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C. Smith "dundeelaw" (Fife, Scotland)

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The Adjustment Bureau [DVD] [2011]
The Adjustment Bureau [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.74

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rom-Sci-Fi anyone?, 6 Aug. 2011
Let's get one thing straight - "Bourne meets Inception" was the review quote that the filmmakers chose to put on the film poster and that description of the film is just plain lazy. Any film with Matt Damon these days tends to have the tagline "Bourne meets..." which is unfair. It is even more unimaginative in relation to this film since the writer and director is none other than George Nolfi, who can be attributed with writing credits for the Bourne franchise. More importantly, any comparison between this film and Inception is also way off the mark.

This film is quite original in that it is a romantic science fiction film, or rom-sci-fi if you will. It is based on a Philip K. Dick short story, although so were a lot of well below par films - Paycheck and Next anyone? The premise for the plot is intriguing. The ideas in the film regarding fate, destiny and free will could easily have been stretched out over a couple of hours. Are our paths in life pre-determined and if so, pre-determined by whom and to what extent?

The jewel in the crown of this film is the casting. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are both excellent and definitely make the story work. All it would have taken is for mis-casting of the female lead role for this film to have made our supsension of disbelief impossible with regard to the relationship between Damon and Blunt, and for the film to fall flat on its face. That's doesn't happen however and it makes the romantic element of the story seem plausible, somehow.

The film does end a bit too easily for my tastes after a frantic last twenty minutes, but overall I would say the film is very ejoyable and definitely worth a watch.

Wasting Light
Wasting Light
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.76

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning to walk again, 17 July 2011
This review is from: Wasting Light (Audio CD)
This is the seventh studio album Foo Fighters and is right up there with the best of them. I don't think it would be too harsh to say that the Foos genius over the years has been in their singles rather than their albums, bar one or two notable exceptions. However this album just oozes quality throughout. To date there have been two singles released from this album (Rope and Walk) but you can see potential for several more.

Any talk of the same old Foo Fighters here is nonsense. You can defintely see a maturity in this album which is a lot more subtle than previous attempts at doing so (the double album In Your Honour complete with acoustic set Disc 2 for example).

There are songs to satisfy everyone on here, casual and ardent fans alike. There are fantastic melodies and chord progressions ('Dear Rosemary' and 'Arlandria' in particular) and just pure unadulterated heavy rock anthems ('Bridge Burning' and 'Rope', the latter sounding reminiscent of the There is Nothing Left To Lose era). Then we get to the song 'I Should Have Known' which has a fantasticly melancholic edge to it, not your usual Foo Fighters fare at all. The album closer 'Walk' is my pick of the bunch and is an unashamed stadium rock classic.

You just get the sense that the Foos have done it effortlessly this time by creating a coherent, consistent and quality rock album and it just sounds amazing throughout.

The Lost Boys [DVD] [1987]
The Lost Boys [DVD] [1987]
Dvd ~ Jason Patric
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.53

5.0 out of 5 stars 80's Cult Classic, 17 July 2011
This review is from: The Lost Boys [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
This film is a cult classic which apparently doesn't age. It still looks fresh two decades later, without a doubt. You can even forgive the appearance of the two Coreys (Corey Haim and Corey Feldman - it was the law that every 80s teen movie had to have at least one of either Corey Haim/Feldman) since they carry off their cheesy lines with perfection, showing the funny side of vampirism and bridging the horror/comedy divide sweetly, something which hadn't really been attempted before.

You do get reminded of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the second half of the film mind you - but that should surely only be to the detriment of SMG's TV show and not this film. Kiefer Sutherland is outstanding in one of his best roles. Direction by Joel Schumacher is top notch. Any children of the late 70s or 80s should love this film. Oh, and the soundtrack is great throughout.

A benchmark in modern cinema? Or just a brilliantly cheesy 80s movie? You decide...personally I would go for the former every time. Enjoy.

Annie Hall [DVD] [1977]
Annie Hall [DVD] [1977]
Dvd ~ Woody Allen
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.53

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The comedy classic that never was..., 17 July 2011
This review is from: Annie Hall [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Having previously been a big fan of Woody Allen's written work but never having witnessed any of his unique brand of paranoid sex-obsessed, death-obsessed self-hating Jewish humour committed to celluloid, I had high hopes for this film. Woody Allen is an intelligent, funny guy - therefore this must be a funny film. Right? Wrong. This film was apparently Woody's 'coming-of-age' film where he left behind the shackles of his earlier farcical comedies. Personally I think he should have stayed there. I waited so long for a laugh I started to forget this was a comedy. Sure, there were a few witty comments every five mins that resulted in a smirk or two, but the entire film smacks of a dozen or so Woody Allen sketches brought together, with the story jumping between each strand to give the short-sighted impression that this is a great example of non-linear storytelling decades before its time. Nonsense. The end product simply does not work. The one scence which is consistently laugh-out-loud for me is the scene involving the spiders in the bath.

