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Supernatural: Season 3 (5 Discs)
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Finally this series has hit it's stride. I've seen all of the episodes on ITV2 and they are superb. The first series ripped off too many horror films for my liking and as a result it was very average. The two leads and the cool car kept me watching! The second season was a huge improvement but it still contained the odd clunker. The third series doesn't have a bad episode (the new charachters are well received) and it has a excellent season arc that continues from the season 2 finale. The central idea is that Dean will die in a year from now (the first episode of this series) Along the way we have a demented Christmas episode, a groundhog day style show, a Vampire hunter turned vampire, the seven deadly sins and much much more. My favourite episode is situated in a prison. Dean and Sam have been arrested and a horde of Demons is on it's way...first class
Annually treated to a superhero-fest of some sort on the silver screen, and equally bombarded by rushed, poor attempts at a film tie-in. I talk of efforts such as; the spiderman movie games, batman begins: the game, the incredible hulk: the game and so many more.Having waited for an Iron Man film for so long, and having ENJOYED the Iron Man film,immensely, I was anticipating a good effort, considering the fact that the premise of Iron Man lends itself to a game almost perfectly; upgradeable armour suits, multi-weapons, engaging storyline and flight ability.But, unsuprisingly, the game leaves a lot to be desired. Bad camera views, generic enemies, repetitive combat, lacklustre voice over acting and weak storyline.
The trend of movie to game franchises flopping, and game to movie blockbusters disappointing, doesnt seem to be changing anytime soon, but as more Iron Man films seem to be on their way, maybe Sega can get their act together next time around.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (3 Discs)
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The Terminator saga is one of the longest running and well created predestination paradox stories in modern science fiction and it is with great care that they have created The Sarah Connor Chronicles.Set after the events of Terminator 2, the series centres around Sarah's efforts to keep John safe and 'off the radar' while keeping an ever watchful eye out for the Terminators themselves.John has to deal with growing up, never staying in one pace too long and he feels the tremendous weight on his shoulders and the responsibilities that Sarah is reminding him of.Help for them arrives in the form of Cameron, a new Terminator sent by John in the future to protect himself in the past.As the show progresses we begin to see just how complex the paradox has become and the frightening levels which the machines are prepared to go to win.Not content with sending the T-1000 back, the machines have sent others into the past and their missions are not all about John and the Resistance.The Resistance themselves appear to have sent their own troops back, some as far as sixty years in order to prepare for the coming war.Behind all the events in Sarah and John's lives are the investigations of FBI Agent Ellis, who is beginning to piece together the parts of Sarah's past and is coming to understand what she is running from. The best episode for him is in The Demon Hand where he catches up with Doctor Silberman, now played by Bruce Davison, to talk about Sarah's stay in the mental hospital.The show runs along at a good pace, with carefully thought out scripts and a talent for twists and turns. The most shocking cliffhanger comes in at the end of Queen's Gambit when we discover the identity of one of the Resistance fighters. There are some flashes of the future which begin to explain certain events but while they answer some questions, they give you more to think about. That said, the final ten seconds of the final epsiode 'What he Beheld' are also shocking in their suddenness.The series is intended as a continuation of Terminator 2 but the writers have already specified that the events from the pilot episode will place the series in a parallel timeline to those events established by Terminator 3 so the remainder of the movie franchise will not have any direct baring on the show.The three main stars of the show do very well indeed. There was some debate that Lena Headey was not suitable for the role but after a couple of episodes there is no doubt at all that she is Sarah Connor. Thomas Dekker (Zach in Heroes) is well cast as a young John Connor. His interplay with Cameron is excellent and you can see the beginnings of the man that will one day lead the Resistance. Summer Glau is okay as Cameron but sometimes she seems to play the part as either River (from Firefly) or Tess (from The 4400) which is a shame as it almost makes it seem like she cannot bring anything else to her performance. That said, she has a Terminator stare that just makes you want to run a mile.Due to the writer's strike season 1 only ran for 9 episodes with Pilot, Gnothi Seauton (it means know thyself), The Turk, Heavy Metal, Queen's Gambit, Dungeons And Dragons, The Demon Hand, Vick's Chip and ends with What he Beheld.So, for fans of the Terminator saga or some good science fiction, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a must.
Bionic Woman: The Complete Series (2007) (2 Discs)
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There is a very good reason why this series was ditched in America, its boring.
