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Tue Sorensen (Denmark, Europe)
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Debug [Blu-ray]
Debug [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Jason Momoa
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £10.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appreciate proper sci-fi? They you will appreciate this., 12 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Debug [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Much like the recent British "The Anomaly", the Canadian "Debug" is a movie designed by and for true science fiction fans. Both movies have received generally bad reviews from the mainstream and other people without a proper affinity for sci-fi, but both movies are actually very well-written, intelligent, idea-driven sci-fi tales that will be well worth the while of anyone who truly thinks like a sci-fi afficionado.

"Debug" takes place in the rather far future, where both society and technology have come a long way. People who have been caught doing criminal things are not locked away, but given community service in space! That in itself is a good idea. This particular crew are assigned to a derelict space freighter, on which they are tasked with cleaning up the computer systems, which are full of abandoned A.I. programs, some of which have become deluded. The idea that the future is a place where a wide range of artificial intelligence programs are used for all sorts of purposes is a very interesting one which has rarely been treated in motion picture sci-fi outside of the typical single A.I. which creates some kind of major problem. Granted, there is one of those here, too. But while it is anomalous and shocking to the characters, it is not that much a surprise. They've dealt with rogue A.I.s before, and they understand that this sort of thing sometimes happens in that world. Just this casual "yeah, yeah" attitude to the A.I. situation is quite original and paints a picture of a future where things may have gotten a bit out of control, but not so much that A.I.s are threatening all of humanity. In fact, people in this future all have cybernetic implants, describing themselves as something like "bio-ware with a bit of tech", whereas the villain is "tech with a bit of bio-ware" - so in a sense people and A.I.s are approaching each other, evolving towards a common condition. Which is believable, and a cool idea. These people can also make virtual avatars of themselves and live in the computer systems, which in my view is also very, very cool.

So, pretty great movie. The action is good, the effects are generally very passable, the actors are attractive and I thought the characters behaved fairly believably.

What I didn't like about it: Not much. I think the many lines of dialogue that came from other movies were a bit unneccesary; they were homages to classic movies and shows, but they just had the effect of hurting this movie's own originality. It didn't need to prop itself up by making those references; it stood on its own legs well enough. Besides that, I didn't really care for the whole rat thing. Why was that guy so scared of rats, and what was this single rat doing on the space ship in the first place? Oh well! it's a rare movie that is completely perfect. :-)


The Anomaly [Blu-ray]
The Anomaly [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Ian Somerhalder
Price: £7.10

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true gem for the true sci-fi fan - don't miss it!, 11 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Anomaly [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
As I watched The Anomaly, I was a happy camper. Excitement and suspense with a completely new scene every 9 min. 47 seconds, very decent martial arts action which I love in combination with sci-fi, and a complex story that only very gradually becomes clear. I am a seasoned sci-fi fan, and unlike most people, judging by the amount of poor reviews this movie has received, I recognize a good science fiction script when I see it. This was a surprisingly complex story with lots of twists and turns and great details. It continued to build my suspense and awe all the way to the finish. Even the motivation of the bad guy (Father) was so interesting that I almost disagree with calling him a bad guy! He just wanted to stop war and suffering. His son, of course, was a bit different...

But it was an intelligent script that made demands of the viewers; they had to think for themselves in order to piece things together; it did not hold the viewer's hand all the way through like most movies. Good! Great work, Mssrs. Clarke & Lewis!

Did the story have shortcomings? Perhaps a few, especially in the climactic scene. What the hell was that acid stuff, and why was Alex enfolded in plastic that contained such acid? Seemed a bit silly. The whole thing with Alex was pretty much just a McGuffin to move the plot along. But that's nothing compared to the nonsensical silliness in most action and low-budget sci-fi efforts, so it really doesn't detract that much from the overall impression. And being impressed, that overall impression is: Impressive!! :-)


Robert E. Howard,  Science Fiction Collection
Robert E. Howard, Science Fiction Collection
by Robert E. Howard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.27

1.0 out of 5 stars Tread carefully...!, 27 Sept. 2014
I have not bought or read this, but warning bells rang the moment I read the description. This contains Conan the Barbarian stories. NOT science fiction stories. REH's stories are in the public domain by now, so this isn't copyrighted material, either. This collection appears to be thrown together by someone who certainly isn't a real publisher, and who might wish to sell the material again as "science fiction", concealing by the cover that this is in fact sword & sorcery. Just thought any prospective customer would be interested in knowing this. Of course, if it is demonstrated that my assumptions in this are somehow wrong, I'll be happy to remove this comment.


