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  #10891  
Old 20th November 2011, 10:48 AM
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Psycho

What's to say that hasn't already been said? An exercise in tension and attention to detail. Perkins has never bettered his initial Norman Bates role (although he comes pretty close in Welle's The Trial).
The technical brilliance of the movie is meted out with such confidence and assurity that it's not difficult to see how this film became a new bench mark in cinematic terms and entertainment.
My only slight downer is the drawn out 'explanation' at the end, but I put this down to years of watching contemporary cinema where ambiguity has become the preferred 'solution' - although not always.

NB: whilst I don't hate Van Sant's remake, just watching Hitch's original again serves to underline how utterly pointless a scene for scene remake was.

Psycho II

Richard Franklin and Tom Holland's sequel has enormous boots to fill, but hats off to them both, they really manage to do it with some skill. It's probably a big help that they got Perkins to reprise his role and the fact that Franklin was a Hitchcock nut (and friend) wouldn't have harmed the project.
Putting an ambiguous spin on the tale and a very, very dark undercurrent of humour helps the story and performances no end. Meg Tilly is splendid and brings her own physical and acting qualities to the role as Janet Leigh did in the original.
There's plenty of examples of homage to Hitch's classic, but Franklin (whose Roadgames is one of my fave Oz movies and features Jamie Lee Curtis - daughter of Janet of course) stamps his own style on proceedings giving the film a fresh and contemporary feel.
The only sore point I have really is the opening, which replays the shower scene from the original. It seems utterly pointless and redundant and adds nothing to the film whatsoever. I guess it was probably a producer who insisted on the use of this iconic footage, but I think it detracts from what turns out to be a wonderfully twisted and 'original' spin on a classic.
I'd say that Franklin's film whilst undoubtedly indebted to the original, has more in common with the likes of Argento's Tenebre - stylish, modern, twisty and wickedly subversive with its use of black comedy - all which can be applied to the original Psychoto some degree, but the flashes of gore and colour really instil it with the spirit of the times.

The Hound Of The Baskervilles

Got the Rathbone definitive collection the other day and I'm gonna spend the next few weeks working my way through these childhood favourites.
Nigel Bruce and Basil Rathbone are up there with any of the greatest duos in cinematic history for me; charming, witty and endlessly watchable.
Ironic that Holmes spends half of the film off screen, but it's still a classic and his reveal to Watson still has me howling with laughter.
Creaky, studio bound and absolutely of their time - I can't get enough of these.
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  #10892  
Old 20th November 2011, 11:41 AM
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Psycho

The Hound Of The Baskervilles
Two of my all-time favourites. Psycho for being one of the best Horror thrillers ever, and The Hound Of The Baskervilles for providing an amiable atmosphere that is both spine-chilling and cosy.

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  #10893  
Old 20th November 2011, 12:11 PM
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THE TERMINATOR is one of the greatest films ever made. TERMINATOR 2 is good but loses points for being cheesy. Part 3 and SALVATION are average.
I don't know about 'one of the greatest films ever made', but it is a lesson in what you can do with very little money and a great script (albeit slightly plagiarised from two episodes of The Outer Limits), coupled with fine performances and tight, horror inflicted direction.

Terminator 2 isn't as good a film, feeling slightly bloated at times, but is a great adrenaline ride with CGI which still looks amazing.

I hated the third instalment at first but it has grown on me tomorrow seen it. Salvation has gone in the opposite direction as, the first time I saw it, I liked the action sequences and general direction but, on repeated viewings, the wooden acting, leaden dialogue and horrible direction by McG really stands out.
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  #10894  
Old 20th November 2011, 12:26 PM
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I hated Salvation,felt like a cheap uninspired rip-off where the whole budget went towards cgi effects.
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  #10895  
Old 20th November 2011, 01:34 PM
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It's a pretty shoddy slasher but has a mind numbing scene of big Joe doing the bump and grind as a stripper! A must own for that alone.
And Spinell's character rents a room in a hotel by a cinema showing Cannibal Holocaust! There was a shoddy R1 release from Troma under the title Fanatic.
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  #10896  
Old 20th November 2011, 01:53 PM
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Bit of a catch up here...

Rubber (2010) - Hmmmm.....what's all this then? A murderous car tyre? Now that's something I haven't seen before. Not sure quite how to describe this, it's like a slasher movie filtered through David Lynch. Existentialist horror, maybe? Well, whatever it is, I really quite enjoyed this thoroughly bizarre offering about a car tyre that takes on a life of its own and, through sheer psychic power, it can make people's heads explode. So there's plenty of gruesome carnage. Maybe this film should've been called Scanner Tyre? It's really odd but very entertaining. Well worth a look.

Dog Pound (2010) - Gave this Blu-ray rental a spin not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. 3 young lads find themselves incarcerated in a Montana youth facility/prison and have to contend not only with the guards, but with the bullying inmates too. It's provocative stuff and no shortage of brutal violence. But it's more of a character study than an out-and-out prison film. Quite enjoyed this. Worth a look.

