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Benminx "benminx" (Plymouth)

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Spec Ops: The Line - Including Fubar pack (PC DVD)
Spec Ops: The Line - Including Fubar pack (PC DVD)
Offered by PNA247
Price: £8.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily adult shooter for those who like moral challenges with their kill-rates, 9 Mar. 2015
Spec Ops: The Line spends much of its running time pretending to be just another glossy desert-set shooter. You start with a jokey squad, played with funny dialogue as you lead them into a ruined Dubai to try to find out why famed American officer John Konrad failed to evacuate the citizens in the wake of a cataclysmic sandstorm that turned the city of the future into a deserted dustbowl. However, it soon becomes evident that something's wrong when Americans start firing on you...
The game is distinctive for having one of the most carefully thought-out plots in years, feeling more like you're playing a novel than a game. As you and your squad battle your way across Dubai in your quest to find answers, more questions keep presenting themselves. Where is Konrad. Has he gone insane? Why did the evacuation fail?
The game plays with you, twisting the plot several times, and providing many moments of real moral challenge and gruesome adult content. For the shooter fans, there are lots of different guns that are fun to use and several different types of grenades. I found it just as fun for the shooting as the story. But it was the excellent voice acting and storytelling that kept me intrigued. And I hate to say it - it's clear why this is critically praised, but lost in a sea of more bombastic, shallower shooters like Call of Duty: this game gets you to ask questions of yourself, and face a gruelling very adult plotline with a startlingly mature ending. It's not the kind of game that leaves you high-fiving your mates. But it is so well written and so much fun that it's worth ten of those more everyday shooters.

The Great Gatsby [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
The Great Gatsby [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling, dramatic, but a little seen-it-all before, 9 Mar. 2015
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There wasn't a minute of this film during which I was bored. As usual with Baz Luhrmann, if there wasn't emotion on screen, there was some kind of visually impressive spectacle. I spent much of the running time wowed by the extraordinary visuals, which was probably a good thing, as for the first half of the film, it's distinctly light on plot.
While we're introduced to Maguire's fairly innocent wannabe writer and everyone wonders who the mysterious Mr Gatsby is, almost all of the rest of the time is filled by drunken parties whose whirling colours, enthusiastic dancers and flying confetti / ribbons / champagne corks put the can-can scene in Moulin Rouge to shame. They're a breathtaking example of candy for the eyes - nobody does decadent opulence like Luhrmann.
However, once the actual plot begins to emerge, and the love story develops, similarities with his earlier well-loved work start to rear their heads a bit too often. Star-crossed lovers who yearn to be together? Yep. Furiously paced, noisy parties to open the movie and fill out the running time until something actually happens? Yep. A comically awkward first romantic meeting? Yep. A jilted lover? Yep. A writer relating the story? Yep. Someone even breaks out a revolver near the climax.
While the film was undoubtedly enjoyable, I would have liked it more if it hadn't felt like it was struggling so hard to follow Moulin Rouge's template and had been allowed to be more of its own animal.
It's a visually gorgeous, dramatic movie. It's just a slight disappointment that you've seen this dame before - just wearing a more theatrical French dress...

[Rec]3: Genesis [Blu-ray]
[Rec]3: Genesis [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Leticia Dolera
Price: £5.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but not in the same league, and a very different tone, 7 Mar. 2015
I was a big fan of the first 2 films, so wanted to see what all the fuss was about and why Rec 3 got such mixed reviews. Having seen it, I can understand.
There are several things the film-makers get right: the central couple are lovely, and both good actors. The build-up, to introduce us to the scene and set a tone of normality is lengthy (probably too lengthy for some viewers), and lets you become fond of the supporting cast. The religious element is strongly present again, to differentiate it from being just another 'zombie-esque plague' film, and the gore is severe.
What they got wrong (for me at least): the absurdist humour which is dealt out in heavy-handed doses was completely at odds with the visceral terror of the first 2 films (and the first quarter of this one) where you feel like you're genuinely being sucked into found footage of a terrifying zombie-style apocalypse. The daft moments of silliness, and far more frequently used sick humour don't work as well against the visceral terror of found-footage living-dead attacks as they would in a more conventional 'studio'-style film, and break you out of the suspension of disbelief.
I also hated the transition from 'found footage' handheld filming to traditional 'third person' movie filming where everything is suddenly nicely framed and lit with accompanying soundtrack music. I felt it was a terrible wrench, and it not only diminished the film but made the acting seem les convincing, as a different style is normally used in found-footage 'imitation reality' than is used in traditional movie style, so for about ten minutes the actors just seemed quite bad, until I adjusted and got sucked back into the plot.
The plot itself is less secretive and conspiratorial than Rec 2, simply being 'what's going on?' and 'how do we escape it'?
So, with so many flaws that I actively disliked, why have I rated this a '3' out of '5'? Because even with all those flaws, it still rises above many run of the mill Hollywood apocalypse direct-to-video money-spinners and manages to be intermittently terrifying, tense and exciting.
It isn't a great film, but at least it tried to be something different.
It just had such a high bar to live up to.

