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Great_reviewer07
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Member since: 11.01.2009

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      07.12.2009 10:39
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      This is just *my* opinion.

      Dooyoo is a written opinions site where normal members of the public are given the chance to post their opinions on everything from a Big Mac to the Eiffel Tower; Dooyoo covers everything you can possibly imagine and for this reason has been going strong for several years now. So on what basis do people log into the site and write their opinions? For money of course! The site pays 50p also known as 500 Dooyoo miles to each review written that is over 150 words. Subsequent to this you're also paid 15 Dooyoo miles (1.5p) for every read that you receive on your review. All sounds good doesn't it? Money for nothing. Dooyoo does have it's downsides though like every website.

      I've been a member of Dooyoo for just under a year now and have enjoyed it immensely, so far I've written 343 reviews and stacked up over half a million Dooyoo miles which translates to just over £500. For the first month or so from joining the site I was what everyone likes to call a 'churner', I thought I'd write about 5-10 reviews a day and pick up a quick cheque however when I started reading around the site more I noticed that other peoples reviews were of a much higher standard. Therefore I tried my best to improve my reviews, writing maybe one or two reviews a day which eventually whittled down to one every other day and who'd have thought it I started receiving crowns every so often.


      *** Churners ***

      Churners don't actually bother me personally, if they want to write as many reviews as humanly possible everyday to make a quick buck then who am I to say otherwise? It actually bugs me that some people give them so much hassle, it's only a website and surely they're free to use it how they want to aren't they? Granted it does bug me slightly that some people write reviews consisting of 151 words and earning their 50p whereas I put effort into my reviews that a lot of the time consist of 1000 words or more for my 50p. I do however think that members should simply let them be, if Dooyoo had such a huge problem with it then they would up the word limit so until then I think we should worry about ourselves and not criticise the way that other people write on the website.

      *** Usernames ***

      A minor thing that I would like Dooyoo to amend would be to have the choice of changing your username, when I joined I had no idea what I wanted my username to be so just chose the first thing that came into my head and I've been embarrassed ever since as it sounds ever so arrogant. I'd love to have the option to change my username but as of yet you are unable to as I guess this is how other members on the site recognise you.

      *** Suggestions ***

      Suggestions have been bugging me as of recent. Dooyoo has recently revamped the way that we make our suggestions, adding numerous boxes for us to put extra information in in an attempt to whittle down the time it takes for the team to add the suggestions and what happens... it takes twice as long, where's the sense in that? When first joining the site at the beginning of January 2009 I had no trouble with suggestions and I found that they would be added to the site within a week or two at most. I suggested two products at the end of August, one was finally added at the beginning of November, the other the beginning of December. Luckily I wrote the review and saved it on Microsoft Word where it was sitting for three months. The response I had from Dooyoo when I emailed them about this was a bit ridiculous. They'll tell you that they upload the suggestions that are the most popular on the site (televisions, mp3 players, Laptops etc) and I totally understand that however if people keep on suggesting televisions and everything that gets more readings then how are Dooyoo ever going to get to the other suggestions that may receive less reads? I personally think it should be changed to a first come first serve basis therefore the site doesn't become a popularity contest and all products will be added to the site in around the same time period.

      *** Food Reviews ***

      This leads me nicely onto my next point; if Dooyoo continue to prioritise suggestions in order of what products get the most reads then why is it that I see more food reviews than any other reviews on the site? I personally don't understand the need to write a review on a Mars Bar or something that costs only 40p. On the other hand it's obvious that these astute members are actually making a profit from their reviews. They're buying a 40p Mars Bar for example, reviewing it for 50p and then getting an extra 1.5p on top of that for every read. So in that sense I do admire them however I do think that this negates credibility from the site as who would log onto the internet to read a review on a Mars Bar before nipping down to the shops and spending 40p on one; I know we're in recession but that is a bit over the top isn't it? The only products I personally look at before buying are big electrical purchases (TV's, laptops, DVD players) and DVD's. This is of course down to personal preference as other people will research books, cars, holidays and the like but can you honestly tell me that you've ever researched a food product before going to the shops? I certainly haven't and I personally think that they're a total waste of time and money.

      Not only are they a waste of money but how can you tell someone why you didn't like a certain food product? What you don't like someone else might like and vice versa, granted this is the same with everything but at least with products like mobile phones, laptops and DVD's you can give valid reasons why you didn't like something and leave it up to people to make their own decisions. I don't personally think you can rely on food reviews because it's merely down to your own taste buds.

      *** Guides ***

      I personally don't have a problem with any individual guide and it annoys me when people slag them off. I have had a few niggles with certain guides as I think a couple of them can be a bit too pedantic with rates however on the whole they seem like a helpful bunch of people and anytime I've messaged them for help or advice they've always gone out of their way to help.

      Ever since I've joined the site I've regularly heard about 'conspiracies' relating to the guides getting more crowns that any other members. Surely it's common sense that they're guides because they write better reviews than the rest of us therefore are likely to be awarded more crowns than the likes of me and the other regular members on the site.

      *** Crowns ***

      This joins in nicely with the conspiracy theories concerning the guides on the site. I don't personally see what all the big fuss is concerning crowns. One of the things that bugs me more than anything on this site is when people try to subtly ask to be rated or even nominated and if they haven't received a crown on a certain review they will moan in their 'about me' status. To me that is beyond ridiculous and it just shows how arrogant some people on the site are. I am always happy when I receive a crown and I try my best not to expect them. I have however (probably like every member on the site) written a review that I think may be awarded a crown but if it doesn't receive one I wont feel the need to whinge about it.

      I would like it if the guidelines for crowns were a lot better addressed, there are no hard and fast rules of how to win a crown and in a way this is a good thing. If you had certain rules then no doubt every member on the site (including myself) would start following them to the letter and the whole site would be filled with reviews that are all exactly the same. It might be a nice idea if Dooyoo maybe added a few hints or guidelines on what should be expected for a review to be crowned. This could however work as a double-edged sword because whilst aiding some people to win more crowns it could spur on more 'why didn't a get a crown for my review?' rants.

      *** Payment ***

      This has always been a grey area for me on this site. I would love to say that I donate my miles to charity however I'd be lying and like a lot of other members on the site I like to take out cheques when I reach the 50,000 mile mark. Since joining I don't believe I have ever received a cheque within the time stated (10 days). Infact the majority of my cheques have been received around 3-4 weeks after asking for them.

      Amazon vouchers in my experience are no better. Since joining I have only taken out about 3 Amazon vouchers. The latest was around a month ago for £30. Previously when taking out Amazon vouchers after waiting around 3 weeks for a response from Dooyoo I have gone straight to the source and emailed Amazon. I informed them of my situation and they emailed me back within 24 hours telling me to reply with my full name, email address and if possible the redeeming code (which I didn't have) and they would cancel my previous code which Dooyoo were planning on sending me before sending me a new code to use. I did this and within 24 hours I had my code... simple! From now on if I redeem my miles for Amazon vouchers I will waste no time in emailing Amazon directly and I highly recommend doing it yourself if you're having problems.

      *** Conclusion ***

      There are numerous things that bug me about the site and those are just the main points. I wasn't planning on having a rant but it looks like that's what it's turned out to be! Overall I've really enjoyed the site over the last 11 months and I plan on sticking around for a bit longer. The positives far outweigh the negatives therefore I hope to enjoy writing on the site for a while longer and earning a bit more money (sorry guys but that's what we're all here for isn't it).

      If you agree/disagree with any of the above then feel free to comment or message me.

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      • Saw VI (DVD) / DVD / 109 Readings / 103 Ratings
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        05.12.2009 11:09
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        Extremely disappointing.

        With Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) dead he wanted his legacy to be carried on by others, first Amanda then Detective Hoffman. In previous events Hoffman tried to pin the traps on his colleague Detective Strahm and it seems to be working however when it looks like Detectives are withholding information from Hoffman it seems the net could be closing in on him and Jigsaw's wishes may not be granted. Who will take over from Hoffman?

        The film revolves heavily around the new victims as well as back-story, this time Jigsaw has decided to concentrate on loan sharks and insurance salesmen who refused him help when he was terminally ill with cancer. These people refused him help meaning that he eventually met his death, if they had helped him he may still be alive, now they must make shocking choices for who lives and who dies. Jigsaw wants to play another game...

        So here we have number 6 in the Saw franchise, this has split public opinion much like John and Edward on X Factor recently, some like the films, some hate them. I too have mixed opinions on the Saw films as I loved the first four yet the fifth and sixth instalments in the series don't match up to the ingenuity, the nail biting tension or the sheer carnage which we witness behind our hands in the first four. Since 2004 there has been a Saw film released every October which is a tradition that doesn't seem to be going anywhere with the announcement of a seventh and eighth film in the pipeline.

        I personally feel like 3 Saw films would have been adequate however Saw 4 brought in another dimension to the films which seemed to relight the series and in a way was the first in another trilogy of Saw films. Bringing in a back-story for Jigsaw has become the basis of the most recent three films. Saw 4 did well in establishing the reasons behind Jigsaw's psychopathic ways but I feel that was enough as Saw 5 brought nothing new to proceedings that audiences really needed or even wanted to know and the same goes for Saw 6.

        I'm not sure what to make of Saw 6 because it's all just a bit of a catastrophe and more importantly it's beyond futile. If you were disappointed with Saw 5 then I wouldn't even waste your money watching this as it's a huge disappointment and a disgrace to what was once an inventive and captivating horror franchise.

        When you look at the story of Saw 6 it all sounds very familiar to the other five films; you witness Jigsaw's victims battling their way out of merciless traps whilst we learn about what makes Jigsaw tick. As the second, third and fourth film are pretty much the same as this it would seem that Saw has got it's act together after the terrible fifth instalment and gone back to it's routes. Unfortunately this isn't the case, one dud film in a series of 6 films isn't bad however two is pushing things a bit and it's starting to become very apparent that the Saw series is quickly running out of ideas and instead is deciding to regurgitate ideas from previous films.

        One of the main problems with Saw 6 (and 5) are they become too involved with the police investigation, fans of the series have come to expect gore and shrewdness but instead we're greeted with a painstakingly boring police investigation that no one seems to be all that bothered about. Saw 6 certainly spends far too much time focusing around Hoffman's colleagues and whether or not they'll discover him to be Jigsaw's heir. This all becomes a bit tedious and because Hoffman is such a dry and emotionless character it gives the audience no reason to actually care what happens to him, he is not Jigsaw which makes him another disposable character that you just know that sooner or later will be disposed of and I think we all know that it wont be pretty.

