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ChrisJHoward

ChrisJHoward
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Member since: 21.07.2009

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    • Sony KDL-37W5810 / LCD TV / 39 Readings / 37 Ratings
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      03.07.2010 10:25
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      This a TV worth having...

      Don't do yourself out of quality viewing by going for another brand name or a cheaper model, this is a high quality television for high quality viewing, it is fashionable, functionable (yes I have made that word up) and can be the source of great comfort (I say that loosely so as not to encourage more TV than necessary).

      Watch TV, movies and games in superb High Def detail with the 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution View fast-moving images, such as sports or action movies, with life-like smoothness and sharper detail thanks to Motionflow 100Hz with Image Blur Reduction technology Enjoy images with impressive depth and clarity, optimal contrast, vibrant colours and truer-to life tones with BRAVIA ENGINE 3 Enjoy vibrant pictures on screen with optimal colour purity thanks to Live Colour.

      You can select one of the four options, Off, Low, Mid, and High, to adjust colour vibrancy for optimum image quality. Experience deep blacks even in the darkest scenes thanks to the Advanced Contrast Enhancer. You can easily switch the picture and sound settings to best suit what you're watching with one-touch Scene Select on the remote control for the most atmospheric, dynamic and realistic results. There are Eco Settings including the Light Sensor to automatically adjust screen brightness depending on the ambient light levels in your room (which is pretty cool, although you may not notice it working, it's there and is the same technology Apple Mac's use for their monitors).

      A quick note on the sound, I used to have my TV connected to my stereo and flaw standing speakers for maximum ear blasting during films and gaming (then I let a woman move into my life and my cool bachelor gedgetry and general awesomeness as a male tech bot surreptitiously fell by the way side).
      That said with this TV I don't think you need an extra sound out put, the sound from the TV alone is crystal.

      You can watch movies exactly how the director intended with 24p True Cinema 50000:1 dynamic contrast ratio - again, black levels are deeper for richer, more realistic colour representation. When you are not watching TV, you can turn it into a digital picture frame with Picture Frame Mode. Fill the black hole in your living room by using your TV to display your own pictures or the pre-installed images - This is quite a nice feature and I have a friend that has family holiday photo slides on in when the TV is dormant, I tend not to use this particular function as photo's of me are bad enough let alone high def TV images....

      There are also claims that this is an Eco friendly TV - something many people would find hard to believe, but there are assurances from SONY that the best possible measures are taken to ensure their product is "manufactured and developed in an environmentally responsible way". Yeah....(looks quizzically) of course we're going to believe that little gem of finite PR and marketing from a massive conglomerate selling a product to consumers who more often than not genuinely believe that Activia yogurt contains "Bifidous Digestivum!" (Bad Science, that's what is I'll you - it doesn't exist, what SONY are also cleverly swerving around here is the fact that the TV saves energy by going into Power Save mode or Idle mode which actually turns the TV to standby not Off but standby, the truth is - with any TV, if you want it off, you switch it off at the mains, simple).

      All in all this TV is pretty excellent and comparatively cheap considering the quality of it. I would recommend it absolutely, it's great to live with, it's practical, it doesn't have complicated navigator formats, the remote is easily figured out and always reliable. It sits on it's own heavy bottomed stand and looks very smart in it's design - try it you'll love it!...

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        15.06.2010 23:34
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        No flames, no mess, No fat!... Beat that!

        In 1994 the Lean mean fate reducing grilling machine hit the commercial markets and entered the homes of young kitchen time savers and the digs of students the world over. The small efficient and compact cooking appliance comes in a variety of colours and now shapes. There is a whole range of variations on the original, different sizes and attachments for use - one even has a hot plate and family size grill for the family that just can't or wont spend time at the hob cooking.

        The remarkable achievement of it's name sake George Foreman, who reclaimed the title of world heavy weight champion at the age of 45 has happily leapt onto our screens endorsing and promoting the grill. Foreman claims his success came from his healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits so it made sense for the marketing team at electrical giants Russell and Hobbs inc to get the mighty man mountain on board - and it worked selling over 100 million units world wide.

        The practical capability of the grill in a home is fantastic, it is incredibly easy to use with all manner of foods with the exception of eggs on this particular model but I am told you can use eggs on others. It is quick to heat which mean barely any waiting time, likewise quite quick to cool which is great as you wouldn't want to burn those delicate hands - speaking of hands "hands that do dishes"... bla bla (fairy Ad)

        The grill is easily cleaned often with quick wipes of your dish cloth, the reason for this is the whole cooking surface is Teflon coated, genius!... (I wonder if you can review Teflon?!) It's light weight and easy to store in a cupboard or on a shelf.

        We don't use it everyday but we use it more than our kitchen grill, who wouldn't, it's fat reducing!?!...It does this by having raised ridges on both top and bottom grill, this reduces direct contact to the food and enables almost all the fat to drain cleanly away from what you're about to eat. There is a detached plastic drip tray that collects all the
        grease and fat, which again is easily cleaned and storable.

        I'd recommend this product to anyone, no matter what your culinary skill level or time frame for cooking - with this piece of kit there really is no excuse for unhealthy eating...

