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Death Cult Armageddon (Digi Pak)
Death Cult Armageddon (Digi Pak)
Price: £14.91

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Black Metal album for a good few years, 11 Sept. 2003
Dimmu Borgir sometimes get a bit of a rough ride from the popular metal press over accusations that they sold out Black Metal, that they are a Cradle Of Filth rip-off band, and that all their songs sound the same. In the main, these accusations are not true, though there are true elements within them. DB are no sell-outs, though they do outsell virtually all of their contemporaries and if you compare their sound to, say, Marduk or Immortal, you'll see that they're not the most intense or full on Black Metal act by a long way. It's also fair to say that they're no CoF rip-off band either, though they do have their former drummer in their ranks (more on him later) and have some similar elements to some of their songs. It's also grossly unfair to say that all of Dimmu Borgir's songs sound the same, though they do know a successful formula for writing Black Metal which they seem pretty happy to stick to.
Despite 'Death Cult Armageddon' not being the fastest or most icy Black Metal album ever released, it has a little bit of everything for fans of the genre. The drumming by Englishman Nick Barker is, as usual, awe inspiring. The pace of some of his blast beats and double bass fills simply boggles the mind. The album is also a bit more guitar-led than some of their previous releases, where the keyboards overshadowed everything else. That isn't the case here, the riffs are in your face all the time, albeit the keyboards do get a good bit of use as well. Also, DB had the luxury of using a real orchestra for the symphonic interludes, rather than relying synthesisers, which does make quite a noticable difference.
This is by no means the greatest Black Metal album ever released. It doesn't quite match up to Mayhem's 'De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas' or Emperor's 'In The Nightside Eclipse', but then what since has? It is still one of the finest Black Metal records ever, and is well worth a place in the collection of any fans of the genre.


Requiem for a Dream [DVD] [2001]
Requiem for a Dream [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Ellen Burstyn
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £6.75

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete masterpiece, 28 Jun. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is one hell of a bleak film, but as long as you can watch it (some people I know couldn’t sit through it), it is an absolute masterpiece. It’s an adaption of a book by Hubert Selby Jr. about the various addictions of four people (an elderly widow, her son, his girlfriend and his best friend) , be they to drugs, television, or even the hope of a better tomorrow, in Brooklyn, New York. So far, so Trainspotting you might think. However, the two films are actually very different, not least in terms of visual style. In this aspect, Requiem For A Dream is streets ahead of it’s British counterpart. The director Darren Aronofsky, a native of Brooklyn himself, has done a first class job here, using a variety of different techniques, including split screens, time lapse photography and speeded up montages. In the commentary on the DVD, he said he wanted to avoid making an MTV-style film, but that’s what it looks like. This is by no means a criticism, though, the film looks absolutely fantastic, but I see no sense in denying its style.
As well as the superb cinematography, the film also contains some superb performances from its four stars Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connolly and Marlon Wayans. Indeed, Burstyn was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, though she didn’t win. It is also nice to see Leto in a role where he has more to do than look handsome.
This film is not one to watch when you are feeling a bit down, as it is not in the least bit cheery. I promise it will make you feel worse, as it is heartbreakingly sad to see the lives of the protagonists completely unravelling before their eyes, whilst they keep believing things are soon going to get better. Things don’t get better, they reach rock bottom for all of the characters. No redemption, no happy ending, just one of the best films of the last ten years. Absolutely essential.


Brass Eye Series and Special [DVD] [1997]
Brass Eye Series and Special [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Christopher Morris
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.93

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest spoof ever, 11 Jun. 2003
Chris Morris’ bitingly cynical spoof of current affairs news programs comes to DVD, and I’d recommend it to anyone with a sense of humour. Featuring the entire series, as well as the infamous ‘Paedophilia’ special that provoked such tabloid uproar (exactly as Morris planned), any fans of the series should buy this without a second thought. If you’ve never seen or heard of the program, then where have you been? As long as you’re amused by a mixture of the surreal and the satirical, and want to see well-know celebrities being stitched up something rotten and made to look stupid without realising it, you’ll be in your element.
If you’re easily offended, you may possibly want to look somewhere for your laughs, as some parts of Brass Eye are deliberately calculated to cause the maximum amount of offence to the greatest number of people. The ‘Paedophilia’ special, for example; whilst for me it is absolutely hilarious, mocking the witch-hunt atmosphere of the time, it did receive massive amounts of complaints to the ITC. Just make sure you know what you are seeing before you watch it, as some people may consider that it goes too far. For those with a more open mind, though, sit back and enjoy one of the most off the wall and funny spoofs ever seen on British TV, possibly even outdoing The Office in terms of laugh out loud moments, which is no mean feat in itself.


