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Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.)

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Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD]
Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Attenborough
Price: £4.50

3.0 out of 5 stars But it's all circumstantial guv!, 26 May 2015
This review is from: Eight O'Clock Walk [DVD] (DVD)
Eight O'Clock Walk is a solid piece of film making. Well directed (Lance Comfort), well acted (Richard Attenborough/Cathy O'Donnell/Derek Farr/Maurice Denham/Ian Hunter) and neatly photographed (Brendan J. Stafford). Unfortunately the writing, whilst not awful at all, asks some big leaps of faith of the audience.

Plot finds Attenborough as a good guy sort who, through a series of circumstances, is accused of murdering a little girl. As the strain begins to tell on he and his loved ones, it's looking increasingly likely he could well be found guilty.

Pic trundles along to the big courtroom finale with Attenborough superbly getting more stressed with each frame. For fans of court room dramas then this delivers good viewing, the law can often be mad and it's always good to see legal eagles going at each other and how they deal with those called to the dock - including a child here. If you can accept the outcome, which is never in doubt if truth be told, then this adds up to being better than a time waster. 6.5/10

The Man From Planet X (1951) - Official Region Free PAL release, plays in English without subtitles
The Man From Planet X (1951) - Official Region Free PAL release, plays in English without subtitles
Dvd ~ Robert Clarke
Offered by AUDIO VIDEO DISCO - 1st Class from the UK
Price: £14.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge would only bring more fear in a world already filled with it., 24 May 2015
A planet is orbiting dangerously close to planet Earth and a mysterious spaceship has landed on the Scottish Moors...

Friend or Foe?

Breaking it down you find that The Man from Planet X is a standard sci-fi movie that would often be bettered the longer the 1950s boom of sci-fi films continued. However, this is in no way a bad thing given the guile and craft that went into making it a picture of worth.

Edgar G. Ulmer and his crew are armed with a $100 budget (exageration of course, but you understand I'm sure) and almost make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Working with old sets that were used on Joan of Arc (1948), the pic is a lesson in low budget film making of note. Ulmer brings a plethora of fog and mists to cloak the sets, while he shoots his cast in low lights and shadows to ensure his sci-fi tale never has a chance to be found out as a cheapie.

As it happens the story is decent enough. Alien visitor from a dying planet needs something, but what? He can't communicate vocally and of course the humans meeting the visitor have different agendas. There's some suspense, a little bit of nutty science, and even some sexual flirtations. All in all a good solid sci-fi picture, one that showcases the unheralded skills of its director. And not even a papier-mâché headed alien can under value that fact. 7/10

Invasion of Astro-Monster [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Invasion of Astro-Monster [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £2.81

4.0 out of 5 stars We need from you Monster Zero 1 and Monster Zero 2, Godzilla and Rodan., 24 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's one of those Godzilla movies where you fully understand why some fans of the "Zilla" series positively dislike it. The big atomic lizard is only a bit part player here, and when push comes to shove the monster mayhem is in short supply, which considering we also have Ghidorah and Rodan in the mix is for sure a bit of a waste. Yet this is one of the better sequels from Toho's original wave, it quite literally has all the ingredients that made "Zilla" and the off-shoots so iconic.

We are in live action cartoon territory, a sci-fi story of bonkers proportions yet engrossing all the same. The joyous model work synonymous with the series remains intact, the cardboard sets being obliterated are still fun to watch, and the divisive sight of "Zilla" doing the "shay" dance is in here whether you like it or not. More fun, though, is watching "Zilla" boxing the three headed Ghidorah, now that is comedy gold, if only the moody lizard had gone southpaw a bit earlier then saving the world could have been achieved quicker.

Great fun, could have been better from a monster point of view? Yes, definitely, but this be a nutty fruitcake production from Toho and amen to that. 8/10

Dracula (Blu-ray + DVD) [1958]
Dracula (Blu-ray + DVD) [1958]
Dvd ~ Christopher Lee
Price: £7.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleep well, Mr. Harker., 23 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Curse of Frankenstein was coining it in at the box office, so Hammer Films were quick to negotiate a deal to reinvent Dracula on the big screen. Certain agreements were made as per distribution rights for Universal, who owned the rights via a deal that was struck decades earlier with the Bram Stoker estate. Once all the dots were dotted and the t's were crossed, Dracula hit the screens in a whirl of sensual Technicolor bliss, where the trajectory of horror film history was shunted upwards to the point that the legacy still lives on today.

Directed by Terence Fisher and adapted to screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, Dracula (AKA: Horror of Dracula) is a compact piece of horror. The Hammer team condense Stoker's novel down to an 80 minute film, quickly placing Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) at Castle Dracula and establishing the vampire legend courtesy of the slick and sexy Count Dracula himself (Christopher Lee). There's no changing into bats or scaling of walls here, in fact Dracula's dialogue is very minimalist, instead he permeates the film with sexual menace, horrific suggestion and an obvious disregard for humanity, with Lee in the role simply terrific.