Vanishing Waves aka Aurora [DVD] [2012]
Vanishing Waves aka Aurora [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Jurga Jutaite
Offered by 666 Media
Price: £3.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Dull as dishwater, I'm sorry to say, 8 July 2014
I love watching exotic science fiction movies, and I had been led to believe that this Lithuanian movie was very interesting. According to various reviews, it is apparently interesting to some, but to me it was difficult to sit through. Very slow and very dull, hardly anything happens in its (waaay too long) 115 minutes. For a sci-fi movie, it has almost nothing to do with science. The main character had no depth; he was basically just a liar and a cheat. Immediately, he lies about the experiment he is in, and for far too long the other scientists stupidly don't suspect that anything is wrong. His friend points out the lack of plot logic, yet helps him commit further unethical and unscientific acts. Jeez.

The actual plot is about a comatose girl who unwittingly participates in an experiment to connect her mind with this research scientist (Lukas, the main character). Even though overt interpersonal connection is supposed to abort the experiment, it continues, with Lukas and the girl getting involved in various ways; sort of fall in love. The girl turns out to have been in a car accident, and also has issues with some past lover or husband. To be honest, it was all very, very boring to me, and moved extremely slowly. Sure, there were a few nice scenes here and there, but nothing to make up for the lack of proper plot, science, characterization, etc.

I will recommend this movie to no one who enjoys substance and a bit of action, because none of that is in this movie. You want to scream at it: "Can something please HAPPEN?!" Then ending, too, is unsatisfying and anti-climactic.

I think people who are *not* sci-fi fans will probably enjoy it more than people who are. Sci-fi fans can safely skip this one.


I, Robot:: to protect
I, Robot:: to protect
by Mickey Zucker Reichert
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rather mixed pleasure, 26 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: I, Robot:: to protect (Hardcover)
(*There might be some very small and undetailed spoilers in the below. I hope they will help anyone who has not read the book making up their minds about whether they want to read it.*)

I am a huge fan of Asimov's science fiction, so I became quite interested when I heard about this new "I, Robot" trilogy about Susan Calvin's youth. Having now finished book one, I'm somewhat ambivalent. The readability of the book and the clarity and progression of the plot are very Asimovian, if in many ways a bit lighter and airier. Overall, I would say it is a well-written book, effectively using scenes and emotional situations and keeping the reader interested and in places even excited. I understand it is this author's first foray into the sci-fi genre, and as such it is an admirable effort. The description of hospital procedures and medicinal practices of the year 2035 are convincing and impressive, being neither too superficial nor too verbose. Apparently the author is herself a physician, and she has obviously put both a good deal of both thought and experience into this book.

The good thing about the book is that it reads quite well as a stand-alone work. The story follows newly hatched resident doctors in their rotations, going to work, dealing with difficult patients (whose situations are described in some detail), and this is all written in an engaging and interesting way.

However, although its readability and level of engagement make up for a lot, there are still a list of shortcomings I feel compelled to mention:

First, if viewed as a robot novel, there isn't that much in the way of robotic content. There is one robot who is confined to an archival room, where Dr. Calvin sometimes comes to talk to it. This robot has almost no significance to the plot, however. What has somewhat greater influence is a project about nano-robots, which starts as a subplot, and then grows into something more. And although it is not really explained in any way, these nano-robots are also governed by the Three Laws of Robotics, which serves to save some lives, but, again, isn't properly explained by the end. This seems to be a bit of a logical quandary, as the nano-robots are being used for nefarious schemes by parties who should know about the Three Laws, but seem not to.

