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Mr. J. Fraser (Kelso, Scotland)

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Premonition [DVD] [2004]
Premonition [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Daisuke Ban
Price: £14.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Below average., 18 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Premonition [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Premonition is a run of the mill horror film. In a nutshell it's is about a spooky newspaper that appears to people and informs them of some future tragedy. Whatever they choose to do with that knowledge, they are doomed. The newspaper is basically a curse. It's an interesting enough premise but unfortunately very badly though out. There are just too many ideas that don't tie together in this movie. It's impossible to make sense of such nonsense.

Premonition has little else to offer. The acting is a bit iffy, particularly from the lead actor who overdoes it a bit. The scares are a cheap afterthought seemingly tacked on to the film in order to attract the large J-Horror following. Regardless if you are a fan of this genre you should avoid this film. Don't let the creepy DVD cover fool you; it's a seemingly random image with very little to do with the film. Interestingly the Japanese cover is entirely different.

Ring (1998) [DVD] [2000]
Ring (1998) [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Nanako Matsushima
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £5.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An all time classic., 2 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Ring (1998) [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Ring is a classic horror film that has influenced many horror films, east and west, since. It also stars Hiroyuki Sanada, an excellent actor who you can see in Last Samurai and Sunshine. For this reason alone you should buy it. I'm not going to review the film because no doubt you've already gathered that it's essential. Instead I'll tell you about the disc. The features are not worth talking about so let's skip that. The picture and sound quality is very poor. Honestly the picture is ridiculouse and just lazy. One of Japans highest grossing films surely deserves better than this. The sound, despite what the box says is not 5.1 and a bit unrefined. These are unfortunate issues with this release but I still think it's worth buying. It's worth noting that the trilogy box set has a remastered version of the first film that, while not perfect, is apparently better quality. You may want to consider that.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre [DVD] [1974]
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre [DVD] [1974]
Dvd ~ Teri McMinn
Offered by FilmloverUK
Price: £10.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Disc Seriously Ultimate Edition, 31 July 2008
This is a really top notch release of a horror classic. There is of course a remake of this film available, and a good remake at that, but you should still pick up the original. This isn't actually as gory as it's reputation may suggest. In fact there's little if any blood shown throughout. It may seem dated now but you have to put yourself in the shoes of film goers at the time of it's release. Many no doubt believed that this was actually going on. Especially during a time of numerous prolific serial killers with a penchant for picking up hitchikers. Taking this into account, you can really appreciate how horrifying this film may have seemed. Even today, Leatherface chasing somebody through dark woodland reving his chainsaw will make your hair stand on end.

If you're a fan of the horror genre then your DVD collection is incomplete without this classic.

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane [DVD]
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane [DVD]
Dvd ~ Amber Heard
Offered by Rikdev Media
Price: £4.18

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed, 20 July 2008
I write this review moments after the credits began to roll on All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. First and foremost this is supposed to be a horror movie, and a horror movie must be above all things scary, chilling, fun etc. This film is none of these things. To summarise, the plot is basically about an angelic (or so the director seems to think) girl called Mandy Lane going out to a ranch for some fun with friends (and I use the term friends very loosely) and a maniac begins killing them. So far so generic. But wait, it's all supposed to be worth it, all the boredom and non scariness, because there's a twist right at the end. For the record, it's a rubbish twist. The problem boils down to the fact that we don't give two hoots if Mandy and all of her hatefull friends get hacked to pieces so how are we supposed to care about a silly twist at the end? Avoid this.

Flashpoint [DVD]
Flashpoint [DVD]
Dvd ~ Donnie Yen
Offered by rileys dvds
Price: £10.00

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flashpoint, 20 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Flashpoint [DVD] (DVD)
Forget the artsy fartsy wire-fu movies so popular today and consider this for your collection. Flashpoint is a hard hitting Hong Kong movie starring Donnie Yen and Collin Chou (Seraph in the Matrix Sequels) as cop and criminal. Donnie being the Cop and Collin being the criminal. This being a martial arts action flick and all, you'll not need me to explain the rest. Needless to say this movie contains many fights.

