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S. Beddoes

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Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (PS3)
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (PS3)
Offered by Bargain Games UK
Price: £18.90

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Even tops Mario Kart., 4 Mar. 2010
I don't wish for any angry comments, but for me, this game actually tops Mario Kart. The tracks are better, the characters are funnier, and there are no blue shells. I have been playing this with my girlfriend, who can't play Mario Kart Wii at all, but we were evenly matched when racing in this, with her winning in a best-of-5 match.

I've played through all of the GP cups and aside from a bit of jittery framerate on 2 or 3 of the courses (there's around 20-25 or so in the game) it plays so fast and so smooth (I can't comment on the Xbox 360, Wii or DS versions, but my girlfriend will be getting the DS version soon), and the characters are all really balanced. I've found Knuckles is the best to race with due to his handling, but each player will pick a different character who suits their racing style.

This does everything that a good Mario Kart does, minus the annoying blue shells (and those moments where you're approaching the finish line in first place and will be hit with 4-5 items at once, including a blue shell, sending you all the way back, they don't occur in this game either), with a hilarious (and completely optional) commentator voiceover.

The best part of this game though is the courses. Aside from the very frustrating Super Monkey Ball courses, the tracks are exciting, unpredictable (but not to the point where anything shows up before you can react to it, aside from those damn Monkey Ball levels) and very nostalgic to any SEGA fan. Unlike Mario Kart the courses in Sonic Racing go upside-down and loop-de-loop, like an F-Zero or WipEout game. There are also huge jumps, and some really cool cinematic moments like smashing through giant windows etc.

All in all I'd say this is the best Kart racer I've played, including all of the Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing games, so I would most definitely recommend it to anybody looking for a good time, and if you only have a PS3 or Xbox, then this is a more than worthy alternative to Mario Kart, and it'll give you some good SEGA nostalgia too!

Psycho [DVD] [1999]
Psycho [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Vince Vaughn
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £4.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Better than a colourization., 29 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Psycho [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Perhaps a pointless remake, perhaps not, but certainly better than a colourization. This movie is a 99% word-for-word, shot-for-shot, camera-angle-for-camera-angle, set-for-set remake. You're practically watching the same movie, just in colour with today's actors, fashion etc. with one or two little tweaks.

So, certainly, if the original movie was well scripted, well directed and had a good story, this translates over to the remake. The question is, is there any point in watching it? That depends on you. How familiar are you with the original? If it's one you've seen a few times and enjoyed, it might be worth experiencing it again a little sharper, more colourful and up-to-date. If you're a Hitchcock veteran and love the original, you might be disappointed by the different actors and the fact that the creepy black and white atmosphere is drained from it by default. If you've never seen Psycho, well, this is a great way of experiencing it without having to accommodate for datedness.

While there is some occasional cheapness due to remaking a scene exactly, for example a certain exact remake of a violent scene on a staircase seems a little fake in a 1998 film, Psycho's message makes it through, and it's definitely one to show to your younger siblings (or whoever else) whose minds aren't open enough to watch a black and white movie.

Did anybody really imagine Saul Bass' opening credits to be lime green like that though? Ha ha! Red, if anything!

Pointless? Perhaps. But I certainly believe that it's worth doing what you can to keep something good alive, where restrictions of its time cause it to become dated and less accessible. The original has a better atmosphere (due to the black and white) but the story and suspense make it through just fine.

Son Of The Mask [DVD]
Son Of The Mask [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jamie Kennedy
Offered by Door2DoorEnt
Price: £3.90

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Jim Carrey classic, but hilarious nonetheless., 6 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Son Of The Mask [DVD] (DVD)
I just finished this movie and my cheeks hurt from the grinning. Son of the Mask expands on the story of Jim Carrey classic The Mask in a whole different way. A baby is conceived while the father is wearing the titular mask and 9 months later unto the world is born a nightmare child with cartoon god-like powers. On top of this, the pet dog, now jealous of the baby getting all the attention, has gotten its paws on the mask and become a green-faced, revenge-seeking cartoon mutt.

Meanwhile, Loki, the fabled God of mischief (mentioned in the original movie, not featured), has been instructed by his father Odin to retrieve his mask due to the havoc it caused in the first film. Loki is the essence of the Mask and thus can also turn green and do the Jim Carrey routine, coming to a total of four equally bizarre Mask-like characters, though obviously none living up to Jim Carrey.

The father, and hero of the movie is played by Jamie Kennedy, the funny chap who was the film buff in the Scream movies ("Did you put her liver in the mailbox? Because I read that the killer put her liver in the mailbox..."), and he does a good job. Upon donning the mask he becomes the plastic-haired, catsuit-clad, cheesy gameshow host type (nice to see more different takes on what the mask does to different people) who is amusing though feels a little unnatural compared to the his acting in "Dad form".

Plenty of great CG just like the original, some spectacular visuals and designs, and for a movie so different to it's predecessor and so much more family friendly, it certainly does a good job of recreating the original atmosphere with nice lighting and settings.

