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R. Fisher "entertainment lover" (west midlands uk)

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The X Files: Season 2 [DVD] [1994]
The X Files: Season 2 [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ David Duchovny
Price: 14.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Top of its game, 12 April 2010
The X-files second season sees the show at the top of it's game, successive high calibre engaging standalone stories, coupled with the mythology and the beginning of the overreaching alien story arcs are both of fantastic quality.

Following the end of season 1 the X-files has been shut down and Mulder and Scully have been resigned, partnered with Alex Krychek, Mulder soon finds himself hunting for a kidnapped Scully. With the pair reunited the continue their exploits into the paranormal with personal and shocking results.

Episode after episode the X-Files would be turning out quality episodes, in the 25 episode season only a few episodes would not be up to par. The stories would range widely from serial killers to possession, we would also see the first comedic episode, which at this point, were written excellently, while the standalone stories would be something different and fresh each and every episode.

The mythology also would really kick into gear this year, while season1's stories had been fairly formulaic, with little overall bearing. the two and three parters of season 2 would set in motion the true underpinning story of the X-Files, and while it would wane somewhat as it continued, the second season consistently gave exciting and dramatic alien stories.

Overall season 2 was the hey-day of the X-Files proving to be one of, if not the best season, with polished stories, both atmospheric and well scripted as well as the overall conspiracy storyline flourishing makes season 2 compulsive X-Files at it's best.

The X Files: Season 6 [DVD] [1994]
The X Files: Season 6 [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ David Duchovny
Offered by Discs4all
Price: 17.80

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rather mixed season of the paranormal, 9 April 2010
Hot from the success of the X-files movie, Season 6 would see the show relocated from rainy Vancouver to sunny Los Angeles, and that prevalent X-Files atmosphere would be largely lost in the shows move.

Picking up where the movie left off the X-files have been reopened, but with Jeffrey Spender calling the shots, as the season continues we see the mythology effectively wrapped up neatly before a discovery in Africa threatens to change the concept of human evolution.

Season 6 was largely a mixed bag, following the move, the shows tipped largely towards comedy with mixed results. Certain comedic episodes did work very well "Dreamland I & II" while others were silly and poorly conceived like "The Rain King". However the atmosphere was irrevocably changed with very few episodes being dark or creepy. Special mention to 'Milargo' a twisted, engaging and bleak episode that really stands out from the others.

The mythology is brought to a close with 'Two Father/One Son' which is handled well considering how layered and confusing those episodes had become. However as a result the rest of the season and the subsequent season 7 are largely lost and confused as to where to take the new mythology, making for a rather unsatisfying viewing experience.

Season 6 has it moments, but is a far cry from what the show was as little as two seasons previously, the mixture of comedy horror and drama makes for something of an unbalanced mix, as the majority of the episodes sadly tend to be nothing special and forgettable making for a mediocre season overall.

X Files: Season 7 [DVD]
X Files: Season 7 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Duchovny
Offered by Discs4all
Price: 16.75

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tired and ordinary, 9 April 2010
This review is from: X Files: Season 7 [DVD] (DVD)
With Season 7 it was clear the X-files was rapidly running out of steam, David's Duchovny's desire to move on overly apparent, as the show descended even further. The season was largely dominated by comedic episodes, or bland standalone episodes, after effectively wrapping up the mythology mid season 6, the following stories seemed somewhat pointless and confused, as to what they were trying to achieve.

Picking up from the end of season 6 Mulder is taken by the cigarette smoking man and prepared for the operation while Scully struggles to resolve the mystery of the artefacts found in Africa and find her missing partner. With the pair reunited the continue to explore the X-Files, bringing closure to the case of Mulder's sister before finally ending up back where they started seven years earlier.

The main problem with the X-Files season 7 isn't that the episodes are bad (With the exception of Signs and Wonders, First Person Shooter and Fight Club) merely that the stand-alone stories were merely okay, gone was the excitement and atmosphere of the earlier seasons replaced with a more comedic tone with episodes becoming increasingly more silly. Some worked well like 'Hollywood A.D' while others were plain awful like 'Fight club'. Regardless the episodes in general highlighted how far the X-Files have moved away and decreased in quality, since it's early days.

