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richy77
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    • 28 Days Later (DVD) / DVD / 4 Readings / 16 Ratings
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      30.06.2003 22:36
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      28 Days later focuses on a deadly virus called ?rage?, which is released into the public domain by anti-vivisection activists. The activists raid a primate research facility and release a monkey which has been infected with the rage virus. The film then jumps forward 28 days and the true extent of the viral infection becomes apparent when we are introduced to Jim, a patient who has just regained consciousness after a road traffic accident. The strange thing is that the hospital he wakes up in is deserted, and upon further investigation it also appears that the streets of London are empty. While roaming the post-apocalyptic streets, Jim decides to loot a shop and this is where he meets his first human counterparts, who explain to him what has happened. Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley) tell Jim about the virus which has left Britain in a state of chaos. The rage virus is transmitted by a drop of blood and infects a person within a matter of seconds, turning its infected subject into a permanent state of murderous rage. 28 days on and nearly all of Britain has been infected and only a few survivors are left to struggle on with life. Understandably Jim finds the news hard to come to terms with, and decides to visit his parents? house to find out if they have survived. During this visit Jim comes face to face with his first rage-infected person and he discovers the brutality that the virus has brought to civilisation. Another encounter with rage-infected beings (best described as zombies) leads the group to a cockney taxi driver called Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns), who happen to rescue the group and welcome the strangers into their house. It is during their stay that the group hear a radio transmission which encourages all survivors to travel to Manchester to form an army to fight the rage virus. Spurred on by the broadcast, the survivors decide to make the perilous journey. Upon their arrival in Manches
      ter they are met by Major Henry West (Chris Ecclestone) and his band of soldiers, who have setup a fortress in a disused mansion. 28 Days is based on a genre which has been used a thousand times, but the film still manages to make use of original ideas. The fact that it doesn?t bow to the gore fests that are currently doing the rounds in Hollywood is one of the main reasons this film succeeds. Danny Boyle obviously decided that he wanted the movie to be driven by suspense and its characters, so apart from the opening scene we are treated to a movie which leaves a lot to the imagination. That?s not to say that the movie is tepid, on the contrary it has plenty of scenes which will leave you hiding behind the sofa. Another advantage this movie has is its lack of big name actors. Having leading actors in movies can sometime distract from the storyline, but this is not the case with 28 Days Later. A strong storyline is only slightly let down by a rushed ending, which doesn?t really fit in with the rest of the movie. However if you can see past that then you are in for a good night?s entertainment. Recent zombie movies like Resident Evil were major disappointments in my opinion, so it?s nice to finally see one that delivers.

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      • Legally Blonde (DVD) / DVD / 2 Readings / 23 Ratings
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        04.06.2002 00:10
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        The title of this movie is enough to put off most man but actually the film is entertaining and should be given a chance. This is a review of the R2 DVD. Legally Blonde is set in California and follows the lively life of Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon). I say lively as Elle is well liked and has won numerous beauty awards. Elle is a materialistic girl who loves fancy clothes and shoes. Most of her life is spent shopping or grooming herself. Life couldn?t be any better for her as she has lots of girlie friends and a wonderful intelligent boyfriend. Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis) is Elle?s boyfriend, who is looking forward to going to Law school. For that reason he thinks Elle is not a suitable choice of girlfriend and decides to dump her. Warner is after a more intelligent and sophisticated women so decides it is time to part company with Elle. One of my favourite lines from the film comes from the scene where Warner tells Elle that he wants to split up with her. He says, ?If I am going to be a Senator I need to marry a Jackie not a Marilyn?. Obviously upset with the rejection from Warner, Elle decides to prove him wrong and win back his affection. Elle has the bright idea of applying to Harvard Law School to study with Warner. She thinks that if she shows him she can make it as a lawyer then he will be interested again. Elle sets about applying for the course in the only way she can. She makes an entry video, which raised a smile when I watched it. I won?t spoil it for you but it was certainly amusing! Well not surprisingly she gains entry onto the course and sets winning back Warner. This proves to be harder than she first thought, as Warner has already found a fiancée in Vivian (Selma Blair). At first Elle finds it hard to make friends as her fellow students refuse to look past her spoilt/pink appearance. With no experience of law Elle finds it hard to come to terms with the workload she is given, but gradually she makes friends
