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haunted (IRELAND)

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Dark Horse [DVD]
Dark Horse [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jordan Gelber
Offered by DVD Vault UK
Price: £4.69

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark indeed, 14 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Dark Horse [DVD] (DVD)
I had never seen a Todd Solondz movie before but I was aware of his reputation as a maker of dark movies. The first twenty minutes of this movie hint that he has made a somewhat quirky romcom but don't be fooled.

The movie begins as overweight Abe (Jordan Gelber) gets quiet Miranda's (Selma Blair) number after they share a table at a wedding. He phones her and after a couple of awkward encounters they start going out. Perhaps this will lead to a happy ever after ending as this odd couple discover they are perfect for each other.

Maybe not. Abe lives with his parents (Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow) and works for his Dad. He blames everything and everyone but himself for this situation, his parents, his more successful brother. In reality he is completely self-obsessed.
Miranda seems to suffer from depression and is taking a lot of medication. They both desperately want to be loved but perhaps there is a reason that they are unloved. Perhaps they are unlovable and all the wishing in the world won't change this.

Solondz takes an unwavering look at the unattractive traits that we all have and their consequences in our relationships with others. His conclusion seems to be that some people are destined not to have happy lives and perhaps they themselves are the main reason for this. And even if they find some kind of comfort pure bad luck can come in and spoil everything anyway.

Gelber and Blair are excellent in the main roles. In the supporting cast Walken, Farrow and Donna Murphy also excel.

Definitely a film to make you think, though they may not be nice thoughts!

Analyze This [DVD] [1999]
Analyze This [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £4.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Two big stars and an original idea add up to a great comedy, 25 July 2012
This review is from: Analyze This [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
What a great idea! To cast Robert De Niro as a gangster in a comedy. With Billy Crystal as his co-star.

DeNiro plays a mafia boss (Paul Vitti) who has become prone to panic attacks as an important meeting of all the Mafia families approaches. He goes to psychiatrist, Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) for advice just as Sobel's wedding approaches.

The best scenes include Vitti hesitantly making contact with Sobel looking for advice for a "friend". Once Sobel realises whom he is dealing with he tries to get out of the situation but he is made an offer he can't refuse. Sobel's attempt to get married in Florida is also ruined when Vitti follows him there for some professional advice. There is also a very funny scene near the end of the movie as Sobel is presented as Vitti's right hand man to the other Mafia bosses and behaves the way he thinks mobsters should on such occasions.

DeNiro proved in "Midnight Run" that he is an excellent comic actor and Crystal also has been in some very funny movies. DeNiro was a perfect choice as he subverts the tough gangster" character we are used to see him playing to get laughs as the character veers towards a nervous breakdown but still clings to the mafia lifestyle and attitudes he knows best.

Joe Viterelli is excellent as Vitti's trusted but not very bright lieutenant.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift [DVD]
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ray Romano
Price: £3.00

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Run of the mill story -excellent animation, 24 July 2012
Top class animation doesn't make up for a weak storyline in the latest Ice Age movie but it probably won't matter to the makers. After all it's the fourth movie in the series so they must be doing something right.

There are some big names doing the voices, Denis Leary, Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Sean William Scott and even J-Lo! So the budget must have been pretty big and the producers must be confident of still making a profit.

The story involves the characters we are familiar from for the previous movies being separated, as the Earth's tectonic plates start shifting suddenly. Will they all be reunited? You'll never guess!

One part of the gang meets a band of pirates on their travels and this makes it harder for them to reunite with the others. That's about it really.

Wanda Sykes has all the best lines as Sid's slightly bothered long lost Granny

Prometheus [DVD] [2012]
Prometheus [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace
Price: £3.00

10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well made Sci-fi but not a classic, 24 July 2012
This review is from: Prometheus [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
It is inevitable that this movie is going to be compared to Ridley Scott's "Alien", even though they were made more than thirty years apart. Unfortunately "Prometheus" falls short of the deserved "all-time classic" rating that Alien has. I think "Alien" had a mix of action and horror that this movie doesn't have.

