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Mr. D. Woods "dwoods92"
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Dust Devil (Director's Cut) [DVD]
Dust Devil (Director's Cut) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Burke

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual horror, 1 April 2008
Richard Stanley's labour of love is one of the most unique films, certainly about a serial killer, that you will ever see. Drenched in religious legacy, the film is heavy going in parts and does have a tendency to drag around the hour mark. But the concept that the Dust Devil is a spirit feeding off the life force of its victims adds a frisson of mysticism to the standard hunt-for-the-serial-killer format that serves the film well.

Robert Burke superbly underplays the Dust Devil with quiet psychosis, as he weaves Chelsea Field's burdened housewife into his web. Field is also great and it is nice to see a more 'real' woman taking on this kind of role than the usual blonde teenager stereotype we see so often. Both characters are pursued by a jaded police officer and the hunt, while lacking pace at times, reaches a satisfying final conflict.

'Dust Devil' is a curious one and it will be too serious and generally offbeat for many. But I'm leaning toward a four star rating rather than three, as it's refreshingly different rather than obscurely different and Stanley exudes a distinctive majesty in his rich direction. Worth a look for indie fans.


Flash Gordon (Silver Aniversary Edition)  [1980] [DVD]
Flash Gordon (Silver Aniversary Edition) [1980] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam J. Jones
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £7.77

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gordon's ALIIVVE?!, 28 Mar. 2008
There really are few films that can compete with this wonderfully entertaining sci-fi camp romp, about an American football player who gets caught up in a galactic struggle against an evil dictator. With energy and pace injected by the bucketful, eminently quotable lines, some fabulously hammy performances (Brian Blessed and Peter Wyngarde in particular are hilarious) and a top notch Queen soundtrack, this is sheer fun and they just don't make them like this anymore!

Of course it should be awful: the script is cheese-on-toast, Sam J Jones was so appallingly bad as the eponymous hero that his lines had to be re-dubbed by another actor, the aliens are able to speak perfect English and the sets and costumes give new meaning to the word garish. But it all works and it works so darn well!!! Director Mike Hodges knows exactly what he's doing and there is never a point where the film begins to take itself seriously. This is one of those pure slices of entertainment that is there to do just simply that- entertain!

I can't think of anyone who hasn't seen this film and not thoroughly enjoyed themselves. If you have seen it and don't own it then I suggest you rectify that now! And be quick about it, there's only 14 hours to save the Earth...

Go Flash!


Frostbite [DVD] [2006]
Frostbite [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Petra Nielsen
Price: £4.00

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb vampire movie, 28 Mar. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Frostbite [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I am surprised at some of the lukewarm reviews here, as I thought 'Frostbite' was not only one of the best vampire films I have ever seen but was executed with real skill by director Anders Banke. Delicious cinematography, an interesting but not overplayed story and decent performances from the cast made this a riveting watch from start to finish.

Banke clearly knows his stuff and doesn't miss a trick throughout this tale of a town that is beseiged by a vampire plague during a month of perpetual darkness (think '30 Days of Night'). The run-time is perfect and every scene makes the most of the worthy script, building intrigue and tension. The story is wisely kept relatively simple, though not at the expense of intelligence. It's superbly crafted but just doesn't bog the viewer down with unnecessary exposition. The underlying humour also makes sure that this film never reaches the realms of pretension.

As for the vampires, they are pretty vicious and uncompromising and their relentless massacre of the town's human inhabitants is painted quite bleakly by the end. They are near unstoppable and the ending (not to spoil things too much) suits this portrayal nicely. I also enjoyed how the film focused on the newly infected vampires dealing with the change, rather than the tried and tested method of following humans in their desperate attempts to survive (though this is in here too!) There's also a fair bit of blood and guts, though this thankfully never substitutes the narrative.

Of course, I should say that it won't be a movie for those who aren't into vamps or horror in general. Also, the fact that it's a Swedish film sadly means that many will never even hear of it, never mind actively seek it out. But, if it were a mainstream movie, then surely cult status would beckon for this little gem. If this is your thing, I urge you to give it a go.


