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since 31/01/2001


Terminator 2 - Judgment Day (DVD) 23/03/2001

You Could Be Mine

Terminator 2 - Judgment Day (DVD) If I thought T1 was impressive then T2 eclipses it hands down. So very rarely does a sequel better it's original, but T2 does and does it in a big way. It's brutally beautiful, darkly comic sci-fi, in T2 your guaranteed to find something to enjoy. T2 has an almost humane message; in fact, it's even Politically Correct, in a perverse way. Here's a technology based film that is seemingly anti-technology; that shows lots of violence to make a statement about the value of human life; that is manly in the extreme , but has a female sensibility at heart. As we scour a burnt metal graveyard that is Los Angeles in the year 2029, a lone voice-over brings us up to date since T1, Intelligent computers began the nuclear war that wiped out 3 billion lives on Aug. 29, 1997. Those few unlucky humans who survived were left to face a far fiercer enemy than men, the devastating machines they created. But there is a lifeline, the human resistance is led by John Connor, who reprogrammed the original Terminator and sent it back in time to protect himself as a young boy. And John's mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton), is determined to change the future by killing a scientist who bases his ultra-advanced weapons technology on a microchip left behind during the first Terminator's earthly visit, thus unwittingly designing the doom of mankind. So the relentless evil Terminator from the first (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a good guy, sort of, sent to protect young John Connor (Edward ...

Terminator 23/03/2001

Let Me See That Uzi

Terminator What a ground breaking film, which is put into perspective, when you consider that T1 had a production budget of less than one fifth of T2, this alone should make you realise what an outstanding job was done on it. We can all imagine what it would be like to have your life placed at risk at the hands of a relentless Murderer. This is the essence of the story. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is the hunted, a cyborg, (part mechanical, part organic), killing machine, from the future, known as the Terminator (Arnold Schrwarzenegger) is the hunter. It's mission to assassinate the mother of John Connor, who was to later in time become the leader of an army that opposed the terminator's creator, Skynet. Sarah does however have an ally in the form of a human soldier who volunteered to travel from the future to protect the mother of his commander against the Terminator. Kyle Reese (Michael Blehn), is determined to save the woman that he loves. He managed to fall for Sarah before he had even met her, through a faded Polaroid that John Connor gave him some years earlier. Casting is a major plus for this film. Arnie obviously stands out as the almost indestructible Terminator, this is perhaps a role he has not bettered to date. Linda Hamilton is convincing as the 'mother with attitude' Sarah Connor. But perhaps the best performance is from Michael Blehn as the heroic Kyle Reese, in my opinion a very underrated actor, his performance in T1 is put in perspective better, ...

The Titanic (DVD) 13/03/2001

Watch Out Iceberg

The Titanic (DVD) The Film almost makes me weep in frustration. Not because of the excessive budget, not even because it recalls the unnecessary loss of life in the real 1912 catastrophe, which saw more than 1,500 of the 2,200-plus passengers dying when an iceberg sliced the ship open like a can opener. What really brings on the tears is director/writer James Cameron's delusion that writing this kind of movie is within his abilities. Not only isn't it, it isn't even close. Cameron has regularly come up with his own scripts and good directing style in the past, the Terminator films spring to mind, but in a better world someone would have had the nerve to tell him or he would have realised himself that creating a moving and creditable love story is a different order of business from coming up with wisecracks for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead, what you end up with script-wise is a derived, completely plagiarised attempt at an old Hollywood romance, a script that looks phoney and lacks any originality. even, many of the characters, Cal Hockley (Blly Zane) and Molly Brown (Kathy Bates), immediatley spring to mind, are complete clichés of purity and it just doesn't convince. The story starts involving nautical treasure hunter Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton), who is scouring the Titanic's wreck for an expensive blue diamond called "The Heart of the Ocean" that was lost on board. What Lovett turns up instead is a drawing of a nude young woman wearing the jewel. News of that find prompts a ...

