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Ciao gone the same way as DooYoo. Time to depart, methinks.

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since 11/02/2012


The Infiltrator (Blu-ray) 04/02/2017

Infiltrating the Infiltrator

The Infiltrator (Blu-ray) The Infiltrator (2016) Directed by: Brad Furman Writing Credits: Ellen Brown Furman, Robert Mazur Produced by: Paul M. Brennan, Brad Furman, Miriam Segal, Don Sikorski Genre: Crime | Drama Length: 127 minutes Certificate: 15 IMDb Rating: 7.1 Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger The film starts with stills of surveillance footage. We see data banks, those big old clunky mainframes that were popular in the 1980s that held somewhere around a gigabyte in storage. So big that they took up and entire room, and needed dozens of cooling fans the size of satellite dishes. We also see piles and piles of Benjamins ($100 notes) in suitcases. There is a hand-drawn outline of the United States, with pickup points for money laundering. Cities are not named, but I'd take a guess at Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia are the main candidates. Just when you think the fun has ended, some text appears on the screen! "During the 1980s, the Medellin Cartel smuggled 15 tons of cocaine a week, worth more than $400 million, into the United States. The majority entered the country through Southern Florida." Then it tells us my worst fear. My geography is Brad Pitt. It's not Miami, it's Tampa Bay. The year is 1985, and this is "The Infiltrator". And it's based on a true story! Rush's "Tom Sawyer" plays in the background, as we get our first live pictures. I'm not really sure what the relevance of a Canadian band is when we're in southern United ...

The Revenant (2015) (DVD) 20/01/2017

Irrelevant Revenant

The Revenant (2015) (DVD) The Revenant (2015) Directed by: Alejandro G. Inarritu Writing Credits: Mark L. Smith, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Michael Punke Produced by: Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Arnon Milchan, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon, James W. Skotchdopole Genre: Adventure | Drama | Thriller Length: 156 minutes Certificate: 15 IMDb Rating: 8.0 Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson The film starts with a scene of a family sleeping. The mother and child are of Native American appearance, while the man is clearly Caucasian. There is what appears to be a dream sequence involving a lone tree. The man's family is dancing around the tree, while he walks towards it and them. Almost like a dream, we skip to a tepee, which is burning on a frosty field. The child is dead in the mother's arms, while the man looks on in the distance. I don't speak whatever language it was, and if I did I'd understand what was said. It's only then when I realise I don't have the foreign language subtitles on, so I rewind to the beginning again. The voice says "It's okay, son. I know you want this to be over. I'm right here. I will be right here. But, you don't give up. You hear me? As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe. Keep breathing." After listening to that, I kinda think that I was better off not knowing what it all said, because I know for sure that I have no idea what it means! To me, a film intro is meant to gear you up for what will follow, but the introduction to ...

Schindler's List (Blu-ray) 04/01/2017

Oskar's List

Schindler's List (Blu-ray) Schindler's List (1993) Directed by: Steven Spielberg Writing Credits: Thomas Keneally, Steven Zaillian Produced by: Branko Lustig, Gerald R. Molen, Steven Spielberg Genre: Drama | History Length: 195 minutes Certificate: 15 IMDb Rating: 8.9 Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley The film starts with the striking of a match. The scene is shot in colour unlike the majority of the rest of the film. The flame lights a candle before moving to another one nearby. A Jewish family is observing the Sabbath, and a Hebrew prayer can be heard being recited. The family disappears from shot, and are replaced by only the candles, which flicker on a plain tablecloth. As the prayer ends, the camera focuses on a solitary candle. The candle is withering and eventually dies out in a stream of smoke. The scene is then replaced with a shot of a train funnel which bellows steam. Only this isn't in colour, it is in black and white. This is the moment where Jews arrive in Krakow to register as Jewish people, and is where we first meet Oskar Schindler. The colour scene probably represents a Poland before the Nazis invaded. A family sitting down for a meal together, safe in the knowledge that they would enjoy what they are about to eat, and regale in the conversations of times previous. I also think that the extinguishing of the flame signifies a very different life for those that once sat around the table. And for some, their lives were extinguished the day Hitler's army ...

