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bizmandan (staffordshire, england)

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The Lego Movie [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2014] [Region Free]
The Lego Movie [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2014] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Chris Pratt
Price: £13.00

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything IS Awesome!, 15 July 2014
In recent years Lego has become no stranger to mainstream success, evolving way beyond its original popular toy status and branching out into all sorts of media, so naturally a full motion picture was going to be inevitable.
One might be tempted to categorize this movie in the same sort of genre as the efforts made by Hasbro in recent years- that would be a mistake on your part, because the quality of this film is way above anything I would have expected. 

Going into this movie I really did struggle to figure out what it might be about, as Lego has got its fingers in so many different pies, it makes toys for dc and marvel as well as star wars, harry potter, lord of the rings and so many other amazing franchises. I assumed it might be a dc Lego movie, as the studio distributing the film is warner bros. I was wrong though, this film is about Lego, in every sense of the word, this is truly a Lego movie. 
For me, the great thing about Lego is that it is only limited by imagination and the Lego movie really plays to that, this film is kind of all over the place, it seems to have an attention span of a four year old that has just had a whole tub of coffee ice-cream, but that is not really a bad thing, as soon as one idea is done, and explored, its time to move onto the next one because that is what Lego is all about! Because of this we get to see all sorts of characters from Gandalf to Dumbledore, from green lantern to superman and of course the spaceman! The scenes of the story are constantly shifting as well we get to explore Lego cityscapes, the western frontier, utopias and dystopias, all of this eclectic story telling just makes the concept of the film better because Lego is just too versatile to be limited to one genre setting. 

The look of the film is great, adopting a YouTube Lego animated video type look, makes the whole thing just look brilliant, I really think avoiding the use of CGI for the most part was a great production decision. Adopting stop motion makes the film stand out as something a bit different as you very rarely see stop motion animation these days (or any traditional animation really!) But it also has the effect of taking you back to your childhood days where you would imagine what the little figures were saying and doing, this movie makes you feel like you are playing with Lego! 

The cast of this film is absolutely amazing with voices from the likes of Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks in lead and many amusing cameos such as Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Green Lantern and Superman respectively. The real gems are in the supporting cast with Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson using their iconic voices to great effect and of course you have got to mention Will Arnett as Batman because HE'S BATMAN!

I went into this film thinking that it might be a bit of fun and good for a giggle or two, what I did not count on is coming out of the film thinking everything about this is awesome! (You'll get the reference if you've watch it) some might call this a 101-minute advert for a toy company, but I call it a reminder, a reminder of everything there is to love about Lego.
I can safely say that anybody that did not enjoy this film has obviously never played with Lego or have forgotten what is like to live in the magical world of your imagination. If that is the case I suggest you revisit your childhood and watch this film again because everything in the Lego movie IS AWESOME! Recommended.


Kick-Ass [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Kick-Ass [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Chloe Moretz
Price: £6.74

4.0 out of 5 stars great concept, executed well, 15 July 2014
Super hero films have become more than popular in recent years and inevitably, have spawned this sub genre of film, the “super-hero in the real world” genre. Unlike traditional superhero flics, this sub genre is consistently good, with the likes of 'Super' and 'Defendor' already having very respectable reviews from me. Kick ass takes it up a notch though; it sprinkles just the right amount of un-believability into the story to have the feel of the film land successfully between something like Defendor and something more fantastical like Captain America. The scope of kick-ass isn’t as big as the Captain America franchise but the ambition is definitely there. This sweet spot between real life drama and pure comic book fiction is where the magic happens, and I can confidently say that this is the most enjoyable film of this superhero sub genre.