How to write opinions 12/03/2001

Trying Not To Be Too Arrogant

How to write opinions While there is probably no right or wrong way to write opinions, there are some ways you can make your opinions good to read. I am not going to tell you how to do it, merely tell you how I do it. As most of my opinions are on Music and Films, I will explain how I write a film review, but I generally use the same principles when writing about anything. Title ----- Now although it might not seem like much, I think your title can be a very important part of your opinion. My titles on film reviews, are a line from the film I am writing about. I find that generally it's more catchy than writing something like ' Great Film Good Acting', personally I will very rarely read an opinion with a title like that. And of course using a line from the film has the obvious relevance to what you writing about. Structure --------- I always try to give my opinions structure i.e. I break them down so they are easy for people to read. Writing 500 lines and not breaking it down I find a pretty boring read (even my own stuff!), so using paragraphs helps to make the opinion more enjoyable to read. Relevance --------- I always try to stick to things that are relevant. I know this sounds simple but I have read a lot of opinions on Ciao where people quite frankly, waffle. I'll give you an example of what I mean: "I went to see this film in the cinema, and when he killed the blonde secretary, the whole cinema was screaming, I mean you had people hiding, people going to the toilet ...

Payback (DVD) 11/03/2001

That Is Just Mean

Payback (DVD) Although the advert for the film is "Get Ready to Root for the Bad Guy," Porter (Mel Gibson) isn't really the bad guy in this movie. He's just one of the bad guys with even worse guys after him. Even though the movie would like to portray Porter as the bad guy, in the opening scenes, we see Porter stealing money from a Vietnam Vet, leaving no tip for a waitress, as well as stealing her cigarettes, and stealing a businessman's wallet, and then proceeding to use it to buy suits, watches (which he pawns for a gun) and get cash. The story follows that Porter and Val Resnick (Gregg Henry) are a pair of small time criminals and they decide to turn over some Chinese chefs, when they are taking their money to the bank. The sum $140,000, which will be split 50/50. But with the help of Porter's junkie wife, Resnick screws Porter and leaves him for dead. As it turns out Resnick needs $130,000 to get into the outfit, which is an organised crime unit. Porter recovers and begins dismantling Resnick and the entire outfit, which is headed by Mr Bronson, for his $70,000 share. Even though the movie is splattered with blood, guns, prostitutes and even some S&M with a dominatrix, the film is still lacking something. The story tries to piece together seemingly unnecessary bits and pieces, but in a way that a small child could follow, an example of this is Porter narrates over some of the film to perhaps convince himself, if not us of what he's doing. it's just not a great example ...

Austin Powers - International Man Of Mystery (DVD) 10/03/2001

Throw Me A Figgin Bone Here

Austin Powers - International Man Of Mystery (DVD) Austin Powers is a groovy secret agent of the 1960s, who dons velvet threads, horn-rimmed glasses and bad teeth. Imagine a flower-child from the sixties, bopping around London in a ludicrous coloured sports car, and dancing in clubs to the groovy sounds of 60's pop, while on constant alert for his arch-nemesis, Dr. Evil. Austin Powers, is another bit of silliness or genius from the often brilliant comic mind of Mike Myers, who previously gave us the 80's rock obsessed cable-access TV nerds of Wayne's World. In Austin Powers, the '60s secret agent and his nemesis both undergo cryogenic freezing, only to be defrosted in 1997. Pity poor Austin, going from an age of wild, unprotected free sex, and promiscuity, to a time when such activity is simply deadly. But, at least fashion has improved and dentistry has made great strides. It's also not easy for Dr. Evil. For example, he demands $1 million from world leaders or he'll use lasers to burn a hole in the ozone layer around the earth. But he then discovers that, a million bucks isn't much these days; and, we've already started burning a hole in the ozone. It could be worse, Dr. Evil's cat, Mr Bigglesworth, has lost all its white hair in the freezing process and now looks like a naked cat-shaped chicken. The versatile Myers plays both the hipster Powers and the sinister Dr. Evil -- and scores most of his points generating laughs as Evil. For one thing, it's easier to recognise the source material being ...

