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Resident Evil: Extinction
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Here it is in a nutshell: Better than the second movie, not as good as the first.'Resident Evil: Extinction' picks up a few years after the end of the last franchise entry, 'Resident Evil: Apocalypse'. The picture begins with a strange replay of the first movie that eventually culminates in a clever twist. Soon after, we learn that the T-Virus infection has spread rapidly around the planet in the elapsed time, essentially wiping out most of mankind and leaving the world a barren desert wasteland overrun by zombies. In 'Mad Max' fashion, a band of survivors including returning characters Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps) cruise the highways in a convoy of modified and armoured vehicles. Our girl Alice (Milla Jovovich) is still about as well, mostly keeping to herself as she learns to develop the superhuman telekinetic powers caused by genetic experimentation performed on her by the evil Umbrella Corporation. Naturally, she will soon cross paths with her old friends to face off against the remnants of Umbrella, hiding in a new Hive fortress beneath the Nevada sands.
For their part, the baddies haven't abandoned their nefarious plans and are still up to no good. This time around, they've been testing a biological serum that will domesticate and control a new breed of super zombies for use as weapons. Smarter and faster than the usual lumbering brain-eaters, these new monsters pose a greater-than-usual threat to our heroes, but the formula hasn't quite been perfected yet, and for that Umbrella wants Alice back. Needless to say, she isn't particularly interested in helping the cause. All of this leads to a confrontation in Las Vegas, the city long since abandoned and swallowed by the desert.'Extinction' is once again written by series mastermind Paul W.S. Anderson, but directed this time out by Russell Mulcahy of 'Highlander' fame. To say that this is one of Mulcahy's least idiotic movies may be damning it with faint praise. Nonetheless, what he's put together here is an efficient, professional sequel with decent action, gore, and production values. It's a nice change to see this horror movie set mostly outdoors and during the daytime. The zombie dogs are back, and those are always fun. An attack by zombie crows in the middle of the movie of course steals heavily from 'The Birds', but is pretty cool anyway (Hitchcock never thought to set his birds on fire, now did he?). The movie also makes a token nod to the video game series by introducing the character of Claire Redfield, played here by Ali Larter of 'Heroes'.The third movie thankfully pares back most of the blatant stupidity that plagued 'Apocalypse'. This isn't a smart movie by any means, but there are no annoying comic relief characters and the plot doesn't violate the established rules of the series. Unfortunately, that isn't to say that there aren't some serious lapses in basic logic. One character bitten in an attack tries to pretend there's nothing wrong with him for an awfully long time, during which no one else seems to notice him slowly but obviously zombifying right in front of them. After Alice smashes through a fence to get to a fortified Umbrella compound, for some reason the hordes of zombies milling around outside dont bother to follow her in. The film also ends with yet another cheesy monster, and has an excessive amount of obnoxious Sony product placement.The transfer though, is fantastic. Colours shine, faces sparkle, attention to detail is king. This is one of the finest transfers i've seen yet.Poor extras.
Film: 3 starsPicture: 5 starsSound: 4 starsExtras: 2 stars
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
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Aside the few big releases, like Toy story 3 and 'Inception,' this summer movie season passed by in relative obscurity. There just wasn't all that much great stuff to see, which was a disappointment. Even with the summer box office's slim pickings it's a travesty that more people didn't see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Week after week Scott Pilgrim slid down the box office charts. It was disheartening to witness, because Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was hands down one of the best releases to come out!Edgar Wright, writer and director of two of the most clever spoof films of all time (Shaun of the dead' and Hot Fuzz) set about making a motion picture based on the "Scott Pilgrim" comic books. Wright has a gift for satire, and Scott Pilgrim is full of some of the most clever, hilarious references you'll see. If you grew up playing Nintendo you'll love this movie.
