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kojak123

kojak123

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Looks like the server migration went well, so I'm back (again!). :) Bear with me while I catch up, almost Orange level now.

Reviews written

since 12/02/2014

83

Night At The Museum (DVD) 14/09/2017

Night at the Museum - things that go BUMP in the night.

Night At The Museum (DVD) Night at the Museum DVD review Night at the Museum is a 2006 family comedy from the 20th Century Fox studio starring Ben Stiller. It is a wacky fantasy comedy movie aimed more at the kids market, but don't worry, there are a good few gags in there for the grown ups too. The concept of the movie came from a 1993 childrens book of the same name where lead character Hector discovers that the museum dinosaur skeletons come to life every night. From that one very flimsy idea, a whole movie (indeed, a franchise!) was born. Cast Ben Stiller - Larry Daley Robin Williams - Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt Remi Malek - Pharaoh Ahkmenrah Carla Gugino - Rebecca Hutman Dick Van Dyke - Cecil Fredericks Mickey Rooney - Gus Bill Cobbs - Reginald Steve Coogan - General Octavius Owen Wilson - Jedediah Directed by Shawn Levy who is a pretty well known name in Comedy productions these days. Acting is so-so but this is a movie which relies on the story and the physical effects a little more heavily than the script and delivery. Ben Stiller is actually very good in it, he was my big concern before watching but he is a really likeable actor and pulls off the role perfectly. I've only seen him in more adult roles, but his slapstick style translates well to family friendly stuff too. Almost everyone else here is performing in a minor/supporting role. Robin Williams is his usual excellent self as ex president Teddy Roosevelt and Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson are both outstanding as a couple of ...

SingStar Singalong With Disney (PS2) 27/08/2017

Singstar Disney - lessons in how to embarrass yourself.

SingStar Singalong With Disney (PS2) Singstar Disney PS2 Version Singstar is a karaoke game for the Playstation 2 console which very cleverly uses pitch-detecting microphones as controllers. Released in 2004 it was a fairly groundbreaking invention for the time, and even now the technology is still being used on "Next Gen" consoles I wrote a review last year on my favourite game of the series; Singstar Rocks which contains all the development history and all the versions available for the PS2 console (17 or 18 at last count) so I won't repeat myself, this one will be a fairly basic write-up. Today I am reviewing Singstar: Singalong with Disney and this version is slightly different - in that I'm absolutely rubbish at it. My five year old daughter runs circles around me on this one, despite knowing most of the songs I'm usually left absolutely lost after the chorus has ended... but then I suppose that's the fun of it! Released in 2008 this is one of the much later titles in the series and benefits from a few little extra touches which the early games were lacking. Playing the game Very simple to set up, pop the disc in the disc tray, plug the microphones into the small "USB" slot and one control pad plugged in just to navigate the menu. Choose one of the 20 tracks and away you go. The Disney video will play on screen while the music runs and the words, along with handy bars to guide you to the correct pitch and note length, run across the middle of the screen. All that's required of you is to sing the ...

Soulcalibur II (PS2) 26/08/2017

Soulcalibur II - A tale of swords and souls!

Soulcalibur II (PS2) Soulcalibur II (2) PS2 version Back in the early 2000's it felt like slim pickings for good beat-em-ups. You may call me old fashioned but I really don't enjoy the 3d fighting games, I much prefer the old 2d modelled games (Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat etc). Still, Tekken had set the bar and set it high, so most of the games around that time tried to follow suit. Street Fighter Ex-3 from 2001 was a standard-setter for me, using the classic 2d style but with perfectly rendered 3d characters and environments. It gave an epic playing experience while not pushing the limits of the system, and I do sincerely wish all beat-em-up games were as fun to play. Anyway, I digress, 3d was the must have back then and the original Soulcalibur was wowing magazine reviewers left right and centre, so when the sequel was announced in 2002 I decided I was having it. Soulcalibur was born from Soul Edge, an arcade beat-em-up from the mid 1990's focusing more on weapon based combat than kicks, punches and special moves. While the first Soulcalibur ended up as a Sega exclusive for their shiny new Dreamcast machine, the sequel was rolled out across all consoles of the time and ended up a firm favourite across the board! Namco were the publisher of this one, with their little sub-team Project Soul masterminding the development. This came to market in 2003 and was a dramatic improvement over what was already a very accomplished fighting game. Story Beat-em-up games are not really known for their ...