What was advertised as a fast paced, action heavy update of the original, is actually painfully slow and light on action. If seeing two women go through the same fight and same dialogue week after week is your idea of excitement then this will entertain you.
The plots each week are dull and uninteresting and rather than any feeling of saving the world all we get is a boring soap opera between Jamie Summers (the new Bionic woman), Sarah Corvus (The "first" bionic woman) and Jamie's sister. By episode three this all becomes very tedious.
As far as performances go they are adequate considering the dreadful script. Miguel Ferrer adds some much needed class but everyone else just feels lifeless and appear to be just reading a dull script rather than doing any serious acting. Michelle Ryan is actually very good and her American accent is flawless. She has definitely come on a lot since her days in Eastenders. On this evidence I hope she gets more work in America as she has the talent and charisma to be a big star.
Overall this is hugely disappointing considering the hype. If you are desperate to see it, just watch it on the TV. There are far better things to spend your money on than this.
Diary Of The Dead: Limited Edition Steel Tin (2 Discs) (With Exclusive Sleeve Designed By Charlie Adlard)
Considering it's been 40 years since George A. Romero practically invented the zombie genre with Night Of The Living Dead, Diary Of The Dead has no right to be as good as it is. For me, it falls behind the unsurpassable Dawn of the Dead as the second best instalment of the exceptional Dead series. If you think of any artist in film or music, they won't be working in 40 years time, let alone producing some of their highest quality work. As Diary of the Dead trounces all the soulless, videogame zombie films we've seen recently, the old master shows them all how its done.
After making artistic sacrifices to get a bigger budget from the studios for Land of the Dead, Romero made this film with his own production company. Although Romero has to work with a lower budget, the documentary feel of the film really gets his creative juices flowing, as the heavyweight, 68 year old director assumes the role of first-time, student filmmakers who are documenting the zombie outbreak. Even one of the young characters has Romero's trademark big, black glasses.
Free to make the kind of film he wants, Romero (as usual) uses what appears to be a straightforward, gory horror film to make piercing insights into today's society. His target in his 5th Dead film is the youtube generation, where everyone has an opinion and an online blog about anything and everything. The mindless zombie's trudging around the shopping mall have been replaced by the faceless masses who upload video clip after video clip onto the internet hoping to be stars.
Without studio interference, Romero cuts loose with the gore and makes full use of the 18 certificate. Even after 4 decades and with far less money than most of the horror films being churned out today, he proves that no one is as creative as him with the special effects. In 1978's Dawn Of The Dead, Romero caused people to leave the cinema in shock with the controversial head exploding scene ... and he still hasn't lost his touch. Acid that slowly dissolves the brain of a walking zombie and a head that is blown off just below the eye line (the brain is still in tact and, therefore, the zombie is still alive as half a head) is one of several great money shots that will stay with you. Not only is he showing all the young pretenders to the zombie throne how to use their imagination, but, with the first line of dialogue, he's putting them straight about their rule breaking in remakes. Zombie's cannot and should not sprint like athletes.
All in all, Romero has surpassed all expectations. After all this time and after the genre has been flogged to death with so many zombie films, his 2008 film shouldn't be as immensely original and relevant as it is.
Doctor Who (New Series 4): Volume 1
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First of all, I want to talk about the new theme. When I first heard it at the start of 'Voyage of the Damned' last Christmas, I initially didn't like it much. But when I heard it again at the beginning of 'Partners In Crime' and then later watched an episode from the last series, I realised that it is a nice change with the new guitar sounds added in. So I like the new theme!Secondly, I really enjoyed 'The Runaway Bride' so I was never worried about Catherine Tate rejoining the Doctor this season as many people appeared to be in the run - up to this year's series.Now let's move on to the episodes on this DVD.
1. Partners In CrimeI always enjoy the opening episode, especially if a companion is being introduced, like 'Smith and Jones' last year. Although in Donna's case, being re-introduced. Anyway, the plot. Donna Noble has regretted her decision not to travel with the Doctor ever since she turned him down. Determined to find him again, she has investigated all things unusual, including the bees disappearing??? , hoping to bump into the Doctor as he has a knack for getting into trouble. When investigating Adipose Industries and its mysterious owner Miss Foster, Donna's plan finally succeeds.This was a great opening, with some really funny aliens that, for once, weren't threatening. Also Sarah Lancashire was great as Miss Foster. Also some great things seeded for later on in the series such as the disappearing bees and the surprise return of Rose Tyler in a brief non-speaking part.