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        • The Hurt Locker (DVD) / DVD / 40 Readings / 39 Ratings
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          13.06.2010 12:09
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          Well worth a watch and absolutely worth the all the awards!

          Hurt Locker is the American war film from director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal. Originally premiered in 2008 it was released in America in 2009 and has only recently made it to British screens. The film follows the the US army Explosive Ordinance Disposal team or bomb squad, during the Iraq war starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty.

          This film has been a long time coming for me and I have to say after mixed reviews and hearing the chatter of idle minds in pubs, this film was everything I wanted from it. It is not an overpowering awe inspiring epic but it is a raw, gritty and almost dramatised documentary of the bomb disposal teams tour of duty. Much like the Series Generation Kill, this film was based on the reports of a journalist embedded in the team on the frontline.

          Tensions arise when the new bomb diffuser arrives and has a wreckless addiction to the job and seemingly doesn't care whether he lives or dies. They go out everyday day and contend with the insurgency and IED's (improvised explosive devise) literally putting their lives on the line discovering bombs connected to other bombs and half buried shells and even car bombs left and wired around the engine or radio. Because this film is shot in a very up close and personal way it pulls the audience into a tense and quite captivating environment which at times is quite uncomfortable but gripping nonetheless.

          The plot itself is basic but refreshing as the nuances of emotion from the soldiers really cements a sense of sympathy and evokes certain feelings of compassion. The standard of acting is set high and is unfailing throughout, with stellar performances all round. Nominated for nine Academy awards in 2010 it received six, including best picture and best director (the first woman ever to win this award!) Hurt Locker also earned several awards and honors from critics and festivals including six BAFTA Awards. So rightly so it holds a great deal of weight already which is sure to extend over time and perhaps gain some sort of cult status.

          The cinematography attempts to mimic reality by using varying perspective - because that is how the eye works as apposed to the lens, we see the microcosm and macrocosm simultaneously so the this was the idea in filming this movie, intending to utterly immerse the audience. This is not a new technique and by no means groundbreaking in Hurt Locker but it is impressive and definitely deserves a mention as it works as it supposed to doing the screen play a good deal of justice.

          I would urge people to watch this film and judge it for themselves, it is raw and immediately visceral making for an intense and engaging watch, the ending maybe seen as a let down but actually ties the film up very nicely and perpetuates the themes that have been brought to the fore during the movie. I personally think it's a stunning achievement for all involved.

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          • Acolyte - Delphic / Music Album / 27 Readings / 24 Ratings
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            10.06.2010 18:51
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            worth a listen.

            The road to success for many a band attempting to fuse Rock and Dance is long and winding to say the very least. Myriad of potentially brilliant groups have fallen short of the alchemists formula over the last two decades but there has been a noticeable resurgence of late in bands such as Hotchip, MGMT, XX and now there is Delphic.
            Delphic have avoided all the hallmarks of a cheesy crossover album and produced a seemingly cohesive and impressive debut.

            The Mancunian band have clear influences but that's not to detract from any real talent they hold, the reworked and seminal sounds of former giants New Order, Underworld and even Orbital resonate through every refrain. This alone places Delphic in good stead and certainly displays a firm grasp of dance floor understanding.
            On an album of great consistency, Red Lights is a winner. An iridescent, dilated-pupil anthem-in-waiting, it wont surprise me to find a host of remixers baying from across the dance music spectrum, just to get their hands on it.

            The pressure on Delphic to deliver was enormous and it is safe to say that it has been successfully eleviated. From a palette of recognisable reference points, they have created a fresh, integral sound that may prove to be the foundation of an impressive career. Acolyte might just be the first great album of 2010.

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            • It's Complicated (DVD) / DVD / 33 Readings / 33 Ratings
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              09.06.2010 13:14
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              Quite dull and no real high points, the cast are good but the film sucks!...

              It's Complicated is the 2009 American Rom Com starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. It's Written and directed by Nancy Meyers of What Women Want, The Holiday, Something's Gotta give and The Parent Trap fame. With a fair number of relatively innocuous films under her belt I saw the latest attempt at her tradecraft as a hopeful and exciting prospect, based on the cast alone.

              Let's be clear about one thing concerning this film, it has some incredible acting from the three on screen heavy weights. The big three work brilliantly together and have excellent chemistry and sparkle, comedy timing has been honed over a lifetime in films and the sympathy and empathy they evoke in the audience is honestly quite enthralling. I am however disappointed that this films only redeeming features are these three sublime and familiar faces. They carry the script and the plot with ease and a certain panache but it is unfortunate that screenplay itself just does not hold up against other films in the genre. It was released on the back of Avatar and Sherlock Holmes - so understandably it would fall behind them in it's opening week but worse than that it fell behind Alvin and the Chipmunks!...

              The story is pretty formulaic and appealing to pretty well anyone in a family let alone anyone who's family has gone through at least some trials and tribulations. Basically the two divorced parent figures start up an affair and have to keep it from their family and respective partners - there are a few curtailed glimpses of real life and some aspects of sentiment surrounding the children and home life that has changed over the years but the majority of this film feels like a bad essay that is full of padding and no real content. It's easy to watch without any real annoyance except that the assumption a real life broken family gets on as well as they do on the screen here...