        I felt that the choice of victims for Saw 6 was absolutely ridiculous, at the start it was focusing around loan sharks, Jigsaw previously wanted to help drug addicts and similar people who didn't appreciate their lives so for him now to move his aim onto loan sharks and insurance salesmen is extremely contrived and it now seems blatantly obvious that the franchise is quickly running out of steam.

        I was surprised at how much Saw 6 seems to have been tamed, of course it still holds it's 18 age certificate and that is undeniably for a very good reason but there is a distinct lack of gore compared with previous films, it seems to rely heavily on atmosphere in favour of actual bloodshed like the others. I feel that Saw 3 was no doubt the goriest of all the films and since then the traps seem to have gradually become more and more tamed until we hardly see any bloodshed whatsoever. When you go to the cinema to watch an 18 rated horror movie you expect there to be gore; when you go the cinema to watch a Saw film your expectations are even more so, therefore a Saw film without gore is like Tom without Jerry. This links directly in with the traps that the film has become renowned for, it seems that the writers are simply running out of ideas so they're beginning to reuse traps from previous films which make the film a lot less enjoyable. The traps that are new to the franchise almost seem to be a bit too elaborate. What was so great about the first few films was that the traps were inventive however they were still incredibly unpretentious, it seems now that the franchise is constantly trying to surpass itself instead of remembering what the premise of the films are all about.

        This is definitely not a standalone film which I think is one of the downsides to the franchise, I have seen all 6 so I'm not personally at a disadvantage but if I was yet to see the others I would like to watch a film that I would be able to understand without having to have seen the 5 previous films. The film is full of flashbacks and at some points it will refer to characters only in the first film which if you've seen the films more than once shouldn't be a problem but again if you're unfamiliar or only vaguely familiar with the franchise then you're going to be completely lost watching this.

        As the Saw franchise seems to be losing sight of it's originality it's a relief that it's held onto the chilling music that it's used within all 6 films, it gives the film a real edge and is one of the most enjoyable things about the films because as the music gradually builds you know something new is about to be revealed.

        There's a slight twist at the end which gave the film a bit of it's enjoyment back but it wasn't completely unexpected, infact if you've seen number four and five you'll probably be partly expecting it to happen. All in all I found the 5th Saw sequel to be incredibly disappointing, for the first time I actually found myself bored and although Saw 5 is only slightly better it seems that they are gradually declining and I can only imagine what Saw 7 and 8 will bring.

        Not recommended.

        The DVD is set to be released 8/3/10 and is available to pre-order from play.com for £11.99.

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          03.12.2009 11:18
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          One for Twilight fans but that's about it.

          Since the recent happenings that Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire boyfriend Edward (Robert Pattinson) have endured, everything seems to have mellowed and Bella and Edward seem more in love than ever. The two of them still realise that there are forces out there that would like to split them up but Edward vows to protect the young school girl.

          When Bella almost gets seriously hurt on her 18th birthday by one of Edward's blood sucking brothers, Edward decides to end it with Bella as he thinks that if they're together she's likely to get hurt. Bella is heartbroken and spends months moping around in her bedroom until her friendship with Jacob (Taylor Lautner) blossoms and the two of them spend all their time together. Jacob has always had feelings for Bella but will Bella be able to forget Edward or will he always be in her conscience?

          After watching and being relatively disappointed by the first Twilight film I vowed I wouldn't be watching this however when we were late to watch another movie at the cinema this was just about to begin and I was out voted so I ended up enduring another 130 minutes of a film I wasn't particularly interested in in the first place. This coupled with the fact that I really don't see what all the fuss is about surrounding Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner (although he does have a great body!) I didn't exactly have high hopes for the next chapter in the Twilight saga.

          To my surprise though I found myself enjoying the film early on, it's not a film where an awful lot happens and the storyline leaves much to be desired but the film echoes the atmosphere of the first film with the sombre ambience where Edward and Bella's relationship shines. This film does take more of a melancholy mood whereas the previous film had opportunities for light-heartedness, with the break-up of Bella and Edward early on in the movie Edward is absent for a lot of the film leaving Bella an emotional wreck.

          This is where Jacob comes into the proceedings, he features a lot more heavily in this film than he did in the previous and fortunately he cuts his hair half way through! Jacob takes more of a central role in this movie as he develops strong feelings for Bella, not only that but he goes through a physical transformation as well. Taylor Lautner was really believable in his scenes with Bella and you really felt for him as the audience knows that Bella still wants Edward back. Taylor Lautner spends a lot of the film sans shirt, it's clear he's been working out as he looks very toned but after a while I found this a very tacky way of getting the young girls interested and I personally feel that they should have relied more on the film than on Taylor Lautner's very toned and tanned chest.

          Bella again plays the central role in this film as the sweet girl that Edward and Jacob have fallen in love with. Kristen Stewart has done a really good job in making this role her own, she's very convincing when she splits up with Edward however I did feel that the panning camera angle that revolves around her whilst she's sat in her bedroom wishing the months away was a bit much, as was the fact that she would wake up screaming every night. We're convinced that Bella and Edward love each other but I feel that they went a little too far with trying to convince us how hurt she was.

          Robert Pattinson, who seems to be the name on every young girls lips these days does well in his role as vampire Edward although he doesn't really have a lot to do in this film. He appears to just stand there looking glum and brooding while the girls all swoon over his love sick puppy persona. Again I did find aspects of this film a little sickly sweet for me and this echoes throughout the film in numerous scenes. As aforementioned, Edward is absent for a large chunk of the film which I personally feel was wrong. We see Bella in a bordering on suicidal state whereas we feel no emotion from Edward because he's simply not there.

          This isn't a film that you can watch if you haven't seen the first film, you will be completely lost. I didn't pay that much attention to the first Twilight movie because I was beginning to tire by the second half therefore I was in the dark about certain things. I was expecting to be given a little catch up at the beginning of the film and to be fair there are a few flashbacks however these tell the audience nothing about what has previously happened. Therefore if you're planning on watching this you really should watch Twilight first.

          The special features seem to have come on leaps and bounds since the first film. There were scenes in the first film that were merely laughable whereas New Moon seems to have raised the bar significantly. Everything looks fantastic from the super-sized werewolves to the flying vampires.

          It would appear however that what this film makes up for in impressive special effects it lacks in storyline. Nothing really happens in this film and people that have seen it will surely agree with me. I haven't read any of the Twilight books therefore am unable to make any sort of comparison but I feel that there was so much potential in this film that was just wasted. All we're given really is a love triangle, everything else is superfluous and may as well not have been there. Taylor Lautner transforms himself into a werewolf in order to protect Bella from Victoria, a vampire who wants her dead. We see Victoria in many scenes yet her presence is wasted because nothing comes of it. Infact the last time we see Victoria onscreen she simple vanishes for no reason and isn't seen again.

          I feel that with such a long running time this film does drag a little because the film focuses far too heavily on the love triangle and nothing else. This was frustrating at times because it seems that great effort has gone into developing all the special effects and they were simply wasted because they are not used to their potential. Unlike the first film there is no big scene where everything comes together, the last film was when Bella gets bitten but there was nothing like this in New Moon. There was a noticeable lack of tension in this film because it simply wasn't leading anywhere meaning that any momentum garnered depletes by the very next scene.

          Overall this wasn't a bad film and I actually found myself enjoying it in parts although it does drag with it's excessively long running time. This film isn't perfect and it would appear that the director is more focused on the aesthetically pleasing aspects of the film than developing the actual storyline. I feel that when Eclipse is released next year it really needs to step up it's game if it's going to be a respectable and lucrative franchise. This is definitely a film for fans of the books and the first film but to anyone else it's a bit of a wasted opportunity.

          New Moon is currently showing at cinemas.

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            01.12.2009 10:50
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            A stand out Simon Pegg film.

            Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) is an English journalist who doesn't seem to be getting anywhere in life, he forges his way into A-List parties under the alias Clarke although he is frequently caught out and ejected in the most embarrassing of fashions. Sidney is just about to give up on his dream of becoming a high flying journalist when he receives an phone call from American magazine editor Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges). He offers Sidney a job in America working for Sharps magazines, one of the biggest magazines in the country.

            On arrival Sidney manages to do the almost impossible and irritate every single person he's working with, this includes his strict new boss and his colleague Alison (Kirsten Dunst). Alison becomes somewhat of a mentor for Sidney, helping him out of all the sticky situations he frequently manages to find himself in and teaching him the ropes of the ever so difficult industry. To succeed in this industry Sidney must learn to hold his tongue (something he isn't too familiar with), suck up to the people higher than him and keep his head down as much as possible.

            Not being the biggest fan of Simon Pegg, this film wasn't really on my radar despite seeing previews for when it was released. After seeing the previews the film reminded me greatly of The Devil Wears Prada, a film far superior to How To Lose Friend And Alienate People. Despite my prior scepticism regarding this film I ended up watching it and I have to say that it took me by surprise.

            Don't get me wrong, this isn't Oscar worthy material, the script is questionable as is the acting and some of the gags fall flat but I have to admit that for a light-hearted comedy I thoroughly enjoyed it. Simon Pegg really impressed me in his role as the plucky, yet unfortunate journalist. He plays his role very well and shows that he is capable of playing a somewhat serious role instead of the numerous spoofs that he's appeared in previously. The character he played in this film however is distinctly similar to the character he played in Run Fat Boy Run, as a hapless yet kind hearted guy who just wants a break. Regardless of whether we may have witnessed Pegg in a similar role previously he does portray Sidney very well and gets the audience on side immediately with his 'I don't care what people think' attitude.

            Pegg's female counterpart is played by Kirsten Dunst, I'm not a huge fan of her either what with her miscast appearances in the Spiderman franchise however she's actually extremely good in this film and was on of the most endearing characters in the film. We see some progression from her character which was necessary given her role in the movie however I feel that we don't really get to learn much about her character as the film only really scratches the surface. Dunst plays the potential love interest for Sidney, I didn't feel that they share an abundance of onscreen chemistry, nevertheless I do think they carried off their feelings for each other well and in a surprisingly subtle way.

