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G. McFarlane "gav_mcf" (Aberdeen, Scotland)

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Funny People [DVD] [2009]
Funny People [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Adam Sandler
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £2.47

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving, touching and yes, Funny drama from Apatow, Rogen and Sandler., 17 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Funny People [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I'm not the type that cares too much for the likes of Judd Apatow vehicles like Superbad, Knocked Up etc. I think many people just seemed to jump on the bandwagon, though with close scrutiny they are hardly great films. However Funny People is a different beast, Apatow released a film that would not prove as popular (you just need to look at the box office figures), perhaps this was likely though given the subject matter of terminal illness, but it is easily his best film and if you give it a go you will find a profound and extremely funny drama.

The story is pretty simple, Adam Sandler's George Simmons, a successful stand-up comedian and actor's life changes when he is diagnosed with a form of leukemia, he then takes on amateur stand-up Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) as his assistant and to help write jokes for him while he continues to struggle with his illness. It's all very personal stuff from Apatow and it's clear from the start that Simmons is the most human and believable character Sandler has ever played. What follows is a series of fantastic stand-up scenes full of dick jokes and some great moments in Ira's apartment with his roommates Jonah Hill (excellent in this and check out his recent film Cyrus) and Jason Schwartzman has some great lines as a slimy sitcom star trying to beat Ira to his crush Daisy, played wonderfully deadpan by newcomer Aubrey Plaza.

It's refreshing to see a film where no shortcuts are taken, Apatow explores many dark corners and faces everything head-on but it is gladly never approached in a smug or self-indulgent way, examples are an emotionally crushing sequence where Ira tries to cheer up George by making him a iPod playlist and when George tries to salvage some kind of human connection by meeting with his estranged family members.

Clocking in at around two and half hours however, Funny People slightly outstays its welcome which is a shame as it perhaps takes the gloss off what is an absolute treat. The final half hour is easily the weakest, where the duo visit George's ex-wife Laura (Leslie Mann, very good) whom he still has feelings for but is complicated by the fact she has kids with her new husband Clarke, played by a totally unrestrained Eric Bana (great seeing him in a role like this and it's obvious he had a blast with the material). However, the whole part just drags on and feels a bit forced.

The final word has to go the performances of the central pair who are excellent. Seth Rogen is very impressive and it's good to see him a lot more dialled down and actually funny to watch. Adam Sandler is in absolutely superb, career-best, Oscar-worthy form as Simmons, mixing emotional weight and comedy to perfect effect, how he didn't at least get a nomination is beyond me. Maybe the Academy couldn't see beyond the dick jokes.

Not many people caught Funny People at the cinema but if you are willing to give it a try you will not regret it, worth seeing alone for the stand-up scenes and a string of excellent cameos (James Taylor, Eminem, Ray Romano) but it is also a great drama. I have to say however, as good as he is in this I find it disappointing to see Adam Sandler continue to do rubbish like Bedtime Stories and Grown Ups, it's obvious he never learned anything from the experience of this film but viewers definitely can.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (1-Disc) [DVD]
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (1-Disc) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Shia LaBeouf
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £2.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Still fast and exiting but instead of correcting the flaws of the first film, Bay amplifies them., 4 May 2010
Despite not being sure about the idea at first I was very impressed with the first Transformers, for me it was the surprise of 2007. The mixture of humour, action and special effects was spot on as well as making a star out of newcomer Shia LaBeouf. With Revenge of the Fallen, it's not a complete loss but it treads awfully close to being a one-star disaster.

Any problems that may have been slightly apparent in the first one, director Michael Bay just seems to have taken them and made them so much worse, within the opening 20 minutes a major one is apparent: the comedy. With Transformers the whole family dynamics element was amusing because it was light and believable, here it is just taken too far, especially with Sam's mother who is just so over the top, the most cringe worthy part is where she's running around Sam's college like an idiot, I couldn't wait for the scene to end.

I'd also like to ask Bay why Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) are so underused, they were important characters in the first film and with the part they have here they might as well have been written out. I'm sure plenty has been said already about the Transformer 'twins' so I won't go into it much except they are a complete disaster and are almost what Jar-Jar Binks was to The Phantom Menace. It's probably not too much of a spoiler to say, but in another act of madness there is a 'human' Decepticon, this is the worst thing Bay could've done because not only does this defy the whole point of the series it also begs the question: if they can transform into humans then whats the point in prating about with cars, planes etc. if they want to infiltrate a military base or something?

