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Van Helsing (2004) Single Disc Edition [DVD]
Van Helsing (2004) Single Disc Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £0.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Visual and Sound Effects, 30 May 2015
With strong visual Van Helsing challenges accepted ideas about two very prominent characters in the world of monsters.

The film does a good job of proposing a purpose for the creation of the Frankenstein monster which goes beyond satisfying the ambitions of a clever scientist to prove that he is equal to God in making life. There is room for extending compassion to the Frankenstein monster when Van Helsing, the monster hunter permits him to live because he recognises goodness in the monster even though he was created to serve evil.

Instrumental music is used to great effect to depict various moods and atmospheres ranging from ominous as Van Helsing takes down Mr Hyde in Paris to dramatic in Vatican City - Rome where Van Helsing meets with a secret organisation who instruct him to go to Transylvania and hunt down Count Dracula. In Transylvania we go from heroic instrumental music to present Princess Anna as she arrives to saves her brother from the clutches of the Warewolf to sentimental instrumental music when Van Helsing and Princess Anna share a special moment.

Van Helsing goes in hunt of the Dracula but four hundred years on the Count has grown immune to the usual vampire-killing weaponry known to man. He readily pulls a silver steak out from his chest and a silver crucifix melts in his hands. At this stage one begins to wonder what weapon will bring about this creature’s demise.

Igor is played by Kevin James O'Connor who has the quality of arousing a range of contradictory emotions in the viewer sometimes simultaneously and sometimes consecutively for the character he is playing. As Igor he endears the viewer to the character and skilfully induces repulsion, amusement and exasperation in equal measure, then finally sadness when he dies as he must.

This is an entertaining film that holds the attention from beginning to end.

Doubt [DVD]
Doubt [DVD]
Dvd ~ Meryl Streep
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Revealing, 21 May 2015
This review is from: Doubt [DVD] (DVD)
Doubt is not classed as horror but there were a couple of eerie and fear-inspiring things in the film. One is how convincingly Father Flynn lied. There was no doubting his innocence until the moment when his guilt became proved by the fact that he agreed to leave Saint Nicholas Church School. Another was when it emerged that he had been promoted to a position in another School where he would have access to lots of other young boys.

Doubt pits two compelling actors (Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman) opposite each other to demonstrate how the structural machination of any section of society fosters an environment for child abuse using the twin factors of negligence of the children and patronage for the abuser. During their confrontation Father Flynn brazenly invites Sister Aloysius Beauvier to call at his previous place of work and speak to a certain Pastor about him. She tells him that she already called and spoke to a nun. He replies that she should, instead, speak to the aforementioned Pastor. "Why?" she replies, "Do you have some kind of understanding with him?" This is when he reminds her of the chain of command and their positions within the order that should dictate who she approaches to make enquiries about him.

A few things work against Sister Aloysius Beauvier in her pursuit to prove her suspicion of grievous sin committed against an innocent. She is the hero looked-for but is usually missing in such situations but her character does not inspire sympathy or support in the viewer because for one thing she appears to be motivated by uncontrollable dislike toward Father Flynn, for another there was no visible system in place at the School for sanctioning such protection of children, and finally, she does not present an immediately likeable personality. It is only in the moment that the truth begins to unravel and her accusations are proved when Father Flynn caves that one begins to gain a huge appreciation for the strength of her certainty and personal conviction. At the end she breaks down in tears and confesses to having doubt. I wonder about what because at this stage nobody can doubt.

The film further demonstrates how scarcity and absence of love disposes one to false representations of love. Mrs Miller, a mother desperate for her son who is at risk in the home from a violent father who rejects him for who he is and from the standard educational institution where nobody likes him, knowingly allows someone who may be a sexual predator access to her vulnerable son so that the child may enjoy some semblance of kindness from an adult male. In her helplessness, this was all that she could do by way of exercising power to protect her son and secure him a future.

Repeatedly, she says that it is just until July. At this crucial stage in his development she is making a pact with the devil for her son's soul. It will take just until July for him to be cheated out of a piece of himself and, for him to never learn that he can be loved and cared about without interference. But, she is prisoner to her circumstances in life with only slim options.

And, what becomes of Donald Miller? Deep inside him will be a continuous silent scream that finds expression in discontent all encompassing. The real him becomes buried under a web of deceit about his self-worth and value fed to him since that period in his life when it was just until July. Then, one day the scream moves from a place of silence and raises its tune, but it is not a voice that speaks. It is muted but manifests in self-destructiveness.

Underworld [DVD] [2003]
Underworld [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Kate Beckinsale|Michael Sheen|Shane Brolly
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Character and Story Development, 25 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Underworld [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
The story and characters developed well and effectively challenged expectations.