2. The Fires of PompeiiA great first trip in the Tardis for Donna, with a really good dilemma for the Doctor as Donna challenges him.The plot - The Doctor and Donna land in what they think is Ancient Rome but actually turns out to be Pompeii, 79AD, the day before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. As strange rock monsters roam the mountain and the local psychics' visions are surprisingly accurate, can Donna dare the Doctor to change history?Again, some good guest stars, more seedings when Lucius says,"She is returning." Can it be Rose? Also a brilliant emotional performance from Catherine Tate, who I think is a brilliant companion, even though I liked Rose and Martha also.
3. Planet of the OodYet another great episode to finish off this outstanding DVD. I really enjoyed this episode, being one of very few Doctor Who fans who didn't enjoy 'The Impossible Planet' and 'The Satan Pit'.The plot - The Doctor takes Donna to her first alien world. The Oodsphere is a world of ice and snow where Ood Operations breeds and sells Ood into service across the galaxies in the 42nd century. However, the Doctor and Donna discover that the Ood are not so willing to serve as the Red Eye infection takes a hold of them. Can the Doctor and Donna get to the core of Ood Operations and find out what's really going on?An absolutely excellent episode, one of the few of the revived series that is actually set on another planet!!! Still I understand that there are not that many quarries in the country - and they all look the same. Another great emotional performance from Catherine Tate, who has proved she can do the emotion and be funny. Another seeding towards the end when Ood Sigma says,"I think your song must end soon." Creepy... what can it all mean? I certainly can't wait!
Torchwood: Complete Series 2 (5 Discs)
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Captain Jack and his team are back and here to protect us from the alien threat. The second series of Torchwood is magnificent and nothing less than genius. It's safe to say that we need more decent science fiction programs like this.Torchwood is dark, heart pounding and moving while also being fun, exciting and comical. The acting is second to none with stunning performances from all. The characters have been so well created and in places are so real and believable. This second season is (thankfully) less about Gwen, and pays more attention to the rest of the cast. We've also been giving James Marsters who is fantastic in his role as Captain John (mind you he will always be Spike to me.) The stories are fantastic, well thought-out and produced to such an entertaining standard. If I had to pick my favourite episode from the season I would struggle as I thoroughly enjoyed them all. But I guess it would be a tie between "Reset," "Something Borrowed," and the stunning final episode "Exit Wounds." I enjoyed the sneak peeks of Torchwood in times past and look forward to seeing more. The tone and atmosphere throughout is very impressive and gives that unique Torchwood feel.The show has been cleaned up in terms of violence, sex, and language. Sadly I think that this was a mistake. I know that it makes it appeal to a wider audience and more friendly for kids but they've got doctor who, let us adults have Torchwood. Personally I never thought that the first season was over the top in anyway. Still it's a minor 'fault' that doesn't really affect my opinion of the show. Torchwood isn't for everyone but it really can't be missed. I've always been and remain a doctor who fan, but it's good to have and be able to enjoy both.
I've always wondered where Torchwood got the Pterodactyl from but now we know. As Captain Jack says "We needed a guard dog." I'm looking forward to the third season and hope that the quality remains as high as the previous.
Halloween: Directors Cut (2007)
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In general, sequels and remakes are not a good idea. More often that not, they are just pointless continuations of something that did not need tampered with to begin with and should be forgotten about completely. However, on rare occasions, a sequel or remake can be just as good as the original, if not better.
A franchise like the juggernaut that is Halloween could do with a good sequel, given that there have been seven so far and most of them have been awful. Rob Zombie's remake - or reimagining as he prefers to call it - is excellent.
The first thirty minutes of the film do something that John Carpenter's original film neglected to do. They tell Michael's story. Rather than beginning with the murder of his sister, Zombie's Halloween shows what Michael's life is like. He is bullied at school by older boys, lives with his Mother - played by Rob Zombie's wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, who also starred in House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects - who is a stripper - something which Michael is bullied for - as well as his horrible sister and his Mother's abusive boyfriend and his baby sister.
After he gets into a fight with two other boys at his school, it is discovered that he has been killing animals. A child psychologist, Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) is called in to help. However, it is too late, as Michael leaves the school and gets a bloody revenge on one of the bullies who attacked him.