In a more positive note the action sequences on the whole are very good with the special effects perhaps being even better than the first one. The opening in Tokyo is fantastic as well as a fight with Optimus Prime going hell for leather in a forest. The desert finale is not bad, but perhaps like the ending of the first it suffers from being a bit repetitive and how many times do we need to see LaBeouf and Fox running in slow motion! It was also completely pointless Sam's parents being involved, they should only be in the film as comic relief and it was overstuffed as it was.

On the performances, Shia LaBeouf (who surely has a great career ahead of him) remains a likeable lead and does his best with the script. John Turturro (who stole the first one) provides solid support and is always good to watch, Ramon Rodriguez as Leo is pretty annoying and well outstays his welcome and like I said before Duhamel and Gibson are so sidelined they are hardly worth mentioning. I wasn't too keen on Megan Fox as Mikaela this time, despite what most people said about her in the first one I thought she gave a charming performance, however with Fallen she just looked like she couldn't be bothered therefore I didn't care at all about her character. Whats worse is the most attractive female from the first (Australian actress Rachael Taylor as analyst Maggie) wasn't even in this one which was very disappointing; hopefully there's a chance she'll return in the third.

From this review it's clear how little I've mentioned the actual story, thats simply because I don't know what to say about it! Similarly to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, all sense of fun has been drained out and all we get is an over complicated, overlong film. I couldn't even tell you who the Fallen is and what he's getting revenge against, so either the film wasn't clear enough about him or it just got to the point I couldn't care anymore.

So as it is, Revenge of the Fallen is a major disappointment and just shows that you should never assume a great idea can only get better. Michael Bay and producer Steven Spielberg, along with screenwriter Ehren Kruger (Star Trek writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman bailed after this one thinking the idea could go stale) seriously have their work cut out for the third film (which is due out summer 2011) and need to tone down extensively in many areas and hopefully recapture the magic of the first film. Despite how many feel about Bay I think he's a good filmmaker (see The Rock & The Island) and I'm confident he can still turn the Transformers franchise around.

The Informers [DVD] (2008)
The Informers [DVD] (2008)
Dvd ~ Billy Bob Thornton
Price: £2.50

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Despite some redundant characters & storylines, theres something strangely appealing about it!, 23 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Informers [DVD] (2008) (DVD)
Taking into account this L.A. set multi-stranded ensemble piece was a complete flop in America and only got a very limited cinematic release here in the UK (strange considering it arguably has the best cast of any film in 2009), it's not bad at all. The 80's feel is very much like the book and the soundtrack is terrific.

The segments range from interesting to pointless; I enjoyed the stuff with Jon Foster, Austin Nichols and Amber Heard, who is absolutely stunning and you see plenty of her in this! The story with Mickey Rourke and the late Brad Renfro is good too but perhaps the most interesting is the one with Lou Taylor Pucci as Tim who struggles to bond with his dad (Chris Isaak) in their trip to Hawaii. The performances between the two are great and this part is very faithful to the book.

As for the pointless ones; Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger and Winona Ryder just turn up for their pay cheques while Rhys Ifans is in the film for about 10 seconds! I was disappointed they cancelled the vampire scenes, it would've been great to see Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) as Jamie. I seen an interview with Jon Foster (who plays Graham) and even he was confused to why they dropped the story, the producers must've bottled it.

I'm still trying to understand why this film has had such a quiet release and why barely anyone has heard of it. I just think the producers never spent enough on promoting the film after they interfered too much and totally soured writers Nicholas Jarecki and Bret Easton Ellis' vision (who left the project after it drifted too far away from his novel). However, apparently there was a 160 minute cut of the film he was pretty happy with and hopefully we'll see it someday.

However, despite all the production problems and the general critical mauling I think The Informers is a decent character piece thats worth checking out, especially for the standout performances by Jon Foster and Lou Taylor Pucci. The downbeat ending is also pretty effective and along with many moments in the film, stays with you for a few days.

Terminator Salvation [DVD] [2009]
Terminator Salvation [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Price: £2.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Exiting entry to the series from McG with a winning performance from Sam Worthington., 17 Jan. 2010
I will admit, upon hearing the news that McG (Charlies Angels 1 & 2) was going to be directing this I wasn't sure it was a good choice but I decided to give him a chance (after all look how many people doubted the choice of Heath Ledger as the Joker) and after seeing Terminator Salvation in the cinema I thought it was decent enough but nothing great. I decided to give it another chance on DVD and I enjoyed it a lot more, maybe its one of those that needs another viewing to appreciate it.

