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The Invention of Lying [DVD]
The Invention of Lying [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ricky Gervais
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £2.24

8 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What were they thinking?, 28 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Invention of Lying [DVD] (DVD)
Unless Ricky Gervais wants to wave his career goodbye, he might want to consider not wasting his time with mainstream, hit-and-miss American comedy films, and put his talent to better use by creating another TV series to rival the classics which are The Office and Extras.

The logic behind this film is flawed from practically the first words uttered. Just because an alternate reality has people unable to lie, doesn't mean everyone should be unable to keep their thoughts to themselves. Here we do. Hence, conversations as stilted and as ridiculous as the following (and I paraphrase):

"Hi. You're very good looking and I'm way out of my league."
"Yes, you are fat, unattractive and I know I am way out of your league."

"Hello, Mark. I'm glad you have been sacked because I always hated you."
"Oh, I didn't know that."
"Well, everyone here knows it but you, then."

"I'm threatened by you."

Good, grief. And so it goes on. How would a society like that function, exactly? There has to be an audience connection through a kernel of truth to a story for its main conceit to work, or the charade crumbles. The idea isn't a bad one, but the execution is a bit lazy.

Still, it does get better about halfway through, and nothing with Gervais in is terrible. Also, Gervais and his love interest Jennifer Garner are very likeable. The twist is clever, and then there is Ricky's warmth, which is one of his most underrated strengths. Great cameos from Stephen and Shaun, too.

Three out of five for the best bits, then.

Avatar [DVD]
Avatar [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam Worthington
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.94

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all, 28 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Avatar [DVD] (DVD)
The reviewer who compared Avatar to a video game clearly doesn't play video games, as they are - for the meantime at least - entirely different mediums. He/she is closer to the mark in describing Avatar as being cartoon-ish, and what, exactly, is wrong with that? Some of today's animated films are simply superb, and the Japanese anime genre has for a long time shown that complex characters and emotions can be portrayed through two-dimensional characters.

Onto Avatar. Actually, I wasn't very impressed with the first half hour or so of the film, as there were some rather banal scenes which left me feeling somewhat patronised. A prime example being when when Jake asks what a video diary is... Duh! It's 2154, Jake; your grandmother would have even known. I think audiences are aware that it was being used as an internal monologue device, without it having to be "explained". But then the film picks up, and despite the all-too-obvious and generic Colonel and the sinister company man, the Na'vi characters have a culture strong enough and believable enough to become sympathetic. The overt message may be somewhat heavy-handed and preachy, but its heart is in the right place, so it's hard to fault too much.

Concluding. Avatar will not be everyone's cup of tea, but I would rather it existed than not. The two and a half hours did not drag, it looks spectacular, and give me Avatar any day over the lies propagated in old westerns, where Native Americans were routinely portrayed as savages needing to be put to rights by John Wayne.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 1, 2010 4:25 PM GMT

Analyze This/Analyze That [DVD] [2003]
Analyze This/Analyze That [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Robert De Niro

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One star gets the two stars, 24 Dec. 2009
The only reason I watched this inept parody of the Mob movie was because of the legend that is Robert De Niro. He is the one star of my review title that raises it to two stars instead of one. (are you still with me?)

I recall a time when Billy Crystal was quite fresh and entertaining, but his decline seems to have been in tandem with growing that awful frizzy beard of his - on display here in all its hideous glory. He must surely be good friends with Steve Martin and Robin Williams, whose careers have seen similarly-timed nose-dives.

And then we come to De Niro. Basically, he hasn't made a great film since the early-to-mid nineties, though 'Meet The Family/Fockers' does prove - unlike this - that given the script he can be genuinely funny, as was demonstrated in the very underrated 'King Of Comedy'.

So, is there any point in this film (or "films", if you have the double DVD)? Not really. If you want to see something starring Robert De Niro that makes you chortle there are better alternatives. If you are a fan of Billy Crystal... why?

