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Carriers [DVD] (2009)
Carriers [DVD] (2009)
Dvd ~ Lou Taylor Pucci
Price: £3.74

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Carriers: Whatever it Takes?, 14 July 2010
This review is from: Carriers [DVD] (2009) (DVD)
Carriers follows a small group of youngsters as they tear through the American Southwest in search of refuge from a particularly virulent global pandemic. It eschews much in the way of an exploration of the condition that has decimated humanity, simply sketching out the scenario as background to the smaller scale human drama at its heart. The four leads are all excellent--notably Chris Pine who plays Brian with much of the same bravado that he brought to the young Kirk in what was to be his next role--which is just as well given this is mostly a character piece. As such it plays out its themes of compassion, euthanasia, responsibility and coming-of-age and explores just what kinds of actions and decisions it might take to survive in a post-apocalyptic society in which all the comforts and niceties of day-to-day life as we know it have gone to hell. It's this approach to the drama and its unyielding execution that sets the movie apart from its otherwise familiar set-up of the road trip in flight from the end of the world, and as such makes it a worthwhile watch.

--Adam Chamberlain
Revelation Magazine


Experiments at 3 Billion A.M. (Paperback)
Experiments at 3 Billion A.M. (Paperback)
by Alexander Zelenyj
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Experiments at 3 Billion AM: Brilliant and Bizarre, 9 Nov. 2009
For the record, Alexander Zelenyj's brilliant and bizarre Experiments At 3 Billion A.M. is a must-read. Zelenyj's fiction is both startling and a genuine comfort; his poetic tales accomplish the seemingly impossible by granting his readers the opportunity to experience the world through eyes wholly new. The slipstream stories contained herein, ranging from playful to outright apocalyptic, are unique and simply extraordinary. Captivating, charming, and a challenge to our preconceived understandings of life, love, and all things both worldly and otherworldly, the weighty Experiments At 3 Billion A.M. is a tome to be treasured.

--Brian A. Dixon
Revelation Magazine


Doomsday [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Doomsday [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Rhona Mitra
Price: £6.00

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doomsday: Dog Eat Dog, 27 Jun. 2009
A dystopian near-future meets a rebirth of the feudal system in Neil Marshall's post-apocalyptic vision, in which an elite team of military operatives accompany medical experts into the no-go zone that is Scotland in 2035 to find a cure for a virus that is decimating the population.

The central conceit of the film--that government would choose to seal off Scotland and rebuild Hadrian's Wall as a reaction to the virus--is cute and hokey to begin with, and this perhaps gives some indication as to the tonal and stylistic decisions taken with the project. Unapologetically derivative, the Mad Max elements and a deliberate attempt to set the modern solider against the medieval knight are contrived and only serve to deprive the film of any real sense of gravitas or purpose, and the decision to use South Africa in place of Scotland for much of the filming may have made financial sense but it seems a shame the grandeur of the Scottish landscape itself was not on display here. The dialogue is for the most part dreadful and the dominance of alternative sub-cultures is as implausible as their anarchic and cannibalistic portrayal is risible. Malcolm McDowell is far better than the kind of role he is given here, even if it is not an atypical one for this stage in his career, and the choice of music is at times ill-fitting and only serves to date the film back to its stylistic roots.

There are, however, some things to like here. The decaying cities of Glasgow and London look convincing, and the action sequences--if resorting to superfluous gore to the point of inciting boredom--are well executed. Rhona Mitra makes for a fine and convincing heroine and the likes of Adrian Lester and Alexander Siddig also do the best they can with the material they have been given, but above all Doomsday feels like it was a much more intelligent and worthier piece of work that took a wrong turn very early in the creative process.

--Adam Chamberlain
Revelation Magazine
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2009 11:53 PM BST


Doomsday [DVD]
Doomsday [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rhona Mitra
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £5.13

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doomsday: Dog Eat Dog, 27 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Doomsday [DVD] (DVD)
A dystopian near-future meets a rebirth of the feudal system in Neil Marshall's post-apocalyptic vision, in which an elite team of military operatives accompany medical experts into the no-go zone that is Scotland in 2035 to find a cure for a virus that is decimating the population.