As soon as the film starts you know it is going to be nothing like the previous films and it has a totally different feel. We are introduced to Sam Worthington's Marcus Wright in a 2003 prologue which is very intriguing and before we know it we are in 2018 with Christian Bale as John Connor with the resistance trying to infiltrate a Skynet base.

These openings perfectly set up the films two leading men but it's Worthington's Marcus who emerges as the main character, he has most of the screen time and a much fuller story arc. It is well known that more story was added to Connor when Bale expressed an interest so maybe its not entirely surprising. Anyway, the opening battle sequence at Skynet is fantastic and McG creates a gritty war atmosphere that James Cameron hinted to in the previous films. Overall the production design of the destroyed landscapes are fantastic.

Other great action sequences include Marcus being ambushed by a T-600 in post-apocalyptic L.A., Connor's team wrestling with some Hydrobots (think mechanical anacondas) but the stand-out has to be an extended chase scene with Marcus, Kyle Reese and the young Star (Jadagrace Berry) facing back-to-back encounters with a spinning disc-like tracker, a massive Harvester, awesome Moto-Terminators and a Hunter Killer (seriously!). The whole sequence brims with exitement and kudos to McG for producing such a great scene.

TS also thankfully has a winning cast, Christian Bale brings his usual growl and intensity to John Connor and adds something totally different from the previous two films to the role. Anton Yelchin is perfect as a young Kyle Reese and is perhaps the most anticipated character to see in the next one, Moon Bloodgood deserves a mention as pilot Blair Williams as she makes a big impact for the amount of screen time shes given, her and Worthington also build a good chemistry. On that note, Sam Worthington as the mysterious Marcus Wright is my favourite character in the film, the Avatar man brings charisma and vulnerability to a role thats quite difficult to play because he isn't allowed to give too much away but he never comes across bland, there are also a few interesting twists along the way with him. Michael Ironside is good as always as the Resistance commander and has some fun exchanges with Bale. Unfortunately Bryce Dallas Howard and rapper Common don't really add anything, although they should get more screen time in future installments.

There are also tributes to the earlier entries which are good, there are many but to name a few are the use of "You Could Be Mine" by Guns 'N' Roses at a very apt time, the usual "Come with me if you want to live" delivered well by Yelchin and Bale utters the line "I'll be back" which is pure genius and totally unexpected (I remember the reaction at the cinema).

OK the film has a couple of minor hiccups such as the final sequence, don't get me wrong it's not bad but nowhere near as good as the big chase scene. Sorry if this is a spoiler but I wasn't that impressed with Arnie's CGI cameo, it seemed a bit of place and not really necessary. Just a thought but how much better and creepier would it have been if Bale stumbled into a production room and there were hundreds of Arnie's Terminator on a big production line not yet activated and ready to launch... would've been cheaper to do as well because they would just be still figures and in my view a much more effective way in introducing us back to the iconic original Terminator.

These are minor gripes however and huge credit must go to McG for bringing the Terminator franchise back to life and I can't wait for him to explore it even more (who were those figures behind the glass panel in the human camp? Is there human involvement in Skynet!?). I can't understand why this film got such a negative reaction in America and under the circumstances I think it is realistically the best film we could've asked for, if not very close. For the record it is way better than T3.

I wondered what was next for Terminator when Halycon went bust but Lionsgate are apparently close to obtaining the rights and if they do I hope they let McG and his team continue their trilogy and not do a pointless reboot of this one or the original. The future is in their hands now.

Blindness [DVD] [2008]
Blindness [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Julianne Moore
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £5.61

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent enough, but ultimately feels like a lesser Children of Men., 24 July 2009
This review is from: Blindness [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
On release, Blindness was branded "the new Children of Men", even comparisons were drawn to I Am Legend. Even though it has actresses from both (Julianne Moore and Alice Braga) it is not as good as either, hell, it shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as Alfonso Cuarón's exceptional Children of Men.

However, that doesn't mean not to check out Blindness as it is a decent enough drama with some solid performances. The film opens very intriguingly, an Asian man in an unnamed city goes blind at the wheel, this is only the start of the epidemic and traffic chaos has already started around him. Obviously then director Fernando Meirelles' view of the worlds morality in this film is shown as a man appears to help him, only to kick him out of his own car and drive away.

