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The Rite [DVD] [2011]
The Rite [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Anthony Hopkins
Price: £3.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rite, 27 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Rite [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
The movie centres on Michael Kovak (O'Donoghue) who works with his father in the family business as a mortician, but decides to attend seminary school and become a priest as per family tradition. During his time at the school, he suffers a crisis of faith and resigns his position, but after witnessing a fatal car crash and Kovak giving a blessing to a dying woman, his headteacher sends him to Rome to study exorcism, under the tutelage of Father Xavier (Hinds). When he constantly doubts the methods and facts surrounding exorcism, Kovak is sent to see Father Lucas (Hopkins), who shows him exorcism from a more practical perspective which makes Kovak question his beliefs and what is indeed real.

The first half of the film explores Kovak's struggle. The movie is quick to establish Kovak as a man in conflict, struggling with the decision to work at his family's mortuary business or to become a priest (which is stated in the movie as being the two jobs their family does), but it is his character's doubts about his own beliefs that provide the central theme through not only this part of the movie, but the entire movie in general. The pacing of this part of the movie and the development of O'Donoghue's character moved a bit too slowly for me and most of the scenes showed Kovak arguing with his teacher during classes. The film however picks up when Anthony Hopkins' character makes his appearance and Kovak begins to see exorcism in practice.

The second half of the film follows Lucas, with Kovak in tow, as he conducts exorcism sessions. Despite several instances where the supposed possessed person does and says things they can't possibly know or do, Kovak remains the doubter even when he begins to experience strange phenomena himself. The finale is one of the best parts of the film, where Kovak must put aside his doubts if he is to save a friend. O'Donoghue's character is developed a bit more in the second half but he was still a bit bland in comparison to Hopkins, whose character develops nicely and was much more interesting, providing the audience with a creepy performance reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter.

The scenes and dialogue between Hopkins and O'Donoghue are brilliantly written, with O'Donoghue constantly questioning exorcism practices and Hopkins delivering a calm and logical response from the religious perspective. O'Donoghue himself provided some excellent counter arguments based on science and medical fact and it is this battle of beliefs between Hopkins and O'Donoghue that provide the best entertainment.

The mood of the whole film is very sombre. Most scenes are shot either at night or are very dark and dismal. The film also draws on using dream and hallucination sequences to add that surreal element and the use of close-ups showing the demonic presence in victims were also very well done.

The Rite is a good film that can sit proudly as one of the better films about exorcism. Anthony Hopkins once again delivers a stellar performance in one of his better roles in years. Although the movie starts slowly, the tension builds right through to a fantastic finale and may even make the watcher ask themselves what they truly believe. A definite watch.

MSI X370-018UK 13.4 inch LED Laptop (AMD Dual Core E-350, 1.6GHz, RAM 4GB, HDD 500GB, Windows 7 Home Premium)
MSI X370-018UK 13.4 inch LED Laptop (AMD Dual Core E-350, 1.6GHz, RAM 4GB, HDD 500GB, Windows 7 Home Premium)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MSI X370 Laptop, 26 Jun. 2011
The first thing you notice when it's out of the box is how stylish it looks.

The X370 is made from black plastic with chrome trim. The chrome adds a nice aesthetic touch to the laptop, but as it also surrounds the ports, it provides that little bit of extra protection from potential damage. The lid is glossy black with a honeycomb pattern and when you lift the lid, the screen is an LED glossy screen and the main keyboard area is grey textured plastic. The casing itself is extremely durable, with no evident give on the casing when pressure was applied showing excellent build quality. Its compact and lightweight design doesn't make it feel like a burden to carry around.

When the X370 was booted up, I was impressed by how quiet it was. Even after I put it through its paces, by opening several applications, browsing the internet and doing office-style work, it remained almost silent. Unless you put your ear right down to the laptop itself you would never hear any of the fans or the hard drive working.

The screen is 13.4" corner to corner and provides a maximum resolution of 1366x768 in HD. This is a nice compromise as it's larger than a netbook but smaller than the standard laptop size of 14-15.6" and including the glossy screen, you get a good overall picture. The only issue I had was that the screen was a bit dull and I had to mess around with the brightness settings and the angle of the screen to get the best picture. Regardless of this, the screen size and resolution is excellent and everyone will find there own preference with this.