The character Kraven who is accused of being a bureaucrat and not a warrior, unexpectedly, showed grit in two instances. At one time he slaps Selene and at another time he shoots Lucian. His assaults do not go un-avenged. Still, his actions are surprising given his position in the relationships with both of his victims. One might expect that his desires for coupledom with Selene and fear of being torn to pieces by Lucian might deter him from striking out against either of them. But, he does strike and he does so at a time when the parties are at the peak of their own sense of invincibility. In a split second, positions alter and there is confusion in the mind as you struggle to adjust watching previously held beliefs about position and power slip away to be replaced by something, as yet, undefinable. Anyhow, at that point what becomes clear is that this Kraven is no wimp.

Kate Beckinsale is beautiful and does not put a foot wrong in her role as Selene.

Perceptibly, Lucian goes from monster to victim who is able to draw upon the sympathies of the viewer as his story unfolds and we learn that Victor, an elder Vampire killed his wife and unborn child which would have been born a mix of vampire and werewolf (Lycan). It may have been this which gave birth to his lifelong quest to create a hybrid which he fulfils by biting Michael Corvin, a true-blood descendant of the Corvins, where the vampires and Lycans originated from.

The film is not a laugh a minute, but there is a moment for humour when Michael Corvin consults his work colleague after being bitten by Lucian. His colleague is incredulous and exclaims: "A grown man bit you!"

Most bewilderingly, Michael takes to his role as a hybrid like a duck to water. There was nothing in him that should have made him adapt so readily such as, maybe having previously felt out of place with the world as a human and having an obsessive interest or tendency toward matters concerning vampires or werewolves. There is nothing to show that his easy acceptance of the change comes from any werewolf or vampire latency. Furthermore, there is no sign of psychological trauma or of him missing his old life as a man at any stage of the transformation. There is no demonstration of how his transformation affects his old life, such as, possible consequences or benefits. This is an aspect of human-turned-vampire/wolf films which I would like to see explored a little.

The film achieved an ingenious synchronistic effect between two concurrent scenes where one scene validated the previous one. This was achieved by insertion of verbal expulsion in the beginning of the second scene which answered the action at the end of the previous scene, though not referring to it. This happened where in scene one, Lucian expels bullets from his body and then raises his head and suddenly opens his eyes wide. In the next scene Michael is in the car with Selene being driven away and he screams: "What the hell is going on?!"

This is an entertaining film that holds your interest throughout and makes you look forward to sequels.

Sony DVPSR760 MultiRegion DVD Player + 2M HDMI Cable Supplied
Sony DVPSR760 MultiRegion DVD Player + 2M HDMI Cable Supplied
Offered by AV Lounge
Price: £59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Meets Expectations, 25 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The product was delivered without delay.

It plays DVDs multi-regionally without problems.

It is small and impressively light to handle.

It does not disappoint.

Drag Me to Hell [DVD]
Drag Me to Hell [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alison Lohman
Price: £2.46

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Horror and Gore, 20 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Drag Me to Hell [DVD] (DVD)
Feminine power at both ends of the (age + beauty) scale are pitted against one another in this horror-plus-gore movie which features Alison Lohman as Christine Brown, a loan officer who ends up in a race against time to free herself from the curse of an old lady who became pissed off after Christine failed to secure her a loan extension.

The two characters meet when the old lady calls into the bank for an extension on her loan to enable her to retain her house. It falls to Christine to look into the matter and, after checking with her manager, she returns to the old lady with the message that no further extensions can be given on the loan. More drama follows during which the old lady gets down on her knees and begs Christine but, to no avail. The old lady leaves the bank, leaving the viewer with an eerie feeling that the matter is not over.

At the end of her shift, Christine leaves the office and makes her way to the car park. Here is where the old lady re-surfaces, and she is in a very bad mood. Thus begins a most riveting confrontation between the two characters which has the great quality of keeping you on the edge of your seat whilst delivering on fright, humour and repulsion, in quick succession.

During the encounter, the old lady takes a button from Christine's coat, puts a curse on it then hands it back to Christine. Thereafter, Christine is tormented by the Lamia demon who takes the souls of individuals after being summoned in the manner done by the old lady. The old woman, subsequently, dies but remains very much present throughout the film popping up here and there to haunt Christine who is also haunted by the Lamia. Each visit the Lamia makes brings it closer to claiming Christine's soul, so time is running out for her to rectify matters.

A psychic advises her to make a gift of the cursed button to somebody thereby passing on the curse to the new owner. He seals the button in an envelop and Christine takes it away with her to look for a new owner. Eventually, she hits upon the idea to hand back the button to the one who first gave it to her cursed. The psychic agrees with her that the curse can be passed back to the old woman even though she is dead because souls do not die. So, she visits the graveyard, reads out some affirmations with envelop held up toward the sky and then stuffs it into the mouth of the old woman's corpse. But, here is the twist. Earlier, the envelop became mixed up with other envelops when she was in a car with her boyfriend. Consequently, instead of the envelop with the button inside it she picked up the envelop containing her boyfriend's coin, and this was what she stuffed into the mouth of the old lady's corpse.