First lets get the cons out of the way. Like many chinese films this is a little too melodramatic at times. You know the score, somebody dies, sad music, emotions run high, revenge enseus blah blah blah. These movies always have uncomfortably cheesy sad scenes. The dialogue (no doubt partly due to subtitles) is, as usual, quite unsubtle. We can forgive these things because the Chinese seem to have a knack for making every frame of a movie completely stunning to look at. In this sense, the rest of the world are playing catch up. Flashpoint has some stunning views of the sprawling Hong Kong.

Speeking of sprawling, lets get to the important bit. The fights. You should be well aware that Donnie Yen is no joke when it comes to fisticuffs. He's the real deal. The fights in this movie rank among the best. In fact the final fight scene in this movie is second only to Bruce Lee's duel with Kareem Abdul Jabar (I'm talking about the full fight which can only be seen in Bruce Lee - A Warriors Journey which you'll find on Enter The Dragon - Special Edition). Like that epic brawl, this fight contains not just your usual Chinese mentalism but also moves your very likely to see in a real match. Moves like the triangle choke (my fave), arm bar, german suplex, Thai clinch, even down to the essential tool, the sprawl. If you're a fan of martial arts flicks and of mma then this is a must.

Game of Death (2-Disc Platinum Edition) [1973] [DVD]
Game of Death (2-Disc Platinum Edition) [1973] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bruce Lee

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shameless cash in on Bruce's name., 27 May 2008
As far as DVD releases go, this is rather good. Bruce Lee fans should purchase this for the special features and the chance to see all the footage that he filmed for his unfinished movie. The actual full length film contained in this package, and any other Game Of Death release, is an insult to Bruce's memory and to the intelligence of it's viewers. It's important to note that Bruce's original vision for Game Of Death was nothing like what we have here. They seem to have taken the footage he filmed and plonked it onto the end of an entirely different film. They could have at least stuck to Bruce's original plot idea. Instead they've simply made a generic film, added footage of Bruce at the end and called it Game Of Death as a cash in attempt knowing that people would flock to see it hoping to see thier idol's lost film. The Bruce Lee look-a-like who plays the lead looks nothing like Bruce, has bad acting and the fighting ability of a wooden dummy. He also wears huge clown shades throughout the movie to hide his un Bruce like face. In fact so unlike Bruce is he that in one scene when the actor turns to face the camera, they have clumsily superimposed Bruce's face over the actor's. This is perhaps one of the all time greatest unintentional laugh out loud scenes in movie history. It's up there with the storm trooper banging his head.

So don't buy this for the film itself but for the extras, which are great. If you're looking for the definitive Bruce Lee movie, look no further than Enter The Dragon. As Bruce only made four movies in his life (Big Boss, Fist Of Fury, Enter The Dragon, Way Of The Dragon) there's no reason not to own all of them. This isn't really a Bruce Lee film but some special features with a film tacked on.

Halloween: Uncut (Director's Cut Edition) [DVD]
Halloween: Uncut (Director's Cut Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Malcolm Mcdowell
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £8.87

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get the region 1 DVD, it has 2 discs., 21 April 2008
This is a good remake of John Carpenter's Halloween. Obviously it's not as good as the original but Rob Zombie, himself a fan of the original, has tried to offer something different rather than a simple retread. The original film's score is retained, which is a good thing as it's excellent. The main difference with the remake concerns Michael Myer's past. In the original Myers is a mysterious character. All we know is that one Halloween night a young boy named Michael Myers murdered his older sister for no reason. Nothing drove him to it, he was simply born a killer. The first time we see Michael, dressed in a clown suit and standing on his front lawn holding the knife, we see the completely blank, soulless face of the little boy who'd grow up to become the mass murderer. As with real life seriel killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Myer's loving parents were probably helpless in their attempts to raise him into a normal person. Carpenter's intention is reflected in the credits, which list the character of the adult Myers as simply "The Shape." Zombie has departed entirely from this vision and instead given Michael a troubled upbringing with parents who fight all the time, an abusive step father and a sister who hates him. This kind of story is just a cliche and results in a less frightening killer. He's given Myers an identity, beyond the typical school yard tales that in the original film served as the only evidence that he was once a real person and not some unknown supernatural force. We're not supposed to sympathise with him, we're supposed to fear him. He's also went with the Laurie Strode as his sister angle. Something, thankfully, Carpenter never did.