Carry On At Your Convenience 20/12/2016

Carry On Carrying On at Your Convenience

Carry On At Your Convenience Carry On At Your Convenience (1971) Directed by: Gerald Thomas Writing Credits: Talbot Rothwell Produced by: Peter Rogers Genre: Comedy Length: 90 minutes Certificate: PG IMDb Rating: 5.9 Starring: Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey The film starts with that all-too-familiar cheesy "Carry On" music, and the opening credits begin to roll. Literally. You see, they're on a cartoon roll of toilet paper. It tells us that this is "Carry On at Your Convenience". It also tells us that it might be "Down the Spout", "Ladies Please be Seated", "Up the Workers", or even "Labour Relations Are the People Who Come to See You When You're Having a Baby". They pull out all the stops on these opening credits like no other film in the "Carry On" franchise. The first live scenes tell us that we are about to enter the world of WC Boggs, makers of fine toiletware (est. 1870). Workers are going about their business of the manufacturing of toilets, which, to coin a phrase, might well be a crap job. Speaking of which, if you ever find yourself in London, or if you actually live in London, take a look in the Parcel Yard, a Fuller's pub inside King's Cross St. Pancras station. It was converted from an old parcel office within the station, and the toilets are original Thomas Crappers. I actually don't go there for the toilets – I am a big fan of Fuller's beers – but I thought that was a unique touch. I always make a trip to the Parcel Yard when I'm in London. It is one of those ...

Christmas Holidays: home or away? 11/12/2016

Snow Joke About This

Christmas Holidays: home or away? I am away for Xmas, and likely will be for some time to come. You see, I am not in my country of birth, and although I can video call family back home I don't think it's the same. I don't think they do, either. For me, however, it's not about Xmas as a holiday, but about being with family and friends. I am 4,000 miles away from the UK and I have grown to find it easy to be detached from them. Not because I'm a recluse or anything like that, but because this is the life I chose. I married an American woman, and clearly we had to live somewhere. It didn't work out in the UK for her, so back to the States we came, and we haven't regretted it a single moment. I am not one of those that likes the festive season. Never have been, never will be, but I don't stop others from enjoying it. At the time of writing, we are about to have our work's Xmas party, and to say I am not looking forward to it is an understatement. The reason for this is because some of you will know I have been in the hotel business for nearly four years. I wrote a couple of articles on a day in the life of a front desk clerk a while back, and I have moved forward since then. I am not a hotel manager, and I have to give a speech to staff and their families. This is probably easy for someone who likes Xmas, because they can waffle on to the little ones on waiting for Santa, being good, and hoping they get what they wanted. They can also speak to the adults in the room about how they hope the latest phone, camera, ...

Puppetmaster 2 (Blu-ray) 09/12/2016

Master of Puppets Returns

Puppetmaster 2 (Blu-ray) Puppet Master II (1990) Directed by: David Allen Writing Credits: Charles Band, David Pabian Produced by: David DeCoteau, John Schouweiler Genre: Horror Length: 88 minutes Certificate: 18 IMDb Rating: 5.4 Starring: Elizabeth MacLellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles Master of puppets I'm pulling your strings The film starts with a clap of thunder. A partly-rusted sign on a gate tells us we're at Shady Oaks cemetery, which is good to know. Partly because it's useful information to have, and partly because we humans are a nosy species, and we might actually want to know where we are. The camera pans left through the various gravestones and comes to a stop in the dark. There is noise coming from one of the graves, and it is the sound of someone using a shovel. Right about now I'd usually ask if he digs graves and he might reply that they're alright, but this is no time for joking. The good thing is, it is no human that is grave digging. This is Pinhead, and he is digging up his creator's grave. This is not the Pinhead from "Hellraiser", though, this a puppet – a 1' 7" creation who is extremely strong for his size. Wiping the plaque free of dirt, Pinhead shows us the name Toulon, or Andre Toulon to be precise, the puppet master himself. With the help from other puppets like Tunneler, Blade, Jester and Leech Woman, a bright green liquid is poured from a vial onto Toulon's skeleton, and the puppet master is born again. This is where the opening credits begin, and as much ...

