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C. Williams (Durham, England)

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Predator (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] [1987]
Predator (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] [1987]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £6.90

78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best and the worst that Predator has ever looked, 3 July 2010
I'm both amazed and appalled at what 20th Century Fox has done with this blu ray, providing one of the most schizophrenic video transfers I've ever seen, which despite its faults still impresses me.

Because eighty percent of the time, it's beautiful.

They must have used a different source print than they had previously. Many scenes that were dull and dark before now show wonderfully vivid colours and much greater contrast. Also, it seems Fox has done a heavy amount of grain reduction, which I know will be an instant deal breaker for some cinephiles, but I do think that Predator benefitted from the treatment. I was astounded at the clarity some scenes have, every piece of foliage is razor sharp, and the Predator himself is so detailed in closeup it's scary. And it doesn't stop there.. From being able to see each bead of sweat on Carl Weathers' face, to the intricate patterns of the lightning effects as Predator decloaks, the new video transfer often presents scenes that look light years ahead of older versions of the film.

But then there's the other twenty percent...

The infamous scene at the start, when Dillon and Dutch lock arms, is one of the most egregious examples of video tampering. Carl Weathers' moustache looks like it's a blurry smudge on his face in this scene, whilst R.G. Armstrong now appears to be made of rubber. Arnold's closeups here are just plain ugly. Certainly not a great start to the movie, and it sets a trend of blurred shots and smudged faces that continues off and on through the film. A scene will be playing out, looking detailed and film-like, then suddenly it cuts to a closeup and we're examining a wax figure from Madame Tussauds acting in a Predator movie. Luckily this doesn't happen too often.

Whilst the Ultimate Hunter Edition is very obviously a cash-in on the new Predators movie coming out, it's honestly a better deal than the last Predator release Predator [Blu-ray] [1987]. Unlike the last bare bones version, this new edition includes every extra from the 2 disc DVD, even the still entertaining text commentary and easter eggs, as well as a brief but nice retrospective with producer John Davis and a quick look at the upcoming sequel.

If you already bought the last blu ray edition, or are unsure as to which looks better, I recommend renting them to judge the quality for yourself. There are a few moments that could have looked A LOT better here, but the film on the whole makes up for it by being much more vibrant and bold than before, and having stunning picture clarity when it counts. Not to mention the always epic DTS HD sound. Overall, I'd say this is definitely the version to pick up if you somehow don't already own this seminal action movie.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2014 9:59 AM GMT

Seagate Expansions 1TB External Desktop USB 2.0 Hard Drive for PC
Seagate Expansions 1TB External Desktop USB 2.0 Hard Drive for PC

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Died on me, 2 April 2010
After nearly a month, this thing just stopped turning on.

I've only used it like three times, nevertheless it's completely kaput.
Think I'll give Western Digital another go..

Predator: Turnabout
Predator: Turnabout
by Steve Perry
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, definitely brings out the hunter in you., 25 July 2009
This review is from: Predator: Turnabout (Paperback)
Steve Perry and his daughter have written a few of my favourite books, namely some pretty excellent Aliens and AVP tites that, like their graphic novel companions, take a no holds barred approach with the subject matter of murderous extraterrestrials.

"Turnabout" is one of a new series that Dark Horse Books has been publishing recently to kinda tie-in with the latest AVP movies, sadly most of them have been pretty dire fare compared to the heart-pounding reads that the original Predator and Alien novels were. Good cover art and not much else, really. Thankfully, this book stands apart as definitely the best Predator novel since "Cold War" came out a number of years ago. The story is set in a national park and revolves around a park ranger, some poachers and of course a couple of unfriendly ugly muthas. It may take awhile to get going, but "Turnabout" creates a great sense of suspense as more and more mysteries crop up around the park and the poachers' trip turns sour. Steve Perry always manages to create interesting characters and that's one of this book's strengths. Even if you don't neccessarily like them, you still wanna find out what's gonna happen to them.

Anyway, I thouroughly enjoyed reading "Predator: Turnabout" and hope Perry takes another crack at Predator writing sometime because he's definitely got a knack for it.