"Prometheus" is technically very well made and looks great on the big screen. In particular the special effects are excellent. However the plot is needlessly complicated and there are too many characters. In particular there are too many annoying scientists who "have to find out the truth" about man's origins no matter what the consequences.

The acting is fine. Michael Fassbender is very good as the efficient yet sinister android David who accompanies the scientific expedition to a planet very far from Earth. They go there after a large number of archaeological finds on Earth suggest that aliens from that planet visited Earth in the dim and distant past. Needless to say the passengers and crew on the spaceship "Prometheus" are in for a few nasty surprises.

The action scenes are good but some of the dialogue is dodgy and the end shamelessly prepares the audience for a sequel.

So erase all traces of "Alien" from your mind and you will probably enjoy this movie and then forget it not long after leaving the cinema.

Sunset Boulevard (Special Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1950]
Sunset Boulevard (Special Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1950]
Dvd ~ William Holden
Price: £4.30

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rightly seen as a classic, 18 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had bought this DVD some time ago but only watched it recently. What a treat it is as the movie certainly lives up to its billing as a classic.

Though made in 1950 the movie is years ahead of its time as director Billy Wilder looks at the very dark side of Hollywood.

William Holden plays a down at heel Hollywood scriptwriter who accidentally becomes first the script editor and later a lot more for a reclusive silent movie star, Norma Desmond, played by Gloria Swanson. Due to his dire financial straits he is unable to escape fro her clutches and, despite himself, he starts to tolerate the bizarre life he has made for himself.

However a chance meeting with a young female scriptwriter reawakens his love of writing and makes him realise what he has become. However Desmond will not let him leave her life easily.

The script was co-written by Wilder and is full of black humour and has some great lines. The voiceover by Holden is occasionally annoying, as it tends to say aloud what the viewer can see on screen anyway.

The acting is brilliant. Holden and Swanson make a great couple, in a peculiar way. Swanson's silent movie acting style is perfect for the deluded character of Desmond.
The final scene as she descends the staircase of her mansion to face the cameras is unforgettable. Holden is very good as the brash self-confident writer who has gone as low as he can go.

There are appearances from great directors Erich von Stroheim, as Desmond's faithful butler and Cecil B. De Mille, as himself. Von Stroheim is unexpectedly touching as the man who does the most to keep Desmonds fantasy alive.

The extras are well worth watching, particularly the very informative making of feature.

American Pie: Reunion [DVD] [2012]
American Pie: Reunion [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Jason Biggs
Price: £3.00

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really necessary, 11 July 2012
The first American Pie movie was a very original movie.
It's originality lay in its unashamed poor taste and crude jokes. Viewers couldn't help laugh as age old toilet jokes became the plot to a mainstream movie - and it was funny. The second movie was more of the same but not as funny.

So not surprisingly "American Pie:Reunion" doesn't say anything new.

The old gang get together for their High School reunion and the lads are determined to act as though are in High School even though they now have adult responsibilites. There are a few laughs but not that many and most of actors find it hard not to show that their hearts really aren't in it.

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Trilogy Book 2)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Trilogy Book 2)
by Stieg Larsson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first book -more a precursor to the third, 11 July 2012
I didn't enjoy this book as much as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I thought it dragged a little and when you get to the ending you realise it and third book are two parts of the same story.

We find out more about Lisbeth Salander's family history as she goes on the run after being accused of the murder of three people. Her former lover, journalist Mikael Blomqvist, is also drawn in a possible link between Salander and the victims. The police investigation is also described in detail, though I found some of these characters veering towards stereotypes at times.

The climax is exciting though it does stretch credulity a bit as we must believe that Salander has near superhero powers.

Very readable but not a classic.