              Truthfully I wouldn't sit down and watch it again, it would be a waste of time, there is nothing else you can gain from watching it over and over, in a vast genre of peaks and toughs this movie really hits some low points and I genuinely fell that the three main Actors in the film will look back and wonder "why did we do that"?...

              If I were you, I'd select something else and not give in to your other half who insists that this is definitely going to be really funny and worth watching... I give the film a huge thumbs down and my partner well...she's dead now,
              She's not dead.

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                29.05.2010 15:17
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                This is more important than you might think.

                I have taken on this review as a matter of philosophical intrigue, to my astonishment nobody has written a review on Morality, Ethics and Justice as yet here on Dooyoo. Well of course why would anybody? These three words we use are just there as a matter of learned experience aren't they?.. we learn what is wrong and right from a young age from the people and community around us, it is part of our socialisation. In this review I aim to prove that actually the three words in question are of daily significance in all our lives and there is a greater importance to them than you might think.

                Take for example two siblings, one has a half an hour to play with his/her favourite toy, it's only fair that the other gets the same alloted time to play with their favourite toy unless of course they are being punished for something and forfeit that playtime as punishment. Our daily discourse is litered with value judgements just like these - in this example all three concepts are relevant. It is morally, ethically and just that the siblings are treated by the same token and governed by the same value set.

                People very often disagree on whether a particular judgement value is true or false, justified or unjustified; "That's not right", "That is the only fair thing to do", "It is wrong to take a bribe" - well what do these phrases really mean? what information do we get from hearing them? what kind of meaning do we gain from words such as "good", "Right" and "Just"? This is Meta-ethics.

                Some philosophers have claimed that there are ethical sentences, sentences containing ethical terms like "good" and "bad", "duty", "right" and "wrong" but that these sentences hold no propositions - that they contain nothing that could be considered true or false. It is said that are, instead, expressions of ones feeling or attitude toward something just like words such as "Alas", "Whoopee" or even "Eureka" - they express an attitude but don't state anything and are neither true or false.

                According to the emotive theory of ethics, there are no moral truths; sentences containing moral terms like "good" express no propositions at all but we do not see it initially because the sentences hold the same grammatical form as those sentences that do have propositions.... Confused? Ok try this - "Promise breaking is bad" looks very similar to "Promise breaking is a frequent occurrence," but the second is an empirical statement that we can all confirm for ourselves without too much trouble, whereas the first is not.

                Does the meaning of the word "good" vary from case to case? Does the meaning of "good" constantly vary unlike the meanings of say "chair" or "stone." Is the word "good" then multiply ambiguous? Do we attach one meaning to the word on one occasion and a different meaning on another? I realise this is now becoming a very long list of questions but please humor me for now, after all it is the job of a philosopher to ask the right questions and not simply find the answers. The Dictionary says; "Good" is the most general term of commendation in the language. To claim that someone is good, or a good X (good boy, good employee, good dog) is at least to one's stamp of approval on that person. I is that use of the word commend that they all have in common.

                Take the two extremes; a pacifist would use the word "good" as would and Anarchist. Respectively it is both good to be peaceful and good to case havoc, they both use the term as one of commendation but what they commend are very different qualities.

                The ancient Greeks thought of some person or thing as good based on whether it fulfilled a function. A good physician is one who is good at healing and a good sailor is one who guides well to it's intended destination. In general a good X is an X that fulfills the function of X's, whatever that may be.

                When we argue ethical matters, we don't say things like "X must be good, because after all you approve of it." We may say that "X is good" means that we all ought to approve X, but that is defining an ethical term by way of another ethical term, and there is little point in doing that unless you know what the other ethical term means.

                We constantly refer to people and things as having value or being good or worthwhile. We assign a judgement value as individuals to the things and the people around us, this is natural and automatic. Is it morally or ethically just to assign any one person more importance than another - I am sure most of us would agree that it is not.

                What about our conduct then? the way we behave around and even toward each other, whatever we have taken into consideration so far, there is nothing to tell us specifically what we should or should not do. If we aim for something we all want, i.e. Happiness - I use happiness as the example here because it is Aritotle' opening gambit of his Nicomachean Ethics - Happiness is that at which all human beings aim.

                There are a plethora of quotes and teaching in the NE that I would like to explore but for let us just take a few that are entirely relevant.

                To Justice then - "Between friends there is no need for justice, but people who are just still need the quality of friendship; and indeed friendliness is considered to be justice in the fullest sense. It is not only a necessary thing but a splendid one."

                Aristotle is basing his conception of justice on a conception of fair exchange, likewise he does the same for friendship. Friendships are balanced by the fact that each friend gives as much as receives hence friendship and justice are closely connected.

                Where friendship is concerned morality also relates to to the way we conduct ourselves, Morality itself refers to personal or cultural values, codes of conduct and social etiquette. It is these models that distinguish between right and wrong in human society, however this is not to say what is objectively right or wrong, it only refers to what is regarded as right or wrong by people. Right and wrong acts are generally categorised as such because they are perceived as causing benefit or harm. It is also possible that many moral beliefs are founded on prejudice, ignorance and in extreme cases hatred.