True Romance : Special Edition [DVD] [1993]
True Romance : Special Edition [DVD] [1993]
Dvd ~ Christian Slater
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.54

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes overlooked, but it shouldn't be, 8 Jun. 2003
This underrated Quentin Tarantino written romantic-comedy-drama-action-thriller (insert genre as applicable!) finally gets the release that it deserves in a two disc special edition. Featuring three separate commentaries (director Tony Scott, stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette and writer Quentin Tarantino) as well as a second disc full of deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage and all the usual that you would expect from a set like this, it is an essential purchase for all fans of the film, of which I’m sure there are many because it is a work of rare genius.
Basically, this film has something for everyone, as long as you are not over-sensitive, as being scripted by Tarantino it does have its fair share of bad language and violence. It is funny, well scripted, action packed and has an absolutely stellar cast. The premise is that a newlywed couple Clarence and Alabama mistakenly pick up a suitcase full of drugs and flee to Los Angeles with the intention of selling it. Unfortunately, the case’s rightful owners, the Mafia, are in hot pursuit.
On its original cinematic release, the film was not a massive success, due in part to the negative publicity that surrounded what was seen as some over-the-top on screen violence. It is true that there is a scene where the demure Alabama is severely beaten by a Mafia goon (James Gandolfini aka Tony Soprano, so it’s a bit of a mismatch) but you shouldn’t let this put you off, as this is a fantastic film. In the ten years since it first came out, it has attracted a large cult following, and rightly so. If you missed it first time around, don’t make the same mistake again.


Commando [1986] [DVD]
Commando [1986] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.93

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brainless but fun old-school action, 3 Jun. 2003
This review is from: Commando [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
For some strange reason, this tends to be a film that gets overlooked in favour of films such as Predator and Red Heat when people think of Arnold Schwarzenegger films of the 80s and early 90s, which is a bit of a shame, as it’s not at all bad. It has the standard action movie plot, i.e. retired military man has to rescue his kidnapped daughter (now famous in her own right, Alyssa Milano from TV’s Charmed), but for ninety minutes, it’s a lot of fun.
The most enjoyable part of Commando is the sheer over-the-top scale of it all. Arnie literally takes on a small army single handed and comes out on top. Seriously, the bodycount must run to three figures, and our hero doesn’t even suffer a scratch. It also has some classic Schwarzenegger one-liners (“I let him go”, “Let off some steam, Bennett”) and, providing you’ve put your brain into neutral for the evening, you can’t fail to be swept along by it .
However, one nit-picking problem with this DVD release is that it has been cut. Apparently, this is due to executives in Germany where the film was released with a lower censor’s rating, but the rest of Europe all just used the same pre-cut version, so some scenes are noticibly trimmed. This is a relatively minor problem, though, and doesn’t take too much away from the fun going on on screen.


Enter the Matrix (Xbox)
Enter the Matrix (Xbox)
Offered by multimedia-online
Price: £12.70

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere near perfect but still great fun, 2 Jun. 2003
This is certainly a game which seems to have divided opinions down the middle; half of the people who’ve played it say it’s the best thing since sliced bread, whilst the other half say that it’s a rush-released mess. Personally, I tend towards the first group, though the game is not without it’s criticisms. Firstly, some of the animation is less than impressive. The action of Ghost running at full speed or climbing a ladder simply looks stupid. There are some problems with clipping and enemies disappearing behind walls and the like. And the difficulty level is pretty low, with a few hard sections seemingly tacked on to ensure the gamer does not complete the game first time. However, for me, these problems are all overshadowed by the diabolical driving sections. Mercifully, they’re pretty scarce, but if you’ve played a decent Xbox racer liker Project Gotham or SGT2002, you won’t believe your eyes. Driving games on the PSX wipe the floor with this. The graphics are poor, the handling terrible and the enemy AI is simply non-existent. Not good enough, Atari.
The good parts to this game really are good, though. The hand to hand fighting and shootouts incorporating the use of bullet time are both huge fun and deeply satisfying. The plot, with extra scenes filmed especially for the game, weaves in and out of that of The Matrix Reloaded film, and fills in some of the background missing from it (an intention of the Wachowski brothers) and as such is both convoluted and interesting.
In conclusion, then, I would most certainly recommend this game to those hardcore, obsessive fans of the Matrix series who unfortunately exist, and seem to believe everything in the film is fact. I’d also recommend it to normal people who enjoy the films for what they are, and also like games where you have a heap of weapons to play with, and legions of enemies to shoot and beat up. Just don’t expect perfection, as it was rush released to coincide with the release of the new Matrix film, and is therefore ever-so-slightly rough around the edges. On its own terms, though, it is an entertaining release, and justifies a large amount of the hype which preceeded it.


Irreversible [DVD] [2003]
Irreversible [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Monica Bellucci

32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not pretty, but it's superb, 28 May 2003
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
When you compare this to the fuss kicked up by the BBFC for a full 31 years over Last House On the Left, it seems like a minor miracle that it was passed uncut for both the cinema and home viewing. Whilst by no means as over the top as it has been portrayed as being (the people storming out at the Cannes festival last year must have been especially sensitive), this film is obviously not for everyone. As is quite widely known, it contains a scene involving repeated interactions between a man’s head and a fire extinguisher, and also a rape scene probably only beaten in terms of explicitness by that in I Spit On Your Grave.
However, you should not be deterred by the film’s brutal reputation, as this film is one fantastic piece of cinema. Featuring superb performances from the three main protagonists Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel and Monica Bellucci (now best know as Persephone from The Matrix Reloaded, as different a film from this as is possible to get!) and dizzying camera work from Argentine director Gaspar Noé that makes NYPD Blue look like a stage play, you will certainly not forget this film in a hurry after seeing it. As long as you can understand French or don’t mind reading subtitles, and aren’t too easily shocked (the film’s reputation is perhaps a little harsh, but it still more than deserves it’s 18 certificate), this is a stylish, intelligent film that I’d heartily recommend.


