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Life is getting in the way again - taken far too much on! I'll try and publish a couple of reviews and crack on with some rates, apologies!

Reviews written

since 12/02/2014


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 ...

Road Rage 3 (PS2) 25/02/2017

Road Rage 3. Wants to be GT, plays like I:D

Road Rage 3 (PS2) Road Rage 3 PS2 review This is an odd little game. Developed and published on a shoe-string in 2003 by low budget independent outfit Phoenix Games, this was a fairly average racer which drifted right under most peoples radar. Phoenix ended up with a pretty poor reputation in the gaming community for ripping off other games, 'borrowing' themes and ideas and generally turning out poor quality games - particularly for the PS2. I recall reading once that they spent a couple of months programming a new game, where the big studios would spend a couple of years ironing out all the kinks and making sure it's actually ready for the public to play. This one isn't awful, but it's nothing ground breaking either. The Game Road Rage 3 is a Japanese racing game with its feet stuck right in the "Drift" style of racing. At first glance it's a total knock-off of the Initial D arcade games, but it's actually a bit more advanced than that with a couple of game modes. As I mentioned, it's Japanese themed. All six car manufacturers featured (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mazda) are Japanese and that really limits things. Yes, there are still 30 cars to work your way through, but it gets pretty boring pretty quickly, you'll even find your opposition driving the same cars a lot of the time. The tracks are also Japanese, we have four open at the start and I seem to recall there are 12 in total. All very tight winding race tracks, quite a lot of mountain racing (imagine the last ...

Resident Evil 4 (PS2) 22/02/2017

Resident evil 4; PS2. Go FOURTH and prosper!

Resident Evil 4 (PS2) Resident Evil 4 PS2 Background Resident Evil is one of the best known games of the modern age. First released in 1996 on the Playstation (1) it created its own sub-genre with Survival Horror and constantly fought off newcomers to stay on top of the pile. Silent Hill came close to "out-horroring" Resi in the late 90's, but as far as playability goes, Resident Evil is the boss! Since that first slow paced, action/adventure/survival horror in the mid 90's RE has come on in leaps and bounds. It can be said that each game has evolved slightly, regular players and fans of the series will notice dozens of small changes, but in 2005 Resident Evil 4 took an enormous leap by introducing the first roaming third-person perspective. All previous games had eerie fixed-angle cameras focusing on a corridor, or a specific part of a room for example. It was an old system popularised by the old Point-and-Click games on the early PC's, but it worked well and became a bit of a trademark for the Resident Evil series. Fixed cameras help keep the tension up (you never know what is lurking just off screen) as well as utilising the more limited programming of the 90's by using pre-rendered scenery and just animating the character instead of the surroundings. The gamble of updating the viewpoint seemed to pay off. Some of the RE purists complained that it had become a clone of the other 1st and 3rd person action games flooding the market and had lost its soul by stepping away from its roots, but ...

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) 17/02/2017

Red Dead Redemption; A million ways to die in the west!

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) Red Dead Redemption x-box 360 version Back in 2004, Red Dead Revolver re-invented the Western for a new generation. It could all have been so different - the game was originally bank-rolled by gaming industry giant Capcom and planned as a silly, fun, off-the-wall shoot-em-up set in the Wild West. Following various hiccups and set-backs, Capcom agreed to sell the property to Rockstar Games (best known for the Grand Theft Auto franchise) who took it right back to development and turned it into a gritty, story driven action/adventure game with free roaming and third person view. It worked perfectly! It was slow paced and glitchy, and not as well received as the GTA games of course, but it paved the way for much bigger things. Roll on to 2010 and X-box 360 and PS3 owners were treated to a sequel. Rockstar had played it very close to the chest to avoid any disappointments (good job, with 5 years in production!), but with Red Dead Redemption they blew audiences away. Rockstar used their patented RAGE engine (Rockstar Advanced Gaming Engine) to deliver players an enormous, immersive, free roaming environment comparable to Grand Theft, but set in the early 20th century American South West. The story was fantastic, the music fit the game, the voice acting was perfect and the game just seemed to appeal to gamers from every popular genre. A third person shooter at heart with decent action, elements of RPG (role playing games) and cinematic cut-scenes straight from a Spaghetti ...

Ghost Rider - Spirit Of Vengeance (DVD) 16/01/2017

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance. Ghost-BUST!