            Every man's fantasy Megan Fox was very well cast in this film as the beautiful airhead with a movie career that's going from strength to strength (ring any bells?), she does encapsulate the vain and ignorant essence of her character well however I feel that she was mocking the character more than actually portraying her. They weren't subtle about Maes's incompetence to be a decent human being either with the way she struts around, parading herself for all the men to see. They even gave her a Paris Hilton-esque Chihuahua to carry around as a cute accessory. I don't think that Megan Fox has done her career any favours by appearing in this movie.

            Being a comedy I was expecting at least a few laughs; the film never seems to be able to reach a happy medium - it will either have you laughing out loud or staring expressionlessly at the screen. This was a bit of a problem for me because some of the jokes happened to be very funny, even if a bit predictable however some gags went way over the top. A scene where Sidney stands on top of a van drunkenly bellowing England at the top of his voice before falling backwards into a hedge failed to strike a chord with me. Despite it's similarities to The Devil Wears Prada, this film doesn't echo the clever, witty script but to be fair Simon Pegg is no Ann Hathaway and I wouldn't want him to be. Pegg is in his element in this sort of film and I also feel like he dealt with the more serious scenes very appropriately.

            The movie does have it's more serious moments; a rift between Sidney and his Father is hinted at, at several occasions however when they share the screen a believable resentment doesn't really come across onscreen. The film seems to gloss over what could have been some emotional scenes by bringing in comedic escapism during almost every scene, I personally feel that it would have been nice to see some depth from the film because it has potential to be very emotional.

            Overall this is a very enjoyable comedy film, it's by no means perfect but if you can look passed the lapse in depth, the exaggerated nature of all involved and the questionable acting from everybody but Pegg and Dunst then I'm sure you'll enjoy this as much as I did. This was a real surprise to me as I don't normally enjoy this genre of movie but given the chance I would gladly watch this again.

            The DVD is available from play.com for £5.99 and for a pound extra you can purchase the Blu-Ray edition.

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            • 12 Rounds (DVD) / DVD / 100 Readings / 96 Ratings
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              29.11.2009 11:01
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              Not one I'll watch again.

              When New Orleans Police Officer Danny Fisher (John Cena) risks his own life to arrest international terrorist Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen), Jackson's girlfriend is killed in a horrific car accident. Jackson is sent down for life but vows that he'll remember what Danny did and he'll have his revenge. As a result of his heroic actions, Danny and his partner Hank are both promoted to detectives.

              Exactly one year to the day after the incident everything is dandy for Danny, he is still a proud detective and has recently moved in with his long term girlfriend Molly (Ashley Scott). However after receiving a phone call from the escaped convict Miles Jackson, the criminal continues to blow up Danny's home and eventually kidnap Molly. Miles is determined to get his revenge on Danny for what he did and tells Danny that he's going to be subjected to 12 rounds; if Danny is still standing after the 12 round he'll get his girlfriend back, but if he's not then Molly is for it. Will Danny make it through the 12 rounds?

              John Cena is the latest in a long line of WWE Wrestlers to try his hand at acting, some have been moderately successful (The Rock), some not so (Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin). Therefore it must be difficult for wrestlers to dodge that critism that every wrestler faces and the stigma that wrestlers cannot act has been something that has tied them down for years. Whether successful or not, or even whether they can act or not it's clear that WWE stars are going to continue for many years in the future to star in lacklustre, disappointing films for the sake of a large paycheck.

              John Cena I have to say seems to be the best in a bad bunch, he doesn't have the charisma that The Rock does or the menacing presence of Stone Cold Steve Austin but he does seem to have (to an extent) the likeability factor. Cena does an acceptable job playing the burley Detective, lets face it this is a WWE film so you shouldn't go into it expecting anything amazing. Cena isn't the worst actor to come out of the WWE but he's a long way from being the best. Personally I just think of Cena as bland, even in the WWE; he used to have a rapper like persona but he seems to have dropped that persona in recent years and he's gone swiftly downhill. There's no questioning his talent as a wrestler but it's clear that he tries to imitate The Rock and it doesn't do him any favours. Cena emanates no personality whatsoever in this film and in turn resonates no feeling for his character from the audience, it's clear that he's a good guy that only wants to do right by his family and friends but his dull persona doesn't do him any favours.

              Cena's physique isn't relied upon as much as I was expecting it to be, when you have people like The Rock and Arnold Schwarzenegger showing off their flesh in films until their hearts content I was surprised that John Cena didn't go down the same route. Much like John McClane parades around in his dirty vest I was expecting to see Cena showing off his muscular physique and in a way I admire him not going down that route. He wants to let his acting do the talking and that's admirable... unfortunately he can't act and seeing him with his shirt off would have been a nice distraction!

              The story is about as good as Cena's acting... bland, repetitive and imitating. The story begins with a pulse pounding prolonged opening sequence that really grips you. This sequence lasts about 20 minutes and I was extremely impressed with how much this film managed to capture my attention right from the offset. After the electrifying opener we're left with around 80 minutes of the actual storyline concerning Danny and his girlfriend, this again starts off swiftly but I instantly got the feeling that I've seen it all before. Of course the kidnapped girlfriend/wife storyline has been done numerous times before but I got the distinct feeling that I'd seen this film before but in a more beefed up manner. This film was starting to look scarily similar to Die Hard With A Vengeance, infact if John Cena had been wearing a dirty vest I would have thought that Bruce Willis had been working out!

              The similarities to the Die Hard franchise continue throughout the entire movie, the only thing that's missing is the dry wit that John McClane delivers effortlessly. A little bit of humour in the form of a few cheesy one liners would have worked wonders for this film and would have made the character of Danny a lot more relatable. Die Hard isn't the only movie this film channels, there's elements of Speed and even a mini tribute to the Saw movies thrown in for good measure. If this was a comedy film there would have been so many opportunities for movie references however as it stands this film just seems like a regurgitated copy of Die Hard and Speed and it doesn't work however hard it tries.

              The action is relentless and I think if it wasn't for the unremitting encounters this film would have been a major disappointment for me. The action is what holds this film together, it's by no means spectacular and it's something that you will have all seen before if you're a fan of action movies but the action is continuous throughout the film and it's what held my attention for it's entirety. With the premise of the 12 rounds that Danny must get through this gives the film ample opportunity for numerous set pieces where we witness Danny running from place to place using his physicality to his advantage.

              Cena is given a partner in the form of Detective Hank Carver played by Brian J. White. Carver has elements of Samuel L Jackson in him with his quick witted persona however this partnership is strikingly similar to that of Jack Traven and Harry Temple in Speed, not only are the two promoted after the first incident in the film much like the charismatic partnership of Traven and Temple but the similarities come to a head near the end of the film (if you've seen it you'll know what I mean).

              Aidan Gillen plays a decent enough villain and is the stand out performance in the film. He captures the essence of his character with the way he perpetrates his fiendish plans. He plays a good enough villain but again his character is in keeping with the tone of the average acting from Cena and his girlfriend played by Ashley Scott who again does nothing to make her character memorable.

              All the similarities to other movies make this film extremely predictable, infact if you asked me to predict what would happen after watching half an hour of the film I probably could have recited half the plotline to you, however this film isn't based around the questionably familiar storyline. It's based around the relentless action which will hold your attention throughout. If you can overlook the blatant rip-offs of other (superior) movies during this film then it will probably be quite entertaining. It's not one that I recommend buying but if it's ever on TV give it a watch.

              The DVD is available from play.com for £9.99.

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                27.11.2009 10:23
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                A fantastic hygienic soap dispenser for all the family.

                In this day and age the whole world seems obsessed with hygiene and cleanliness and the recent Swine Flu outbreak has just gone to heighten the awareness and in some cases paranoia concerning daily hygiene. With this in mind it's understandable that while some companies are going bust during the recession, hygiene companies will undoubtedly be making a decent profit with all this hype (necessary or unnecessary) that the media are feeding us.

                When you think about it logically, it can't just be soap and hand sanitizer gel sales that are escalating, the way we dispense our soap has become almost as important as which soap we use and how. Some people still opt for the old fashioned soap bar which slips out of your hands on a regular basis however these days most homes and public conveniences now use soap dispensers with liquid soap which ensures both ease of use and a higher level of hygiene.

                *** What is it? ***

                The Simplehuman Sensor Soap Pump is basically a hands free way of dispensing soap into your hands, therefore without having to touch anything to get soap you will not be picking up germs from the pumps that are normally found on regular dispensers.

                *** How It Works ***

                The dispenser holds 414ml (14oz) of soap and dispenses it in a shrewd and innovative way. You simply place your hands under the sensor which is clearly indicated and soap will instantly be dispensed into your hands, as little or as much as you require. There are different settings that you can change easily which enable you to alter how much soap is dispensed and there is even a built in timer which lasts 20 seconds (the minimum amount of time you should spend washing your hands).

                *** Setting Up ***

                The dispenser couldn't be easier to set up, it requires 2 AA batteries which could be a downside for some people as it means an extra expense but we have now had the device over a year and have only changed the batteries once so they don't suck up power like you'd expect them to. The batteries are inserted in the bottom of the dispenser, to insert the batteries you will need to unscrew two small screws. This seems like a bit of a job but it's easily done, however I personally feel that a normal clip which you find on most battery compartments would have been more than sufficient therefore I think the fact that this device requires a screwdriver is a little over the top and unnecessary.

                Once the batteries are inserted in the correct way you then need to insert the soap. Fortunately this is a lot easier than inserting the batteries and all that is required of you is to turn the top in a clockwise direction which opens the compartment enabling you to easily pour soap in. Once the soap is in you simply screw the top back on and you're away. Be careful where you're pouring the soap and don't fill it too fill, the top does go down into the soap compartment by a couple of centimetres therefore if you fill the compartment right to the brim with soap you're likely to be greeted with a bit of a mess.

                The devices on/off switch is located at the back, at the bottom of the dispenser and is a click wheel. On the click wheel you'll notice the word 'Off' next to a cluster of dots. These dots indicate how much soap you require to be dispensed, they go from one dot meaning off, two dots is the smallest amount of soap that can be dispensed, three dots and finally four dots which is the largest amount to be dispensed. At home we have it on the four dot setting as we find this is an appropriate amount of soap that you'll need for a decent hand washing. The click wheel is incredibly easy to use and access and we have had no problems whatsoever with turning the device off or changing the settings.