The mythology as well also suffered, seemingly having not been planned out post season 6, and while the conclusion of Mulder's search for his sister does bring closure, containing some poignant moments, it was simply unnecessary. The final episode serves as the catalyst to reinvigorate show, bringing in new characters, a changed atmosphere and a focused mythology which was notably missing from season 6 and 7.

All in all season 7 was bland and unexceptional, very few, if any episodes, stand out after watching them. The atmosphere of show had been greatly reduced and the end product also provided a glimpse of the troubles behind the camera, making season 7 a very tired season indeed.

X Files: Season 8 [DVD]
X Files: Season 8 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gillian Anderson
Price: 24.24

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New life, 4 April 2010
This review is from: X Files: Season 8 [DVD] (DVD)
Following the shows relocation from rainy Vancouver to sunny Los Angeles, at the end of season 5, the X-Files had steadily moved away from it's starting point, largely dominated by hit and miss comedy episodes "Dreamland" "The Rain King, "Fight Club" "Je Souhaite" "The Goldberg variation" (and the unintentionally laughable "First Person Shooter") to name a few, as well as the overall mythology suffering, effectively being rounded up mid season six, the attempts that followed largely unnecessary until the season 7 finale. It would be season 8 that would change all this.

Picking up where season 7 left off, the hunt for the missing agent Mulder is on, after initial results prove fruitless the pregnant Scully is reluctantly partnered up with sceptic agent Doggett, the pair continue to explore the cases of the x files, culminating in the conclusion of the search for Mulder, and the threat against Scully's unborn child.

The abduction of Mulder and the mythology that would spawn from it coupled with the introduction of Robert Patrick's character, would prove to be the creative adrenaline shot the show needed. The initial Mulder-less episodes would return to the X-Files early days, with monsters of the week or spooky paranormal phenomenon, establishing a much more dark and gritty tone, successfully recreating the brooding atmosphere that was sorely missing from past few seasons.

The second half of the season is largely entrenched in the mythology episodes, which prove to be much more focused than some of the overly layered story arcs before them. Mulder's return added a new dynamic to the show as he finds himself removed from the x-files. The two part finale being one of the most action packed and enjoyable rides the show has ever produced ending on a tender moment for long time fans.

While Mulder's departure inevitability changed the X-Files, (the missing Mulder/Scully chemistry) Season 8 remains a fantastic season, some fans dismissed it from the get go without giving it a chance, or not wanting to face the prospect of a Mulder-less X-files, but the more brooding standalone and tightly paced mythology episodes, would elevate the show above the overly indulgent seasons 6 and 7 and prove to be a excellent season.

Funny People [DVD] [2009]
Funny People [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Adam Sandler
Price: 3.00

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Humorous but lacking, 29 Aug 2009
This review is from: Funny People [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Following 40 Year Old Virgin (XXL Version) [DVD] [2005]and Knocked Up [DVD] [2007] Judd Apatows next film proves to fall short.

Comedian George Simmons is terminally ill and largely unhappy with how his life has turned out.Spotting potential talent is the young Ira, at a stand-up gig, he hires him to write some new material. The two slowly form a friendship as George battles with his illness; looking up his ex finance whom he still has feelings for. George miraculously overcomes his disease and becomes close with is ex again; despite her now being married with kids.

Aptows usual laugh at minute spiffy dialogue, apparent in his previous works is largely absent form Funny People, particularly as the film progresses, veering very strongly into drama territory and largely lacks the fun and good natured spirit of its predecessors. Funny People's runtime seems over long and somewhat self indulgent, with the directors wife and kids taking centre stage. The film could have done with tightening up and would have benefited with a good 20-30 minutes cut from the running time. It also contains many cameos from comics, but these never seem as hilarious as they should be.

Sandler's character Simmons is also a rather unlikeable lead, while he is insecure and facing his illness he is frequently horrible and self serving, far form Apatows usual loveable characters. Seth Rogen plays the same character he always seems to play and is amusing throughout, having some of the best lines, while the support cast have some good laughs between them.

That's not to say the film doesn't have it moments: the banter between the flatmates proves rather amusing, the visit to the doctor also proves to be hilarious and what you would expect from an Apatow flick. Sandler himself has a fair few good lines, whilst the film pokes fun at his actual carer and Eric Bana proving to be actually rather amusing playing on his Australian roots.