                Now here's where ethics gets a little more interesting, Justice is our concept of moral correctness based on things such as ethics, rationality and natural law, religion and fairness, along with a punishment for the breach of the ethical code in place. If you've ever been to court or seen any big Hollywood productions concerning legal drama you may have seen a statue called Lady Justice, depicting justice equipped with three symbols: a sword symbolic of the court's coercive power; a human scale weighing competing claims in each hand; and a blindfold indicating impartiality.

                The association of justice with fairness is quite a modern concept in itself but justice in some form or another has always governed the order things. Some claim that the idea of punishment is intended to rehabilitate the offender. To transform them into the kind of person that would not repeat the crime. Others say that the aim of punishment is deterrence. Criminals should be punished in order to deter them and the others from committing crimes in the future. Others say that punishment is a protective measure, in order to protect the rest of us from those that may be considered a danger to us if they were permitted to go about freely, among us. These three justifications for judicial punishment are all utilitarian; they differ only in the consequences they emphasise, but ultimately they all defend punishment for the alleged good results it produces and bad results it allegedly avoids.

                Now there are many avenues we can venture down where morality, ethics and justice is concerned. The truth is that these three words are often exploited, manipulated and detached from their true meaning, too often they go unnoticed and the obvious facts are that they surround our lives and daily routines. I am not dogmatic enough to tell people how to or how they should act and conduct themselves but I can hope that people may begin to question the things they do or say - perhaps even looking further into Egoism or Altruism. I would like to urge people to just at least only for self development try to learn and understand Justice as a cornerstone of our lives and ethics and morality as a philosophical concept that might broaden the foundations of what you understand it is to be part of society.

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                  20.05.2010 14:06
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                  A book well worth reading.

                  Sophie's World is a novel by Jostein Gaarder, published in 1991. First published in Norweigan and then English and has now spread to over 30 countries and boasts sales of more than 30 million copies. Gaarder is not just a talented author but freshly invigorating and truly inspiring, often writing from the perspective of children and exploring that sense of naïve wonderment so many of us can recall having as a child. His work also employs a metafictional device involving stories within a story, hence the title Sophie World; subtitle - A History of Philosophy.

                  Sophie Amundsen is a young girl that lives a seemingly perfectly normal life until one day she receives a letter, strange and enticing the intrigued 14 year old Sophie reads the letter to discover she has a mysterious but quite harmless relationship forming via letter correspondence. As the story develops, Sophie receives daily letters and packages but initially never sees who delivers them. The letters contain a series of questions that grip Sophie's youthful intrigue, they also provide pages and notes on the philosophers that posed the questions or became concerned with them.

                  Sophie learns to start questioning things herself. The letters activate some deep philosophical inclinations and she starts to realise and quite happily understand the significance philosophy has on the everyday ordinary events of her life. She begins to think about things from another perspective and ponders the mysteries set out before her, coming to the understanding that if we are not concerned with the things around us in life and we do not question things as a matter of course, things such as our own existence then we are not really living at all.

                  As the story continues we get to find out that the person sending the letters is a man, a philosopher named Alberto knox - he is teaching Sophie about everything related to the subject of philosophy and it's history, which when you think about it is the history of all things (I know, I have a degree in Philosophy and literature and believe me you either have to have a passion for it or you collapse under the weight of your own mental breakdown...) She learns of the myths and legends, the beliefs that the world adopted before having natural and logical explanations for events and happening in the world. She learns of Socrates (father of Modern thought, realised he knew very little about anything) then Plato (A man full of ideas) and then Aristotle (Founder of logic, the theory of concepts and classifier of much in the natural world). However it doesn't end here with the three Greeks, She is taught about Democritus and the theory of indivisible atoms underlying all of nature as well as the concept of fate. Then Jesus, St Augustine and St Aquinas - the Christianization of Greek philosophy during the middle ages which drags her right into the renaissance and new thinkers that shaped and influenced our world today. People such as Descartes (Cogito Ergo Sum - I think therefore I am) Spinoza. It goes on and on as is the nature of philosophy, it is not to find the answers but to find the right questions.

                  As Sophie progresses she learns of the empiricists, Locke who believed in natural right and that everything known is gained from experience, then Hume who influenced Kant who realised that our actions are based on our feelings and that perhaps we should not base laws on our experience. Then comes the enlightenment period where everything is pulled out of the dark ages literally everything is revamped from engineering to the way peopled farmed land and built houses, science had arrived more firmly than before and it had a following that cast off the shackles of religion.

                  All the time these teaching and wonderful eye opening encounters go on there is a parallel story with a young girl called Hilde and Alberto Knox is hatching a plan to escape Albert Knag's mind...?! Its genius and I don't want to go too much into this part of the book because you have to read and judge it for yourself; I don't want to give anything away. The facts here are thus, this book is brilliantly written and holds a sensitivity and charm unlike anywhere else. The style is fluid and tremendously easy to read despite the subject matter being almost intimidating to many a reader. The themes are continuous and character development really engages the audience.

                  A really captivating plot that will honestly overwhelm even the most cynical nay sayers, I picked this up by accident and genuinely believe it would be a great help to any philosophy student even if to break up the drudgery of reading Practical ethics or Heidegger' Being and Time. I recommend reading it on a perfect summers day in the garden or a near by park, that said it would be a great holiday read for any level of reader.