The keyboard is laid out with individual keys of a decent size. Each key requires the lightest touch to register on-screen so touch-typers will enjoy using this laptop. The palm rests coupled with the textured casing provides a comfortable typing position for your hands. The mousepad is also of a decent size however the buttons for left-right mouse clicks are very stiff and I found I had to really press down hard to get a response.

The X370 comes with a 500GB hard drive and 4GB DDR3 of RAM as standard. Both of these are good for most users and are a good deal considering the overall price of the laptop itself. The absence of an optical drive may annoy some people but in the day when portable hard drives and memory sticks are relatively cheap, this is something that will probably be overlooked and the X370 does come with an SD card reader as an alternative.

The graphics card is the Radeon HD 6310. While this is a great card for the laptop, the X370 is unfortunately not a laptop for those interested in gaming.

The battery life on the X370 sits at 8-10 hours when fully charged which is brilliant when compared against other laptops of this size.

The X370 from MSI is an excellent laptop for those who want it mainly for office work and Internet browsing at a good price. Gamers however will be disappointed that despite the inclusion of a decent graphics card, the X370 does not have enough behind it to provide a decent gaming performance.

Unstoppable [DVD]
Unstoppable [DVD]
Dvd ~ Denzel Washington
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £5.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, intense, edge of your seat stuff, 3 April 2011
This review is from: Unstoppable [DVD] (DVD)
The latest film by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington is a nail biter that keeps you on the edge of your seat for the full 100 minutes.

Based on true events, UNSTOPPABLE is the story of a huge freight train loaded with hazardous cargo trailers stretching half a mile long that begins a runaway journey through Pennsylvania under its own power due to an engineer's negligence. As it builds up speed and threatens to derail in a major town causing a massive disaster, Frank Barnes (Washington), a veteran rail engineer and Will Colson (Pine), a conductor recently out of training, attempt to catch the train and bring it to a stop, with the help of Connie Hooper (Dawson), a rail despatcher.

The film starts by showing Washington and Pine's characters as the typical working class men from opposite ends of the working scale - Barnes is the veteran with all the experience and Colson is the young, newly trained graduate. Colson is assigned to Barnes for that day and they both leave to pick up cargo trailers from a plant. The scenes up to this point highlighted the "out with the old, in with the new" dynamic very nicely, with Colson exchanging words with a few of the older generation, including Barnes, who feel threatened by Colson and those like him pushing them out of a job. Barnes also challenges Colson's knowledge at several points creating a tug-of-war for superiority which Barnes wins every time, much to Colson's dismay.

The film kicks into high gear when Hooper realises the runaway train is under power and accelerating rapidly. She does everything she can to ensure nothing is in the train's path while her boss (played by Kevin Dunn), puts a plan in place to bring the train to a stop. This plan ultimately fails and causes friction between Hooper and her boss throughout the rest of the movie as she assists Barnes and Colson with their plan to stop the train.

The plot as a whole is well-paced and fairly decent, even though not much can go wrong anyway given that it's based on an actual event that took place in Ohio, and never shows any signs of letting up and keeps your attention.

Even from their first scene together on screen, I could see the chemistry between Denzel Washington and Chris Pine and knew I wouldn't be disappointed by their performances. The characters they played were unfortunately a bit flat for my liking, but in the grand scheme of things it's not a big concern. Rosario Dawson was also very good at being the "piggy in the middle" as she tries to assist Barnes and Colson whilst keeping the corporate guys off their backs. Her scenes also keep the plot moving along and her performance overall was generally good for the supporting role.

Overall, UNSTOPPABLE is a thrill-a-minute and was incredibly entertaining, with top class performances from Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, who show throughout this movie that everyone can do their part and be the hero when they're needed.

The Lucifer Code
The Lucifer Code
by Charles Brokaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than Atlantis Code, 12 Oct. 2010
This review is from: The Lucifer Code (Paperback)
This was much better than his previous book, The Atlantis Code.

Much better pacing for the plot, more action, Lourds still up to his sexual adventures with any woman he comes into contact with and an interesting puzzle to solve.

The only reason it didn't get five stars was because of the ending. It winds up to the finale quite well and then ends rather abruptly. Not to give anything away, but given who the main villain is and his history, you'd think he'd be tougher to defeat than how its depicted in this book.

Nevertheless, a good read. I look forward to his next one
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2010 11:25 PM BST

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