Battle: Los Angeles (2011) - It's all gung-ho action all the way, but it's incredibly entertaining. I nearly joined the Marines, it's such good propaganda.

But yeah, really enjoyed it. It's like Black Hawk Down meets Aliens. It's silly, but fun.

The Mechanic (2010) - Jason Statham returns to the screen in another hardman role, predictably enough. This time he's a hitman who's hired to kill his boss and mentor and this sets him on a path of revenge on those who hired him. It's the usual nonsense, but enjoyable enough.

The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) - Poor policewoman Anna Manni (Asia Argento) suffers from the titular Stendhal Syndrome, a condition that causes its victims to faint and hallucinate in the presence of beautiful art. This makes her easy prey for the rapist-killer that she's tracking. It's a film about obsession and insanity, when the lines between reality and fantasy get blurred. It's not in the same league as some of Dario's other works, but it has some interesting ideas, but overall it's not too great. The Blu-ray from BU is okay-ish, but has some strange grain stuff going on.


The Swarm (1978) - Michael Caine is Brad Crane (which rhymes with Caine ) and he's on the trail of a swarm of killer African bees that are threatening a local American town and could be heading to Houston! This is from Irwin Allen, purveyor of fine disaster movie fare, but this one's a bit of a misfire. Caine pretty much wanders through the movie, not doing much, for an expert he's pretty much ****ing clueless. But in the last five minutes, after 2 hours and 20 minutes have passed and numerous people have died, he finally comes up with a plan. Whoop-de-****ing-doo. About bloody time.

But still, with a decent cast on display it's not unwatchable, and I enjoyed it in spite of its shortcomings.

The Fighter (2010) - Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) and 'Irish' Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) are brothers who are also both boxers. Eklund is past his prime though and a crack addict to boot, whilst his younger brother wants to get out from beneath his brother's shadow and become a fighter in his own right. It's brilliantly done, though, and Bale steals the show completely. It's clever in that there's a film crew following Dicky around and we presume they're making a documentary about him as a fighter - but it turns out to be a documentary about crack addiction. It's riveting stuff and everything turns out well in the end. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Bale is superb, his performance is Oscar material, I reckon.

The Skull (1965) - Picked this up on Blu-ray and it is a marked improvement over the DVD. The skull of the Marquis De Sade becomes the focus of Dr Christopher Maitland's (Peter Cushing) obsession. It's all nonsense and silliness but Cushing and Lee make it thoroughly entertaining. Anything with this pair in is worth watching.

The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) - Also grabbed this on Blu-ray and it's worth the upgrade. Anton Diffring is a man who is 104 years old and needs a life-saving operation so that he can continue living. Lee is the candidate for operating and Hazel Court is the love interest. It's all good fun and top notch entertainment. Probably not top tier Hammer, but damn fine enjoyment nevertheless.

Death Race 2 (2010) - Less of a sequel and more of a prequel, with former Bros member Luke Goss taking the lead role this time round. In this one we get to see the origins of the Death Race and how one of the notorious characters in the first film came into existence. It's daft and stupid, but there's enough wanton violence and destruction to keep it interesting. Not great, but not too bad either. When will I....will I be famous? Sorry, it's seeing Luke Goss again that's done it...

The Resident (2011) - Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank) moves into a new apartment, but the landlord, Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), isn't as nice as he first seems. Nice to see Christopher Lee popping up in this, if only briefly. File this under 'Creepy Landlord Movie'. Not a bad effort from the newly resurrected Hammer, I must admit. Hammer has Risen from the Grave!

RED (2010) - Bruce Willis leads team of ageing retired ex-CIA operatives when they learn that all their names are on a hit list. It's good fun though and I really quite enjoyed this one. Nice cast too, with some good Brit stars in there for good measure, like Mirren and Cox. It's silly but it knows it and plays on that. Recommended.

Guns of the Magnificent 7 (1969) - In this, the third entry in the series, George Kennedy takes the lead role of Chris. The plot is basically a rehash of the first two, nothing really new here I'm afraid. You know the drill, poor Mexicans hire Chris to bust their leader out of jail, Chris then hires 6 specialists, they become heroes. What does set it apart is that the tone is a lot more grim here than in the first two and has some striking moments of cruelty and violence, like all the men buried up to their necks and then the soldiers riding horses over them. It's not graphic, but it's still quite sadistic. In spite of everything, I did really enjoy the film and I do love a good western.

44 Inch Chest (2009) - Had this on Blu-ray rental and it's brilliant. A real powerhouse of a film with a cast that are on fire, including Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Ian McShane and Tom Wilkinson. It basically all revolves around Winstone and his marriage break-up and his descent into madness and back again. Winstone has never been better. Brilliantly scripted and perfectly executed. It's an incredible film and I highly recommend it.

The Prophecy (1997) - It's all religious mumbo-jumbo but it's all done so well it's impossible not to enjoy it. Chris Walken is on fine, twitchy form as the embittered Gabriel who is at a loss as to why humans were given souls and elevated above the angels in the eyes of God and Mortensen is smooth and cunning, just as Lucifer should be. All round great performances and an interesting, if silly, story.

