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since 20/09/2008


Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (DVD) 25/09/2008

A worthy successor to the original trilogy

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (DVD) As soon as they said they were going to make a fourth Indiana Jones films, about twenty years after the originals, alarm bells started ringing in my head - probably in much the same way that a star wars fan would after hearing they were going to make episodes one, two and three. Why would someone want to mess with this amazing trilogy of movies? I mean, I would not have had an issue if the fourth film had come out a couple of years after the third - in fact I would have been very excited. But after this length of time? However my fear was completely unjustified because Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull is a remarkable movie. Both in it's own right and as part of the Indiana Jones "chronicles". Harrison Ford falls right back into the role as if he has never left it and the ensemble cast (Ray Winstone, Shia LeBeouf, Cate Blanchett, etc) work so well with him it's untrue. Unfortunately the death of Denholm Elliot lost one of my most loved characters from the original but you can't have it all. And who can't love a cameo from Jim Robinson from Neighbours. Alan Dale appears to be in everything these days.

Indiana Jones Trilogy Box Set 21/09/2008

Perfect fun for everyone

Indiana Jones Trilogy Box Set With the release of the fourth Indiana Jones movie this year, it was inevitable that I was going to want to go back to these movies, just so that I could do the perfect job of contrasting and comparing the old against the new if nothing else. I think part of me had forgotten how amazing these films are (even though I, like everybody else I have ever spoken to about the trilogy, was slightly underwhelmed by Temple of Doom - I mean it's still a great film but Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade blow it out the water) and how they have stood up to the test of time a lot better than Harrison Ford's other famous trilogy - Star Wars. After seeing these three masterpieces again, there was no way in my head that the fourth part of the trilogy (ha) was ever going to stand up to the classic status I had now set for it... although I was surprised to find it did. But that's another review for another time. Get on your hat and a sense of adventure and buckle in for a wild ride with this amazing trilogy.

Bugsy Malone (DVD) 21/09/2008

Perfect for adults and children alike

Bugsy Malone (DVD) I first saw Bugsy Malone when I was in school... so many years ago now and recently had the pleasure of watching it again. And it hadn't lost any of its charm. If anything I enjoyed watching it even more as an adult as I had as a child. It works on so many levels and I think that having had exposure to more "adult" gangster movies like the Godfather and Goodfellas showed you just how perfectly they had caught the nuances of the organised crime culture and transposed it onto children who more or less wanted run of the roost. And the musical numbers are vastly superior to most musicals I have seen. Great acting from everyone in this movie, as well as a young Jodie Foster, who does an amazing turn as the child equivalent of a gangster's moll. The use of custard pies instead of guns just highlights the absurdity of violence to a completely different level than I have ever seen before in a movie - or maybe I am reading into it too much and it was just a fun idea. Whatever way you look at it, this is one hell of a film.

Transformers - The Movie (Animated) (DVD) 21/09/2008

Some things are best left in the past

Transformers - The Movie (Animated) (DVD) I remember seeing this in the cinema over 20 years ago when I was but a child and having to put my dad through the horrors of watching something with his kids that he had no interest or knowledge of (something that I have tried to avoid with my nieces by keeping in touch with what is cool and watching stuff way below my intelligence threshold... or at least I think it is). I feel so sorry for him in hindsight. I recently bought this film on DVD again to relive the glory days. Were there any toys cooler than Transformers? They were great. Unfortunately this film has either not aged very well or I was too young to realise just how rubbish it was on the first go. The only good thing about it was the nostalgia element for me... even though there is an issue there because this did mark the turning point where the old characters gave way to a new set and the Transformers world as we knew it changed. So even from that perspective it is somewhat lacking. Still, though, I did enjoy the experience of watching it again, if not the actual movie itself... if that makes any sense.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street DVD 21/09/2008

If only all musicals were directed by Tim Burton

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street DVD This movie is fresh in my mind because I only watched it very recently. It is yet another of my "I can't believe I didn't get my finger out and go to the cinema to see this" movies - of which there are a lot. Not to say the experience in the comfort of my own home was less than perfect. It is shot so well (of course it is - it's a Tim Burton movie) and the acting and musical numbers are superb. I love how there really isn't a decent singer amongst them but they give it their all and deliver their lines with such passion that it works. And it has the added bonus if being a complete gore fest, not shying away from the torrents of blood that erupt from Sweeney Todd's victims throats. All good fun and exectuted perfectly. It's definitely one to watch. And to watch again. Very tempted to buy the soundtrack, too. And watch out for a great cameo from Sacha Baron Cohen - who is better known for his role of Borat or Ali G.