Lets start with the source material, the graphic novel by Mark Millar, is an outstanding book, but if it is anything, it is violent; I mean uber violent, this book contains the kind of stuff that Game of Thrones might have a problem showing in one of its episodes. (I did say might!) So you have got to give props to one of my favorite screen writers, Jane Goldman, along with writer/director Matthew Vaughn for being able to adapt the story, keeping the original feel of the book but also making it semi acceptable for the main stream audience.
For the most part the casting in kick-ass is top notch. Christopher Mintz-Plasse has finally managed to shed the Mclovin' typecasting by playing, an, admittedly still geeky guy, who is also lonely, spoilt and eventually not quite right in the head. Nicolas Cage is finally good! How many years has it been? But in the role of Big Daddy his over acting and kookiness actually works for him. The star of the show though, is undoubtedly Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl, the stuff that comes out of her mouth never loses it's shock value as it is delivered with such ease and conviction, you just want to constantly wash her mouth out with soap! The action scenes with hit girl are legendary, with the violence being amplified because a 13-year-old girl is performing it. 

Kick-ass poses the question “why hasn't anybody tried to be a super hero?” And answers it with the harsh reality of life. The story shows us the dangers of messing with evil, real life mafia/ mob type of evil, and it isn't pretty. It shows us the consequences of the lifestyle of a costumed vigilante, and it isn't pretty. But it also shows us the life that all of us, at least at one point in our lives, have dreamed of, the kind of life where you can walk away from exploding building in slow motion on a daily basis, and it's pretty damn cool.

Kick-ass is one of those films that takes an existing genre and does something unique with it, and what’s more, it does it pretty well. Great action, brilliant characters, cool story and an enjoyable concept, it's probably not a classic but it is well worth the time to watch and enjoy.


Thor: The Dark World [Blu-ray] [2013]
Thor: The Dark World [Blu-ray] [2013]
Dvd ~ Chris Hemsworth
Price: £14.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Improvement on the Last, 14 July 2014
Thor is a franchise that I have grown very fond of over the past few years; it has consistently proven to me how entertaining it can be despite the extremely old Norse source material. Whether it be the silver age comics that I reluctantly started to read, and found them second only to Spiderman for entertainment value, or the first film that pleasantly surprised me with its seamless transition to the big screen oozing with its Shakespearean prowess. Once again, with the second (or third, if you count the Avengers) iteration of the Thor story, committed to the big screen, my preconceptions have been squashed by the powerful mjolnir.

I thought, with the exit of the Shakespearean seasoned Kenneth Branagh as director this sequel would suffer, as some of its, for lack of a better word, class, would have dissipated along with the grandiose feel of the production. How wrong could I have been? The Dark World improves on its predecessor in almost every way. Quite a feat if you look back at my review of the original Thor film, you will see that I gave it a pretty good score.

Some people would say that the first outing of Thor was a little bit stuffy and slow paced, I would disagree, as I said, I think that the dramatic Shakespearian atmosphere that Kenneth Branagh brought to the film added a bit of class. But if you’re not happy with the franchise going in that direction then what other way is there to go? Well the Game of Thrones way of course! That’s why getting seasoned GoT director, Alan Taylor onboard was a masterstroke by the producers of TtDW. The biggest difference I can see is the character of Thor has been allowed to develop into maturity, he is no longer an arrogant bulk of muscle swinging a hammer, but a responsible conscientious ruler-in-waiting, swinging a hammer. The character is handled well by Chris Hemsworth but the director guides him expertly. This of course goes across the board with all the cast, but a special mention has to go out to Stellan Skarsgård for “revealing” his talents. I just felt a lot more invested in the whole cast to the point that, if they died in a game of thrones sort of way, I would actually care quite a lot (like in game of thrones).

Of course there is plenty of action and thrills to be experienced with in this film, a kind of film making that director, Taylor, seem plenty comfortable with but the real meat of this film lies in the relationship between Thor and his estranged brother Loki. Tom Hiddleston is arguably the star of this film giving the villainous Loki a real human side yet still managing to keep you guessing what his motives are. He literally steals every scene he is in, but this is what we have come to expect from Tom after the stellar performances he has given in the past two marvel cinematic universe films.