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                  • Men Who Stare At Goats (DVD) / DVD / 78 Readings / 75 Ratings
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                    12.05.2010 12:28
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                    One to watch, may not be for everyone.

                    The Men Who Stare at Goats is the 2009 comedy film from director Grant Heslov and writer Peter Straughan. Based on the book of the same name by author Jon Ronson, it is an account of the investigation conducted by Ronson and John Sargeant into the US Military's use of psychic powers. The trailers for this film looked hilarious and made me really want to watch it - just like a good trailer should, the cast looked great, the story immensely funny and interesting, so the decision was made to watch it a few nights ago and now I've had time to think about it, did I like it?...Was it any good?..

                    The film follows a young Newspaper reporter, Bob Wilton, (Ewan Mcgregor) whose life and career seem to be heading nowhere but the direction he doesn't want to be going until one day he interviews a man, Gus Lacey, (Stephen Root) who claims to have psychic abilities. Bob is naturally sceptical and brushes the "hamster controlling" former soldier off as a little crazy - as anyone probably would. A little while late whilst attempting to report on the war in Iraq Bob accidentally falls into the company of a Special Forces operative, Lyn Cassady (George Clooney). Lyn reveals to Bob that he was part of an elite team of spies trained in parapsychology, utilising their unique skills for the benefit of the US Military, they were like Jedi warriors. Skill sets included all manner of things from invisibility to cloud bursting and walking through walls, this back story is told predominantly through flash back scenes with Lyn' voice over narrating - this gives the film an overall quite nostalgic and memories of an era long gone appeal. In a way it's as if Lyn himself is revisiting that magical time when he was young and honing his skills under the tutelage of Bill Django (Jeff Bridges).

                    The script is well written and actually very funny in parts, it flows very and flits between the events actually taking place and the flash backs quite nicely without becoming confusing and disjointed. The idea for this film is brilliant and the tag line "much of what you see in this film is based on actual events" leaves the audience wondering just how much countries like the US are prepared to do and spend on or with their defence programs, let alone the logic applied - we've all seen the YouTube videos of US soldier LSD experiments, well I have and I've read a few transcripts, suffice to say conducting such experiments is not without it's laughs... And that really is the crux of this film; it is a poke at that rationale that dictates extensive research in bizarre fields.

                    Unsurprisingly then, the film had mixed reviews from the critics and a fair amount of controversy surrounded the production. It is my contention though that the cast are incredibly well balanced highly talented and firmly convincing in their respective performances here, with more than one big name taking the lime light. Kevin Spacey's brief appearances are brilliant as are Jeff Bridges in a classically Dudesque way. Ewan Mcgregor always surprises me with his ability to look just like a young boy, eager and excitable but quietly concerned, then we get Clooney who has quite clearly still got everything needed to the dark comedy role required of this script - he is cool and as quirky as the Cohen brothers but with a warm and quite commanding presence.

                    I am leaning more and more to watching this film again in order that I pick up on stuff I didn't see the first time round and for that reason I have to say this was a good movie. It is certainly a layered film and very funny but I don't think it will split the sides of every viewer so I should caution you on your approach here. I loved it many ways but kept feeling as though I wanted something extra, just that little bit more... but I definitely cannot dissuade people from watching this, it is surprisingly good and so is the sound track.

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                    • Terminator Salvation (DVD) / DVD / 72 Readings / 71 Ratings
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                      05.05.2010 12:18
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                      I enjoyed bit's but found it quite vapid overall....

                      Terminator Salvation is the 2009 or latest instalment to the Sci-fi collection. The Original Terminator and its sequel - Judgement day still hold considerable weight in not just the genre but in cinema history, I am part of a generation that has grown up with these films and have a natural but well founded adoration for them. Directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol or better known as "MCG" Terminator Salvation gave audiences hope that the saga could somehow be saved after the travesty of the third film. There are many things we could say about this film but I think at the crux of it what's really important is whether or not it's a sequel or a stand alone film... well it's both.

                      Starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington the film depicts the war between Skynet and humanity in 2018, the human resistance cells fighting and killing the machines where they can and the humans being harvested by machines in order that Skynet can produce a new cyborg system - Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington). I don't like putting too many spoilers into my reviews so unless you're a fan of the genre and previous films you may need to bone up and fill in some gaps - The Terminator plotlines are not as complex as they sound and despite various timelines being crossed and the laws of cause and effect coming into play, anyone can get to grips with it if they watch all four films.

                      Sam Worthington seems to upstage Christian Bale in this film somewhat and rightly so as a budding young actor just breaking into the business. Christian Bale quite honestly shouldn't have taken this role on, but as the current movie whore he seems to be what could we have expected?!.. That said Bale allegedly had a lot of say on the final production spending up to eight hours a day in the editing room with the director, it's clear his status can now command considerable influence but as a personal opinion I just don't feel he was right as John Connor. Continuing the strong female themes of old there is Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams a battle hardened and romantically inclined pilot that develops a kind of survivor's guilt for the cyborg Marcus.