Millennium - Season 3 [DVD] [1996]
Millennium - Season 3 [DVD] [1996]
Dvd ~ Lance Henriksen
Price: £9.56

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A frustrating conclusion to a quality show, 19 Mar. 2008
The third season of the involving 'Millennium' deserves neither the censure of those disappointed by its failure to live up to the ambitions of Season 2 nor the exaggerated praise lavished on it by Carter purists. It's still a strong show, powerfully written and directed and brooding gloriously with understated menace. Still, it is hard not to be disappointed with this season as the show's conclusion, as none of the urgency remains from Season 2 and too many episodes feel like unnecessary filler.

Chris Carter returns after handing over matters to Morgan and Wong during Season 2 (in my opinion, the apogee of the show's entire run) and appears unsure how to proceed with continuing the apocalyptic story. And for me, that is what the show was always about. But, clumsily, Season 3 tries to recapture the serial-killer-of-the-week format from Season 1 while trying to balance Morgan and Wong's story arc from 2 and, in doing so, completely loses all sight of what it's trying to achieve. The internecine struggles within The Millennium Group are now more or less ignored in favour of presenting The Group as entirely evil. Peter Watts' defection back into The Group's fold is never convincingly explained (he betrayed them for Frank at the end of Season 2) and their motives are frustratingly prosaic. Largely, I just felt the scripts had all been done before in Season 1 (and better too) and Season 3 should have been the culmination of the Millennium 'war' if you like.

All that said, Season 3 is pretty good on its own and some of the episodes (such as the heartachingly beautiful 'The Sound of Snow') are among the best produced. I would recommend to 'Millennium' fans that they at least see this, as there's much to enjoy. It's just ultimately let down by a limp conclusion (forget the X-Files episode of 'Millennium' - it doesn't do this show justice) and nothing is satisfyingly answered throughout. Whatever the reasons for this, it is hard not to finish watching this unique slice of television without wanting something more.


Millennium - Season 2 [DVD] [1996]
Millennium - Season 2 [DVD] [1996]
Dvd ~ Lance Henriksen
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £4.03

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most remarkable TV series ever created, 18 Mar. 2008
The second season of 'Millennium' has divided the show's fans as to whether it develops the themes set up in Season 1 or destroys them entirely but I can only see this part of the saga as the moment when it became truly groundbreaking TV. Anchored by Lance Henriksen's incredible performance as Frank Black, new helmers Dan Morgan and James Wong develop the show into an unsettling, clever, twisted and adrenalin-soaked experience.

Don't get me wrong, Season 1 is powerful viewing, but Season 2 simply builds on the themes the show originally presented and creates a signature series that leaves you utterly stunned by its quality. Whatever your feelings on Season 1, it is surely obvious that it began recycling the same formula in each episode and the serial-killer-of-the-week format started becoming redundant by the middle part of the series. I honestly don't think the show could have continued in this vein as it would have become rather stale. Morgan and Wong introduced a story arc, which the show needed, developed the existing characters, built on the supernatural suggestiveness (think 'Force Majeur' from 1) and focused more attentively to the shady Millennium Group; all of which served to create a more exciting and urgent atmosphere as the countdown to the Millennium itself begins.

I also do not agree that Morgan and Wong betrayed the show's roots: the bleak atmosphere remains and episodes such as the brilliant 'The Mikado' disturb you long after viewing. The central theme of man's innate darkness is also more than evident, only The Group are now the example being held up for scrutiny. Oh, and The Millennium Group don't go 'evil' as some people clearly seem to think: there are factions within the Group with different ideologies which adds a far more complex (and, in my opinion, believeable) layer to an organisation that operate behind closed doors. I think most critics of this season cite the 'comedy' episodes as an example of the supposed failings but I just cannot comprehend this. They are outstanding creations of dark humour and, though different to the recognised style of the show, add a refreshing direction. The only standing crticisms I would agree with are the X-Files-conspiracy-feel (though it is pulled off effectively) and Brian Roedekker being an utterly pointless and supremely irritating character addition.