The film ends with the Lamia undefeated in its quest to claim the soul of Christine and we see her being dragged to hell via a train rack while her boyfriend looks on horrified, powerless and devastated.

In principle, the ending is rather disagreeable for the fact that hope is eradicated. I am for the opinion that the girl ought to have been able to be saved simply for her sheer gutsiness. There is an admirable display of resilience and courage as she prevails over the effects of the curse and attempts to see off the Lamia.

If there is a moral to the tale, then it seems to be that there is no hope of redemption from an error or of being absolved from the vengeful attention of another even with the application of tenacious exploration of options to bring about a resolution.

To her loving boyfriend she had confessed that she could have given a loan extension to the old lady, but did not. Therefore, was it her conscience; her own sense of self-blame and self-unforgiving that, ultimately, robbed her of the chance at salvation?

Great film, though.

The Line of Beauty [DVD]
The Line of Beauty [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dan Stevens

4.0 out of 5 stars A Study in Human Relations, 20 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Line of Beauty [DVD] (DVD)
The Line of Beauty makes good presentation of a section of society in the vibrant era of the 1980s on the cusp of the AIDS epidemic though it does not focus predominantly upon this topic. The film is much more about an individual's experience of the world around him through his various relationships, and the emotional consequences to him as the relationships unfold and he comes to lose people either through death or acrimonious separation.

Nick Guest is a young man of a personable and trustworthy nature. Perhaps, for this reason he readily becomes vulnerable to the wiles of a family who, unable to confront, process and resolve their relationship issues; they offload various responsibilities unto him throughout the course of their connections with him. Later, he is betrayed, blamed and tossed out by the family.

The film begins with the arrival of Nick and his friend from University at the friend's family house for a short stay. Nick is soon assigned the task of manning his friend's young-adult sister who has emotional problems and engages in self-harm, as well as being drug-dependant. The parents do this and go off on holiday. In an instant Nick has moved from being a house guest to becoming caretaker and confidant to the girl. Attachments are established quickly and when her parents return from holiday, the girl requests that Nick remain in the house with the family, indefinitely. The parents agree since he will be filling the space left by their son, Nick's friend, who is by now away on some trip. With this, Nick also becomes surrogate son, but with significant differences in the nature of relationships with the rest of the household. He ends up living at the house of his friend's family for the next four years.

As the years roll by, Nick has loved and lost, enjoying homosexual relationships with other young men; the family have become more involved in political life and the father campaigns for a political position. Also, he becomes secret keeper of the father's infidelity after stumbling across him and his PA in a hotel. Except that nothing that is considered a secret really is a secret. All is known to all but not spoken of. There is strong resistance towards the confrontation of issues even to thyself.

Hypocrisy abounds robbing the pure in soul of their sense of integrity, and stifling the life out of any who is unable to conform, such as the daughter who eventually moves from the one stance of implosion to another of explosion and exposes everything in a massive way. She leaves the family home and exposes her father's infidelity and Nick's homosexuality to the press. This is when blame is turned full force upon Nick with each member making him responsible for the disappointments and frustrations of their lives. He becomes the repository for their accumulative negative feelings stored up over the years. The film finishes with the husband and wife watching from a window as Nick drives away in a red car taking their sins with him.

Perhaps, the frustrating thing about the central character is what comes across as inertia or emotional paralysis. He is somebody that life happens to rather than one who asserts himself to makes things happen that he wants or stop other things happening that he does not want. Moments of happiness happen through the arrangement of other people and there is feeble acceptance when the happiness becomes fleeting. A mellow attitude is an asset in transitional phases that necessitate acquiescence from recognition that a thing has lived its course in spite of our desires for continuation. However, there were situations where it would have served him to kick back a little.

He does nothing to protest against the infidelity of the father even though it clearly troubles him. It might not have been his place to challenge the father, and he did not have the option to discuss his concerns with his friend from University as the friend was absent. Still, he had the power to make a stand and show himself to be a principled person. It would have been easy to afford him some degree of respectability had he, at this point, decided to leave the family home so as to remove himself from an environment that was offensive to his principles and to preserve his conscience. At another time, his boyfriend with whom he was extremely attached says goodbye after they spend what he describes as `the best time of his life' together and he makes no effort to follow up though not wanting the relationship to end. Had he done this then he would have learned of the real reason why his boyfriend left and might have had a chance to support him or say 'goodbye' properly if that was what had to be.

For all that he experienced, one hopes that he will go on to purge from his system the negative and take all necessary lessons for learning and growth. Through introspection he will gain self-knowledge; reflection will give him understanding of the part that he played in assisting his experiences; and, he will develop and apply discernment in his approach towards the formation of future attachments and confidence to assert himself when the occasion calls for it.

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