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So, is it worth all the hype? Is it in the same league as The Exorcist, or little more than a pale shadow of Halloween 4?
The premise of the story is simple. A young couple, seemingly terrorised by an unknown entity, decide to set up a camera to record the action whilst they sleep and effectively document a haunting from the inside. But is it scary?
Paranormal Activity is one of those films, much like Blair Witch, that will divide movie fans across the globe in to two distinct camps.
One camp will be convinced it is a truly terrifying and disturbing experience, the other will be completely un-impressed by the scares promised through the intriguing viral campaign and Internet hype. Whichever camp you fell in to for the The Blair Witch Project, will probably designate where you will sit for this movie too.
Essentially, this will be based on whether or not you buy in to the world that is being portrayed by the central characters. There are next to no special effects, no haunting soundtracks, and no signs of people wearing their innards on the outside. In order to get something out of the film, you really have to put something in - to empathise with the characters and experience their trials alongside them. A serious investment in how it would really feel to be in the couple's shoes, rather than sit there and wait to be scared, is how this film will impress.
I did just that, and to me it was one of the most truly original, chilling and nerve-jangling movies I have ever seen. From the moment the characters are introduced and you are slowly brought in to their world, so the empathy for their increasingly disturbing experiences rises. Even now, when I think of scenes from the film, I can still feel the goose-bumps rise.
If I had one criticism, it would be that there was little evidence of the terrorised couple searching for help from outside themselves; but, considering the budget of $11,000, I can understand why the director had to make that choice.
If you fall in to the lust-for-gore camp as
highlighted above, I can't say it's really going to be your cup of tea. If you are in the 'Blair Witch' camp then see it, 'enjoy' it, and carry it around with you for long after the credits roll.
Up: Superset (2 Disc Blu-ray & DVD) (Pixar)
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With the 15th anniversary of their first outing in to the movie world (Toy Story) now approaching, it must be with some pride that Pixar continue to demonstrate themselves in a class of their own and hold true to their motto that 'Story is King'. Afterall, how many other movie studios could claim to have not made a single duff film during their lifetime?
Up, as the title may suggest, continues to prove that when it comes to building believable and engaging characters against a rich, heart-warming story - nobody does it better.
The first 10 minutes alone is enough to melt the hardest of hearts without boiling over in to cheap, tacky sentimentality as we see love blossom over a lifetime of magical but everyday shared moments through to that final and most heart-achingly tragic of losses.
From there our cantankerous hero is pushed in to fulfilling the promise he made to his dearly beloved, but sadly departed, wife (aided by his eager but youthful sidekick).
To give any more away would be to spoil the pure, unadulterated enjoyment of letting it flow over and through you. However, it is safe to say that the joy of the ride is every bit as magical as the vehicle in which it is carried out (a house suspended by balloons), and as always with Pixar, you are left wondering why it is that every film can't be as good as this.
I can't leave it without also adding that the 3D is used to great (but sparing) effect. Just study the depth of the early scenes with our sidekick walking home from the cinema over 'ravines' and 'mountains'. Incredible.
A flawlessly and charmingly executed delight from start to finish - go and see it, and expect to be entertained.
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I've received my copy today, and must say for a tenner you really couldn't ask for more. There are five - count them - five entire series of scripts to paw over at your leisure in here, in all their glorious detail.
The best bit about this book though is the additional material that messrs Bain and Armstrong have decided to include (think 2 disc special edition DVD in book format). In particular the deconstruction of an entire episode from grass roots up is very interesting, and the post-it note conversations between Jeremy and Mark are also an appreciable addition.
In short, if you love this show - as I do - then this book is a must.
"This is outrageous. Its totally contagious. Yeah."
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The two reviewers below this, with all due respect, clearly didn't 'get it'. The 'shaky' camerawork is what changed this from a mere movie in to something that you actually take part in ... that's if you have a heart.
The soundtrack is emotive and poignant in equal measures, and the acting from the whole cast really gives you the feeling of being an observer on a real life relationship as it blossoms.
It is hard to find fault with a movie, when even the imperfect ending was perfect. An absolute joy to engage yourself in. Buy several copies whilst its on sale and save yourself some Christmas shopping for anyone you know with a love of music and a love of love itself.
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As you would expect from Mr Bryson, the book is heavily laced with his trademark charm, wit and his canny knack for keeping the pages turning.
Having studied Shakespeare for many years as a student (but never as a Scholar!) I wouldn't normally have given this a second look, but considering the author I thought I'd give it a try.
I've read it from cover to cover in two days and found it utterly enthralling. As much a tale of the times as about Shakespeare, every page has a wealth of fascinating and insightful information to plant you firmly in the place where Shakespeare lived, worked and died.
Even if you don't like Shakespeare's work, to read and enjoy this is the same as if you read his excellent The History of Nearly Everything but weren't particularly partial to the Sciences. Fantastic and readable stuff.