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Reviews Written by
B. Duckworth "benjabenja" (Liverpool, England)

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Brokeback Mountain [DVD] [2005]
Brokeback Mountain [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Jake Gyllenhaal
Price: £2.48

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 20 May 2006
Cinematically, this is an excellent film. A compelling adapted script draws superb performances from the two leads, Heath Ledger and Jake Gylenhaal.

However, the rating process could do with an extra star for films which are truly exceptional. There are films that warrant five starts but, unfortunately, don't push the boundaries and don't earn the status of an all-time classic. Unfortunately, though this is an excellent film, it doesn't earn the final star. I can't help but feel that, whilst this was certainly deserving of an Oscar or two, the critical acclaim would not be so tumultuous if the theme had not been homosexuality. Bravo to Ang Lee for dealing with a controversial theme in cinema tastefully and inoffensively, but it seems to me that the critics cannot see past the theme to correctly assess the true qualities of this film.

Furthermore, whilst the forbidden love theme is touching, it's hard to be expected to like and relate to characters who betray wives and children. People seem to have forgotten that, gay love theme or not, these are hardly the actions of a film's "heroes".

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Price: £7.99

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO fashionable, it's unfashionable, 12 Mar. 2006
It's unfashionable to like the Arctic Monkeys, and that's because they're good and nearly everyone's saying it. The ones that aren't saying it? Well, a small minority genuinely don't like their sound, and that's all well and good, but the people posting reviews here and an altogether different group.
They're the people who secretly like the Arctic Monkeys, and listen to them with the windows shut and doors locked, but then moan about them to their friends to look a little bit different. The Arctic Monkeys are a social revolution in music, and they've gotten to the stage now where it's much cooler to not like them than it is to like them. These people want to look a little bit special by standing apart from the crowd, which usually I'm all for. But in this case, the crowd's got it spot on.
You'll also notice that the VAST majority of these negative reviews don't actually specify what it is that's wrong with the band. Is it their lyrics? Their attitude? Their vocals? Specify please!!!!
Another reviewer said that is seems Britain is poor at producing good indie music, and that's absolutely correct. But here, Britain's got the best indie-rock band in the world, and we'll just see where they are after the next album.
As for the bad reviewers, stop bringing the album's amazon rating down, no one's believing you when you say you don't like them. And as for the people pointing towards the Kaisers, listen to I Predict A Riot, then listen to A View From The Afternoon, and decide which you really believe. Think about it.

Walk The Line
Walk The Line
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.45

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 26 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Walk The Line (Audio CD)
Thought the film was awesome - brilliant portrayal of a troubled genius from Joaquin Phoenix. Along with Reese Witherspoon (a compelling performance as June Carter), the pair's renditions of the classic Cash songs can't be flawed.
Phoenix's voice is eerily reminiscent of Cash's - so much so that it's hard to tell where acting ends and impersonation begins. Witherspoon's voice is vibrant, tuneful, and, again, near enough spot-on.
The film's concert scenes are excellent - the energy of Phoenix/Cash on stage lends a whole new dimension to the music. The soundtrack doesn't let down at all. It could be said that you're better off buying 'At Folsom Prison' or similar - something actually by Cash himself - but I think it's worth the money to hear the remarkable tribute.
The CD itself is five star material. It's what's NOT on the CD which loses it marks. The duet between Phoenix and Witherspoon of "Times a Wastin'" is pretty much the central performance of the film. And yet it's omitted from this soundtrack. After a little research I've found out that the Cash family don't own the rights to the song, which is all well and good, but surely some kind of compromise could have been made?
BIG let down not to have that track - really was a highlight of the film - but the CD is quality music that deserves to be bought.

Blade Runner (The Director's Cut) [DVD] [1982]
Blade Runner (The Director's Cut) [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Harrison Ford
Offered by claires_media_store
Price: £9.99