The Prophecy 2 (1998) - Christopher Walken returns as disillusioned angel Gabriel. This time he's hunting down a human woman who is carrying the child of an angel. This just won't do and he's on a mission to terminate the woman and her pregnancy. It's as silly as it sounds. It does seem as if the original story was far more lavish and ambitious, but it had its budget cut and this was the best they could do. Some interesting fantasy concepts and Walken is good, as ever, but it all feels a bit uninspired and bargain basement.

Deep Rising (1998) - Haven't seen this in over 10 years, so thought it might be time for a revisit. Basically what you have here is a monster movie wrapped up in an action film aesthetic. It's all action, tough talking and undersea monsters on the rampage. When a group of criminals head out to sea with the intention of taking over a pleasure cruiser and looting it, they are unprepared for what they find there. The ship appears deserted and there are signs of devastating carnage. It soon becomes apparent that they are not alone on the ship - there is something monstrous aboard and they have to fight for their survival and escape this underwater menace.

It's loads of fun and I enjoyed revisiting this one. The film holds up surprisingly well and the CGI, whilst a little primitive by today's standards, is used sparingly and efficiently and is very effective. Treat Williams is good as the unlikely hero and Wes Studi is a reliably menacing as the villain. Stephen Sommers actually manages to make a decent film here, compared to some of his more CGI-heavy recent disasters. Van Helsing was stupid and the Mummy films succeeded in boring me to tears. Shame he couldn't have stayed on course (excuse the pun) that he set out on with Deep Rising.

Overall, solid entertainment.

Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) - Rutger Hauer is a hobo who gets off the train and finds himself in the town from hell, where criminality, lawlessness and violence is rampant. When he finds himself in possession of a shotgun (and a seemingly never-ending supply of shells) he goes on a bloody rampage himself, delivering justice his way. It's daft as a brush but I found myself getting into the spirit of things and really enjoyed it.

Doc (1971) - Stacey Keach is Doc Holliday, who picks up a whore on his way to Tombstone, where he and Wyatt Earp hatch a plan to take over the town and get rich in the process. But Earp becomes fixated on vengeance whilst Doc begins to find he wants out. It's a fascinating character study and it's Keach's film all the way. You can see his anger at his uncontrollable coughing and his anger at knowing his time is short. Brilliant performances all round.

'You can't solve things with a gun.'
'You'd be surprised what you can solve with a gun.'


The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1940) - Charles Laughton is Quasimodo in this RKO production and he positively steals the show. His performance is incredible and has pretty much made it impossible for anyone to follow his foosteps in this role. Quasimodo lives in Notre Dame under the patronage of the church, but soon finds himself in trouble with the powers-that-be when he falls for the lovely gypsy girl, Esmeralda. This is a true masterpiece and I'd forgotten just how impressive it is.
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  #10897  
Old 20th November 2011, 02:08 PM
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Cobra Woman (1944) - Tollea is all set to get married when she is abducted and taken back to her people. Apparently she has a twin sister, Naja, who rules viciously and sadistically and her Grandmother wants Tollea to take her place and save her people. It's utter nonsense but thoroughly entertaining. It's quite ambitious in that it's shot in colour, which is something of a rarity for this type of film from the 40's. I enjoyed it, anyway!

War of the Colossal Beast (1958) - Typically wacky 50's sci-fi in which soldier Glenn Manning gets radiation poisoning and starts growing! He apparently reaches 60 feet tall. His sister is on the case though, and wants him found and helped. There are ridiculous plot turns, like how he reached 60 feet then disappeared. How does a man that big disappear? Not exactly hard to spot! The dialogue is a laugh riot and I thoroughly enjoyed every silly second of it.

'This footprint was made by a man 60 feet tall.'
'Glenn was 60 feet tall!'


****ing hell, how many 60 foot tall people are there? It's also odd how the film briefly switches to colour at the end, pretty pointless but must have seemed like a good gimmick at the time.

Nevertheless, I was entertained. What more can you ask for?

Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps (2010) - Oliver Stone delivers a sequel to the 80's hit and Michael Douglas returns as Gordon Gekko. Gekko has just got out of prison and discovers his daughter has a boyfriend who works on Wall Street. It's not long before he's wheeling and dealing, only this time things end on a happier note. It's not bad, but lacks substance really and doesn't come close to the original for making its point ferociously. Not bad though and Josh Brolin is outstanding as a ruthless trader. Worth a look and it does make some wry observations on the current political and economic climate. As Gekko himself observes - greed is now not only good, but it's legal.

Planet of the Apes (1968) - Charlton Heston is Taylor, an astronaut who crashes on a planet where evolution has taken a different path - the apes are intelligent and can talk whilst humans are unspeaking brutes. It's an undeniable classic and I had a great time revisiting this one - and seeing it in widescreen makes a huge difference too. Good stuff. The Blu-ray is stunning, too.