I am giving this film 2 stars. I had toyed with the idea of going with 3, but no. Too generous. The ending is lazy and Diane Keaton is appalling. What would Don Corleone say? 2 stars for each of the big laughs I had throughout the rest of this dull film.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2012 3:02 PM GMT

Ocean's Thirteen [DVD] [2007]
Ocean's Thirteen [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.44

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yet another "Ocean's..." film, 17 July 2011
Yes indeed, it's yet ANOTHER "Ocean's..." film. The premise this time around is that Ruben (Elliot Gould or Jack Geller from Friends) gets conned by major casino magnate Willie Banks (Al Pacino), loses everything and has some kind of coma-inducing seizure. This results in the old gang coming together again for a revenge mission to get back at Banks and rob his casino on the big opening night.

However the results aren't earth shattering. The very reasons why another Steven Soderbergh sequel could work are the same reasons why it simply doesn't. While the film looks and sounds very stylish, and the Clooney-Pitt chemistry is pretty solid throughout, as you would expect, the film simply does not reach the impeccably high benchmark set by the first film (it is however miles better than Ocean's 12). This film is very fast paced which works well and the elaborate plans leading up to the con do entertain and do succeed in keeping you engaged throughout. However, that's all this film seems to do. It sets you up for the big finish...and then there isn't one.

As the movie rolls towards its predictable conclusion, you begin to realise what is missing (Julia Roberts for one thing). There is a distinct lack of any subplots in the movie which results in practically the whole film being about the planning for the con and the con itself being crammed into the last five minutes, as if Steven Soderbergh suddenly looked at his watch and realised he had a bus to catch. Well, so do I.

Die Hard 4.0 [2007] [DVD]
Die Hard 4.0 [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Price: £0.95

4.0 out of 5 stars "You're a Timex Watch in a digital age, McClane...", 17 July 2011
This review is from: Die Hard 4.0 [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
At first glance you could be mistaken for thinking this film is just following a similar formula to the third film in the Die Hard franchise, Die Hard With A Vengeance - Bruce Willis, driving around a major U.S. City with his trusty sidekick (Justin Long) by his side providing added comic relief. The U.S. title of the film even echoed its predecessor - Live Free or Die Hard. However, once the film gets into top gear - and it doesn't take long - you realise that this is quite simply THE best Die Hard sequel to date. This film blows DH 2 and DHWAV clean out of the water, much to everyone's surprise.

How could you bring Die Hard to the 21st century? Len Wiseman obviously knew how. Wiseman places the director's hat firmly on his head this time around, with John McTiernan nowhere in sight. Well, I'll tell you what John, young Len has done pretty well for himself. Considering that in terms of previous directorial experience, he only has two Underworld films under his belt, I'd say he deserves a pat on the back. Visually, the film looks and sounds great. And yes, it is very over the top in places. One particular scene even outdoes True Lies with another certain set-piece involves a fighter jet... But as soon as the dust settles and Brucey Bonus dusts himself off and walks away, you can't help but smile. The icing on the cake in this film however, are the most subtle points in the film. The brief moments of introspection are very slickly executed. They add a touch of self-awareness to the well-worn hero. More than the usual "Oh poor me, I'm married to the force and I don't have a life". This goes beyond that without being too cheesy. You just can't imagine Arnie or Sly pulling it off with the same charm. Notable mention must go to Timothy Olyphant, undoubtedly the best Die Hard villain since Alan Rickman. He gets almost as many one-liners as Willis and you can see why.

Even the most ardent Die Hard fans would surely have anticipated this film crashing and burning. It was always going to be ambitious. Bring out old John McClane for another crack at the bad guys - 19 years since the original film, no less. But it actually works. It works because it's the fourth instalment in a ancient franchise. It works because Bruce Willis is much older and dare we say it kind of past it. It works because the same cheesy one-liners and over the top action sequences are there. It works because of all these things, not in spite of them.

The most apt quote of the film is thrown at Willis midway through the film, namely that he is "a Timex watch in a digital age". What a great tag-line for the film. John McClane is past it, much like Bruce Willis in fact. But he can still save the world, even if it does mean killing helicopters with cars because he "ran out of bullets". It just adds to the film and you don't even think about suspending your disbelief for a single second. Why? Because it's Die Hard, that's why. Yipeekayay Mother*******.