A bold and brave development of an exisiting format that builds to a nail-biting apocalyptic conclusion and I am only saddened that Morgan and Wong could not return to finish the show in their vision. Season 3 is still watchable (in Millennium's unique way!) and I would recommend taking a look if you're a fan but ultimately it's a let down after the heights of Season 2.


The Hitcher [DVD]
The Hitcher [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rutger Hauer

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An undoubted classic, 26 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The Hitcher [DVD] (DVD)
I only saw 'The Hitcher' for the first time last week and I wish I had discovered it sooner. It's a suspenseful, intriguing and (in the best possible way) frustrating masterpiece of the stalker/ slasher genre. When a young man (C. Thomas Howell) stops to offer Rutger Hauer's unhinged drifter a lift, he is drawn into a fateful game of cat and mouse that the audience feels every step of the way.

There's so much to admire about this film. The acting is top notch, with Hauer particularly engaging as he goes straight for the crazy jugular from the off. Howell is also outstanding, superbly conveying an innocent breaking under the mental and physical rigours he is constantly subjected too. There were also several mythical undertones to the film that really gripped me, such as when Hauer places two coins on Howell's eyes, that hinted at a metaphor for life and death. This added to the poignancy of the characters' experience and gave weight to the brilliantly judged understatement of the ending.

Of course, if you just want a good old fashioned thriller, that's right here too! The direction is excellent and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and the film is shot in a decidedly raw indie style, which adds a certain grimness to the proceedings. The film is also not afraid to show some less palatable moments of horror that are timed to perfection.

Trust me, you'll think twice about ordering chips with your next burger...


When A Stranger Calls [DVD]
When A Stranger Calls [DVD]
Dvd ~ Camilla Belle
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £2.40

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If this stranger calls me, I'm hanging up!, 26 Feb. 2008
This review is from: When A Stranger Calls [DVD] (DVD)
I thankfully only rented this guff and was subjected to a painstaking procession of horror cliches and uninspired direction. The script could have been worse but it is severely underdeveloped. Who is the killer? Why is he stalking young girls? Why does Jill keep answering that stupid phone when it's blatantly obvious who's calling? Does anyone care? Oh, that's OK then...

The phone kept ringing every ten seconds which proved to be highly annoying, rather than suspenseful. I also don't agree that accepting this film as a thriller makes it work better. Who cares whether it was wrongly marketed as a horror- it's still completely and utterly rubbish, regardless of genre. Simon West does add plenty of spit and polish to his admittedly luscious shots of the house but they don't add anything to the story and he clearly doesn't have much idea how to create tension, as I couldn't have been further back from the edge of my seat if I'd tried. The acting is pretty limp too, though I've seen much worse and it would be interesting to see what Camilla Belle could do with a better script.

This is a film that epitomises Hollywood horror- formulaic narrative, obvious thrills and no originality whatsoever. There is no attempt made to uncover the secrets the film presents (whether intentional or not, this doesn't work) and there are too many witless set-ups that have been spliced into the film purely to try and create a few cheap scares. I mean, WHO has an aviary in their house for God's sake?! And, as soon as I saw the cat, I said to my friends, " I bet it jumps out at the girl at some point". Then guess what happened...

The ending is appalling too and feels lazily tacked on to engineer some kind of resolution. An awful movie and one you shouldn't really bother with, regardless of what genre you're a fan of.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 28, 2015 5:54 PM GMT


Millennium - Season 1 [DVD] [1996]
Millennium - Season 1 [DVD] [1996]
Dvd ~ Lance Henriksen
Offered by Side Two
Price: £9.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but developed in the second season, 19 Feb. 2008
I know this will irk most fans of 'Millennium' but, for me, Season 1 just doesn't compare to the outstanding Season 2, which was one of the most daring, inventive and captivating pieces of television ever to be made. I've always found it rather difficult to comprehend that 1 is preferred by fans, as 2 just has so much more going on. Don't get me wrong, I watched Season 1 first and got hooked on the show but it has its limitations.