If one criticism could be made, it is that the story once again falls back on a McGuffin, this time it’s called the “Aether” but it could just as well be called the Tesseract, oogamafliv or Dave, it really doesn’t matter, but that is the nature of the McGuffin isn’t it? This is a very small criticism though as, I said in the previous paragraph the true story is in the character development and relationships between characters (and Stellan Skarsgård hidden, or rather, unhidden gifts).

Thor: The Dark World is an improvement on an already great franchise, it expands the size of the MCU dramatically and it also furthers the story of all of our favorite characters from the Thor movies in significant ways. It has done justice to all of the fans like me out there and has got me crossing my fingers that there will be a third instalment at some point in the future.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Limited Edition with Comic Book (Amazon.co.uk Exclusive) [Blu-ray] [2014]
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Limited Edition with Comic Book (Amazon.co.uk Exclusive) [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Andrew Garfield
Price: £13.00

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It just Gets Worse, 7 July 2014
It is absolutely no secret at all that I wasn't a fan of the first Spiderman reboot movie. I think that the very fact that it was made out of a necessity for Sony to keep the Spiderman rights returning back to marvel, says straight away the film is going to be half assed, and guess what? It was. That is not to say that I had negative preconceptions about this sequel, after all, now that Sony have safely kept marvel getting their, supremely creative, hands on this property we can hope for a much better film that is created for the love of the characters and the story rather than exclusively for business interests. Well maybe amazing Spiderman 2 was made more for entertainment and less to keep marvel away from a top tier character, but that doesn't mean that this is a good film in any sense of the word.
My main problem with this rebooted franchise is that, apart from using the names of characters and loosely creating a universe based on some sort of approximation of what it is in the comics, these films are just not true to the source material. I get that I must allow for artistic license and that the film makers like to reinterpret stuff in their own vision, I really do get that. But I feel that if the same approach was taken with, for example, the Harry Potter films, Harry would be a blond haired kid from Chicago with a bad attitude and a crescent moon scar on his elbow, that went to Pigboils college of paganism and magic, in space. Maybe that example is slightly exaggerated, but my point still stands. As a comic book fan I want to see the characters that I have read about for many years come to life on screen just like any Harry Potter, hunger games, Twilight or middle earth fan likes to see. This is something that the original trilogy was able to achieve, doing fan service while still reinterpreting the material. Exploring relationships between Peter Parker and anchor characters like J.Jonah Jameson and Norman Osborne, is almost like the bread and butter of the Spiderman story, but these are the Characters that are sadly missing from this franchise, and, if you will allow me to use the Harry Potter metaphor again, to demonstrate how important these characters are to the myphos of Spiderman, it would be like the Harry Potter movies missing Snape, a secondary character, yes, but so, so vital to the story.
Fan boy whining aside, AS2 had many other issues, one of the most prominent is the painfully long 142-minute runtime that is saturated with a pointless on again, off again romantic subplot between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. I know that Spiderman can do angst with the best of them but this whole subplot could have easily fit into a 90-minute film with some serious and much needed trimming down. The run time ultimately leads to some pacing issues, I felt myself falling asleep several times when I watched this, and that had never ever happened to me before when watching a new marvel movie for the first time, I love marvel! I should not be falling asleep! That is not a good sign!
Now onto the character motivations, I found myself constantly asking myself during this film "why?" I could not fathom, for the most part, the reasons or motivations of anybody doing anything, especially the villains, there are better motivations for characters in Spider-Man 3 and that is saying something!
The sound and music of the film is something else that I took issue with, I don't usually comment on the sound of a film, even if it is really good, because I believe it is at its best when it is unnoticeable. Sound and music should covertly enhance the film, not intrude and interrupt as it does in AS2, the music doesn't work at all, maybe that is just a personal preference, but I don't think AS2 will be winning any awards for sound in the near future.
And now we come to one of my biggest pet peeves, inconsistent physics! How can webbing be strong as steel in one instance but be cut with a knife in another? How can a superhero be able to catch a police car but not be able to punch through a windscreen? Lazy writing that's how.
This isn't the worst film in the world, unfortunately, I have seen worse, but what it is, is a lazily put together story with an a-list superhero. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are great and have brilliant chemistry, the visual effects are great and I don't think that I have ever seen Spidey look so good web slinging. Unfortunately, all of these redeeming features do not lift this film anywhere near the greatness of anything produced in house by marvel studios and that makes me really sad because Spidey is my favourite character to read, as I'm sure, he is for many people but he has quickly turned into my least favourite character to watch and somehow Sony have managed to make this sequel just that little bit worse than the previous film.