Overall the film is too long and only speraticlly funny, but the funny parts are Apatows classic humour and its certainly worth seeing, if your a fan of his films, just don't be expecting it to be any of the talents best work. Sadly funny people falls a bit short of the mark.

The Ruins [DVD]
The Ruins [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jonathan Tucker
Price: 3.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an effective little horror, 29 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Ruins [DVD] (DVD)
Four American university students are winding down the last few days on vacation down in Mexico when they befriend a German holidaymaker who tells them of some previously unexplored ancient ruins that his archaeologist brother has discovered and that he's heading out to the ruins tomorrow to join up with him, tired of just lounging around soaking up sun the group agree to head out with him to the ruins, upon arrival the group are terrorised by locals who wont allow them to leave quarantined atop the ruins the group soon learn that the heat and lack of water are the least of there problems.

Based on Scott smith's novel of the same (which I'll admit I've never read but have a strong desire to now I've seen this) the ruins surprised me being a very effective little horror. the film starts out fairly slowly as we are introduced to the characters and there respective relationships a very typical opening for survival horror movies as were given the rudimentary low-down of each character however once the group reach the ruins things start to heat up.

What makes the ruins so effective for me is not the the horrors that lie inside the ruins but the human horror, while the cast aren't exactly Oscar winners they do a very convincing job of conveying the terror of the situation as members of the group delve deep into the ruins creating heart thumping tension. , the paranoia of infection that rapidly escalates between the group and the slow realisation that no one is coming for them sets a real sense of foreboding as the characters turn on each other as well as themselves.

When I say the ruins is gory I do not say it lightly, the 'surgery' and 'removal' scenes easily rank up there with the likes of the saw and hostel movies they were gasps of horror in the cinema which should give you idea of how bad they are definitely not for the squeamish. However there's not that many scenes of gore there few an far between so when they do happen they have even more effect on the audience. The mixture of gore and tension work well together and make for a great combination.

The ruins is at heart a B-movie especially when it comes to what's actually inside of the ruins (day of the triffids anyone?) but believable performances from the cast , healthy amounts of tension and gore elevate it above the usual horror fare and make this one a winner if you a horror fan this is definitely worth checking out. It'll certainly 'get under your skin...'

Terminator Salvation [DVD] [2009]
Terminator Salvation [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.33

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As souless as a machine, 8 Jun 2009
The fourth film in the franchise proves to be a soulless affair, a string of well orchestrated action set pieces are the heart of the film, strung together with a plodding and unengaging story,

Set in 2018 we find John Conor as a member, though not leader, of the human resistance, with the T-800's on the verge of mass production the resistance develops a plan to end the war with sky net before the machines put an end to them. Meanwhile Marcus Wright a death row inmate from 2003 finds himself in an unknown future aided by a young kyle Reese.

The real star of the story is Marcus the only character to receive any significant character development, of what it means to be 'human' though even this is executed heavy handily while attempting to give the film an emotional underpinning it fails to gel and whole concept feels hollow due to the poor script.

Christian bale as Conor is a fairly one dimensional affair, there's a big jump from T3 to T4 and Conor is already a battle hardened veteran, with no look at how he got there. Bale is limited in the role to gruff shouting and little else with little with him to play with thanks to dull character writing throughout.

The supporting cast is fairly uninspired, Kate Brewster has very limited screen time with little interaction or chemistry with Conor, her character is largely underwritten, suffering from the same effect are Conor's first lieutenant and Blair who have little input to the story. The young kyle Reese is actually quite good and one of the few engaging aspects that's not an explosive action.

The story itself is rather drab, it adds nothing to the franchise with little bearing and direction, it serves as stopgap between the next big action set piece and is wrapped up neatly by the end of the film adding an air of pointlessness to the whole affair. The script is dry and unimaginative with bland and one dimensional characters throughout giving the audience little to engage with other than explosive spectacle and sorely lacks the depth of the first two films.

The action scenes themselves are the film's strong point, they remain fast paced and enjoyable however the lack of substance of the story nulls their impact. They occur frequently and with explosive style; director McG shows he can do action well with some engaging fights notably the opening sequence and the finale ( featuring the most pointless cameo ever)but they can't redeem the film on the whole.