                *** Ease Of Use ***

                As you've read, with the exception of the battery compartment the device is extremely easy to set up. One of the great things that I discovered about this device is that it doesn't require you to turn it off after uses. I assumed you would need to turn the device off after every use but after the soap has been dispensed into your hand it simply goes back to standby mode where the front light is off therefore saving the batteries but is ready for the next person to use at any time.

                A brilliant feature with this dispenser is the timer that it incorporates. As aforementioned, the timer lasts 20 seconds, the 20 seconds are indicated by the light situated above the dispenser and it means that you simply wash your hands until the light is no longer illuminated. This is a fantastic hygiene accessory however it's not one that we use on a regular basis. I believe that most people know the correct way to wash their hands and for how long therefore no matter how much I like the inclusion of the timer I can't help but think it's a bit of a novelty item.

                Luckily the dispenser itself isn't a novelty item, it can be used anywhere in the house, we currently have it in the kitchen but of course it would sit perfectly on the edge of the bath if you wished to house your shower gel in it. It isn't messy which was one of my main reservations when buying this item, once the soap has been dispensed into your hands no excess soap is released onto your surfaces which is brilliant. The blue light indicates exactly how long the soap will be dispensed for and means that there wont be any mess.

                The sensor is, dare I say it, very sensitive and it works from the slightest movement therefore if you're planning on moving the dispenser or replacing the batteries make sure you turn it off at the back to save yourself from accidentally activating the dispenser.

                *** Who Will It Appeal To? ***

                I personally feel like this soap dispenser has a wide appeal and will suit any home, it has a very modern touch and look to it and will smarten up your kitchen wonderfully. That said I do feel that this device will be a great asset for certain people; elderly people who have limited strength in their wrists, the device requires no strength at all so could be perfect for the elderly. Also parents with young children, this device will definitely encourage them to wash their hands as they'll love the innovative design of the sensor.

                *** Availability ***

                When we purchased this device around 12 months ago it was selling at £19.99 from Argos, since then the price has shot up to £29.99. I feel that the price is far too high and will possibly discourage certain people from purchasing it. Therefore if you see this device at a discount price then snap it up because it's an excellent device to have in your home.

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                • More +
                  25.11.2009 08:22
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                  Not a worthy follow up to her fantastic first album.

                  Lady Gaga is a relatively new name in electro/pop music but you'll struggle to find anyone that hasn't heard of her these days. From her massive debut single Just Dance in 2008 it seems that Lady Gaga has ruled the charts; her debut album The Fame went platinum and with the two number ones (Poker Face and Just Dance) it would seem that her unique brand of pop music infused with electro dance music was here to stay. With her insanely catchy music to her eccentric sense of style and equally eccentric personality it's been impossible to ignore Lady Gaga this past year and now she's back her new 8 track album The Fame Monster but is it any good?

                  Track Listing

                  1) Bad Romance (4.55)
                  2) Alejandro (4.37)
                  3) Monster (4.09)
                  4) Speechless (4.30)
                  5) Dance In The Dark (4.48)
                  6) Telephone (3.40)
                  7) So Happy I Could Die (3.55)
                  8) Teeth (3.40)

                  The album begins on a definite high note with the first single to be released in Bad Romance. Bad Romance is without doubt the most instantly catchy tune on the album and is reminiscent of songs from her previous album The Fame. The songs chorus is ridiculously catchy and I'd hazard a guess and say that this chorus is to 2009 what Rihanna's Disturbia was to 2008. This is bound to be a huge hit for the young singer with the huge beats thumping throughout behind her slinky voice that blends perfectly with this sort of music. Gaga is in her element when she's singing big dance numbers, there were a few ballads on The Fame so I'm glad that she's realised her niche with this album and kept the ballads down to a bare minimum.

                  After the brilliant start to the album it seems to go downhill with Alejandro in which she starts the song speaking to her supposed lover 'Alejandro' the song is a mid-tempo dance number but I feel that this is a disappointment as it's more annoying that catchy whereas her previous songs were just annoyingly catchy! The chorus is instantly forgettable and this is a song that is likely to be forgotten pretty soon after listening to it. Unfortunately Gaga continues this disappointing phase with Speechless which sounds very similar to The Fame's Brown Eyes. This is a slower tempo song that boarders on being a ballad. Unfortunately as aforementioned, ballads aren't Lady Gaga's forte and although this may appeal to some of her fans and it's good to see her branching out but unfortunately this sort of music just doesn't work in her favour and this is yet another track that I tend to skip when listening to this album.

                  Monster showcases Gaga back at her dance anthem best, this is a long way from being the best track on the album but it's listenable compared with Alejandro and Speechless. This song has a little of Poker Face infused into with it's repetitive nature, this isn't however a bad thing as after a couple of listens you'll find yourself quite enjoying this mid-tempo dance number that changes pace continuously throughout it's 4 minute 9 second running time. The last song on the album Teeth falls into a similar bracket as Monster with it's pacing however Teeth is possibly one of the most infectious songs I've heard all year. It has a stomping beat that doesn't let up throughout the entire song as Gaga sings over them ranting 'show me your teeth'. This showcases her eccentricity to perfection and is an excellent example of how Lady Gaga has a long career ahead of her if she continues to produce unique electro/pop music.

                  Dance In The Dark has more of a generic feel to it but that isn't necessarily a downside, this song sounds very similar to a lot of dance tracks out there. You'd think that when Gaga's voice appears it would set this song apart from the rest however this song sounds distinctly like her first hit Just Dance when the verses are being sung in her recognisable manner. To it's credit this is a relatively catchy song but it's similarity to other dance songs and indeed other Lady Gaga's songs brings it down a little and I'd give this song 3 stars out of 5 at most.

                  Onto So Happy I Could Die; this for me is a highlight of the album. It's not necessarily a dance anthem which you would expect but it's a mid-tempo Euro-pop song which blends brilliantly into this album. The chorus is superb and the change in pace really captivates you into this song. The music during the chorus takes a backseat in favour of Gaga's synthesised vocals which flirt with the music beautifully.

                  Then onto indisputably the best song on this pretty uneven album with guest vocals from none other than Beyonce. The song starts off slowly and my first thought was 'oh no another ballad' but this is an up-tempo, heavy dance tune which changes pace throughout between the versus, bridge and chorus. This is simply a fantastic song and if you only buy the album for one song buy it for this. Beyonce sounds superb and doesn't belt out a tune like I was expecting, for anyone who owns her I am... Sasha Fierce album you'll see the similarities in her vocals to the likes of Diva and Radio, both superb Beyonce songs. Beyonce definitely outshines Lady Gaga in this song with her strong yet subtle vocal ability. This song was a real surprise for me, given the subtle beginning when all we hear are a few chimes and Gaga's relaxed vocals. This is set to be the second single and it's easy to see why, I can't praise this song enough.

                  All in all this is a very uneven album, a couple of songs (Telephone, Bad Romance) really stand out as great Gaga songs to rival the likes of Just Dance and Poker Face however the rest of the songs really don't stand out and are very unmemorable. Upon listening to them they might seem like good songs (Teeth really stands out as a good tune) but then it's simple forgettable nonsense and doesn't do Lady Gaga any favours.

                  With only 8 tracks on the album Lady Gaga already had her work cut out for her with trying to win over her fans but with this lacklustre effort I can't see why Gaga couldn't spend more time in the studio maybe producing 12 or 13 superb tracks reminiscent of her first album and releasing it next year instead of working hard to produce a few superb tracks among mainly substandard tracks. Personally I feel that this album is a very lazy effort from Gaga and in no way does it measure up to the brilliance of The Fame. I'd say that you should download Telephone, Bad Romance and possibly So Happy I Could Die and leave the rest untouched because they really don't deserve any credit.

                  Not recommended.

                  The album is available to download from iTunes for £7.99 which includes her previous album The Fame too.

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                  • Scary Movie (DVD) / DVD / 84 Readings / 79 Ratings
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                    24.11.2009 10:56
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                    A stand-out spoof movie.

                    It's Halloween and high school student Drew Decker (Carmen Electra) is cooking popcorn and getting ready to watch a scary movie when she receives a phone call. The man on the end of the phone makes sexual remarks to the disturbed young girl who threatens to call the police. That is before he reveals himself to be outside and kills the young girl by brutally stabbing her in the chest only yards away from her oblivious parents.

                    Meanwhile at school, Drew's murder has made headline news around the town and Cindy (Anna Faris) is worried that the murder may be an indication that someone knows what her and her friends did last Halloween. When it becomes apparent that someone knows what happened on that fatal night a year ago Cindy starts receiving notes in class informing her that she's in danger and when her friends all begin to be killed Cindy must fight for her survival and discover who the killer behind the mask is...

                    Given the plot description you'd be forgiven for thinking that Scary Movie is indeed as the title suggests a scary/thriller movie. Of course for anyone familiar with the franchise (and lets face it that's a lot) then you'll know that this is infact the first in a series of highly successful spoof movies that parody big blockbuster movies. It would seem that over the last year or two, the audience for these sorts of films had declined dramatically, with movies such as Meet The Spartans, Superhero Movie and most recently Dance Flick being trashed by movie critics however it's recently been announced that a 5th Scary Movie is scheduled for release in 2011, just proving to the sceptics that there's still a market for this genre of movie and that the guys behind Scary Movie aren't willing to let their crown be taken just yet.

                    The Scary Movie franchise is well known for parodying most predominantly the Scream franchise. Other running satires include: I Know What You Did Last Summer, Titanic, The Blair Witch Project, The Sixth Sense and Halloween. Therefore it helps if you've seen at least some of the films (Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer especially as the plot revolves around these), if you haven't seen the films you're unlikely to understand the gags therefore this film will be lost on you however the film parodies big blockbuster films so you're likely to at least know about them even if you haven't seen them.

                    The parodying works well and with the main plot being that of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, other film parodies and references come in and out of the plot quickly and manage not to detract from the main plot line. This gives the characters chance to make their own jokes and gags, therefore making this movie accessible to people that may not have seen all the other films. These aren't as funny as a lot of them are very silly gags, I prefer all the parodies that Scary Movie have become synonymous with.