While the above is a criticism of sorts, Zombie did want to go another way with his film and he has succeeded in making a good re-imagining of the original. The first and second acts, very different from the first film, show Michael not coping so well with his difficult home life and school bullies. Then after he kills his step father, sister and her boyfriend, we see him in the asylum. We get a chance this time to see Dr Loomis trying to get through to Michael and eventually giving up. Which causes Loomis some distress. The third act is where this film more closely follows the original as Michael returns to his home.

The dialogue is very good (something I think Zombie has a real talent for) and when he wants to scare you, he does so very effectively. The scene where Michael kills his sister is particularly unsettling. You'll see actors from Rejects make appearances, with Sherri Moon Zombie doing a great job as Michael's mother and Ken Foree also making a scene stealing appearance as a trucker. Sid Haig appears as the cemetery grounds keeper. The show is stolen though by Malcolm McDowell as Dr Loomis. His performance, I dare say, is superior to Donald Pleasance's. It helps that the character is given more depth here. The casting of Laurie Strode though is a bit uninspired. Scout Taylor-Compton just doesn't make for a convincing geek. This character was much more interesting in the original thanks to Jamie Lee Curtis aka "The Body." I'm undecided about the casting for Myers. Played by the massive Tyler Mane, he is by far the largest man to play Myers yet. While this is perhaps fitting considering Myers is apparently unstoppable, I think his sheer size takes something away from the character. His towering mass does make for an impressive antagonist though.

Let's be honest, Halloween was a slasher. A cheap thrills pop corn movie. All that matters here is if this new film is a good slasher. While it doesn't rival the original, it's a great film none the less and much better than all of the recent slasher films and any of the Halloween sequels. If Zombie had made an original slasher and not a remake, it would likely be an instant classic in the genre. If you've bought any recent horror films, then you've bought worse films than this. Add this to your collection.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence [DVD]
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence [DVD]
Dvd ~ Akio Otsuka
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Region 2, 1 April 2008
The first Ghost In The Shell is one of the finest examples of anime to date so anticipation for Innocence was very high. The basic plot is fairly simple, Batou and his new partner Togusa are sent to investigate cases of Gynoids (androids made to look like young women and used for sex) killing people. The stunning visuals and score aside, the first film was a great sci-fi movie. Innocence however serves as more of a visual spectacle than a great piece of science fiction.

The main problem with Innocence is the screenplay, which seems fairly week and filled with far too much philisophical nonsense in place of proper dialogue. The plot devices are too contrived, which leads to confusion. The third act (a critical stage in the film) in particular is poorly set up and, as a result, the point at which the plot is lost. Some of this could be blamed on bad translation in the subtitles. In some scenes it's obvious that the text doesn't match what's actually being said, often needlessly elaborating when the character simply said one or two words. Thankfully, after the confusing second act, the third act picks up a few of the pieces, wakes us up with a bit of action and ends the film on a satisfying note. The main protagonist, Batou, is fleshed out and given more depth in this film. Perhaps the film's best scenes are when Batou isn't talking. He seems lonely except for his loving dog. His partner, Togusa, seems to have changed a bit from the first film. He's quite reluctant to partner with the apparently gung ho Batou. He generally seems tired with his job. This character could of perhaps been fleshed out a little more.

Innocence has a similair tone to the first film but visually it's quite different. CGI is combined with more traditional drawn animation to very good effect. While it's certainly more impressive than almost anything i've seen previously, it just lacks life. For example I love the way the first film presents the city it's set in. It feels like a real place that people live in. Innocence is too busy trying to impress us and fails to really achieve this. The score in Innocence, while very good, isn't as atmospheric as the first film's score, which owes much to Akira; not so much for the music but for the use of instrument sounds in a way that gives further life to the surroundings.

This edition comes with 2 discs. Both containing the feature film. Disc 1 has Dolby Digital sound and disc 2 has DTS sound. I personally can't see the need for this but the sound on both is fantastic. This is an excellent showcase for surround sound. Picture quality is also excellent.

While Innocence may not be as good as the first film, it most definately isn't bad. At the low price it's now available at it's certainly a worthwhile purchase.

Saints Row (Xbox 360 Classics)
Saints Row (Xbox 360 Classics)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saints Row, 31 Mar. 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Saints Row is an unashamed GTA copy cat. If you love GTA then chances are that you'll enjoy SR. SR, like GTA, tries to make you laugh. There's many attempts at humour in this game and though not as funny as GTA, it does raise a few smiles. You play an up and comer in the Saints Row gang. The smallest of the gangs that occupy the city of Stilwater. You carry out some missions and side quests and pretty soon you're are on your way up. Each of Stilwaters gangs have thier own distinct style and colours. You'll carry out missions for each of them during the course of the game.