Grand Theft Auto IV (PC)
Grand Theft Auto IV (PC)
Price: £11.14

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The superior and most customisable version, 24 May 2009
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto IV (PC) (CD-ROM)
The PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV STARTED OUT as one of the buggiest, most poorly-optimised ports in the history of gaming. Time was, you needed a computer from the future to run it properly. That, coupled with the badly implemented additions of both Games For Windows LIVE and Rockstar Social Club meant it ate a helluva lot of memory. You were lucky if the game didn't crash on startup. Once it had loaded, you'd play for a few horrid seconds in Stutter-Vision before turning the graphics down and running round a version of GTA IV worse than those found on consoles.

Two years later, Rockstar has worked hard to make the game much more accessible to those without SuperFly Gaming Rigs. Much improved streaming and loading times mean the game runs a lot smoother and is more charitable to lower end PCs. Of course, if you wanna experience it at the highest quality, you'll need WAY in excess of the "recommended" specifications on the box. It's still a memory eater, though once you've installed the many, many patches it won't kill your computer.

I fell in love with the PS3 version of GTA IV so much that I was still regularly playing it 2 years after I first got it. So understand how much better the PC experience must be, for me to say that it blows the console version completely out of the water. I'll list in bullet points why it's so amazing:

-Vastly superior graphics and draw distance

-A replay editor that rivals most 3D movie making programs

-A massive mod community. Fans have made everything you can think of, including:

New islands!
New vehicles!
New missions!
New guns!
Custom clothes!
Custom characters!

-The Simple Native Trainer
A mod so incredible it deserves its own bullet point. This thing lets you do ANYTHING in the game. It's like you're a god.

-The PC version even has controller support.

So yeah, only one of the top ten games of all time, buoyed by a massive and vibrant modding community that lets you customize your GTA experience. And you can show your epic fails / glorious moments to your friends with the intuitive and powerful video editor.

I hope you have a lot of free time.

Twister [Blu-ray] [1996] [US Import] [Region A] [NTSC]
Twister [Blu-ray] [1996] [US Import] [Region A] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Helen Hunt

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twister chews up the scenery on blu ray!, 26 Dec. 2008
Ok, it's not an excellent film but Twister sure is a lot of fun. It's mainly a chase movie, with people either chasing the twisters or being chased by them. Definitely one of my favourite "disaster" films with some wonderful special effects and tension filled moments. It's great to finally see it in HD. The picture transfer is pretty well handled, it isn't the best blu ray I've watched, but for a movie outside of the 2000s it's an impressive effort. Like most HD offerings, anything that's not in daylight is a little grainier. My only big fault is that overall the picture looks a fairly pale, but I think that's due to the way the film was shot.

Now, say what you will about the cow, but the stars of this movie are the twisters themselves, brought to life by Industrial Light & Magic. They're the reason why I shelled out for it a third time. ILM's effects hold up quite well after over ten years. The huge F5 tornado at the film's climax is beautiful in 1080p, still frighteningly real. I found myself watching it over and over in slow-mo to appreciate the awesome detail that was put into the monster. Not all of the twisters are as awe-inspiring though, for instance the first distant touchdown looks more like an oil painting than a photoreal effect.

The sound more than completes the experience though. It's one of the things I've always loved about Twister- a completely over the top, hyper real job done by Skywalker Sound. Lion roars mixed with vicious thunderclaps give the fearsome storms a true menacing presence that's a joy to listen to and I have to say the Dolby TruHD offering of Twister's blu ray release is the best I've ever heard it sound. From the pitch perfect dialogue reproduction to the stabbing lightning strikes to the mournful lowing of a passing cow it's an awesome sonic experience.

I was worried that there wouldn't be any special features, since looking at most blu ray releases, it's not exactly a requirement. My last Warner Bros. blu rays were the Lethal Weapons and had virtually nothing in the way of added bonuses. That's not the case here though. Although not having a huge amount of special features, there's a fair amount of interesting stuff to go through. Granted, most of it is from the DVD release such as the music video and making of, but two new featurettes are also included. One is an enjoyable 2003 documentary from the History Channel about tornado warning systems and the other is a collection of cast and crew recollections. They're all standard def but are definitely worth watching, and the DVD commentary is here as well if you've got some time to kill. It moves along a little slowly and is VERY tech heavy, but deserves listening to at least once if you're a fan.