The Amazing Spider-Man (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [2012] [Region Free]
The Amazing Spider-Man (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [2012] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Andrew Garfield
Price: £6.81

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not a fan of the new shiney suit spidey, 6 Jun 2014
I just want to start this review out with a simple question, why in the name of Stan Lee himself, is the spider costume sparkly? Has Twilight had such an impact on modern culture that soon we will have to endure all of our hero’s having a sparkle? Or is just because the bright red and blue costume from the comic source material is not flamboyant enough? Suffice to say I had problems with the costume design in this film.

The Amazing Spider-Man is one sub-par, shiny suit wearing, web slinging, confused mixed bag of a superhero movie. The first ten minutes say a lot about the dramatic tone that director Marc Webb was most concerned with establishing, although much of that particular air of self-seriousness just kind of lays limp, waiting for the next intermittent scene of humour to relieve the audience's yearning to just have a good time. The film only seems to pop when it lets loose the shackles of this oh-so-personal Peter Parker origin story. Indeed, the film covers much of the same ground that Sam Raimi's brilliant first film did... but it seems laborious here, maybe because we have seen it all before?.

Yet through it all, there are plenty of moments in the film that work: actors who brighten up a scene, genuinely funny audience-friendly bits, and Spidey images that are just cool to see. It's just too bad that one can’t sift the good stuff through a strainer and leave out the crap.

With a run time of fifteen minutes beyond two hours, the picture shifts from serious land to B-movie mayhem at around the halfway point and really doesn’t stop smelling cheesy from that point. The lizard is a mess, looks-wise, as well as in his poorly laid out intentions. The CGI character looks less like The Lizard from the comic books and more like a Goomba from the Mario Bros film; it’s all topped off with Rhys Ifans' voice absurdly spouting out dialogue that only underlines how dopey the film quickly becomes in comparison to the brooding drama that makes up much of the rest of the picture.

Spider-Man himself barely grows out of his young cocky mode before becoming a non-expressive digital stuntman, in a sparkly suit, in much of the film's finale. It's too bad, because Garfield has it in him to be a good Peter, albeit a different one than we've seen before.

Emma Stone, along with Denis Leary as her father, provide the most well-acted scenes with Garfield that honestly work and provide the best backbone the flick possesses. Unfortunately, the cast's keen chemistry ends with Aunt May and Uncle Ben, both played by terrific actors (Sally Field and Martin Sheen, respectively) who are never given the right chance to connect with the warmth and emotionality of their characters.

As in most cases with Marvel movies not made in-house, there's just something off with this Spidey outing and it makes me kind of annoyed at Marvel for selling the rights to there characters to other studios. I think it's missing the fun that Sam Raimi effortlessly brought to the character -- a shared ingredient that made The Avengers such a crowd-pleaser. Comparisons aside, The Amazing Spider-Man just seems like too much of a compromised product. Perhaps the film will end up being a necessary sacrifice just to continue on with the character in future outings. In that case, it'll be interesting to see what the studio will learn from this shabby effort.