Doc Savage (1975) - Ron Ely is Doc Savage. Women love him, men want to be him, and his enemies want him dead so they can get their hands on his gold! It's as bizarre as it sounds but highly entertaining. This is cheesy. There's cheese on top of that cheese. With a cheese topping. Just sit back and watch the silliness and enjoy. Best served with a couple of beers. And some cheese.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) - Clint Eastwood is Josey Wales, farmer turned outlaw following the slaughter of his family by the Yankees. He's still fighting the war long after it's finished. It's not Clint's best, but it's still a damn good western with plenty of colourful characters and action set pieces to keep things rolling along. Not bad overall, quite enjoyed this one again.

The Fog (1979) - John Carpenter's atmospheric chiller gets a bit of a poor presentation on the UK BD. A group of long deceased lepers return to wreak their vengeance on the folks of Antonio Bay, the forefathers of whom killed them. It's thin on plot but big on atmosphere and remains one of my favourite Carpenter films. Just a shame the BD is a bit below par, but thankfully nowhere near as bad as Optimum's EFNY atrocity on Blu-ray.

The Green Mile (1999) - Tom Hanks meets and befriends a magic giant. But it's actually a prison movie. You figure it out. Nevertheless, I do quite like the film which is why I grabbed the Blu-ray. Darabont directs from the Stephen King story and it's not bad, Hanks is bearable in this. Just.

Source Code (2011) - Jake Gyllenhaal is the US pilot who is forced to repeatedly enter into the last 8 minutes prior to a terrorist attack on a train in order to identify the terrorist so that a further terrorist strike can be prevented. Think Groundhog Day with terrorists and you'd be close. However, it's brilliantly done and director Duncan Jones shows himself to be a real competitor to Christopher Nolan. Hopefully Jones will shake off the 'son of David Bowie' tag soon and be seen as a creative force in his own right. Highly recommended.

The Monster Maker (1944) - A real bargain basement shocker this one, but not unenjoyable. A mad scientist looking to develop a cure for acromegalay also perfects how to infect someone with it, which he does - into the father of the woman he is obsessed with. It's gloriously cheap and cheerful, but this only adds to the charm. The print on the Cayman DVD is a bit battered, but serviceable. Give it a go, I quite enjoyed it. Undemanding entertainment.

Pandorum (2009) - Gave this Blu-ray rental a spin. Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid are two astronauts who awaken from hypersleep to find that their spacecraft is overrun with malevelont creatures. Or is it? There is a syndrome called Pandorum that causes space travellers to go nuts. So are the creatures real or is it the Pandorum syndrome? Intriguing and although shot on an obviously modest budget it looks extremely impressive. Most of it works, but some of it doesn't. Well worth a look though.

Psycho (1960) - Picked up the Blu-ray of this and it looks stunning. We all know the tale, Norman Bates runs an out-of-the-way motel, but he's a little bit mad and is bumping people off. He's also got a mother fixation, which doesn't help matters. Evn 50 years on the film still has some potent scenes and deals with some very strong themes. An absolute classic, and one I'd never seen in widescreen, so that was nice.

Fertile Ground (2009) - Another Blu-rental. A young couple relocate to the husband's family home out in the country following a messy and traumatic miscarriage. But within their new home, are the ghosts of the past really dead? Things inevitably get weird. Not an entirely successful effort and I found myself getting a bit bored, to be honest.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) - I thought this was a bit like taking The Matrix and Dark City, mixing them up and adding in a love story. It just about works and it is very entertaining. So it's a thumbs up from me.

Killers (2010) - Yet another Blu-ray rental. Jen (Katherine Heigl) falls for Spencer (Ashton Kutcher). They get married and settle down. What she doesn't know is that he's a former contract killer and when the bullets start flying her world is turned upside down. It's harmless enough, but that Heigl woman is really annoying.

Withnail and I (1987) - Picked this up cheap on BD and it was great to catch up with it again. When Withnail and friend go on holiday by mistake it's all fun and games - with Monty taking a shine to Withnail's friend. Brilliant, brilliant film. Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant give the performances of their lives, which they've never bettered IMO.

'I must have some booze. I demand to have some booze.'

Asylum (2008) - An old asylum with a gruesome history is turned into a college campus, but it's not long before its bloody past starts creeping into the present. It's all a bit dull and predictable. Below average horror offering with crap actors and poor production values.

Jennifer's Body (2010) - Jennifer (Megan Fox) becomes possessed by a demon when a Satanic ritual goes wrong. Her friend (Amanda Seyfried) twigs that's something wrong and tries to sort things out. Bit crap really. The Blu-ray rental looked very nice, shame the film itself is shit.

Bonded By Blood (2010) - More Mockney antics from the likes of Tamer Hassan and company. Thankfully Danny Dyer is mercifully absent. This tells the story of what happened before Rise of the Foot Soldier and it's just as cringe inducing. Lots of Mockney lads trying to out-Cockney each other. It's laughable. Based on the true story of the Essex, Rettendon landrover shootings, it's just as ineffectual as the previous two stabs at the story. When is someone going to be honest enough to tell Tamer Hassan that he's a lousy actor? He's that bad I almost wanted Craig Fairbrass back in the role of Pat. That should give an indication of how bad it is.

