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Xbox Live 2100 Microsoft Points Card
GBP14.99 is the cheapest you can get for 2100 Microsoft Points. Even if you don't need it at the moment it's nice to have these points available for Deal of the Week items on XBOX LIVE.
Get it now before the price goes up to GBP16.99 again.
I Am Legend
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First off ... let me say this is a great film and I heartily enjoyed watching it. Plus I want to get that Belsing jacket that Will Smith wears throughout the movie.
However I'm perplexed as to why the film-makers decided to jettison the Vampire villians as depicted in the original book by Richard Matheson and replace them by Zombies. Surely the concept of a Vampire and a Zombie are equally far-fetched. Plus the book does go into great lengths to explain how a virus could cause symptoms which are vampiric so the story remained grounded in science fiction rather than the supernatural. Okay ... they used Zombies instead but then why did they then use the generic superfast CGI zombies which have featured in so many other movies ever since "28 Days Later" first started the trend?
However don't let my moaning put you off from watching this film as it is still very good. Scary to think that during the 1990s when this film was in development hell Arnold Schwarzenegger was attached to play the Robert Neville character. Thank heavens for Will Smith!
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Charmed ... that's the word. I was completely charmed by this film. My expectations were low at the start. Tristan was played by an actor I wasn't familiar with and I was never much of a fan of Claire Danes or Michelle Pfeiffer. The inclusion of Sienna Miller and Ricky Gervais actually put me off further.
However the story and characterisations over-rode any misgivings I had and I simply enjoyed the film. Which is not surprising as this is based on the story by Neil Gaiman.
Now I'm an absolute Sandman geek. The 75 issues of Sandman created by Neil Gaiman are pure story-telling gold. And this is why I'm excited by this movie. "Stardust" is proof that it is possible to create a film based on a story by Neil Gaiman. Stardust is a story outside of the "Sandman" universe but the fantasy and rich mythology of Sandman is not too dissimilar to the world of Stardust. This is why I'm now hopeful that there will be a movie based on Dream, Death, Delirium, Desire, Despair, Destiny and even Destruction.
My recommendation - please watch this film and it may be enough to entice you to the other works of Neil Gaiman.
Iron Man (2008)
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Director Jon Favreau is a comic book fan and he LOVES Marvel comics and the rich characters which reside in that Universe. Iron Man just oozes with love for the character and the universe it inhabits. Previous films like Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, X-Men, etc are based on Marvel characters but each film resides in their own self-enclosed universe. This is why we do not see Spiderman web-swinging onto the Fantastic Four Baxter Building. And we don't see Daredevil being approached by Professor X to see if he wants to join the X-Men.
This has now changed. Iron Man is the first movie released by Marvel Studios and this film is not afraid to embrace it's rich history of superhero characters. Thus we have S.H.I.E.L.D playing a crucial role in Iron Man. This is why we can see Captain America's shield in the background in the scene where Jarvis is helping Tony Stark take off his damaged armour. Oh ... and isn't Jarvis the butler in the Avengers' mansion? And we have the ultimate cross over with Tony Stark's cameo in "The Incredible Hulk".
Just think about this for a second. We have the star of "Iron Man" released by Paramount Studios appearing in "The Incredible Hulk" released by the rival studio Universal. It's a bit like Jason Bourne popping up in James Bond!
Anyway I'm excited by Iron Man because it's a great film with brilliant actors, excellent special effects and a superb storyline. For heaven's sake ... it's got the DUDE Lebowski playing the bad guy!! Crucially this could be the start of something big where we'll have future films based on "The Avengers" with Robert Downey Jr and Edward Norton both playing their characters.
Recommendation: Get this DVD and place it next to "The Incredible Hulk" as the two films are linked. And make sure you have room on the shelf for "Captain America" and "The Avengers". Also don't forget to watch the very end of the movie after the credits have finished for a cameo by a very famous face.
The companion piece to "The Omega Man". Basically we have 1970s Charlton Heston playing the trademarked character of "1970s Charlton Heston with an Automatic Weapon". This time round he's a policeman in a world were the population explosion never ended and people are literally piled up on top of each other. The world is hot and humid (so Charlton gets to take his shirt off once again) and at the brink of famine. The only food available is soy based products including the infamous Soylent Green.
Anyway Charlton is charged with the investigation into the murder of a high-powered executive of the Soylent Corporation. However the further Charlton delves into this mystery the more apparent it is that nobody wants him to succeed.
A great film and the last film to star Edward G Robinson. The scene between him and Charlton eating beef and an apple is incredibly poignant.
Recommendation: Chances are if you enjoy movies like "The Omega Man" and "Logan's Run" then you've probably already got this in your collection. For those who are unfamiliar with 1970s futureshock movies starring Charlton Heston then I would definitely recommend buying this movie. The only sitcking point is Charlton never gets to shoot a machine gun in this film (only a pistol) so if you're looking for proper automatic fire from Charlton I would recommend "The Omega Man" instead.
Logan's Run (RCE)
Region 1 DVD
Fortunately I have a multi-region DVD player and I've got this Region 1 DVD in my collection of 1970s Sci Fi classics which include "The Omega Man", "Soylent Green" and "Planet of the Apes".
