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Eoin McLove

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FIFA 13 (PS3)
FIFA 13 (PS3)
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.23

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best FIFA yet, but inevitably not perfect, 30 Sept. 2012
This review is from: FIFA 13 (PS3) (Video Game)
Although I've said that FIFA '13 isn't perfect, I have still given it five stars for the simple reason that it is an outstanding game. It is a significant (but not revolutionary) improvement on FIFA '12, and, as with all FIFAs, I'll be playing it until the next game is released.

I received the game on pre-order, one day before the official release date. My thing with FIFA is always to play Career Mode, taking a struggling club out of a probable relegation battle to future glories; I love the challenge of building up a mediocre squad and making it into something special over many seasons. To that end, I am now half way through my first season with Southampton, playing on World Class mode, which is fiercely challenging.

I can't comment on online modes, 'Be a Pro' or suchlike, so my review is based solely on Career Mode and gameplay against the CPU. I have been playing the FIFA franchise since FIFA International Soccer was released on the Sega Mega-Drive in 1993.

With regards to gameplay, there is a noticeable difference from FIFA '12. The first touch system requires you to play more carefully than ever, as you have to be extremely skilful with the weight of your passes, and similarly with how you receive them; I find myself using the 'L2' trap-ball button quite a lot to ensure that, when I receive a rapid ball, it stays with me. In my opinion, this system is an excellent addition to the game; it requires an element of strategy, and reflects the reality of football. You can't just tap-tap-tap passes around the CPU any more. The whole game feels 'looser', and I find myself playing quite nervously, worrying that I'll make a heavy pass and lose possession. On the upside, you can hoof a ball up the pitch to your striker, and rather than it being cleanly defended like in FIFA '12, there's a risk of the defence messing it up, leaving your striker to run on to a loose ball and clean up.

Strength seems to play a more important part in the game than FIFA '12. It was claimed by the developers of FIFA '12 that player strength and stature would determine who would win the battles for the ball, but, after about 400 16-minute games against the CPU, I can't say that I really identified this. However, FIFA '13 undoubtedly does factor in player strength; although player speed continues to remain important, it is possible for a slow, cumbersome player to outmuscle an opponent on the wing simply because he has the bigger build. Again, this makes the game much more realistic, and you don't feel that you have to build a squad full of 90+ ranked speedsters to beat the CPU on World Class mode and above.

In Career Mode, the presentation is much improved from FIFA '12. I am always very dubious about claims that graphics have been enhanced, but, undoubtedly, FIFA '13 is noticeably improved in this respect; everything feels sharper and brighter, but unfortunately (but as expected), the crowd graphics are still quite poor in some cut scenes.

The 'Sky Sports'-style presentation is fantastic. There is even the Kasabian 'Club Foot' signature introduction on each League game. The use of Alan McInally and Geoff Shreeves making comments on injuries and other games is very good, and adds a new dimension of realism to the game. Even the basic commentary from Martin Tyler and Alan Smith seems to have had a revamp, although understandably there remain the usual phrases from FIFA '12 and before. The commentary is generally more intelligent, and it's great to hear comments on new signings facing their former clubs, or on strikers who haven't scored in eight games, for example.

Career Mode feels more immersive with the introduction of commentary on team positions in the league, upcoming games, and past results, when in the main Career Mode menu. For me, this adds real depth to the game, and I'm really happy that EA has taken note of fans' suggestions to include this.

The transfer system in Career Mode is improved, as I am sure people have read elsewhere. The ability to ask clubs for more money when bids are received makes everything that much more realistic and interesting. You can also 'enquire' about players that you're looking to sign, to give you an idea of how much the club wants from you. It's all that bit more fun from FIFA '12.

The news flashes are more meaningful, as stories which directly affect you come up in a new menu on the screen, forcing you to take note; in FIFA '12, I found that these stories were generally insignificant, and I often couldn't be bothered to read them. You'll occasionally get news about players being unhappy with their lack of first-team action, or a strong-performing player saying that he feels he deserves a higher salary. Admittedly, it's not like Football Manager, but it's gradually moving in the right direction.

