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The Hunger Games (2 Disc) [DVD]
The Hunger Games (2 Disc) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Lawrence
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £3.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie with an interesting premise that mostly delivers, 9 May 2012
I was curious to see "The Hunger Games" because of the intriguing premise and a good trailer. I haven't read the book so I can't comment on any similarities and/or differences between the two versions.

The story is set in the future where country is divided into 12 Districts and ruled from the "Capitol". Around 80 years before the Districts rose up against the rulers but were defeated after a bloody conflict. As punishment and a reminder the ruling classes started the annual "Hunger Games" where one male and one female under 18 from each district are selected by lot and brought to the Capitol to compete in a televised survival competition which continues until only one contestant survives.

The film focuses mostly on the female contestant from District 12, Katniss Everdeen. Unusually she has volunteered to compete, after her much younger sister was chosen in the lottery. She is reasonably well equipped for the contest as she is the main breadwinner for her sister and widowed mother and is skilled at hunting for food.

When they get to the Capitol the contestants find that they are huge celebrities. The contrast between futuristic Capitol and the poverty we saw in District 12 is stark.

Each pair of contestants is allocated a mentor to instruct them on how to prepare. The District 12 pair is lucky enough to get Woody Harrelson, (with shoulder length blond hair!). He is a former winner who is now living the good life. Initially he doesn't show much interest in the prospects for the young pair but soon he realises that Katniss, in particular, has the skills to have a good chance of survival and tells her this.

Once the survival "show" starts Katniss puts her survival skills to good use but the show producers are determined to give their viewers a good show and can manipulate conditions when they want to. The action sequences in this part of the movie are very good.

I wasn't entirely convinced by the acting of Jennifer Lawrence in the main role. I thought her facial expression was almost blank a lot of the time. Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks were good in the supporting roles. Donald Sutherland is suitably malevolent as the Capitol President, who recognises the spirited Katniss as a potential troublemaker.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. Even though it is over two and a half hours long it didn't drag as there three distinct parts to the movie
- Introduction and the lottery
- Preparation in the Capitol
- "The Show".

As I write this review I can think of a few weaknesses in the plot that I didn't notice as I watched the movie but maybe that is a good sign of an action movie.

On the downside I thought the last half hour of the movie was disappointing as it involved a dose of teen romance and a "neat and tidy" ending. There are also sure signs that there will be other movies in this series.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2012 11:51 PM BST


Mirror, Mirror (DVD)
Mirror, Mirror (DVD)
Dvd ~ Julia Roberts
Price: £3.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this update of the fairytale. Don't miss the singing and dancing at the end!, 3 May 2012
This review is from: Mirror, Mirror (DVD) (DVD)
"Mirror Mirror" is a bit hit and miss but overall I enjoyed it.

It's based on the Snow White fairytale but tries (maybe a bit too hard) to give it a modern twist.

The aspects of the film I enjoyed were:
- The dwarves being able to turn themselves into giants when they were doing their banditry.
- It was good that the dwarves were interesting characters. This made them as important in the movie as the royalty.
- The scenes in the woods are particularly well made
- There is an unexpected and highly entertaining musical sequence at the very end of the movie. Don't leave the cinema too soon!
- Julia Roberts does a good job as the wicked stepmother, playing it for laughs but not overdoing it
- Lily Collins is good as Snow White, playing the transformation from meek princess to guerrilla fighter quite well.

There were a couple of things I didn't like:
- There was a rather silly part of the plot when the Queen puts a spell on the Handsome Prince (played by Arnie Hammer)
- Parts of the script are weak, resulting in some of the supposedly "funny" lines falling completely flat

I think both children and adults will enjoy this imaginative version of an old story.


I, Robot [DVD] [2004]
I, Robot [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Will Smith
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.63

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Run of the mill action movie, 1 May 2012
This review is from: I, Robot [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Though based on the book by Isaac Asimov this movie is definitely structured as a vehicle for Will Smith rather than a faithful version of a sci-fi classic.

Set in the future where robots are a part of everyday life Smith stars as a cop investigating the apparent suicide of the scientist that did most to develop robots. Needless to say Smiths character, who is very suspicious of robots for some reason, suspects there is more to his death than meets the eye.

