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Mark Cain

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Oblivion
Oblivion
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Decent entertainment, but too much story for 2 hours..., 10 Mar 2014
This review is from: Oblivion (Blu-ray)
A decent enough scifi actioner, but it does cram about 5 hours of story into 2 hours. It also suffers because it successfully conjures up other, better scifi movies. You can detect 2001, Moon, Wall-E, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Predator, and even the old TV series Terrahawks in there.


Stoker
Stoker
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but perplexing, 8 Mar 2014
This review is from: Stoker (Blu-ray)
This is an outrageously good-looking film, and every scene has tantalising and enthralling composition. It engages and keeps your attention.

However…

The motivations and character development of the main focus of this story is just odd. I will avoid spoilers so I’ll not elaborate too much, but it jarred a little, and you had to have patience and acceptance of some pretty strange character development to really enjoy this film.

It nearly lost me, but it didn’t. I think mostly helped by the great performances.

Damn, it’s beautiful to look at.


Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith (2 Disc Edition) [DVD] [2005]
Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith (2 Disc Edition) [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by FUNTIME MEDIA
Price: 2.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Some clunky character development, overcome by some terrific action, 5 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Rather enjoyable conclusion to the prequel trilogy, with some gaping flaws (Annakin turns to the dark side on some really dodgy-sounding arguments from Palpatine - I think the rationales used are fine, but the dialogue is weak), but some rather great bits too. The entire last two acts contain some great action and fight sequences, and is extremely dark (and the darkness of Annakin's actions seem way too extreme a change for the weak-ish arguments used to change him to the dark side).

The last act does feel like a headlong rush to tick all the boxes of known Star Wars lore (Vader's disfigruments caused by burning up in lava? Check. Obi Wan watching Luke from afar? check. etc etc), but it still works well - any slower would have been frustrating to watch.

I think I still enjoy Attack of the Clones more, but this was fun.


Star Wars: Clone Wars - Volume One [DVD]
Star Wars: Clone Wars - Volume One [DVD]
Dvd ~ Star Wars: Clone Wars
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.83

5.0 out of 5 stars The best Star Wars since Return of the Jedi, 5 Feb 2014
This is a review of both parts of the Star:Wars Clone Wars 2-D animated series.

This is fun, exciting and fresh, and the best Star Wars since the original trilogy.

Originally broadcast in 4 or 5 minute segments, this still works wonderfully as a single cut-together entity, almost entirely due to the canny filmmakers who wisely used cliffhanger devices between segments, thus providing the dramatic glue to allow the cut-together version to work well.

The animation is simple but very effective, the action is well choreographed and exciting (in Volume 1, there's a battle between Mace Windu and, well, a droid army, that's just fantastic), and it never flags. We get some important insight into Annakin's journey, Yoda's powers, and how General Grievous got where he got.

Thoroughly recommended, the crowning achievement to date of Star Wars, since Return of the Jedi.


Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics
Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics
by Mark Kermode
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another engaging and entertaining read from Dr Kermode, 5 Feb 2014
Mostly entertaining book by Kermode talking about the nature of professional and amateur film criticism, and its place in the internet age. Baggy in the last third, but otherwise very engaging and gets you thinking about things you really wouldn't otherwise care about.


An American Werewolf In London - Special Edition [DVD]
An American Werewolf In London - Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Naughton
Price: 4.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Still holds up, one of the great horror-comedy movies, 4 Feb 2014
047 An American Werewolf in London

9/10

This movie holds up, and remains one of the great comedy-horror movies, for several reasons. The transformation scene, done entirely using practical effects, still looks pretty great (apart from some of the elongated hands moments, but I stress 'some'), the writing is done with wit and the acting of the minor characters feels pretty real, and overall the story zips along in an uncomplicated way. There's very little of that most common fault of horror movies -people have to act stupid at some point to drive the story (inadvertently leaving the road to go on the moors is something we'll ignore for the sake of the entire plot, rather than a contrivance to help drive the plot), and the central performance of Jenny Agutter, David Naughton and Griffin Dunne are wholly believable.

I feel a bad moon rising.


Groundhog Day (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2002]
Groundhog Day (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Price: 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptionall fine movie ** spoilers **, 3 Feb 2014
Beautifully constructed film that does three things nearly perfectly: entertains, enthrals, and enlightens.

The script is a million miles away from the A->Z scripts so often found in romantic comedies, and the turns taken keep you guessing, and you realise you're seeing something akin to growing wisdom with more and more experience.

When forced to live the same day over and over and over, we get Murray (beautifully playing his part) as the cynical weather reporter caught in a never ending loop of time. During this time, he gets depressed, bored, angry in turns, being even more nasty to those around him, or using this unique circumstance to find out about the people he has to interact with, and try and exploit this knowledge (to seduce women, for example). In fact, sometimes it may appear he is actually in some sort of hell of his own making.