Ghost Rider - Spirit Of Vengeance (DVD) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance DVD review Well, where to start. After the first movie released in 2007, which was passable but in need of improvement, Warner Brothers and Columbia Studios went back to the drawing board and came back with this effort in 2012 It's a sequel of sorts, but to be honest it all but ignores the first movie (even going as far as reproducing the scene where Johnny Blaze signs away his soul) and I suppose it stands alone in its own right. So, Johnny Blaze is Ghost Rider, a spirit who comes alive in the presence of Evil to feast on the souls of bad people. He also is/was a bounty hunter for the devil (or Hell-Lord, depending on whether you've read the comics) named Mephistopheles, or Rourke in his human form. The premise is that Demons have little power on earth when in human form, so they need right-hand men to do their dirty work. Ghost Rider was intended to be just that, but turned on Mephistopheles in the last movie and so lost his protection. Right, let's get this over with... Cast Nicolas Cage - Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider Ciaran Hinds - Mephistopheles / Rourke Idris Elba - Moreau Johnny Whitworth - Ray Carrigan / Blackout Fergus Riordan - Danny Ketch Violante Placido - Nadya Ketch Directed by Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor. OK, the good bit first - No Eva Mendes. Thank the Lord. Now the bad bit... everything else! Seriously. This is laughably bad. Nic Cage takes off from the last movie but gone is the tortured soul struggling to control ...

Ghost Rider (Extended Edition) (DVD) 14/01/2017

Ghost Rider - I ain't afraid of no Ghost

Ghost Rider (Extended Edition) (DVD) Ghost Rider DVD review - extended cut Ghost Rider is a 2007 movie focusing on yet another Marvel Comics hero. Ghost Rider has been a part of the Marvel comic universe since 1972 and has a huge fanbase. The comic is a step away from the traditional super-hero fodder as this one is based more on the supernatural with heavy leanings towards religion (good v's evil = God v's the Devil), and while religion has played a part in the Marvel world in the past (Thor is a God, for example), nowhere is it more closely observed than here, there are Bible quotes and direct references galore! The movie was intended as one of the very first of the new wave comic-book adaptations to hit the silver screen with Marvel floating the idea of a feature film to studios as early as 1992, but it ended up being stuck in the planning stages for well over a decade and then passed from pillar to post until Columbia Studios finally picked up the rights and started production in 2002. Nicolas Cage wasn't the first choice for the character by any means, but as a very well known comic book collector and general Marvel geek he actively pursued the studio for the role. Interestingly, he cites Ghost Rider as his favourite character and even has a tattoo of him on his back, which of course the studio had to cover up on screen! Cast Nicolas Cage - Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider) Peter Fonda - Mephistopheles (Demon/Devil) Sam Elliot - Caretaker/Carter Slade Wes Bentley - Blackheart Eva Mendes - Roxanne ...

Gone In 60 Seconds (2000) (DVD) 11/01/2017

Gone in 60 seconds, done in 118 minutes.

Gone In 60 Seconds (2000) (DVD) Gone in 60 seconds DVD review Gone in 60 seconds is a high-octane action thriller released back in 2000. It's a slightly controversial one in that our hero is a car thief and the movie is essentially a 2 hour heist - indeed the title is born from the idea that it takes a professional under 60 seconds to steal a car The original Gone in 60 seconds from 1974 was a classic car-chase movie with a light story but heavy action. It is great fun to watch now and still holds the record for the longest car chase at 40 minutes!, but it doesn't really stand up to modern cinema, hence the remake! In my ever growing (currently over 2500) DVD collection I have three versions of this. The regular version, the "Directors Cut" and a double pack with The Rock (stupidly unnecessary since I also have the normal and special editions of The Rock too!). The reason I'm reviewing the standard version here and not the Directors cut is simple... the DC is rubbish. There are some decent featurettes, but the "extended scenes" add absolutely nothing to the movie, and the original isn't exactly light on DVD features in the first place, so it's the original 2000 released DVD I'm writing about. The Cast Nicolas Cage - Randall Raines (Memphis) Angelina Jolie - Sara Wayland (Sway) Christopher Eccleston - Raymond Calitri Giovanni Ribiski - Kip Raines Delroy Lindo - Detective Roland Castlebank Timothy Olyphant - Detective Drycoff Robert Duvall - Otto Halliwell Will Patton - Atley Jackson Chi McBride - Donny ...

