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Mr. D. Woods "dwoods92"

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Infection [DVD] [2004]
Infection [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Michiko Hada
Offered by hessleoldbooks
Price: £8.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and artful, 30 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Infection [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Another superb horror film from Japan, 'Infection' is jam-packed with tension and unease, making it a worthy addition to any Asian horror fan's DVD collection.

When a highly contagious patient is rushed to the ER ward of an understaffed and overwhelmed hospital, the skeleton staff of doctors and nurses find themselves at the mercy of a mysterious and putrefying virus that decays human beings from the inside out. As is usual with the calibre of Asian horror films, there's far more to it than that and it is highly unsettling watching the medics succumb to the increasingly strange occurrences. The performanaces are excellently played on a knife's edge and the film is genuinely creepy, with even the more obvious scares still making you jump. This is thanks to a well-crafted atmosphere of bleak suspense and the director conveys a sense of hopelessness expertly.

'Infection' isn't quite up to the formidably high standards of 'The Grudge' or 'Ring', as its execution isn't as concise as those classics. Still, the twists are jaw-droppingly surprising, despite some dubious plot direction, and I have to say again that this film had me on the edge of my seat.

A must for Japanese horror fans and anyone who enjoys intelligent horror in general.

Hell Cop
Hell Cop
by David C Burton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive and pacey fantasy, 29 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Hell Cop (Paperback)
David C Burton's 'Hell Cop' is unlikely to reach the mass market, due to its relatively low profile, which is a shame as fantasy and sci-fi fans are bound to get a kick out of this rambunctious story. Following the quest of leading Hell Cop Getter in his quest to save a young girl's soul from eternal damnation in the fires of Hell, the reader is taken on a breathtaking journey, filled with weird monsters, non-stop action and heroes and villains aplenty.

During his quest, Getter discovers a brewing war between Satan and Mephisto, a fearsome and powerful demon who heads up Hell's Security Forces. Getter also realises his destiny is closely entwined with the fate of Hell and, worryingly for him, Mephisto also believes in the prophecy. The joy of this book is the rich and detailed world Burton creates and his sense of pace and adrenalin are adroit, carrying you to the final chapter in breathless time. I did have a couple of minor criticisms: the characters could be a little posturing at times and Getter's love interest, Sneaker, was highly annoying, which made the romantic sub-plot irksome. But the feeling that no-one is ever safe is well conveyed and, after such an open ending, I'd be interested to see a sequel.

Strictly for genre fans only but they will find a gripping read here.

Red Dwarf: Series 6 [DVD] [2005]
Red Dwarf: Series 6 [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Chris Barrie
Price: £6.10

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last great series of a great comedy, 23 Nov. 2007
'Red Dwarf 6' signalled something of an end of an era, as the show never matched its long-running brilliance in the disappointing seventh and eighth series. So this is well worth buying for the simple pleasure of enjoying great comedy at its strongest.

The episodes are superb and still hilarious all these years on. Western spoof (and award winner) 'Gunmen of the Apocalypse' is an obvious highlight, while 'Rimmerworld', 'Legion' and 'Psirens' have laugh out loud moments by the barrel-full. Scenes such as the hapless crew trying to eat a Mimosian Telekenetic banquet and Lister facing off in a guitar playing contest with the infinitely more talented Psiren just epitomise what a wonderful show this was and still is. Even on repeated viewings, I'm still laughing out loud and I haven't even got onto 'Emohawk: Polymorph 2' yet! Let's just say that Ace Rimmer and Duane Dibbley team up to fight a new Polymorph menace and you will get the idea of how terrific an episode this is!

I think the final episode, 'Out of Time', is the best of the Dwarf conclusions to a series and finishes on a surprisingly shocking and ambiguous climax. Considering fans were unsure of the show's future (series 7 came some years later) this was a bold move by writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor and it feels very satisfying. Superb television, never mind great comedy.

While series 7 and 8 had some enjoyable moments, this really was the last time the show was at its zenith, so Dwarfers will want to add 6 to their collections and treasure the show at its undoubted best.

Slipstream [DVD]
Slipstream [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Paxton
Price: £5.00

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A curious little gem, 22 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Slipstream [DVD] (DVD)
'Slipstream' is one of those films that cannot be easily categorised, despite it's sci-fi themes, which is probably why it has slipped off the radar over the years. Notable largely for being Mark Hamill's first big screen appearance since 'Return of the Jedi', there is a considerable amount more to explore and marvel at in what proves to be a highly unique and enjoyable movie.