An excellent introduction is more information on players in their stats menu, such as 'Has that something special', or 'Showing great potential', which adds some more depth. I believe that these statuses partly dictate a player's value.

The Youth Academy system is unchanged, as far as I can make out, which is quite disappointing. However, it remains to be seen whether, as in FIFA '12, you will scout a player, build him up, only to find that he's absolute rubbish, in spite of your scout in Portugal saying he's the best thing since Ronaldo.

I'll admit that Career Mode does feel like a bit of a cut-and-paste job, on the whole. Granted, the revamped transfer system, out-of-game commentary and news menus are welcome, but on the whole, it really isn't anywhere near being outstanding - but then this is what expect: evolution not revolution.

The gameplay has its flaws. Defending against the opposition on World Class mode is extremely difficult. It is often a game of containment, and you have to be very careful not to get too close in the box for fear of giving away a penalty, even if you're not making a tackle. This needs to be refined by EA. However, on modes below World Class, I imagine it's much easier, but where's the fun in that!

In short, yes, it is definitely better than FIFA '12, and you won't want to go back after playing this. Don't expect a massively different game engine - that happened last year with FIFA '12 and tactical defending - but the first touch system is original enough to make this a new game of strategy.

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) [DVD]
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Laurence R. Harvey
Offered by bestmediagroup
Price: £4.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Controversial but actually quite disappointing, 27 Aug. 2012
Having seen The Human Centipede, which I thought was a very well executed horror film, I couldn't wait to watch the sequel, particularly given the controversy which it had stirred, after being initially banned by the BBFC.

Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love "THC 2", I was really rather disappointed.

Firstly, the acting - with the exception of the excellent "Martin" - is shocking; fortunately, there is fairly little dialogue, but in the scenes where the auxiliary actors are required to speak, I couldn't help but cringe, and this lowered the overall quality of the film.

Secondly, and probably most importantly, there is no character development, no empathy with the victims, no sense of despair for their plight; this is simply a film with a sequence of scenes designed to shock the viewer, and little else, and for that reason, it may well have had a running time of 30 minutes, rather than 88. If you look at other controversial films like "A Serbian Film", "Inside" or "I Spit on Your Grave", in my opinion, they are more horrific because there is some sense of attachment with the victim (certainly in the case of the latter film). "THC 2" is entirely vacuous, devoid of any significance for the viewer, other than being an exercise in so-called shocking scenes. This is in stark contrast to "THC 1", which created suspense, gave you time to appreciate the victims, and actually bred a sense of fear - there is absolutely no fear in "THC 2", and so I find it difficult to call it a "horror film".

Thirdly, the black and white style of the film only serves to make the viewer more disinterested in the scenes, in my view. In the Director's Interview, Tom Six explained that he chose the black and white film to leave some of the scenes' contents to the viewer's imagination, rather than it being an out-and-out poo and blood fest. Having seen the "Behind the Scenes" footage, I'm fairly confident that the real reason is to conceal some of the less impressive special effects; for example, all of the victims are wearing fake bottoms (with dummies in the a-hole region to give them something to suckle on), the borders of which are disguised by Martin's over-use of masking tape. Had "HTC 2" been filmed in colour, I think that the false bums would have been clearly visible. I'm not saying that I would like to be an actor with my lips actually touching another stranger's crack, but if you're going to do this, you need to do it properly.

Fourthly, like another reviewer has said, I take issue with "Martin" being "mentally challenged" (as described by Six himself in the Director's Interview). I am all for films pushing boundaries and being released uncensored, but I personally found this a little distasteful (and I actually "enjoyed" "A Serbian Film"). The reason being that it inevitably has the effect of portraying the "mentally challenged" as mother-killing psychopaths, incapable of social interaction and condemned to a life of masturbating with sandpaper. Six is, of course, free to write the characters how he wishes, but I didn't particularly like this. That said, Lawrence Harvey, who played "Martin", was superb, as many others have said; he was a disturbing character, and he was about the only thing making the film at least watchable.