License to Wed [DVD] [2007]
License to Wed [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Robin Williams
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Someone else's film, 24 Dec. 2009
This review is from: License to Wed [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
All you need to know about this sickly farce is Robin Williams' sappy face on the cover of the DVD case. Wasn't Williams meant to be a bit cutting edge once upon a time? Now - like Steve Martin - he is stuck in ever decreasing circles of family-oriented, third rate bilge. To be honest, I have never much liked Williams, not finding him remotely funny, so it was at someone else's house that I (unfortunately) saw this. Basically, it was torture. Williams is capable of pathos when he underplays it, such as in Awakenings, but usually he is trying far too hard to be even sappier than Billy Crystal, and as far as I'm concerned, that is as sad an indictment as I can think of.

The Hangover [DVD] [2009]
The Hangover [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Zach Galifianakis
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £3.00

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, 22 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Hangover [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I doubt my review will win much support, as I appear to be in the minority here, but American film comedy must be in a pretty dire state if this can be lauded as one of the funniest films in years. Maybe I have been spoilt by genuinely funny and off-beat British comedy movies like The Cottage, or TV's Curb Your Enthusiasm? Anyway, this is a just-above-average comedy movie which isn't helped by Bradley Cooper's unlikeable presence. Do we really need eye candy for "the laydeez" just to improve the film's demographic?

There is nothing refreshing here, and the long writing credits show it to be - as I expected - written by committee. Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis help steer the film away from Cooper's ruinous grasp, but as soon as Mike Tyson shows up, all credibility flies out of the window. If you are quite easily pleased and have never seen the masterpiece that is Dumb and Dumber, you will probably enjoy this, but in my mind's eye this is not much more that Frat Boy fodder.

District 9 [DVD] [2009]
District 9 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Sharlto Copley
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.19

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully refreshing, 22 Dec. 2009
This review is from: District 9 [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Late in the year, I think I can now say that District 9 is my favourite film of 2009. I have enjoyed many other critically-acclaimed titles, but District 9 wins for me on so many levels. It's a sci-fi blockbuster with a heart (not the mawkish, fake sentimentality of Hollywood), dealing intelligently with issues such as apartheid and xenophobia; the "unknown" cast and leading character are excellent, with Sharlto Copley excelling as the likeable, newly-promoted head official; the "prawns" are a constant delight, with their bad language and truculence (their kids are especially well observed) mirroring their human overlords; and the setting is extremely refreshing, being filmed largely in and around Johannesburg - if only more films could be located away from the overly-familiar New York and LA etc etc.

The night before watching District 9, I had given The Hangover a go, and found it to be nothing special, despite all the hype saying it was the funniest film of the year, blah blah blah. I actually thought it was the usual by-the-numbers, written-by-committee fare that Hollywood has been churning out for years. This, then, was a much needed antidote, one of those films I will be enthusiastically recommending to people for quite some time, and I'm already looking forward to watching it again.

Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits
Price: £3.99

4 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless, 16 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
When I was about eleven, Suzi Quatro had a few hits with Devil Gate Drive, Can The Can and 48 Crash. She then had another hit, a few years later, with If You Can't Give Me Love - a far superior tune. The latter, again, was written by the team who wrote those earler hits, Chinn and Chapman. If you read Quatro's autobiography, 'Unzipped', you'd be forgiven for thinking she had been - and still was - a mega star, not just a novelty act who had her last hit thirty years ago. In her book, she hardly writes a page without telling us how great, how creative, and how "rock and roll" she is. She has an amazingly huge ego for someone with so little talent. As for the music on this CD, well, it's poor and has aged badly. Alongside the familiar tracks (if you are upward of 40, they should be familiar) are some of the weakest cover versions of old R&R tunes one could imagine. If you like Alvin Stardust and Showaddywaddy, and have a penchant for seventies nostalgia, you might like this. If you want to listen to something with a little substance, don't bother.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2013 1:02 AM GMT

Live Seventy Nine
Live Seventy Nine
Price: £11.69

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 6 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Live Seventy Nine (Audio CD)
It's doing Live '79 a slight disservice to refer to it as simply a great live album because it is just such a wonderful album full stop. I have hundreds of albums that I love, but Hawkwind's Live '79 has long held a special place in my affections. Without question, it is my favourite ever live album, and also one of my favourite albums by anyone ever. Motorway City has transported me into a neon lit future for over two decades now, while Spirit Of The Age's lyrics make me smile every time. Then of course there is the intricacy of the melodies, and yet their accessibility.

