Profile for M. Brookes > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by M. Brookes
Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,366
Helpful Votes: 215

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
M. Brookes
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Jupiter War (Owner Trilogy 3)
Jupiter War (Owner Trilogy 3)
Price: 4.19

4.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying conclusion, 22 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been a fan of Neal Asher's writing for a while now, the Polity novels were all excellent reads. This latest Owner series took a little while for me to get into as they had a different feel to them, less immediate and visceral than his earlier novels. Once I got into them though I was hooked and that remains the case with this latest and final book in the trilogy - although the ending leaves the storyline open for more books and I hope that will be the case.

For me the great thing about science-fiction is when it tackles big question, at the core of Jupiter War (and the preceeding novels) is trans-humanism, or more specifically the consequences of melding humans with technology. Alan Saul is an interesting character as he balances his once human self with the practicalities of being an AI and integrated not only with his ship but the robots within. We also see the beginnings of others taking similar steps, although I would have liked to have seen a bit more done with these characters, especially the comlife operatives.

This is all set against a dystopian background where the leader of Earth considers humanity a pestilence upon the Earth and uses extreme measures to restore nature to a dying Earth. Despite the advanced technology life for most is a dismal affair and this contrasts with the microcosm of humanity on Saul's ship.

Space battles are also a fun part of many science fiction tales and here we have not only an entertaining battle, but also a well thought out one. The considerations in the engagement provided a few interesting insights, not only for the technology involved but the tactics needed to utilise them.

What we have here is a damn fine science fiction read, it's fast paced and provides a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy. Although as I said at the beginning the ending did leave me wanting more and I hope that will be the case.


Ender's Game [Blu-ray]
Ender's Game [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Asa Butterfield
Price: 10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Zero G laser tag is fun, 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: Ender's Game [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The book is considered as a classic by many sci-fi fans, I enjoyed reading it too many years ago. I'll get the fact that this isn't a great adaptation of the book out of the way here at the beginning, it lacks the subtlety of the book and reveals too much too quickly. That being said the film is a fun watch in its own right, although not a classic.

The story concerns a failed alien invasion in the near future, the newly formed international command expects the aliens to return at any time so set up a program to gather the finest young minds and make them ready for the coming battle. Ender is one of the children in the program and is expected to become the one to lead the fleet against the alien and most of the film is about his preparation for the war.

There's a couple of big names in the film, namely Harrison Ford as the commander of the program and Ben Kingsley who comes in nearer the end. They're not stand out roles for either of them, although they get the job done. The same can be said for the rest of the cast, it's all ok, but nothing special.

The film does have its moments though, the zero G laser tag training looks like a lot of fun, I'd pay good money to give that a try. Ender's progression also provides some interest, although it's all a bit superficial. All in all it's a fun watch, but not very memorable.


A Hijacking
A Hijacking
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A tense thriller, 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: A Hijacking (Blu-ray)
This film is an excellent Danish film about a Danish cargo ship that is hijacked by Somali pirates, it tells the story along two threads, the first is about the ship's crew being held hostage, in particular the ship's cook. In parallel it tells about the negotiations for the crew's release by the CEO of the corporation that owns the ship.

The strength of the film comes from the performances, across the board they are excellent. The pace of the film is slow, but it is always interesting. The interaction between the crew and the pirates is mercurial, one moment there is a sense of camaraderie, they are all waiting for the same thing. The next they are subjected to terror through violence and mock executions. At the centre of it is the ship's cook, the pirates manipulate him to aid their negotiations, he also has the most contact with them and the relationship between them is fascinating to watch.

The other thread focuses on the CEO and his negotiations with the pirate leader, these are a slow and tense process forming the backbone of the film. There's some internal politics involved and he's being advised by an expert in the field, but against the advice conducts the negotiations himself. We also catch glimpses of the families of the crew, although here the film lacked a little.

Like other fine Danish films and TV shows it's an understated film that works on the strength of its performances. There's no flash or melodrama, it's an authentic feel that unfolds at its own pace. It's an excellent film that's well worth a watch.