As for the "shocking" scenes themselves, I was actually rather disappointed. This is partly because they are disguised by the black and white style (so I suppose Six has achieved what he set out to). However, there is nothing really here which I haven't seen before in other films. Fair enough, a rape scene with barbed wire around the member was reasonably original, but given that I couldn't even remember previously seeing the unfortunate victim at the tail-end of the Centipede, I really wasn't all that interested in her plight; it was just another scene in quite a boring film. But everything else (hammering out teeth; smashing in skulls; cutting open knees, etc.) has all been done before - and much better. Films like "Hostel" and "Martyrs" are horrific, explicit and well-executed.

For those who are concerned that the UK version has been cut significantly by the BBFC (which is the version I saw), I really wouldn't worry too much. I have read an article online which shows the cut scenes, and to be honest, there's not anything substantial missing in the UK version, which makes me wonder why the BBFC cut it at all; films like "Inside" are, in my opinion, much more horrific, and yet get given the green light. The BBFC paid a lot of attention to the rape scene, and the directors were compelled to darken it and remove the barbed wire references. But as I said, who really cares when the victim is as unknown to you as all the others? Films are only truly shocking when you can empathise with the victim (a la "I Spit On Your Grave").

I wanted to like this, I really did. But it's just really rather boring, poorly acted and lacking in horror. I am glad that I have seen it, and I am nevertheless looking forward to the third film, but, unlike most purchases I make, "HTC 2" has not stayed in my collection of horrors - it has absolutely no 'watch again' value.

13: Game of Death [DVD]
13: Game of Death [DVD]
Dvd ~ Krissada Terrence

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Saw will enjoy this!, 30 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 13: Game of Death [DVD] (DVD)
Having recently watched some foreign horror movies, such as 'Martyrs' and 'Inside', I was hoping that this would equal them in the shock and gore stakes. It is certainly a decent, well-made film, but it wasn't as gory or disturbing as I had wished for.

The premise is entertaining, and it is no wonder that a US film-maker has purchased the rights to produce a re-make. It's clearly 'Saw-esque' in format, albeit without the dark, unsettling voice of Jigsaw. Like 'Saw', you have to ignore the obvious flaw, being that it must be impossible for the people behind the 'game show' to be able to see and hear what is happening with the chosen 'player', as in some scenes, he is alone in solitary spaces, such as with the first, fly-swatting challenge. That did nevertheless annoy me!

Some of the effects look a little low-budget, such as the old man in the well, and the decapitation scene on the motorway. But they weren't bad.

One of the great aspects of the film, I think, is the dark humour. Some elements were laugh-out-loud, which you don't normally expect in a non-zombie horror. This definitely added to the film's appeal. It's partly for this reason that I'd recommend it to friends.

Overall, it was worth a watch. But it lacked genuine suspense, and for some moments, I felt like the film was dragging its heels a little. The ending was reasonable, but I would have liked some more explanation as to why that happened (i.e. was the father playing the game too?).

I Spit On Your Grave [DVD]
I Spit On Your Grave [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sarah Butler
Price: £3.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable and disturbing - very good film!, 30 Jan. 2012
This review is from: I Spit On Your Grave [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this film last night, having very recently seen some fairly disgusting movies, such as 'A Serbian Film', 'Martyrs', 'Eden Lake' and 'Last House on the Left'. I was very impressed with 'I Spit on Your Grave', although I have not seen the original (but would certainly now like to!).

From the outset, you know that something really bad is going to happen, but you're not quite sure when and how, and the director teases you a couple of times, which really increases the levels of suspense.

I watched the entire film with my girlfriend, and I felt very uncomfortable during the rape scenes. They were deliberately prolonged, fairly explicit and hugely shocking. But as another reviewer has commented of the original film, surely we should all be made to feel shocked at seeing such scenes, otherwise we cannot experience their horror and feel sympathy with the victim?