Hot Fuzz (2 Disc Special Edition) [2007] [DVD]
Hot Fuzz (2 Disc Special Edition) [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simon Pegg
Price: £2.67

5.0 out of 5 stars "He's not Judge Judy and Executioner!...", 17 July 2011
This film is always going to be compared to one film and one film only. Shaun of the Dead. Is is better? Is it funnier? At the end of the day, I don't believe for a second that the majority of SOTD lovers are going to favour the second Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost offering over the first, at least not initially. Shaun of the Dead is more instantly likeable I would say, since the basic premise of the first film was always going to work. However, an action movie spoof centring around the British police force? Not such an instant classic waiting to happen.

Simon Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a big city super-cop sent to Coventry, or rather the fictional village of Sandford, since he was making everyone else look bad with his sterling efforts in police work. He then encounters Nick Frost, one of the village bobbies crying out for some real action such as 'firing your gun in the air and going 'Aaaaargh''.

However, this film is not all it appears to be. This film is more than just a mickey-take of the oft referenced films within, such as 'Bad Boys' and 'Dirty Harry'. This is a homage to the genre. Sure, all the action movie cliché boxes are definitely ticked throughout, particularly in the last hour. But they are executed with such flair that you can't help but smile. This film has been years in the making. So much attention to detail has been made, from lifting the appropriate pieces of music from `Point Break' and `Lethal Weapon' to the subtle references to countless dodgy American cop movies (and even Italian cop movies - 'Crimebusters' and 'Miami Supercops' to name but two) of the 70s and early 80s.

Admittedly, the film does start (and indeed go on in a similar fashion for the best part of the first hour of the movie) in a mild manner - with a few small chuckles here and there, with the best moments coming from Nick Frost (with the notable exception of the cream of British comedy of course, who are scattered throughout). However, the film then changes into something much greater. As the plot thickens and the genre changes from comedy to horror-comedy to action-comedy to action, this film becomes a masterpiece, pure and simple. Once the film does decide what genre it would like to be associated with, the action is thick and fast, and the laughs constant. However the best scene is not one of laughs, but of emotion - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, of Volkswagen tail light, with Simon giving his 'I can bring back the blue fury of the Metropolitan Police service with me' and Nick giving his 'Forget it Nicholas - It's Sandford', the most chilling and effective line of the entire film, bar none. This is a nod to the classic final line of the 1974 film 'Chinatown'. Feel free to look out for the visual nods to Scorsese and Tarantino here. The car boot POV shot has been used in all of Quentin's films, for example. Of course, Nick Frost does also manage to squeeze in the most ridiculous and at the same time, hilarious line in the film in this same scene - 'He's not Judge Judy and Executioner!'. Brilliant.

This film is more than just comedy. Shaun of the Dead was the better comedy. However, Hot Fuzz is the better film.

The End of the Party
The End of the Party
by Andrew Rawnsley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who would have thought politicians could be so interesting?, 17 July 2011
This review is from: The End of the Party (Paperback)
I have just finished this book and would thoroughly recommend it. This book grabs you from the first page and really does read like a novel. Love them or loathe them, you will not want to put down this tale of The Death of New Labour.

Just to be clear, this is not just the author's personal opinion of the events described in the book. Andrew Rawnsley is the Chief Political Commentator and Associate Editor for the Observer newspaper. Andrew spent years interviewing over 500 witnesses, including government ministers, British intelligence personnel, U.S. and European senior figures and civil servants with first hand accounts of what transpired over the years. I have never seen a book with so many references, painstakingly acknowledging the source of each story or interview with several footnotes per page.

Unsurprisingly, the most engaging accounts in the book are those relating to the Iraq War - the 'sexing up' of the WMD Dossier, the Blair/Bush relationship leading up to war and the David Kelly scandal. However, this book is so much more than that. You almost feel like you are getting a day by day account of the New Labour years, as each remarkable story unfolds. Of course, the acrimonious relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown throughout Blair's premiership really is something to behold. This pretty much stemmed from Gordon Brown constantly haranging Tony Blair from the second Labour won a second term in 2001, as to when he was going to hand over the keys to Number 10 to Brown, and Tony Blair constantly managing to bluff, placate and downright lie to Gordon Brown as to when he was going to leave Downing Street. The relationship breaks down further and further until the two are literally screaming at each other in front of other members of the government. You will not believe just how close Tony Blair came to sacking his Chancellor.

The last third of the book relates to Gordon Brown's premiership and while there isn't quite as much scandal as in the Tony Blair years, you do get even more of an insight into Brown's severe character flaws, insecurities and behaviour. There is also the 2007 financial crisis which is dealt with in great detail in this part of the book and that is also fascinating reading as to just how close the banks came to total meltdown and how Gordon Brown actually led the way in the global banking crisis. And of course, Andrew's account of the MP's expenses scandal will just leave you open mouthed in astonishment.

Andrew does also have a prequel to this book, Servants of the People, which describes the post 1997 euphoria following Labour's initial landslide victory. I haven't read that yet, but if Rawnsley's earlier book is half as good as this one, then it definitely deserves a read too.

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