Perhaps this is where the main fault lies, the film tries so hard to hammer home a message that society has lost sight, using literal blindness as a metaphor for all that is bad in human thought and action. No wonder various foundations have protested against the film! It might have been more wise to let the viewers decide for themselves how this city would react and keep things more ambiguous. People going blind doesn't necessarily mean they will become selfish, indifferent and aggressive yet overall the film puts this point across. An example is the doctor played by Mark Ruffalo, he completely changes and even in the middle of the crisis he cheats on his wife.

I think what saves Blindess overall though, and the reasons for me giving it 3 stars is that it is well structured and paced and looks visually stunning, it is supposed to be set in an unidentified city and there are no clues at all to where it is filmed which is good and adds to the experience. The ruined and deserted city caused by the aftermath is also terrifically done.

The performances are definitely worth a mention, Julianne Moore is an excellent emotional core as one of the few humans immune to the blindness and carries the film. I also liked Alice Braga, Yuseke Iseya and Gael García Bernal who has fun as one of the quarantined victims who tries to take over the wards for everything they have to achieve personal profit. However, I was disapointed with Mark Ruffalo who is normally a fine actor (see Collateral and Zodiac) but he struggles in this and fails to make an impact. Danny Glover isn't great either and his clunky voice-overs don't help things.

You will enjoy this film more if you can see past the over emphasised moral message and plot-holes, It would take too long to go through them all but for example: everyone's blind yet not once does anyone call each other by name, it would surely help the situation! I can't understand what Meirelles was trying to achieve with the non-use of names for the characters.

To sum up, Blindness is a not bad drama that is worth seeing for the visuals and performances. However, if you want something similar and in my view much better, catch Children of Men.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine [DVD] (2009)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine [DVD] (2009)
Dvd ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: £2.98

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid but sadly underwhelming X-Men prequel., 11 July 2009
Despite being riddled with production problems (re-shoots, negative
buzz, director/producer fall-outs, leaked workprint a month before it's
release) X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a lot better than you'd think and
is a solid addition to the franchise.

The story basically builds on X-Men 2's hints towards his involvement
with Weapon X that eventually leads to the loss of his memory, as well
as his relationships with girlfriend Kayla Silverfox and
half-brother/eventual villain Victor Creed (a.k.a. Sabretooth).

The film opens with a masterful sequence of the non-ageing Logan and
Victor as soldiers going through various wars together and helping each
other out along the way. It is a brilliant start to the film that brims
with tension and it's a shame that in the overall action stakes,
nothing else tops it.

The action then swiftly moves to their participation in the Weapon X
program after being tapped by William Stryker (played by Danny Huston,
following on well from Brian Cox). However, an operation turns nasty
and Logan walks out, ruining his relationship with Victor in the
process. The Weapon X mission sequence is also a high point and there
are some new mutants who don't get near enough screen time such as
Dominic Monaghan as Chris Bradley/Bolt who brings a sympathetic charm
to the character and stand-out Ryan Reynolds who is charismatic, funny
and cool as Wade Wilson (who later becomes Deadpool). I am thrilled by
the news he is getting his own spin-off.

The performances overall are excellent, Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine
again with total commitment and in my view it's his best performance of
the series. Other deserved mentions are Lynn Collins as Kayla who is a
good emotional core for the film, Daniel Henney as Stryker's hitman David North (a.k.a. Agent Zero), Taylor Kitsch as another impossibly cool mutant Remy LeBeau (a.k.a. Gambit), Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth who gives great menace and The Black Eyed Peas puts in a subtle performance as teleporter John Wraith, which is light relief next to some of the more scenery chewing characters.

Now for the problems. Director Gavin Hood clearly has fun with
characters and pacing but unfortunately he struggles with story and
action; I feel the plot was too familiar and he explored areas already
covered by X2. Plot holes usually don't bother me that much but there
were too many present in this: how did Stryker know the adamantium
bullets would erase Wolverine's memory? Why didn't he give them to
super marksman Agent Zero when he was sent to hunt him down? I also had
the problem that even though interesting new mutants were introduced,
they didn't necessarily add to the story, an example of this is
Gambit's cameo; when he meets Wolverine he just seems to start a fight
with him for no reason, it almost felt like an excuse for the
filmmakers to show off his abilities (which to be fair, are pretty
smart) and then the next minute he's Logan's sidekick! I didn't understand his motivations.