Captain America [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Captain America [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Samuel L. Jackson

4.0 out of 5 stars The worst of the best, 6 Jun 2014
If it was Iron Mans job to establish the marvel cinematic universe and Thors job to expand upon it then this film is to reveal the MCU's origins. With that brief in hand, Captain America achieves everything it set out to do, in the sense that as many origins are shoehorned into the story as possible. Not that that is a bad thing, I mean, it's not to the scale of the Phantom Menace, but we do get to see characters and plot points that are only mentioned in passing in previous films. We meet a young Howard Stark, who is apparently more like his son than we have been led to realise. We also find out the origins of the super soldier serum, which is a huge plot point in the criminally overlooked Hulk film. There is also a smattering of Easter eggs for the comic lovers out there, such as myself, with a statue of the original Human Torch from the 1940's, in one of the early scenes.
The time period is something that the film never really lets us forget, with phenomenal production design, wardrobe and cinematography, you never really lose track of where you are within the MCU timeline. That's a quality of this film that is kind of a necessity; as the technology presented within the film is way too advance for the 1940's, potentially taking you out of the movie. Of course the marvels set in modern day contain tech that is way too advanced for the early 21st century, but somehow a fully sentient AI with a customisable holographic interface is somehow more believable than laser guns in the 1940’s. The filmmakers offset the unbelievable gadgets like HD screens and genetic manipulation chambers with, as I said, fantastic production design. Everything is steam punked, with levers, knobs and dials galore! For some reason, this personally, is enough to suspend my disbelief.
Before watching Captain America the main concern I had was his costume. Iron man and Thor had stayed quite true to the comics, with great success, but Captain America has got to have one of the cheesiest outfits in all of comics, and if you have seen the 90's TV movies you will know that this really doesn't translate to film very well at all. In this iteration of the Cap though, they own the cheesiness, they don't hide from it and I think that's great. Of course they also have a more serious outfit later in the film and that works very well while still staying (sort of) true to the comics.
Something needs to be said about the visual effects particularly the pre super soldier serum Steve Rogers. Chris Evans is a beast of a man, he is really big, but they managed to graft his face on to a really skinny short body. I have never seen anything like it, this effect is the high point of the film because it looks so real, that's not to say that the only good bit of the film is the effect but it was this aspect that impressed me the most. The effect really increases the contrast between pre and post Cap Steve Rogers and makes the reveal all the more impressive.
The major drawback with Captain America is that this is essentially a filler film, even more so than Iron Man 2 it just feels as though this shouldn't be called "Captain America: The First Avenger" and should be called "Avengers: Prelude". With Chris Evans playing a great clean cut, reserved and conservative character he almost seems to get trampled on by the titanic size of the MCU. The story at times feels rushed hurrying on to the real show that is The Avengers. It's a shame really, because up to this point it doesn't feel like Cap has been done justice, it doesn't feel like he has reached his full potential on the big screen.
Captain America: The First Avenger is a decent attempt at telling the origins of the MCU and the Cap himself. It is a nice little summer blockbuster that was a great way to tide marvel fans over until the big event of The Avengers, but now that The Avengers has come out and took the world by storm it feels like this movie has been left behind coughing in the dust clouds of the bigger better films that marvel has produced. Sadly, for me that leaves this film at the bottom of the pile of marvel in house productions. But being the worst film in a bunch of great ones still means it's a pretty good film.


21 Jump Street (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [2012]
21 Jump Street (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [2012]
Dvd ~ Channing Tatum
Price: £7.50

4.0 out of 5 stars above average american comedy, 4 Mar 2013
Once I found out that 21 Jump Street is a movie based on an American TV show from the eighties I was kind of turned off. Most of the time movie remakes of old 80's TV shows are at best, ok. So to watch an American comedy based on an American show I had never heard of seemed like the worst kind of entertainment, the kind where I am left out of all the inside jokes and references. After watching it however, apart from one particular nod to the fans which I am not going to spoil here, I can confirm that your knowledge of the original show holds absolutely no bearing to your enjoyment of this film.

