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aurtherwood (Dumfries, Scotland)

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American History X [DVD] [1999]
American History X [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Edward Norton
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.90

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Disturbing, welcome to racial america, 27 Feb. 2006
Not often is it for a film to condone the subject of racism to such a degree, but AMERICAN HISTORY X does just that. What most movies that involve the topic of racism fail to do is examine and explore the devastating effects that it can have on families, friends and complete strangers, but AMERICAN HISTORY X succeeds in achieving this to a previously unreached degree. Nothing in this movie is far short from perfect, from the Directon to the script to the performances. AMERICAN HISTORY X never fails to surprise, shock, display, terify or put forward a point that racism is wrong.
Derek Vinyard (Norton) is an intelligent white kid from Verona Beach in California, who's turned to the morally wrong life of the racist skinhead after his father was murdered in broad daylight. Trying to follow in his older brother's footsteps, Danny (Furlong) hangs out with the other racists, who are headed by local Race Tyrant Cameron alexander (Keach). Despite his racially motivated behaviour, Danny's family, who include his mother Doris (D Angelo) and sister Davina (Lien), and friends, who include his Principal Robert Sweeney (Brooks), all attempt to help him out of his emotional rut that he's dug himself into. It's only when Derek is released after three years in prison that Danny is finally able to see what a low form of life racism is, but by then, it's too late....
Like many movies like it, AMERICAN HISTORY X succeeds in displaying a vivid and accurate view of modern day skinheads without making any immediate reference to the KKK, or using any old-school methods of black vs white violence. Instead, the film displays a view through the eyes of a teenage boy who's mind has been corrupted by the evergrowing presense of racism. Many people criticise the film for encouraging bigoted views of the black community, but that is not what it does. It instead is told in the manner of an english report and filled with the slogans and events that are just as true to the world today as they were back when racism was commonplace.

Jackie Brown - 2 Disc Collector's Edition [DVD] [1998]
Jackie Brown - 2 Disc Collector's Edition [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Pam Grier
Price: £2.90

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adaptation, Tarantino style, 25 Feb. 2006
Tarantino adapted JACKIE BROWN from one of Elmore Leonard's books, RUM PUNCH. Leonard, being a favourite author of Tarnatino's, usually lets his characters develop the story for the reader, and using as little violence as possible in the process, so it is quite difficult to believe that Tarantino, who's renowned for making crime movies of the more vilent genre, would take RUM PUNCH and adapt it as one of his own movies. But does Tarantino succeed in the process of adaptation? Yes he does.
Jackie Brown (Grier) is a 45-year-old stewardess for Cabo Air, but she also has a backyard job, she is also a courier for 40-something year old Verona Beach gunrunner Ordell Robbie (Jackson), who'as plan is to get his fortune down to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. But when Jackie is arrested for suspected drugs trafficking, Ordell knows he needs to speed up his final plan of retirement. Helped (in some way) by his old friend and fellow convict Louis Gara (De Niro) and well shagged Beach Bunny Melanie (Fonda), Ordell and Jackie plan the final payoff. But Jackie has plans of her own and Ordell's money.....
Many people shun this movie because it doesn't contain Tarantino's ultra-violence, quirky dialogue and junky characters. The whole point of the movie is taking a novel and adapting it as his own. If Tarantino had taken RUM PUNCH and taken all the characters and situations out and written his own movie, then it wouldn't be an adaptation. The vilence and dialogue aren't there, but the movie is still a wonderful piece of homage to the 1970's genre of Blaxploitation (Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, etc) Also, using 70's Blaxploitation queen Pam Grier for the lead role only helps the movie to be as entertaining and original as it is.

Fallen [DVD] [1998]
Fallen [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Denzel Washington
Price: £13.56

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original, intensifying, but ultimately rushed, 12 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Fallen [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
When was the last time someone 'resurrected' the language of Aramaic in a movie? Well, there's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, but that dealt with the last part of Christ's life, this movie has very little, if any, relation to religion or anything pertaining to religion. In FALLEN, which was made six years prior to TPOTC, the topic of the film isn't about the son of god and his final few hours, the movie deals with an evil that lived at the same time as christ and is possibly as old as him as well.
John Hobbes (Washington) is a straight-laced detective who bases his career around honesty, compassion and dedication. Not having any immediate family to care for, except his brother and nephew (Casseus and Pagen), Hobbes is 100% dedicated to his job. Hobbes becomes the centre of media attention when he captures wanted serial killer Edgar Reese (Koteas). Reese is executed and Hobbes thinks he's had his 15 minutes. But after Reese has been executed, and the body of an immigrant is found murdered, exactly in Reese's style, Hobbes is quick to pass it off as a copycat murder, but when a second innocent turns up dead, Hobbes realises that this is more than a copycat killing, there is something going on that goes way back in history, possibly back to the times of civilization.
FALLEN didn't make the mistake of hiring a top director, top actors and actresses or having a huge budget. Instead, director Gregory Hoblit (FREQUENCY, HART'S WAR) took the chair and, except for Donald Sutherland and Denzel Washington, no major acting talent was used. This is possibly something that saved FALLEN from being a total commercial disaster, but it made one of Hollywood's fatal mistake's, it was let down by a rushed ending. Coincidentally, another of Washington's films made the same mistake the year after FALLEN, THE BONE COLLECTOR, in which the tension is built up steadily and nicely throughout, and it is all blown by the ending.
Ultimately, the film is original, satisfying and tension-filled, but the ending prevented it from getting the full 5 stars.