My opinion? It's not a deluxe edition or anything, but the superior sound and picture quality make it worth buying. Try to get it cheap if you can though.

PS: Amazon, put your reviews on the right product pages please!

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Richard Dreyfuss
Price: £6.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very Close to perfection, but not quite., 30 July 2008
Cool case.
Fairly good booklet.
Awe inspiring movie.
Almost flawless transfer.
Some old special features.

Close Encounters is a very thought provoking sci fi movie that is one of my favourite Spielberg jobs. Both writing and directing, he brings a wonderful sense of storytelling to the picture and of course there's the great performances from Richard Dreyfuss et al. and the masterfully memorable music by John Williams. Sure, it's not a hi-octane, pulse-pounding roller coaster ride, but the mystery and suspense achieved throughout the film as well as the captivating cinematography and heartwarming ideas behind it make for a true classic.

The first of Spielberg's to grace high definition, Close Encounters sure doesn't disappoint. For a film that's thirty years old, it's a real credit to the technicians at Sony that a lot of the scenes in this look like they could have been shot yesterday. The picture is beautiful throughout, providing a rich variety of colours and deep black levels that make up an incredibly crisp transfer. The fine level of grain throughout only adds to the overall quality, making it look like a freshly struck master print being projected at the cinema. Rarely has a movie looked so "film-like" when I've viewed it at home.

Sound wise, the DTS HD master audio is pure excellence, this new uncompressed version being bit for bit the same quality as the original soundtrack heard in 1977. John William's score sounds awesome and the although dialogue may be a little on the quiet side at times, the overall mix is of such high clarity that it just begs to be played at full volume.

What keeps this blu ray release for being the new standard which all should follow is it's lacking in the features department. Not that it doesn't have special features, but they're not up to the quality they should be. The main documentary on disc two is a port over from the DVD version (filmed ten years ago) and is in standard definition. The jump between high and standard definition is incredibly noticeable, especially with the picture having a black box around it. The documentary is incredibly good, however. Running for around two hours, it's quite informative and goes into a fair bit of detail about the making of the movie. The other main feature is a chat with Steven Spielberg remembering back. This one was filmed specially for the blu ray version and IS in high definition. It lasts around twenty minutes to half an hour I think but is nowhere near as high quality as the documentary, however ironic that may be. Still galleries and deleted scenes round out the release as well as your standard trivia track on the first disc.

Why Spielberg still hasn't done an audio commentary for a film that's three decades old is beyond me and the fact that there's no commentary at all, be it from Spielberg, Dreyfuss, Williams or the effects guys, makes me think that they should've taken a little more time with this release. When films that are infinitely worse than this get commentaries, I just find it hard to believe that a classic such as Close Encounters hasn't got one. Eh, maybe there wasn't space with three HD movies on the same disc. But I find that laughable when it's Blu Ray we're talking about here.

So while the exceptional picture and audio quality of the film itself definitely sets a new standard for anything that is decades old, it hasn't raised the bar for blu ray overall. The lack of a full-HD feature set stops it from being the perfect special edition. But regardless of these shortcomings, I am remarkably pleased with how good the movie looks and sounds in high definition on my PS3 and it's definitely my most watched blu ray.

If you're looking for the ultimate version of ALL the versions of Close Encounters, this is certainly it.

Hitman - Extreme Edition [2007] [DVD]
Hitman - Extreme Edition [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Timothy Olyphant
Price: £1.38

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Complete and utter fail., 1 May 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I feel insulted by this DVD. Rarely do I find a release that I get a bad vibe just from looking at the case, but when I popped this one in the player I just couldn't believe how much of a rush job this was. Not only are there no special features to speak of whatsoever, coming only with the most basic of menus, but the DTS soundtrack that the film was mixed in is missing as well - even more insulting since almost all 20th Century Fox releases have a DTS audio track, including the Blu Ray version of Hitman, so why not the DVD? Maybe Amazon sent me the wrong DVD, but I don't think so. The fact that it's an Extreme Edition just makes me laugh. Have a look at the Extreme Edition of the Alien vs Predator movie. Granted the film wasn't incredible, but it had a great DVD release and was under the same banner as this, made by Fox. The Extreme Edition title is even more ridiculous since it's the only damn version of the film that's available...