This in turn leads to the fateful Halloween night where Michael loses his mind and goes on a killing spree. Whereas in the original, he only murdered his sister, this time he goes all out. He kills her, her boyfriend and his Mother's boyfriend. The violence is incredibly brutal which again contrasts the original as it was relatively free of any on-screen violence and instead left everything to your imagination.
When it comes to leaving things to your imagination though, Zombie is not the right man to ask. The film is filled with hideous gore - which will satisfy any gorehound - and a lot of nudity. The cast is made up of Zombie's regulars as well as some Halloween series alumni, the most notable of these being Danielle Harris, who played Michael's niece in the fourth and fifth installments of the franchise.
Michael's imprisonment and subsequent bouts of insanity and violence play out until a vicious attack on a nurse leads his Mother to make a terrible choice. Years later, as in the original, he escapes from the mental hospital which has become his home and goes out in search of his sister, the baby girl he has not seen since the night he murdered his family.
The story plays out pretty much as it did in the original with a few changes - there is a much bigger body count and some twists and turns in the story which were not present in the original, as well as a brutal climax - and is thrilling to watch. While there are fewer scares than in the original, Zombie seems to go for the thrills instead, with extended chase sequences and inventive editing.
If you are a fan of the Halloween franchise, then you'll love this as will any Rob Zombie fan. While some of the film may be too strange for some people's - Zombie's films tend to be less mainstream than others - tastes, it is still a great horror film and he should be commended for his treatment of a remake which could have gone dramatically wrong.
I Am Legend: Special Edition (2 Discs) (3D Lenticular Packaging)
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'I Am Legend' is the newest movie adaption of the classic Richard Matheson sci-fi/horror novel. Will Smith stars as the last man on Earth, Robert Neville - a military scientist who is trying to find a cure to a virus that has wiped out the whole of the human race. In the deserted streets of New York City and with only his dog, Sam as company, Neville tries to stay alive from the mutant victims of the plague, whilst also sending out radio messages to try and find any other survivors like himself who may be immune to the deadly virus.
I've not read the book and have never seen "The Omega Man" starring Charlton Heston, so am unable to compare this to either of them, or any of the other versions of this that are about, but I can say that this is without a doubt the best film that I have ever seen Will Smith in (and I'm a bit of a fan of his) and how he didn't win any awards for this exceptional performance is beyond me. He has learnt a lot of acting skills since his days back in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as this is one of the best performances I've seen in a long time, especially as for a majority of the film it is Smith on his own (and his dog). He really does capture the lonliness that the character is feeling and displays these emotions very believably. The city looks amazing too and is very eerie with the streets in the aftermath of chaos and now all overgrown and empty.
Although the night lurkers aren't too scary due to the CGI effects making them not look very real (I'd of preferred them to be actors in make-up), the film is very creepy in certain scenes and had me at the edge of my seat as it does get very tense indeed. It's not the most action packed film, but is still very exciting and very fast moving the whole way through, especially as it is only just over an hour and a half long it never has time to get boring.Overall this is one of the best films of 2007that I really regret not seeing at the cinema but the sound and picture quality are so good on this DVD, I didn't mind watching it at home at all. I definitely highly recommend this to anyone looking for a decent post-apocolyptic sci-fi horror and any fans of Will Smith.
Iron Man (2008)
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Iron Man is exactly what we needed to kick of the summer: A rollicking action flick, with great special effects and a great cast. Robert Downey Jr. leads the show as weapons mogul turned high-tech vigilante Tony Stark. He's a great character- smart, hedonistic, hilarious, and Downey plays the part with humor and charisma. The story is good too. It's got plenty of twists and turns, with lots of terrorists and cocktail parties and guns and a bad guy who looks a little bit like a middle-eastern Telly Savalas. Of course, the plot also knows to stay out of the way of the action- indeed, a lot of the movie doesn't make any sense, but it's okay because the action scenes are great. Stark's crime-fighting robo body suit/ titular alter ego is really, really cool, and it's fun to see its development throughout the movie. Other neat things about Iron Man: The great "hidden" scene that comes after the closing credits, Gwyneth Paltrow's effortlessly charming portrayal of Pepper Potts (Stark's assistant and love interest), and a cool cameo by Stan Lee. You should see it.