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bizmandan (staffordshire, england)

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Nintendo Handheld Console 3DS - Metallic Red
Nintendo Handheld Console 3DS - Metallic Red

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its not all about the 3d, 14 Feb 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Well what can I say about my wonderful little 3ds? For a start it's probably the best handheld I have ever come across, it is such fantastic value for money because it is so packed with features. You almost don't need to have any games with it because straight out of the box there is just so much to do.
When I received my 3ds, my wife already had one so I already knew that it was a great console, but when you know someone that has one of these like a friend or a family member these little things really come into their own. It is such a social console, every single day I check mine and work my way through streetpass quest, and to see if I have any messages or to see if any of my friends are playing Mario kart 7 or street fighter, it is a pretty awesome thing.
One thing I will say is that if you are buying this console based solely on its ability to display 3d without glasses just let it be known that this is probably the least important feature on the 3ds, it is gimmicky, and although it is very, very impressive, you will soon get over it.
This is such an amazingly good console and to judge it solely on the 3d is a mistake. In my opinion its all about the streetpass!
An absolute essential for any lover of video games.

I Love You Phillip Morris [Blu-ray]
I Love You Phillip Morris [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Jim Carrey
Price: £7.53

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a completely unbelievable true story, 9 Feb 2012
I Love You Phillip Morris opens with the cheeky preface "This Really Happened" rather than the normal "Based on a True Story" or the standard "Inspired by Actual Events" a creative decision that playfully prepares audiences for the sheer lunacy they're about to witness.

In exploiting the more preposterous aspects of Steve Russell's (Jim Carey) incredible career as a con man, I Love You Phillip Morris the director and screenwriters have created the perfect cinematic vehicle to showcase the diverse talents of comedy icon Carrey, whose flair for drama has been gradually catching up with his killer comic timing ever since he stunned audiences into silence in The Cable Guy back in 1996. Carrey's portrayal of Russell sits so comfortably alongside his previous roles in films like Me, Myself & Irene, Liar Liar, and Yes Man that if it weren't for the fact that the film told you it was a true story at the beginning, the story could easily be believed as a farce.

The film makers seem more interested in milking the story for comedy rather than attempting anything serious or thoughtful with the material, but when dealing with a subject like Russell, absurdity and comedy just seems to be the right way to go. Still, Carrey handles the dramatic beats in I Love You Phillip Morris with enough conviction to hold his own opposite McGregor, who is captivating in his role as the timid inmate who quickly falls for Russell's disarming charisma.

Much like Steve Russell at that crucial crossroads that nudged him into a life of crime, I Love You Phillip Morris never feels like it really knows what it wants to be. But this lack of direction doesn't ruin the film at all because it's Russell's talent for BS and Carrey's ability to play the character so naturally and believably that ensure that our attention stays riveted to the story, even after it becomes apparent that the filmmakers aren't interested in much more than playing Russell's extraordinary life story for laughs. Very enjoyable indeed.

Hustle & Flow [Blu-ray] [2005]
Hustle & Flow [Blu-ray] [2005]
Dvd ~ Terrence Howard
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £7.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars as long as you have subtitles this is pretty good, 7 Feb 2012
First things first, if you are not from the deep south of America I would advise watching this film with the subtitles on as, although everybody is speaking English, the accents are extremely thick, but that is a tiny flaw in a film that is altogether pretty good.

Even more than its thematic cousin, 8 Mile, Hustle & Flow harnesses the grungy essence of grass-roots hip-hop, the kind produced in basements and garages, and filters it through a truly intense performance.

From his 1970s title card onward the director has produced a blisteringly hip film, one that's as capable with iconic images as it is with penetrating a deeply complex antihero.

The central figure is Djay, played by Terrence Howard, who is a revelation of simmering menace, whose desire to escape his daily pimp-and-ho grind is a physical force. As coldly efficient as his methods are, this is clearly a man with a conscience, a stern yet secretly caring father figure to the stable of prostitutes who live with him in his home. The poetics of his street philosophies naturally evolve into the necessary rhythms and life experiences for rap. As he gathers a motley group of collaborators, the music takes shape with a booming and vibrating gristle that is absolutely invigorating. Inspired by the overnight fame of another local street figure, Djay channels his gifts of persuasion into everything from acquiring sound equipment to quieting the neighbours during recording.

The supporting performances add whatever the director and lead cannot. The most well known face in this film, for me, was DJ Qualls, and he truly excels as a talented white mixing geek whose `street' attitude actually ends up seeming cool, something that really is different for a guy that is usually cast as the person who is anything but cool. Anthony Anderson clearly relishes a well-deserved respite from contemporary comedies, yet still joins with Qualls to contribute the film's significant doses of humour. Even rapper Ludacris is good! But the stars of this film, sharing the soul with Howard are the women; they really made the film for me, finding their fragile relevance throughout.