Devil's Playground (2010) - Speaking of Fairbrass, he turns up in this crap Brit zombie movie.And not only are we subjected to Fairbrass, but we get Danny Dyer too. A drug test trial goes wrong when the participants die and come back as....well...zombies. Seen it all before. Yawn. Nice Blu-ray picture, shit film.
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Old 20th November 2011, 02:28 PM
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Tekken (2009) - It's the future and Tekken are a powerful corporation who run society. They also run a fight tournament called Ironfist and when a young lad joins the torunament, it's clear he's out for revenge on the owners of Tekken. Director Dwight Little positively drives the film along at a breakneck pace and it's wall-to-wall action from start-to-finish. Shamefully, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this. Glad I gave this Blu-ray rental a spin. Recommended.

A Study in Terror (1965) - A semi-classic Brit horror that's not quite in the same league as Hammer or Amicus, but is very good nonetheless. When Jack the Ripper starts leaving a bloody trail of mutilated prostitutes, Holmes is called in to solve the case. Which he does, although he doesn't tell anyone. That's the only bit that really baffled me. Otherwise this is a decent Brit shocker with a veritable stack of Brit acting talent on display. Well worth a look if you haven't seen it. I watched the 16x9 broadcast version that was on the Beeb recently.

The Warrior's Way (2010) - Jang is an Asian assassin who flees to America in the time of the Wild West. But his clan, the Sad Flutes, are on his trail. He also invokes the ire of a local bully soldier and his band of merry men. It's all done in such a demented way that it's hard not to like it. It's thoroughly bizarre, setting Asian fantasy violence in the Wild West is a curious mix, but in a strange way it really works. Nice Blu-ray and I'm glad I gave it a rent.

The Expendables (2010) - Blu-ray. Stallone assembles a cast of b-movie greats to populate this homage to the 80's action flick. The Expendables are a crack team of special ops who are assigned the job of infiltrating a tinpot regime. It's all big guns, loud explosions and tough talk, but something really felt lacking here. In spite of the impressive cast of action heroes, something just didn't feel like it was working. Overall, though, it's pretty enjoyable.

A Perfect Getaway (2010) - Blu-ray. Three couples travelling parallel to each other across a remote Hawaiian island learn that killers, posing as a couple, are heading their way, if they're not there already. Each couple start to view each other with suspicion. It's pretty predictable though, but Timothy Olyphant puts in a good performance, as does Steve Zahn. Not brilliant, but a passable time waster.

Unthinkable (2010) - Samuel L. Jackson is the master torturer/interrogator with a Government mandate. When a homegrown American turns Islamic terrorist and declares that he has planted three nuclear devices in three major US cities, it's time to bring in Jackson to find out where these devices are stashed. His job: get the information at any cost. There are no limits to what he is allowed to do. Carrie Moss is the voice of conscience and the film raises some interesting questions. But, this being a Hollywood film, the issues are not probed nearly deep enough for the film to have any real impact. Still, not bad, and it kept me interested. Just don't expect anything too profound.

If... (1968) - Lindsay Anderson's anarchic drama centering around a posh private school is brilliant in its dissection of class divisions and social etiquette. Malcolm McDowell is on top form as the pupil who decides he's not only going to rebel, he's going to wage war on the establishment. Absolute classic and shows what great Brit cinema is all about.

Stone (2010) - Edward Norton is a felon in the pen and Robert De Niro is the man assigned to assess him as his parole comes up. But Stone (Norton) sets up De Niro in a web of intrugue with his wife. Unfortunately, aside from the verbal sparring between De Niro and Norton, the film is a complete waste of time and pretty forgettable. So forgettable, in fact, I had to look it up to remind myself what it was about!

Maniac Cop 2 (1990) - Lustig's own follow up to the original film takes us deeper into the dark world of Matt Cordell, maniac cop, and is more of a standard slasher flick than the previous entry. Still, it's gory shocks and fun galore, so who's complaining? I'm not! This really needs a BD release (hint hint!).

Edge of Darkness (2010) - Blu-ray rental. Mel Gibson is homicide cop Thomas Craven, when his daughter is shot dead on the porch of his house, he obviously sets out to find out who and why. What he uncovers is not what he expects and soon unravels a sinister conspiracy involving crooked businessmen and politicians and dealings in nuclear materials. It's not bad, but could've been better. It didn't quite succeed at holding your interest throughout and tended to drag in places.

Delirious (1991) - John Candy is the writer of a trashy soap opera when he gets knocked unconscious and awakens to find the world transformed into that very soap opera. But he also soon realises that whatever he writes actually happens and sets about placing himself in some crazy situations. It's harmless enough, but not really very funny. Vaguely amusing is the highest praise I can give it.