                    This film follows the plot of Scream pretty much scene for scene therefore you would think that the film would be very predictable, however Scream was focused entirely around who the killer was but Scary Movie aims to entertain you along the way with running gags. You can of course work out pretty much straight away who the assailants will be but working out who the perpetrators are isn't what this movie is about. It's simply a bit of fun that aims to entertain and it achieves that very well. The gags do fall flat at times, with the running gags of 'if this were a horror movie' where you witness the characters discussing how similar their lives are to popular horror movies. This doesn't really work for me, it makes the film a bit cheesy but then there are other gags that will have you in stitches.

                    Ghost Face from Scream makes numerous screen appearances and his persona actually becomes part of the comedy in numerous occasions, these are all very funny and the highlights of the movie. Especially when you see the expression on his mask change as if it were his actual face.

                    There are a lot of exaggerations throughout the film; Cindy and Bobby's relationship for example. These two are parodying Neve Campbell's and Skeet Ulrich's characters of Sidney Prescott and Billy Loomis from Scream. Their relationship in Scream centred highly around the fact that Sidney is unwilling to have sex with Billy and this is exaggerated in Scary Movie in a scene near the beginning where an electric fence is seen around Cindy's underwear. The first scene to parody I Know What You Did Last Summer is also very funny and another highlight.

                    This was the breakout performance for Anna Faris, who has since gone onto appear in numerous successful comedy roles including a recurring spot in series 10 of Friends in which she played Erica. She's very funny with her innocent and naïve persona and is the only character besides Brenda (Regina Hall) who is my favourite character to appear in all 4 movies to date.

                    The movies are very over the top and very rude at times but that's part of it's charm. It may seem a little dated now but it still appeals to many teenagers and the fact that there's a 5th instalment in 2011 just goes to show how popular the Scary Movie franchise is. If you haven't yet seen it then I highly recommend it but if doesn't sound like the kind of film you'll enjoy then you probably wont!

                    The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.

                    The special features include:
                    Behind The Scenes Featurette
                    Deleted Scenes
                    Alternative Scenes
                    Special Effects Tour
                    'Here Kitty, Kitty'
                    Various Effects
                    Make-up Effects with Bear
                    Still Gallery

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                    • The Day After Tomorrow (DVD) / DVD / 116 Readings / 111 Ratings
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                      22.11.2009 10:53
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                      A stand out disaster movie.

                      When water temperature in the North Atlantic begins to drop significantly it would appear to be a warning of things to come, or at least that's what Professor Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) thinks. He tries to convince the government that there is a natural disaster on the way but they refuse to believe the theories of a climatologist. Suffice to say Jack is right and soon after, horrendous weather hits the world, engulfing it with water and snow and when temperatures drop to -150c people are beginning to freeze to death on the spot.

                      While this natural disaster is occurring, Jack's son Sam (Jake Gyllehaal) is in New York for a competition with a few friends, when the weather worsens they're forced to take shelter in a public library and Jack promises to rescue his son... but will he be too late?

                      The Day After Tomorrow is another in a long line of disaster movies with a purpose of playing on peoples sense of reality and paranoia. Much like Armageddon portrayed in 1998, The Day After Tomorrow focuses on a natural disaster that happens because of peoples reluctance to change and take responsibility for their actions which in turn have led to what could be the end of the world. The film is set in the present day which gives it a more realistic feel, with movies like 2012 being set in the future it negates away from the paranoia aspect as people are more concerned about today not years in the future. With The Day After Tomorrow this ominous threat occurs in the present and could maybe be a sign of how badly we treat the planet these days and what will happen if we continue to abuse our world.

                      The Day After Tomorrow focuses on the more plausible threat of the world being devoured by water rather than a not so believable alien attack. Of course we don't just have the plot of the end of the world (apparently the end of the world just isn't important enough to require an entire film!) we have to endure the emotional aspects of the disaster with the Hall family consisting of Jack, his doctor wife Lucy and his son Sam. Sam and Jack take up most of the screen time with their story of Jack coming to rescue Sam from a New York library. Lucy doesn't really have much of a story, she's a doctor who is taking care of a child cancer patient and when an ambulance fails to turn up to rescue the sick boy Lucy decides to stay with him, risking her own life. This subplot really doesn't have much of a point to the film as it doesn't develop and I feel that it was a real waste of time and a part of the movie that could and should have been edited out.

                      Dennis Quaid does a decent job as the would-be hero who sets about risking his own life to save his son who for all he knows could be dead. The audience get behind Jack when the politicians fail to believe him about the impending disaster because obviously the audience knows he's right however Dennis Quaid isn't very charismatic in this film and the audience support that he garnered early on seems to gradually deplete as the film progresses. As aforementioned, his wife's role is very superfluous as we already have the worried parent role in Jack so I think they should have tried to bring another dimension to Lucy's character which they failed to do. Jake Gyllehaal is a little better than his parents playing a 17 year old science genius who hates to fly. He brings out a little personality in his character however I felt like he was holding back for some reason because it's clear that he's a fantastic actor. It seems that the director was more concerned by the disaster aspect of this film than the actual storyline itself.

                      The storyline cantering around the disaster itself I didn't feel was very well explained, of course you're made aware at the start that water temperature around the world has dropped significantly and giant hailstones are falling at different locations however when it came to the dialogue part I felt that a lot of the explanations went straight over my head; this may of course just be me being a bit dense when it comes to science but I think that they should have explained things better as opposed to just letting the visuals explain things to the audience. I wanted to know exactly why the disaster happened and I came away only knowing fragments of the reason.

                      The special effects are undeniably superb, with attention to detail being paid at every occasion and it would seem that the director was more focused on getting the special effects absolutely perfect than directing an engrossing disaster movie which would keep your attention not only because of the effects but also because of the storyline.

                      I found the family storyline to be a bit predictable, but that doesn't take away from the excitement of it all. I haven't watched this film for about two years and when watching it recently it was a lot better than I remember it being and I found myself really enjoying it. The film captures your attention right from the offset with the near death experience involving Jack and two friends. From then on the film switches from action to dialogue with ease and it doesn't look too forced. The film runs for a little over two hours so I think it's an achievement that the film managed to hold my attention for it's entirety because disaster movies are generally hit and miss with me.

                      The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.

                      The special features include:
                      Audio commentary from Roland Emmerich and Howard Gordon
                      Audio commentary from co-writers Jeffrey Nachmanoff & Ueli Steiger, editor David Brenner and production designer Barry Chusid

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                      • O2 Cash Manager / Credit Card / 130 Readings / 121 Ratings
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                        20.11.2009 09:37
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                        Worth a try if you're interested but more of a novelty than an effective banking option.

                        With the recession still looming over us and companies going down the pan one after another, it's easy to see why companies are doing everything they can to cash in on the recession so that their businesses can stay afloat. The 02 Cash Manager account is 02's way of giving something back to the community during these difficult times... all the while making themselves millions of pounds!

                        02 Cash Manager is a new service offered by one of the leading mobile phone and broadband networks in the UK. Cash Manager is a Visa Debit card which is basically just like any other debit card however it doesn't allow you to spend more money than you have in your account meaning that you'll never go into debt through using it. Cash Manager is available exclusively to 02 customers of 13 years old or over and can easily be set up over the internet.

                        *** Setting Up***

                        To set up your new Cash Manager account visit www.money.02.co.uk/cashmanager. You'll be greeted with a home screen where you can view all the benefits in owning a cash manager card. Setting up couldn't be simpler, if you click the clear red box saying 'Get Card Now' you'll be taken to the set up screen where you'll be asked to enter your 02 mobile number, you'll then immediately be sent a 6 digit code via text message which you enter into the website in order to get to the next stage. Upon entering your unique 6 digit code you'll be taken to the details stage, this takes two minutes maximum and consists of you entering your personal detail (address, telephone number etc) you will not be asked for any other bank account details, you only pass this information over after your card is set up in order to transfer money into your new account.

                        After entering your details you'll be asked to log into your 02 internet account (you're likely to already have one of these if you are on an 02 contract and have set your payments up online), if you don't have an existing account it's not a problem as it only takes two minutes to set one up.

                        So after you've set up your account, you'll get an onscreen message to tell you that your card should be with you in the post within 3 working days (which it was). With this you'll receive extra information about the 02 Cash Manager Card as well as a welcoming letter with contact numbers incase you need any assistance. Before you can use your card you will need to activate it, this involves logging back into your 02 Cash Manager account and near the bottom of the home screen you'll see the link clearly entitled 'activate my card' clicking on this will take you to a new screen where you'll be prompted to enter the three digit security code found on the back of your 02 Cash Manage card.

                        *** Making Payments ***

                        Subsequent to activating your card, it will then be ready to use, however what good is a card with no money on it? This is where you'll have to make a transaction from your bank account into your 02 Cash Manager account. This can be done from the home screen and takes only a matter of minutes by simply clicking 'add money' which can be found near the top of the screen. You'll then be required to enter the amount you want to transfer in GBP (£) and then enter your bank account details including card type, name and security code. This option can either be used to transfer a one off payment or it can be used to transfer a fixed monthly or weekly amount.

                        This card can be used for anything and doesn't just have to be there as an extra card if you ever need it, you could make it the main source for your bills to be paid or even for your wages to be paid into. Of course for this you'll have to contact your own bank which could be a little more complicated.

                        *** Home Screen ***

                        I've briefly mentioned the home screen already but there's a lot more that it has to offer than what I've already touched upon; the home screen can be used to view a list of recent transactions, alter your details (address, mobile number) and has a list of handy numbers that you may need to contact for assistance so it may be a good idea to take note of them. Putting these options aside, I think the best facility that the home screen provides is the mobile updates application. This enables 02 to send you a text everytime you: take money out of a cash machine, buy something with your card, transfer money, make a payment and if you're an 02 pay as you go customer you'll even receive a text to alert you of when your balance is running low, giving you the option to top up there and then or in your own time. This makes the 02 Cash Manager Card one of the safest cards to use as if it's ever used by anyone other than yourself you'll be made aware straight away and can notify 02 for them to hold the account and investigate any crimes which may have been committed.