Then it's time for Doctor Van Helsing to bring his cunning whiles to the party, which is the signal for Peter Cushing to enter the fray, who adds class and elegance to a classic role. James Bernard provides a dual score of erotic swirls and thunderous scares, while the cast play out the story in front of some impressively constructed Gothic sets, courtesy of Bernard Robinson, who like the rest of the team were working with a budget under six figures! Some nifty effects work cement the pic's status, other little touches - such as Dracula having no audible footsteps - also ensure that Hammer's Dracula remains a key vampire movie of note.

A number of interesting tid-bids sit in the film's back history. How it fell into the public domain, complaints about blood transfusion advertisements in theatre foyers during its first run! Censorship and the "X" Certification afforded it in the UK, and that some of the first wave of critic reviews were positively barbed and indignant. In truth Hammer would produce far better horror films post Dracula's release, in fact this is not even the best of the Hammer Dracula movies. Yet in the pantheon of Hammer film, and horror film in general, it's a 10/10 movie. Terence Fisher deserves the final word, he would say that the shoot and production for Dracula just clicked, it all worked and everyone was in sync. 8/10

Hamburger Hill - 20th Anniversary Edition [1987] [DVD]
Hamburger Hill - 20th Anniversary Edition [1987] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anthony Barrile
Price: £4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The meat grinder effect., 22 May 2015
Unfairly forgotten and left in the slipstream of critical darlings Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill can proudly fly its own worthwhile flag. There's nothing preachy or political here, director John Irvin and writer James Carabatsos approach the subject with a refreshing humane honesty, making us viewers privy to the American soldiers mindset as they cope with life in Vietnam before an assault on some turd pile strategic hill, a battle that the survivors of that particular bloody conflict would call Hamburger Hill.

No matter what one feels about the war, the politics of such etc, the fact that quite often Vietnam films zoom in on the misdemeanours and egotistical sides of the American presence in Vietnam, tends to detract from the bravery of men and boys who were doing the job their government decreed they should do. Hamburger Hill addresses this, proudly so. Pace is deliberate and literate, building up to the assault on Hill 937, with little slices of kinetic action inserted along the way to tantalise and torment in equal measure.

Not all the acting is smart, there's a cast of up and coming thesps on show that features some who have gone on to be "name" actors, while others that were out of their depth subsequently found a level more befitting their abilities. Yet this is also a cunning tactic in the film's favour, no stars needed here, young adult actors without baggage or headlines kind of feels appropriate for this portrayal of soldiers in an alien world, many of whom would lay their shattered bodies down in the mud at Hamburger Hill. 8/10

Collateral Damage [DVD] [2002]
Collateral Damage [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Offered by Speedy Wonder
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't even look at those guys unless you can kill 'em., 22 May 2015
Hmm. As with all action films, especially those that feature one of the action heroes we grew up with, there will be supporters of even the most turgid of productions. Collateral Damage was the point where the truest and honest of Arnold Schwarzenegger's fans knew it was the end of an era.

Famously held back from release for a year due to the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers, the film pitches Schwarzenegger as a L.A. fireman, who after his wife and child are killed by an act of terrorism, decides to take the law into his own hands. The focus here is Colombia, and the big guy goes off to Colombia on a one man crusade to kill those responsible for his grief. Cue explosions, kinetic action, bad effects, bad dialogue, mucho posturing and hissing villains.

It works on a very basic level for fans of such fare, in fact it's nice to see Arnie playing a vulnerable role where he quite often gets hurt - both physically and mentally. It's just that it feels tired, feels too long, while it wastes a cast that includes Elias Koteas, John Turturo and John Leguizamo. Decent enough as a time waster? Yes, just, but really if this wasn't on Schwarzenegger's CV then nobody would lose any sleep over it. 5/10

Sands of Iwo Jima [DVD] [1949]
Sands of Iwo Jima [DVD] [1949]
Dvd ~ John Wayne
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid., 21 May 2015
Sgt John M. Stryker is a battle hardened Marine who's job it is is to prepare his new charges for the realities of war. With no care for making friends, Stryker does what ever it takes to make these men tough and ready for the Pacific conflicts to come.

Sands Of Iwo Jima is unashamedly proud in its jingoistic fervour, and rightly so. Iwo Jima, and the now immortal portrait of weary American soldiers hoisting the flag atop Mt. Suribachi, has become a bastion of bravery, a beacon of triumph if you will. So it's no surprise to find Allan Dwan's film has no intention if deviating from boasting its colours, and hooray to that. Here as Stryker we find John Wayne giving a bit more to his character portrayal than merely some beefcake winning the war. Wayne puts depth and sincerity into Stryker, an air of believability shines thru as he shows vulnerability, we believe he can win this war with his men, but we also see tenderness and it lifts Sands higher than your average war picture.