Jo Nesbo's Headhunters [DVD]
Jo Nesbo's Headhunters [DVD]
Dvd ~ Aksel Hennie
Price: £3.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far fetched but enjoyable, 4 July 2012
This review is from: Jo Nesbo's Headhunters [DVD] (DVD)
One of the other reviewers described Headhunters as implausible but excellent and that sums up my opinion as well.

The story is about a corporate recruitment "headhunter" who has a sideline as an art thief to finance the expensive lifestyle he has with his gorgeous wife. He is deeply insecure about his wife's affections for him, convinced that she is only with him for the lifestyle he provides.

He hears of a piece of art that, if he can steal and sell, will mean he will never have to worry about money again. However, as soon as he starts to put this plan into effect things start to go wrong in a big way, and he ends up fighting for his life. This results in some great scenes and a few gruesome ones also. There is also plenty of black humour.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, some quite implausible but the fast moving pace means you don't get much time to think about them. The ending is tied up a bit too neatly for my liking also.

Still, "Headhunters" is a very enjoyable thriller.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2012 6:59 PM BST

Inside Job [DVD] [2011]
Inside Job [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Price: £4.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bankers, Regulators, Academics -They were all in on it, 20 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Inside Job [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
I suppose we are all aware of what bankers have done to the economies of the Western world. Anyone who has read a newspaper over the last few years will have an opinion on this maligned profession.

So isn't making a documentary about how the banking industry caused the housing and financial market collapses and how overpaid banking executives were like shooting fish in a barrel? I suppose it is but Charles Ferguson makes a very good job of it by setting out in a fairly simple way how the collapses occurred and also how the roots of it go back to Wall Street's stealthy takeover of the top positions in the policy making arms of the US government such as the Treasury and the Fed.

Nearly all the people with power in these departments had backgrounds in Wall Street and once they were in position to make government decisions they didn't hesitate to favour the organisations that, presumably they had received handsome payoffs from, when they left to do the state some service. They were Inside Men, ostensibly acting on behalf of the state but the results of their actions leaves the viewer to the almost inevitable conclusion that their main concern seemed to be how the regulations governing the industry could be framed to allow these corporations as much freedom as possible to make as much money as possible.

Enough about bankers though. A twist(can a documentary have a twist?) in this documentary was what we see when Ferguson turns over a few rocks in the academic world of the big US colleges. He makes it clear that high ranking academics in a lot of the most prestigous colleges in the US were on the payroll and sometime the boards of companies like AIG, the biggest insurance company in the US before it went bust. At the same time the writings of these academcis was being used to justify some of the light touch regulation requested by the same companies and put in place, in many cases, by former employees of these companies.

Some academics did not look happy to be answering questions on their links to Wall Street.

A superb documentary that will probably make your blood boil.

Gavin And Stacey: The Complete Collection
Gavin And Stacey: The Complete Collection
Dvd ~ Joanna Page
Offered by EU ELECTRIC
Price: £24.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant comedy from start to finish, 20 Jun. 2012
I loved "Gavin & Stacey" from start to finish.

It is the story of the culture clash that occurs when a boy from Essex (Gavin) and a girl from South Wales (Stacey)fall in love. While things don't always run smoothly for the couple they are generally the sanest and steadiest characters in the show.
Around them swirls the hilarious antics of Pamela-Gavin's Mum, Bryn-Stacey's Uncle, Nessa-Stacey's best friend and Smithy- Gavin's best friend.

Kudos must go to the show's writers, James Corden and Ruth Jones(they also play Smithy and Nessa). They achieve a perfect mix of outright hilarity with occasional sadness.

Special credit in the acting stakes must go to Alison Steadman as Pamela and Rob Brydon as Bryn. In the wrong hands these "eccentric" characters" might have semed as ridiculous but instead they are endearing.

It was probably a good idea to finish the programme after three series as it is hard to maintain the high quality of writing but a big thanks for all the laughs we got from the series that were made.

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