Gradually he learns to accept what his happening, and tries to help people - but sometimes even this proves impossible (he helps an old tramp, spends some time with him, but before the day's out, the old fellow dies anyway).

He gradually stops doing superficial stuff, and starts to actually do something positive with all this time on his hands, and tries to use it in a less superficial or selfish way. He learns the piano for example after being charmed by a piano piece playing on the radio, and uses this new skill to entertain at a party. He takes time to help people, (stopping a kid hurting or even killing himself for example) knowing it's pointless anyway as the next day it all starts again. (how long is all this? 10 years? 100 years? 10,000 years?). Through all this, he comes to understand himself better, and release and enjoy the nice side of himself, falling in love (not just lust) with the leading lady.

A great story, great script and perfect comedy acting all rolled up. It's one of those films that transcends grouping - not just a comedy, not just a drama, not just a romance, and it works well on every level.


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs [DVD] [2010]
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Anna Faris
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: 2.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Really clever, really inventive, and really fun, 3 Feb 2014
Rather charming, clever and extremely inventive animated movie, that starts well and just gets better and better. I like some of the great ideas in here, like the clever girl having her own protective behaviours such as hiding her own smartness, and the fact some of the characters act against how they'd act if this movie traded in stereotypes.

One of the best animated movies I've seen for a while (for its inventiveness and weird moments, like people being chased by walking roast chickens). It plays to me like the weird lovechild of Tim Burton and David Lynch, sentenced to work at pixar together (maybe that's a little strong).

Beautiful.


The Man with the Iron Fists [Blu-ray] [2012]
The Man with the Iron Fists [Blu-ray] [2012]
Dvd ~ Russell Crowe
Price: 6.50

3.0 out of 5 stars poor first act, but definitely improves to be a decent homage to both 70s martial arts movies, and spaghetti westerns, 3 Feb 2014
This movie had some real problems, and I was getting bored in the first act. It looked pretty, the action scenes were decent to very good, and you could tell care was taken over the look and feel. However, it really fell short in terms of narrative coherence, and and sort of character building. It felt like a lot of fussy scenes that weren't building to anything involving characters you really couldn't care about.

However, it did get better as it went on. In the second act, things started to line up, and there was a better sense of cohesion, and things made sense, which dragged me from apathy to paying better attention.

By the time the final act/finale started rolling, I was fully engaged, really digging the visuals, and whilst the action could have been editing better, I found myself enjoying the ideas, panache and sheer amound of mayhem going on.

Overall, yes I enjoyed it, but I nearly turned off 20 minutes in because it seemed diffuse and more like strung together action scenes rather than a coherent whole, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

It obviously was a homage to 70s martial arts movies, and also a homage to the subgenre of spaghetti Western where gadgets are significant - the most famout example being the Sabata movies, I guess.

Fun, but the first 30 minutes are something to put up with, rather than enjoy. The rest is fine though.


Wicker Man - 3-Disc 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]
Wicker Man - 3-Disc 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Edward Woodward
Price: 18.25

5.0 out of 5 stars A great, great movie, horror or otherwise ** SPOILERS **, 3 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Such an electrifying movie in the last act, made so by the baffling, unsettling buildup throughout the film.

This staunch, upright policeman represents us, the viewer, as he first strides, then falters, through this strange island culture where everything seems sexualised and wanton and weird. He is as confused as us, the viewers. The villagers veer between odd and friendly, and almost everything said and done seems distinctly off-kilter.

We see this staunch Christian feel himself diminished and isolated as he realises he is in an environment like he's never encountered, where the friendly words, and seemingly joyful music has an underpinning of debauchery, cruelty and barbarity he finds hard to cope with - from the beetle deliberately tied to the pin to go round and round until it's tied up, to the little girl made to put a frog in her mouth to get rid of a sore throat, to the odd tricks the children play on the policeman.

The film itself is indeed a horror movie, but defies genre. It's a dark, dark comedy of sorts - reminiscent of the old TV series The Prisoner in its disconcerting changing of familiar buildings and clothes into something alien - a musical (the music infuses the film almost wholly, with the only odd music being an out-of-place funky electric guitar score very near the end when Woodward is trying to escape pursuit), and a detective story.

The vacant smiles and constant digressions the villagers and Lord make when talking to the policeman just keep building and building the tension, until the nature of the old religion makes itself clear.

Finally, you feel that both Christian and heathen are equally wrong and equally impotent as the villagers sing and dance on the windy grassland. This sacrifice feels both dreadful (Woodward is amazing in the last act) and pointless, as the villagers cavort in the windy sunset, you feel the gesture they are making to nature is pointless, and nature will do what it will do, and the actions of men won't change a thing.

A great film, horror or not.


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