So, would I recommend it? If you're a hardcore fan of The Mask in the form of comic book, movie or even cartoon, probably not, because it's not what you will want from a sequel. For slightly more open-minded people looking for some fun and a few smiles of nostalgia from nods to the original, totally. It's a side-splitter, particularly for kids.

There's no obligation to have seen the original; it works as a film on it's own as well as a sequel, so don't worry if you want to entertain your very young kids but don't want to expose them to some of the more "PG" humour of the original. Then perhaps they can check the original out when they're a few years older.

Underrated and great fun. It may not be the "Revenge of the Mask" movie we were promised all those years ago and it's not a masterpiece by any means (what sequel is?) but it's really nice to see a clever and creative sequel/followup to a film whose chances as a franchise we all thought were dead.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2012 4:43 PM BST

Alone In The Dark 2 [DVD] [2008]
Alone In The Dark 2 [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Lance Henriksen
Price: £3.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so special, 16 Sept. 2009
Sorry to say, but this movie just doesn't have the fun or character of it's 2005 predecessor, Alone in the Dark. Alone in the Dark II is more of a straight-to-video bargain-bin flick, which isn't always a bad thing, but this one just drags...

While Uwe Boll regular Zack Ward shows up here (this is NOT an Uwe Boll film, this is just produced by him), the rest of the cast are mostly going through the motions and the camera work, lighting and music seem to reflect the same sentiments. Christian Slater's brilliant role of Ed Carnby is here given to an Asian guy who nobody has heard of, who does a pretty awful job, bringing absolutely none of the charisma Slater brought to the role, and not for one second will you believe you're looking at the same character.

What's worse, the majority of this film sees Carnby bed-bound with some kind of illness/curse, and a family looking after him. Only at the very beginning and very end does anything interesting actually happen. Admittedly though, those beginning and end parts are actually quite good.

While it was teased that this movie would be based on the recent Alone in the Dark game which, while it may not have played brilliantly, it certainly had an interesting cheesy story which could make a great movie (and, sort of ironically, was the inspiration for the first movie before it was semi-cancelled and pushed back years and changed so much that it doesn't resemble it at all), this doesn't seem to resemble the film in any way apart from being set in Central Park. The plot is about a sort of (very cool) witch creature and a cursed knife, and it doesn't really go beyond that.

Not really worth your time, to be honest. It's not an awful movie, but it certainly does drag and you'll find yourself either fast forwarding or just switching off. Go watch the first film instead and have a blast (provided you can have fun with films and aren't looking for something completely serious).

Pornography (Remastered)
Pornography (Remastered)
Price: £5.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark masterpiece, 6 Aug. 2009
"Gothic rock" isn't easy music to listen to. Put on a CD of "My Dying Bride" or anything this side of the more synthesizer-heavy "Bauhaus"-like goth music and most of us will find ourselves struggling to make it to the end track without at least taking a break to sniff some flowers or something.

Dark, depressing and dramatic, "Pornography" will come as a shock to the system for anybody who associates Robert Smith with "Friday I'm in love". Each of The Cure's 'phases' have produced great music, peaking with 1989's epic "Disintegration", but Pornography represents by far the darkest place The Cure have visited.

Opening with the heart-stopping "One Hundred Years", Smith opens with the line "Doens't matter if we all die", and the tone for the album is set. Smith, Gallup and Tolhurst will walk you through the valley of the shadow of death without so much as a stop to catch your breath.

If "Friday I'm in love" or The Cure's other happy-go-lucky material is your bag (I'll admit, it's also my bag, I love everything they've done) then buying this may be a huge mistake. On the other hand, it could be one of the best musical purchases you make. Dark, powerful goth rock which is actually worth listening to.

3.5mm Speaker and headphone Splitter
3.5mm Speaker and headphone Splitter
Offered by XY Store
Price: £1.15

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely destroys audio quality, 22 Jun. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Absolutely awful! Plug it in and it reduces your sound to a tinny transistor radio sound, no matter how much bass you put in. What is the use of that?

Macbeth (1997) [DVD]
Macbeth (1997) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jason Connery

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actual adaptation of Macbeth for once..., 1 May 2009
This review is from: Macbeth (1997) [DVD] (DVD)
It's nice to see an actual adaptation of Macbeth for once. The acting is all up to standard and directing all seems decent.

This adaptation finally takes the Macbeth script literally as opposed to throwing it around and putting it into whatever setting they can think of (Drug lords? Vietnam? AN ESTATE IN BIRMINGHAM?), not that this determines it's quality but unlike Romeo & Juliet I don't think this story works in different scenarios.

It's also worth mentioning the modesty of this version - like the play, we never see the violent killing of the king, just Macbeth returning from the room, blood on hands, with the line "I have done the deed". Again, a stabbing scene doesn't determine a bad movie but the modesty of not including one when it would be so tempting to is admirable.