V/H/S 2
V/H/S 2
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic set of short films in a decent wrapper, 15 Mar 2014
This review is from: V/H/S 2 (DVD)
V/H/S/2:

This is a damn fine horror film and one of those rare beasts of a sequel being better than the original and I liked the first film. It follows a similar format with a series of short films on tapes that have an effect on the people watching them, in this film it's wrapped into a story about two private investigators looking into the disappearance of a college student.

There's four short films in the sequence and they're all very good. It's told in a lost footage format and for the most part in a shifting first person perspective. Admittedly this can get a little confusing on occasion, but for the most part it works well.

The first story is about a man who has an artificial eye implanted, he then starts seeing odd visions. This was my least favourite of the stories, but the immediacy of the first person perspective works well in the context of the story.

In the second story we have a typical zombie tale (for the most part), again the first person view works well and provides an interesting angle on the story. The ending is a little different too.

The third story was my favourite and is a creepy tale about a cult seeking Heaven. It's set up very well and has a very sinister atmosphere and I enjoyed the ending.

I also like the fourth short story, this one inspired by the alien/grey abduction tale. In this one there's some excellent use of lighting and audio to reinforce the terror.

The overarching story wraps up well, overall I enjoyed watching this a lot and would recommend it to any horror fans.


Jurassic Attack
Jurassic Attack
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty rubbish, 15 Mar 2014
This review is from: Jurassic Attack (DVD)
What we have here is a film that almost makes it to the 'so awful it's awesome' grade, but ends up actually just being awful. Somebody obviously watched Predator and Jurassic Park and thought I can combine those two excellent films and turn it into something that is really rubbish - yes even worse than Predators.

The story is simple, a team of the world's most inept special forces is sent to rescue a pretty bio-chemist (who provides one of the high points of the film by only wearing her underwear while she is being kidnapped) who has been forced by a terrorist (who laughs a lot in a poor diabolical fashion throughout the film) to create a new biological weapon. They sneak in Commando style by shooting everyone in sight, rescue the girl and are shot down on their way out and end up in the depths of an ancient crater that is a lost world with dinosaurs.

It has dinosaurs in it so I wasn't expecting much on the plot front, but I was hoping for some cool dinosaur action, unfortunately the CG is terrible and the dinosaur's animations look like a bad video game from the nineties. It's a low budget film and in shows in every respect, the effects are poor and the acting equally so. Now I don't have anything against low budget films, but low budget shouldn't necessarily mean low production values. Just for the fun of it here are a few examples: the special forces team take off in one aircraft and then parachute out of a completely different one and the shots of the jungle in the remote area that apparently has never been explored has roads in it.

So it's pretty rubbish, however it did do enough to keep me watching to the end, although that probably says more about my laziness to change the disk rather than any positive aspect to the film. In fairness though, it picked up a little when the nutter who originally found the lost world turns up. I really wouldn't recommend watching this.


The Lucifer Glass
The Lucifer Glass
Price: 1.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting horror short, 10 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lucifer Glass (Kindle Edition)
This is decent short story about Daniel Gates who specialises in retrieving specialist items. His latest job was to retrive a special mirror and from there his employer sends him on a new job. He travels up to Scotland with a rare grimoire in his possession which he is supposed to exchange for some extremely rare whiskey. However things are not quite what they seem.

This is a short story so is over before you realise it and for me that was the only real downer, there was a bit more story here, but don't let that put you off as it is worth the read. Once it got going the strange aspect kicks in and became a lot more interesting. For a short while it had me confused, but then a moment of clarity dawned and everything progressed smoothly to the end.

The author's writing is good and kept me involved in the story and I'll look forward to reading more of the author's work. There's some decent horror in the story whioch I appreciated witgh a nice blend of physical and psychological horror. All in all this is a decent read and I'd recommend it to any horror fans.


Rites of Spring
Rites of Spring
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Far from great, 9 Mar 2014
This review is from: Rites of Spring (Blu-ray)
This film has two separate storylines that eventually come together. It starts with the introduction that in the spring, 23 years ago, young women started disappearing, it stops and starts again the next year, no bodies are found. The first storyline (and the more interesting, at least to start with) follows this intro and concerns two young woman who have been kidnapped and held in a barn where a strange old man drains blood from them.