Wise old director Dwan (432 directing credits to his name), weaves the picture together with admirable restraint. Fusing actual newsreel footage with his own tightly handled action sequences, Sands plays out as the tribute and rally call that it has every right to be, even finding place in the film for three of the soldiers who hoisted that now famous flag. Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley are the three gentlemen to look out for. The rest of the cast don't really have too do much outside of respond to Wayne's two fold performance, but keep an eye out for a fresh faced Richard Jaeckel as Pfc. Frank Flynn, while I personally enjoyed the brief, but important contribution from Julie Bishop as Mary.

Wayne received a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards (too bad for him that 49 contained brilliant shows from the winner Broderick Crawford & Gregory Peck), with other nominations going to the Best Story, Editing and Sound categories.

Lock and load and saddle up for a top entry in the WWII pantheon. 8/10

Justice [DVD]
Justice [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Price: £3.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not what a lawyer tells me I must do, but it's what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do., 17 May 2015
This review is from: Justice [DVD] (DVD)
It's not what a lawyer tells me I must do, but it's what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.

After his wife (January Jones) is brutally raped, New Orleans teacher Will Gerard (Nic Cage) gets involved with a shadowy vigilante group run by a man called Simon (Guy Pearce). A favour for a favour to get justice seems viable, but all is not as it seems...

To be frank it's just another in a long line of vigilante thrillers that get trundled out every other year. Rarely does one, certainly in the more modern era of film making, have something viable to say, to challenge the thought process of the viewers. Justice (AKA: Seeking Justice) starts off very promising, grabbing the attention whilst having an atmospheric texture about it. Sadly come the mid-point things just get daft (yet Cage stays ultra serious throughout) and in spite of the makers trying to add in some twisty thriller conventions, all the potential (and promise) for thought provoking depth has long since gone.

That said, as an intrigue based drama it's a decent enough watch, with director Roger Donaldson (No Way Out/Thirteen Days) adept in the staging of suspenseful sequences. Yet the lack of kinetic action is sorely felt, the over all feeling being one that Donaldson and crew were not quite sure which way to take the picture. Should we keep things shadowy and suggestive? Or should we have live wire chases and dastardly peril? Justice only winds up as an uneven blend of ideas. While wasting Xander Berkeley and the New Orleans locations is a crime in itself.

Not bad exactly, above average in fact, but just forgettable and another wasted opportunity to add meat to a hot topic in film form. 6/10

Death Wish 2 UK DVD [1982]
Death Wish 2 UK DVD [1982]
Dvd ~ Charles Bronson
Price: £9.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kersey Chaos., 16 May 2015
This review is from: Death Wish 2 UK DVD [1982] (DVD)
Michael Winner once again pushes the buttons of Hollywood with this sequel to his controversial hit, Death Wish. Plot follows a familiar trajectory, Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is now in Los Angeles living a normal life, when wouldn't you know it, some scumbag youths cross his path after administering some rape and pillage on folk close to him...

The problem here, and the reason why some critics positively burst blood vessels after watching it, is that for the first half it just is pure exploitation, this in spite of some decent production value. Did it really need to be another sex crime? Could it not have been a murder et al? There gets a point in the film where you sense it's boobs for boobs sake. Though you have to wonder if Winner dared to ask Chuck and Jill Ireland (playing girlfriend of Chuck...) if Jill would do a nude scene? I think a broken nose may have come about if that subject had of been broached...

Once Kersey (Bronson hard as nails again) goes about dealing out his brand of justice, the film hits its straps, teasing the viewers with moral - cum - ethical outrage or conversely, vicarious thinking. Vigilante films are always going to swim in tricky waters, provoking anger and heated debate from all walks of the political spectrum, but better to have them out there to provoke a response than not. Surely?

There is nothing remotely high end here, but it's a film worthy of its above average rating on IMDb. It can shock, annoy, dismay and even induce unintentional mirth (three of the rapist thugs dance the campiest dance ever), but it will not be ignored and people are still seeking it out today to watch for the first time. Michael Winner still showing the ability to pique interest with his vigilante franchise. 6.5/10

Bangkok Dangerous [DVD]
Bangkok Dangerous [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was taught four rules..., 16 May 2015
This review is from: Bangkok Dangerous [DVD] (DVD)
The Pang Brothers remake their own 2000 film for the American audience with mixed results. Starring Nic Cage, film follows Cage's hit-man to Bangkok where he is to complete a number of hits. He tells us via narration that he has a set of rules that he follows so as to survive in the "business". He then promptly breaks his own codes and his life comes under threat.

That's pretty much it as regards plotting. The Pang's bring much visual style to the picture, and show themselves to be adept at action sequences, but it all feels so familiar. Action movies are rarely going to bring new stuff to the table, they often, as is the case here, are kinetic popcorn pictures missing some emotional depth to marry up with the carnage. Thus this is not a film to be sought out by any action fiends looking for something new to add to their collections. As it happens Cage is fine and broody, managing to blend hard machismo with vulnerable traits. He, and the filmic style make it above average, even if ultimately it's instantly forgettable afterwards. 6/10

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