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Intolerable Cruelty [DVD] [2003]
Intolerable Cruelty [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £0.98

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friends don't let friends miss Coen Brothers' Movies, 19 Mar. 2004
Intolerable Cruelty has to be the funniest film I've seen all year! Fans of the Coen Brothers will instantly love this fast paced, witty and surreal piece of cinematic genius, brilliantly directed, fantastically scripted and incredibly intelligent. While the idea of Clooney and Zeta-Jones fogging up the screen in a romantic comedy turned me off so much that I missed this in the cinema, now I've seen it I can't believe I had so little faith in Joel and Ethan. The Coen's didn't write the story, so this is sadly no Big Lebowski or Fargo, and some of the characters are a tad unsubtle (Cedric the Entertainer's private dick, the half-dead head lawyer and Clooney's sidekick come to mind) but they did have a hand in the screenplay, and therefore the dialogue sparkles with the typical Coen shine. I think the best scene for this is during Zeta-Jones' first divorce, as Clooney, his sidekick and this Client, in strained whispers, discuss their experience with the Judge ("Have you sat before this Judge before?","No, the Judge sits first..."). The cockpit scenes in Airport spring to mind...
The plot wriggles and squirms, involves and discards without ever falling into the trap of becoming too slow, sentimental or boring and various recurring jokes and camera shots from other Coen brothers movies will keep the viewer entertained even after the 6th or 7th run through. The only thing that becomes stale is Zeta-Jones' lack of acting ability, but she's so drop-dead gorgeous that it doesn't really matter.
Definitely one to buy, treasure and make sure your friends see!

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [DVD] [2003]
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Price: £1.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I probably deserved that..., 19 Mar. 2004
Wow - I can't remember the last time I liked a Disney Movie! But Pirates of the Caribbean is a delight from start to finish. It's epic, it's simple, you cheer the good guys you hiss the bad guys and you end up with a warm feeling in your stomach. And it's not just the rum...
It's nice to see Johnny Depp pick up a SAG award for his performance here - he truly is the glue that holds the movie together. He's immensely watchable, with the swaying and the weaving and the fleeting looks of puzzlement that scurry across his face. Fans of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas might perhaps notice certain similarities with the way he played Raoul Duke in that movie, but perhaps as hedonistic reprobates the characters are closer than they might at first appear. Geoffrey Rush is also damn good, and Jack Davenport hasn't been this convincing since "This Life" premiered. Don't worry Hollywood, you can still find Brits to be bad guys after all these years. Also fantastic is Mackenzie Crook, Gareth from the brilliant BBC series "The Office" (He was the one with the "independent" eye...). Playing with seamen in the Caribbean must be along way from Slough, but he handles it magnificently and, I have to say, made me quite proud.
I thought the plot bounced along rather well, the visuals and the special effects were awesome but not distracting, and I'd recommend the movie to anyone and everyone.
The DVD set is also really good, with a whole host of outtakes, deleted scenes, how-did-they-do-that? specials and even a video diary from one of the pirates.
Top notch!

One Night At Mccool's [DVD] [2001]
One Night At Mccool's [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Liv Tyler
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.34

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slicker than average..., 19 Mar. 2004
I remember the previews on T.V. when this movie was released and thinking "Wow, Liv Tyler is hot!". 3 years later I finally get round to watching the movie and discover that Liv Tyler is indeed very hot. However there's much more to this little movie than Liv Tyler's hotness. The movie retells the same story from 3 different points of view, the bartender, the banker and the cop. Each of these stories is slightly different with an enjoyable and entertaining subtlety that really doesn't come across in the preview that concentrates on Liv Tyler washing a car. The subtlety gets kinds lost at the end (losing the movie a star IMHO) but the set up and concept are intelligent enough, and the follow through done well enough that I'd even apply the rarefied term "Coen-esque" to the project. Top marks all around, I'd suggest buying over renting, as one picks up on more details the second time around. And besides, Liv Tyler is really hot!

There's Something About Mary -- Special Edition (2 discs) [DVD] [1998]
There's Something About Mary -- Special Edition (2 discs) [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Ben Stiller
Price: £2.18

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest love story of our time..., 19 Mar. 2004
I must've seen this movie a hundred times, and it's still on my top 10 list. It truly is laugh-a-minute stuff for anyone with even a vague sense of humor, while the gags run the gamut from ridiculous to sublime, the plot twists ands turns, and the characters are actually well-developed and distinctive, more so than you'd expect for what is essentially, a romantic comedy. In my opinion too much attention has been paid to various scenes in the movie (I'm talking about clearing the pipes here...) and that shouldn't overshadow the many other hilarious bits. I think it definitely is a movie you need to watch repeatedly to pick up on all the running jokes and more subtle humor.
It also helps that Cameron Diaz is pretty much every man's dream - beautiful, low maintenance and willing to date nerds. Ker-ching!
Stiller is fabulous as usual, gamely getting humiliated movie after movie, but I think this movie was his zenith, the peak of his powers and so-on. he brings a smile to our faces, and at least once, tears to our eyes.
The supporting cast is also used effectively, with Lee Evans and Matt Damon in particular standing out.
The Farrelly brothers are the kings of skating the thin line between good and bad taste, funny and irritating. Here they come down solidly on the side of solid gold entertainment, although it appears many people here beg to differ as to which side of the line that is!
I think I'll go hit that 101st viewing now...