This film is funny, plain and simple, it's a funny script delivered by funny actors. The premise is that two rookie cops are given the assignment to pretend to be teenagers at a local high school to uncover a drug distribution network. This set up inevitably delivers some funny situations, such as a teacher having confusing feelings towards Channing Tatum's character and a particular drug induced scene that is funny on the same levels as the furry wall in Get Him to the Greek. The humour is very broad, ranging from low brow to slap stick to self satire, and everything in between.

For such a low brow comedy, the script, co-wrote by Jonah Hill, is pretty smart and more aware than most films set in high schools. For example our characters are pretty confused when they find out that the school isn't divided into jocks, cheerleaders and nerds. One of the pupils are gay and no one gives a damn also the popular kids actually care about their future and don't waste their time bullying people, all of this is very disarming to Tatum's and Hill's characters and leads to a fresh take on the high school dynamic.

Out of the two leads it is surprisingly Tatum who gets the most laughs, maybe because you don't expect him to be funnier than Jonah Hill, when he delivers lines with perfect comic timing you end up finding it funnier than from someone who you expect to deliver humour, sort of like the queen, break dancing instead of cutting a ribbon.

Although I wouldn't say this is a classic comedy, it certainly delivers better than most stateside "funny" films, with intelligent writing and jokes on every level, you are bound to find something that you like in this film.


Cabin in the Woods [Blu-ray]
Cabin in the Woods [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Drew Goddard
Price: £7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars try not to spoil it!, 4 Mar 2013
I feel like I start every review of a horror film with this statement, I do not like horror films, I am not a fan and I never will be and I am really not an authority on the subject. But with that said, Cabin in the Woods is the best horror film I have ever watched to this date, taking the crown away from my previous favourite 28 Days Later.

Why is it so good? Because it is self aware, it knows what it is and it knows you know what it is and it uses that to its advantage.

For fear of spoiling this film, I'm going to keep this review nice and short. This is one of those films that is best served raw, the less you know about it the better, try to not even read a synopsis because it will detract from the sublime experience that is this film. I'm trying my best to not spoil this at all in this review because to do so would be a misdeed similar to spoiling The Sixth Sense.

The cast line up is adequate and features a pre-fame Chris Hemsworth, which obviously served as a way for this feature to stick out from the crowd. Luckily, Cabin in the Woods was delayed due to the bankruptcy of MGM and by the time it was released, Thor had already come out and Avengers was just on the horizon serving, to give the film more exposure than it previously would have got.

The true stars of this feature though were in the form of writer Joss Whedon and writer/ director Drew Goddard. Originality would be the word to describe what they bring to this production. Without telling you what the story is; they manage to explain why horror films are the way they are. The directional debut of Goddard is also extremely promising as he seems to have a natural knack of creating terror and suspense without relying on cheap jump cuts and shaky cam.

This film is an absolute master piece and in a sea of mediocre horror cash cows with crappy stories and unskilled people behind the camera, this film stands head and shoulders above the rest. Recommended.


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [Blu-ray]
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £10.48

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Boring!!, 4 Mar 2013
How utterly boring does the title of this film seem? For me it brought thoughts of men in waders, drinking tea from a flask and eating meat paste sandwiches. Maybe it is because I was brought up no where near the sea and I haven't gone fishing in all my years on this earth but the thought of a film about fishing just seems like an instant low score. A great injustice the title does this film then, as after watching it, I can safely say that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is easily one of my favourite films of 2012.

The story of this film is pretty much what it says on the tin, a very rich Sheikh loves salmon fishing and he wants salmon in the Yemen, something that is seemingly impossible. Again, I think this sounds like a snore fest, but you would be surprised how much story you can wrap around this original premise.