All in all Salvation proves to be an explosive action packed film which lacks the substance which made the original films so great. The dull script and shoddy character writing cant be redeemed by the barrage of set pieces. There's some limited enjoyment to be had but T4 is far from salvation for the franchise.

Overall 5/10
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2009 5:42 PM BST

Prison Break - Season 4 (plus Final Break) [DVD]
Prison Break - Season 4 (plus Final Break) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Wentworth Miller
Offered by Discs4all
Price: 9.23

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All good things..., 16 May 2009
Prison break enters its fourth and final year having trouble finding it's footing, but brings it back with a strong conclusion.

The story picks up with Michael is in pursuit of Gretchen and Whistler, following there break out of Sona, eager to get his hands on the whistler's book and payback for Sara's 'death'. However bigger problems loom overhead, as the company come gunning for anyone sticking there noses into their business. Reluctantly Michael and Lincoln along with Sucre, Bellick, Mahone, Sara, and Ronny (a new and incredibly annoying addition)join an off the books Homeland security operation, headed up by agent Self, and aim to bring down the company by getting their hands on Scylla. However things rapidly spiral out of control as Michael's becomes ill, forcing Lincoln to make some tough decisions as the race to find Scylla comes to a head in Miami. The players make one last desperate scramble to get themselves out of the mess they find themselves in.

The first half of season four revolves around the team getting their hands on the key cards and Scylla itself. It just doesn't quite gel, while its a natural progression for the show, its so far removed from its core concept it feels somewhat misplaced; coming across a a mix between and Oceans 11, the A-team and Mission Impossible at times. Another recurring problem is, a lot of the time, the stories feel somewhat strained, every episode something goes wrong with the plan and as such they have to work around it and at times it just feels like padding slowing down the main story.

The writing itself doesn't seem quite as good as it has been. For example remember season three where the company makes all the effort to get Michael into Sona because he's the only man who can break out? Well in the first episode, over the radio, we hear the prisoners started a riot and all escaped. Its incredibly lazy and Sona is just brushed under the carpet so Sucre, Bellick and T bag can interact with the other cast.

Thankfully the characters remain as interesting as ever (though it does take sometime for T-bag to come into his own again). The rapport between the brothers is strong and while in the other seasons, being on the run or breaking out, this season has it's quieter moments developing the characters a lot more; particularly the relationship between Michael and Sara, Gretchen's past, and Mahone's vengeance sub-plot giving a broader look into the characters as well as introducing new ones.

The final season pulls no punches either. A lot of characters bite the dust, be they introduced this season or being present from day 1. At times its truly shocking and gives that buzz of anything could happen.

Following the mid-season twist the fourth season stalls a bit, the episodes loose their focus and the direction of the story seems all over the place, notably for episodes 13-18, much like how season 2's story began to meander around. Michael's head trip reunion with Westmorland, the hunt for Scylla making no progress and characters simply disappearing.

Regardless the last 4 episodes bring Prison break back for an exciting finish, the story kicks into overdrive as we are treated to a fast paced race to the shows conclusion. The tension returns along with the 'must watch next episode' feeling which had been absent for the majority of this season.

As for the finale itself it's rather good, Prison break goes out on a high as were treated to a cast reunion, including the long overdue return (if rather improbable, but hey it's prison break) of my favourite character as the story reaches it's conclusion, some of the plot devices seem a little eleventh hour but it brings about a satisfying conclusion. The final scene skips ahead four years, with one last trip to Fox River, and ending on a bold and bitter-sweet note.

It's been quite a ride, the show could have easily ended after season 2, and as such the this season lacks the overall quality of the first seasons, it feels a little out of place, some mid season episodes stall the story and its as far removed as possible from its original premise; but regardless it makes a enjoyable and solid conclusion to a good show.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 26, 2010 2:23 AM BST

Dollhouse - Season 1 [DVD]
Dollhouse - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Eliza Dushku
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: 8.53

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss, 15 May 2009
This review is from: Dollhouse - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
At times this show is great and at times it's painfully bland.

Dollhouse is an interesting experiment and is not wholly successfully, but there's still plenty of fun to have with Whedon's latest venture.