Last House On The Left (2 Disc Special Edition) [1972] [DVD]
Last House On The Left (2 Disc Special Edition) [1972] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sandra Cassel
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.69

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It took 31 years, but it's finally here, 25 May 2003
Well, it's here to buy at last, and they've released Last House On The Left in a format to be proud of. This 2 DVD set containing a plethora of documentaries, features and commentaries certainly does justice to one of the most maligned films ever made by a mainstream director (Wes Craven, before he made the likes of Nightmare On Elm Street and Scream). The plot, based as it is on Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring, has two girls being kidnapped whilst trying to hitch-hike, then being raped, tortured, degraded and murdered by a recently escaped gang of criminals. The gang hide out at one of the girls' house, but her parents figure out what has happened and take their revenge in a particularly Old Testament style.
Despite the film being over thirty years old, the BBFC have not relented in their decision to insist on over thirty second of cuts. Having seen the uncut version, I can say I am slightly surprised, as the material removed is no worse than that which is left in, but the law is the law. In fact, the whole film does not really justify the reputation which it finds itself saddled with, of being one of the nastiest pieces of cinema ever filmed, though time has slightly dented its impact, and I do speak from the viewpoint of a cynical, seen-it-all-before gore lover.
This film's stature amongst horror fans is legendary, and rightly so. If you're not too easily shocked or upset, and you want to see one of the most influential and talked about horror films of all time, you can finally do so having to buy it from Holland as I was initially forced to do, and you also get hours of extras thrown in for the same price. An essential purchase for fans of horror.


The Killer [DVD]
The Killer [DVD]
Dvd ~ Yun-Fat Chow
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.61

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence is a hail of bullets!, 25 May 2003
This review is from: The Killer [DVD] (DVD)
If you’re new to the work of John Woo, or think his career begins and ends with his Hollywood films (Mission Impossible 2, Face/Off, etc), you should see this film without delay. You’ll be in for a treat. Featuring the Hong Kong legend and regular Woo colaborator Chow Yun Fat, The Killer is a story about a nice-guy assassin trying to pay for an operation to restore the sight of a young woman he accidentally blinded whilst carrying out a hit. He teams up with the cop trying to catch him, and together they take on the Triads. To be honest, though, this does not really matter one bit. What does matter is the gunplay, and lots of it. Although the story is a good one and the performances are decent, the point of a John Woo film are the beautifully filmed and choreographed gunfights. On this score, The Killer delivers in spades. The two men deliver carnage that even Arnold Schwarzenegger at his peak couldn’t match. In the finale to this film, the bodycount probably reaches three figures. And these guys don’t shoot their enemies once when shooting them eleven times will do. Their guns must hold about fifty rounds each. Apart from this lapse in reality, though, this is as good an action film as you will ever see, a perfect introduction to the Hong Kong action genre, and far better than anything of its type from America.


Dead Or Alive [DVD] [1999]
Dead Or Alive [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Riki Takeuchi
Price: £12.08

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Struggles to maintain the pace, but still excellent, 17 May 2003
This review is from: Dead Or Alive [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Takashi Miike’s highly rated gangster film is noted for several things, the best known being the opening scene. This is, as has often been stated, one of the greatest openings in cinema history. Honestly, that isn’t an exaggeration, the beginning of this film is something else. Killings galore, stylish gunplay, people thrown from buildings, pole dancing and the longest line of cocaine you’ve ever seen in your life, all set to an excellent hard rock track that suits it perfectly, it is a visual and aural treat. Naturally, the rest of the film struggles to live up to the hugely over-the-top beginning, and to tell the truth, it does drag in places. That said, there are some very enjoyable set pieces, with the birthday party shootout, and the infamous ‘paddling pool’ scene taking pride of place. Oh yes, Miike-san isn’t afraid to show controversial material in his films, as anyone who has seen the magnificent Audition will confirm.
The ending to Dead Or Alive is a treat. Without wanting to give anything away, I will say that it could have come straight from a Bugs Bunny or Road Runner and Wil E. Coyote cartoon, and is in it’s own way as over-the-top as the opening scene.
Fans of Japanese cinema know what they’re going to get with a Takashi Miike film, and this delivers it in no uncertain terms. Whilst it may not quite live up to some of Takeshi Kitano’s yakuza classics (for me, Brother is the finest gangster film ever made), and could also do with him as its star, it is worth watching if only to see the beginning and end. There are certainly worse ways to pass a couple of hours.


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