From here the movie takes a fairly predictable course as we learn more about the cops back-story, get a huge number of wisecracks from Smith, meet a pretty scientist (Bridget Moynahan) and are treated to some admittedly spectacular action sequences.

However, at the end of the movie I came to the conclusion that there was very little memorable about it at all.


A Separation [DVD]
A Separation [DVD]
Dvd ~ Leila Hatami
Price: £6.89

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing movie. I'd be surprised if viewers weren't greatly affected by it, 26 April 2012
This review is from: A Separation [DVD] (DVD)
I have never been as tense watching a movie as when I watched "A Separation". But is not a political thriller or an action movie filled with car chases. When we watch those types of movies we know that the events we see will never happen to us so we can sit back and enjoy them.

I think the reason I got so "into" this movie is that the events portrayed in it very easily could happen to me or my friends and family. It is basically a domestic drama, starting with a marriage breakdown.

The amazing opening scene shows an Iranian woman and her husband speaking to a judge. She wants a divorce as she has a visa to settle in another country but he says he can't leave, as he has to look after his elderly father, who has Alzheimer's. It's sadly obvious that their relationship has completely broken down. The judge doesn't agree to the divorce but the wife goes to live with her mother. Their teenage daughter decides to stay with her father and he employs woman to look after his father when there is no one else at home.

From there on a series of seemingly insignificant events have major consequences. Giving any more details of the plot might spoil your enjoyment of the movie.

However if you have ever had a sick relative, been angry at your spouse/partner, been unhappy with work someone has done for you or told a lie for what you thought was a good reason I think this movie will affect you greatly.


The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists [DVD] [2012]
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Hugh Grant
Offered by Shop4World
Price: £3.63

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing rather than hilarious, 26 April 2012
There is a good idea at the heart of the plot of this movie. A not very successful pirate gets the chance to get one up on his more successful rivals by winning the annual scientific prize at the prestigious London Royal society as it turns out his companion parrot is actually a dodo, thought to have been extinct for years. However I thought there weren't enough laughs through the movie to make it really entertaining.

The appearance of historical characters such as Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin is interesting, especially since they are both central to the plot and given unexpectedly colourful personalities.

While the movie is presumably aimed at kids there are certainly some things put in the script that are aimed at amusing adults, such as the movie title and the names of the pirate crew, e.g. Pirate with Scarf and Pirate with Gout!

The animation is excellent and the voices enthusiastically supplied by the likes of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman and Brendan Gleeson adds greatly to the enjoyment of the viewer.

Kids will probably love it (especially pirate loving ones!) and there is enough in it for adults to put a smile on their faces.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD + Digital Copy)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Judi Dench
Offered by Mega-Deals
Price: £11.45

151 of 157 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining "feelgood" movie with a superb cast, 17 April 2012
I enjoyed this movie a lot. It has an outstanding cast with some of the greats of British cinema such as Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson. There are also some great supporting actors like Penelope Wilton and Ronald Pickup but as usual Bill Nighy steals the show.

The rather far-fetched story revolves around a group of people in their advancing years who for various reasons, decide to move from the UK to a run down former hotel in India. An enthusiastic but slightly incompetent local young man, played by Dev Patel, runs the hotel.

We see the back-stories of each of the main characters and see how they cope with living in a new continent. There is a predictable quota of amusing and touching moments and you always feel you are in safe hands with the cast of familiar faces.

The ending is predictably neat and tidy and you should leave the cinema with a smile on your face, as I'm sure the makers intended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2013 9:48 PM BST


21 Jump Street  [DVD] [2012]
21 Jump Street [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Channing Tatum
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.50

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very funny in parts but didn't sustain it, 4 April 2012
This review is from: 21 Jump Street [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
21 Jump Street is funny in parts but doesn't keep a high quality of laughs throughout.

The story (based very loosely on the old TV series) is about two young cops who went to the same high school but only became firends at the police academy. due to your youthful looks and poor policing skills they are assigned to an undercover operation in a high to stop the supply of a new drug.

Due to a mix up in their cover stories the cop who was nerdy at school ends up hanging out with the "cool kids" and vice versa. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are well cast as the odd couple who end up learning alot about friendship by the end of the movie. They are also Executive Producers.

The movie is unashamedly crude in the spirit of American Pie and Superbad and that is not a criticism even if I found the bad language a bit tiresome by the end.