Final Destination [DVD] [2000]
Final Destination [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Devon Sawa
Price: £1.30

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can't beat a good bit of cabbage!, 9 Feb. 2004
There I was, summer of 2001, the night before I left home to start a new life at Grad School in the States and I get together with my high-school buddies to kill one last keg and watch one last movie, and some smart-arse has to choose…Final Destination!
I swear, the plane rides I had the next day were pure skin-crawling, bowel-loosening terror.
Final Destination has an interesting enough premise - can you escape destiny? After a premonition and a messy, graphic, boy-am-I-glad-I'm-not-flying-tomorrow plane crash, 7 kids find themselves in this exact situation - They've cheated death, but for how long?
Well, about 98 minutes should do it…
The film was made by the Morgan/Wong partnership who were responsible for a lot of the early X-files episodes, you know, the good ones. You can see that influence seeping through into this film, with a malevolent, unstoppable, anonymous killer and a brilliant sense of timing, suspense and action help raise this above standard teen horror fare. Not that far above mind you, but the plot inconsistencies are swept away by the drama and the slightly daft premise is obscured by the rising tension.
Final Destination isn't going to set the world on fire, but there are far worse ways to spend an evening… As they say in the movie, you can't beat a good bit of cabbage!

How To Hang Off A Rope
How To Hang Off A Rope
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's the Future, 29 Jan. 2004
This review is from: How To Hang Off A Rope (Audio CD)
Very little has ever been written about the Belfast music scene. Admittedly it lacks the glamour of the bigger U.K. cities such as London, Glasgow, Manchester and Hull - no-one really moves to Belfast to become a rock star, and too often the scene is dominated by 6th formers and College kids who tend to be somewhat transitory. However, this lack of attention from the national press has allowed a vibrant and diverse collection of acts to emerge and evolve without having to sell out to the man and compromise their integrity for the whims of the industry honchos. Instead they can get on with the business of making the music they want to make without bothering with such mundane issues as recording and releasing, never mind selling records. However, when these bands do come onto the national radar the emerge fully formed, and often quite, quite unique. Corrigan are such a band. Based around the theatrics of main member Martin Corrigan, this, their debut album is a fantastic blend of singing, screaming, loud guitars, quiet guitars, spoken word stories and ebullient drumming all based around disjointed rhythms, brilliant melodies and truly memorable hooks. The album drips with an eclecticism and a small town weirdness that many listeners will find unsettling, but fans of the Belfast music scene will quickly realize the influence of other local greats such as Cecil's Flea Circus, Feline Dream and Multified Sides Tack, taken to another level and made more palatable for mainstream consumption. The standout tracks for me are the opening blast of "We're the Wire", "Macarthur" and the magnificently strange "Waterballad". If you don't like these 3 songs you won't like this album. The other band members are showcased in other numbers - most notably fans of Stickboy and False Dawn will instantly recognize Gavin Mckay's metronomic drumming on the wonderful "My Head Does Dances".
Released on the superb Carryduff record label "Bright Star recordings" I'll be amazed if this album sells outside the Belfast city limits, but the album, the band and the scene that spawned it are very much deserving of and long overdue a wider audience.

The Hot Chick [DVD] [2003]
The Hot Chick [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Rob Schneider
Price: £3.72

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hot Chick leaves me cold, 22 Jan. 2004
This review is from: The Hot Chick [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I'm normally a huge Rob Schneider fan, but I found this movie to be a big disappointment. Schneider's gas station attendant character trades bodies with a sorority queen after he tries on her magic earring. Schneider then mugs around for the next hour and a half learning to deal with the surprises of having a guys body while trying to get his former body back all with predictably hilarious results. Except that the results are instead predictable, dull and poorly thought out. Is a urinal really that hard to get used to that it takes a week to master? Wouldn't s/he have been beaten up for breaking the guy code and starting a conversation in the bathroom, never mind admiring someone else's mastery of the urinary process? And if you fight like a girl in a fight you're not going to win - you're going to get taunted and then smacked down. I don't care if you're a girl trapped in a guys body or not - you can't kick another guy in the happy sacks. The sentimental bits cloyed and the comic bits dragged and it'll take me a long time in therapy to rid my nightmares of images of Schneider giving lap dances in a bikini.
Be a nice person and don't pick things up from the ground. Lessons learned, no need to buy this one, try some of Schneider's others instead - my personal favorite being Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 14, 2009 3:11 PM BST

Sorority Boys [DVD]
Sorority Boys [DVD]
Dvd ~ Barry Watson
Offered by 247dvd
Price: £9.88