Kill Bill, Volume 2 [DVD] [2004]
Kill Bill, Volume 2 [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Uma Thurman
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £2.23

4 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tarantino's homage to the west sends no guns blazing, 2 Nov. 2005
I, along with a large majority of the civilised world, anxiously waited with baited breath for the second (but not final) volume of Kill Bill, Tarantino's homage to old wild west movies (homaging 70's kung fu flicks in VOLUME 1). Most people would say that this the better Volume of the 2, but that is very far from the truth, given that VOLUME 1 wasn't exactly up to Tarantino's standard, this is just a continuous downhill slope from VOLUME 1. Instead of dishing out his own form of classic dialogue, memorable characters and brutal violence, Tarantino gives the characters a mediocre screenplay to read, giving them unmemorable names and gives the audience very little violence to watch and enjoy.
The Bride (Thurman) continues her roaring rampage of revenge across America and Mexico in search of her three remaining ex-colleagues, the deadly blonde femme fatale Elle Driver (Hannah), the once deadly, but now alcoholic Budd (Madsen) and her former boss and lover, the undisputed genius Bill (Carradine). Having taken out two of her targets in VOLUME 1, the Bride is now more determined than ever to complete her roaring rampage of revenge. But as with most people, there's always a surprise in store for them, and Bill has a huge surprise in store for the Bride.
Apart from a good filmed fight in Budd's trailer near the film's end, VOLUME 2 is a very badly directed, poorly scripted and degenerating mess that never gives off any light or something for the audience to hope for, just the endless barage of a mindless plot that has more holes in it than swiss cheese and top-class actors and actresses that should have tried to steer Tarantino in the right direction, but never did. This is a movie that can be watched once, but never bought because of it's lack of effort. Tarantino is a filmmaking genius, but this is exactly the type of movie that will severely lower his crieteria.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 [DVD] [2003]
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Uma Thurman
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.51

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tarantino hits screens with his bloodiest picture yet., 12 Jun. 2005
Quentin Tarantino, mastermind of DOGS, FICTION and BROWN returns to the silver screen for a fourth time with KILL BILL, a two-volume saga of blood, betrayl and revenge. Presenting the story in a chapter form, Tarantino tells the story of a female assassin, who has decided to leave her life of and start over, but is betryed and left for dead when she is about to complete her trip to a new life. Tarantino cleverly crafts the chapters to be told in a jumbled up order and throws them at the audience to figure out for themselves.
Opening with a very cheesy Feature Presentation Card from the 70's, the movie starts with the image of a badly beaten -up woman, The Bride (Thurman), who has been betrayed by her former boss and lover Bill (Carradine), and his remaining assassins. Bill converses with Bride before putting a bullet in her head and sending her into a coma for four years. Upon waking up to find that as she has been in the coma, the Bride discovers that she has ' lost ' her baby. Determined to bring down Bil and her former colleagues, the Bride sets out on a quest of revenge, a quest that will take her to the four corners of the earth.
Sadly, Tarantino's fourth picture lacks his trademark smart-ass dialogue, clever, but brutal violence and memorable characters. Instead, he tries to keep the script filled with conversations that are just unreal and don't seem to make much difference to the story, the violence is just as violent as any of Tarantino's former pictures, but is put to far this time around and the characters don't have the memorable names or dialogue than the likes of Vic and Vincent Vega, Mia Wallace or Ray Nicolette (to quote Tarantino's former pictures). KILL BILL is only kept alive by the new introduction of the story being told in chapters, wheras allowing the story to jmp back and forth between the Bride's hunt for her targets and exploring her past before being left for dead. Overall, a good movie that is watchable, but hands-down Tarantino's worst movie to date

Football Factory (Special Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Football Factory (Special Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Danny Dyer
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.40