Minions (DVD) 16/10/2016

Minions DVD. These Minions served me well.

Minions (DVD) Minions DVD review Minions is a 2015 animated movie featuring, surprisingly, the Minions. Minions are little cylinder shaped creatures with human characteristics, very much childlike in personality and a huge bundle of fun. Their single purpose in life is to serve, their life goal: to find the biggest, baddest boss on the planet and commit themselves to a life of cheerful servitude. They speak a nonsense gibberish language which I thought would really grate after an hour and a half, but it can generally be deciphered to an extent. With the mannerisms captured perfectly through the computed animation it's really easy to work out what they are telling each other. These little chaps were the star of the show in the 2010 and 2013 "Despicable Me" films, and while they proved a pretty amusing side-show, I really wasn't sure they could carry a movie alone. Luckily, I was totally wrong. My little girl dragged me to see this at the cinema and by the end of the 91 minutes (plus credits) they'd won me over. Cast Pierre Coffin ~ The Minions (all of them!) Sandra Bullock ~ Scarlett Overkill Jon Hamm ~ Herb Overkill Geoffrey Rush ~ Narrator Directed by Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me) and Kyle Balda (one of Pixar studios top guys). Sorry to cut the casting so short but no-one else matters, though we have some decent cameo appearances with Michael Keaton as Walter Nelson, Jennifer Saunders as The Queen, Steve Coogan playing a couple of characters and of course Steve Carrell makes a ...

Need For Speed (DVD) 11/10/2016

Need for Speed does not succeed.

Need For Speed (DVD) Need for Speed DVD review Need for Speed is one of the best gaming franchises of all time. Owned by developers Electronic Arts, NFS has come from being a generic, if very accomplished, racer on the 5th generation consoles (Sega Saturn, PS1 and ill fated 3D0) and has undergone countless transformations to stay on top of the charts. While similar racing games of the era like Ridge Racer felt their popularity and interest levels slide after turning out more of the same old same, Need for Speed constantly re-invents itself to keep the fans interest. Since 1994 there have been 22 versions of NFS with more still in development. The fact that they can still shift units (and millions of them) after so many games just screams FAN BASE and to be honest, even though it doesn't really lend itself to movie formatting, I think Hollywood would have missed a trick by not making some attempt at it. Need for Speed the movie was released in 2014 after a couple of years development, but no huge bells and whistles until it was almost complete. That can either be a big enticement or a massive red flag - why were the studio not screaming about this from the rooftops? Hmmmm... Cast Aaron Paul - Tobey Marshall Dominic Cooper - Dino Brewster Imogen Poots - Julia Maddon Harrison Gilbertson - Pete Coleman Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi - Sgt Benny Jackson (Maverick) Ramon Rodriguez - Joe Peck Rami Malek - Finn Michael Keaton - Monarch Maddon Dakota Johnson - Anita Coleman Directed by Scott ...

Splashdown (PS2) 24/09/2016

Splashdown. Wetsuits at the ready!

Splashdown (PS2) Splashdown: PS2 What is it? This is one of my all time favourite racing games, and yet this is the first review on it?? Thank goodness for the alphabet challenge or this might have gone unloved forever! Splashdown is a very simple racing game, but with a bit of a twist: it's on water, and you race with Jet-ski's! This was one of that wave (pardon the pun) of racing games that tried to steer away from the norm. The PS2 already had a load of exceptional racing games and it was always quite exciting when they announced something new, sadly nowhere near the same effort seemed to go into the unusual stuff as say Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo or Formula 1. That's why this is such a gem. Released in 2001, just 18 months after the launch of the console, this blew everyone away. Not only did it look absolutely stunning, the gameplay was spot-on too. Released as part of a 3 game deal from French industry goliaths Infogrames after their buy-out of Atari, this was the game that put Atari back on the map. The Game It's really quite a basic layout for a racing game of the time. There are half a dozen or so racers to choose from, each with a different jet-ski, all from the Sea-Doo brand, and all with slightly different attributes (speed, acceleration, handling etc). Once you've chosen your character there are three options for game modes. Arcade single player gives you free reign to explore courses, take on time-trial challenges and race for fun. Arcade two player is a split screen 1-on-1 ...
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