                      The film itself seems to rely less on CGI and special FX and is a much more enjoyable watch for it. It is dark and very derelict in line with genre conventions but at the same time it's fairly polished and up to date with it's aesthetics and general Mise-en-scene. The Cyberdyne laboratories are all clinical and threatening with accurate use of light and colour schemes, there's even a production line for the T800 model 101's where a specially moulded Original 1984 face mask of Arnold himself who seemingly steps out of a flesh grafting chamber with the classic steel girder factory sounds of drums ringing out in homage to the first film. Dum Dum Dum!. Dum Dum!.. You know that terrifying metal clashing sound from the original film when the skeletal terminator just wont stop coming and you wake up in a cold sweat with no one there to comfort you because you were only about 5 five and probably shouldn't have watched it but now it is etched into your subconscious and has integrated itself with your sense of fear.....(no..? Well that's what it did to me). Apparently the musical score was intended be Wagnerian - what could be more scary?!..

                      So is the movie any good?... Well I'm not sure actually, in many ways this a very enjoyable piece of cinema and depends quite heavily on the audience knowing the back story which is good as normally we are spoon fed recaps of past events in a fairly patronising way but with this film what you are seeing is an ending to several generations hopes and expectations. It is good and bad but then it was always going to be a hard one to place, remember it's predecessor's are gigantic by comparison, with the exception of the toilet that was Rise of the Machines ... I am pleased to have watched it and can honestly say it was enjoyable but it was certainly received quite negatively and some valid points are the lack of dramatics which the previous films in the franchise were famed for - interestingly though the main consensus seemed to be that Bale should never have been in the role. I would recommend it if you want to see another film where robots and humans are fighting in what is essentially another factory, foundry or warehouse. However if you had the idea that it has so much potential to take the audience to a new level and find a really seminal close to a franchise that will endure the test of time, I say to you - you probably wont enjoy this in the slightest, I'm even surprised I did but hwy ya never know until you give it a go.....

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                      • The Soloist (DVD) / DVD / 42 Readings / 39 Ratings
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                        04.05.2010 13:14
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                        Please watch it, it really is very good!

                        In 2009 The Soloist and American Drama film featuring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr seemed to evade many an audiences' attention, I for one certainly missed it at the cinema and actually discovered it by accident one quiet evening in with my partner last week. Since watching the film I have asked everyone I see if they've seen it, much to my astonishment very few people appear to have even heard of it let alone seen it. The film is based on the true story of a musician named Nathanial Ayers (Foxx) who develops Schizophrenia and ends up homeless in LA. An LA Times columnist, Steve Lopez (Downey Jr.) discovers the classically trained Julliard Alum. [a side note; Steve Lopez actually wrote the book - The Soloist, and much of this screenplay was based on the book].

                        Directed by the English Joe Wright famed for Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and Nature Boy among notable others - The Soloist is powerfully moving, deeply sensitive and at times unashamedly artistic. The camera work is realistic with hints of the sublime spread over a beautiful interplay of light, intelligently woven chiaroscuro techniques exuded in a gritty depiction of the everyday turmoil's of the homeless. Joe Wright is some kind of director that is certain - with that said the script and story itself forces emotion of the viewer like water being rung from a sponge. All that brilliance is further empowered by the two lead performances that cement staggeringly the reputations of both Foxx and Downey Jr. On screen they seem to develop chemistry and angst all at once but ultimately the two characters needed something or someone and they found each other. Every scene between these two Actors engages and fixates the audience; they are simply wonderful in their respective roles and are beautifully placed together.

                        Although the performances were generally praised and the critics were generally positive about the film there were fairly mixed reviews but take my word for it, this is a serious film intended for those that are serious about film. Perhaps less successful than the directors previous few films but no less special and in fact in many ways The Soloist makes for much better viewing than Atonement... The central themes of mental health, the outsider complex, and reintegration are coupled with friendship and a changing of life on for both parties and for the better. It is touching, complex and yet simple it's nature. A true pleasure....

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                        • The Invention of Lying (DVD) / DVD / 88 Readings / 84 Ratings
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                          16.04.2010 13:12
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                          well worth a watch

                          The 2009 Romantic Comedy The Invention of Lying was written by and directed by Ricky Gervaise and Matthew Robinson. It is an unsurprisingly a typical Gervais styled film and I mean this in the best way possible, Gervaise once claimed that if he couldn't direct and have final say on something on set then he would never have made the groundbreaking comedy series The Office. This is something he has clearly taken to the glitzy world of Hollywood and in a non-negotiable almost stubborn way it has seemingly worked, this film is testament to his vision, talent and now proven ability.

                          Starring the man (Gervaise) himself, Rob Lowe, Jennifer Garner and Tina Fey the cast have been relentlessly mused over and selected incredibly well, the onscreen presence is akin to the social banter of friends spending time together I an English garden with a brash honesty that only American's could deliver without expecting to cause offence. The individuals work well together and there are elements of true beauty prevalent in the relationship slowly forged between Gervaise and Garner. There are also other notable appearances from acclaimed hall of fame comedy legends old and new such as Christopher Guest and Jason Bateman but adding to this are the cameo's of highly respected actor's like Edward Norton and Phillip Seymor Hoffman...What the F*CK?!... (I am aware that the apteryx has become erroneous and serves no purpose in disguising the use of an expletive but ya know what language is free and applaud the creative use of it, however I am aware that people take offense to such things so this is at least an attempt to appease those sensibilities - however I am really not that kind and if you do posses those dispositions about "offensive words" then F*CK OFF). Amazing how you can get such big movie names to agree to be in a film of this nature, but perhaps that is just testament again to the Rise of Gervaise' genius in America as he continues to take the world by storm.