This movie is so self-referential, so deeply embedded in its world that it never lets up. Wright goes full steam ahead, charging forward into an insane world where real-life is turned into a comic-book-style video game (complete with music from Zelda, and pixilated graphics). It actually reminds me of the neo-noir film Brick. That movie, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, decided that as weird as it sounded they were going to make a noir film about high school. Complete with kids talking in some sort of cryptic jive. Scott Pilgrim, like Brick is one of those movies that knows exactly what it is and stays true to itself the entire time.Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a member of a band called the Sex Bob Ombs. This is how obscure these references get. Someone not familiar with the Mario Brothers franchise will miss such a subtle clue. Remember Bob-ombs? Those furious little bomb guys in Mario that tried to blow you to smithereens?Scott has fallen head over heels for a new girl who's literally just skated into his life. Her name is Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and she's all Scott can think about. So much so that he can't do anything else with his life until he finds a way to date her. After meeting, and going out with Ramona, Scott soon finds out that he's going to have to do battle with each of Ramona's seven evil exes. Why? Just because. That's why.Wright directs the film like a man who loves the source material. He uses just about every trick in the book, and even some new ones he's dreamed up. After Scott defeats an ex they explode into a shower of coins. The funny thing is that everyone in the movie seems only half surprised all this is happening. Scott is suddenly a martial arts master, and an ex he's battling has summoned hot daemon chicks who throw fireballs from their hands, and all anyone can do is stand there with their mouths open. You never know if people are surprised this is happening or if the world where Scott Pilgrim resides is just so completely insane anything is possible. I'm guessing it's the latter, and with Wright at the helm, the writing, direction, and acting make for one of the funniest and best movies of the year.And now for the blu ray quality. The blu ray is, to me, fantastic. Colours are vibrant and really shine and there is no hint of grain on screen at any point throughout the film. The sound, as you may have guessed, is excellent. Everything is loud and clear. Fantastic extras too.
Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim embraces its insanity, revels in its absurdity and basks in its oddness. On sheer bravado alone Scott Pilgrim scores. You have to check this movie out!
It's heartfelt, hilarious and a highly satisfying adaptation of the book. You don't have to be a geek to adore it, you just have to remember being young.
Film: 5 starsPicture: 5 starsSound: 5 starsExtras: 5 stars
The Last Exorcism: Combi Pack (Blu-ray & DVD) (2 Discs)
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This mock-documentary produced by Eli Roth engages instantly thanks to an interestingly conceived lead character and a charismatic performance. Inspired by Marjoe a 1972 documentary about fundamentalist hucksterism (a forerunner of the current trend for non-fiction editorialtainment) Patrick Fabian plays Cotton Marcus as a super-smart glib talker who puts on a good show and has only just started to believe that performing exorcisms might be harmful to his troubled subjects. Blair Witchiness creeps in at the Sweetzer farm where a hostile brother (Caleb Jones) backs off only when he sees the exorcist for a fake - a creepy idea which resonates later - and a Christian father (Louis Herthum) simmers with the potential to harm his daughter for her own good.The plot works through several interpretations wavering between supernatural and psychological solutions. As Marcus admits exorcism is associated with Roman Catholic priests but the casting-out of demons is a showstopper on the Protestant side too. The Last Exorcism is in a debate with the recent The Exorcism Of Emily Rose which distorted a true-life story into a propagandist tract for conservative religion - here the only reason Cotton isnt initially a threat to Nell (or if there is one the demon inside her) is that he doesnt mean what he says. Though we dont get a definitive answer until late in the day the pastors scepticism is challenged by hard-to-argue-with supernatural happenings - and terror comes as the situation spirals out of the control of the seemingly confident competent above-it-all preacher man.Though we have seen this video diary horror route often recently The Last Exorcism has extraordinarily subtle lead performances and runs to proper 1970s TV-movie scares. Director Daniel Stamm fakes the shaky look of authentic footage and there is an understated crossing-of-the-line as the documentarians get caught up in the story and try to influence its outcome - which as a gruesome prophetic drawing hints is likely to be horrid. The ending goes somewhere else and will divide audiences though its a throwback to the likes of Race With The Devil as we pull back from the haunted farm to discover a larger evil in the community.
The method is well-worn and the subject matter familiar but this is a smart and rather scary little horror. Great on blu-ray and excellent extras too.