Logan's Run is set in a post-apocalyptic future where human beings lead a hedonistic life-style involving lots of orgies and wearing dodgy toga-type clothing. The one minor problem is when you reach 30 years of age you have to go to Carousel, an arena-type stadium, where you find yourself floating up in front of a baying crowd and basically exploding to death. Obviously some cats aren't too happy about this and decide to escape this fate by running away. This is where the sandmen come in (basically the enforcers of Carousel whose one great advantage is they get to wear neat black uniforms instead of a bedsheet) and start hunting down runners blasting them to death with equally neat guns which make a "BWAP" sound.
Logan (played by Michael York) is one such Sandman who finds himself having to infiltrate Sanctuary because the master computer has prematurely aged him to 30 years.
That's about it really but the film really is good. You've got Michael York looking young and thin (and amazingly he still looks the same 30 years later) and you've also got Jenny Agutter taking off her clothes (again). What more can you ask for?? Peter Ustinov looking hairy? Yes ... it's got that too!
Recommendation: Get it now if you've got a Multi-region DVD Player. If you've not got a multi-region DVD Player get one now, and then get this movie.
The Omega Man
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This film has 1970s Charlton Heston (before he went all Dynasty: The Colbys on us) walking around barechested shooting automatic weapons indiscriminately. Charlton is supposedly the Last Man on Earth and spends his time wandering New York City driving fast cars, watching Woodstock and never having to wash dirty clothes again. However as the day ends and night begins Charlton has to go back to his stronghold apartment and defend himself against vampire like creatures who want to destroy Charlton and his decadent lifestyle.
Of course this is the movie based on Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend" soon to be released as a blockbuster film starring Will Smith. I can't comment on the new version as it's not been released but I love "The Omega Man". Along with "Soylent Green" and "Planet of the Apes" there's a certain quality about 1970s sci-fi future-shock movies which hold a special place in my heart. Perhaps it's the grainy film stock or the overall pessimistic outlook of the future. Or it could be the dodgy hairstyles and somewhat misogynistic nature of the hero. Or perhaps there's just something about Barechested Charlton Heston with an Automatic Weapon (tm) shooting at anyone and anything without any attempt to aim which I find appealing.
Regardless it's a great film and I heartily recommend it.
Spider-Man 3 (2 Discs)
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I wanted so much to like this film but as I watched it something just didn't sit right. It may be because I'm a complete comic book geek so the manner in which Peter Paker acquired the black costume just felt wrong. Obviously I wasn't expecting some "Secret Wars" scenario but they could've easily had the alien symbiote attach itself to John Jameson's spacecraft (remember him? He was J Jonah Jameson's astronaut son who went out with MJ in part 2) and then find Peter Parker later on.
In fact the whole alien symbiote / Venom storyline felt rushed and undeveloped. I can't help wishing they just concentrated on the Sandman character and Hobgoblin (yes ... the new Green Goblin should've been called Hobglobin) and used Venom in Spiderman 4. I understand from press articles that Sam Raimi never really wanted to incorporate the Venom character into this movie but pressure from the Studio forced him to use the character.
So not a great film and I'm glad that Sam Raimi has stated on record that he won't be directing the next Spiderman film (he'll continue to be the producer). This franchise needs fresh blood to inject more life and excitement into the characters. If they use other actors instead to play Peter Parker and MJ then I'm okay with that also. Maybe they can improve the graphics so that Spiderman in costume doesn't look like he's in a scene from the latest Playstation 3 game.
Super Size Me
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Forget about all those diet books and keep fit exercise DVDs which no doubt will be appearing in your local book stores this Christmas. Just watch this DVD and you're sure to lose weight. How's this possible? Simply because it'll put you off eating fast food meals for a few months!
Okay ... on to the review. The thing which makes this documentary so watchable is the director and human guinea pig Morgan Spurlock. This guy is such a likeable fella that you're instantly hooked on his 30 day quest to eat only food from Maccy D. And unlike Michael Moore (who appears to have also taken part in this experiment but never stopped) there's an "everyman" aspect to Morgan who manages to convince without appearing to be preachy or condescending. Also definitely watch this DVD with the director's commentary track as Morgan is just as entertaining talking about the making of the film and his experiences as when he's in the film.
IMPORTANT NOTE - Forget about Jamie Oliver and his attempts to improve lunch meals in schools. It was Morgan Spurlock in this documentary who identified the problem with the meals served in US school cafeterias in first! I'm just amazed that Mr Spurlock never attempted to take back the credit which Jamie Oliver basically pinched from him.
Highly recommended DVD. Morgan will be releasing a new documentary which investigates the commercialism of Christmas in the States, which I hope will be as entertaining as this film.
G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) (Animated)
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This is a great movie and in my opinion much better than the Transformers movie which was released earlier the same year. In fact "GI JOE - The Movie" was meant to be released in the cinemas but due to the poor box office takings of "The Transformers" the studio executives decided to release the film straight to video.
It's also worth noting that the original movie had Duke die in the final scene. However due to complaints by parents over the death of Optimus Prime in the Transformers movie the producers decided Duke would survive. In fact if you watch those scenes with the volume turned down you can definitely pick up the vibe that Duke does in fact die.
Overall the animation was great. The opening titles were spectacular and it's a shame they don't make toys like "GI JOE" or "ACTION FORCE" anymore. In fact Hasbro have released 25th Anniversary versions of the popular 3 3/4 inch figures but these are only in the States.