                          The invention of Lying is fairly high concept and is literally about the human step in evolution that a man gains the ability to tell a lie. Initially it is not out of spite of malice and not just because he can but to survive. Mark Bellison (Gervaise) is a poor downtrodden lecture film writer who has just been fired and evicted, survival of the fittest dictates that he would need to evolve. Suddenly he is the only man in the world that can tell a lie, everyone else waltzes around in a somewhat bizarre, hurtfully honest and very painful existence where no form of lie exists, not even to suppress the blow of the most horrible emotional turmoil. That is the basic plot but there is so much more to this film, in true Gervaise fashion it ends with a heartfelt and everyday moral conundrum that in the end shows people in their real light evoking both sympathy and empathy in the audience in an alternate mirror kind of way.

                          This movie, for me, was a joy to watch and I would watch it again. I think it is definitely worth seeing and will be an affable experience without falling one way or the other into a deep pit of existential quandary or veering off in a satirical tangent you can't quite keep track of. There are themes in this film that might leave (hopefully) you questioning how selfish, shallow and or kind you as an individual are. It displays a kindness that we see everyday and take for granted.

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                          • More +
                            24.03.2010 16:54
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                            Meh...

                            The 2009 American Sci-Fi Action and follow up film to the first installment of the Autobot versus Decepticon epic is directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg. You would think 2 years has given the Transformers team a lot to work with especially give the immense special effects and advancements in technology, having said that 2 years really is very little time to complete a film of good quality on this scale. Much like the first movie then we can see much of the same characters and rehashed plot with an impressive show case for the American Military thrown in (perhaps I'm reading too much into it, or perhaps the subtlety of the subliminal messages really aren't that subtle...)

                            The fact's then; this film does exactly what it's meant to do - entertain with brilliant graphics, awesome large scale action scenes, a couple of scantily clad semi hot (if not slightly scary, depending on your personal fetishes) girls and a nostalgic sense that once upon a time, many a moon ago, we were watching these guys blast the engine parts out of each other in cartoon format...

                            The concept 'Rise of The Fallen' actually works considerably well and creates a real background to the robotic civilisation that have seemingly been amongst human kind on Earth for Millenia. I was a little disappointed with the resurrection of Megatron after it took nearly all of the Autobot's capacity to bring him down in the previous film however the return of 'The fallen' overshadowed that part of the film quite nicely. There's only so much excitement the Megatron enstills in viewers but when you hear the throttle throat of an Autobot call out 'OPTIMUS PRIME' something judders in your core a little.

                            The performances on all parts are much the same as before as are the action scenes but the they are tweaked and perked up here and there with fresh ideas and unfortunately a few overbearing moments of "comedy"... I would recommend it if you like action films that you don't really have to pay much mind to, it is purely about the aesthetic and leaves you quietly glad you've reached the end after 149 mins of running time.

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                            • Dorian Gray (DVD) / DVD / 79 Readings / 77 Ratings
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                              14.03.2010 17:50
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                              I have more exciting fungus under my toe nails.....

                              Based on the 1891 novel by Oscar Wilde, The 2009 film Dorian Gray commanded high expectations from the public and anybody that's ever read the book. Directed by Oliver Parker and screenplay written by Toby Finlay the film could never have been a middle of the road experience, it was either going to be brilliant and cleverly artistic with the all the guile of Victorian London swooping onto the screen or it was going to be an abysmal portrayal of classic literary work, gone oh so terribly wrong.

                              So, which was it?.. I was excited about this film for sometime and having read the book a few months before it was released at the box office I have the following to say - I did not in enjoy the book, controversial I know, however I am not reviewing the book here. I also did not enjoy the film. Infact have various issue with it, so numerous infact that it would become a list the length of the Bayou Tapestry and as boring as watching grey paint dry on the living room walls of a house belonging to a Man named Norman who lived in Normington West Mediocre.

                              The Cast have no weight to carry as far as blame goes for this pathetic attempt to revive a once enigmatic and altogether fascinating character. Colin Firth as usual delivers a truly stellar performance as the aging pleasure seeker, Lord Henry Wotton. The sad but opulently clear truth is Colin Firth carried this film and the script, to his credit he is perhaps the productions only redeeming quality. The bit parts of underdeveloped characters and poor dialogue left me underwhelmed and annoyed that the film industry can still permit detritus of this order onto our screens.

                              Dorian Gray is disgusting brutalisation of something that was once considered a gothic - horror classic with Faustian themes running throughout and boring to the core of Man's lust for life and desire neglecting all else that is not a new sensation or experience. This production holds none of the brilliance it so easily could have, it is sloppy workmanship, the camera work is not terrible but could have been a little more creative give the subject. As a period dramatisation and horror film the transition from book to screen has failed miserably and I honestly think the Production team ought to be ashamed of calling 'that's a wrap' at the end of filming.

                              Apart from the familiar stylistics of an actor honing his distinctive method (firth) and the Poster or front cover of the DVD there really is little about this film you could say anything good. Dorian Gray, Ben Barnes, has been put on screen entirely for his looks and not his ability to act in any particular scene. I can't honestly recommend this film, I wouldn't desuade people from watching it but afterwards all I wanted to do was take the life from every thing pretty in the world and turn it in on itself as if to implode it like a dying star.