Second, and related to the first, the Susan Calvin we see in this book is not strictly compatible with the one from Asimov's stories. Asimov has her as a robo-psychologist, who is interested in robots from a young age (her teens). Here, she is a 26-year-old psychiatrist, who is only very gradually about to develop an interest in robots, partly through her father. Why is this alleged robot novel about an alleged robo-psychologist neither really about robots or a robo-psychologist? Why did they not decide that doing a story about the more traditional Susan Calvin was a better idea? What possessed the Asimov Estate to proclaim this canonical? The answer seems to be that this author simply wrote about what she knew best, and didn't worry about having it particularly fit in with the facts known from Asimov's stories, and then the Asimov Estate, for whatever reason, simply said, "Sure!" This is really not entirely satisfactory to an Asimov fan.

Third, I personally like my sci-fi to be pure sci-fi. There was an element I will go so far as to call a horror element in this book: a homicidally sadistic 4-year-old girl. Maybe it's just me, but I found this very disturbing, and it was close to stopping me from finishing the book. On the face of it, it may seem like an interesting idea, but it was extremely hard to swallow. Towards the end, it becomes still harder to suspend one's disbelief, as three adults who understand the situation cannot even hold this 4-year-old girl down enough to prevent tragedy (and it's not like she has super-powers, except for being highly intelligent). I will admit that the emotional impact of this plot element was powerful, but for me (who does not enjoy the horror genre) it was not very welcome. It contributed to my not really wanting to continue with the rest of this trilogy.

Fourth, it seems to me that this book did not entirely know its own type, genre and audience. It was sci-fi, but with elements of horror and romance. It was, in the main, a novel for a young adult audience, but I felt some content was too severe for such an audience. The climaxes of a sci-fi plot should be idea-driven; in this book every climax was character- and emotion-driven. And finally, there's the thing about not really having much to do with Asimov's original ideas about robots and Susan Calvin.

These things all combine to make the book a partial disappointment. The story has some merits and is mostly well-told, but it isn't really what Asimov fans hoped it would be. And I am still undecided as to whether I will read the rest of the trilogy. Maybe when I get them cheap and second-hand.


Errors of the Human Body (DVD)
Errors of the Human Body (DVD)
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £8.05

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of those rare 'hard' science fiction movies, 20 Jan. 2014
A low-budget German-American production (with an Australian director and a Canadian leading man), ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY is a realistic and down-to-earth science fiction movie mainly set in a laboratory environment. It probably takes place in the present day, or nearly. Jeffrey Burton, a scientist, has an infant son who is born with a rare cancer-generating virus. The son doesn't live long, but Burton makes a career out of researching the disease, which he names Burton's Syndrome. When he reaches a dead-end in his research, and is broken down by depression about the death of his son and divorcing his wife, his career grinds to a halt. But then one of his old students gets him a job at a German lab, where he is supposed to help her work on a new retrovirus with regenerative properties. When Burton arrives, he soon finds out that another local scientist, Jarek, is stealing samples from his old student and taking the research in other directions. As Burton tries to stop this, he is carelessly infected by the new virus - and saying anything more would be spoiling!

The character portrayals are good and the whole lab setting is a rare one for sci-fi movies. The only detail I felt was out of place was the way Burton got infected; it was far too careless a kind of behavior for a scientist, and this scene wasn't even necessary, as the mouse in question also actually bit him, which should have been sufficient to transmit the virus. But otherwise this is a good contemporary science fiction movie of a realistic kind that we see far too rarely. Quite worthwhile for the serious science fiction fan.


Pirates of Penzance [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Pirates of Penzance [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £13.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Weird slapstick, but charming and cheerful, 9 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This 1994 Aussie production of The Pirates of Penzance is an odd animal. It seems to be a mix of a serious version and a parody version, with the two young leads, Frederick and Mabel, as the (mostly) serious and professional bit, and just about all the rest as a deeply tongue-in-cheek interpretation, bordering on pastiche. The orchestra, even, is not a classical one, but a row of synthesizers - clearly this is from the era when synthesizers was still considered a hot property, possibly due to the success of those multiple "Synthesizer Greatest" CD albums.