4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Right-Wing Propaganda, 22 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Sorority Boys [DVD] (DVD)
I remember this movie being heavily marketed on TV when it was released in the theatre. Sadly you can hype it all you want but a turkey is still a turkey. Some boys get unfairly kicked out of a fraternity and take refuge in a sorority across the road while they plot how to obtain the evidence that would clear their name and reputations. Along the way they alternately fall in love, bond with the "ugly" sorority and expose their fraternity brothers for being the date-raping morons we all new they were at the start.
This movie has a few good set pieces and scenes, but ultimately we've come to expect a lot more from the teen movie these days on the back of such seminal films as American Pie and Road Trip. This movie is sadly nowhere near in the league of those two. The actors lack charisma, the plot drags and lacks sparkle, and the whole concept is so widely outside the realms of possibility it just irritates.
The scariest things about this movie though are its social commentary undercurrents. Get this, the "feminist" sorority is full of ugly militant lesbian chicks who secretly despise themselves and each other and only come to believe in themselves by beating the "beautiful sorority" at Football. They seek validation for themselves by attracting frankly lame frat boys and are heartbroken when this does not materialize, ostensibly because of the fact they're all fairly ugly and badly dressed. Except of course the girl that the lead male character falls for who is actually pretty hot - once she takes off her glasses.
Tired clichés and Neanderthal thinking makes this is a film to miss.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) [DVD]
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gene Wilder
Price: £4.99

6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Children's Classic, 22 Jan. 2004
News that everyone's favorite creator of children's fairy tales, Tim Burton, is to remake this classic story by everyone's favorite children's author, Roald Dahl, will necessarily focus attention back to this original version. This film is a magnificent visual treat. Set in a fantasy parallel universe of Dickensian poverty and Wellsian Sci-Fi the film still entertains today with it's psychedelic visuals, off-the-wall humor and rags-to-riches, American-dream-come-true story. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the hunt for the Golden Tickets, the disappointment felt by Charlie, whose place on the lowest rung of the social ladder means that he is too poor to participate in the madness unless he forsakes the welfare of his own family living 4-in-a-bed in their shack in order to follow his own selfish dreams (a telling and timely indictment of modern day capitalism and the shallowness and selfishness of the modern American teenager), the miraculous healing of Charlie's grandfather by the Golden Ticket, and the empathy inspired in us for the characters is truly the sign of a great film.
The futuristic machines and products dazzle, the freakish Oompah-Loompahs are as compelling today as ever (there seems to be a current resurgence of interest in little-people e.g. Elf, Bad Santa, Jackass to name but a few...) and it's hard to shake the feeling that The Chocolate Factory is everything that Disneyland should be but isn't.
On a more somber note Gene Wilder's performance as Willy Wonka sent shivers down my spine when I rewatched this. Our view of Wonka's character today is sadly tainted by child abuse scandals, and it's hard not to see something of Michael Jackson in the idea of the man who never grew up, who vigorously eschews and distrusts adult company and who plays dangerous mindgames with the children he lures into his playground. Call me cynical or overly politically correct, but I just think that side of Wonka could be better dealt with in a new version, and hopefully dealt with differently.
That said it still is a great movie for kids, scary in parts (e.g. The boat journey down the chocolate river into the tunnel) but ultimately a rewarding and moral story about the importance of being nice, selfless and earnest and the hope that one day maybe, just maybe, it could happen to you. This is the savage, beating heart of the American Dream. Long may it live on....
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 24, 2008 11:06 PM BST

The Mechanics of Earthquakes and Faulting
The Mechanics of Earthquakes and Faulting
by Christopher H. Scholz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £53.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faultless book on faults?, 3 Sept. 2003
Christopher Scholz has written a welcome update to the classic 1990 edition of his book, and if you thought that Crustal Deformation was a field where nothing exciting happens, think again! Substantial chunks of the book have been re-written and re-organized to bring the text bang up-to-date with the cutting edge of tectonics and rock mechanics research.
The beauty of this book is that Scholz, along with his students and research associates, basically has been the cutting edge of research in this field for the past 30 years. The book therefore reads as a guide to the evolution of ideas and a personal memoir of scientific exploration, while allowing the reader to follow the same thought processes, and more fully understand what we currently think regarding these subjects.
The text is a monograph, quite different from the usual condescending tone found in textbooks, and can be understood and appreciated by readers of widely differing abilities, from interested laymen to fellow researchers. Thorough explanations are given for each topic, with examples taken from actual scientific papers, putting the reader in touch with the original papers, a glaring omission in many other textbooks. The language is never more complicated than it needs to be, and Scholz's straight-forward explanations and no-nonsense style make comprehension almost too easy, leaving the reader a real feeling that one has learned something at the end, which will come as a breath of fresh air to any student that has suffered through a horribly dull and irrelevent lecture, only to remain scratching their head at the end.
The book is a tribute to the intellect and longeivity of the man's career, blessed as he is with a happy knack for being proven "right" by the passing of time, and continuing accumulation of research results. A classic text, and again, a must-read for anyone with a desire to know more about the planet we live on.

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