You won't find hundreds of old, naked witches here, nor will you see blood splattering all over the walls (They showed us that BBC adaptation when I was in school, and called it educational! Try showing a modern story with that amount of blood and nudity to kids and you'll find yourself in trouble), you won't see football hooligans, Vietnam soldiers or drug lords, this is just pure Macbeth. It may not be perfection, but it's satisfying.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2013 11:23 AM BST

Batman & Robin (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Batman & Robin (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £9.49

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little TOO camp..., 10 Aug. 2008
After 3 insanely entertaining Batman movies - Two from Tim Burton, one produced by Burton and directed by Joel Schumacher, the forth film in this mildly-canonical series throws Tim Burton out of the picture altogether.

Unfortunately, it seems Tim Burton had been an important part of modern-day Batman (before Christopher Nolan came along), putting restraint on that comic book cheese factor we all love in certain doses, because Batman & Robin loses the whole sense of ironic dark humour which kept the first three movies special and unleashes a river of cheese that the Tim Burton dam was once holding back so that we wouldn't drown.

That's not to say Tim Burton's Batman films and Batman Forever were all doom and gloom - but they had a smart way of being camp, a sort of gothic-fairytale irony that only Burton can pull off, and this time around, Schumacher just didn't seem to get it, and he created a childrens' Saturday morning cartoon, a silly goofball adventure, a resurrection 60s Batman minus the satire.

What bugs me about the movie, though, is the spoiled potential. After the clever marriage of camp cartoon villains and dark vigilante storylines in Forever, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze and Uma Therman as Poison Ivy could have taken this to a whole new level, but the film turns not just the villains, but Batman and his crew as well, into pantomime characters. Freeze doesn't have a line of dialogue without some kind of cringeworthy refrence to ice, Ivy's acting has you waiting for the audience to hiss and yell "It's behind you!" and the Dark Knight and co. have become Inspector Gadget and friends.

Every cliché in the book is here - the sidekick is tired of being the sidekick, the motorbiking blonde girl finds out the truth and joins the crew (Using the suit which Alfred made for her when he predicted that she would find out and want to join.... Yeah...), the old man is terminally ill...

On top of all this, after Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer both providing decent Bruce Waynes and Bat-men, George Clooney has been cast and everything which made Batman, well, Batman, is basically out of the window.

I always have a soft spot for spoiled films with a lot of missed potential, and Batman and Robin oozes it. The visuals are something to behold. Much like the previous film, neon tube lights, UV paint and brightly coloured spotlights turn Tim Burton's previously established gothic-fairytale Gotham city into a spectacular light show. Batman's getup and arsenal take on a suitedly high-tech appearance (Makes sense, right?), and Alicia Silverstone is eye candy enough by herself. Visually, this is as "comic book" as movies are going to get this side of animation or perhaps UltraViolet.

It's just a pity that the visuals are wasted on such an embarassingly over-camp affair. Even fans of the 60s Batman will be embarassed to watch this in front of friends or relatives, and you'll even cringe seeing this movie alone.

Great for kids, but you don't sequel age-restricted movies for adults with a children's movie!

...A Bat Credit Card?
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2011 8:44 PM BST

House Of The Dead [DVD]
House Of The Dead [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jonathan Cherry
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £9.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Failed attempt at an over-the-top cheese flick..., 9 July 2008
This review is from: House Of The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
Just as the Amazon review of House of the Dead describes this film as an intentionally cheesy, over-the-top movie, that is, indeed, what it is, but there are big problems here. Something or other has gone horribly wrong as the whole film gives you the impression that this is intended to be 100% serious.

Watching badly acted teenagers arrive on an island for a rave, find zombies, then get their hands on a gun and suddenly become Keanu Reeves makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and the Matrix-wannabe rotation shots are badly done and seem to constantly circle around people with not much actually happening. Short clips from the videogame cutting between the action is not only jarring, but also completely rediculous.

Here's where it gets sad - it looks so good. The scenery, the zombies and the lighting look and feel very much like the videogame it is based on, and look more atmospheric (in a music-video kind of way, this is no horror movie) than anything you've seen in a while, and the rediculously over-the-top final battle is very entertaining (even though you're wondering how she's even a master swordsman, she just came here for a rave!!). Seeing such a badly pulled off movie with that much potential is just torture.

A shame!

Alone in the Dark [DVD]
Alone in the Dark [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christian Slater
Price: £3.00

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good, 9 July 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Alone in the Dark [DVD] (DVD)
Perhaps I'm crazy, but I and my girlfriend watched this movie and we both enjoyed the hell out of it. Aside form some naff dialogue I thought it was a brilliant monster-filled adventure.

Christian Slater is superb as Edward Carnby, a paranormal investigator whose seen it all, the CG monsters look incredible, both in design and implementation, Tara Reid is, well, attractive and the artifact/key-finding storyline will give you fond memories of the Saturday morning cartoons you watched as a child.

Add creatures transforming into mist, light-bullets which light a creature up from the inside and cause a frantic strobe-lit effect when fired in the dark in a music video-esque showoff (over the top) sequence, parasite-infected zombie people with superhuman strength and agility and an H.R. Giger-looking, H.P. Lovecraft-inspired underground monster realm and you have a recipe for a damned entertaining movie.

Worth a watch if you're not the overly critical type. Did you enjoy Bulletproof Monk? UltraViolet? DOA? Didn't care what the critics and internet folk said? Then give this one a shot.

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