together piece with "never before-heard" accounts and "facts" that could just have easily had been found lurking in cyber-space, but after sampling the book I was so engrossed I just had to download the entire thing. For the next few days, I barely put my Kindle down, this truly was a gripping read.

Author Bridget Baiss has done some great research and has made some valid points about the controversy surrounding the Crow franchise. Granted, she didn't always have access to the amount and "rank" of people she may have liked, but in no way does this distract readers from this fine project.

I have seen The Crow film many times and obviously, was aware of the tragic accidental death of its star Brandon Lee during production. However, I wasn't aware of many of the other controversial and "cursed" events surrounding the movie's creation and the lengths the producers and director had to go just to get studio backing and later get it completed following Lee's death. There's also a more in-depth look at Lee and what might have been in his career in this book, there really are things in here that you won't hear or read about anywhere else.

Overall, this is a worthy addition to any Crow fan's collection.


Libertine
Libertine
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Solo Effort From Ms Kristine...., 14 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Libertine (Audio CD)
Having been a huge fan of Leaves' Eyes for a while, I was really looking forward to hearing frontwoman Liv Kristine's latest solo album, and I have to say I was not disappointed.

Anyone who's heard any of the Leaves' Eyes albums will know Liv has an incredible and beautiful voice, however with her individual album, she's managed to craft something that has a different sound and feel to the "heavier" LE releases. This is more pop than metal, but should appease fans of Ms Kristine all the same.

The only reason I've not awarded it the 5-star treatment is because I thought one of her previous solo releases, "Enter My Religion" was superior and perhaps a little more varied in its sound. However, there's still no denying that this a solid and fine effort from a hugely talented singer.


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