Hood also struggles when it comes to action, with exception to the war
opening and the Gambit fight, the action sequences are pretty average
and the wirework sometimes really obvious. I don't understand why the
producers didn't seek a more established action director, this is after
all what is most important to the fans. I'll hand it to Hood, he has
previously done some excellent dramas, but supposedly got the gig
because Hugh Jackman is a 'fan' of his and put him forward. As
Jackman's role as producer and a lot riding on the success of this
film, I feel he should have recommended a director more accustomed to
the material and someone less risky. The same problem occurred with
Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig suggested Marc Forster who was
inexperienced with action and the film suffered because of it,
unfortunately the same applies with Origins.

Overall though, Wolverine is far better than X-Men: The Last Stand and
provides solid comic book entertainment. The running time also flies
past (The Dark Knight and Watchmen are terrific films but this is far
less bloated and stuffy than they are) and leaves the viewer wanting
more. I'm glad the leaked workprint didn't damage the box office and
another Wolverine film has been greenlit. I can't wait to see the story
move to Japan but I just hope the producers don't interfere as much
next time and it would be great to see Bryan Singer's name where it
should be: on the back of the Director's chair.

Alpha Dog [DVD]
Alpha Dog [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Price: £1.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping saga with excellent performances., 12 July 2008
This review is from: Alpha Dog [DVD] (DVD)
For those who don't know much about Alpha Dog, it is a Los Angeles set crime drama based on a true story. The plot is pretty simple, Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster) owes drug money to Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) and his crew, so they kidnap Jake's brother Zach (Anton Yelchin) until he pays up. But as it gets deeper Johnny realises the trouble he's in and will take drastic measures to cover up his mistakes...

With Alpha Dog, director Nick Cassavetes is covering a very interesting story, based on Jesse James Hollywood, here called Johnny Truelove (the youngest man ever to be on the FBI's most wanted list). The question is: would it carry over well into a Hollywood movie? The answer is, thanks to the performances and easy story telling, yes.

Most of the actors put in very solid performances which makes you care about the story much more. Emile Hirsch is predictably excellent as head man Truelove, getting into more trouble as the film goes on and Hirsch brilliantly shows the panic that the character faces so early in his youth. Also great are Shawn Hatosy as Truelove's right hand man Elvis Schmidt, Anton Yelchin as the kidnapped Zach but the standout is Justin Timberlake as Frankie who is charismatic and very effective in another performance that leads to panic and indecision which he does very well. However, the usually very good Ben Foster as Jake seems to totally overact and shout as much as he can. Bruce Willis doesn't have too much to do as Johnny's dad Sonny but is good to watch as always. There's not many female roles, Sharon Stone is OK as Zach's mum and sexy Mean Girls star Amanda Seyfried is good as one of the crew's party girls.

Another aspect thats effective in Alpha Dog is the storytelling, it doesn't try to pack in too much and just stays easy, relaxing and natural. It could have easily taken the Domino route and just been an overblown event of wild set pieces, but fortunately it has a very much real life feel. It's also got a neat visual effect counting witnesses as it goes along, which also helps you keep track of everyone that seen the horrible mistake these guys made.

Of course the main story in all this is the tragic kidnapping of Zach Mazursky, which actually turns out to be a lot different than you think. Zach actually enjoys hanging out with these guys and is having the time of his life away from his parents, which makes the decision of what to do so much more difficult for the crew. With this story at the centre of attention, there is a lot of pressure on Anton Yelchin, but the future Star Trek and Terminator 4 star delivers very well and you can't help but engage in the confused teenager as the story goes on.

Minor gripes about Alpha Dog are that the film runs a little bit too long for the amount of story it covers and the pointless party scenes take the focus away from the story a bit. Other than that Alpha Dog is a gripping, sometimes heart-felt drama worth checking out for the excellent performances of Hirsch, Timberlake, Hatosy and Yelchin.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Two Disc Set) [DVD] [2003]
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Two Disc Set) [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Price: £1.26

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a scratch on the originals, but T3 rounds off the trilogy nicely., 11 July 2008
Firstly I'd like to say I'm a huge fan of Terminator and T2, unfortunately T3 is worlds away from the quality of them. It's not an easy task to live up to two of the best sci-fi films ever. However, that doesn't mean it isn't worth a look because there is a lot to like.

Jonathan Mostow takes over from James Cameron in this installment and deserves big credit for carrying on the Terminator journey well and creating exiting action along the way. Some of the set pieces are breathtaking, including a brilliant fight that involves a crane and the graveyard scene is very good as well. In the action stakes, not much more could have been asked for is probably the films best strength.