Sci-fi this may be but 'Slipstream' will not please those looking for alien warfare, flashy technology or general all-out action. In fact, this is a surprisingly philosophical journey of self for fugitive android Byron (the wonderful and sadly missed Bob Peck) and rogue flyer Matt Owens (Bill Paxton) as they mingle in several strange and fragile communities and interact with the inhabitants. It is also hard to ignore the religious overtones, for example Byron's search for a disingenuous place of santuary and peace. It also doubles up as a chase movie, with the two unlikely allies being relentlessly pursued by Hamill's ruthless lawman.

As much as I enjoyed this film, it doesn't succeed entirely in its ambitions and often meanders when trying to search for meaning. Time has not been kind either, with several effects looking extremely dated and eighties rock tracks uncomfortably spliced into the soundtrack. But the chase element is exciting and works well, while the acting is, on the whole, effective. Peck is particularly good, Paxton is good value and Hamill more than shakes off his pristine Luke Skywalker image, as a quite nasty bad guy. Hamill however, despite the hype, isn't really in the film all that much. A shame, as his morally complex cop was arguably the most intriguing character and his performance warranted further exploration.

'Slipstream', as much as I enjoyed it, can only be recommended as a curio more than anything else, as it has many flaws. But for those willing to involve themselves deeper in its concepts, there's a fascinating ride here that many will delight in discovering.

Sunshine [DVD] [2007]
Sunshine [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £2.77

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Majestic but lacking soul, 22 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Sunshine [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
As big a fan as I am of director Danny Boyle and screenwriter/ novelist Alex Garland, 'Sunshine' just isn't the masterpiece these two talented individuals might have conceived. Boyle certainly has no fear about tackling different genres, making him an eminently interesting filmmaker, and his ability to create tension is suitably showcased here. There's also some glorious cinematography and the dialogue is refreshingly devoid of exposition and, mostly, cliche.

For all that, 'Sunshine' lacks a certain something that would make it a great movie and perhaps it lies in the confused message it sends out: is it a space chiller a la 'Alien' or 'Event Horizon' or a metaphysical journey, as with Kubrick's brilliant '2001: A Space Odyssey'? As it transpires, it is neither and this constant sense of conflict leaves you feeling decidedly unsatisfied at the end. Original and effective casting helps the narrative along at times, though I found character actions a little baffling (for example, the crew seem all too ready to line up and sacrifice themselves, without trying to find other ways around the crumbling status of their mission).

Ultimately, I couldn't help but compare this to '2001' and 'Sunshine' falls far short of that classic's scope. But it has plenty of laudable moments and I wouldn't rule out giving it another try at some point in the future. Worth checking out for anyone who's interested.

Manhattan [DVD] [1979]
Manhattan [DVD] [1979]
Dvd ~ Woody Allen
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.43

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that rewards with every viewing, 14 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Manhattan [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
'Manhattan' is absolutely essential for any Allen collector's horde: a wry, intelligent and painfully realistic examination of personal confusion and, of course, human relationships that have become Allen's trademark. The film also showcases some of the best cinematography ever seen on film and a sweeping Gershwin score.

Woody plays Isaac Davis, a neurotic wannabe novelist who hates his television job and lesbian ex-wife, finding solace in a sexually charged but ultimately immature liaison with a 17-year-old college student. He also hates his best friend's mistress, (Diane Keaton again at her best in an Allen film), but soon his resentment of her cerebral haughtiness turns to attraction. The joy, as ever, in Woody's films is the ability he has in writing the complexities of human interaction and drawing the drama out through the characters' foibles and wit. 'Manhattan' is more than the sum of its parts and I always enjoy seeing Allen's characters facing up to the choices they've made and not necessarily resolving their issues as you'd expect. This is beautiful, urgent and honest filmmaking and 'Manhattan', like most of Allen's films, is a special experience for that alone.

This isn't a film with faults as such, though I prefer the likes of 'Annie Hall', 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' and 'Broadway Danny Rose' of Allen's canon. But there is no doubting the quiet power of 'Manhattan' that enriches the viewer's experience in different ways whenever you watch it.

