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The Chaser (Chugyeogja) (2008)
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Comparing this to Taken, as reviews have, is unfair and will only disappoint, I challenge these comparisons. For me it was more a resemblance of modern BBC TV Detective dramas. The Chaser (a 2010 remake) is slick, deep and packing intelligence, emotion and multi-level story into what is an ex cop enters a serial killers world.
It is shot well, with great South Korean filmography in feel and character. It is deep, engaging, entertaining and well cultured.
The plot involves an ex policeman turned prostitute guardian (pimp). One of his girls goes missing, captured by a twisted customer, who has scared girls before, who turns out to be a serial killer. As the police detain the killer there is a race to find the imprisoned last victim, as she is till alive in an unknown house. More of the killer's character is unravelled, whilst ex-cop Jung-ho has to look after the victim's young daughter, helping to save her mother before it is too late. All of this is shot well in a gritty, but greatly real, Mangwan in Seol at night amongst the streets, back allies and shady homes near the mountains.
If you are into World Cinema and these style of cat and mouse detective dramas, then this film will please fans. I do feel sorry that it suffers from top-billing and raving reviews as a cult gem, when it was for me slick and well produced, rather than being anything special, unique or extra-ordinary. The film is slow, long (2 hours) and thus an asking watch, but a debatably worthwhile one none the less.
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A 1996 dark comedy, which isn't funny, is clever but suffers from a lack of action and point.
Some of it is excellent, with a great cast and simple idea, focusing in on Buscemi as a loser drunk and his barfly friends who all drink at the Trees Lounge bar. The acting on on screen presence of several make this film a cult hit and a good watch for film fans and the actors fans. This is a 90's independent film after all.
The DVD quality is poor but the film does boast a cast of future stars such as Michael Imperioli from The Sopranos (Christopher), Mark Boone from Sons Of Anarchy (Bobby) alongside Daniel Baldwin, Chloe Sevigny and Anthony LaPaglia.
I've Loved You So Long
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It is cleverly tense, effective and interesting, tackling a tough subject with a commendable end product. The film looks good, is well acted and there is a great story in there too.
A woman comes to live with her younger sister, after having served 15 years in prison. As a result of this the lady is cold, affected and tough. The film then shows how the woman struggles getting a job, in socialising, and visiting her mother. The film builds up slowly to the main character sharing her story finale.
My only criticisms are that is too long, slow and the argument that the characters are not that likeable, reducing connections, but maybe this distance is for the power of the film's observations.
The Blu-ray version really shows up the colours and detail of faces well.
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This Brazilian prison drama has its charms if you can stick with it. The film is serious in subject yet lighter than expected, with a dry black humour lying through it. It tells the tale of several prisoners, how they ended up there, and focuses in on a doctor who treats and talks to them.
The film is based on a true story, the 7000 prisoner strong largest prison in Brazil. The over populated prison is like a crime world in itself, run by the criminals. This film tells the story four main characters. The prison is later stormed by 300 policemen who kill 111 inmates, in 1992.
This 2002 film captures the 90's extremely well, is character rich, individual and interesting enough. It won a 2003 award at Cannes and should be regarded as one of the better World Cinema titles for a European Audience. There are a handful of good Brazilian Movies, and I would add this one too.
The DVD features are a director commentary, deleted scenes, making of and some historical footage.
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This is a creepy, odd little low-budget B movie-esque horror. It has an adopted woman return to her family's home now aged 40, having gained it in the will. The house she now owns is haunted creating a scary, tense and haunting return to rural Russia.
Not awful but nothing special, scary in places but a low-budget affair tinkering on just plain average. It is well acted and the result is good for an off the radar attempt. Horror fans will be underwhelmed but those entertained by spooky ghosts may actually enjoy this clever, not in your face and truly well done scare drama.
Crysis 2: Limited Edition
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First off the game looks impressive, with New York backdrops and an excellent game engine. You are an unknown marine referred to as 'Alcatraz' that wears a revolutionary suit, that is basically an evolving bio-weapon. This suit allows you to either cloak (go invisible) or to activate an armour shield. This uses a power source bar and aids your fighting skills in what is a tough FPS combat game.