        and starts to understand the subject. As she becomes more popular will she still feel the same way about Warner? I will leave the rest to your imagination. Legally Blonde is full of flaws and unbelievable twists. I found it unrealistic that Elle managed to get into Harvard Law School when she only had a qualification in Fashion Merchandising. There are many flaws in the storyline like this. However the film is enjoyable and I felt myself ignoring any unbelievable moments just because the film moved along at a reasonable pace. Legally Blonde is not meant to be taken as a serious movie, so when watching it I would advise you to just sit back and enjoy the show! Reese Witherspoon is not my favourite actress in the world but I can appreciate that she does an excellent job in Legally Blonde. Reese?s character is meant to be spoilt as well as naive at times, and Witherspoon brings this element to the screen with great accuracy. Not many actresses in Hollywood presently could have played the part of Elle so I think Reese Witherspoon was the perfect choice. As mentioned at the beginning of this review I was left wondering why I was watching Legally Blonde. This was simply because it was too much like what I imagined a girlie sleep over party to be like! There was too much screaming, talk about men and general girlie chitchat. However as the film settled down I found it to be quite funny and I ended caring a little bit about the main character. The marketing of this film will put off lots of men. You cannot get away from the girlie look and feel of the movie. I am sure there are some men reading this and thinking ?nah this film is not for me!? however if you look past the overly used pink colour of the cover and sit down and watch this movie you will be surprised. Legally Blonde is a likeable fun movie, which will leave you with a nice warm feeling after watching it. Video Legally Blonde is presented in 2.35:1Anamorphic Widescreen.
        With new release you can expect an excellent transfer and Legally Blonde is no exception. Due to the nature of the film the colour was something I was interested in checking with this release. Legally Blonde uses a wide range of colour ranging from Black to bright pink. I am glad to report that the transfer dealt with this superbly. You only have to look at chapter six to see how realistic the scene seems. One of the main criticisms of the region 1 release was the frequent amount of compression artefacts. This was blamed on the extra pan & scan version packed onto the disc. The region 2 version only houses the one transfer and gladly shows little sign of compression artefacts. I would go as far as to say that Legally Blonde is an exceptional transfer which has perfect sharpness, contrast and no edge enhancement. I struggled to find anything wrong with this transfer. Audio The audio side of the disc came as no real surprise. Included is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. For a release that is meant for Europe I was a little disappointed to find no other languages. The overall quality of the 5.1 track is pretty good. As with most comedy soundtracks there is little use of the rear speakers. The dialogue is clear and crisp. The soundtrack on Legally Blonde is on par with other recent comedy tracks. It does the job but is not reference material. Your surround system will not be tested with this track! Also include on the disc are various subtitles to compensate for the lack of a foreign soundtrack. Included are Turkish, Swedish, Slovenian, Portuguese, Polish, Norwegian, Hungarian, Finnish, English, Danish, Czech and Croatian. Extras The extras that MGM have included on the disc are pretty impressive at first sight. First up we have a nine-minute featurette titled 'The Hair that Ate Hollywood'. The featurette has to be one of the weirdest I have seen on DVD so far. Its safe to say that it is targeted more at the female aud
        ience. I say this as the featurette is solely about blonde hair. Yes that is right! The director, producer and cast all talk about Reese?s blond hair. We get behind the scenes footage of actual hair tests as well as some interviews with the makeup people. It is clear to see from the featurette that a lot of thought went into the shade of blonde of Reese?s hair. Altogether during the film there are forty different hairstyles in the movie. Just to prove that fact the featurette gives us an example of each one. Also included as an extra are the deleted scenes. Altogether there are eight deleted scenes, which are introduced by director Robert Luketic. I am not a great fan of director introductions as all directors say the same things when explaining why they removed scenes from a movie. We always get a long-winded explanation about how it was best for the movie and kept the film flowing. Well the introduction by Luketic is no different. The deleted scenes vary in length from a couple of minutes to a few seconds. They also stretch out across the whole movie, which is nice to see. I would say that out of the eight scenes about three of them are interesting. The first deleted scene is set after Elle?s break up with Warner and is actually pretty good. Other highlights are the practical joke scenes, which are pretty funny, and the interview scene. For fans of the theme music there is a music video included on the disc. The video is titled ?Perfect Day? and is sung by Hoku. This song is the main theme song from the movie and plays at the beginning and end of the movie. I quite like the song so I found it a nice addition to the extras. As well as the video you will find the standard trailer. The Legally Blonde trailer is just over two minutes long. Like most trailers it is probably best not to watch it until you have watched the film. Lots of spoilers are given away in the trailer. I also noticed some scenes in the trailer, which did not make the final cu