Film: 4 starsPicture: 5 starsSound: 5 starsBonus features: 5 stars
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: Limited Edition Steelbook
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This movie is so self-referential, so deeply embedded in its world that it never lets up. Wright goes full steam ahead, charging forward into an insane world where real-life is turned into a comic-book-style video game (complete with music from Zelda, and pixilated graphics). It actually reminds me of the neo-noir film Brick. That movie, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, decided that as weird as it sounded they were going to make a noir film about high school. Complete with kids talking in some sort of cryptic jive. Scott Pilgrim, like Brick is one of those movies that knows exactly what it is and stays true to itself the entire time.Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a member of a band called the Sex Bob Ombs. This is how obscure these references get. Someone not familiar with the Mario Brothers franchise will miss such a subtle clue. Remember Bob-ombs? Those furious little bomb guys in Mario that tried to blow you to smithereens?Scott has fallen head over heels for a new girl who's literally just skated into his life. Her name is Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and she's all Scott can think about. So much so that he can't do anything else with his life until he finds a way to date her. After meeting, and going out with Ramona, Scott soon finds out that he's going to have to do battle with each of Ramona's seven evil exes. Why? Just because. That's why.Wright directs the film like a man who loves the source material. He uses just about every trick in the book, and even some new ones he's dreamed up. After Scott defeats an ex they explode into a shower of coins. The funny thing is that everyone in the movie seems only half surprised all this is happening. Scott is suddenly a martial arts master, and an ex he's battling has summoned hot daemon chicks who throw fireballs from their hands, and all anyone can do is stand there with their mouths open. You never know if people are surprised this is happening or if the world where Scott Pilgrim resides is just so completely insane anything is possible. I'm guessing it's the latter, and with Wright at the helm, the writing, direction, and acting make for one of the funniest and best movies of the year.Just like Brick Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim embraces its insanity, revels in its absurdity, and basks in its oddness. On sheer bravado alone Scott Pilgrim scores. You have to check this movie out!
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"We're a bunch of well-built Ferraris dumped in the middle of a demolition derby."
'Generation Kill' is based on the national bestseller by Evan Wright--a Rolling Stone reporter who was embedded with the First Recon Battalion of the United States Marine Corps during the onset of the Iraq invasion in March of 2003. In his two months as an honorary member of Bravo Company, Wright had the unique opportunity to experience first-hand the hardships the troops had to endure from their initial deployment at Camp Mathilda in Kuwait to their eventual destination in Baghdad.
What makes this series so compelling is that it doesn't glorify the war effort or try to mask any of the negative details. In fact, 'Generation Kill' actually paints a pretty vivid portrait of the military's lack of preparation, proper equipment and supplies, as well as competence, as many commanders either had no clue what they were doing or unnecessarily put the lives of Marines at risk by sending them out on wild goose chases to bolster their own careers. Everything is laid out on the table just as it unfolded before Wright's eyes, warts and all.
As usual with any HBO project, the production values are spectacular. The series was filmed in Africa over the course of six months and every location was meticulously selected so that they suited each area's conditions. Wright and a few of the actual Marines like Staff Sgt. Eric Kocher and Sgt. Rudy 'Fruity Rudy' Reyes (who plays himself), served as advisors to ensure accuracy. Being heavy into fitness, Reyes was also responsible for getting the cast into prime physical shape through vigorous boot camp training. There's no shortage of military land vehicles, aircraft, and weaponry either. The filmmakers didn't skimp on anything.
The heart and soul of the series, though, is the cast. Dozens of colorful characters portray the Americans and literally hundreds of extras fill in for the civilians. Lee Tergesen plays Evan Wright, and much like his role as Tobias Beecher on HBO's 'Oz' he perfectly captures the essence of what it's like to be thrust into a whole new world. The look of awe, confusion and sheer terror is always crystal clear on his face. The rest of the actors are just as exceptional, orbiting around Wright who sort of acts as the central hub of the series. A large part focuses on the men he rode with in the lead vehicle of Bravo Company including the coolheaded Sergeant Brad 'Iceman' Colbert (Alexander Skarsgard), the motor-mouthed Corporal Josh Ray Person (James Ransone), and the cold and emotionless Lance Corporal Harold James Trombley (Billy Lush). Other notable standouts are Stark Sands as the dedicated Lt. Nathaniel Fick, Chance Kelly as the raspy-voiced Lieutenant Colonel Stephen 'Godfather' Ferrando, and this review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the psychotic Capt. Dave 'Captain America' McGraw. By the end, we love some of the characters and truly despise others, but we feel like we've gotten to know each and every one of them.
The last thing I found very intriguing with 'Generation Kill' is the absence of music. There's the odd Iraqi tune that can be heard playing on radios, and the soldiers sing their own renditions of Lovin' You or Tainted Love, but the series itself doesn't have a background score. I didn't even notice this until after I finished the first episode and heard mention of it when I started in on the commentary. If that doesn't prove without a doubt how engaging this incredible series is, I don't know what does.