The combat includes stealth kills, tactical scans with your visor, upgrading your suits powers and several weapons and options. The game uses all of the pads buttons and so becomes confusing and over complicate at times, by arguably more rewarding over time. You can also run, slide and use numerous grenades.
The game's main boast is it's graphics. It looks superb, with many great New York in devastation backdrops, amidst an Alien Takeover. There are some great scenes capturing the infection, isolation and chaos as the huge alien robots and giant 'squid' eat up, destroy and overtake the Big Apple (New York). There are some great effects here, with rain, explosions, army vehicles and the alien robots themselves.
The levels feature areas of New York which include Wall Street, Battery Park, Bryant Park, Central Park and Station, and Times Square.
The Alien Hive is present throughout with crash sites being explored and fought off by the US Army Marines and the Crysis Cell, which are like super special, secret army like underground research teams.
The single player campaign is quite long and repetitive, being challenging and tough, but the excellent story, cut-scenes and epic feel pull you through. Yes it is another FPS but it does boast some great visuals, level designs and a feeling of accomplishment. Players can collect dog tags, emails, souvenirs and vehicle keys.
Overall a competent shooter worth a try.
The Company Men
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This drama is quite a good watch, surprisingly. Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones are excellent as their usual roles and the film is well thought out, and real in feel. The story runs as expected, interesting and entertaining to an an extent, even if arrestingly morose at first. Redundancies in banking aside, I fear the only people who will probably see this are Affleck fans, and that is not a shame.
It's 2008, and America's financial market has crashed, with their largest bank closing. This lead to thousands of redundancies, with this film focusing in on dramatic life changes for a leading arrogant banker and CEO as they are knocked off their perches.
The film takes itself seriously, and its very nature makes it an almost gruelling watch, which I'm sure is the point...but does deliver an acceptable viewing and lighter finish. The film is arguably too long, limited and very reliant on the 2 main leads, but it does have a nice support cast (Costner, Walker and Bello) and tries to follow a feel good road.
Overall, just a good film.
The Blu-Ray shows up faces well but there is not a lot to add to visually over the DVD.
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Yoostar 2 (PlayStation Move)
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What this game is, is a good idea and concept, but it simply does not work well enough here.
Firstly the PS Eye cannot handle the light required to have a non pixelated image, you will need movie style lighting and a white or green wall to get a perfect picture and feel/outcome. It attempts to put you in the movie scene and passes from movie to you, to read lines in time for points.
The Movies and scenes chosen are poor, being very male dominated and very few are 'classic lines' or scenes. The way it works is by having you look into the camera and act/read out lines at the correct times to gain scores for scenes, like say Sing Star. Some work, some are just boring and when you are reading you are not looking at the camera. The challenges are more tiresome and challenging rather than funny or amusing.
The game lacks any multi-player involvement, like Buzz, and so becomes silly, disappointing and a wasted opportunity. The navigation menus are easy but limited too. The online community sharing is a good idea but is slow, labour-some and does not add much. You can purchase extra scenes from the PSN store but these are overpriced at over a pound each. For any budding actor you may have a go for an hour but overall this gem of an idea fails to make it to the big screen.
Welsh comes up with another modern classic triumph, as his writing again captivates, entertains and revels in modern brilliance.
The story is clever, mixing in between past and present - to develop and reveal character developments. The character Lennox is from a past book Filth, and he is interesting, deep and likeable. There is plenty of action, drama and the narrative helps to place you in Florida. The characters are excellent, as are the locations, and throughout I could picture this as a film.
Plot - a suffering Scottish policeman is on holiday in Miami, with his fiance. They argue and he goes on a bender of a night out. When out he meets two women, whose house he goes back to. Then...he uncovers a child in danger, from sex pests/paedophiles. He is then left needing to take the girl to safety, whilst unveiling and exposing the sickening child abuse set-up he has unearthed. All of this occurs, as he himself is fighting his demons (drugs and a past child sex murder case). The book should have been called 'beast' as this is what paedophiles are referred to.