The second thread is a bit more pedestrian, a gang looking for easy money kidnap a young girl and the nanny and demand a $2 million ransom. It evolves in a predictable manner and in fairness the first thread does to, but at least that was more interesting. Generally though the first half of the film is a bit dull.

The intersection between the two threads was a simpler affair than I expected and didn't really bring anything new, by that stage it was simply a hack and chase affair. Not terrible by any means, but nothing special either.

All through the film I was expecting some sort of revelation about the background of the whole thing and while there are glimpses, it never really fulfilled it's potential (I've heard those words so many times a youngster!). The cast do a reasonable job, but apart from the old man they don't really have a great deal to do. On balance it's ok, but to be honest there's much better horror films out there.


Thor - The Dark World
Thor - The Dark World
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars I like a man with a big hammer, 9 Mar 2014
This review is from: Thor - The Dark World (Blu-ray)
I like Thor, he wields a big hammer, is a hit with the ladies and clearly enjoys his work, so what's not to like? This is a much darker film than the the first, although it still has moments of humour sprinkled throughout. The film tells the story of the dark elves, whose leader tried to use an energy source known as the aether to destroy Asgard. He was defeated once before, but sacrificed his people to survive, when the force infects Jane on Earth he is awoken and tracks her down to steal it for himself.

The assault on Asgard (Thor had taken Jane there) is devastating and Thor needs to turn to his trickster brother Loki to save the day. It's a superhero film so it's very over the top and silly, but that's fine with me as that suits Thor's character. The action is well done with some quality effects and I quite enjoyed the climax being set in London. It's not often you get to see Eurofighters in action in a big budget film.

Yes I am easily pleased.

So an entertaining film, one that I enjoyed watching and it ends with an interesting scene that bodes well for a third film.


Kick-Ass 2 - Balls to the Wall
Kick-Ass 2 - Balls to the Wall
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: 0.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moderately entertaining, 9 Mar 2014
I enjoyed the first film, it was an interesting and different take on the superhero genre with an ordinary person wanting to be a superhero and the ramifications of that. The sequel continues to develop the idea with more members of the public following in Kick Ass's path. It's a fun film with some good action and a generous side helping of humour, it lacks the novelty of the first film, but I guess that is to be expected from a sequel!

To counter the group of new superheroes and band of supervillians led by the son of the bad guy killed in the first film gain revenge on Kick-Ass. This part of the story didn't work as well for me, people wanting to be superheroes to somehow lift them from their miserable existence I can understand, to deliberately become a supervillian when being a regular criminal is much easier and more rewarding seems a bit odd.

Still it provides a counter to the superheroes and acts as a vehicle for some good moments, the female Ivan Drago was amusing. There's a strong moral message threaded through the film which was a little heavy handed, and a little ironic when the final message is being delivered while he is kissing an underage girl.

It doesn't really matter though, the niggles are just that, minor complaints, it's a fun film to watch, especially if you enjoyed the first film.


Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Price: 5.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still a decent read, 9 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I always look forward to reading the latest book from Terry Pratchett, especially from the Discworld series. It's true that they can vary in quality and some of the later ones don't stand out as much as some of the earlier books (Small Gods and Reaper Man in particular), but they are always worth a read.

This latest in the series sees railways coming to the Discworld thanks to an earnest young engineer called Simnel who with Harry King and Moist Ludwig develop the railway from Ankh-Morpok. Like all of the discworld books this is a blend of intrigue, social commentary and humour. The goblins in particular are a fun addition to the series and add some interesting conundrums to the social issues of the world.

Delving deeper into the world of the dwarves was also interesting as was seeing the very slick Ludwig in action. The book does have a few issues though, the first is that while Pratchett creates interesting characters in this book there seemed to be a few cameos almost just for the sake of them, most of the characters from his recent books make an appearance and it generates a bit of a confused feel to the story. The other issue was the balance of the story, again like the recent books it weighs more heavily with the social commentary at the expense of the humour, it's still fun to read but far from his best.

That being said it is an entertaining read and he does capture the excitement of a technological marvel as well as the characterisation of the people involved and who evolve from the development of such game changing developments. It's an interesting read as well as an entertaining one.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20