This is one of those rare MTV Films releases that actually use songs as enthralling and indispensable ingredients, and when I say enthralling I mean, this was some truly great hip hop. Because of the music, Hustle & Flow is a shot of cinematic adrenaline.

Although, for some reason, I didn't enjoy this film as much as 8mile, probably due to the fact that I am neither a pimp nor a drug dealer so I failed to relate. I must acknowledge that this is a very well put together musical drama that has a great cast, great performances and most of all outstanding music.

Taken [Blu-ray]
Taken [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Liam Neeson
Price: £6.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars liam neeson is an amazing badass, 3 Feb 2012
This review is from: Taken [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Liam Neeson lets loose a mean dose of delicious thuggery in Taken, a taut thriller that puts the viewer in the passenger seat right next to a hell-bent father seeking his stolen daughter and the blood of those behind her abduction.

This tense action film doesn't spend much time setting things up, nor does it decelerate once the flick picks up steam. Not one to overstay its welcome, this suspenseful tale is an economic exercise in delivering the goods for those who are interested in a vehicle to soak up, bask in, and then leave behind as soon as it's over.

Audiences get a clear idea of what sort of pain is in store for the bad guys early on, which sets up the kind of swift brutality this character is capable of. Neeson delivers the action with a satisfyingly steady hand. In the acting department, Liam Neesonis a single-minded, stone-faced wonder, ready to pummel whoever needs to be knocked down in order to get to his daughter. As the daughter, Maggie Grace fulfils the dual nature of her character's arc, delivering both doe-eyed innocence and wide-eyed hysteria with competence. But I don't get why she has to run everywhere? Seriously when you watch this film try and pick out a scene where she gets from A to B without running, I bet you can't.

Taken might still be on the fluffy side (the father daughter relationship sometimes seems a bit OTT), but it is of a higher pedigree than what action buffs have come to expect in recent years.

While film buffs certainly wouldn't flock to this flick, I think action fan boys should. But that being said I think that the inclusion of Neeson will hopefully tip some audiences off to the fact that there's something a little more to this intimate package than just your normal whiz-bang-pow big-budgeted romp.

Needless to say, if you happen to be snatched up against your will, you could do a lot worse than have a Liam Neeson type waiting in the wings to brutalize his way to your rescue.

Die Hard 2 - Die Harder [Blu-ray]
Die Hard 2 - Die Harder [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Price: £7.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a solid sequel, 3 Feb 2012
It's difficult to take any movie subtitled Die Harder seriously and that really is a good thing. Luckily, this sequel to 1988's Die Hard seems slyly aware of its own preposterousness and plays like one great, big, tongue-in-cheek cheese fest.
Much like a James Bond film, Die Hard 2 is full of ridiculous, logic bending, kingdom-of-the-crystal-skull-like superhuman stunts, but its bravado forces you to say, "Who cares about all that!?" It's so far outside of the realm of reality that it defies you to make a critical remark.
Die Hard 2 doesn't fall into the trap of making itself too similar to the first like many sequels of this type can. Even though every nod possible is made to the previous film, with many of the previous characters making a return, Die Harder still seems like a film that can stand on its own. These days, in an age where Hollywood seems to be re-making and re-booting everything in sight, this film stands out as a real gem from the golden age of action.
Of course, the perfect ringleader for all the jolly destruction is Bruce Willis, the man who has built a career largely on his ability to look good while suffering great physical hardships. He's the perfect "Iron Everyman" for the rough and tumble Die Hard series. If they ever try and make a Die Hard film without him I doubt it ever be nearly as successful, Bruce Willis is Die hard.
An absolute must see for any action fans, even though the (nearly) realism and the outstanding villain that were present in the first film are not present here, it is a fresh non stop film that, in a lot of ways, improves on it's predecessor, and isn't that what sequels are meant to do?