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                              • Sherlock Holmes (DVD) / DVD / 82 Readings / 80 Ratings
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                                06.03.2010 19:45
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                                British eccentricity at it's best.

                                In 2009 director Guy Richie revived the quintessential eccentric British detective figure, Sherlock Holmes. Casting Robert Downey Jr as the legendary title character and Jude Law as his ever faithful side kick, companion and friend. Upon first hearing about this production I really genuinely thought that it was a bad idea, in that it could very easily tarnish the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by not realising the brevity of that the original literature holds. Initial thoughts and feelings aside, I am glad pleased to say this film was a very pleasant surprise.

                                The casting is is actually quite superb - Robert Downey Jr. delivering a staggeringly good performance, falling naturally and with ease into a role that could so easily have been spoiled by someone else. With quirky and humorous lines that roll eloquently along with eccentric mannerisms and an air of aloof, ceaseless contemplation Holmes is a gentleman so far removed from social graces that his deductive senses are taken to new heights. RD Jr. is simply fantastic and as a viewer it is wonderful to see such a rising curve on the graph of career so far. It must be noted that the generally wooden but pretty faced Jude Law contributes an awful lot to the screen in this movie only emphasising the quality of the script his chemistry with RD Jr. is refreshingly good, not being overshadowed by a better performance and instead staking his claim with an exceptional portrayal of Dr. Watson. There is also something delightful about the appearance of semi femme fatale - Irene Adler (Rachel MacAdams) of course I am biased in that I have been slightly/a lot in love with her for quite some time now).

                                The scenes of victorian London are varying from dark and seedy gutter world boxing rings and drink dens to factories on the Thames and remarkable Masonic halls, St Paul's Cathedral and even an almost finished Tower Bridge. On the screen the locations and set's look brilliant and have an atmosphere that must have been incredibly difficult to harness but Guy Richie has really done this period justice and proved he is more that just a gangster fanatic, I think this film really holds a certain gravitas for Richie that we as an audience have not seen in him to date.

                                I highly recommend this film to anyone, it has serious investigation and action, mystery and wonder. The cast work amazingly well together and there are quite a few laugh out loud moments. I have to say that this was never intended to be a serious art house expression of the way British eccentricity infects even the most acute minds, but actually it is a really great film that doesn't take itself too seriously but still manages to produce a full filling story that engages and captivates....Well worth seeing.

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                                • Frost/Nixon (DVD) / DVD / 79 Readings / 75 Ratings
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                                  20.02.2010 13:32
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                                  A must see movie...

                                  In 2008 two names appeared on the big screens of cinema, side by side those names were FROST/NIXON. A man that as a boy attended the very school I did, I was inevitably intrigued by the man's career and life but somehow I managed to let this historical drama film pass by without concern. I deeply regret not seeing this film at the cinema.

                                  Directed by Ron Howard the production dramatises the Frost/Nixon interviews of 1977. Reuniting the original two lead cast members from the West end and Broadway play, Michael Sheen stars as David Frost and Frank Langella stars as Richard Nixon.

                                  The film has a few noted historical inaccuracies but as an audience we have to remember this is a dramatisation of a docu-film. The story is brilliantly woven and the relationship of a fallen politician and tenacious young journalist intertwines with fantastic cinematic prowess only achieved by a master, Ron Howard. The wonderful thing about this film is the reductive power it holds over the personalities of the two opposing characters. On the one hand Nixon is a political stonewall devoid of emotion and remorse for the heinous mockery he made of the Presidency and on the other he goes someway to becoming human and accountable to the American people (I say this without hoping to offend politically, I know the history of Watergate but my point here is only to serve for the purpose of this film review - it in no way carries a political belief). Then there is Frost, seemingly calm yet actually struggling to find funding for the entire project and financing the whole thing up to a point with his own money. I think in many ways Frost thinks it is enough to let Nixon just be on camera and see if he trips up himself, realising finally in the lead up to the last day of interviewing that it is up to him alone to provoke the right reaction.

                                  The thing is FROST/NIXON is simply splendid, as a film it utterly shocked me - not because of any grand political revelation or underlying didactic that expressed one man's vision of how the events of 1977 should or should not have panned out but because honestly this film is a truly remarkable piece of cinema. I am astonished at just how much I enjoyed every little detail from the plot to the exquisite way Ron Howard shoots every single scene.

                                  The dialogue flows silkily and holds some sharp and weighty intellectual potencies that seamlessly pull emotion and arrogant wit onto the faces of every character in the film. To the actors then, I could not fault one performance, the entire cast reaches highs of an extraordinary level. Sheen and Langella especially, shining through with stellar performances and an almost touching chemistry that displays a contemptible mutual respect and even admiration for one another.

                                  This film is the setting of a standard, I urge everyone to see this film and OK yes I realise that I rarely discourage people not to see a film but I genuinely think this film will hold any audiences attention for the full 123 minutes. It is staggering, a real achievement that casts shadows over many other productions of 2008. Please don't take my word for it or even watch it on the basis of anything you've read, just watch this film.

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