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tears in the Rain, 7 Dec. 2005
The most influential fusion of the science fiction and noir genres ever released, Blade Runner is still, in the opinion of many, Ridley Scott's best ever work, and, arguably, one of the greatest films ever made.
Certainly, a case can be made for the adapted screenply from the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep." The idea behind the story, and the effective compression of such a complex plot into just under two hours of film-time is a remarkable feat for Hampton Fancher, a relatively inexperienced screenwriter. Moreover, the film features some of the most beautifully poetic dialogue in cinematic history, an effective contrast against the harshly industrial backdrop of futuristic Los Angeles. The now iconic line, "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain" is the most obvious example of the film's eloquence. Interestingly, this line was actually penned by Rutger Hauer, who plays replicant Roy Batty, just hours before filming. Scott, upon hearing the poem, was so impressed that he included it in Batty's dying speech in the final rain-soaked sequence.
And it was, ultimately, Scott who made this film. His spectacular vision of the Los Angeles of 2019 - a shadowy, smoky dystopia of depression and ruin - is one of the most impressive aspects of the film, and must surely be one of the greatest backdrops ever created. Even without modern CGI effects, the city is still mesmerising. Admittedly, the unconvincing ground-car Deckard drives (all sleek windshields and flashing lights) doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but other than this brief lapse, the cinematography is wonderful. Indeed, most notably, the entire movie is filmed in darkness - an achievement itself. Pulling this off without claims of implausibility or ludicracy is undoubtedly impressive.
All of this is supported by superb acting performances from most of the cast. Harrison Ford gives a strong performance as world-weary Blade Runner Rick Deckard, but it is Hutger Gauer as Roy Batty, leader of the replicant outlaws, who steals the show, with thr eternally intimidating portrayal of Batty - a hybrid personality of sadistic killer and caring General.
For me, Blade Runner is one of the great films of all time. Let's hope it's not lost in time. Like tears in the rain.

50 Cent: Bulletproof (PS2)
50 Cent: Bulletproof (PS2)
Offered by marxwax
Price: £9.99

17 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mindless, mindless, mindless., 24 Nov. 2005
I think this is perfect justification for my views that 50 Cent should not be allowed to punlish records.
The fact that he's prepared to sell more of his already mostly-possessed soul to the games industry in a feeble attempt to jump on the GTA bandwagon really shows this guy has no dignity.
The fact that the games industry feels the need to front their games with rap stars who would never in a million years be put in the situations shown in the game really shows they've lost the plot.
What could potentially have been saved as an average game, was ruined by the laughable description, "Follow 50 as he blasts his way to the truth." As to why 50 feels the need to go to such lengths to find the said "truth"... well, thats unclear. Is he a cop? A vigilante? Or just a rapper looking for money?
And are we realistically expected to believe that because he's famous, has large muscles and a scary smile that he can fight off a dozen enemies with his bare fists? Or that he can take bullets to the chest, but still keep rappin' on?
As if this wasn't ridiculous enough, everytime you 'die' on the game, you're met with the reassuring image of the man himself, posing topless against a dark background, seemingly depicted as some kind of messiah for the 'hood'.
The morally pleasing anti-drugs theme also seems only to be a cover for a game where you can do as you please on the streets of mainland USA. And 'do as you please' invariably means beating up innocent civilians and taking their wallets. Oh, and selling them drugs if they're still interested. Yeah, good stuff.
Stick to rappin', fifty.

A Beautiful Mind [DVD] [2002]
A Beautiful Mind [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Russell Crowe
Price: £2.48

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Film for a Beautiful Mind, 7 Aug. 2005
I first saw the film, not at the cinema, but when my parent's rented the DVD. My mother, at the time studying for a nursing degree, was encouraged to watch the film by one of her tutors, who apparently told her it was an "excellent portrayal of a schizophrenic mind". I think this is testimony to the skill with which Crowe, especially, plays brilliant but troubled mathematician John Nash.
The film garnered four Academy Awards, and, had it not been for the competition from the first of the Lord of the Rings films, this number would almost certainly have been larger. In particular, there is conjecture that Crowe's notorious bad-temper at an earlier ceremony cost him his award for best actor in a leading role. In my view, his portrayal of John Nash deserved the award, rather than Denzel Washington's appearance as a corrupt Narcotics cop in Training Day. Certainly, Crowe was spot on with the mannerisms and temperament of a schizophrenia sufferer, playing the part with a tension of volatility with was felt throughout the film.
Howard's direction was, as we have come to expect, wonderful. Indeed, it won him an Academy Award, a surprise, as many critics had tipped Peter Jackson to storm to victory that year. Howard draws brilliant performances from each of the cast, and, despite the dream-like nature of many of the sequences in the film, there's an almost heightened sense of realism.
There isn't a poor performance to pick. Each supporting actor and actress gives a smashing account of themselves. The sinister government agent in black suit and hat, who's name eludes me right now, is brilliant throughout. Nash's loyal colleague's Sol and Bender put in laudable shows. Admittedly, there's not much strenuous acting to be done, but they do whatever they have to do, and they do it well. However, one actress stands out - and for this she was awarded an Oscar for best actress in a supporting role. She gives a truly believable show as Alicia, Nash's wife, and, while it is difficult to see why she would want to marry Nash in the first place, her performance as the suffering but loyal friend is excellent. The connection between the two is brilliant and, at times, tear-inducing - a quality which I very much admire in a film.
There has been some criticism for screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, for his depiction of Nash. It is true, that much of the more controversial points of Nash's life are omitted from the film (Nash's illegitmate child with another woman, cheating on his wife, being just one example) but the aim of the film, rather than being a biopic, is to demonstrate the strength of the human spirit. A Beautiful Mind shows that though Nash suffered from obstructive personality problems, and eventually mental illness, he was still an inspired thinker who won a Nobel Prize, and he still had a loving wife and son. Goldsman isn't trying to hide the bad aspects of Nash's character, they just don't contribute to the film's theme.
What's more, this film has an effect on the watcher. It does inspire and uplift. It shows us the strength and determination of some people to succeed. And it shows us how love is ultimately the driving force behind everything good that happens in the world.
I think, for this reason, A Beautiful Mind deserves all of the praise it gets, and if I had my way, it would get more.
Furthermore, it deserves five stars in this review. Buy it.

