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Seeing Eye Dog
Helmet - CD
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Seeing Eye Dog isn't Helmet's best album by a long shock but it does have some good stuff there too, and it also sees Page Hamilton try and expand the band's sound beyond their crunching metal songs.
Some of the really good tracks are the title track "Seeing eye dog" which is a good solid typical Helmet track. "In Person" which is about as close to a commercial single as they could put out, its also really good and almost could pass for a Foo Fighters track in places. "Miserable" is a very good cruncher of a track, and "White City" sees Page push the more melodic sound. But possibly the best track on the album is "LA Water" which really sees Helmet's sound move onto a more spatial almost cinematic sound, with orchestral strings in the background too. Some of the numbers are a bit too slow and sludgy sounding at times, and there is a pretty average and pointless cover of The Beatles "And your bird can sing" which hasn't really got much of a place on the album.
Overall though I quite liked Seeing Eye Dog, there's enough good tracks on it to give it a try. Mind you I'd rather give it a 3.5/5 instead if I could but its worth a listen.
In Your Honour (2CD)
Foo Fighters - CD
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Its hard for me to pick a favourite Foos album but In Your Honor is definitely one of them as it sees them expand their musical sound beyond their rockin numbers.
Its a great double album CD set, with Disc 1 containing some of their best rock songs. "In your honor" the opening track really gets things going and "No way back" is a great upbeat number, not to mention "DOA" which is easily one of their best songs period. Disc 1 also features possibly my favourite track "Free me" which stands as one of the Foos absolute best, its also one of their most underplayed and underrated too. "Hell" and "The Last song" are also both great and "The deepest blues are black" and "End over end" are both terffic too. The only one song that I'm not so keen on is the very popular and often played "Best of you", which I personally think is overrated and a bit preachy in its lyrics and one of their songs I never cared for.
Disc 2 sees the Foos take a more acoustic approach and shows off some of their versatility, and features many nice acoustic tracks. Some of my favs are "On the mend" a nice delicate track, "Another round" a slow waltz, and the lovely "What if I do?". It also features Taylor Hawkins doing his debut singing on a Foos album in the cheery "Cold day in the sun". Its basically are good.
So if you haven't tried out In Your Honor, you really should, its easily stands as one of the Foo Fighters crowning achievements, especially with its range of sound.
In short top album. Buy it!
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Casino although it is very much in the similar vein as Goodfellas, as its a mob movie, it without a doubt so much more than just that. Casino draws a vivid picture of its 3 main characters and while they are mostly unsavoury the performances from the three leads are exceptional.
Robert De Niro is superb as Ace Rothstein, who takes charge of the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas, as is Sharon Stone who plays the charming yet troubled Ginger, his wife with whom things go off the rails. But its Joe Pesci's performance that has a slight edge over the two of them, with his brutal yet surprisingly sensitive portrayal as Nicky Santoro, Ace's mob friend who is out to steal whatever he can in Vegas. In comparison Pesci's Tommy from Goodfellas, who was just a vicious relentless pyschopath, Nicky has a family, and while he is no angel, he does show that he has a heart at times, where Tommy didn't. Its one of Pesci's best performances without a doubt.
The film is nearly 3 hours long, yet it rarely ever drags too, and I always thought in a way Goodfellas ran out of steam toward the end, but Casino keeps you enthralled right up until the very end. Not to mention its also another great example of Martin Scorsese's technical skill as a film maker, and his control over the story is just flawless.
So Casino for me its without a doubt one of Scorsese's best films, it portrays unsavoury characters in a sympathetic like and takes a deeper look at the goings on of the time. Its great entertainment and utterly engrossing at the same time. If you haven't seen Casino yet, do yourself a favour and buy it now!
24: Season 8 Box Set (7 Discs)
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I was hoping as this is the last series of 24, that it would be a good one and it is. With Jack Bauer trying to get back to a normal life, he is once again drawn into fighting a terrorist conspiracy and as the series progresses we get some usual twists and turns.
Season 8 has alot of things going for it, partly the guest cast for the season is really good, especially Katee Sackhoff as Dana Walsh, Freddie Prinze Jr as Cole Artiz, and Anil Kapoor as President Hassan. But also it has the usual amount of well crafted action scenes, and unpredicatble twists, although the show has always been pretty contrived in its twists and somewhere along the line you usually suspect someone if not everyone is a baddie.
Kiefer Sutherland is great once again as Jack Bauer who usually starts off his day quietly before it all goes to hell (how many more bad days can this guy have though??).
Although the only slight snag about the whole series is as it goes on it gets more and more preposterous as nears the end, but its also what makes it fun about watching it.
But as a series finale, 24 Season 8 is definitely well worth a watch and sees the show go out in fine style.
Doctor Who: The Mutants (2 Discs)
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I thought I'd give The Mutants a try as I had heard mixed things about it in this past, unfortunately for me as a Doctor Who story it just doesn't cut it.
The plot of the two warring races was ok, but I felt the story as a whole just lacked excitement and it wasn't as entertaining as other Jon Pertwee stories have been. Another negative for me was the quality of the performances was definitely mixed, with Paul Whitsun Jones providing a good performance as the Marshall, but on the other hand Rick James as Cotton was just awful and Garrick Hagon was just overacting everything.
The sets and model effects are actually quite good, and while Tristram Carey's music is a kind of weird almost Kraftwek-esque type, it helps add to the mood of the story. Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning have some nice little moments together, but that's another problem as they spend too little time together in the story which is another minus.
