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I. R. Barnes "*technobabble*" (UK)

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2-Disc) Special Edition [DVD]
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2-Disc) Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Shia LaBeouf
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £14.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Transformers: Revenge of Michael Bay!, 8 Dec 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ok, I've always enjoyed Michael Bay's movies (yes even 'Pearl Harbor'!), not because they represent high art, sophistication or particularly great film-making, but because they are pure guilty pleasures. With the exception of maybe 'The Rock' they are completely ridiculous, indulgent and gratuitous, over-the-top slices of popcorn nonsense, but there's something appealing about the trashiness of them, deep down though you know you shouldn't really like them! There isn't anything subtle about Michael Bay or his movies, he doesn't do subtle, he leaves that to other director's, and let's face it there's nothing subtle about Transformers - giant robots beating the hell out of each other and everything around them! However like most people point out his rapid-fire editing 'music video' style of film-making can be extremely irritating and he has a tendency to treat his audiences as immature teenagers with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder! This is never more on show as it is in 'Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen'.

The first 'Transformers' was a great movie as it was everything it needed to be, and under the careful auspices of Mr. Spielberg, Bay did a great job of blending together a coherent storyline, his patented style of 'Bayhem' action and comedic sequences. However with the sequel Bay has created an erratic mix of all of these aspects, he's stirred the ingredients together way too much so all that's left is a messy slop with no substance! His inability to not focus on anything for more than five seconds also adds to the incomprehensibility of it all! Bay just can't seem to recognise the better ideas in this film and give them adequate enough screen-time, just when you're beginning to like and enjoy something he moves away to focus on something else that's nowhere near as good! It's extremely infuriating as what starts as an action sequence soon turns into a comedy sequence and vice versa, it's pretty exhausting trying to keep up with Michael Bay! He seems to be like a kid in a sweet shop here, if you could read the thought process in his head while he was directing it would be something like this: "Hey that looks cool, I'll shoot that, but wait what's happening over here, I'll shoot that instead, oh hang on its Megan Fox, I'll shoot a gratuitous shot of her backside, nah I'll do this action scene now instead, no actually I'm bored with that, this looks more interesting, wait if I did it like this it would be a lot better..." and so on and so on! The man needs sedating sometimes. The camera never sits still, even a simple conversation between characters (when they actually say more than two lines to each other!) the camera has to pan around them!

There are some really good ideas in this film, the exciting sequence in Shanghai, the whole Soundwave and Ravage sequences (genius!), the giant smackdown between Optimus and several other Decepticons, but they're outweighed by the rest of the film and are usually interrupted by something else!

The new Transformers that appear in the film are great. I didn't mind the now notorious Twins Skids and Mudflaps, but it's a shame that the other new Autobots weren't given as much screen time - I would have liked to see more of Sideswipe and Arcee but all we get to see of them is in the short opening sequence and a little bit towards the end in the final battle! Even the sequence of the Decepticon Pretender was inspired and this short sequence alone was a hundred times better than Terminator 3's Terminatrix character!

The story isn't too bad either, once you're able to get your head around what exactly is going on as things are never particularly explained very well, with characters and Transformers delivering a lot of information at once and not always very coherently!

The rest of the film is very gruelling viewing with extremely juvenile and irritating comedy, even by Bay's standards! I can only assume it was his idea to give Sam's parents more screen-time and so-called 'comedy' moments - why? Was he under the impression that they were so funny in the first film?! They are frankly the worst part of the film and how they are written into the finale is absolutely ludicrous! I just hope they don't feature in the third instalment!

So there you go a big disappointment following the first movie, and another Bay sequel where by adopting the bigger, better, faster, more option is not always the best way to go ('Bad Boys II' anyone?) - maybe it will improve with repeated viewings!? Overall 2.5 out of 5
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2010 10:07 AM BST

Alien Vs Predator (2 Disc Extreme Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Alien Vs Predator (2 Disc Extreme Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sanaa Lathan
Price: £3.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film with a split personality!, 19 Oct 2009
I can't make up my mind if this is a good movie or not. It has some good points but on the other hand it sucks - big time! I think as a Predator film it's pretty good as it is more in the action-orientated style of the Predator films as well as being set on present day earth, but as an Alien movie it's pretty naff, but at least better than Alien: Resurrection! It is a million miles away from the dark horror of the first three Alien movies, this is friendly 'bubblegum horror'! At times the plot seems too contrived and shoehorned in order to support the setting of present day earth - personally I think the setting of the original graphic novel of a human colony on a distant planet would have suited the film a lot better. Instead we have a plot involving a somewhat bizarre underground Arctic pyramid and a silly backstory of the Predators setting up earth's ancient civilisations and being worshipped as Gods (yawn!). On the other hand some of the action was quite good, I did like the eventual confrontations between the two species and the climax with the Alien queen was pretty cool. Just one question though, if Predators love heat, as alluded to in the first two Predator films, why did they set up a training pyramid in the Arctic!?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2014 2:55 AM GMT