August & Everything After
August & Everything After
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.10

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New meaning to music...., 15 April 2004
I bought this album after hearing about Counting Crows from a Canadian friend of mine who had a lot of their songs. As a relatively unknown band in the UK, I had never really considered them to be a BIG THING, more of a fringe band who had the odd good song.
How wrong I was! After getting a hold of a few of their mp3's, which I liked the sound of, I bought this album, and WOW!
Couting Crows deliver quality Altern Rock music combining both easy-listening and funky, lively tunes.
The music has a distinctive "country" feel to it, without you picturing them as a group of straw-chewing cowboys.
It portrays brilliant rock, without the typical and often boring hardcore beats and mindless strumming we see so much now.
At first I expected the album to have a couple of good songs, but a majority of "space-fillers" to make up the numbers, but no!
As a natural critic, I listened to each song meticulously, trying to find faults. None!
With other similar bands (Hootie and Dave Matthews to name two), there are the couple of obvious favourites, but then from number 5, the music starts to go downhill, and you know that the band ran out of ideas.
But with Counting Crows, there are no bad songs! This album simply doesnt get boring. Admittedly, there are the few obvious better songs, such as Omaha, Mr Jones, Perfect Blue Buildings and the superb Rain King, but the album doesnt end where these leave off. There's more quality!
This is the same with other albums from the Crows. With their inspired lyrics and vocals, they are now one of, if not the most influencial Altern Rock band still making music today.
I cant recommend this album enough. Music does not come better.
This album only has 5 stars, because the 6 option wasn't there.

Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC)
Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC)
Offered by Retro Online
Price: £7.00

50 of 83 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can console gamers sleep at night?, 12 Feb. 2004
Do you console gamers sleep at night? Look what you, yes YOU, have done to one of the greatest games of all times!
We saw intricacy, attention to detail and imagination. The dozens of clauses, sub-tasks and separate missions made this the best RPG ever.
Where is the creativity, the style, the possibilities? The previously untouched purity of Eidos Interactive has been infected by the disease that is console gaming.
And why? For more money? In a futile and frivolous attempt to colonise the desolate world of console shooters, Eidos have ridiculed and shamed the formerly great DX, transformig it into but a phantom of it's former self. They've certainly splashed out on the lavish graphics, but at the expense of gameplay and strategy. And once again, only becasue the robotic morons that are console gamers feel the need to have amazing graphics splashed across the screen in front of them.

28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
28 Days Later (2002) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £2.25

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 27 Oct. 2003
This review is from: 28 Days Later (2002) [DVD] (DVD)
Having seen this movie, I simply fail to see how anyone can critisize it. The storyline is excellent, especially as the "zombie" genre is ridiculously difficult to master. Anyone saying this film is poor should be shot and then impaled on a large haddock. Acting from both leading characters is excellent, with the dry sarcasm adding to the flavour, and the direction gives a brilliantly tense atmosphere which keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. SPecial effects and make-up are extremely realistic, as I was expecting the zombie appearance to be grossly exaggerated. As well as this the soundtrack is superb, with the action sequences coming to life in your face.
Buy this film now. One of the best British movies of all time. Up there with the likes of Trainspotting...

Hercules Muse DVD 5.1
Hercules Muse DVD 5.1

4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Good for £30!, 16 Aug. 2003
Hey! I recently bought the Hercules Muse 5.1 digital sound card. I am an enthusiastic gamer, as well as watching DVD's and listening to mp3 files on my PC. WOW! My PC initially worked on an excessively poor integrated card, and from that, the difference is astonishing! I have my PC hooked up to some 5.1 surround speakers, so the gaming and DVD experience is pasonified! It doesn' match up to some 'Creative' products, but for a bdget buyer, this is supreme. However, good speakers are necessary to fully appreciate this soundcard, and surround sound speakers (preferably 5.1) would be even better! For a bonus, it is even quite easy to install! All you need is a spare PCi slot in the back of your computer.
Buy this baby right now!

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