The central conceit of the film--that government would choose to seal off Scotland and rebuild Hadrian's Wall as a reaction to the virus--is cute and hokey to begin with, and this perhaps gives some indication as to the tonal and stylistic decisions taken with the project. Unapologetically derivative, the Mad Max elements and a deliberate attempt to set the modern solider against the medieval knight are contrived and only serve to deprive the film of any real sense of gravitas or purpose, and the decision to use South Africa in place of Scotland for much of the filming may have made financial sense but it seems a shame the grandeur of the Scottish landscape itself was not on display here. The dialogue is for the most part dreadful and the dominance of alternative sub-cultures is as implausible as their anarchic and cannibalistic portrayal is risible. Malcolm McDowell is far better than the kind of role he is given here, even if it is not an atypical one for this stage in his career, and the choice of music is at times ill-fitting and only serves to date the film back to its stylistic roots.

There are, however, some things to like here. The decaying cities of Glasgow and London look convincing, and the action sequences--if resorting to superfluous gore to the point of inciting boredom--are well executed. Rhona Mitra makes for a fine and convincing heroine and the likes of Adrian Lester and Alexander Siddig also do the best they can with the material they have been given, but above all Doomsday feels like it was a much more intelligent and worthier piece of work that took a wrong turn very early in the creative process.

--Adam Chamberlain
Revelation Magazine


Children of Men [DVD] [2007]
Children of Men [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Offered by figswigs
Price: £3.90

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Children of Men: A World Without Children's Voices, 29 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Children of Men [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
The apocalyptic premise of this loose adaptation of the P.D. James novel The Children of Men holds that fertility has hit zero for nigh on two decades, and that as a result the world order is collapsing. Opening with the news that the youngest living person in the world has been murdered at the age of 18, it swiftly and skilfully establishes a dystopian vision of a near future Britain--a police state wherein society is just barely maintaining its fabric. Present day fears and tensions such as those surrounding terrorism and immigration are extrapolated to a terrifying endgame in a world without hope, and a quiet seaside town is transformed into a warzone. Stark and arresting in its imagery and with no holds barred representations of violence, some incredibly long and complicated continuous shot sequences add to a gritty documentary feel. Clive Owen's perfectly judged hero of the piece is a broken man who falls into the role of protector to what might be the last hope for the future of the human race, and as violence rages all around him, it's notable that he never once picks up a gun himself. From the central story through superb acting from a cast that includes some big names in fairly minor supporting roles, through to its powerful direction and cinematography, this film is a work of art that is quite literally stunning in every sense.

--Adam Chamberlain

Revelation Magazine


Nothing [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Nothing [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing: Enjoyable but Empty, 8 July 2006
Nothing, from director Vincenzo Natali, is a somewhat mischievous movie. Despite existential quandaries and the omnipresence of downright apocalyptic themes, Nothing is never without its tongue in its cheek. While this ensures that the film is entertaining from start to finish, such unchecked playfulness also seems to be the one thing restraining the story from becoming more than an elaborately conceived comedy sketch. David Hewlett and Andrew Miller's initial forays into the void are downright juvenile, and it takes far too much time for any true explorations of the film's driving premise to manifest. These eccentric explorations are never as intriguing as they could be, however. Perhaps unexpectedly, Nothing's psychological examinations of mood, ego, and dependency are pursued almost entirely through humor. The resulting comedy is dark but often not dark enough, quirky but not quite sharp. Nonetheless, Nothing is never dull. Natali seems to be experimenting with unique and creative ways of presenting the energetic visuals. As a result, Nothing looks like a live action cartoon, and it's just as fun to watch. At the very least, the modestly titled film certainly can't be blamed for promising more than it delivers.