Spider-Man: Edge of Time (Xbox 360) 19/08/2017

Spiderman V's Time travel. Edge of Time (xbox 360)

Spider-Man: Edge of Time (Xbox 360) Spiderman Edge of Time xbox 360 version Spiderman has been on home gaming consoles since 1982 first seen on the old Atari 2600. He's always been hot property, but it was only really with the improvement of 3d free roaming capabilities in the early 2000's that the superhero came into his own. Spiderman 2 released on the 6th generation consoles in 2004 was a masterclass in what was possible for the franchise; a (semi) faithful recreation of Manhattan with no levels or silly stipulations about how to unlock sections of the city, just a go-anywhere, do-anything open world environment with an engaging story mode at its core. Spiderman: the Movie from 2002 came close to realising spideys potential but it just missed the mark with a few silly ideas. Landing on the ground, for example, ended in death. The xbox 360 - and PS3 and Wii, just to be inclusive - have had some really good efforts at Spiderman games in recent years. While Activision were still the "go-to" firm for Marvel games they and their subsidiary Beenox, a small Canadian programming firm bought out by Activision a few years back, turned out five Spiderman games in six years. That might sound a little like churning, and you'd be well within your rights to question the quality, but in my opinion all of them have been very playable stand-alone games. The Amazing Spiderman from 2012 was the standard movie cash-in from the rebooted film series, but before that we were treated to Spiderman: Friend or Foe in 2007, ...

The Internship (DVD) 02/07/2017

The Internship - comedy by numbers

The Internship (DVD) The Internship DVD Review The Internship is a 2013 comedy which brings the "frat pack" duo of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn together once again. The movie is a riff on how old parts don't fit in a new machine and it gambles most of its laughs on the "fish out of water" scenario of our two technically inept protagonists as they attempt to fit into the computer age. Basically we have a fresh take on an age old formula which I feel works to a slim extent, but thank God for the chemistry of the two leads because at the end it's only their charisma that lift this out of the bargain-bin. Cast Vince Vaughn - Billy Mcmahon Owen Wilson - Nick Campbell Rose Byrne - Dana Simms Josh Brener - Lyle Spaulding Dylan O'Brien - Stuart Tiya Sircar - Neha Tobit Raphael - Yo-Yo Max Mighella - Graham Aasif Mandvi - Mr Roger Chetty. Directed by Shawn Levy (co-produced by Vince Vaughn) Lots more bit-parts and loads of little cameos (yes, of course Will Ferrell has a part, do you need to ask?) but really the two leads carry this, they feature in pretty much every scene and there is no attempt to bring the rest of the cast into the limelight via sub-plots. On that front both Vaughn and Wilson are excellent, they have a natural chemistry which just seems to show them in their best light. It's hard to believe that they've only done three movies together because they just seem the perfect "buddy movie" pair, especially after The Wedding Crashers - hard to believe that was 11 years ago. The rest of ...

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (Xbox 360) 18/06/2017

Pro Evo 2009. Slipping down the league...

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (Xbox 360) Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 Xbox 360 version Since the beginning of the modern age of consoles in the early 90's we have been subject to franchise wars. From the Sonic V's Mario arguments of old when 2-d platform games were the pinnacle of programming, through the Street Fighter v's Mortal Kombat beat-em-up feuds on the 16-bit systems, right through to the modern shoot-em-up Goliaths Call of Duty and Battlefield on the latest machines. Even if you enjoy both games in one of these little squabbles, it's hard not to pick a side - it becomes a matter of territory. One of the biggest match-ups of the last two decades has been played out on the virtual football field. I speak of course of FIFA versus Pro Evolution Soccer. Pro Evo was born from an old (often overlooked) football game from KONAMI called International Superstar Soccer (ISS). In 2002 they dropped the ISS line and rebranded, releasing a Pro Evolution every year since. The Game It's football. That's about as much detail as most folk will need (me, certainly!) but of course it does go a little bit deeper than that. There are half a dozen game modes which are all variations on the same. UEFA Champions League is quite a coup, in the 2009 issue of the game Pro Evo have exclusive rights to it. Choose any team and play the full campaign leading up to a handful of showdowns against the greatest teams in Europe. Exhibition is just a bit of fun whereby you can play a single game pitting any two teams against each other. I ...