To my mind I can't think of a single character in this film that I didn't find completely likable. Ewan McGregor played one of the best parts I have ever seen him in, dropping his usual sexy charm for the wader-wearing-tea-drinking-meat-paste-sandwich-eating kind of person I was talking about in a previous paragraph. He is delightfully awkward and plays the old dog can't learn new tricks part so, so well. Of course his part would never be so endearing if the character didn't have layers, and McGregor hints at his immense dissatisfaction of his life without ever breaking his keep calm and carry on façade. To act with such a delicate touch shows such a mastery of his craft, and I'm sure credit is due to the director as well.

Emily Blunt brings plenty of electric to the production as a confident professional woman. In most things I have seen her in she seems to maintain an almost icy demeanour in her performances but with this part she is as warm and lovely as I have ever seen her.

Amr Waked plays the part of the Sheikh who is the instigator of the whole project within the film. He is wise to the point where you think he could give Yoda a run for his money. He sees fishing as something extremely spiritual and is convinced that bringing salmon fishing to the Yemen will bring nothing but prosperity to his people. You would be hard pushed to find a nicer, warmer and contented leader in the whole of the Middle East, and of course, he is completely likable.

My favourite character has to be the spin doctor played by Kristin Scott Thomas, her ruthlessness leads to some of the films biggest laughs. The character is as sharp and quick-witted with her staff and the Prime Minister as she is with her own kids. Even though she is meant to be the somewhat villain of the piece, she to, is completely charming in her own way and you never feel like you want her off of the screen.

The story takes us to the eclectic vistas of London, the Scottish highlands and, of course, Yemen. Each location is given oodles of love by the cinematographer, giving London it's metropolitan greyness, Scotland it's serine solitude and the Yemen it's exotic sun drenched heat.

The script is not a simple a to b either, thrown into the mix of the narrative are plot points that include broad humour, political satire, romance and even an assignation plot. The story really does take us on a journey both metaphorically and literally, allowing all the characters in the film to be deep, rich, warm and develop into different people by the end of the film.

If I was to make one criticism it would be that the romance aspect of the film does seem to be a little bit predictable and almost seems a little forced. To be honest though I can not think of a film in recent memory where the romance aspect of it wasn't predictable, can you?

This is a film that you expect to be boring, but it's not! If you are wondering whether you should watch this, the answer is and unequivocal yes! Absolutely! With a doubt! Highly recommended.


388 Arletta Avenue [Blu-ray]
388 Arletta Avenue [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Nick Stahl
Price: £8.02

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is What It is, don't knock it!, 4 Mar 2013
Some would automatically dismiss this film as "just another found footage movie". I would beg to differ, I think that found footage gets a really bad rap because the medium is so constricting and people are quick to judge the film as a re-iteration of Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project. This is a fair argument, as horror genre producers have favoured this way of making a film in recent years as it is a very cheap and therefore very profitable and low risk way to produce their creations. I would argue though, that the very nature of a restrictive medium forces the film makers to be more creative and resourceful when making found footage and actually use the medium to enhance the film viewing experience.

388 Arletta Avenue is an extremely voyeuristic film and because of this the found footage medium really enhances it. We experience the whole film through surveillance cameras put in place by an obsessive stalker, and when I say obsessive I really do mean obsessive! Though there is nothing sexual about the voyeurism you really do get the feeling that the stalker is getting very turned on by spying on the couple who live at 388 Arletta Ave. this really adds to the creepiness of the stalker character.

Nick Stahl of Terminator 3 fame, pretty much carries the whole film by himself and for that, he should be commended. He portrays his decent into paranoia and eventual madness in a completely believable way and doesn't over dramatise the performance as so many actors probably would in low budget productions like this.

Praises aside though, this film never becomes more than it actually is, and what it is, is a cheap found footage paranoid thriller. It won't rock your world like Cloverfield or Chronicle does but with a run time of less than 90 minutes you will be hard pressed to find time to get bored with the film and even if you do hate it, you have only wasted a little over an hour of your life.


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