--Brian A. Dixon
Revelation Magazine


Paycheck [DVD] [2004]
Paycheck [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Ben Affleck
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £3.54

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Paycheck: A Forgettable Future, 8 July 2006
This review is from: Paycheck [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Paycheck is a disappointing and sometimes frustrating film because it clumsily toys with a number of potentially brilliant ideas without really knowing what to do with them. These key concepts come courtesy of Philip K. Dick, via his original short story, though the film poorly represents the themes and conceits that have made his stories into unforgettable classics. As a thriller, Paycheck depends upon our identification with its imperiled hero, but the movie is never able to make us truly care about Ben Affleck's Michael Jennings or his fragile state of mind, and that's something Dick would have found unforgivable. Only Uma Thurman really earns her paycheck here. The premise is high concept, and the prophetic threat is revealed to be of apocalyptic proportion, but Paycheck is never more than a pedestrian action film spun from chains of meaningless chase sequences and flat fight scenes. The future world created by John Woo isn't nearly as engaging or convincing as, say, the captivating science fiction setting crafted by Stephen Spielberg for another high-profile Dick adaptation, Minority Report. For Paycheck, the comparison is not flattering. Sadly, Woo can't even keep himself from forcing his own creative preoccupations into the film, and a resulting motorcycle chase sequence is outright uninspired and may represent the film's low. Some scenes are enjoyable, and there are fleeting flashes of wit and excitement, but much of what unfolds seems inappropriately conceived or placed. Paycheck isn't a smart film and, what's more, it sometimes assumes that its audience isn't even paying attention. As a result, the film never comes close to living up to its potential. The material and the audience deserve better. Unfortunately, Paycheck is forgettable fare and, truly, it is without any real payoff.

--Brian A. Dixon

Revelation Magazine


The Triangle : Complete TV Series [DVD]
The Triangle : Complete TV Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Eric Stoltz
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £12.10

59 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Triangle: Old Equation, New Solution, 14 May 2006
The latest in a growing line of slick miniseries produced by the Sci-Fi Channel, Dean Devlin and Bryan Singer's The Triangle draws from a number of standard sci-fi story elements in an effort to provide an original take on a tired enigma. While the miniseries concerns itself with a mystery long celebrated as unsolvable, The Triangle keeps itself from descending into maddening vagueness by demanding concrete answers from both its characters and its story. That's not to say this story is not enigmatic, but this is a brain-teasing puzzle with a surprising solution. Writer Rockne S. O'Bannon should be commended. The Bermuda Triangle here is more intriguing than it has ever been, kept entertaining by the slow revealing of the shadowy sources of its power. The threat escalates as the film progresses and scientific theories--ranging from wormholes to alternate realities to exotic matter--are blended into an engaging, reality-threatening cataclysm of apocalyptic proportion. At the outset, single ships are threatened but by the time of the paradoxical climax, the globe hangs in the balance. The inevitable time-travel is elegantly handled amidst all of this and the endgame is both intelligent and stunning.

The acting here is above average, too, and each of the leads elevates not only their character's role but the film's believability as well. Eric Stoltz, Bruce Davison, Catherine Bell, and Michael E. Rodgers are excellent as a team of unique experts in unusual fields of study. Keeping the story emotionally grounded is Lou Diamond Phillips, whose individualized subplot allows us to experience the film's reality-altering oddness through the eyes of an everyman. The miniseries is beautifully produced, nicely photographed, and the considerable visual effects are always impressive. More importantly, those effects are used primarily to service the story's intricacies, not as a means of distracting from plot holes. In fact, The Triangle's most serious flaws are those extended scenes echoing science fiction clich�s for suspense or drama, chunks of the narrative that will seem all-too familiar--and perhaps, as a result, all-too dull--for fans of the genre. Conspiracy plotlines wear thin too quickly, the quirks of Davison's psychic irritate as they escalate, and Sam Neill's obsessed magnate is instantly forgettable. At those moments when the film is successful, however, it plays off of our curiosity and becomes quite gripping. Viewers have set-out on this sort of strange sea voyage before, but Devlin and Singer manage to make it smart and sexy. The Triangle does make something old new again; the three-part miniseries takes a host of familiar pseudo-scientific theories and science fiction themes and finds a way to recombine them into something that feels, for the most part, fresh.