                        *** Ease Of Use ***

                        If you've got an internet banking account set up with another bank then the 02 Internet Banking will be very easy to get used to. I've got a Lloyds TSB Internet Banking Account set up and the 02 Account is a lot easier to find your way around, it's nowhere near as advanced as Lloyds, or any other bank is for that matter which I think is a good thing. 02 have realised that they need to keep things as simple as possible and with that knowledge they're just offering the bare essentials, nothing more, nothing less. I think 02 have got the right idea in leaving the banking aspect to the professionals I.e. loans, mortgages etc and have decided to solely concentrate on giving their 02 customers another banking option which is simple, easy and effective.

                        As the account is open to 13 year olds and over I feel that this account would be the perfect first bank account for any 13 year old as you can never spend more than what's on your card and the account will coincide with their 02 pay as you go phone giving them the option to top up their phone and receive balance alerts. The account would be perfect for them to deposit their savings or pocket money into for them to save and spend on what they wish. It could also be used for them to put in any wages of Saturday jobs or EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) if they choose to stay on at school or college. Another brilliant aspect regarding the children's account which I don't believe other banks do is restrictions on what they buy, if parents choose they can stop their children from buying products with an 18 rating such as DVD's, alcohol, cigarettes or fireworks.

                        *** Disadvantages ***

                        The disadvantages with these cards are the interest rates, which I believe to be zero! This isn't like a high street bank account and you shouldn't expect to make any money off the money you deposit into your 02 account, this is a little disappointing but it's understandable. Another disadvantage are the restrictions regarding the account, you're only able to deposit up to £10,000 a year, not a penny more. Of course it's unlikely that anybody will decide to put all their wages into their 02 account instead of a proper bank account but if they do choose to it could be a problem for them if they earn more than £10,000 a year which most people do.

                        *** Special Offers ***

                        Currently there's only one special offer available to 02 Cash Manager Account holders; all you have to do is set up a monthly payment of £50 or more and keep this in progress for two consecutive months then your account will be credited with an extra £5 within three days of your £50 standing order being processed.

                        *** Budgeting ***

                        The 02 Cash Manager Card has been specifically designed to help people budget and prevent even more people in the UK from going into debt. A great feature on the 02 Cash Manager website is what they call a Budget Calculator. This works as a pop up which will appear after clicking on the budget calculator link. It will ask you to input any money that goes into your account and any outgoing spends that you make. It will calculate these and tell you how much money you'll be left with or how much more money you're spending than is being paid in. This will help you to cut out any spends that aren't necessary and hopefully save a bit of money along the way.

                        The only problem that I've encountered while using this function is that it's impossible for it to be 100% accurate as it only lets you input three outgoing spends and it's obvious that people are going to have more than three bills to pay over the course of a month. Hopefully this will be altered over the coming months making it more accurate.

                        *** Spending ***

                        Using the card is extremely simple and works in the way that any other debit/credit card does, it can be used to pay for any everyday items and can be used to shop online. I wouldn't recommend using your card to shop online as it's not guaranteed to be as safe as proper banks will be. Banks have set up lots of security measures over the last few years to make internet shopping as safe as possible, 02 have only just set up their Cash Manager Card meaning that it may not be wise to use it for internet shopping unless you are 100% sure that your firewall and virus software is up to date.

                        *** Withdrawing and Loading Money ***

                        Card holders can withdraw money from any cash machine, you will not be able to withdraw more than £200 a day from your account. You may not load your card with more than £500 a day, £1000 a week, £2000 a month or £10,000 a year.

                        *** Conclusion ***

                        Overall I like the idea of the 02 Cash Manager Card, it's easy to set up and does everything you would require it to do however I think it's got a long way to go before this card can match up to the high street banks. I feel that it should make more special offers to reel customers in as I feel this account may be seen as a bit of a novelty and not a serious bank account. I think the people that will benefit from this account the most are young people (under 18's) so if you're a parent looking for a bank account for your child I would say that it's worth checking this account out and seeing if it's suitable for them.

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                        • Rated R - Rihanna / Music Album / 110 Readings / 100 Ratings
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                          18.11.2009 11:12
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                          A fantastic album with a very new sound for the Princess of R&B.

                          The name 'Rihanna' seems to keep getting bigger and bigger; down to both her music and her turbulent personal life. Since the release of 2007's Good Girl Gone Bad it would seem that Rihanna's music career knows no bounds. With the massive hit that was Umbrella it was inevitable that Rihanna was going to have to come back with an album that would stomp that one in the ground, but with such a reputation now on her young shoulders is she capable of coping with the pressure or has she caved with her Rated R album?

                          Up until the release of Good Girl Gone Bad I was a fan of Rihanna's and had previously purchased all her albums but to me she was simply another conventional mainstream R&B artist that rise as quickly as they fall but with the help of mentor Jay Z she's changed public opinion on her and become a worthy rival to the likes of Beyonce.

                          Track Listing

                          1) Mad House
                          2) Wait Your Turn
                          3) Hard
                          4) Stupid In Love
                          5) Rockstar 101
                          6) Russian Roulette
                          7) Fire Bomb
                          8) Rude Boy
                          9) Photographs
                          10) G4L
                          11) Te Amo
                          12) Cold Case Love
                          13) The Last Song

                          The album begins subtly with the synthy beats of Mad House, this track is definitely a grower and not one that you're likely to take to immediately. This song is reminiscent of Good Girl Gone Bad's Question Existing which isn't necessarily a good thing. Question Existing was a brilliant song for me but not everybody shared my enthusiasm for it and I think this song may suffer because it's so different to Rihanna's other songs. Next up is The Wait Is Over which is the second single to be released in the UK from the album, a line which millions of Rihanna fans will be echoing all over the world. This song is no Umbrella but it is one that captures you on first listen and is a lot more edgy that the manufactured R&B/Pop that fans will be used to.

                          Hard, featuring rapper Jeezy is more of what Rihanna fans are used to and sounds strikingly similar to previous Rihanna songs. It's less manufactured R&B though much like the majority of this album and I can't work out whether this is a good thing. Songs like Umbrella have a limited shelf life because you get so into them that once you've listened to it more than any other song on the planet it quickly becomes tiresome. Hard is a song that wont necessarily resonate any strong opinion however it's likely to be one that when you do come across it it's one that can be happily listened to without shouting 'if I hear that song one more time I'll kill myself'!

                          Then we come to the second collaboration on the album with no other than... wait for it... yep you guessed it... Neyo! The serial collaborator has worked with the R&B princess a couple of times before; he wrote the superb Unfaithful and featured on Good Girl Gone Bad with the ballad Hate That I Love You. Therefore it doesn't take half a brain to figure out that this is going to be another Neyo inspired, slow tempo ballad that has Neyo written all over it before his well delivered vocals even hit your ear drums. This is a song where Rihanna really gets to show off her beautifully nasal vocals. Her distinctive voice is indisputably something that some listeners will not enjoy as much as the strong vocals of Beyonce. I feel that Rihanna is very overshadowed by her male counterpart in this song. Other collaborators come in the form of Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash with the song Rockstar, a much less obvious team up produces an extremely edgy R&B track, understandably crossing that barrier into the rock genre. I'm by no means a fan of rock music but this is a superb song and Rihanna's vocals manage to shine over the heavy guitar and back beats. This is without doubt a highlight of the album.

                          The only other (obvious) collaborator comes in the form of Black Eyed Peas front man Will I Am, this guy seems to be intent on working with every star in the world from the late Michael Jackson to Cheryl Cole, stopping at Faith Hill along the way. This man's credentials speak for themselves. Photographs, which was co wrote and produced by the hip hop pioneer, isn't a stand out track but a nice filler with sturdy beats and an echoing chorus that fails to stick in your head like Will I Am songs tend to do. Photographs has all the potential in the world but unfortunately falls flat. Another obvious person that you'd expect to hear on this album is of course hip hop legend and Rihanna's mentor Jay Z. I personally feel that an up-tempo song featuring Jay Z to rival Umbrella would have been a welcome addition to the album. It's obvious that Rihanna's tried hard to go down a different route with this album but she should follow Beyonce's lead and stick to what she knows and just like Beyonce and Jay Z; Rihanna and Jay Z are pretty much guaranteed a hit single.

                          The first single to be released from the highly anticipated album is Russian Roulette which is another grower, but when it gets into your head I guarantee it isn't going anywhere. The mounting beats lead to a crescendo where Rihanna's vocals take over completely from the music almost as if it's not there. This is a fantastic song but it's one that may not grab you straight away like Wait Your Turn or Rockstar so it needs to be given a chance.

                          G4L is another highlight which I found impossible to turn off and one that takes Rihanna down an even edgier route, discussing the use of guns. The first line captures you instantly; 'I lick the gun when I'm done cause I know that revenge is sweet' this seemingly sets the tone for the song however in true Rihanna style she manages to steer away from the murderous girlfriend route to make it a superb R&B track. The only problem that I have with this song is that he sounds very similar to a lot of the other mid-tempo songs on the album and that's a major problem; the great thing about Good Girl Gone Bad was that every song was unique from the likes of Breakin' Dishes to Question Existing but this album is very similar and the tracks aren't spaced out very well so that you don't notice the similarity between certain tracks.

                          Fire Bomb, another up-tempo track is a welcome addition to the album and almost sounds like it could be played at the end of an uplifting film with it's elevating beats. Fire Bomb is a really uplifting track and I don't doubt that it will be a lot of peoples favourite because it captivates you instantly with the mood of the track. Rude Boy was instantly my favourite track on the album and is reminiscent of the insanely catchy Don't Stop The Music; it's something that I doubt will be released as a single as it doesn't seem to have that wide appeal like other up-tempo Rihanna songs have but it's still my personal favourite and one you should definitely download if you don't plan on downloading the entire album.

                          The last three songs on the album take us down more of a chilled out route; starting with the strangely named Te Amo. This isn't a stand out song on the album and seems like it could be on any old run of the mill R&B stars album. This isn't trademark Rihanna and although it's an enjoyable track to an extent it doesn't live up to other songs. Cold Case Love is a Justin Timberlake written song and another slower song however it's distinctly better than Te Amo and is very similar to her Justin Timberlake collaboration of Rehab from Good Girl Gone Bad. This is a superb song that gets even better when it reaches the understated chorus.

                          The last song on the album, aptly named The Last Song was written solely by Rihanna herself and is a fantastic ending to the album. It wont grab you straight away with the lacklustre first verse but if you wait until it gets into the chorus it will capture you and is the sort of chorus that you'll want to hear over and over again.