The subsequent revenge scenes were rather gruesome, and certainly on a par with anything I've seen in the 'Hostel' and 'Saw' franchises. I did briefly question why we did not see any scenes of the victim, Jennifer, in the build-up to the acts of revenge, such as showing how she came to make the decision to seek retribution. The lack of such scenes did not ruin the experience, but it did seem a little forced, with Jennifer being left for dead in one scene, and then coming back for vengeance half an hour later. Having said that, this did build up the tension, as you wondered where she was, when she'd make a sudden appearance, and therefore put you in the shoes of the perpetrators.

All in all, this was a very disturbing film, and it achieved its objective of shocking - especially given that these kinds of crimes could (and do) happen any day of the week.

The Last House On The Left: Extended Version [DVD]
The Last House On The Left: Extended Version [DVD]
Dvd ~ Garret Dillahunt
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as disturbing as I had hoped for, 18 Jan. 2012
I haven't seen the original of this re-make, so I can't comment on whether it's an improvement. I did read quite a few reviews of this movie, and on the basis of this, I was looking forward to being disturbed, frightened and possibly even offended!

The film is certainly gripping, and the first half an hour isfairly relaxed, with the main focus on being getting to know the characters, developing a sense of empathy with them for what is later going to happen. The movie was very good in this sense, as you did feel something for the two teenaged females, rather than being completely detached as in some other horrors. You do feel like something bad is on its way though, but you're not quite sure what, so I enjoyed the not knowing here.

When the "bad thing" does happen with the two victims, this is a particularly distressing scene. It's not hugely graphic, but it's enough to make you think, 'Why am I enjoying watching this?' These scenes were reasonably drawn out, which made them more uncomfortable. I did find myself drawing similaries between this scene and those in 'Eden Lake', which is, in my opinion, a much more uncomfortable and terrifying film (in a good way!).

After this difficult scene, I wondered where the film was going, but soon enough, you find that perpetrators have made their way to the home of the parents of one of the victims, having looked for shelter from the storm. Whilst, from this point on, the film was filled with suspense and a sense of dread, I did think that some of the scenes were a little daft. My main problem was that I couldn't appreciate why the two parents - having found out that the people to whom they had offered shelter in the annex were guilty of terrible crimes against their daughter - did not evacuate the house as soon as possible; I know that they were six miles from the nearest town, didn't have a car, etc., but for my money, I'd sooner give that a go, knowing that I've got a good five or six hours in which to get the hell out of there, than confronting four (three if you exclude the frightened son of the main perpetrator!) baddies! But then, I suppose the question of the film is that you don't know what you're capable of when you're in that situation.

Once the parents take the decision to exact revenge, I did wonder if the film was going down a similar route to that in a lesser-known film, 'The Tortured', where two parents set out to capture and torture the molestor and murderer of their toddler. I was quite looking forward to that possibility! However, the film instead descends into a bit of a cat-and-mouse affair, and this is where I began to lose interest a little. It was still gripping, but it just became a bit too predictable.

The final scene was, however, completely unexpected. Again, I thought that I would see some prolonged torture scenes, but it was all over too quickly for my liking!

All in all, a decent enough film, but I was expecting more graphic revenge scenes than what was actually delivered - not that that was the fault of the film, of course. I much preferred 'Eden Lake' though. I will be watching 'I Spit On Your Grave' in due course - I understand that this may deliver on the 'graphic scene' expectation!

A Serbian Film [2010] [DVD]
A Serbian Film [2010] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Srdjan Todorovic

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cut to ribbons by BBFC, but still "enjoyable", 15 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Serbian Film [2010] [DVD] (DVD)
After reading many, many reviews on "A Serbian Film", I finally got around to buying the UK DVD and watching it today. It was perhaps my excessive research into the film - which I had learned had a reputation as being one of the most sickening and disturbing of all time - which ultimately made my watching of the UK DVD somewhat disappointing: much of the "grotesque" images have been excised by the BBFC to save our souls.

