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Marathon Man [1976] [DVD]
Marathon Man [1976] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dustin Hoffman
Price: £5.99

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The terror among us!, 4 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Marathon Man [1976] [DVD] (DVD)
What an incredible film!
This starts off as a slow simple everyday scene in New York which after a chain of events builds into a plot involving ex-Nazi war criminals, diamond-smuggling, anti-Semitic feeling, and a fast-paced chase leading to its inevitable bloody climax!
The gripping storyline had me hooked from the outset.
Ex-Nazi Szell, played by Olivier, has come out of hiding in Brazil to retrieve his diamonds. Hoffman's brother, played by Roy Scheider (fresh from "Jaws" fame), works for the Secret Service tracking Szell who is believed to have stolen the diamonds. After a double-cross which he witnesses (don't want to give too much away here!) Hoffman's life is in danger and he desperately tries to avoid Szell and his henchmen's clutches...
The entire cast are on top form.
Dustin Hoffman plays a convincing student and went for days without sleep to prepare himself for certain scenes like the dental torture scene (hence the immortal line from Olivier "why don't you try acting, dear?" when Hoffman asked him for advice).
And although Olivier was battling with gout and cancer during the entire shoot, he comes up with one of the performances of his career, horribly convincing as the sadistic Nazi Szell.
Marthe Keller, the Swiss model whose film debut was in Marathon Man, also impressed, especially as she spoke virtually no English as filming began!
The pace of the film also puts you on the edge of your seat (you're never sure who to trust), and although things start off calmly, it builds and builds into a brutal film, with a handful of shockingly violent and unexpected scenes. The most famous dental torture scene has been described in detail, which really is squirm-inducing, certainly one of the most terrifying scenes in cinema history. It's more the allusion to violence rather than seeing everything in graphic detail that makes it so effective. You may not want to go to the dentist ever again...
Schlesinger plays out the scenes of Olivier's Szell at large on the New York City streets wonderfully well (the Big Apple never looked so threatening!), the bustle of the city almost concealing the horror of a war criminal at large.
This is still valid today, what with the constant fear of terrorists living in our midst.
The DVD transfer has only improved the film - colour, sound and picture quality are fantastic and have been digitally restored. Equally impressive are the special features on this DVD edition, with excellent commentary and an interesting documentary ""Going The Distance: Remembering Marathon Man" with interviews from most of the cast & crew (Marthe Keller looks even more attractive over 25 years later!)
To sum up this has to rank as one of the best, most powerful, dark and disturbing thrillers I've ever seen. Although it does look a little dated now, this DVD should definitely have a place in your collection. Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2015 12:14 PM GMT


Xbox Official Controller S
Xbox Official Controller S

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential piece of kit at a reduced price, 9 Feb. 2004
The X-Box Controller S, as the other reviews suggest, is a major improvement on the original controllers. They're much easier to handle, smaller, lighter and all-round user-friendly, especially for someone like me who plays mainly first-person shooter games (Halo, Counter Strike etc).
The major plus is the location of the black/white buttons and the shape of the D-Pad. For games like Splinter Cell and Counter Strike where you're heavily reliant on these buttons, life has been made much easier by packing them into a smaller space (making them much easier to reach and press).
The general feel is comfortable, with better ergonomics: the control sticks now have flat heads (easier to click) and the triggers underneath are closer together (more comfortable to crouch and shoot at the same time).
Overall impression is that it's an ergonomic, comfortable larger version of the PS2 controller, but of a higher quality. An essential piece of kit, and at the reduced price (decent official controllers are difficult to get cheap), it's a steal!


Counter Strike (Xbox)
Counter Strike (Xbox)

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive but chaotic fun, 7 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Counter Strike (Xbox) (Video Game)
I have to say that after reading the other reviews, many people seem to have forgotten that the original PC version was also an online-only multiplayer experience. This game was only ever intended for X-Box Live, and I think it succeeds.
It's quite a faithful reproduction of the PC version with improved character animation, additional maps (based on the most up-to-date mods available from 2002) and weapons. The riot shield and pistol combination is very amusing for example, and there's everything from sub-machine guns, to heavier close-range weapons like shotguns, and also various pieces of additional kit, depending on your team (whether you are a counter-terrorist or terrorist) and mission goal (of which there are only two: planting a bomb or hostage rescue). The Bomb defusal kit and Kevlar body armour are both essential items. You can also "shop" for these items at the start of each round, as long as you have enough money. You earn money by completing the mission objectives and also for killing opponents. Should you have a bad losing streak however, it can be very frustrating not earning enough money to afford more than just a pistol with a few clips of ammo!
The X-Box controller configuration is easy to get to grips with, being almost identical to similar games like Ghost Recon, but I actually found it easier with the Controller S (the grenade button is easier to reach in a hurry).
The gameplay online varies from ridiculously hard to easy. It's worth specifying the Optimatch settings that you want beforehand so you get the right server for your playing level, otherwise it can be a frustrating experience.
The gameplay is also repetitive, (only 2 types of mission, only 2 teams) and in my experience is not so much about tactics but how well you use Flashbang and smoke grenades to disorientate your opponent. Not only this, but the server hosts tend to have similar tastes in which their favourite maps are, so you can sometimes find yourself playing the same maps over and over again.
I was very impressed with the loading time which has been consistently quick and reliable so there is very little waiting in between rounds (I live in Germany). The games have always run smoothly (have had the game for 2 weeks, playing every night!) and I'm happy to report only 1 or 2 instances of lag on the server - a major improvement to Ghost Recon where I always seem to have problems. On servers with more than 10-12 players however, this can be a problem but in the Settings you can specify if you want to play on a standalone server or not.
Overall, I'm impressed. The gameplay is simple, but to master the tactics and avoid getting killed absorbs you completely and you can easily lose track of time! It takes time to learn the entrance/exit points, where good hiding or sniping places are, the most appropriate weapons for the situation and map and so on, which only adds to the longevity and fun. Also, you're playing against human opponents so your reactions have to be quick! The hectic action and furious pace helps keep the interest up for those that have died during the round - the opportunity to watch the other involved players (in 1st or 3rd person views) when you die is a great touch too, and you can learn a great deal.
A word of warning for parents - it's quite violent, so not recommended for children (some of the kills can be quite graphic with blood splattering everywhere), but for those war-game lovers out there I can recommend this as a welcome addition to your collection along with Rainbow Six 3 and both Ghost Recon games - as long as you have X-Box Live.... ****


Spilt Milk
Spilt Milk
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £8.67

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock LP of the decade, 8 Nov. 2000
This review is from: Spilt Milk (Audio CD)
As the first complex vocal harmonies of "Hush" kick in, you know this album's going to be something special. One of the most underrated bands of the 90's, Jellyfish pulled out all the stops after their debut and produced an LP with a dizzying number of influences. From The Beach Boys to Queen, The Beatles to Bob Dylan the sheer diversity never fails to impress. With an ear for a great melody, but with plenty of oomph for fans of rock like myself, Spilt Milk makes for an entertaining listen.
My personal favourites are Joining A Fanclub and Russian Hill: the first being a happy jump-around joyous stomp with tight harmonies, and the second a slow-burning acoustic number that builds and builds....however, all of the songs have their special "hook" and the dizzy, playground pop lyrics of "Sebrina, Paste & Plato" make you imagine a bubble-filled bizarre land that Jellyfish live in! This album and their debut, Bellybutton have had me raving about the band for the past 5 years - I just hope that their solo success, since the unfortunate splitting-up of the band, goes on to be as stunning as this. A must-have.


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