                          With the albums edgier sound, some adult content is almost to be expected and there is some very strong yet infrequent language on a couple of songs. The album strangely doesn't have a parental guidance rating however the title Rated R evidently means more than previously expected.

                          One surprise that I found when listening to this album is that it doesn't feature her recent collaboration with Jay Z and Kanye West, Run This Town reached number one in the charts and something that I find a lot is that if the artist only featured on the song they will remix it to add more of their vocals so it can feature on their album. Ashanti is someone who does this regularly with songs that she features on and I would liked to have heard a remix of Run This Town.

                          I have to say that this is a superb album and a worthy follow up to Good Girl Gone Bad, it may lack the variety that was ever present in it's predecessor but if you give it a chance then I expect that you'll fall in love with this album and with R&B albums being released at present like Alexandra Burke and Cheryl Cole it's good to see that Rihanna can still outdo them all with her nasally voice, brilliant song writing abilities and collaborations; some predictable, some not so. There isn't a track on this album that I don't like, the only track that I don't feel is as strong as the rest is Te Amo and is too much in the shadows of Beyonce's Ave Maria.

                          Highly recommended.

                          The album is released November 23rd and is available to pre-order from iTunes for £7.99. Fortunately I've managed to get my hands on a copy before it's released!

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                          • The Longest Yard [2005] (DVD) / DVD / 97 Readings / 94 Ratings
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                            17.11.2009 11:26
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                            A very funny Sandler film.

                            After being sentenced to three years in prison after stealing his girlfriend's (Courtney Cox) car and driving it under the influence of alcohol, ex NFL player Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) has seemingly hit rock bottom. With his prison sentence and his alleged shaving points in the NFL Paul just wants to do his stretch in prison then try his best to rebuild his life.

                            However the prison Warden (James Cromwell) doesn't want Paul's prison introduction to be so low key, he has made up a football team of his prison guards and wants Paul to put together a team of convicts for them to face each other at a public event. Paul disregards the offer initially but when threatened he reluctantly agrees and is faced with the task of putting together a team of bad tempered, foul mouthed cons with the help of Caretaker (Chris Rock), but when Paul's team starts to look good the Warden vows that his team will win the game by any means possible...

                            The Longest Yard is a remake of the 1974 hit of the same name starring Burt Reynolds, who also appears heavily in this film. The film also inspired the Vinnie Jones film Mean Machine released in 2001. Having seen neither of the films I can't comment on them but after seeing this I can imagine that they differ vastly given the comedic tone of this movie. I'm not the biggest fan of Adam Sandler but I do find him quite funny and this is definitely one of my favourite Sandler films.

                            Given that this is an Adam Sandler film the tone of the movie is going to be pretty obvious right from the offset and this may put some people off because public opinion seems to be split on the famous funny man. You either like his brand of straightforward comedy or you don't. Personally I think Adam Sandler does really well in this film and I think he suits his character perfectly which I was surprised about because he doesn't exactly come across as football player material but that's what his character requires, he portrays the washed up and worn out sports star brilliantly. He does well at harbouring sympathy right from the start when we witness the way his selfish girlfriend treats him and I felt that his performance was surprisingly and uncharacteristically subtle which if you're familiar with Sandler comedies will come as a big surprise. There's some character development behind him however I think his character could have been delved into a little more so we get to know his background; we know what he did in the past but we never find out why.

                            We see a cameo from Friends star Courtney Cox Arquette who is excellent as the egocentric, air head girlfriend of Paul and to fit into the part even more she had her boobs CGI enhanced and if you've seen her in friends you'll tell straight away that they're not real!

                            Chris Rock provides a counterpart for Adam Sandler, playing the quick witted Farrel also known as Caretaker. He provides the audience with a lot of laughs and is a very likeable character from early on in the film but, like Sandler's character I feel that there was an opportunity for character development which was unfortunately never capitalised on.

                            The rest of the characters provide a lot of comedy, from the big Neanderthal guys (a lot from WWE Wrestling fame) to the quick witted small guys there's a character that everyone can sympathise with because they all have their own reasons for wanting revenge on the sadistic guards that beat and torment them on a regular basis.

                            The film begins quickly; we're introduced to Crewe and his girlfriend, we're instantly shown how Crewe lives and his extravagant lifestyle that mainly his girlfriend pays for. From then on the majority of the film takes place in the prison where the division between guards and convicts is made clear from the start. This of course enhances our dislike for the guards and our like for the convicts much like that of The Shawshank Redemption. At times the film reminded me of the classic Morgan Freeman film with the visual settings, the character that Chris Rock plays and some of the general dialogue. Of course we don't get the atmosphere and character development that we do with that film however understandably this is a comedy and things should be kept fairly light-hearted.

                            That said, things are generally kept pretty uplifting but fortunately there are times where we see characters reflecting and having serious moments; a key moment is where the basketball players finally decide to back their friend (played by rapper Nelly) after previously dismissing him.

                            Overall this is a great film from Sandler and a stand out one from a somewhat uneven career in my mind, the film flows well and there are comedic moments all the way through. My only bugbear would be that this is a typical Sandler comedy and it would have been nice if there could have been a witty script involved instead of just a lot of visual comedy which to be fair was all I was expecting. The film kept me entertained for it's entirety and although it's not one that I plan on buying on DVD it is one that I'll watch if it's ever on TV.

                            The DVD is currently available from play.com for £3.99.

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                            • Die Hard 4.0 (DVD) / DVD / 108 Readings / 104 Ratings
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                              15.11.2009 11:50
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                              A good return to form for John McClane.

                              It's been 12 years since veteran cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) stood in the line of fire, now a detective, McClane prefers the quiet life however when cyber terrorists emerge he's the first on the scene. John is asked to pick up a suspect, Matt Farrel (Justin Long) a young man with extensive hacking knowledge that is about to unwittingly set off explosives meant to kill him before John picks him up.

                              With his knowledge of hacking, Farrel informs the F.B.I that he predicts a fire sale attack will take place soon, where terrorists will take control over everything in the country that is controlled by computers which these days is practically everything. McClane and Farrel set off to stop terrorist Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) and his girlfriend Mai Linh (Maggie Q) before they take control over the entire United States and when Gabriel and Linh discover the whereabouts of McClane's daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), this day become a lot more personal for John McClane...

                              12 years since Die Hard With A Vengeance was released it was looking less and less likely that we'd ever see John McClane in his dirty vest again, but alas as 2007 came we were greeted with the news that John McClane was set to grace our screens once more as the smart talking, grumpy cop who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

                              I was highly sceptical about whether Die Hard 4.0, otherwise known as Live Free Or Die Hard would be capable of living up to the hype and of course carrying on the excellent reputation that the previous Die Hard trilogy had carved out over the years. When revamps such as Terminator 3 failed to make much of an impact on audiences it was becoming a very real prospect that Die Hard 4.0 would follow suit and be met with very negative reviews. However in true McClane style, Die Hard 4.0 emerged fighting and although it didn't achieve the success and glittering reviews that the previous films did, I have to say that Die Hard 4.0 was better than I expected it to be.

                              Bruce Willis is back on top form, playing his best known and best loved character John McClane. McClane is once again in the wrong place at the wrong time which is what brings him into these ominous situations, that's partly why we love McClane because he doesn't go out looking for trouble, trouble seems to find him and it seems that the ageing cop now just wants an easy life and who can't emphasise with that? McClane isn't as witty as he once was, which could be done purposely to make McClane seem worn out and more mature, of course on the other hand it could just be laziness on the writers side. At one point they use a gag synonymous with the first Die Hard film where John is mocking what one of his wife's colleagues said to him about coming to the Christmas party and having a good laugh. This dry wit is what made the world fall in love with McClane and this dry sarcastic wit was ever present in the two films that followed however it seems that now they're running out of gags for John therefore they're forced to recycle old gags that unfortunately don't garner the same affect as they managed 20 years ago.

                              Although the Die Hard films came to prominence in the late 80's, fortunately the writers have written a believable story for this day an age and they manage to play a lot on peoples paranoia. In this day an age you're unlikely to come across something that isn't controlled by computers therefore there's a very real possibility that in the future someone could try to overtake the computers and use them to their advantage. This is exactly what Die Hard 4.0 does and I have to say it does it pretty well. I personally don't feel that the story flows as well as the previous Die Hard films; this film doesn't have you grip like the others (especially the first one) did. The story doesn't gel like the previous ones did and although I was enjoying this film it just didn't seem like a Die Hard film in my eyes. If this was any old action film it would be a great success but with the massive reputation of being some of the greatest action movies of all time, Die Hard 4.0 had a lot to live up to and I'm afraid it doesn't quite manage it.

                              Justin Long is a nice inclusion in the film and he fits into his character very well, managing to effectively and believably pull of the computer nerd. He's well known for appearing in comedy films such He's Just Not That Into You and Dodgeball so it was nice to see him branch out into something different and he manages to infuse his comedy experience into the film nicely. John McClane always seems to acquire a partner and in all the films to date he's managed to form an alliance with an unlikely partner. Justin Long's character is the exact opposite from John McClane; McClane is very old fashioned and a real technophobe whereas Matt knows exactly what he's doing. Together Matt is the brains and McClane is the brawn and they make a very good, yet unlikely pairing.

                              It was a clever idea to bring McClane's daughter into the proceedings; in the first two films it became personal for John when his wife was in danger and as she sadly isn't in the franchise anymore they needed a female counterpart for John to save, this of course being his oldest daughter Lucy. I'm afraid that her inclusion just isn't strong enough and although it pulls on the heartstrings at times, they're just not a convincing enough pair that John and his wife Holly were, I was really hoping they'd bring her back because they were a great couple.

                              The action is frantic all the way through, luckily things begin quickly and from then on we're met with one over the top stunt after another. This makes the film very exciting though and for non stop action I feel that this surpasses Die Hard 2 and Die Hard With A Vengeance. All the relentless action keeps you entertained throughout and it definitely makes up for the relatively weak storyline. This just proves that classic action films can be remade successfully so take note Arnie!

                              The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.

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                              • Under Siege (DVD) / DVD / 88 Readings / 85 Ratings
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                                13.11.2009 11:25
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                                Seagal's best film to date.