The show revolves around Caroline/Echo who is a 'doll' in the Dollhouse. The Dollhouse itself supplies people for hire to fulfil your needs or wildest fantasises for the wealthy. These people have their memories wiped, acting as an empty shell, and upon being hired have the clients chosen personality's imprinted on them; be it a spy or hostage negotiator etc. Meanwhile FBI agent Ballard struggles to expose the organisation; much to the disbelief of his peers.

Dollhouse stumbles in it's opening episodes trying to find it's footing and as such the first five or six episodes comprise of standalone stories of the week, which are fairly mediocre affairs leaving the show has little direction up until this point. The standalone narrative does little for the show and as the main character is constantly wiped we learn next to nothing about her, as such as an audience we cant really engage with her. Also if you were spending obscene amounts of money for a doll, would you really programme it just be your girlfriend as one client does?

Man on the street is where things start to pick up, the story finds it's footing, with Whedon's witty dialogue seeping in, being sorely missed up until that point, character development improves and we are treated to some excellently choreographed fight scenes ( with more to come which is surprisingly one of Dollhouse's best points). From this point the show has it's share of stronger episodes but is again occasionally blighted by weaker ones. The shows proves to be at it's best when it proceeds with the continuing story arc as opposed to the standalone episodes.

Credit must go to Eliza Dushku for a solid lead performance however, at times, it seems she struggles from trying to play so many different characters. Other Whedon regulars to make an appearance include Amy Acker and Alan Tudyk later in the season. All the characters revolve around or work in the Dollhouse and we learn more about them as the season develops; some work well like Boyd others such as Topher however are largely annoying.

A shaky start with lack of direction, some poor episodes (Stage fright and Echoes in particular), a lack of a likeable lead character due constant personality wipes make it hard to get into Dollhouse but as the season progresses things improve. The second half of the season has stronger episodes and more character development, all culminating to the finale. The finale itself is enjoyable but some changing motivations minor plot-holes blight it somewhat but the good outweighs the bad with a few good twists, a superb performance by Tudyk, some stylised direction and a show that finally seems to have found it's footing. It's left wide open for season 2 but only time will tell if we get one.

All in all Whedon's latest is not without its problems nor is it Buffy or Firefly, it struggles to assert itself and find it's identity (much like it's lead character) but its an interesting and at times very entertaining show once you get past the initial episodes. Worth checking out just don't expect brilliance.

Supernatural - Complete Fourth Season [DVD] [2009]
Supernatural - Complete Fourth Season [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Jensen Ackles
Price: 7.92

104 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From strength to strength for the Winchester boys, 15 May 2009
The fourth season of Supernatural provides a great mixture of scares, action and humour effortlessly delivered from it's leads.

Picking up a few months after the end of season 3, Dean wakes up six feet under with no clue how he got there and a strange marking upon his body, Dean reunites with the now reclusive Sam whose developed some extra curricular activities with Ruby since his brother's been gone. They hit the road with a new 'divine' mission to prevent the breaking of 66 seals to release Lucifer himself.

The fair majority of the character development revolves around Dean this season, a refreshing change, as he has been somewhat overshadowed by the recurring story arc of Sam's special powers at times. Ackles give a powerful performance as Dean guilt stricken by his experiences from hell and increasingly worried about his brother.

Padalecki gives a strong showing as Sam, the character is much darker than before and it becomes increasingly clear Dean's absence has had a profound effect on him. Padalecki plays the darker side of Sam well as the season progresses we see his descent into deeper and deeper into darkness and further away from his brother.

The two still retain their on screen chemistry that makes them such a likeable pair, be it humorously bickering, standing side by side or becoming more and more confrontational, the two play off each other very well; as always.

The season offers a variety of great episodes from the absolutely hilarious, like Yellow Fever, creepy old school horror, like Family Remains, to the continuing story arc in Lucifer rising. The episodes play off each other well with more comedic offset by the continuing story or a creepy episode.

Stand out episodes include In the Beginning, Heaven and hell, After school special, On the head of a pin, The monster at the end of this book, Jump the shark and Lucifer rising. From suicidal teddy bears to unknown family ties this season has it all.

Season 4 proves to be a yet another great season, with great performances from both leads, varied and well written stories, impressive direction and a killer cliffhanger for the 5th (and very possibly final) season. Supernatural remains compulsive viewing.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2010 10:20 PM BST

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