The film is undoubtedly original and provocative. The allegory of life/capitalism being synonymous with pornography/prostitution (which in the UK DVD is explained by the director before the film begins) is one which the viewer can understand, although, for me, is not at all convincing. I therefore felt, going into the film, that I was watching something which had some underlying meaning, other than gratuitous violence and pornography.

As others have said, the acting is very good and the soundtrack superb. Milos, the main character, is convincing and quite terrifying at times.

Unfortunately, the UK DVD failed to shock me; this may well be due to knowing a fair amount of the content before watching! However, much more is actually due to the BBFC cutting almost five minutes of original footage from the UK version. The infamous "baby scene" almost passed me by; after watching the film, I even looked at details of the original cut to find out what this was meant to entail! I do not deliberately seek out scenes of this kind, but I had an expectation that this would be in the UK version (to some degree), and was looking forward to being thoroughly shocked and repulsed (isn't film meant to evoke emotion?), but instead I found myself thinking that the UK DVD is actually rather uneventful, compared with some other extreme horrors.

It is not only the "baby scene" which has been all but removed, but almost every other graphic scene has been edited by the BBFC in some form or other. I therefore finished the film feeling quite angry that I had spent money on what is ultimately an incomplete DVD. I do not like adults being told what fictitious material they can and cannot watch. I am also confused that a film such as "Martyrs", which features prolonged, explicit violence perpetrated by a man against a woman, and which made me feel very uneasy, passes completely uncut by the BBFC! Likewise, I understand that "Irreversible" (which I have not yet seen) lacks BBFC intervention.

That said, the UK version still has some fairly repugnant moments (the themes of incest and necrophilia haven't been completely omitted), but it all just feels a bit too short, so the impact is lessened. Perhaps I am just desensitised to such material. Maybe the film-maker is deriding us for seeking out violent/pornographic images. Who cares? I went into this film wanting to be shocked (this is why I "enjoy" horrors, much the same as why people "enjoy" theme-park rides), and that didn't really happen because of the BBFC's concern for adults' welfare. But anyway, contrary to the BBFC's intention, I will probably look to get a copy of the uncut version now!

Martyrs [DVD]
Martyrs [DVD]
Dvd ~ Morjane Alaoui
Price: £5.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gruelling viewing with an odd twist, 5 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
After reading many reviews that Martyrs is an excellent horror film, of the torture p0rn variety, and, in particular, reading one comment that the film is offensive, sickening and difficult to shake off, I felt obliged to watch Martyrs last night, being a fan of the genre.

I was totally captivated by the film from start to finish. However, as others have commented, it is a punishing watch, and at several times, I had to ask myself why I was watching something so violent and seemingly nihilistic. You cannot "enjoy" this film, but it is certainly an experience.

In the first half of the film, you wonder where you're going to be taken, how it's going to finish up, since, once revenge has been exacted by the lead character, it seems that it's run out of steam. Alas, it creates new momentum and takes on a different approach; it is almost two mini-films conjoined, with the revenge, almost-supernatural story to start, and the violent torture and "explanation" for pudding.

There are several scenes in this film which are quite uncomfortable to watch. Hannah Arendt's book, "The Banality of Evil", sprang to mind. In fact, there are some parallels to be made with the Holocaust and genocide in general; the systematic abuse of human beings is a theme running through the film, and the scene of lifeless bodies being thrown into a ditch did make me wonder if there was a deliberate reference to the Holocaust.

I would certainly watch the film again, even though the twists and turns have now been revealed to me. It was very hard to watch in places - not necessarily because of excessive Saw-like gore, but because it was so brutal and lacking in purpose.

I am not sure that I understand this so-called 'Martyrdom' concept, however, but then this is only a film, and I didn't feel that I had to in order to "enjoy" the experience.