The Crow (DVD) 10/03/2001

The Gate Between Life And Death

The Crow (DVD) A murdered rock musician (the late Brandon Lee) returns from the dead to exact vengeance in this gothic action/drama based on a comic book. It's impossible to watch the film without thinking of Brandon Lee's, senseless and untimely death, and how it's colouring every line of dialogue, every action and every dramatic stance. There's perhaps an added irony to all the references to death and to Lee's character's purpose. Maybe a later generation will be able to view the movie without recalling the tragic accident on the set that resulted in the 28-year-old actor dying. Tragic in the sense that I believe Brandon would have gone on to great things in Hollywood, this is even more evident in the light of the current success of actors such as Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeo. On its own, the film probably would come across as a dark, gothic, cunning film with interesting themes, intense action and an often heavy industrial soundtrack. With its added haunting element, the film has all those things, plus a bittersweet resonance that couldn't have been more appropriate if it had been planned. Lee's character is Eric Draven, a rock musician about to marry his sweetheart, Shelly (Sofia Shinas). On Devil's Night, the night before, Halloween, a gang of punks breaks into their apartment in a rough town. Shelly is raped and left for dead, while Eric is brutally and savagely murdered. Sarah (Rochelle Davis), a youngster whom Shelly and Eric had befriended, and Albrecht (Ernie ...

Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged Me (DVD) 10/03/2001

The Alan Parsons Project

Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged Me (DVD) Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is simply more of the same enjoyable silliness that made the original movie such a surprise hit. And for a sequel to retain even half of the original's quality is quite an achievement. Mike Myers returns as the bad toothed international man of mystery, and we join the film, with Austin and his lovely wife, Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley), on their honeymoon. But, horrors, she is not what she appeared to be, and Austin ends up as a bachelor again. Even worse, Dr. Evil (also Myers) returns to Earth to devise yet another plan to destroy the world. But he realises that he can't beat Powers unless he gets his sex appeal, his mojo, after all a swinger without sex appeal is like a condom with a hole in the wrong end of it. So Dr. Evil goes back to the 1960s to steal the sex appeal from the cryogenically frozen Powers He uses a henchman to do this, one, Fat Bastard (Myers Again!), who is an obnoxiously overweight, Scottish bagpipe playing assassin. Not to be outdone, the 1990s Powers goes back in time to stop Dr. Evil. When he gets back to the 1960s, he is teamed with Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham), a CIA agent with an equally active libido and a supreme participator of the swinging lifestyle. What makes this movie work, as in the first, is the inspired foolishness of Myers. Austin Powers thrives on the foundation that it really has no redeeming social value whatsoever. It is just pure, wacky comedy. Myers' Dr. Evil has more screen ...

BBC2 - The Weakest Link 10/03/2001

Ditch The Dead Wood

BBC2 - The Weakest Link I have to confess I have watched this show right from the start and I am completely hooked on it. I constantly find myself shouting at the TV in a rather psychotic manner to the seemingly lame contestants that go on there. Also it's on at a convenient time for me, which is 5:00pm every weekday. For those who haven't seen the show, it's presented by Watchdog veteran Ann Robinson. The concept is you have a chain of money which goes 20,50,100,200,300,450,600,800,1000 (Pounds) and 9 contestants, who are asked a series of general knowledge questions within an allotted time Each time a contestant gets a question right the chain moves up to the next amount, the objective is to get 9 questions in a row right to get the £1000. However each contestant can say bank before his or her question is asked and the money whatever it is in the chain is banked, and the chain starts again. If you get a question wrong and you don't say bank you lose the money in the chain. Only the money that has been banked moves forward to the next round. At the end of each round, the contestants have to vote a member off the team off they deem the weakest link. Also before the start of the each round after the first, 10 seconds of time are deducted, so you get less and less time as the team is dwindled down. There are 7 rounds in which you follow the premise of voting off the person you think is the weakest link. Finally you get to the final two, and before they go head to head for the cash they ...