Advent calendars: do they still have a place in your home? 23/11/2016

Humbugs All Round

Advent calendars: do they still have a place in your home? Those that know me personally tend to avoid me around Christmas time, and for the remainder of this article, I'll refer to it as my dad would - chrimbo. I suppose if I lived in a warmer climate during winter, I might take a different view, but here in Indiana we have hot summers and cold winters, and I do not like being cold. My wife, however, loves chrimbo. There is a small town in southern Indiana where her family lives, that is called Santa Claus. It is chrimbo all year round, and she browses the shops whenever she can, and also visits the bearded fat-backsided one to deliver her letter personally. For a 40-something, I find this a bit odd, but she never claimed to be normal... and normal is far from what she is! From a commercial aspect, it is plain to see that high street stores are now pushing big. They do this because online retail is bigger than ever, and they cannot compete with people being lazy and armchair shopping. I am guilty of doing this for my wife around this time of year, and I usually pay my folks' winter heating bill for their chrimbo gift. They appreciate it, and it's easy for me because I usually can't think of anything they would actually need more than staying warm. I don't see my folks over the season with being 4,000 miles away, but we do video chat to exchange pleasantries. It's not a question of "what did you get?" etc., any more, because I never ask for anything from anyone, and that's the way I like it. The wife always gets me something and ...

Grimsby (Blu-Ray) 16/11/2016

It's Grim in Grimsby

Grimsby (Blu-Ray) Grimsby (2016) Directed by: Louis Leterrier Writing Credits: Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston, Peter Baynham Produced by: Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Nira Park, Todd Schulman Genre: Comedy Length: 83 minutes Certificate: 15 IMDb Rating: 6.3 Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson The film starts with Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) getting down to business with his wife, Dawn (Rebel Wilson). To coin a phrase from Alex DeLarge from "A Clockwork Orange", they were doing a bit of the old 'in out, in out'. They exchange 'pleasantries', and the camera pans out, to which Nobby says "We'll take it", as a furniture store attendant looks on in horror at what he's just witnessed. I suppose if you're going to test drive a bed, you may as well do it right! Blur's "Parklife" plays on in the background, as we see Nobby takes the mattress on a double decker bus. How they ever got it up to the top deck is beyond me. I mean, what if they hadn't paid its fare and a conductor comes round? It's clear that Grimsby is a bit of a dive. No offence to people from Grimsby, but that's how it's portrayed in the opening scenes. Unemployment, chavs, litter, you name it, it's all here. I can only imagine there are Pokemon in the local Job Centre, as many people are queued up outside. Nobby, who is clearly not a fan of "Pokemon Go", struggles on past with said mattress on a shopping trolley. I won't bore you with any more details because I could definitely go on, and you won't want ...

The Cannonball Run (Blu-ray) 04/11/2016

It's the Cannonball

The Cannonball Run (Blu-ray) The Cannonball Run (1981) Directed by: Hal Needham Writing Credits: Brock Yates Produced by: Albert S. Ruddy Genre: Action | Comedy Length: 95 minutes Certificate: PG IMDb Rating: 6.1 Starring: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett The film starts with the familiar 20th Century Fox introduction, only it is a little different here. You get a cartoon car screeching around, horns blaring, being chased by a police car. As the cop car crashes, Burt Reynolds' distinctive laugh can be heard, and the first live action scenes are shown. A magnificent black Lamborghini Countach is racing along the highway in all its glory, with its V12 engine putting out an incredible sound from its 350 horses. Ray Stevens' "Cannonball" plays in the background as the Lambo pulls up to a speed limit sign, and out gets Jill Rivers (Tara Buckman) in a skin-tight red cat suit. She sprays a red cross on the sign with an aerosol can and jumps back in the car. Hot on their heels is a Pontiac Firebird police issue car. It is a fast machine at 220bhp, but no match for the power of the Countach, even though it somehow pulls alongside it. The chase goes on until the song finishes, and this is where the film really begins. Or it does once Victor Prinzim (Dom DeLuise) appears on the scene to talk to a youthful-looking Burt Reynolds, who plays the character of J. J. McClure. An ice cream truck! Yeah, an ice cream truck! Y'know, they gotta get there before it melts! What do you get when you put ...