For those who are concerned that the film is in French, don't be. The dialogue is fairly simple and the reading of subtitles does not impair the "enjoyment" of the film. In fact, I think it added something to the film.

The Tortured [DVD]
The Tortured [DVD]
Dvd ~ Erika Christensen
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.68

3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching if you forgive the plot flaws, 1 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Tortured [DVD] (DVD)
I thought that this was worthy of a watch, on the basis that it came from the producers of Saw and appeared to have 'torture porn' at its heart. The following contains spoilers!

There are some serious flaws in the plot which might be forgiveable if the film was actually centred on the 'torture' element, as I think we can all put these to the back of the mind if we think we're just watching a violent gore flick. But, as other reviewers have said, it's actually more talking about what the parents will do to the perpetrator, than actually doing it. I was therefore left thinking more about the daft plot, than 'enjoying' being shocked. For starters, the capture of the perpetrator seemed a little too easy for me.

The redeeming feature of the film, for me, was the twist. I certainly didn't see this coming - as others say they did - so it was a really great manoeuvre; or so it seemed. However, within a few minutes of the big reveal, I found myself feeling a little confused - why did the wrongly-captured 'perpetrator' not explain what had happened? He had the opportunity to do so, when he was allowed to speak to the parents, but he rather let it slip by, with unfortunate consequences. He could have just said, 'Look, I just happened to be in the same police van as the chap you're after. I am in fact an insurance fraudster (or whatever he was!), and you've probably heard of me on the telly.'

That said, the film did make me think on one or two occasions about the nature of revenge and what I would do in the same position, which is always good for any movie. If you're looking for deeper meaning, I think the film was a rejection of capital punishment: you can never be certain that you've got the villain!

Certainly worth a watch, but if you're like me, you just end up feeling that the supposed perpetrator missed a trick to escape his torture.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2014 8:23 PM GMT

The Collector [DVD]
The Collector [DVD]
Dvd ~ Juan Fernandez
Price: £4.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great, 27 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Collector [DVD] (DVD)
I bought The Collector, along with other so-called 'torture porn' films, after feeling the need to be shocked in the same manner that Hostel and Hostel II has done so.

The plot is reasonably interesting, and generally the film is very tense, with the characters tip-toeing around the house, trying to avoid traps and suchlike. It therefore met the 'horror' criterion, although I did feel that from about half way into the film, it descended into a bit of a daft cat-and-mouse chase, not dissimilar from the likes of 'Scream'.

As for the gore, I was reasonably 'impressed'. Some of the scenes were fairly shocking, and I did find myself wondering why I was 'enjoying' them. I think that there were a couple of almost-turn-away moments, which is always good for a horror fan!

Unfortunately, as I say, the film did tail off towards the end, and coupled with some serious plot flaws which others have mentioned (e.g. how did The Collector get so many intricate traps into the house and board up the doors/windows in what must have only been a few hours), it was ultimately a little disappointing.

Nevertheless, it was tension-filled and moderately gory, so was worth watching, and would recommend friends to watch too - but I certainly won't ever bother to watch again.

Captivity [DVD]
Captivity [DVD]
Dvd ~ Elisha Cuthbert
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.42

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing ending, 27 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Captivity [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this, along with a few other so-called 'torture porn' horror films, after reading reviews of how disgusting it was on various sites. What can I say - I like to be shocked.

Captivity had some promise from the outset. The first half an hour was fairly 'enjoyable', although at no point did I cringe in horror at any of the scenes. They were reasonably tame, but they did leave me feeling tense, wondering what would finally become of young Elisha.

Sadly, about half way into the film, this tension all but dissipated. The film took a rather daft twist, and, rather than being in the Hostel-style which I had hoped for, it ended up being more like a 'Scream' film.

Overall, this wasn't a terrible film, but I just had hopes of it being more horrific than it was, and unfortunately it tailed off into a disappointing climax. I won't be watching it again, nor will I advise friends to bother with it!

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