You Can't Take It With You (1938) - Frank Capra teams up with James Stewart and Lionel Barrymore to make this amiable romp about an unconventional family at loggerheads with the big business that want to acquire their property and land for development. It's all about how money isn't everything and that freedom is better than being a wage slave. It's fun, though, and well delivered. I liked it.

Baseline (2009) - More mockney antics, but without a budget. ****ing rubbish.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1957) - Spencer Tracey is the stranger who arrives in Black Rock and meets with hostility. He's looking for an old friend of his, a Japanese farmer. But, being soon after Pearl Harbor, he begins to suspect that the locals may have done something bad to him, as the townsfolk are hell bent on him not getting out to the farmer's homestead. It's basically a film about crossed wires and misunderstandings, but it's brilliantly done. The locals are stupid for the most part, but menacing nonetheless. Watch for a young Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine too. Brilliant.

Starship Troopers (1997) - Another Blu-ray upgrade. Verhoeven's gung-ho sci-fi action spectacular charts the fortunes of mobile infantry battling an alien species. It's all mad shit and big guns and bigger explosions, but it's not unlikeable. I don't get why the film is accused of being fascist propaganda, as it's anything but. If anything, it takes the piss out of the military and all its various stereotypes. There's not a single 'real' character in the film, everyone is a caricature, and this is obviously Verhoeven's intent. It's actually anti-fascism. But that's America for you. If it's not fascism it'd be them damn Commies.

Personally, I take it at face value - it's a mindless sci-fi action epic and nothing more. Taken like that, it's first class entertainment.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) - I'd never seen this TV movie from '73, but I'd heard good things about it, so chucked it in for a watch. Well, this was a real treat from start-to-finish. A young couple move into the family home they've inherited...but they're not alone. There are malevolent creatures in the house who want the young wife for themselves. Although shot on a TV budget, it's a really creepy little number and highly effective. The monstrous little creatures really did give me the creeps, they're thoroughly unpleasant. Really enjoyed this one. Brilliant.

The Last Seven (2010) - Blu-ray rental. 7 people awake to themselves in a deserted London and set out to unravel the mystery of what has happened to them, which is well signposted and very predictable. Not very good really and I'm getting sick of seeing Tamer Hassan in every Brit film that seemingly comes out these days. My advice? Avoid!

Night of the Demons (2010) - Blu-ray rental. Remake of Kevin Tenney's rather forgettable 80's horror. This actually turned out be rather good and, IMO, improves on the lacklustre original (in which very little happens) and manages to capture that 80's vibe whilst retaining a modern sensibility. Some nice effects and decent acting make this worthwhile. But Eddie Furlong hasn't aged well. He looks rough as hell these days.

Ghost Story (1974) - A uni graduate invites two old school chums to spend some time with him at the ancestral home he has inherited. The place is rumoured to be haunted and one of their number begins to have some unusual encounters with the former occupants of the house. It's dull as dishwater and **** all happens. It tries to generate an M.R. James feel (even referencing him at one point) but it fails miserably. A complete and utter waste of celluloid IMO. I wondered if I'd respond differently to it this time around, but I didn't. Nice presentation from Nucleus though - top job.

Give 'Em Hell, Malone (2009) - Thomas Jane is Malone, a hardened killer following the murder of his family - and he's out for vengeance. It's all big guns, shoot-outs and corny dialogue, but it's also loads of fun. The film has a film noir script but filmed in a modern style and it works brilliantly. Director Russell Mulcahy does a first rate job and proves, finally, he's capable of making a decent film (I can finally forgive him for Tale of the Mummy). Highly recommended. Brilliant.

Taxi Driver (1975) - Martin Scorcese's searing portrait of misfit Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is an absolute masterpiece, no question about it. Bickle takes a job as a taxi driver in the seedy underbelly of New York and encounters a child prostitute who he becomes obsessed with saving. It's a slow burner, but the locations and characters that populate the film make it riveting viewing. Really enjoyed revisiting this one and the film has lost none of its power or magic.

Enter the Dragon (1973) - Bruce Lee goes all James Bond and goes undercover and enters a martial arts contest with a view to toppling the criminal empire run by its host, the deadly Mr Han. It's all chop sockey and gung ho action, but it's a visual feast and Lee shows us what might have been, had he lived. Probably the most successful martial arts film ever made and when you watch it you can see why. It dispenses with much of the Asian sensibility and embraces the American cinema tradition instead, but in its own way it works extremely well. Fantastic soundtrack from Lalo Schifrin, some b-movie greats like John Saxon and Jim Kelly, and directed with flair by Robert Clouse. It's a winner, even if it isn't the best film the genre has to offer. Enjoyable though. Glad I picked up the Blu-ray, it looks amazing.

Hanna (2010) - A young girl is trained by her father to be a ruthless assassin. Once she comes of age, she decides it's time to confront the female assassin (Cate Blanchett) who killed her mother. It's not as predictable as it sounds and comes off as almost a kind of post-modern action film. I really liked this, more than I thought I would.