Top Gun (DVD) 09/03/2001

Danger Zone

Top Gun (DVD) In the opening scenes we see an ace Navy pilot flying upside down, about 18 inches above a Russian-built MiG, he then snaps a Polaroid picture of the enemy pilot, then he flips him the finger and flies off. It's an arrogant move, but it makes the pilot (Tom Cruise), the 'man' amongst a small group of Navy personnel. And the pilot, whose code name is Maverick, is selected for the Navy's elite flying school, which is dedicated to the art of aerial dogfights. The best graduate from each class at the school is known as the Top Gun. And there, I think, you have the basic ingredients of this film, except, of course, for three more obvious factors you get in all films about brave young pilots, these being the girl, the mystery of the fighter pilot father and the rivalry with another pilot. It turns out that Maverick's dad was a brilliant Navy pilot during the Vietnam era, until he and his plane disappeared in mysterious circumstances, it also turns out that one of the instructors at the flying school is a pretty young woman, named Charlie (Kelly McGillis), who wants to know a lot more about how Maverick snapped that other pilot's picture. The film settles fairly quickly into switching between ground and air scenes, and the simplest way to sum up the film is to declare the air scenes brilliant and the ground scenes predictable. This is a film that comes in two parts: It knows exactly what to do with special effects, but doesn't have a clue as to how two people in love ...

Seven (DVD) 08/03/2001

Do Insane People Know Their Insane

Seven (DVD) The film centres around serial killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey), who's pattern of killing revolves around the seven deadly sins, these being Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Wrath. Detectives William Somerset and David Mills (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt respectively) lead the investigation. The story is well written, with the plot both believable and thought-provoking. Despite what might be perceived as a violent film, I thought it was not overly violent for the context in which it was portraying. It was also dark, moving, disturbing and Funny. Now cast, perhaps the big letdown of this film is the mediocre performance of Brad Pitt, I thought he had a decent script to work with and just seriously under performed with it. Morgan Freeman was acceptable, but not mind blowing. Kevin Spacey on the other hand was sublime and stunningly believable as the disturbing John Doe, although you only 'see' him in splatterings through out the film, which I think was, although necessary to the story a gross injustice Gwyneth Paltrow performance as Mills' wife was completely indifferent. Perhaps the highlight of the film is the brilliant ending which closes the story magnificently, and is one of the best endings to a film I have seen in recent years. To sum up, it's not edge of your seat stuff, but captivating enough to keep you enthralled throughout. Brad Pitt's mediocre performance is completely overshadowed by Kevin Spacey's brilliant one, so on that premise and the ...

Casino (DVD) 08/03/2001

It Was Amateur Night You Could Tell

Casino (DVD) Scorsese does it again, when he brings you the rather appealing mob, he knows there is probably no better story than showing people who had it all, then just as quickly lost it all. Based again on true events, Casino shows you the mob, when it was running Las Vegas in the 70's, only to screw it all up and be forced out a by the turn of the 80's. Casino reunites Scorsese with mob movie veterans, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, now although some may think Scorsese is merely reworking the 1990 classic, Goodfellas, it's far from that. Casino brings you people with large egos filled with stupidity and mistrust of those people closest to them. Casino revolves around three main characters, two mob working men and one 'on the make' woman. When Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (De Niro), a straight faced bookmaker, who was making a lot of money for the mob, by never losing a bet, is given the job of running the Tangiers Hotel and Casino, he knows he's struck gold. But even with the police and politicians in the Tangiers back pockets, Ace's struggles and arguments with his two closest 'friends', boyhood buddy Nicky Santoro (Pesci) and Ginger Mckenna (Sharon Stone), his love interest, eventually brings the Nevada enterprise to the ground. Nicky is initially sent to Vegas, by the bosses, in order to give Ace some muscle and to protect the bosses investment. However Nicky's brutal methods of exacting revenge and getting information from people, soon make him a liability, but when he is ...

