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THX 1138: Director's Cut
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THX 1138 (1971) is the directorial debut of George Lucas. This movie is a stark and depressing vision of the future but it is based on an intelligent screenplay and beautifully filmed.
Lucas cut his teeth on this low budget movie but you can already see many visuals and sound effects which the filmmaker would continue to use to greater effect in later movies like Star Wars.
Robert Duvall is terrific as the central character but its Lucas vision of the future and the beautiful cinematography which has made this movie into a cult masterpiece.
One thing to watch though. I had a real problem getting this blu-ray to load on my machine. In the end I had to put a USB memory stick into my player just to get enough memory to get to the menu screen.
Honest: My Story So Far
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Tulisa's autobiography is a decent read and just like the title it is honest. In fact it may be a little too honest as some of the revelations in the book do not cast Tulisa in the best light.
Certainly some of the things Tulisa did as a younger girl she must surely now regret. But to her credit Tulisa never pretends or hides from those things and that makes her a very likeable character.
Her story is also very inspiring. Tulisa enjoyed a normal working class childhood before becoming a troubled teenager. She could have easily slipped off into further trouble but chose instead to follow her dream of music.
Battleship (With UltraViolet)
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Battleship (2012) is an overblown sci-fi thriller starring Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and Liam Neeson.
Battleship is based on the old Hasbro game and that really sums this movie up. This is a really dumb movie. Completely cheesy and totally over the top.
Taylor Kitsch is a weak leading man lacking charisma while Rihanna should stick to singing if this performance is anything to go on. Even the ever reliable Liam Neeson struggles in this movie.
Director Peter Berg (Hancock) steals his action style from Michael Bay delivering a glossy looking cheese fest resembling Transformers crossed with Independence Day.
To be fair to Berg the movie looks polished and some of the action does work but its the script that spoils this movie. The dialogue is awful embarrassing the actors and the plot is laughable.
We Bought A Zoo: Triple Play
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We Bought A Zoo (2011) is a comedy drama starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning and Thomas Haden Church.
Loosely based on a real life story this movie has some really sweet moments delivered by its terrific cast. Matt Damon plays an older character than we are used to but does a great job. Scarlett Johansson also shines in a less than glamourous role.
Director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) has a talent for using music in his movies and this one is no exception. Crowe chooses the perfect music for each scene and this creates some truely touching moments.
The only complaint about this movie is that at times Crowe lays on the emotion a little too thick. Some of the sweeter moments can at times fall into soppy soap opera sentimentality.
Its a return to form for Crowe who disappointed with his last movie Elizabethtown but its still a long way short of being as good as Crowe classics Jerry Maguire or Almost Famous.
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Lockout (2012) is a sci-fi action thriller starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Joseph Gilgun and Vincent Regan.
I had quite low expectations for this movie but it pleasantly surprised me with its sense of fun and excitement. Lockout reminded me of the classic John Carpenter movie Escape From New York.
Guy Pearce proves his action chops with sarcastic anti-hero Snow (very similar to Snake Plissken) while Maggie Grace is given a little more to work with than her usual girl in trouble roles.
Stealing the show though is British actor Joseph Gilgun. Best know as Woody in Shane Meadows This Is England, Gilgun here plays the villain and is both intimidating and charismatic.
Lockout is surprisingly fun and entertaining. My only complaint is that at times it is too similar to Escape From New York and suffers from a lack of originality.
The Fourth Hand
The Fourth Hand (2001) is a novel by John Irving. As a John Irving fan I was looking forward to reading this book but sadly I experienced a real disconnect with it.
There are plenty of trademark Irving characters in this book and the plot is quirky with quite a few sexual encounters. But sadly I found the leading characters slightly annoying and as a result the book failed to grip me.
I remain a huge fan of John Irving and highly recommend his other books like The Cider House Rules, The World According To Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire.
Welcome To The Rileys
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Welcome to the Rileys (2010) is a low budget drama starring James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo.
Kristen Stewart is an actress who polarises many but here she is perfectly cast playing a character both tough and vulnerable. Personally this is the best performance I have watched from Stewart.
James Gandolfini goes against type and plays a kind and decent guy attempting to help a young girl. While Melissa Leo is decent support as the wife of Gandolfini.
Director Jake Scott does a terrific job allowing his cast to shine. Scott allows the movie to be touching but never loses its edge and avoids cheesy sentimentality.
Captain America: The First Avenger - Double Play (2 Discs)
Captain America (2011) is an action adventure comic book adaptation starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones.
There are some really nice moments in this movie. The musical number is great while the old fashioned adventure feel to the movie works terrifically well.
The cast are great too. Chris Evans is perfect as Captain America while Atwell does a good job as the romantic interest. Tommy Lee Jones too is having lots of fun in his role.
There are however problems with this movie. The main villain Red Skull does not really work. I also felt that while director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) does well with the adventure side he fails to deliver any real big or exciting pieces of action.
That said Captain America is still quite a good movie and if its not quite up to Iron Man or Thor standard it is better than Iron Man 2 or Hulk.
Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World
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Spy Kids 4 (2011) is a family adventure movie starring Jessica Alba, Rowan Blanchard, Mason Cook and Jeremy Piven.
Robert Rodriguez is a talented filmmaker who can produce iconic and cool movies like Sin City and From Dusk Till Dawn but the Spy Kids franchise really is a waste of his talent.
The first Spy Kids may have been inventive and fun but the sequels fall flat and have been getting steadily worse with each installment.
Spy Kids 4 is the worst of them with a weak villain, very little humour and action badly lacking the Robert Rodriguez flair. Everything just feels tired the the Jessica Alba Spy with a baby idea gets old very fast.
Robert Rodriguez is capable of so much more and he needs to stop wasting his time with kid movies and get back to what he does best. Sin City 2 please Mr Rodriguez.
21 Jump Street
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21 Jump Street (2012) is a comedy remake based on the late 80s TV show. The cast of this movie includes Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco and Ice Cube.
There are a lot of laughs in this movie. The script is very funny, well observed and even exciting at times. The movie knows how to make fun of itself while also saying something smart about todays high school kids.
The real strength of this movie though is the actors. Leading men Hill and Tatum have loads of fun and share real chemistry between them. Tatum in particular displays unexpected comedic skills.
Ice Cube steals every scene he is in while Brie Larson is charming as the romantic interest. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have crafted a movie both very funny and smart.