--Brian A. Dixon

Revelation Magazine


Supernova [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Supernova [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Supernova: Lukewarm Apocalypse, 14 May 2006
Supernova doesn't seem to quite know what it's trying to be and as a result never quite succeeds on any level. As a disaster epic, it can never quite match the visuals of big screen offerings that have dealt out similar levels of global destruction. The sequences of the sun's increasing activity are pretty enough to look at but never convince and feel disconnected from the rest of the action. And scenes of the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House being destroyed by giant fireballs descending from the sky are largely unnecessary, only further detracting from the believability of the whole endeavour with some average at best effects work. It's at its best when it presents the aftermath of the effects of the sun's activity on a smaller scale, emphasising the human drama amongst the chaos that ensues.

The science behind the storyline seems rather shaky at best, as evidenced by a key scene involving a piece of elementary and unconvincing mathematics. This could, however, be overlooked if the treatment of the scenario of a sun about to consume our solar system was in itself engaging. Here again, though, Supernova is only a partial success. The notion of an underground hive intended to ensure mankind's survival if life above ground were to become unsustainable is one of the more interesting themes on offer, and so it's a shame it's never fully explored. Instead, there are a number of subplots and situations of varying levels of interest. Of these, Shepard's ruminations on his island retreat are amongst the most poignant as he contemplates his life and work and awaits an end he deems inevitable; his final scene is poorly executed, however, and only detracts from what has gone before. And the plot surrounding a horribly clich�d escaped killer stalking Richardson's family is utterly pointless, providing a "climax" more befitting of a conventional thriller. Perhaps this sought to play safe and provide a recognisable climactic conflict for one of its protagonists, but at this point the movie seems to forget its own premise altogether.

In a variable cast, it is really only the ever-excellent Lance Henriksen who shines, lending sympathy and believable motivation in limited screen time to a character that might very easily have seemed one-dimensional. Luke Perry seems oddly miscast as Dr Richardson and never convinces the viewer of his academic credentials, and neither is his bond to the rest of his family ever properly established. This rendered their subplot all the more uninteresting. Overall, this is an entirely watchable Apocalyptic TV movie so long as you don't think too deeply about it or watch too closely. For the most part, though, it feels like a missed opportunity that could have taken much bolder decisions and been far more affecting as result. Lukewarm at best.

--Adam Chamberlain

Revelation Magazine


House of the Dead 2 [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
House of the Dead 2 [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £7.31

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars House of the Dead 2: Undead University, 14 May 2006
A disappointing zombie thriller, House of the Dead 2 aims to deliver the sort of grim action, gore, and violence horror fans have come to expect from the videogame series that inspired the film. Maintaining a suspension of disbelief throughout this constant carnage proves difficult even for hardcore fans as House of the Dead 2 is a constantly self-contradicting film that diminishes or dispatches with the themes and threats that drive most successful representations of the genre. Whilst the plot follows a specialized squad of zombie hunters--it's implied that the United States military has become accustomed to such scenarios, and zombification is regarded as an almost regular threat--few if any members of the team seem trained, equipped, or qualified to handle their assignment. Indeed, few of these characters are believable and none of them are likable, even when the script endeavors to provide them with inventive motivations. Only Emanuelle Vaugier, the bold and beautiful heroine, stands out and shows talent. House of the Dead 2 cancels an expected sense of scope and suspense simply because the spreading contagion that reanimates corpses is depicted not as an apocalyptic threat to humanity's very survival but as a lesser disease destined to be contained and cured--although, again, these assertions are later contradicted. Of course, this doesn't keep character after character from falling victim to the sizable zombie horde, which looks great thanks to some better-than-average make-up effects. As the non-stop action is set on a contaminated college campus, the opportunity for the sort of social commentary traditional to zombie stories is here but sadly all-but ignored. Instead, the film's setting is used only to set-up opportunities for cheap titillation and crude punch lines. Ultimately, this is all that House of the Dead 2 truly concerns itself with: sick satiation and even sicker jokes.

--Brian A. Dixon

Revelation Magazine


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