Anyway, if you're reading this then you've probably seen the film already so I'll try not to go into detail about the movie itself. For those of ya who haven't, Hitman isn't all that much better than most other videogame adaptations, largely due to the fact that so much was cut out of it. You can tell at multiple points in the film that various sequences have been cut down for whatever reason.

Get a copy of Skip Wood's excellent original script for Hitman and you'll see that almost sixty pages worth was excised from the final film, a further fifteen being completely reordered and hocked up with mindless action. Interestingly enough though, several short pieces were reintroduced for the DVD. I guess for it to qualify for that increasingly redundant "extreme edition" tag. All two minutes worth is barely noticeable if you haven't seen the film before, most of the additional material being splitsecond shots of gore or some minute character trait expansion. While these do improve the film, they only serve to give a glimpse of the vast amount of footage that was removed and really make me feel sorry for the director who basically had his movie gutted by 20th Century Fox, just because it tried to stand out from the crowd.

In short, an alright movie with castrated potential gets a terminally cheap DVD release that makes me regret buying it.

HDMI Cable (PS3)
HDMI Cable (PS3)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential piece of kit for HD viewing on your PS3, 5 April 2008
This review is from: HDMI Cable (PS3) (Accessory)
If you wanna get the full potential out of your PLAYSTATION 3, that means you'll need an HDMI cable to hook up to your HDTV. Using other connectors means that you will not get the full visual and audio experience, because you won't be seeing and hearing in high definition. That's why I bought this cable, and I have to say, it's served me incredibly well.

The connectors are high quality and the cable itself is thick and sturdy, as well as being long enough to reach a good ways from the TV. Hooking your PS3 up to your HDTV with an HDMI cable means that the next time you turn em on the PS3 will automatically ask if you want to go HD and will help calibrate the settings on your TV to the best possible. It was fairly easy to set up and I haven't had any problems with it really. The picture and sound come through as crystal clear as HD signals should and I've had a blast playing games and blu rays on my HDTV. This is a great piece of kit and although there are probably longer lasting and more durable cables on the market, this is a perfect match for the PS3 and an essential part of the experience.

Philips SWA3528 - Headphones extender - mini-phone 3.5mm (F) - mini-phone 3.5mm (M) - 1.5 m - shielded
Philips SWA3528 - Headphones extender - mini-phone 3.5mm (F) - mini-phone 3.5mm (M) - 1.5 m - shielded

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 10 Feb. 2008
I got this to listen to my TV's audio through my headphones and it's worked incredibly well for me. The audio quality is exceptional and the gold plated connectors stop it from being tinny or crackly. It's a good length cable so should be big enough whether you're listening from your TV or from you iPod or whatever. In short a great piece of tech.

Predator 2  (Special Edition)  [DVD]
Predator 2 (Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Danny Glover
Offered by chez_y
Price: £11.00

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's in town, with a few days to kill..., 29 July 2006
The two Predator movies are my all time favourite films. They just work beautifully together, both films have the same feel to them, the same style. I really enjoy watching them and Predator 2 would have to be my favourite.

Predator 2, while not having the same sense of fun as the original, has a much more interesting plot than the first film and reveals more about the Predator himself. It's more of a mystery story than a full blown action movie. The suspense is really well done, Predator 2 having beautiful cinematography combined with impressive visual effects and Alan Silvestri's wonderful musical score. It's a good film and has been really under-rated. I had always wanted to buy this on DVD but it really never had a good release up until now.

This "Special Edition" is a really well designed set, with nice cover and disc art and cool interactive menus. There's two audio commentaries for the film, one by the writers and another by the director, that go into some depth about the making of the movie. Quite entertaining stuff. On the second disc there is a featurette about how the movie was made, detailing aspects such as why they decided to set it in the city and how difficult it was to get the film finished because of all the optical effects. The featurette has interviews from people such as Gary Busey and the Predator himself, Kevin Peter Hall. Also thrown in are some segments about the Pred's weapons and how the camouflage effects were achieved alongside some old previews for the movie and a large photo archive.

All in all, a great DVD for an excellent film.

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