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blood, Sex, Drugs and Football. LOVE IT!, 18 May 2005
THE FOOTBALL FACTORY, a 90 minute feature of beer-fuelled, sex-driven, blood splattered brilliance from director Nick Love that never lets go of the adrenaline gearstick that is pushed all the way up to 11. FACTORY is the story of one man's own walk of life, shanking it up with other no-hopers, sexing up every girl he lays eyes on and getting into every pre-football match brawl that happens. A 90 minute show of how low life can get when someone doesn't play by society's rules, but it is also a show of what humanity is now largely like.
Tommy Johnson (Dyer), a waster, drug addict, brawler, drunk and no hoper who " supports " Chelsea F.C., Tommy is also a member of the Headhunters, Chelsea's main group of hooligans that cause riots with other football firms whenever possible. Johnson is also surrounded by other wasters, his childhood friend Rod King (Maskell), forty-year-old flower store owner, felow brawler and drug addict Billy Bright (Harper) and young up-and-comer Zeberdee (Manookian). The only person in Tommy's life who seems to be of some sense is his grandfather, WW2 veteran Bill Farrell (Sutton), who detests violence in any form. Tommy ambles through life like the common cold, until he and Rod have a dangerous encounter with the brother of the leader of their main rivals, the deadly Millwall.
Love's use of linking Tommy's life together with that of three other generations of males (Farrell, Bright, Zeberdee) brings the story to a very different form that is easy to understand. Love also presents a very realistic look at how bad life in Britain has got due to the increase of society degenerating into lazy wasters that don't follow the few who have the willpower to try to have what is called a life. Love also manages to keep an interesting storyline, despite not following the book in any way, except the characters. Overall, THE FOOTBALL FACTORY is a show of what happens when you follow the masses.

Reservoir Dogs (2 Disc Special Edition) [1993] [DVD]
Reservoir Dogs (2 Disc Special Edition) [1993] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harvey Keitel
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.97

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The colour-coded movie that launched a filmmaking legend, 8 May 2005
Back in 1991, a 28-year-old movie store clerk by the name of Quentin Tarantino entered LA with $30,000, an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema and a film script entitled
' RESERVOIR DOGS '. Tarantino got the script to a friend, who got it to another friend, who knew someone who knew well-known actor Harvey Keitel, who loved the script so much when he read it that he immediately signed on to star in Tarantino's movie, as did a few other up-and-coming stars, such as Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth. Hence, a filmmaking legend was born in 1992.
The movie opens on eight men sitting at a restaurant table, eating breakfast. Six of these men are wearing black suits, the other two dressed casually. These men are going over last plans for a daring jewellrey store robbery that they're going to carry out a few hours from now. It is learnt that the six black-suited men have been given colour-coded names to protect their identities, they're names are Mr White (Keitel), Mr Orange (Roth), Mr Blonde (Madsen), Mr Pink (Buscemi), Mr Blue (Bunker) and Mr Brown (Tarantino himself). The other two men are ageing criminal Joe Cabot (Tierney) and his son " Nice Guy Eddie " Cabot (Penn), who are the masterminds of the crime that is about to occur. But everything goes horribly wrong, and the robbery is turned into a bloodbath, resulting in the death of one of the six criminals and the others being forced to scatter. It then becomes clear to the criminals that one of them is a police officer, but which one?
Tarantino's homage to old crime movies works perfectly with the " one last job before retiring " genre that is evident in the movie. The gritty locations of the rendevouz point, which is really a mortuary, the back alleys that the criminals escape down, the LA streets help to bring the film to life as the survivors shoot, fight and mutilate their way through the film's running time of 94 minutes in order to find out who betrayed them and caused the death of one of their own.

The Last Samurai [DVD] [2003]
The Last Samurai [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.33

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant War Epic, But for one thing. . . . . Tom Cruise, 25 April 2005
Director Edward Zwick was taking a chance when he chose Tom Cruise for the part of an American Civil War Hero who has lost his sense of honour, but Zwick manages to guide Cruise through the beautiful Japanese Countryside and through the film until the final, bloody showdown with American Forces.
The Japanese Government is fighting a losing battle with the legendary Samurai, who are a dying breed. In order to train their troops better, the goverment hire Nathan Algren (Cruise), an American Civil War Hero who has lost his sense of honour, but is determined to recapture it. Algren introduces a swift and brutal training regime to the nervous and unready Japanese Government troops, who are terrified of the Samurai. Algren insists that they aren't ready, but Colonel Bagley (Goldwyn) sends them into battle anyway. The troops are slaughtered by the Samurai, and Algren is left by himself facing of the Samurai, he fights bravely, but is captured. However, the lead Samurai, Katsumoto (Watanabe) sees Algren's defences against his men and refuses to execute him. He sees potential in Algren and trains him in the ancient ways of the samurai. Gradually, Algren's sense of honour is restored and he rides out with the Samurai for a final, decisive and bloody showdown with the Forces that he was supposed to be training, headed by the Japanese Government and Colonel Bagley.
Zwick's direction is nothing short of perfect, but the film's one letdown is Tom Cruise, he's an American being trained in the ways of the samurai, only pure-blooded Japanese Fighters can be taught the Ways of the Samurai. But if you ignore that glitch, this is a breathtaking Japanese War Epic that never fails to disappoint, Zwick gives the viewer some exquisite shots of the beautiful Japanese Countryside, and some utterly outstanding battle scenes that show how the Samurai fought against their enemies and died with honour in the battlefield.