As for the casting, I'm sorry to say that its mostly bad news. Arnie seems too old and didn't have the same impact on me as he did in the previous films. He looks a little bit out of place in some of the action scenes as well. The T-X, played by Kristanna Loken is OK but by the far the weakest villian of the trilogy. Loken is not bad in the role but the character could have been much better. Claire Danes as Kate Brewster seems out of place and is definitely miscast. But there is Salvation (ha!), Nick Stahl is excellent as John Connor and carries on from Edward Furlong easily. I was disapointed not to see Furlong back as he was brilliant in T2 but Stahl is good and was unlucky not to be offered to reprise his role in the upcoming Terminator Salvation (you can hardly argue with Christian Bale though).

Overall, Terminator 3 is an above average action film and packs some great action into the running time and has an interesting plot with a few surprises I didn't see coming. Another high point is the excellent, downbeat ending that leaves you wanting more. Dont expect another film as good as Terminator or T2 because you will be disapointed, just enjoy the thrills, the story and the excellent action. Roll on T4...

I Am Legend [DVD] [2007]
I Am Legend [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Will Smith
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.69

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By no means Legendary, but Will Smith makes it worth your time., 22 Feb. 2008
This review is from: I Am Legend [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Having never read the novel or seen the other I Am Legend adaptations (1964's The Last Man on Earth & 1971's The Omega Man with Charlton Heston), I am judging purely on Lawrence's latest version.

Smith as usual is very good and as watchable as ever in his role as lonely survivor Neville. With only a canine and various mannequins for company, he manages the role really well and carries the film easily. The first 40 minutes are basically a one man show and an acting masterclass from Smith's point of view. Having a few serious roles under his belt and two Oscar noms (Ali and more recently The Pursuit of Happyness) you can see Smith is now very comfortable in these roles and has somewhat distanced himself from comedy.

In the build up to Legend, you have to say the campaign for the film was excellent. Trailers, posters and early buzz were all really positive, huge $150 million budget, chilling images and concept art of a deserted New York grabbed attention from fans as well, not to mention Will Smith's box office appeal. The question is that does the film live up to all the hype? I would say yes, it does... just.

My main gripe with the film is with the infected, vampire-like creatures known as the "Dark Seekers", using all CGI for them was definitely a mistake. They just move too fast and don't look real at all, they reminded me of something out of a computer game. Lawrence's inexperience comes through in this aspect and you can't help but think how better handled the infectants were in Danny Boyle's similar but superior 28 Days Later.

Although in saying that, Lawrence directs Smith very well through the day and when it's just him and the dog, they are easily the best parts of the film. You have to remember that this is only Constantine director Francis Lawrence's second film, and you have to say he does a pretty good job with keeping up the tension and generally keeping the audiences engaged.

A word must also go the New York setting. Elements like deserted buildings and grass growing through the streets are very well done. The special effects here are brilliant. You sometimes have trouble figuring out which parts of the city they really cleared for shooting, and which parts are CGI.

To sum up Legend, I think it's definitely worth checking out on DVD. If you can forgive the woeful misjudgement of the Dark Seekers I think you will enjoy it. It's likely you will because they are merely a distraction and it's Will Smith's excellent, affecting performance that will be your main afterthought after seeing this movie. Perhaps He Is Legend after all.

Sleuth [DVD]
Sleuth [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Price: £4.61

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first 40 minutes are great!, 17 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Sleuth [DVD] (DVD)
I recently went to see Sleuth at the cinema, didn't really know what to expect. I haven't seen the original either but heres my take. Hope this helps if you're considering buying the DVD:

I think the first 40 minutes are brilliant, Michael Caine and Jude Law are suberb. They share a great chemistry and really enjoy the roles. Other highlights are the tension building score, Harold Pinter's bruising, although humourous script (some great black laughs), Kenneth Branagh's assured direction, great angle shots and the heavy interior visuals of Caine's house.

The first half of this film is probably the most fun I've had in a cinema this year and is the very reason for me giving it four stars. A stumble in the last half hour or so can (just) be forgiven.

In the final third, Pinter just fails to dig out anything worth doing, mainly because theres only so far you can stretch an idea with one setting and only two main actors.

About the performances, Caine is flawless throughout and like I said, Law is also brilliant for an hour or so but slowly goes downhill until the end. The third act just doesn't give him enough to chew on and show what he can do.

Overall, I think Sleuth is a very good mystery movie with plenty of twists along the way to keep you guessing. The performances and screenplay are excellent and is definitely worth checking out on DVD if you missed it at the cinema.
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