Concluding, I would strongly recommend this album to any lover of heavy and/or progressive rock music. A legendary band at their absolute peak.

by Suzi Quatro
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Zip it!, 6 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Unzipped (Hardcover)
I'm half way through this book, and I can't say I'm looking forward to the rest. So far, I've witnessed this talentless woman telling us about how "rock 'n' roll" she is ad nauseum; showing us her laughable attempts at poetry and song lyrics; writing open letters to people far too famous and/or important to bother reading them; getting petty grievances off her chest, many aimed at family members, and people who are dead (such as her mum) who can't reply; an ego far in excess of her ability (after all, she's about the equivalent of Showaddywaddy and the Rubettes, and way behind contemporaries like Sweet, Status Quo, the Bay City Rollers, Wizzard, Slade, etc etc etc); and she writes like an egomaniac school girl. As for the ghosts and spiritualism... Is this woman really almost sixty years old?

To its credit, the book bowls along, but the terrible grammar, typos and mistakes in general add to the problems stated above. The fact is, Ms Quatro doesn't come across as a very nice person, being right wing, reactionary and complete egocentric. And PETA would hate her. When she's not slagging someone off, she's telling us how great she is at everything she does. She has an "Ego Room", apparently, though this place seems to have produced a big fat zero when it comes to creativity, as all her best songs were written by Chinn and Chapman over thirty years ago, and the last I heard she had an obscure Radio 2 programme hidden away on a Sunday night for an hour or two. We are hardly in the presence of greatness here, no matter how often she likes to tell us otherwise.

So, if you want to read a page-turner full of self pity and delusions of grandeur, then you might want to check this out for curiosity's sake. If not, steer well clear.

Elvis Presley - '68 Comeback Special (3-DVD Amaray Version) [2008]
Elvis Presley - '68 Comeback Special (3-DVD Amaray Version) [2008]
Dvd ~ Elvis Presley

0 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The King? I don't think so, 22 May 2009
Elvis may have been the King of Rock and Roll in the mid-to-late 1950s, but the army terminated that concept. Afterwards, he released numerous bad albums and equally absurd and out of touch singles. His problem was that he couldn't write a song to save his life and so was at the mercy of whatever was pushed his way, and so his initial energy and genius diminshed until he was fat and drugged up, reduced to doing hammy caberet in Vegas and endlessly touring his greatest hits around America to audiences in twin sets and pearls.

His 'Comeback Special' seems to bring a tearful glow of regret of 'what might have been' to those deluded Elvis fans who wouldn't know good music if it fell on their heads. There is a certain type of Elvis fan who listens to the ageing warblings of Elvis and nothing else, who have huge sideburns and fill their homes with tacky memorabilia and tat dedicated to the man, and it's those people who endlessly spin the fabrication that the TV Special was his greatest triumph. Sadly, to the objective, dispassionate viewer, what this film truly represents is some awful singing and choreographed dancing, and a jam session featuring a bunch of sychophants who look like they'd rather be somewhere - anywhere - else than being compelled to chuckle at Elvis's attempts at humour. In 1968 the world was changing forever through student demonstrations, the Beatles and the Stones were at their peak, and Cream, Hendrix and Led Zeppelin were playing a new, harder brand of rock and roll. Meanwhile, Elvis was singing some decade-old songs with his old buddies. He had been an anachronism for years, and this film demonstrates just how far behind he had fallen.

So, one for the obsessive fans only. If you want some great Elvis, avoid this rubbish like the plague and get his Sun recordings; they are all you will ever need from Elvis Presley.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2012 7:06 AM GMT

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