Dark Fury - The Chronicles Of Riddick [DVD]
Dark Fury - The Chronicles Of Riddick [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Chung
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £9.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the Riddick universe!, 19 Oct 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Being a huge fan of the Riddick movies I found the difference between Pitch Black and Chronicles a little jarring with little or no continuity except for the appearance of a few principal characters, but I was pleased to find that Dark Fury bridged this gap brilliantly. The animation is very good and typical to anyone familiar with Peter Chung's previous work but it would have benefitted from being a little longer however at this reduced price it's a bargain! Lets hope we're able to experience the world of Riddick again soon with more movies and episodes like this.

Mirrormask [DVD] [2006]
Mirrormask [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Jason Barry
Price: £5.41

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much eye candy could rot your eyes!, 19 Oct 2009
This review is from: Mirrormask [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Mirrormask presents a unique opportunity to experience the brilliant talents of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean via the amazing Jim Henson company. The designs and visuals are really spectacular, combining sets, CGI and make-up to create a unique fantasy world completely detached from anything resembling reality. If only all fantasy movies deployed such originality instead of resorting to talking animals and 'magic' all the time. However viewers expecting clever Jim Henson puppetry (a la Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal) will be in for a big disappointment. Also, unfortunately, the story isn't all that great or very original and the whole thing plays like some kind of weird pantomime but it is worth seeing for the sheer outlandishness of the designs, creatures, characters and visuals even if by the end of it your eyes are suffereing from too much green screen CG-itis! 3.5/5

Can you imagine what Gaiman and McKean could come up with if given an even bigger budget and a darker storyline! As it is Mirrormask is sufficient enough to satisfy their fans until somebody out there realises the potential of a Sandman movie!

Quantum of Solace (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2008]
Quantum of Solace (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Price: £3.28

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quantum of frustration!, 13 Oct 2009
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Casino Royale established the re-invention of the Bond franchise with a more serious and grittier tone, and Quantum of Solace pushes it even further. You may think that this is a good thing (depending on whether you thought the Bond films were getting a little silly or not!?) but it's at the expense of everything else. Unlike Casino Royale, which did a lot of things right, there are many flaws with QOS - firstly it's the amount of action sequences, I'm an action film junkie, but even I found there was too much action too much of the time, it soon becomes rather tedious and not at all exciting! Secondly it's how these action sequences are filmed, noticeable right from the opening car chase, the camera is so close to the action it becomes incomprehensible as to what is happening, it's quite exhausting! Then there is the plot, or lack thereof! Directly following on from Casino Royale QOS comes across as a 'bolt-on' rather than its own film, almost as if it should have been the climax to the first film. Every so often there is a little hint that there is a story going on somewhere underneath all the action (which is a shame as I think it's a nice idea!), but unfortunately Marc Forster is far more interested in getting back to the action, almost as if he's trying to prove that he can direct action films too! Also there isn't much for Daniel Craig to do in this film other than look good and showcase how fit he is by performing various stunts and feats of physicality, which don't get me wrong are very impressive, but I would have liked a film with more substance rather than just a Daniel Craig fitness video!

This is one of the shorter Bond films and one can't help but wonder that they should have added an extra half an hour to the running time to explore the story further between all the action and make it a little more coherent. As it is it is one of the weaker Bond films which doesn't bode well for the series as it's only Craig's second!

The Thin Red Line [1999] [DVD]
The Thin Red Line [1999] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Penn
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £2.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite movies!, 13 Oct 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Thin Red Line was released about the same time as Saving Private Ryan yet it was overshadowed by the hype of Spielberg's `boys own' war adventure, yet in my opinion this is a far superior film about the realities of war. It is a slow burning contemplative movie that explores all the big questions about war, particularly how it affects people and even, interestingly enough, nature, which is something I don't recall any other war movie doing (your heart breaks when you see a baby bird covered in ash!) As always Terrence Malick tells this story in a very dream-like way, with beautiful imagery and meditative dialogue. The cast of characters is superb with each of them having their own particular story arc. There are some brilliant performances especially from Nick Nolte, growling and chewing his way through everything, and Elias Koteas the conscientious captain who is torn between duty and loyalty to the men under his command. The action sequences that punctuate the film are also very impressive and are hard-hitting without being overly graphic. Also of note is the superb music score by Hans Zimmer, his best work to date and completely unconventional for a war movie. The Thin Red Line isn't for everyone's tastes and may frustrate viewers wanting an all out action war movie without the spiritual and philosophical meanderings, but this is a powerful drama about the human condition during terrible conflict.