Play it pinball (PS2) 16/06/2017

PS2 - (don't) Play It Pinball.

Play it pinball (PS2) Play It Pinball Playstation 2 Several years ago after a visit to Las Vegas I got a silly idea about buying a classic Pinball table for the Man Cave. We'd visited a really cool arcade place out there and all of a sudden I needed one - even phoning the owner once we got back in Blighty to see which he would part with and what sort of shipping costs. Luckily, before I spent the equivalent of a family Hatchback on a rather silly indulgence my wife removed my spending privileges (it's not the first time...) and that was the end of that. Apologies for the anecdote, but that's what planted the seed to buy a pinball game to play on the consoles - and over the years I bought many! Play it Pinball is todays review, not because it's the best but simply because it starts with a P! The other ones I have had were a couple of imported NTSC versions of Pinball Hall of Fame. They released both "Williams" and "Gottlieb" collections with about 8 tables on each, all based on popular tables from the past. Sadly those went when I sold my NTSC based PS2 system. The game Play It Pinball is a 2003 release from the playit studio, a tiny firm who seem to specialise in quiz and arcade games. As you would expect it's a simple pinball simulator, boasting 11 tables and the tagline Classic American Pinball like you've never seen before. Admittedly, that's true unless you've viewed it on an old Nokia 3310 screen I suppose. It is all 1950's themed, from the table style right down to the music, and ...

Poker Masters (PS2) 10/06/2017

Poker Masters PS2. Master of nowt!

Poker Masters (PS2) Poker Masters PS2 version There is nothing like a good game of poker. Pity that this is nothing like a good game of poker! First off please ignore the other review on this game - the chap is clearly reviewing WSOP (same console) and put his review in the wrong place. Poker is one of my favourite hobbies. I play regularly on the Pokerstars website, but I have had deals to play at some of the other big sites in the past. I have had some decent sized wins and collected some fairly famous scalps over the ten years or so I've been playing, and while I no longer play at the stakes I used to manage before having a family there is still plenty of enjoyment in playing at the lower stakes and it's always been a good way to unwind. Yes, Poker can be quite a thrill, but that's mainly because it involves the risk/reward of winning or losing money, so of course it has never really lent itself to console gaming, where the only risk is busting out of pretend money and the only reward is a glance at a CGI trophy. Released in 2004 on the PS2 by relatively unknown UK firm Liquid Games, this was really the first Poker game for the PS2, with WPT (World Poker Tour), WSOP (World Series of Poker) and World Championship Poker coming the following year. The reason the the little run of Poker games was The Moneymaker Effect (detailed below) which put Poker at the centre of the world for a couple of years - everyone was cashing in quick! ~~~The Moneymaker effect~~~ Chris Moneymaker (helluva name ...

The Blues Brothers 2000 (DVD) 28/05/2017

Blues Brothers 2000 - Watered down for the kids...

The Blues Brothers 2000 (DVD) Blues Brothers 2000 DVD review As a die hard fan of the original Blues Brothers, I was of course overjoyed when in the year 1998 a long awaited sequel popped up in the cinemas. A Blues Brothers sequel had bandied around for years, with the death of John Belushi in 1982 it was originally penned as something of a tribute to him, with the idea of James Belushi stepping into his shoes. I'm not sure how well that would have worked really, James is significantly taller and every time I picture it, I just see two "Elwood" characters on stage. In the end Dan Ackroyd and John Landis put their heads together to pen this sequel out of thin air. The formula remains largely unchanged, with some new characters introduced to replace the ones who sadly couldn't join us for this outing, but to be honest it's a lot of repetition of the first (classic) movie just without the rude words and adult themes. Once again this takes the Showband of The Blues Brothers, made famous in the 1970's on Saturday Night Live, and plants them in a movie - part road trip, part musical, part mad-cap comedy. After the death of John Belushi, The Blues Brothers still performed live, mainly for special occasions on SNL and with special guests filling in the vocals - most notably aforementioned James Belushi partnering Dan Ackroyd playing the part of Zee Blues. Cast Leads; Dan Ackroyd - Elwood J Blues John Goodman - "Mighty" Mack McTeer Joe Morton - Commander Cabel Chamberlain J. Evan Bonifant - Buster The ...