Lucy [Blu-ray] [2014]
Lucy [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Scarlett Johansson
Price: £10.00

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, exciting head-trip, 28 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Lucy [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
Bonkers. Be prepared for something truly bonkers. That's all I'd say to someone who wanted a concise description of what to expect from this movie. While it is filled with the attitude and strut of Besson's earlier kick-ass heroine movies Nikita and The Fifth Element, this is quite a different breed.
When Scarlet Johannson's lead character Lucy is railroaded into carrying out an errand for a disreputable friend, her day swings violently quickly from bad to worse, until she finds herself dosed up with a mysterious wonder drug and her IQ starts increasing exponentially...with startling results.
It's impossible to say anything else about the plot without spoilers, so I'll focus on the other aspects of the movie instead.
Johansson absolutely makes the film. Besson knows how to nurture great female performers, and boy has he given her a great role. Her character goes from one of the most convincing portrayals of terror I've ever seen, and proceeds to evolve into brilliant, breath-taking athletic lethality as she starts to learn how to turn the tables on the bad guys and truly kick butt.
The action is regular, brilliant and extremely inventive. Because this film is a sci-fi in some aspects, it gives the inventive Besson even freer rein than normal to come up with bonkers, bizarre moments, and the really weird stuff started to hit the screen far earlier into the movie than I'd expected, giving it a delicious sense of the unexpected, and of never truly knowing quite where it was going next.
The brain-science is nonsense, but the movie is like being fired out of a circus cannon.
Brilliant, violent, kinetic, inventive and barmy. Bonkers.

The Expendables 3: Extended Edition [Blu-ray]
The Expendables 3: Extended Edition [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Sylvester Stallone
Price: £10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars The law of diminishing returns..., 28 Jan. 2015
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It's been a month since I saw this, and for a film loaded with action stars, I'm struggling to remember any truly standout action sequences. The whole film is over-the-top and dramatic, but it feels overly familiar and obvious.
As the original gang, all of the returning cast are good fun, and the new additions of Snipes and Banderas are very amusing and flashy. The addition of younger stars does feel like a gimmick, but they hold their own. However the action sequences are now starting to feel tired. All of them have the feeling of 'how can we blow something up?' and you have to wonder how a team this bone-headedly stupid have lived long enough for a third movie.
Ironically, for a man considered a Hollywood pariah, Mel Gibson's scenes (barring a boring mis-step at an art gallery) are the ones that bring the film to life. Almost every appearance of his character improves the movie with charisma, action or snarling dialogue.
I love a good action movie, and loved the first 'The Expendables', but with every new iteration, the films are degenerating closer to the direct-to-video roots that many of the actors are trying to escape from - and I can't help feeling that without a dramatically more inventive part 4, this may well toll the end of the road for the series.

Far Cry 4 - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Far Cry 4 - Limited Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £36.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much more of the same, but prettier, 28 Jan. 2015
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As AJ, your adventure starts in quite a disorientating fashion as you find yourself thrust into the uprising against fey dictator Pagan Min very quickly, through a series of interesting and very entertaining encounters. The country (an obvious analogue for Nepal) is beautiful, and comes complete with snowy mountains and river gorges which you can navigate in a great plethora of ways, from quad bikes to trucks, cars, boats, mini-hovercraft, gliders and even a gyro-copter (great fun). Your co-stars are interesting too - a squabbling brother and sister team of revolutionaries who are fighting for the soul of their country against the despotic Min, but in very different ways.
Animal hunting to make supplies is back, as are missions to assassinate bad guys in specific ways, but this time the game has a greater spread of things to do than in Far Cry 3, and it makes the completion of most of the dream-sequences optional which is great for someone like me who doesn't like playing action 'in the character's head'. Weapons are fun and varied, and some of the favourites from 3 are back. Hurk is also back, and worth every penny. For me, the Hurk missions were pure gold, and the funniest and most exciting of the entire game.
The dialogue and moral choices are well written and often shocking, and you'll feel several genuine moments of victory and shifting allegiances as challenging decisions are pushed your way. Min is great fun, and for me was easily on a par with Vas.
The main character's story is also quite personal and emotional, although I found I connected more with the lead's friends in Far Cry 3, and found some of the things that happened to them far more controversial and better written.
And there's the rub...Far Cry 1 was about a captain for hire who gets stranded on a mad geniuses' tropical island and fights to survive. Far Cry 2 was about playing off conflicting African warlords against each other as a shadowy enemy keeps one step ahead of you in a vast and very different landscape. Far Cry 3 was about a bunch of idle tourists getting snatched by a nightmarish madman on another tropical island, and one of them rising above it to face his destiny...and Far Cy 4 is about a tourist getting snatched by a nightmarish madman and having to rise above it to face his destiny. With very similar graphics styles and gameplay mechanics to Far Cry 3. The similarities are so great that some media outlets have even acknowledged you can't really call this a sequel - more a vast expansion on number 3 - and they're right.
Number 2 set you loose in a lethal, complex land with tough enemies and complex moral choices on a regular basis. This one sets you loose in a land that often feels like you've seen it all before, with enemies who aren't that hard to kill, and an ending that - depending on choice - varies between spectacularly boring (although the game does, spitefully, warn you of it) or vaguely intriguing, but none of it ever feels fresh or pioneering.
This is a gorgeous, vast and fun expansion-pack-alike of Far Cry 3, but I long for something unfamiliar and exciting from number 5.