Guy Fawkes Night: What does November 5th mean to you? 23/10/2016

November, November, a Month to Remember

Guy Fawkes Night:  What does November 5th mean to you? I can remember, remember, the 5th of November. Or at least, I remember a few of them when I was a kid. Those days of shivering in the outside air in our back yard because my folks had paid a fortune for fireworks me and my brother barely had an interest in. All we cared about was the treacle toffee and, more importantly, parched (black) peas. As a Lancastrian, I find the peas are a delicacy, but they're not for everyone. I'm actually not sure if they are traditional anywhere else outside of Lancashire, and if not, I feel for you! The biggest park in my home town held a huge bonfire each year, and of course there would be a funfair with hot potato stands, and my beloved parched peas. Fireworks really never floated my boat. I recall our dog lived outside in a kennel because he was too stubborn to live inside. He would always come in on that night of the year, and would not move until very late in the evening, which was very unlike him. He usually came in for half an hour to lie by the fire, then he was done, nudging one of us until we got up and let him out. It also reminds me of building my own bonfire for weeks on end, only for an older kid to destroy it. Fortunately for me, I built it near a house that had a horse tied up, and that horse fed on spent vegetables. Unfortunately for the older kid, I had a good throwing arm and caught him flush on the nose with a partially eaten turnip before legging it as fast as I could. He never did catch me, and I never saw him again. This ...

The Burning (DVD) 19/10/2016

Freewheel Burning

The Burning (DVD) The Burning (1981) Directed by: Tony Maylam Writing Credits: Harvey Weinstein, Tony Maylam, Brad Grey, Peter Lawrence, Bob Weinstein Produced by: Harvey Weinstein Genre: Horror Length: 91 minutes Certificate: 18 IMDb Rating: 6.5 Starring: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer Will to me your anger, will to me your rage The film starts with a scene of a log cabin. It is night time, and the crickets are chirping in the grass beyond the porch. An outside light is on, and it appears there is nobody home. This is Camp Blackfoot, and this is where some slasher fun begins. The cabin is home to some kids that are staying at the camp, and they are about to pull off the prank of the summer. They decide to sneak out and place a worm-infested skull inside the separate cabin of Cropsy, the caretaker of the camp. The skull has lit candles in the eye sockets, which is designed to scare the living crap out of him when he wakes up. The only problem with that is, the kids then hammer on his window and, extremely startled, Cropsy knocks the skull onto his bed where it ignites his pant leg. In seconds, his bed becomes engulfed, and he knocks over a gas canister which explodes. Just what he was doing with one of those in his cabin is anyone's guess, but we must move on. The cabin (and Cropsy) are well and truly Kentucky fried, but fortunately for the caretaker, he manages to stumble out of the door and falls into the welcoming water of the lake. The real story of "The Burning" ...

Falling Down (DVD) 27/09/2016

D-Fens is Falling Down

Falling Down (DVD) Falling Down (1993) Directed by: Joel Schumacher Writing Credits: Ebbe Roe Smith Produced by: Timothy Harris, Arnold Kopelson, Herschel Weingrod Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller Length: 113 minutes Certificate: 18 IMDb Rating: 7.6 Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey The film begins with a close-up of a man's face. It becomes apparent that it is a face that Catherine Zeta-Jones has seen on numerous occasions, but not until six years after this film was released. It is, of course, Michael Douglas, who is playing the part of William "D-Fens" Foster, and he seems a little disinterested, as we all are when we wake up in a morning to have to go to work. Foster is sat in his car in what appears to be a huge rush hour traffic jam. The camera pans over other unfortunate people. One child is staring out of the back of a window, a woman is applying the finishing touches to her lipstick, while kids on a school bus are being unruly. And yet William still sits there, waiting. His air conditioning in his car is not working right, which is even worse in the extreme heat. He tries to wind down his window, but the lever breaks. And all the while, the kids are still messing around on the bus. And a fly is attacking William. We've all been there, with a fly in the car. What can you do about it but get out of your car and start walking. This is exactly what D-Fens does. "What do you think you're doing?" asks the motorist behind him. "Going home", Foster replies. ...