B-Girl [DVD] [2009]
B-Girl [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Julie 'Jules' Ulrich
Price: £2.73

3.0 out of 5 stars Watch it for the awesome finale!, 13 Oct 2009
This review is from: B-Girl [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hmmm I must say this film was a bit of a disappointment and a wasted opportunity! I love the whole breakdancing scene, the awesome moves, the culture, the battles - it's great material for a movie! So I had high (and probably unrealistic) expectations for this movie, hoping it would be what Rocky was for boxing or 8 Mile was for rapping! However B-Girl comes across like a bad television episode of some really cheesy soap opera! The drama is held together by a series of clichés, stereotypical characters and bad acting and the story really doesn't hold your interest, you soon become frustrated just waiting for the next bit of breakdancing to appear which unfortunately there isn't enough of! The story follows B-Girl 'Angel' who struggles through various trials and tribulations to regain her confidence and respect as a b-girl after surviving a knife attack from an ex-boyfriend. She eventually joins a team of local b-boys to compete in a final battle. This is a standard story template really and nothing we haven't seen before in a million and one other movies! When the breakdancing does eventually appear it is pretty impressive, albeit far too brief, and filmed very well, with the camera often down low on the ground capturing the intricate moves and sharing the floor with the dancer or from overhead to view certain moves in full glory! It eventually leads to the final battle with two teams going head to head and it is very impressive and brilliantly choreographed, for me it was the only really decent part of the movie and it scores an extra star for it - just!

Kitaro [DVD] [2007]
Kitaro [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Eiji Wentz
Offered by SweetBuzzards
Price: £1.52

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird!, 1 Oct 2009
This review is from: Kitaro [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a live-action version of the 1960's Manga series and from the outset it's completely incomprehensible for those not familiar with it, particularly UK audiences as this is our first introduction to Kitaro! You spend the first half an hour just familiarising yourself with the characters and their world, and trying to figure out exactly what is going on. The whole film is filled with extremely bizarre characters and moments and you're almost a bit phased by the weirdness of it all! However once you've 'tuned in' to what exactly is going on it becomes a little more enjoyable, it almost reminds you of an episode of Monkey! even more similar is the Mayazaki animated film Spirited Away! The film is aimed at family audiences with plenty of special effects and comedy, there's a stinky Rat Man, a groovy Cat Girl, evil Spirit Foxes, a talking walking eyeball(!) and all manner of strange looking spirits and monsters. However the story is a little too thin to really hold your attention and the formulaic plotting just serves as an excuse to introduce the next whacky character or showcase some more special effects. That said, there are some notable moments such as the Wheel Monk train sequence and some of the action sequences are fast and frantic! It is worth a look if you are familiar with Kitaro, a fan of live-action Manga, or if you just enjoy wild and whacky movies!

Gabriel [DVD] [2008]
Gabriel [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Andy Whitfield
Price: £3.00

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Contact lenses, long hair and tattoos!, 10 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gabriel [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
I wasn't expecting much from Gabriel having heard mostly negative things about it, however I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Ok so I am a little biased as I do have a love for the subject matter, but that aside the film is a very entertaining gothic comic book-style action thriller along the lines of The Crow and Underworld. The amazing production design belies it's microscopic budget, with only a few dodgy special effects here and there. The characters are great and very well realised, even if the acting and dialogue is a little ropey at times and at least the story is cohesive and not overly-complicated. A good example that it's possible to make a high concept movie with a very limited budget and that you don't need huge stars and their egos to carry a film! All in all a very good effort and I very much hope the planned sequels see the light of day!

Jericho: Second Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Jericho: Second Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Skeet Ulrich
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £13.12

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...and so it ends..., 11 July 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I didn't know anything about Jericho, hadn't even heard of it until I saw an advert for the first season DVD release. It looked good and reading up about it sounded like a great idea for a TV series, so into my shopping basket it went! I wasn't disappointed! This is a great apocalyptic adventure series with equal parts action and drama and isn't too heavy considering the subject matter. However it is yet another high quality series that has been cancelled just when it was only scratching the surface of it's potential! This second season was a result of a massive fan campaign to conclude the show, so we have seven episodes that continue on from the end of the first season and at the same time introduce a new story arc that unfortunately is a little too big to confine within the seven episodes. It's a story that needed a lot more episodes to explore and expand its scope. That said however the quality and pace of this second season is top notch and as good as the first season, most of the characters return and appear somewhere along the line, with an especially welcome return for D. B. Sweeney's character Goetz, who's character featured all too briefly in season one. There are plenty of twists and surprises and before you know it you've reached the final episode, which tries to wrap up all the loose ends in a mere 40 minutes, which is nowhere near sufficient enough time! It is extremely rushed, cramming in as much plot development as possible, and there are hints of closure at the end but the story can easily, and should rightfully, be continued for a third season, but the likelihood of this is unfortunately very very thin!

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