The Descent [DVD] [2005]
The Descent [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Shauna Macdonald
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Claustrophobic and effective home-grown horror, 14 Nov. 2007
This review is from: The Descent [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Neil Marshall deserved a chance to follow up his excellent debut romp, 'Dog Soldiers', and proved he has a real eye for genuine scares in this terrific horror.

A group of women go on a cave-diving holiday and become the victims of some mutated underground nasties, when they get trapped below the surface. Marshall expertly wrings out the tension from the claustrophobic setting of the cave and some scenes will literally have you peering through your fingers, unable to watch. The shocks are well-placed and brilliantly executed and the creatures are creepy and unnerving. The uncomfortable dynamics within the group are played out cunningly by Marshall and add just that bit extra to the sense of tension.

One slight problem I had with this film is that, good as it is to see the originality of women composing the cast in this genre, Marshall doesn't write female parts very well. One particular scene in the cabin near the beginning feels a bit like it was transported straight from 'Dog Soldiers'. But it's a minor gripe and it certainly didn't stop the film from delivering.

The Cave [DVD]
The Cave [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cole Hauser
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £4.05

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spelunk!, 14 Nov. 2007
This review is from: The Cave [DVD] (DVD)
'The Cave' is bound to invite, and suffer, from comparisons to the far superior Brit cave-diving horror 'The Descent'; largely because it is a virtual copy of Neil Marshall's film. But it proves a fairly passable evening's entertainment, particularly if your standards aren't all that high.

OK, this is a 12-rated horror so you can't expect much in the way of scares but I was pleasantly surprised how well the director rattled the story along. The atmosphere is neatly created and the acting is, while patchy in parts, pretty decent on the whole. The trouble is that you've seen it all before (cue 'Descent references !) so 'The Cave' offers nothing new or overly interesting. There is a fairly nifty twist at the end though, granted without any precedence.

All in all, worth a watch on a dull evening and, for a derivative, it has its moments. But 'The Descent' is far more worth your money any day of the week.

Alone in the Dark [DVD]
Alone in the Dark [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christian Slater
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £2.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete and utter Boll..., 14 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Alone in the Dark [DVD] (DVD)
In the grand tradition of films-based-on-video-games-licenses, 'Alone in the Dark' abjectly fails to represent the quality of its source material and that is merely scratching the surface of how completely and utterly awful this film is. To say it's bad even by other video game-turned-film standards probably begins to clarify what a mess Uwe Boll has made and, believe me, it makes 'Doom' look positively Oscar-worthy.

Let's get this out of the way: this isn't so bad it's good. It's simply SO bad. True, bad film fans such as myself will enjoy chuckling away at the sheer ineptness of it all but this is a film with major money and major stars behind it and therefore the lack of quality soon becomes embarrassing. Boll truly deserves his reputation as a filmmaking hack (self-proclaimed too, which mystifies me as to why a Hollywood studio would allow him anywhere near a film set). His direction is sloppy, badly paced and largely incoherent. The plot, though I'm not entirely convinced there was one, is swamped by the appalling continuity, with several scenes simply not going anywhere and random ones occurring without precedence. Fair enough, Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff add some energy to the general torpor but, in a film where Tara Reid is passed off as an archeologist, there really is no saving grace here.

Easily one of the worst films I have ever seen (and, folks, I've seen some bad ones...) which was compounded by the shameless rip-off of 'The Evil Dead' during the very final scene. It was so obvious, it even ruined my enjoyment at realising the whole sorry affair was finally ending.

Monster Island: A Zombie Novel
Monster Island: A Zombie Novel
by David Wellington
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read, 5 Nov. 2007
David Wellington's first in his zombie trilogy is one of those most pleasureable of pleasures: a riveting page turner from start to finish. Surrounding the aftermath of The Epidemic, an infectious mutation that has created a flesh-hungry breed of zombies, the world has been plunged into a harrowing apocalypse. I won't divulge too much of the story but the plot is a strong one and it keeps you glued to the page right until the end. The characters are well-drawn and show enough frailty in the face of such hopelessness to make you believe in, and feel, for them. The zombies are creepy and there's some nice takes on their myth to keep fans happy.

I haven't yet read Wellington's sequels, 'Monster Nation'and 'Monster Planet', but if they continue in this vein then they should be a treat. 'Monster Island' is inventive, has plenty of action, lots of zombie-splatter, a Scottish druid, a Somalian child army, mummies and even zombie pigeons! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good monster mash-up, with an intelligent story-teller driving the narrative. Top notch stuff.

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