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Dredd 3D (3D & 2D Blu-ray)
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Came out of nowhere with very little expectation and nailed the dark humour, political tone and graphically violent nature of the Dredd legend perfectly.
Accesible to those with no idea of who Dredd is (the plotline provides the beats which explain the character's make up as well as shifting the story along nicely), and playing to the fans alike, Dredd invisibly balances the (yawn) 'fanboy expectations' with the need to be universally appealing.
The midas touch here is that in doing so this excellent film will create a brand new fanbase born from this film onwards...it stands on it's own two feet confidently.
Add in a brutal tone, a pumping synth-industrial metal soundtrack and some simply beautiful cinematography and you have a cult classic in the making.
If this does well on home video expect a sequel, and boy does this film deserve one...you will be begging for a follow on and telling all your friends to take a trip with Dredd into Mega City 1.
Battle: Los Angeles
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Most of the reviews here focus on the similarities with 'District 9' and 'Independence Day'; of which there are many, admittedly. However, that will tell you nothing about whether or not you will like 'Battle: LA' - just remind you if you liked 'D9' and'ID4' (ha, remember that abbreviation from the original release?!).
That out of the way, and focusing entirely on 'B:LA', one thing is certain; this is a potent mix of subtle performances, heavyweight special effects and carefully contructed character relationships, all somehow sucessfully played out against a constantly shifting, tight, tense and 'full of suprises' battle-story.
There is just enough characterisation at the beginning of the plot to make sensitive viewers care about threats to the characters' lives, and just enough machism to make those after some pure bravado relish the carnage to come. Of course, people in the middle-ground will enjoy this the most; if you care enough then the losses are more dramatic, and the victories more overwhelming. 'B:LA' has plenty of this in aplomb.
As the film progresses the rest of the lateral plotting develops at the same time as the relationships evolve within the film - nothing is stated in black & white terms, much as would be the case in reality and this gives the characters a sense of existence (there are people in the armed forces going through such dilemmas in warzones now we imagine) and the film itself some real truth and gravity.
Eckhart is superb in the lead role.
The production values are top drawer - imagine 'Black Hawk Down's constitution crossed with 'War of the Worlds' effects work (the remake) and I challenge you to see the joins.
This is the first of a planned trilogy and did fairly well at the box office. The popular media have lynched this film (I cannot for the life of me see why - and I'm not easily pleased at all) which means if you are one of the sensible souls to buy and cherish this excellent work, you can mock the doomsayers when they finally realise that this is THE definitive Alien invasion franchise for the next decade (or until Halo finally comes along - if it has a good director behind it!).
Dead Space 2
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Amazing production values, acting and respect for the genre; Dead Space 2 is a tour de force in tomenting and entertaining you in equal measure.
The gameplay and mechanics have been tweaked from the first, but remain comfortably "the same".
An absolutely essential purchase, and, in all honesty a more frightening and disturbing game than part 1!
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Simple. As an english speaking audience the terror and emotion of the characters carried over more effectively than the original spanish version.
Both films have some great visual fear, gore that is disturbing rather than exploitative and some great jumping moments that unlike most horrors arent just loud noises that come out of nowhere.
Disturbing and politically sharp, slow burning upto a terrifying climax, this is a rare treat: a great little horror movie and although a remake manages to throw in some new more effective elements than the original that needs to be seen in its own right.
It leaves you thirsting for more development of the mystery and has an ending that will please both sceptics and spiritualists alike.
Tomb Raider: Underworld
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..prepare to be heartbroken.
This game takes the brilliant controls of anniversary and messes them up to the extent you just ask "why?"
It takes the graphics and actually manages to down-grade them "How?"
It takes all your hopes and dashes them; I am not against this game because I am rubbish at Tomb Raider either, it just really is a terrible, terrible game.
If you dont have a TR on wii get the anniversary, if you have anniversary don't give this pap a second thought!
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
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If you are a fan of horror you will be entertained but not thrilled...
If you are a fan of musicals your feet will be twitching, but there will be no tapping...
And if you aren't a fan of either you may start napping...
A spat of gore here, a bum-note there, this film tries hard on both fronts but never, quite, gets, there...
Very different but ultimately overrated, none the less stil a potent and inspiring film, with a cracking last 20 minutes that finally meets the potential momentum of the majority of the movie!
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The main theme within the story is cycles of violence and how they are really never-ending until everyone ends up dead or quadra-spazzed on a life-glug.
However, the filmakers are bold enough to use some highly effective editing and pacing techiniques in order to really ramp up the tension in the early scenes of the film. This is where it is most sucessful, the real terror coming from the 'enemy within the system' (the sadistic gang, a creation of society yet alienated by it) and thats whats makes them so scary.
The other interesting and fresh element is how the model citizen is drawn into the world against his will, becomes one with it, and eventually embraces it. And thats what makes this a truly interesting film.
Not a classic by any means....not least yet, anyway :-)but still a very entertaining film and with enough action to keep more gore-hounds happy.
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
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The 'cube version of this game was graphically superior to the PS2 version, but fell short with regards to missions and extras. Here, that flaw is well and truly dealt with.
But thats not the meat and drink of this brilliant title. Of course the wiimote control method makes the shooting of enemy heads easier, but that is compensated with making them tougher and adding just the odd 2 or 3 at certain points in the game. You will be surprised just how much more challenging the game becomes.
The graphics are sharper than before, the load times seem shorter, not longer as some magazines have stated (maybe they reviewed preview versions) and the sound is so atmospheric. Your heart will be pounding at certain points believe me!
There seems to be a few graphical issues out there according to forums, i checked because my copy had a line of green flicker across the bottom of the screen, weird thing is, as soon as i got to the castle section of the game it disappeared and hasnt come back, so all good then.
I would normally have exchanged it for that, but the game is so good I couldn't bring myself to get rid! ha
Jaws 4: The Revenge
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Ten reasons why Jaws IV - The Revenge, is an amazing watch!
1) Nuns from Nairobi being mentioned.
2) Bahama-mamas cocktail invented.
3) Sharks are proven to have a seal mark down each side.
4) Sharks can travel from USA to Caribbean in less that a week. About 3 days in fact.
5) Sharks proven to leap 25 feet into the air and roar like lions.
6) People don't have bones in their upper arms, just jelly.
7) Sharks are capable of bearing grudges over 3 generations of one particular family.
8) "The breaf of dat thing!"
9) "I have an irresistable urge to kiss you Ellen Brody"
10) It is OK to use footage from 'Jaws' to cover sequence elments you couldn't be bothered to film.
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This film will be judged by the fan-base that it gains over the years to come.
And that will be a big one. The visual style of the movie is striking and new, the acting competent and in the mono-tonal semi-dreamlike state of the game, and the characters as intriguing and psychological as Giger's alien.
Plus it is sheizer-in-your pants scary - and, most importantly for a horror film - really, really upsetting.
This is a true bargain, film amazing plus some groovey special features. Watch with the windows open on a fairly chilly evening and you will be in for it.