There are a constant stream of one liners and funny situations but overall I thought that not enough of them were funny enough to justify giving it a high rating. There have been so many US high school comedies over the last twenty years that a movie really has to be something special to stand out from the crowd. "21 Jump Street" tries hard but doesn't quite manage it.


St Trinian's 2 - The Legend Of Fritton's Gold [DVD]
St Trinian's 2 - The Legend Of Fritton's Gold [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £5.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some big names in the cast. What were they at?, 28 Mar. 2012
With leading British actors such as Colin Firth, David Tennant and Toby Jones you'd expect a movie to be quite good, even if it does have St. Trinians in the title. However this isn't the case.

I didn't see the first modern remake. Perhaps it was a lot better but this movie is quite disappointing.

I wasn't expecting Shakespeare (though I did get some!) but basically it's not very funny, though there are a couple of good lines. The slapstick scenes aren't great. None of the characters are really appealing, the plot is very far fetched and there is a very annoying soundtrack. (OK, I'm getting old and grumpy - I admit it).

Perhaps I shouldn't be reviewing this movie at all as it is probably aimed at teenage girls who would love the idea of running wild in a boarding school while hanging around with Colin Firth and David Tennant. However the movie certainly didn't appeal to me.


Upstairs Downstairs - Series 2 [DVD]
Upstairs Downstairs - Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keeley Hawes
Price: £5.60

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prefer it to Downton, 28 Mar. 2012
My better half is a big fan of "Downton Abbey" and while I do watch it I prefer "Upstairs Downstairs".
Maybe that is because of the crush I've had on Keeley Hawes since "Ashes to Ashes"! Perhaps it's because the plots of Upstairs Downstairs have a slightly darker edge than Downton Abbey.

However I must admit that some of the characters are rather one-dimensional. Even when Sir Hallam Holland, the owner of 165 Eaton Place, finds his life going haywire he seems to wear the same expression. The same is mostly true of his wife, the desperately proper Lady Agnes, played by the aforementioned Ms. Hawes. At least she shows a steely side to her in the last couple of episodes as her marriage faces a crisis.
Alex Kingston as Sir Hallam's bossy sister is an addition for the second series and she had the main storyline in one episode and consistently showed some backbone that generally seemed to be lacking in most of the Upstairs characters.

The "Downstairs" characters are more appealing. I liked the storyline about how the butler's conscientious objector stance in World War I continued to affect his personal and professional life over twenty years later. This part was well played by Adrian Scarborough.
Anne Reid is excellent as the cook but Art Malik is wasted in the peripheral character of Amanjit Singh.

As Holland is heavily involved in Foreign Office dealings with Nazi Germany the viewer watches as the slide towards World War II gathers pace. The series ends with uncertainty at the start of the war, leaving the door open to a third series.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the residents of Eaton Place cope in wartime conditions.


The Muppets [DVD]
The Muppets [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jason Segel
Offered by media vault
Price: £4.92

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to my childhood for a lot of laughs, 28 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Muppets [DVD] (DVD)
When I was a kid The Muppet Show was not to be missed in our house on Sunday night. It was half an hour of anarchic humour, a lot of which I didn't get. However I did admire the weekly guest stars, volunteering to be humiliated by Jim Henson's gang.

This movie is for people of my generation, who can remember the original series. I'm not sure how familiar kids under the age of about fifteen will be with the main Muppet characters. The movie unashamedly comes to the conclusion that things were better in the old days and nothing is as funny as The Muppets. I suspect that Jason Segel, who wrote this movie, is of the same opinion.

The story is about a young Muppet living with his brother (who isn't a Muppet!) in small town America. On a trip to LA they discover that the Muppet Show team have long gone their separate ways and the theatre is about to be demolished by an oil baron.

The only solution, of course, is to reunite the old team for a fund raising concert. The fun begins here and we see what has become of Kermit, Fozzy and Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang. There are some great scenes and lines as we meet the old gang again. There are also some cameos from Jack Black and Sarah Silverman among others.

I'm giving anything away by saying that it all turns out well in the end. My only quibble that there are perhaps too many songs in the movie but that is just personal taste.

All in all, this movie is a great laugh for people of my generation.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2012 8:57 PM BST


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