Die Hard [Blu-ray] [1988]
Die Hard [Blu-ray] [1988]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Price: £7.00

5.0 out of 5 stars the perfect action movie, 3 Feb 2012
Die Hard represents the class of modern action pictures and the standard by which they must be judged. At least that's what we are all told, that Die Hard is the perfect action film. Now here's a shocker, up until this Christmas just gone I had never had the pleasure of watching "the perfect action film" but after watching it, and being somewhat of a fan boy of the action genre, I must admit that few films falling into the "mindless entertainment" category have as much going for them as this movie. It has one of the best film villains played by the always wonderfully villainess Alan Rickman, a hero everyone can relate to, a dialogue that has more quick witted cheesiness than a multipack of wotsits, and a lot of very impressive pyrotechnics.
With Die Hard, I think we really were given a modern action classic a movie that, once it gets started, doesn't really slow down until the end credits. It's just a shame that Schwarzenegger didn't do an action film of this calibre in his time, now that would have been, just great.
Bruce Willis is perfect as the wisecracking John McClane, an "everyday" sort of guy who gets caught up in circumstances that force him to play the reluctant hero. This is a person that we can root for, even when some of the things he's doing are humanly impossible. Willis' acting skills are somewhat two dimensional, but it's hard to imagine anyone else in this role, besides aren't all the best action stars slightly limited in their acting abilities?
Alan Rickman defines the action genre villain. The man's charm lies in that volatile mixture of violence and cunning all wrapped in a gentlemanly civility. It doesn't take many minutes of screen time for us to be aware that Rickman is playing a very evil man.
The supporting cast gives solid performances Reginald Veljohnson (as McClane's cop-on-the-outside-contact) is noteworthy.
Whether Bruce Willis is climbing up an elevator shaft, throwing himself off an exploding building, or racing barefoot across a flood littered with glass shards, his John McClane holds our attention while we hold our breaths. Die Hard isn't motion picture poetry, but it shows the kind of raucous entertainment that the industry is capable of delivering. For what it is, this is pretty much as good as it gets, flash, bang, and witty one-liners all included. Yippee kiyay!

Anuvahood [BLU-RAY] [2011]
Anuvahood [BLU-RAY] [2011]
Dvd ~ Adam Deacon
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £8.49

2.0 out of 5 stars doesn't work, 15 Jan 2012
Kidulthood and Adulthood actor Adam Deacon makes his directing debut in what first appears to be a spoof of the very films that made his name. the film is ultimately aiming to be an urban comedy, but never really finds its groove. It stars Deacon as a clueless Londoner and wannabe MC who resorts to small-time dealing to raise cash after losing his job at Laimsbury's (I kid you not). As his mildly eventful week continues, this becomes less of a parody than a series of skits involving one-dimensional stereotypes. It occasionally amuses but the tone never settles: some actors aim for farce, others play it straight.

In the past I have enjoyed Deacon in things like Dead Set and all the Noel Clarke films, and as it goes, his acting in Anuvahood , is still up to the same standard. Where he fails in this film dramatically is his ability to direct actors, for me it's the cast that ruin this film, and that is not a dig at their acting ability, it's a dig at the director, he should have seen what a jumbling mess was being created by overplayed characters.

It just doesn't work at all, the vision is good and the story is reasonable but because none of the actors know what they are meant to be doing the film tries to morph from a comedy to a drama and back to a comedy again, and in doing so, it fails at everything.

Get Smart [Blu-ray] [2008] [Region Free]
Get Smart [Blu-ray] [2008] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Steven Carrell
Price: £6.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars better than you would think, 11 Jan 2012
Ok so you look at this film and you see that it has The Rock in it and Anne Hathaway, it does have Steve Carell, but is that enough to save this god awful looking comedy? Let me tell you one thing, this is the film that made me think that next time I see that Dwayne Johnson is in a movie I might not automatically refuse to watch it. At face value this should be a throw away spy spoof, but Get Smart Works!

The reason Get Smart succeeds as a spy comedy is because, unlike the main character, newly minted field spy Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell), every other character performed their job competently.

This is not minor praise. The director makes both the comedy and the action pop with energy. He knows when to cut to a joke, and when to trust his actors to get the point home with their interactions. He's as comfortable staging a humorous ballroom dance competition as he is constructing a kinetic beat down administered by Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) to a couple of bad guys. The action scenes, particularly the hand-to-hand fight scenes, aren't treated as comedy, but as tense and exciting set pieces.

The cinematography balances the brightness required for comedy and the darkness needed to add tension with unobtrusive professionalism.

Quite simply this is on par with films like Mr & Mrs Smith and True Lies . Every one of the actors understands that playing it "straight" will get a bigger laugh than if they emphasized the comedy, and that allows the cast to play off each other like real people and not comedy constructs.

Even the throwaway bits of silliness usually have a second and sometimes a third layer to them, evidence that the screenwriters actually thought through the material instead of just bashing together a bunch of outrageous moments.

Get Smart isn't exactly memorable, and it isn't particularly deep, although it has a fair amount of fun taking the Mick out of the processes of gathering and analyzing intelligence in the age of George W Bush.