The Blues Brothers (DVD) 19/05/2017

The Blues Brothers: A Briefcase full of Blues!

The Blues Brothers (DVD) The Blues Brothers DVD Review The Blues Brothers is a 1980 comedy/musical movie starring Dan Ackroyd and the late John Belushi as brothers Elwood and Jake Blues. Starting out as a comedy sketch in 1976 on the American powerhouse which is Saturday Night Live, the Blues Brothers were an all-star show-band made up of some of the greats in the Blues and R&B field of music. As a connoisseur of their music, Dan Ackroyd put them together as an ensemble and took the role of front-man along with fellow comedian John Belushi, creating some very entertaining sketches which were an even mix of musical prowess and slapstick comedy - prancing around the stage dressed in bee outfits singing I'm a King Bee - Buzz buzz sticks in my mind especially! Audience reactions were great, no-one could get enough of the Blues Brothers and so after the immense success of a debut album in 1978, they decided it was time to paint Hollywood black. They took an old script Ackroyd had written (never expecting it to see the light of day!) and along with directing legend John Landis, developed their act into a full movie. It was one of the most expensive comedy movies ever made, with costs spiraling way out of the planned budget (originally - and quite optimistically - set at $12 million), and for a moment it looked like it may be a break-even prospect, with a very average opening weekend. However, it exploded and went on to almost quadruple its $30,000,000 costs, dominating the box office for several weeks ...

Are you rather watching movies at home or at the cinema? 12/05/2017

Movies on the silver-screen can't be beat!

Are you rather watching movies at home or at the cinema? What a great topic We were just having a debate about this in the pub, very weird coincidence! As a massive movie fan I'm generally at ease watching them anywhere. I watch films at home most evenings, cinema when the opportunity arises and even on the desk-top at work or my phone (doesn't half eat battery life though!) Cinema The cinema is always a treat, and even as a 34 year old grown up *ahem* I get inordinately excited at the thought of catching a new release on the silver screen. I visit at least once a month but try to go quite a bit more often (babysitters allowing). It's not unheard of for me to even head off alone for a couple of hours peace and quiet if I find myself with an afternoon free. Summer at the cinema is always good fun, when there is generally a slew of the big name action and comedy hitting the theatres. Why the best stuff is reserved for the summer is anyone's guess, but I am always spoiled for choice with the big budget releases competing for attention and vying to break last years box-office records. Even in the so called Dump Months (google it - very interesting, when the independent movies, vehicles to launch new actors and and more unusual genres which are not expected to set the world alight are released), I am still a keen customer and happy to hand over my reddies. On that note however, we've hit on what I think is the only negative for cinema viewing. An adult ticket now is at least £10, with the best seats in the house costing a premium on ...

Hot Tub Time Machine (DVD) 10/04/2017

Hot Tub Time Machine DVD. Kicks some past!

Hot Tub Time Machine (DVD) Hot Tub Time Machine DVD review Hot Tub Time Machine is a 2010 movie about...well, you probably don't need a great imagination to suss it out. It's a buddy movie and a pretty decent comedy, though it's another one of those love it or hate it affairs I'm afraid. This is an odd one. It looked to me like a rubbish movie from the first trailer I saw back in 2010. It is such a silly premise that even the cast don't seem to take it seriously, and after the trailer in the cinema my wife and I glanced at each other with one of those Not in a million years looks and there it went, filed away into the "don't bother" pile. Luckily, very luckily, I caught this on TV a few years later when I was home alone and either very stuck for something to watch, or sat more than 5 feet from the remote to change the channel. It was just as daft as I thought, but so funny and such a retro feel-good comedy, that it made its way into my favourites list filed under "Guilty Pleasure". Cast John Cussack - Adam Yates Clark Duke - Jacob Yates Rob Corddry - Lou Dorchen Craig Robinson - Nick Webber-Agnew Chevy Chase - Mysterious repairman Plenty more bit parts but a full cast list (down to the extras, at times) is pointless. The four leads are all spot-on. John Cussack is the big name A-lister of course but comedian Rob Corddry is a well known name on the TV comedy circuit (owner of Adult Swim who produce some very funny stuff), Craig Robinson is a fan favourite on the American version of The Office, ...