        t. In fact some of the scenes were included in the deleted scenes, which is strange. Lastly we have the Commentary with director Robert Luketic, Reese Witherspoon and Producer Marc Platt. I found this commentary to be quite entertaining and lively. Obviously the speakers enjoyed making the film and this is evident during the commentary. During the commentary we find out some shocking facts like the opening scene, which is supposed to feature Reese. In fact the girl in the opening scene is not Reese. Shock Horror!!!! Other secrets include the director telling us that when a particular scene has a tree with leaves falling from it, that two guys out of shot are dropping the leaves. This commentary is very funny and the speakers seem to have a similar sense of humour. One thing that does spoil the commentary a little is the constant creeping of the director and producer towards Reese Witherspoon. They constantly compliment her and mention how beautiful she looks. I lost count of the number of times they did it and Reese certainly sounded embarrassed after a while. To compliment the commentary is the Trivia Track. The Trivia track is basically a fact file, which runs while the movie is playing. Boxes pop up throughout the movie giving you useful bits of information. Overall Legally Blonde surprised many critics when released. I found it to be a very entertaining movie, which does have huge flaws in its story but nevertheless does its job, which is to entertain. Legally Blonde contains a bit of everything to keep all audiences happy. It is funny, sad, pretty, cute and pleasing all in one. The disc is also impressive with an exception transfer, adequate sound and a good choice of extras. If you are after a movie that will bring a smile to your face and allows you to turn your brain off for a couple of hours then give Legally Blonde a try.

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        • Blackadder / TV Programme / 0 Readings / 16 Ratings
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          28.05.2002 19:41
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          The BBC has produced many quality comedy sitcoms, which have become household names throughout the world. Each programme has its own unique sense of humour. Blackadder is one of the most successful comedies to come from Britain and stars Rowan Atkinson (also renowned for Mr Bean). Blackadder?s sense of humour mainly focuses on sarcasm and farcical situations. This is a review of the fourth and final series of Blackadder which incidentally I consider to be the best in the series. For anyone who is not familiar with Blackadder, there are four series which cover the periods from 1485 to 1917. Blackadder goes forth is set during the First World War between 1914 and 1917. For anyone who has not heard of Blackadder here is a brief description of the characters. The main character in all the series is Edmund BlackAdder (Rowan Atkinson). In this particular series Blackadder is a captain in the British army. He is not keen on fighting in the war, and so takes every opportunity to try to escape. He shares a trench with George (Hugh Laurie), a war abiding Lieutenant who likes to do everything by the book. Also staying with Blackadder is Private Baldrick (Tony Robinson), a smelly young lad who is not very bright. Baldrick?s favourite phrase is ?Sir, I have a cunning plan!? There are two other characters that feature extensively in the series as well. They are General Sir Anthony Hogmanay Melchett (Steven Fry), and Captain Kevin Darling (Tim McInnerny). Melchett is Blackadder?s commanding officer and often gets him to do tasks. Here is rundown of each episode: Episode 1 - Captain Cook This is a good episode to start the series off. If you find this episode funny then you will enjoy the series. It shows a perfect example of what makes Blackadder so funny. There are lots of sarcastic comments from Blackadder, and the episode also has its fair share of gross moments. The episode concentrates on building the morale of the troops. Melchett has a plan to