The Losers (2010) - A group of Special Forces Operatives are left for dead in Bolivia during a mission by their CIA boss. So you know it's revenge time, done in spectacular Hollywood style. Quite enjoyed this one.

Drive Angry (2011) - News alert: Nic Cage in another good film shocker! This time around he's Milton, a man who has come back from the dead (from hell, actually) to exact revenge on the religious cult that killed his daughter and who plan to sacrifice her baby. It's all violence and guns but great fun. An outstanding little film, actually. I enjoyed this immensely - I particularly like the 'Accountant', a nice touch. Well worth a watch.

Season of the Witch (2011) - Good heavens - another decent Nic Cage film! This is getting worrying. This time he's leading a band of 14th Century Knights to transport a witch to a remote monastery where her fate will be decided. It's believed that her sorcery is the source of the Black Death. But they soon come to realise that she may well be something rather more powerful than a simple witch. Nicely shot and good performances from Cage and Ron Perlman. I quite liked the idea that the film takes the stance that witchcraft and evil powers were real and not just superstitious nonsense. Recommended.
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Old 20th November 2011, 02:53 PM
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Blimey, Daemonia, that's quite a bit of watching! What time period do those three posts cover?
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My Soul To Take (2010) - Wes Craven should just give up. This was ****ing woeful, glad I only rented the Blu-ray instead of buying it. Basically, some nutter called the Riverton Ripper disappears whilst being transported and was never found, but presumed dead. On that same fateful night, 7 local kids are born prematurely. Urban legend has it that the 7 kids each represent a facet of the Ripper's personality. But when someone starts bumping off all the kids, they change their minds and decide that the soul of the Ripper must have entered just one of them. Complete rubbish.

Gamer (2009) - Gerard Butler is Kable, a player in a real-live game and can only do what his 'gamer' will allow him to - which isn't always good in the heat of a war zone! This was actually loads of fun, if more than a little derivative. Still, it's worth a look, I reckon, being from the team that gave us Crank.

Crazy Heart (2010) - Jeff Bridges is washed up, ageing country rock star Bad Blake. But when he meets a younger woman he starts to become inspired to change his drunken, womanising ways and clean up and return to his former glory. This wasn't bad, far better than I thought it would be and Bridges is on top form as the belligerent and constantly drunk Bad Blake. I'd recommend this, give it a go.

Tron Legacy (2010) - I'm a fan of the original, so I was unsure how they'd pull this sequel off. But they do, brilliantly. Sam Flynn finds his way into the grid and is surprised to find his father in there. But things have gone awry and one of Kevin Flynn's creations has taken over the virtual world and now father and son must fight back. It's entertaining and done with such brilliance and creativity that I just sat with a big grin all the way through it. The retro-feel 80's soundtrack is exceptional. Perfect. 10 out of 10 from me.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008) - An SS General (David Thewlis) is relocated to a Jewish concentration camp, which spells trouble for the future of his family. His son becomes fixated by the camp, thinking it's a farm run by people wearing striped pyjamas and befriends a young lad in the camp. Things move towards a very powerful and shocking climax.

Lawman (1971) - When a group of rowdy cowboys shoot up a town as part of their drunken high jinx, they unknowingly shoot an old man dead. But lawman Jared Maddox (Burt Lancaster) is on their trail and determined to bring the men to justice. It boasts a great cast and Michael Winner directs with a surprisingly sure hand and ensures the film never gets boring. Really enjoyed revisiting this one again.

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) - With Tamer Hassan in the lead role you just know from the outset this just isn't going to work. He's useless in any material that doesn't involve being a London thug/hooligan. Basically, a group of prisoners being transferred to another facility find themselves run off the road - and they break free. Only trouble is they're in hillbilly cannibal country, which is never a good thing. The convicts run about a lot, getting killed, shouting at each other, finding some loot, and Hassan spouts some of the most idiotic dialogue I've heard in a long time. Rubbish, really.

The Karate Kid (2010) - Had this on a Blu-ray rental, as I was curious to see this remake. I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. It's the same story, but transposed to China, which was an interesting move. As a consequence, the film resembles more of an HK action flick, rather than a Hollywood movie. When Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother relocate to China following the death of his father, he soon finds himself the subject of bullying. Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) takes him under his wing and trains him to enter a martial arts competition where he can face his bullies. Overall it wasn't bad, certainly not unlikeable.

A Prophet (2009) - Interesting French prison drama chronicling the life of inmate Malik. Malik is an Arab, but finds himself under the protection of the Corsicans - this puts him in a hard situation, the Corsicans look down on him and treat him as a slave, whilst the Arabs hate him because they feel bertrayed. But Malik mamipulates every available opportunity and soon begins to build a criminal empire. Brilliant and riveting, I recommend this highly.

Wake Wood (2011) - Grieving parents move to a remote English village where they discover the villagers have the power to bring back the dead - but only if they've been dead less than a year and they can only be brought back for 3 days. But the parents aren't honest about how long their child has been dead and when they bring her back something's just not right. An interesting idea, but I found that it looked a bit amateurish and it tended to drag at times. Not a bad effort from the new Hammer studio, but I've seen better.