Goodfellas (DVD) 08/03/2001

Never Rat On Your Friends And Keep Your Mouth Shut

Goodfellas (DVD) Adapted from the book 'Wiseguys' and from true events, Goodfellas is one of the best mob movies ever made. It shows you a side of the mob that is, glitzy, glamorous and even advantageous, but just like the sunshine in Britain, no sooner is it all there, it's all gone. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is a teenager living in 1950's Brooklyn, New York. He's surrounded by the mob, and since he's always wanted to be a gangster, Henry loves it. He manages to get a job as an errand boy for the local boss Paul 'Paulie' Cicero (Paul Sorvino), and becomes an instant hit with the local mobsters, due to the fact that he keeps his mouth shut. Eventually Henry meets another boss Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and is taken under his wing. Jimmy teams Henry up with Tommy De Vito (Joe Pesci), and as a trio they set out a scam, which is to hijack just about anything and everything. Henry narrates a lot of the film, with seemingly glee and proudness in his voice. There is also narration from Karen (Lorraine Bracco), Henry's girlfriend and later wife. Karen gives us a side of the naive gangster's doll. She tries to convince herself and perhaps partly us to that what Henry's doing isn't that bad, he's just showing some initiative. She also relates how she feels about the other wifes/girlfriends of the mobsters. In her words 'they have terrible dress sense and they wear far to much makeup'. For every dark funny introduction to gangster's with names like Fat Andy, Freddie No Nose, and Jimmy Two ...

Falling Down (DVD) 08/03/2001

A White Man In Gangland

Falling Down (DVD) The rage of the white male pushed to the back burner in a multiracial society and perhaps in the moves forward of civilisation. The film also has a healthy dose of moral issues about the misuse guns. Michael Douglas is Foster the disgruntled and disheartened American Citizen, who just wants to go home. The only thing wrong with this film is the adding of a cop in a shadow role. While Robert Duvall's performance as Pendergast the 'soon to be retired' cop is commendable. it deflates Foster's struggles. The initial scenes show Foster stuck in a traffic jam in a "tunnel" - actually, in this instance, below a freeway overpass. The incident represents his current crisis, where he's stuck in a rut with his career. Foster, forever the victim of American realism, decides to abandon his car and walk away. Thus begins his journey across downtown Los Angeles in order to go home. In fact, Foster has no home to return to, as he's separated from his wife and daughter and - as we come to learn - under a court restraining order to stay away. But, It's his little girl Adele's birthday and nothing will stop him from going home. Dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt and red tie, wearing smart trousers and carrying a briefcase, Foster is the stereotypical white male professional. With his 'NHS like' glasses and shirt pocket pens, his demeanour is one of rugged determination and fiery anger. He stops at a small corner grocery shop for a Coke, and gets into an argument with the ...

Romper Stomper (DVD) 07/03/2001

Wreck And Ruin

Romper Stomper (DVD) Romper Stomper, is an Australian film showing the last days of a racist neo-Nazi skinhead gang in Melbourne, this movie exploits the frustration, anger and violence of a aggressive subculture. The storytelling is immaculate, it's maybe the directing that lets it down. By trying to mix the obvious violence that's involved, with portraying the characters in a way so you may relate, you get a film where you can have no moral standing. Violence appears in opening scene, in which the Nazi gang stomp a smaller group of Vietnamese youth in a subway station. The gang, led by the coldly charismatic Hando (Russell Crowe), is obsessed with Asians, particularly south eastern ones, who have taken over sections of Melbourne and are taking over business after business, including the gang's home bar. Their response: a good kicking, accomplished with fists, Doc Martens boots, bats, chains and the occasional knife. Typically, his gang members are squatters living in abandoned factories. The increasingly multiethnic culture in evidence - Italian food (which Hando refuses to eat) or Japanese cars (which he demolishes) - is simply further proof of an deconstruction of white power, the source of these skinheads' rage. On the run, after another attack on some south east Asians, the skinheads are being hunted not only by the Asians, but also by the police. They are now refugees, homeless and clueless. Matters are further complicated by the arrival of Gabe (Jacqueline McKenzie), a punk ...
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