Get Smart is an action comedy about an inept spy, it's not a serious Oscar contender, or for that matter a trend-setting summer blockbuster, but what it is, is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of Hollywood product.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest [Blu-ray] [2010]
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest [Blu-ray] [2010]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace
Price: £5.20

4.0 out of 5 stars a great end to a greet trilogy, 11 Jan 2012
The story of Lisbeth Salander comes to a satisfying close in this third entry of the original Swedish film series based on the best-selling novels . Once again, deliberate pacing wins the day, with intricate plotting taking centre stage rather than thriller genre cliche. If there's a downside, it's due to the author's choice to replace mystery with meaty courtroom dramatics. One can't help but feel a bit anxious, to see more action, yet the few nail-biting sequences in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nestkeep the film's heartbeat alive. As was the case with the previous instalments, the actors and the characters that inhabit the story will be the real draw for most viewers.

Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist continue to be the true stunners of the series. Rapace is given the tough task of being stationary for most of the film, as her Lisbeth character spends much of the time recovering in a hospital bed after escaping the murderous clutches of her father in The Girl Who Played With Fire . Soon the enigmatic character who has always stayed off the radar finds herself confined -- first to the hospital bed, then a jail, and finally the courtroom, where she's put on trial for attempted murder. Meanwhile, Nyqvist's Mikael Blomkvist character is working in tandem with his magazine and a government task force to clear Lisbeth's name and bust the conspiratorial group that has been running it through the mud.

It's no shock that everyone who deserves it gets theirs in the end. As for Lisbeth, the tough-as-nails punk aesthetic that gained her such notoriety is back in spades. Despite Rapace and Nyqvist basically being away from each other for two-thirds of most of the series, their reunion is treated with remarkably quiet restraint. The allure of the Blomkvist character continues to be a fascinating mixture of role and performance, this time oozing urgency as the belt is tightened around anything connected to Lisbeth. As well as the star performances from Rapace and Nyqvist the stellar supporting cast go through the proceedings and help give a nice stamp on what has been one hell of a densely adapted series.

This has been an immensely enjoyable series for me, the trilogy has admittedly, had some low points but as a whole the story has been told in a brilliantly balanced way and I look forward to seeing the Hollywood adaptation of Dragon Tattoo with intrigue and relish.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2012 3:39 PM GMT

The Girl Who Played With Fire [Blu-ray] [2010]
The Girl Who Played With Fire [Blu-ray] [2010]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.93

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a second film that feels like a first film, 15 Dec 2011
It has come to be accepted that the second entry in a blockbuster series of films based on a book or comic book will (usually) be superior to the first (see Spiderman 2 or X-Men 2 for evidence of this phenomenon). This quirk is most often attributed to the fact that while the first film is obligated to introduce and explain the characters and their backgrounds, the second film can dispense with the exposition in favour of fights, chase scenes, and explosions. Evidently, the producers of the Swedish film versions of the popular "Millennium" novels were not aware of this cinematic convention, because they seem to have reversed the formulas for the first two films. Whereas The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo consistently and creatively indulged the audience's need for action and suspense, The Girl Who Played with Fire provides almost no kinetic drama, as virtually every scene is dominated by conversation and explanation. It's fortunate that the film's primary audience will be readers, because for much of the film there is little to do but read the subtitles to attempt to make sense of the proceedings. What's worse is that, in spite of (or more likely, because of) all the dialogue, the sprawling investigation which forms the crux of the narrative is still bewildering and often completely incomprehensible.

All that was good about the first film seems to be missing. The interaction between Salander and Blomkvist, the whole whodunit aspect and the reasonably easy to follow, although unpredictable story line.

There are so many extra characters in this one that I just cant keep track of them all, I don't know whether it is because the film is in a foreign language, but I just cant keep track of all of those Nordic names. Characters keep popping up with applicable clues, perhaps the best instance of this occurs when a boxer makes an inexplicable cameo appearance which is then suddenly extended into a decisive role. While the supposed hero is boring us to tears with interviews and computer searches, the boxer is the centre of one of the film's very few action set pieces, as he does battle with a gargantuan bad guy before rescuing a woman from a burning barn. Then, as if to prove that he has the brains to match his brawn, the boxer announces that (thanks to a five-minute phone call) he's uncovered the identity of the film's villain, a mystery that has occupied our hero for the better part of the film's run time.

It's worth stating that all of these narrative flaws (and many more, including an absurd climax where Salander does her best impression of The Bride from Kill Bill Vol. 2 ) are probably pulled straight from the novel , so with that in mind I can not really criticise the film per say as the acting and direction are superb. Therefore anyone interested in diving into this chapter of the adventures of Lisbeth Salander would be well advised to put the cost of the bluray towards a copy of the book, which more than likely, at least has the luxury of 600 odd pages with which to justify and disguise its imperfections and ironically, probably involves less reading.

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