Saw (Uncut, Theatrical Version) [DVD]
Saw (Uncut, Theatrical Version) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Leigh Whannell
Price: £1.98

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A terrifying thriller that'll have your insides buzzing, 24 Feb. 2005
Picture this, you wake up and realise your in a bathtub full of water. You move your foot and the plughole comes out, sending the water down the hole. You clamber out and hear a voice, you don't know who it is and you don't know where you are, you just know you can't remember anything of what has previously happened. You regain you're vision and see that you are in a room, the light is out and all you can make out is this voice. The voice says he's found something, it's the lightswitch. The lights flicker on to reveal the identity of the voice. It also reveals that your foot is chained to the piping. You can't see any way out, all that provides a clue is the brainless (literally) body lying in the middle of the room. If this has happened to you, you have become a victim of SAW, the terrifying horror film from recent director James Wan.
Adam (Whannell), a photographer, wakes up from a state of unconsciousness to find himself in a bathtub. Remembering nothing, he clambers out to see another man sitting across from him, this man is Dr Lawrence Gordon (Elwes), a doctor at the local hospital who also can't remember anything from what has happened. Adam and Lawrence realise that one of their feet are chained to the piping that lines the room's walls. All they have as a clue to what has happened is the dead body that is lying in the middle of the room holding a revolver in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. While looking for a way out, Adam discovers a tape in his pocket, as does Lawrence. After listening to the tape's, Adam and Lawrence realise that the obnly way out is if one of them kills the other, or they will be left there to die. Meanwhile, Detective David Tapp (Glover), a police officer who has slipped into a state of insanity after the brutal killing of his partner, desperately tries to find out the identity of the killer before another innocent human being falls foul of the ' Jigsaw Killer '. Tapp is particularly eager to catch the killer because he was a previous victim of this sadistic maniac who managed to escape.
Held together by a superb script by Wan and Whannell, SAW constantly flips back and forth between the past and present as the story unfolds. The claustrophobic feel of the room that Adam and Lawrence are held in is a brilliant setting for the carefully constructed clues that literally litter every crack in the wall or the deep, dank confides of the toilet bowl. Elwes and Whannell put in terrific performances as the doctor and photographer trapped in an unescapable nightmare, as does Danny Glover as the psychotic cop who is hunting the killer with revenge on his mind. SAW is a film that has the easily recognisable pattern of SE7EN, the dark, secreted location that only the killer knows, the killer playing mind games with his victims and the final, gruesome confrontation that is both brutal and bloody.

The Ring [DVD] [2003]
The Ring [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Naomi Watts
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £2.89

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never watch an unmarked Video Cassette again., 16 Feb. 2005
This review is from: The Ring [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
It is not a common thing to find nowadays, a horror that actually makes the mind scared and confused instead of going for cheap thrills. Originally written as a novel in Japan by Koji Suzuki, Japan's answer to Stephen King, this U.S remake of the hit horror movie makes for a truly terrifying and petrifying horror that never leaves you scared or worried as to where the next fright is going to leap out from. Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Carribean) swapped his cutlass and possessed pirates yarn for a television set, a series of gruesome, but frightening murders and a supernatural girl that always succeeds in getting her target.
Rachel Keller (Watts) a reporter for a local news channel, discovers that her niece was brutually murdered while having a sleepover with her best friend, who is now in a mental hospital. Eager to discover who murdered her niece, particularly for her young son Aidan (Dorfman), who was best friends with her. Rachel also discovers that her niece watched a tape while staying the weekend with some friends. This tape was apparantly possessed and is said to kill whoever watches it seven days later. Rachel discovers the tape and watches it for herself, only to discover something beyond her imagination.
Verbinski's use of quick cuts of film while the viewer sees the material on the tape turns the scare notch up to 11. Verbinski also insists on using a gloomy, rainy setting for the film, to add tension to the film's feel. The feel goes perfectly with the terror that never stops coming out of the screen as you watch it (watch out for that). The horror of the ring is felt every time the viewer sees it and it makes you ask, is this just a film or did I really just see that happening? The use of time is also a major player in the film's developement, if you don't solve the mystry of the ring in seven days, someone will come for you. Wheater you're ready or not.

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