Blazing Saddles (Blu-Ray) 21/09/2016

These Saddles Are Blazin'

Blazing Saddles (Blu-Ray) Blazing Saddles (1974) Directed by: Mel Brooks Writing Credits: Mel Brooks, Nornan Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger Produced by: Michael Hertzberg Genre: Comedy | Western Length: 93 minutes Certificate: 15 IMDb Rating: 7.8 Starring: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks Naturally the first thing I did when I heard the sad news of Gene Wilder dying was to run to my DVD and Blu-ray shelves and hunt for "Blazing Saddles". I had actually forgot that even though I could see the shelves, nothing was on them. The reason for that was we were moving house at the weekend and everything was boxed away. "Right, this is what we'll do", I said, and proceeded to move box after box until I came to the first lot of boxes packed. I was getting a little frustrated when after box 6 of 11 did not turn up trump. "It's got to be in here, I know I have the Blu-ray". The missus, triumphant in her claim shouted "It's here, I've found it!" It was a nice try from the musical-loving wife to get me to put on "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" instead of the film I was looking for. Anyway, after an expletive-laden rant on how she can watch that on her own, box 10 was opened. Finally, there it was; "Blazing Saddles" in all its Blu-ray glory. For some reason the wife was sat surrounded by DVD and Blu-ray cases, "Willy Wonka…" in hand, glowing, and pointing towards it. "Are you sure you don't want to watch this one instead?" She said. I told her I would rather cut my own ...

Maximum Conviction (DVD) 22/08/2016

Maximum Seagal

Maximum Conviction (DVD) Maximum Conviction (2012) Directed by: Keoni Waxman Writing Credits: Richard Beattie Produced by: Steve Austin, Phillip B. Goldfine, Steven Seagal Genre: Action | Adventure | Thriller Length: 98 minutes minutes Certificate: 15 IMDb Rating: 4.9 Starring: Steven Seagal, Steve Austin, Michael Pare The film starts with an outside shot of a prison, which quickly turns into the interior and a cell. Inside the cell is an Asian-looking woman, who seems a little bored. Maybe she's seen the script for this latest blockbuster from Steven Seagal, who knows. Anyway, we're back outside the jail now and… oh, we're inside it again. Two women are being escorted down a corridor, then we're out again with a woman and a man sitting on a bench. Good old Steve is the man charged with taking the two women to wherever they're going inside the facility, while elsewhere people are coming and going, presumably at the start of a new shift and the end of another. Here is where we see some wrestler for the first time. It is Steve Austin, who is apparently a direct-to-video star now, also. I suppose this is where the action really starts, so let's move on and see what can be done with a low-budget film that has one of the biggest action stars from the 1980s in it. I never like to judge a film based on who's in it, and I always start with a clean slate. Will "Maximum Conviction" be all it should be, or will it fall flat on its face? Only time will tell! Tonight there's gonna be trouble I ...

The Usual Suspects (Blu-Ray) 03/08/2016

The Unusual Suspects

The Usual Suspects (Blu-Ray) The Usual Suspects (1995) Directed by: Bryan Singer Writing Credits: Christopher McQuarrie Produced by: Michael McDonnell, Bryan Singer Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller Length: 106 minutes Certificate: 18 IMDb Rating: 8.6 Starring: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollack The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist The film starts with a shot of moonlight and street lamp reflections dancing on water as the cast and crew list is displayed to the right of the screen. A caption appears on picture which tells us that the place and date is San Pedro, California, last night. A man ignites a book of matches and lights a cigarette with it. He appears tired and despondent, and also seems to have a look of resignation on his face. Wooden crates are on fire behind him and, as he drops the book of matches, it sets fire to a gasoline trail. The trail quickly runs past a dead body on its right as it arcs around to its destination. However, it is stopped in its tracks by a dark figure urinating on it from a balcony above. If he was in the Bears Head toilets, he would probably get 10 points for hitting the bullseye. As it happens, he's not. The two men are on a boat and the would-be Phil 'the Power' Taylor zips up his flies, satisfied that he's stopped the impending explosion of the oil drums that appeared to be the intended target. Walking down the steps, the mysterious figure heads towards the man sat on the floor. As the man looks back ...
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