Strike Back Shadow Warfare [DVD]
Strike Back Shadow Warfare [DVD]
Dvd ~ Philip Winchester
Price: £8.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance., 28 Jan. 2015
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Shadow Warfare surprise me in many ways, one of which was the quality of the writing. The lead characters seemed even more fleshed out than in previous seasons, their characters feeling 'lived in' and like they had a genuine comfortable rapport, but with that came a labyrinthine plot that had good reason to take in multiple countries, and mixed SAS-assault style battle scenes with dirty-dozen escapades, spy movie plot threads, sinister terrorism threats, and the trademark shocking twists that the series is known for.
Perhaps on a par with Game Of Thrones for cliff-hangers and 'who'll make it out alive?' uncertainty in some episodes, this constantly astounded me with the inventiveness of the writing and the constant sense of jeopardy, not to mention the very regular doses of excellently shot and performed action. Violent, funny, always exciting, and for me, the best-written series of the year. Brilliant.

The Guest [Blu-ray]
The Guest [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Ethan Embry, Candice Patton, Lance Reddick, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley Dan Stevens
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars he turns up on the doorstep of a recently bereaved family and explains that he was good friends with their deceased son and serv, 28 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Guest [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Dan Stevens takes sheer ownership of Adam Wingard's 'The Guest' in his Hollywood debut, with the kind of charming self-assurance that screams 'natural star'. As 'David', he turns up on the doorstep of a recently bereaved family and explains that he was good friends with their deceased son and served with him in the military. His charm and sincerity win them over, and soon he's involved in every aspect of their lives, soothing grief, fixing problems, and generally sorting their lives out. But surely he's too good to be true?
The Guest might be paced too lugubriously for some viewers, especially if they've been sold on the 'Bourne Identity meets the Terminator' nonsense on the cover, which is highly inaccurate marketing. Wingard's films rely on the indulgence of the audience to give them time, to soak up the story and character moments before anything meaningful is given away, and this one is no different. I adored it, as the writing and pacing always leave you with something interesting going on, and some degree of intrigue about possible hidden motives. When revelations occur in the plot, they start off as brief, sharp moments of confusion, and then begin to fit together into something far more compelling and exciting, until the film picks up pace into a thoroughly well earned final third of excitement. All of the cast are great, the plot moments that you expect don't always happen in the manner you assume (if at all) and the filming is gorgeous.
'David' is one of the best film characters of the last year, and The Guest one of the best thrillers.

Virus [Blu-ray] [Region B German Import]
Virus [Blu-ray] [Region B German Import]
Dvd ~ Jamie Lee Curtis
Offered by schnuppie83
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great sci-fi horror actioner, 28 Jan. 2015
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A tremendously fun 'trashy sci-fi' guilty pleasure, 'Virus' is an action/sci-fi/horror with patchy scripting, occasionally hit-and-miss acting, and a great deal of silliness. However, it's also terrific fun if you check your seriousness at the door.
When Donald Sutherland's salvage tug crew get caught in a hurricane and their vessel is damaged, they think they've lost everything, but then stumble across a huge deserted Russian vessel in the eerie calm of the storm's eye. Boarding it, they find it deserted, and dreams of rich salvage start to dance in their heads until they discover that something else now calls the vessel home. Something lethal and inventive that has plans for them all.
Virus uses a great deal of intriguing special effects, great monster designs, and brilliant action-horror moments. A great party movie, and one for movie-monster junkies.

Panasonic SC-AKX18E-K 350W Mini Hi-Fi CD System with Wireless Audio Streaming (New for 2014)
Panasonic SC-AKX18E-K 350W Mini Hi-Fi CD System with Wireless Audio Streaming (New for 2014)
Price: £116.99

1.0 out of 5 stars A surprising disappointment, 28 Jan. 2015
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Horrendously disappointing. Everything sounded like it was being played underwater or through fabric, regardless of the setting we put it on, or adjustments to bass or treble. Old favourites sounded like 'diet-coke' versions with all the passion and verve stripped out, and we ended up sending it back, and replacing it with a Sony that cost £10 less and absolutely blows it out of the water in terms of sound quality.

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