So in many ways this production does not live up to a serious version of the operetta; there is too much silliness. I realize, of course, that comedy is the whole point of this work, but this production takes it so far that it seems it does not appreciate the original, opting instead to contribute a great deal of new comedy of its own. And while this must make a purist skeptical abd reticent, I (not quite being a purist, although I incline in that direction) have to admit that the cast gets enormous fun out of these shenanigans. The sheer cheerfulness is infectious, even if some of the comedy is a bit, well, low.

A fun experience, to be sure, but not really something that can quite replace a more traditional production.


Supercop [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Supercop [Blu-ray] [US Import]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, regionfree Blu-ray, but a virtual bare-bones release, 11 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Supercop, a.k.a. Police Story 3 (1992), is a great action movie which deserves 4 out of 5 stars. Cool stunts and great fun from beginning to end. One of Jackie Chan's and Michelle Yeoh's best, hands down. Very strangely, this movie doesn't seem to have been released on a region 2 DVD, except for some Spanish edition. So in order to get it on disc (after all, we can no longer make do with VHS!), one has to resort to the American releases. Supercop was first released on U.S. video in 1996, for which event an English soundtrack was also produced, with English voices by Chan and Yeoh themselves. Except for the Dragon Dynasty 2-disc region 1 release from 2009 (which also has some nice extra features, incl. an informative Bey Logan audio commentary), all American versions have featured the English-dubbed soundtrack only, and not much else.

Along, then, comes the 2011 American Blu-ray release. 1080p resolution, great! Regionfree so Europeans can watch it, too, great! But does it have any of the Dragon Dynasty extras; does it have the audio commentary; does it have the original Cantonese soundtrack and English subtitles? Sadly, that's a resounding NO on all counts! It does have a very nice 29 min. standard resolution (DVD quality) interview with Michelle Yeoh, but that's it. Nada else. No subtitles, no commentary - what a disappointment! It's to cry over! Waaah! I have not owned this movie on disc before, but now I'm going to have to buy the Dragon Dynasty DVD as well, to get the audio commentary and Cantonese soundtrack and other extras. Oh well. For this particular movie, it's worth it.


Dragon From Shaolin [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dragon From Shaolin [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £2.96

2.0 out of 5 stars This is not the Yuen Biao movie, 7 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"Dragon from Shaolin" is the title of a Yuen Biao movie from 1996; despite the title and the Yuen Biao credit on this page, the movie featured here is not the advertised movie. I just bought this (same cover as seen here), and it is a different, older movie that just happens to have the title "Dragon from Shaolin" plastered on to it.

As it turns out, this movie is actually "Thunderkick" a.k.a. "Survival of the Dragon" from 1973, starring Li Chin-Kun as the main character, and Bolo Yeung as one of the bad guys (who gets the stuffing kicked out of him! And if you check "Thunder Kick" at Amazon.com, which is this same movie, it's actually a very expensive collector's item! Definitely NOT worth that dough, though!). The intro credits on this DVD give the year 1980, but that's probably just the year it was distributed on video.

It is a pretty bad kung fu movie - below average in my opinion - with lots of annoying close-ups, but it does have several scenes of pretty good kung fu fighting. The never-ending final scene (which does not have Bolo Yeung in it) gets to be too much, though; we have two guys pounding and pounding on each other and just continuing forever without sustaining much damage - it actually becomes really tedious. Li Chin-Kun is a highly capable fighter, though, and worth a look for the dedicated kung fu aficionado. Another of his movies, "Chinese Tiger" (available cheaply at Amazon.com), should be really good. Sadly, the picture quality on this disc is tantamount to VHS, so there isn't a great deal to rejoice about here.


Travel Blue Eye Mask 450
Travel Blue Eye Mask 450

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and nearly useless, 5 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Travel Blue Eye Mask 450 (Luggage)
This eye mask is of very poor quality and quite unfit for its purpose. It lets plenty of light through (contrary to what it says on the tin - you'd think that a minimum requirement for a night mask was that it is impenetrable to light, seeing as its whole purpose is to shut out light, but in the case of this product you'd be wrong), and the material is cheap and uncomfortable. But, I guess you get what you pay for.


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