Juno (DVD) 21/09/2008

Film of the year

Juno (DVD) I wanted to see Juno in the cinema after seeing the trailer just before some underwhelming film that I don't even remember now and recall the advert being the highlight of the whole experience. Suffice to say, I missed it as is the way with these things and had to hold out until a DVD release. In situations like this you can end up hyping said film up in your head, thus leading to an unsatisfactory experience when you watch it. This is so not what happened with Juno. I would say this is possibly the best film I have watched this year. I loved every moment of it - was amazed by the charcterisation and the acting and the script. I felt for these characters in a way that I hadn't in a movie for such a long time. The masterful way in which they crafter an opinion on two of the characters (I am always loath to go into too much detail in case I ruin the experience) and then turn it on their heads took my breath away. I can only describe it as a small epic film with not a bad moment in it.

Gladiator (DVD) 21/09/2008

Best Gladiator film ever

Gladiator (DVD) This is simply one of the best films that Russel Crowe has ever appeared in - period. He seems so at ease in the role and the film completely set me up for watching the television series Rome. For such a "civilised" culture, they had some very bizarre ideas on humanitarianism. Amazing effects (although I always felt that the CGI lions always seemed just that bit fake), amazing acting, amazing characters, amazing writing, amazing direction - the general gist is "This film is amazing". As well as Russel Crowe (who seems to be an amalgamation of Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo from Rome) we have the amazing acting of Joaquin Phoenix in the movie. He works very well as a foil against Russel Crowe and make the movie even more watchable. Renowned for being the last film Oliver Reed appeared in (he died during the filming) and the replacement of some of his scenes in unnoticeable CGI as well as having a catalogue of continuity errors (including Russel Crowe sporting a digital watch - I still haven't seen any of these errors but see if you can spot some) this is a must see movie.

Dirty Dancing (DVD) 21/09/2008

I didn't have the time of my life

Dirty Dancing (DVD) Although I actually secretly adored this film when I was younger (although I would never admit that to anyone and definitely not to my male friends who are always more interested in films where people shoot guns and there are explosions and it does no harm if there is an evil drug cartel involved somewhere) I don't think it has stood up very well to the test of time - like some films from this time has. It is still enjoyable enough in some respects and a film from the 80's that is set in the 60's should not seem so dated as it if already "historical" but for some reason it is. I have female friends who go on about how the final scene is one of the best things they have ever seen in a movie but on rewatch it did absolutely nothing for me. Jennifer Grey is much better in Ferris Bueller's day off and Patrick Swayze did a star turn in Donnie Darko and those are going to be the two films I remember them for.

Pinocchio (DVD) 21/09/2008

Classic Disney at its best

Pinocchio (DVD) Pinnochio, to me, is a timeless movie. I think that is some of the magic of the early Disney films - they could transport you into this amazing world that made you laugh and made you cry. The only thing bringing you crashing back down sometimes was how the quality of the movie had seemed to diminish with time. The transfers to DVD have definitely done a lot to remedy that and it great to have such a classic movie as part of my collection. Watching it again reminded me of why I had fallen in love with this movie as a child. The beautiful and mischievous naievity of Pinnochio and the constant ignoring of his conscience Jiminy Cricket as well as the hindsight "I should have listened" at every turn not only amuses but also acts as a bit of a moral compass in some respects. And the adventure of a boy who is different and tries to fit in and always secretly wants to be something more can also touch even the hardest of hearts.