Jonah Hex (2010) - Another comic strip gets the Hollywood treatment - and they **** it up royally. What the **** happened? It's as if huge chunks are missing from the story and that the whole thing was thrown together haphazardly. Josh Brolin is Hex, a gunslinger hunting down the man responsible for killing his family. He also has the ability to make the dead talk to him, but this was never fully explained and was simply baffling. Not sure what happened here, but it seems like something went badly wrong and was finished in a hurry. Bit crap, really. The Blu-ray looks nice and that's about the best thing I can say about it, unfortunately.

Splice (2009) - Two bio-physicists are doing groundbreaking research by splicing together the DNA from different species to create hybrid creatures that can produce enzymes to treat human conditions. But they take things one step too far when they splice togther the DNA of a human with an animal, with predictably catastrophic consequences. It's not bad, overall, with some interesting ideas, but did seem to rip off other films, such as Species. I can't say I didn't enjoy it, but the film did seem to lack a bit of sparkle to make it a bit more lively.

Robin Hood - Director's Cut (2010) - I can't quite put my finger on it, but I don't think Crowe is anywhere near as good as he thinks he is (I'll never forget his comments regarding Laurence Olivier). However, it's not a bad reinvention of the Robin Hood legend and Ridley Scott drives things along at a healthy pace. The outside shots of castles and the like are bit CGI-obvious though. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed it, even if it does take a few liberties with history and geographically is a bit all over the place. Well, this is Hollywood, after all.

The Horseman (2008) - A father is grieving the loss of his daughter to drink and drugs, she died choking on her own vomit. As if that wasn't bad enough, he's sent a porn video she made just before she died. This makes him very angry and he's out for revenge. It's brutal as hell and even me, the jaded viewer that I am, found some of it extremely violent! Definitely recommended. This is proper hard man cinema from the land down under. Give it a go!

Once Upon a Time in America (1984) - A simply magnificent piece of cinema from the mighty Sergio Leone. Epic doesn't even begin to cover it. It follows a group of young hoodlums as they travel through life on a career of crime, through their lives and loves, and how things turn sour. It's absolutely brilliant and one of my favourite films of all-time. Leone captures old time New York perfectly and some of the shots are breathtaking. Couple this with Morricone's heart-rending score and it's pure movie magic. Unmissable.

The Cassandra Crossing (1976) - Activists break into the biological lab at the UN and get caught in a firefight - only one activist survives and escapes, but he's infected with a disease! And he's on a train, so the authorities quarantine the train and send it hurtling towards the Cassandra Crossing, an old bridge they know will collapse! It's tense and exciting and there's a wonderful cast assembled (I even spotted Ray Lovelock!). It's great fun and a typical example of 'virus on the rampage' films that were so popular in the 70's. It's a shame the UK DVD has a non-anamorphic print, but it didn't look too shabby. Recommended.

A Challenge for Robin Hood (1968) - A departure from Hammer's usual gothic horror offerings, this still has all the tell-tale signs of a Hammer production, and is all the better for it. When Robin is accused of murder by his greedy and corrupt cousin, he runs off to the woods and forms a band of Merry Men and proceeds to cause havoc and disruption to his cousin and the Sheriff of Nottingham. It's loads of fun and I had a thoroughly good time. Excellent!

The Joneses (2009) - A family moves into an American suburb and are living the American Dream. However, they're not a real family, they're sales people and the aim is to make the neighbourhood want what they have. It raises some interesting questions about consumer culture and the politics of envy.

The Last Station (2009) - Drama focusing on the last days of Russian writer and political activist, Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer). It's interesting stuff as we see him put upon by so many different people - everybody wants something from him. There are the Tolstoyans who want him to sign over his copyright to his books to the Russian people, whilst his wife (Helen Mirren) wants to retain the copyright so that she can continue receiving royalties after his death. Lots of intriguiing side stories and its a fascinating look at his life. Nice Blu-ray too. Well worth a look.

Saw 7 (or Saw 3D) (2010) - Another muddled entry in the long-running series and it really is running out of steam by this point. There's some inventive traps and it's as equally gruesome as previous entries, but it all seemed a bit rushed and didn't really go anywhere. They also reintroduce a character from the first film, just to confuse things even more. I've lost track of who's who and what the story is about. Anyone else as baffled as me? Still, it was alright, I suppose. I watched the 2D version, but I can't imagine the 3D making it any better.

The Captain's Paradise (1953) - Alec Guinness is Captain Henry St. James, a man who believes he has found the recipe for perfect happiness. He has two women on the go - one a domesticated housewife and the other a frivolous party animal and in between, whilst on ship, he enjoys the intellectual company of men. However, this bliss wasn't going to last, and the women start to become dissatisfied (and each one is blissfully unaware of the other). It's loads of fun and Guinness is superb, as usual. The dialogue at times had me laughing out loud at its sheer sexism. Like when his wife is over the moon at receiving a vacuum cleaner.
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