First though, I'd rather praise 'Millennium' as it is such a unique work and Carter may even have witnessed his finest hour here. Season 1, as with all seasons, features excellent acting (Lance Henriksen gives the performance of his career as Frank Black), evocative scenes and powerful themes that carry the viewer's interest. It is refreshing to watch a show that doesn't try to mollycoddle the audience and to say it is dark is a vast understatement. The killers and criminals featured in the episodes are genuinely frightening and being allowed shots of their psyche leaves an impression on you that is hard to shift. My main problem with Season 1 (and also why I think the show came into its own during Season 2) is that the storylines are very repetitive and follow virtually an identical formula throughout. As a result, the middle part of the series loses momentum badly and it is only when more supernatural undertones are introduced towards the final third that it becomes gripping again.

But it is a brilliantly made series and it's a crying shame that it didn't continue for another two seasons, after the third run. Perhaps this is also understandable, as 'Millennium' is most definitely not a show for everyone and many will find it too unpalatable to handle for long. Personally though, I think it's remarkable and deserves more recognition.


Creative Zen V+ 4GB
Creative Zen V+ 4GB

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't want no Pod!, 19 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Creative Zen V+ 4GB (Electronics)
I have owned this excellent little mp3 player for nearly a year and cannot fathom where some of the criticisms listed here are coming from. The player is compact, easy to use and the software a cinch to install and this is from one of the most incompetent technophiles you'll ever meet! Of course, these things are always relative but I would recommend a Creative player over Apple (or any other brand for that matter) to anybody.

I have also found it to be durable, though I wouldn't advise bouncing it up and down on a pavement! The battery life is also reasonably good and I tend to get 4-5 hours playback after a full charge. My only minor gripes are that the pre-packaged headphones aren't that great (but they do the job) and the player reached full storage capacity well short of its 2000 song claim (possibly down to me ripping my files at a high resolution rate!)

I think I should also point out that I use my mp3 exclusively for music, so I can't really comment on any of the other features. But it does that job exceedingly well. A worthy investment.


Hannibal Rising [DVD]
Hannibal Rising [DVD]
Dvd ~ Helena Lia Tachovska
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-made but misses the point, 30 Nov. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hannibal Rising [DVD] (DVD)
Hannibal the Cannibal returns in the youthful form of Gaspard Ulliel, to portray the formative years of Thomas Harris' infamous creation. And, expecting the worst of this prequel to the excellent Lecter saga, I was pleasantly surprised to find an interesting and watchable effort.

'Hannibal Rising' is filmed very much in a glossy European style, which makes it visually different from the other Hannibal movies and this gives it a sense of poetry and majesty. The pace of the story is quite good, moving the two hour running time along nicely, and I was impressed with Ulliel, who convinces as a cold and soulless killer. I could see him fulfilling Lecter's destiny and he has clearly invested a lot into the role. Gong Li is also wonderful and she delivers a beautiful enigma to the film that adds intrigue to the proceedings. The gore is well-handled and necessary to the plot and the script is pleasingly free of expositional dialogue.

Nonetheless 'Hannibal Rising', while much better than the limp 'Hannibal' and the toothless 'Red Dragon', falls far short of the brilliant 'Lambs' and 'Manhunter'. The main problem is that the premise of the entire film (why Hannibal became such a monster) is frustratingly simplified and you never get the impression that this is a psychologically complex man, who is dangerous by virtue of nature itself. Rather, the film opts to explain Hannibal's diabolical predilections by having him victimised by characters who are even more amoral than he is, therefore turning this into little more than a revenge movie. I felt a film exploring the very nature of Hannibal himself would have delivered so much more. The characters are also very sketchily drawn and you never feel like you've got under their skin. Nor does the relationship between Lecter and Lady Murasaki ever really convince (for example, why does she continue to protect him when clearly appalled by what he is doing?) Too much is left to guesswork and, although I liked the script's intent to not gift the audience insights, it just all felt too random at times.

So it's not as bad as I expected but it's still a far cry from the film it could've been. Ultimately, a missed opportunity.


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