                                When a Navy battleship is hijacked by ex military personnel things look pretty bleak from the off; led by ex CIA Agent William Strannix (Tommy Lee Jones) the men come onto the ship posing as musicians, their aim is to steal the ships Tomahawk Cruise Missiles and they're willing to kill anyone in their path. The ships only hope lies in the seemingly less than capable hands of the ships chef.

                                What the hijackers don't know is that this isn't just a regular chef; Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) is an ex Navy Seal and is highly trained in weapons and martial arts. Casey is locked in the freezer to begin with but once escaping he sets about his mission to bring down the hijackers and save hundreds of lives single handedly.

                                This is a classic 90's action movie, there's not a huge amount of plot involved and even the plot that is present doesn't really need a lot of attention paid to it. Any movie with Steven Seagal in it seem to have a very simple narrative and no matter what the story is you always know where you are and what to expect. This is undoubtedly Seagal's best movie; with a great cast, interesting story, a lot of action and some comedy thrown in for good measure it's hard not to like this film.

                                This is the best acting I've seen from Seagal also, usually in his films he comes across as very awkward and uncomfortable in front of the camera, this mixed in with his inability to show emotion, crack a joke or basically pull off anything but an ass kicking on camera makes him, for me, a very dull actor indeed. When you think about the likes of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan it becomes apparent that you can be a martial arts star but also have the charisma to pull off a believable performance. Jackie Chan excels especially well in all the varied roles that he's done and unlike people like Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal, he has remained a prominent action/comedy star over the many years he's been around.

                                Seagal, is great in his role as chef Casey Ryback and seems in his element with this role. He shares great chemistry with his co-stars in the form of the Navy Seals and of course his love interest in the form of former Baywatch star Erika Eleniak. Seagal manages to be surprisingly funny in his role while remaining uncharacteristically laid back and relaxed in front of camera. The role of the ex Navy Seal suits him well and he's very believable when showcasing all his weapon skills. Of course Seagal is renowned for his martial arts ability and he always showcases them in an interesting and exciting way without becoming too animated like Jackie Chan. What I like about Seagal compared with someone like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan is that in a way he is every man and has a wide appeal for being so. Much like Bruce Willis he's a man that a lot of men aspire to be and in that way he always plays an excellent role model in his films. He doesn't feel the need to spend 6 hours a day in the gym like an Arnie or a Sly and that's why I like him, his martial arts skills seem to be second nature to him and although I'm not his biggest supporter, he is (or was) a fantastic action hero back in his heyday.

                                The undeniable star of the show, besides Seagal was definitely the brilliant Tommy Lee Jones, he plays the charismatic and bordering on psychotic ex CIA Agent brilliantly, almost as if he had morphed into the character himself. There's no doubt in my mind that he overshadows Steven Seagal's performance, no matter how surprisingly decent it was. Although Tommy Lee Jones is supposed to be the bad guy he's not really bad enough so that you hate him, he's more like the crazy professor who you're not supposed to like but seem to warm to down to his raw charisma. That's how I felt about Tommy Lee Jones, I don't know if this is a good thing because when it boils down to it he's supposed to be the leader of the bad guys and this means that we dislike one of the other bad guys more than him.

                                The weakest performances came from Erika Eleniak, who plays Casey's love interest. She initially comes onto the ship to jump out of the cake and fortunately manages to avoid all the gun fire whilst in there. She's of course brought into bring a different dimension to Casey's character but I feel that they really have no chemistry throughout the movie so the fact that a relationship is hinted at near the end seems pretty contrived. It seems that all Erika Eleniak thought she would have to do is stand there looking pretty, but this being an action movie isn't the case. I did like her character though as she seems to develop throughout the movie from a scared and helpless girly girl to a gun wielding, fearless tomboy which was fun to witness. The other weak performance comes from Gary Busey who plays the other bad guy intent on taking over the ship and stealing the weapons. He seems to have no substance to his character, unlike Tommy Lee Jones's character who actually has a personality. Gary Busey's characterless guy could have worked, he could have simply been portrayed as a military man who has become fed up with taking orders from other people but sadly this doesn't come off onscreen.

                                Despite the bad performances from some people this film is a real success, the action starts quickly and grips you right from the start. Steven Seagal is unexpectedly good in his role as the once described 'lowly chef', he's one of the highlights of the film with his laid back and macho attitude to his role. Tommy Lee Jones is of course another highlight but the story and the action are what steals the show. The story is easy to follow and hugely enjoyable and there's the obligatory martial arts action scattered about in with the gun fights and big explosions which is basically what you'd expect in this sort of film. Like I said it's nothing out of the ordinary but it's highly enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone.

                                The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.

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                                • Pineapple Express (DVD) / DVD / 125 Readings / 118 Ratings
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                                  11.11.2009 10:35
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                                  Not bad as Judd Apatow films go.

                                  Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a 25 year old slacker who likes nothing more than to sit back, relax and smoke a joint. Dale's regular hangout is at his new drug dealers apartment, Saul (James Franco) is similar to Dale in that he'd rather smoke his self professed 'best weed in town' than do anything else. Saul is well known around town for occasionally supplying very rare weed that goes by the name of Pineapple Express.

                                  When Dale is delivering a subpoena to big drug dealer Ted Jones (Gary Cole) Dale witnesses Ted murder someone, aided by his corrupt police officer girlfriend Carol Braizer (Rosie Perez). Dale panics and makes a lot of noise outside, alerting the murderers of his whereabouts. Before he knows it he's on the run from two murderers and their gang of heavies. He goes to Saul who thinks they're safe because no one saw them however when Dale left he threw his joint out the window and with only Saul selling that particular weed it's only a matter of time before Ted and Carol catch up with them...

                                  This is not my type of film at all, not only can I not stand Seth Rogen I also can't stand Judd Apatow films, to date he's released catastrophes such as Superbad, Step Brothers and of course the Daddy of them all and what all Judd Apatow films inspire to mimic, the horrendous Knocked Up. With that in mind, Pineapple Express wasn't exactly on the top of my 'to see' list and I didn't imagine that I'd ever end up watching it. Therefore when a friend suggested watching the DVD I wasn't particularly thrilled but went along with it anyway, thinking I can always use the laptop when, not if I get bored. However this film seems to be the one Judd Apatow film that I actually found myself enjoying and by the end of the film I had metaphorically eaten my words.

                                  Having seen numerous Judd Apatow films now I pretty much know what to expect; a bunch of slackers who do nothing all day but smoke weed, make childish jokes and pretty much make Judd Apatow a hell of a lot of money whilst making him look like a prize idiot in the mean time. The main problem I have with Judd Apatow films is that nothing seems to happen, it's generally a bunch of idiots sat around farting and then laughing about it afterwards. Not my kind of comedy at all, however Pineapple Express is a little different, despite incorporating all the usual Jud Apatow nonsense it boarders on being an action film which made it watchable and also had me laughing at regular intervals.

                                  This is without doubt the funniest Seth Rogen film I've ever watched, right from the beginning I was laughing at the juvenile things he was saying and to my surprise I was enjoying myself right from the offset. Unexpectedly I warmed to Seth Rogen's character quite quickly, yes he's a lazy stoner who'd rather get off his face than go to work but really who wouldn't? In a way he's just an exaggerated version of every Joe Bloggs on the street; he has the life that we want! Able to hold down a job that he barely visits whilst still managing to have a very active social life at the same time! I'm not a weed smoker, or a smoker full stop but his lifestyle does look pretty appealing in this film!

                                  James Franco is also a highly likeable character too, he's not portrayed as the usual drug dealer who'll break your knee caps if you miss a payment. He's just a nice guy who happens to supply drugs to his friends and of course likes to enjoy the weed with them. He's not the sharpest tool in the box, neither is Dale which is what makes them even more likeable. The character of Saul is pretty one dimensional and shows no depth whatsoever, he's just a stoner who enjoys his lowlife existence. I feel that Franco was very miscast in this film, although he does a decent job as the stoner Saul if you've seen any other of his respectable movies he'll look very out of place in this film and I can't help but think that this film could have slightly damaged would could have been a highly respectable career.

                                  This is where the downside comes in, this film appeals widely to teenagers whom have either smoked weed or want to look cool in front of their friends by smoking it and this film does advertise weed in the wrong way for young kids and could have a bad influence on them, therefore I think the film should have had an 18 certificate instead of a 15 because 15 is the age when most kids like to experiment with drugs these days.

                                  Another notable character was that played by Danny McBride, he's not in the entire film, instead pops up every now and again but is absolutely hilarious in his role as a friend of Saul's who seems to feel no pain at all due to the amount of weed he smokes. For me, he was one of the highlights of the film and the way he turns up again at the end was brilliant.

                                  The story runs along at a fast pace and there is plenty of action, unfortunately a lot of the action is exactly what you'd expect from a Judd Apatow film however it's actually very funny, one moment in particular was when Saul ends up hijacking a police car and tries to break the windscreen like he's seen on action films however his foot ends up getting stuck in the windscreen whilst he's driving. That's about the tone of the action which is probably what you were expecting but to my surprise and amusement it was actually very entertaining.

                                  The story gets a little too over the top by the end and the publicity shot taken of the three guys carrying guns gives away a little too much of the ending. If that shot wasn't there I wouldn't have expected it and it could have been a little funnier. I still feel that it goes way too over the top and utterly beyond belief even for a film of this nature. In a way it reminds me a little of Shaun Of The Dead because this is what the action mimics in a way however I feel that this will always be inferior to Simon Pegg's work.

                                  There's also a bit of a love story between Dale and his high school girlfriend Angie, this is quite funny at the start when we meet them both because at only 18 Angie is undoubtedly the more mature one however their relationship shows no progression and about half way through she slowly disappears from the film altogether.

                                  Overall this is a decent attempt and the second best Judd Apatow film I've seen, the first being The 40 Year Old Virgin. There're some hilarious laugh out loud moments but as I said if you're not into this type of action comedy then it's probably best to steer clear. If you're a fan of Seth Rogen as so many people seem to be these days (which is beyond me) then I'd highly recommend this, it's his best film by far. Pineapple Express hasn't gone as far as to change my opinion on Seth Rogen or Judd Apatow as I don't think one single decent film could but I did enjoy it and it held my attention all the way through and for that it's a big success in my eyes.

                                  The DVD is currently available from play.com for £4.99.

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