Show: 5 starsPicture quality: 5 starsSound quality: 5 starsBonus features: 4 stars
Dexter: Season 4 (4 Discs)
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For me, 'Dexter' is the best show on TV. As of right now there isn't a show that comes close to its character dynamics, its plot complexities, and its out-right thrilling reveals. By now you should know who 'Dexter' is, what he does, and why this show is so damn good. I'll skip over the whole back story of Dexter's serial killer history, because if you're into the fourth season you should know what has happened until now and what to expect. I realize many people wait until the Blu-rays come out to watch their favourite shows, so I won't spoil (much) of season four. Just so you're aware though, I may just spoil things from seasons one through three, which serves you right if you haven't gotten in on this show by now.Not only is 'Dexter' the best show on television, season four was the best season so far. It was absolutely killer (pun intended).
Dexter finds himself struggling with family life. Most shows head off the rails when pregnancy and babies are introduced, but not this one. The entire show is focused around how Dexter is able to deal with real-life situations while being a monster inside. How does someone who kills people in his spare time handle a baby? What does he tell that baby? How does he raise it? Is he afraid it will grow up to be like him? What a perfect twist on a plot line that has been used over and over in TV shows.While battling with his family and sleep deprivation from sleepless nights of baby crying, Dexter also has to worry about his sister Deb and her screwed up life. Besides Dexter, Deb is the most complicated character on the show, watching her grow and learn can be frustrating at times, but we understand she's a rock in Dexter's life. She keeps him grounded. Rita (his wife) has, for the first few seasons, been used more as a mask more or less by Dexter in order to seem normal. It's Deb who really gives Dexter someone to care for, so when her life is so screwed up with her unhealthy relationships, Dexter finds himself trying to protect her.Finally, let's talk about the reason this season is some of the best TV I've watched in years. Two words: John Lithgow. Lithgow plays the Trinity Killer, another serial killer foe for Dexter to face. Although, Trinity is like no other villain you've ever witnessed. Lithgow is creepiness personified. Each time he's on screen he makes your skin crawl. It's an awesomely grotesque performance.Once Dexter comes in contact with Trinity, the scenes are electric. Who's going to give first? Who's going to come out on top? This was the first time in a long while where I honestly had no idea what was going to happen in a TV show. Usually you know that your protagonist is safe and sound and will live to fight again another day, here I was never quite sure. The writing in season four keeps you on your toes.If you haven't seen Dexter - you shouldn't really have read this review - you need to get with it, because you're missing some fine television. Michael C. Hall ('Six Feet Under') is brilliant as the ever confused and evolving Dexter, but John Lithgow is the real treat in this season. You'd never know he played High Commander Dick Solomon on '3rd Rock from the Sun.' After playing Trinity, it's hard to imagine him as anyone else.This season's got twists and turns aplenty, but the character development here is unrivalled by any other series. Even the side characters perform their tasks perfectly by creating a world around Dexter that seems to be closing in. The real question is, will Dexter get caught? It seems imminent the longer the show goes on.Like I said, I can't say enough good things about this series, and this season is the best so far. So what are you waiting for, go watch it already!
Let The Right One In (aka Låt den rätte komma in)
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This really is fantastic. Here are five reasons as to why you should buy it.The performances from the two young leads are fantastic and makes you really feel sympathy for them.Masterfully directed by Thomas Alfredson.Very graphic in violence but artfully done and it is violent for a reason.Shows how bad being a vampire is; Forget Twilight, this is the real deal.Original and intelligent.Genuinely mesmerising.
You will not regret buying this!
Iron Man 2: Triple Play Edition (3 Discs)
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A very good film with an excellent transfer and fantastic extras. After reading some of the reviews here I wasn't sure what to make of it but I am now very pleased after buying it. Great price too.You will not regret buying this!
Film 4/5Extras 5/5Picture 5/5Sound 5/5
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one of the finest films i have seen in a while. I'm glad to see that someone finally figured out how to make a sci-fi classic. The best sci-fi film since serenity.
Spider-Man: 1 - 3 Box Set (4 Discs)
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These films are great, even the oft-criticised spiderman three and they all look fantastic in blu-ray. My only concern is that there are no special features on spiderman one or two, not even from the two-disc dvds, which is a bit of a let down but still worth a buy.