Happy Gilmore (DVD) 02/04/2017

Happy Gilmore DVD - Talk about a hole in one...

Happy Gilmore (DVD) Happy Gilmore DVD review Happy Gilmore is a 1996 comedy (is it really 21 years?? I'm getting old!) starring Adam Sandler as himself. Sorry, typo. It stars Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore, a failed hockey player who finds his skills perfectly suited to the game of golf. The movie proved to be Adam Sandlers big break in Hollywood. With a dozen smaller roles to his name and a couple of poor attempts at writing (Billy Madison, Going Overboard...) this film was generally well received. Of course Adam Sandler movies are a bit of an acquired taste, his brand of "comedy" is basically a modern day slapstick, with crude and childish jokes galore and lots of obvious set ups/easy put downs. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, I personally find most of his films quite funny and Sandler himself very likable. I count them as a guilty pleasure (albeit one to be taken in small doses!) Although Adam Sandler himself writes, produces and takes lead actor in this one, he drafted in David Duggan, a very well known and respected TV director with a handful of movies also under his belt, to direct. I won't say it was a match made in heaven, but they have since collaborated on seven more feature films so obviously they've found that they make a good team. Cast Adam Sandler - Happy Gilmore Carl Weathers - Chubbs Peterson Christopher McDonald - "Shooter" McGavin Alan Covert - Gilmores homeless Caddy (credited as "Otto" though never referred to by name). Julie Bowen - Virginia Venit Frances ...

Human Traffic (DVD) 29/03/2017

Human Traffic DVD; Sex, Drugs & On The Dole!

Human Traffic (DVD) Human Traffic DVD review - Remixed edition This is a classic which takes me back a good few years, but it still gets the odd spin to reminisce about the good old days when trance and house-music was the be-all and end-all. First off I'll start by saying that I actually prefer the original to the "remixed" edition, but the updated soundtrack to this later edit slightly edges the first one. Human Traffic is a 1999 movie from the mind of Justin Kerrigan, who at 25 years old and fresh out of film school decided to make a movie about the "House music" driven club scene and surrounding drug culture. On a shoe-string budget and using practically no big name actors, he created a bit of a masterpiece. It's not that the movie is especially good, it's not a "film to see before you die" by any means, it was just a mould breaking concept which binned any sort of coherent developing story in favour of a 100% character driven ensemble film. Cast John Simm - Jip Shaun Parkes - Koop Danny Dyer - Moff Lorraine Pilkington - Lulu Nicola Reynolds - Nina Andrew Lincoln - Felix Directed by Justin Kerrigan, who also wrote and produced the whole thing. The cast are excellent. They all seem like real people, no ego is present at all, none of them milk their scenes for laughs or look like they are angling for an Oscar, they just do a bloody good job of the material given to them. I applaud that! Jip seems to be the glue holding everyone together - the little group of mates was formed around him ...

Tissot PRC200 Men's Watch T0144101103700 08/03/2017

Tissot PRC-200. Precise, Robust, Classic!

Tissot PRC200 Men's Watch T0144101103700 Tissot PRC200 As I've said before in previous reviews, I'm a horophile. Before the chorus of Yes, we've seen the pictures begins, all that means is that I'm a watch collector. I've worked in jewellery for over a decade which has left me well placed to partake in my passion with staff discounts and little incentives. However, I've now got my own place and with the watch market looking a bit saturated I made the decision to stick to jewellery (or 95% at least), meaning pickings are a bit slim, so I've got to pay full price for my watches again. It sticks in the throat a bit, but needs must when the Devil drives. I mainly collect Seiko watches and other related Japanese brands, but there isn't much I haven't tried - everything from Timex to Rolex as I always say. This Tissot was one I spotted reduced a few months ago so I thought I'd give it a try. Tissot Tissot is one of the worlds best known Swiss watch houses. Established in 1853 in Switzerland they started out as a pocket-watch maker and later adapted to the "modern" wristwatch. Throughout their 160+ years in the industry they have always taken risks and led innovation, anyone who was around in the 1980's might remember their Woodwatches and Rockwatches, carved from a single piece of wood or granite with a quartz powered Swiss watch movement set into the back. Tissot merged with Omega in the 1930's and formed a new holding company called SSIH (Société Suisse pour l'Industrie Horlogère) which was declared insolvent in ...
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