So for me The Mutants unfortunately has to remain as one of Jon Pertwee's less successful stories, at 6 episodes its just too boring and drawn out, perhaps if they made it a 4 parter it would have been better.
In the end its all down to personal preference, but for me The Mutants is a let down.
The Social Network (2 Discs)
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The Social Network for me was the best film of last year, telling the story of the beginnings of Facebook, and how its creator Mark Zuckerberg, faced legal action against two Harvard students and his best friend. The performances are really good, especially Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, he plays him quite arrogantly, but shows him as being more interested in expanding his creation rather than the financial gain. The supporting performances are also really good including Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Mark's friend who helped finance Facebook.
Being written by Aaron Sorkin, the screenplay is really wordy and it does take a couple of viewings to get to grips with the film's story, especially as Jesse Eisenberg rattles off his dialogue about 200 miles an hour!
But a lot of credit definitely goes to David Fincher, as this is one of his best films in a while, and the excellent score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross also really adds a fitting electronic vibe to the film.
So if you haven't see The Social Network, make sure you do, its well worth it!
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
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I wasn't too sure about Splinter Cell Conviction at first as I'm a big fan of the series and this one is a bit different format wise, but after playing it for an hour so I really got into it. Its told in a different way from the norm but that's definitely one thing its got going for it, also the action is really good although the stealth takes a bit of a back seat to the shoot em up stuff, but it still has some great stealthy moments.
The only things that let it down for me a bit was the singler player campaign is a bit on the short side but it is really good of course, and the other thing is the swearing and dialogue from the bad guys who keep saying the same sort of things "You can't hide from me Fisher!" "I'm gonna kick your ass, Fisher!" and so on.
Apart from this, Splinter Cell Conviction is a really good game and I enjoyed it very much, so its definitely worth it.
Doctor Who: The Complete Series 5 Box Set (2010) (6 Discs)
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With Steven Moffat taking the helm over from Russell T. Davies I was hoping for something good and thankfully he didn't disappoint with the fifth series.
Matt Smith is a great choice of casting for the Eleventh Doctor, he plays him with a weird quirky energy, and at times funny, and a little arrogant but other times very compassionate. One of the best things he brings to the Doctor is he has a nice understated way of delivering his performance, from that point of view took to him quicker than I took to David Tennant whom I grew to like as he progressed. Karen Gillan was also a great addition to the cast, some people thought she outshined Matt Smith, but I think they are both equally good.
Overall there are some really good stories and one or two not so good. The opener "Eleventh Hour" is a really good start to the series and introduces Matt really well, as well as the lovely Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, and yes all of sudden bow ties do seem cool (although he does use the phrase a bit too much!). "Victory of the Daleks" is also very enjoyable despite the outrageously garish coloured daleks, I'm surprised Russell T. Davies didn't think of that, and Bill Paterson is really good in it, but the actor playing Winston Churchill while I liked what he did, he seemed to play Churchill a bit too cheerily, the man was after all a depressive type of guy. The "Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone" was a good two parter that re-introduce River Song (Alex Kingston looking good!) to the show. And one of my favs of the series was "Amy's Choice" where we see Amy's alternate future with Rory. The Silurian two parter was probably the weakest of the episodes though. "Vincent and the Doctor" also received alot of praise but I think it was not bad, but overall just not bad, but I did like Tony Curran's potrayal of the Van Gogh as he did play him as a tormented genius, and the story has a nice poignant ending between The Doctor and Amy. "The Lodger" is another of my favourites where the Doctor becomes a new lodger in a house which has some evil force living in it, I also liked James Corden and Daisy Haggard's nice chemistry and their romantic storyline. But the final two parter is a real cracker "Pandorica Opens" and "The Big Bang" provide alot of surprises and twists, and it ends on a good note which promises more great stuff to follow.
So overall series 5 sees Doctor Who carrying on strong, and Matt Smith despite being the youngest actor to play the Doctor, really makes the part work, and still manages to capture the Doctor's seniority and maturity, which is at odds with his appearance. Also the new TARDIS set is cool (with a typewriter and a tea kettle no less!) and Murray Gold's new incidental music is great, the eleventh doctor's new theme is great, although the new version of the actual theme music isn't that great.
But this is a really good series, if you have seen the others and not this one yet, buy it!
Inception (2 Discs)
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I watched Inception at the cinema and quite enjoyed and then again on DVD, but unfortunately my opinion of it hasn't gotten any better. I think the film bogs itself down with too much technobabble and detail that it makes it hard to follow. Leo Dicaprio also plays his character so seriously that its hard for me to root for him and its left to the supporting characters to provide some colour and humour. For the first half hour or so its pretty tedious and as the action gets going it gets better, but unfortunately by the end I just wasn't gripped by it.
Christopher Nolan usually makes terrific movies, The Prestige and both his Batman films are great, but Inception seems like a misfire, its a film that could have been alot better than it is, but I think it just missed a trick somewhere. If you are curious about seeing give it a go but overall for me its a bit of a disappointment.
Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
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This is a really good Prince of Persia game, which sees a welcome return of the original Prince (unlike the last Prince of Persia game, which was good) who provides some nice light hearted moments of humour. The platform action in it is what its all about and there is plenty of it, the level design and graphics are also excellent.
The only snags are the combat is probably a bit too easy and its up to the platforming to make things tricky. Also the camera angle view in the game can be really annoying especially when you are trying to make a running jump to a pole and you end up hitting a wall instead cos of the angle!
All that aside, this is one of the most enjoyable Prince of Persia games, and its well worth the buying.