The gameplay of SR is in essence a carbon copy of GTA's. You hijack cars, shoot guns and run around a large city. There is some innovation here though. Weapon selection and aiming is far better than anything we've seen from GTA to date. To select a weapon you press a button which brings up a circular menu, then using the analogue stick you select your desired weapon. To fire your weapon you simply aim with the right stick and fire. It's simple but works very well. Theres a small menu at the bottom of the screen showing the food/drink/drugs you have and the corresponding d-pad button. Taking drugs causes the screen to go all blurry and makes for some interesting driving. The cars handle quite well, if a little unresponsive. There's a great selection of cars and customisation options or them. You can change the paint, fit bodykits and change the wheels on most cars. There are various clothes shops scattered throughout Stilwater where you can purchase a wide range of clothes for you created character. You can also recruit homies to accompany you on various missions.

The main story missions in SR are just what you'd expect from this type of game so I wont go into that. Where this game really trumps GTA is the absurd side quests. Take the insurance fraud for example, by getting hit with a car and getting as many injuries and cars involved as possible your insurance claim goes up. You must get it up to a certain figure to pass. The rag doll physics makes for some truly hilarious accidents. The side quests really add to the great lifespan of the game. Online play, if you can get a game, is tedious and usually crowded with foul mouthed idiots.

The graphics are where SR stumbles. While stationary, this game look stunning. Detail is very high and the lighting is among the best i've ever seen. Seeing the shadows move as the sun rises and sets is a sight to behold. Everything in the game casts a shadow. Explosions are fantastic. The flames look perfect and when a car explodes pieces fly everywhere in a realistic fashion. This never gets boring to watch. The problems begin when you move. The framerate is shockingly slow at times. The pop up, particularly while driving on motorways, is very bad. Pieces of the road and cars can appear right in front of you. The worst flaw though is the tearing. This is an ugly side effect of having no v-sync. The sound in SR is excellent. You get a good sense of being in a living place. One nice effect is when a car drives by with the radio on loud, you can often hear muffled music. The soundtrack is nice and varied, though not quite as effective as any of the GTA soundtracks.

Overall, despite it's flaws, Saints Row is a great game that many will enjoy. It may fall short of the GTA franchise but SR is much better than any of the other GTA clones.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - (Xbox 360)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - (Xbox 360)
Offered by GameExplorers
Price: £17.70

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COD4, 25 Mar. 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Before I wrote this review, I read the 1 and 2 star reviews to help me focus on particular areas of the game that may concern some people. I'll start with the Veteran difficulty. While it is indeed very very challenging, it's by no means impossible. Such settings are supposed to be unfair tests on one's grip on sanity; if they think COD4 is hard then they ought to try God of War's final boss on God Mode. I managed to complete the game on Veteran (including the infamous 'Mile High Club' level) and I'm a fairly casual gamer.

People have criticised the length of the single player campaign and to a certain extent I agree with them, it is fairly short. However it doesn't feel short when you're playing it because every single mission is packed with action and stunning visuals. Neither does it ever feel repetetive; every mission feeling very different to the last. One mission in particular that's worthy of note is "Ghillies in the mist" which sees you quietly making your way through the abandoned city of Pripyat to a location where you'll snipe a target from a large distance. This is perhaps the most stunning level i've ever seen in a game.

The main feature on COD4 is it's multiplayer, which is superb. The player can create custom classes to use. These classes consist of a primary weapon (of which there is a good selection) and secondary weapon (pistols). You then get to select a perk from each of three menus. Perks are options you can use to create a class to suit a particular playing style. There are three groups of perks allowing you to select one from each group. These perks range from increased stopping power to silent footsteps. New skins can be unlocked for you primary weapons by getting the prerequisite number of head shots. Similairly, things like silencers, laser sights, scopes and grenade launchers can be unlocked for primary weapons with kills. Any lag issues must have been patched out because I very rarely experience it. Half of the players tend to forgo the use of a headset (myself being one) so online play is generally devoid of annoying bickering. There is a mute option should you so desire.

Get this game. It's the best shooter at the moment, period.

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