Iron Man (DVD) 20/09/2008

Iron Man absolutely rules the roost

Iron Man (DVD) Why has it taken so long for an Iron Man Movie to be made? This has been an ideal movie for me for a long time now - I love all the Marvel characters but Iron Man was the one that was really missing from the Big Screen. Ghost Rider and Daredevil are all well and good (unless you have seen Daredevil and know that's just not true) but Tony Stark and Iron Man are just two (or, technically, one) of the most amazing characters ever created. I know he is a millionnaire playboy but he is just so... real. Alcohol problem - a bit too much of an eye for the ladies. You don't need your clean cut superman nonsense when you have someone like this - someone with a bit of depth to him. Obviously the good thing about having to wait so long is that we got the perfect casting in the role. After seeing it, would you ever be able to imagine anybody else but Robert Downey Junior in the role? And he has such amazing support from Gwyneth Paltrow (who I normally don't rate as an actress) and Jeff Bridges to name just a couple. I am very excited about a sequel and I hope they start on it sooner rather than later. Possibly my favourite superhero movie ever.

Casino Royale (DVD) 20/09/2008

Best Bond ever?

Casino Royale (DVD) So admit it? Who, like me, was shocked and disgusted when they heard that Daniel Craig was going to be the next Bond? I yelled at the television screen that it was the worst casting mistake since Timothy Dalton! No, worse than that, George Lazenby was going to get a run for his money. It wasn't going to stop me going to see the film, of course. I am a firm believe that, if you are going to complain about someone then at least have the courtesy to go and make sure it is justified. And was it justified? The short answer is no. The long answer is, Daniel Craig potentially gave the best portrayal of Bond ever. I was hooked in the first five minutes (after thinking the beginning was bordering on tacky and then warming to it). And after that it was non stop. From the chase scene at the beginning to the emotionally exhausting and adrenaline pumping climax the film had me in its grip. And imagine my excitement at the thought that the next one is out very soon.

Bridget Jones's Diary (DVD) 20/09/2008

Just for girls?

Bridget Jones's Diary (DVD) I am not a big fan of the rom com genre I have to say. Not many people would admit to being. Suffice to say, when my girlfriend decided it would be good fun to drag me to the cinema to see a film that just screamed out "this is one for the girls" I was suitably horrified. I mean, what if someone saw me buy the tickets? I had flashbacks to my childhood when I chose amongst a group of friends to see the Care Bears movie over Police Academy 4 just to impress a girl. I wasn't happy. So imagine how disgusted I was at myself to discover that it was a really good film. I mean, it didn't get me rushing out to pick up a copy of Notting Hill or anything, and the sequel was maybe one of the worst films I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through. But as a modern day "homage" (I don't want to say rip off) of Pride and Prejudice with lots of funny scenes and moments, it works perfectly. And it stands up to further watchings on DVD.

Father Ted - Complete (Box Set) (DVD) 20/09/2008

Possibly the Best Comedy ever

Father Ted - Complete (Box Set) (DVD) I think it is possible that Father Ted is one of the best British Comedy Shows ever. Even to this day, ten years after it's end, I still find myself talking to work colleagues about it. There was never a bad episode made and that makes The Complete Box Set a must have. The characters are amazing (from Fathers Ted, Dougall, Jack and the amazingly sublime Mrs Doyle to the small guest roles like Father Stone and the hilarious performance of Graham Norton as Father Noel Furlong), the situations ridiculously surreal and laugh out loud funny, and the writing amazingly nonsensical. It is such a shame that Dermot Morgan was taken from us so soon and it is always with a sad finality that I view the last episode. But every single one is a gem and worth watching. My only advice is to try and space out the viewing because watching too many episodes in one sitting could do you serious harm - I couldn't breathe with laughter sometimes.

Frank Miller's 300 20/09/2008

High Hopes

Frank Miller's 300 I think sometimes if you are really excited about a film release, you can be even more disappointed when it doesn't come up to scratch. That, for me, is 300 in a nutshell. Having read the Graphic Novel and loving Frank Miller's work I had high hopes for this. You only have to look at how well Sin City was adapted to see what potential his body of work has. But 300 was lacking some of it's spark. Now don't get me wrong I did enjoy watching the film - but the real test for me is "would I watch it again?" and, sadly, the answer this time has to be no. I'm glad I did see it, mainly because I would still be sitting wondering what it was like if I hadn't, but it really didn't do anything for me. Still a thorougly enjoyable film if you don't get your hopes up. But my advice is to grab the graphic novel.
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