          boost morale by getting a man to paint a picture of a battle scene for the next issue of ?King and Country? magazine. Melchett quizzes Blackadder about whether is knows of a man capable of painting the picture. In true Blackadder style, the crafty captain forges a plan which he thinks will get him out of the trenches. Blackadder has visions of painting pictures away from the war in places like Paris and so volunteers for the job with a little help from George and Baldrick. The job doesn?t exactly turn out as Blackadder had expected, and he soon wishes that he had stayed in the trenches. Episode 2 - Corporal Punishment This is probably my favourite episode in the series. The phone lines don?t appear to be working any more so Captain Darling send a message to Blackadder by carrier pigeon. However Blackadder is not particularly keen on birds and shoots the pigeon. He soon regrets the killing when he realises that he faces a death sentence. There is a communication crisis at the moment so shooting a carrier pigeon results in a court martial. To make matters worse the pigeon was Melchett?s favourite one so Blackadder is sentenced to death. Is this the end of Blackadder? Not if George has his way. George has a relative that could get Blackadder off the charge and save his life in the process. Episode 3 - Major Star Melchett has a plan to host a concert to boost the troop?s morale, and looks for a man to organise the event. The reason for the low morale is that news has broken that the Russians have pulled out of the Eastern Front leaving the way free for the Germans. Once again Blackadder sees this as an opportunity to get out of the trenches and sets about trying to persuade his captain that he is the man to organise the concert. Surprisingly the concert proves to be a success, especially with the popularity of the leading lady Georgina. This episode is probably the weakest in the series. It doesn?t have as many funny moments as other episodes
          and some scenes are just too silly. For example the leading lady is actually George dressed as a woman and no one really seems to notice this. Episode 4 - Private Plane This episode introduces us to squadron commander Lord Flasheart (Rick Mayall). He is the envy of all men as he is a hit with the women. Basically he is a sex-mad pilot who has a vulgar mouth. I am quite surprised that this episode made it into the series as it is based on themes which are a lot more adult than other episodes. The episode centres on Blackadder?s attempt to join the ?Twenty-Minuters?. The ?Twenty Minuters? are renowned for doing very little flying each day (twenty minutes!) and this sounds ideal for Blackadder. Blackadder and Baldrick join the group and instantly get thrown in at the deep end. They are asked to fly straight away and accidentally end up in a German prison. They are held captive by Baron von Richthoven (Adrian Edmondson), who is the legendary German pilot. George learns of his friends? troubles and teams up with Flasheart to save the day. Episode 5 - General Hospital George gets injured in a freak accident and ends up spending time in hospital. At the same time Melchett receives information that there is a spy about who is giving information about every move the British army make. More importantly is that he also suspects that the spy is in the hospital so Blackadder is sent in to find the suspect. The obvious choice seems to be Mr. Smith (Bill Wallis), a patient with a German accent. Blackadder becomes friendly with Nurse Fletcher-Brown (Miranda Richardson) and learns that finding the spy might be harder than he first thought. Episode 6 - Goodbyeee This is the final episode in the series and last episode ever made (that?s if you don?t count the millennium special). There was another episode made for the millennium but Goodbyee is considered the last true Blackadder episode. The war is not looking good for the Brit
          ish and rumours are spreading through the camp that the last push is about to begin. Blackadder is desperate not to be involved so he sticks a couple of pencils up his nose and underpants on his head. Why you may ask? He think that this behaviour will convince Melchett that he?s gone insane and he will be sent home to England. The fourth series of Blackadder was written by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis. Blackadder has always been built around sarcasm but this series is a lot more crude. Fans of Blackadder won?t be disappointed by this final series and viewers who haven?t seen it before will not need any prior knowledge of the programme. This is one of the best comedy programmes to come from Britain. The best thing about this series is that there are no weak episodes. Each episode has its funny moments and will keep you entertained for a few hours.

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          • Mad City (DVD) / DVD / 1 Reading / 18 Ratings
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            10.05.2002 03:40
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            Mad City was released in 1997 and received indifferent reviews. Here is my review of the film. Max Brackett (Dustin Hoffman) is a local TV reporter who has seen his career take a downward spiral over the last couple of years. Max used to work for the network but was relegated to the television minor leagues because he couldn?t control his temper on live TV. His boss, Lou Potts (Prosky) seems content with small news stories and doesn?t really have any desire to take on controversial stories likely to improve ratings. Lou gets nervous whenever Max shows ambition, so decides to calm him down by sending him down to the local museum to do a ?feel-good? interview. The museum is in financial trouble and has had to sack staff in order to cut costs. While at the museum Max has the misfortune to meet Sam Baily (John Travolta). Sam is an ex security guard at the museum. He has lost his job as part of the cut backs and is trying to persuade his boss to give him his job back. His plea doesn?t have any impact on his hardened manager, so Sam loses his patience and turns to plan B. Plan B however, is more drastic and involves guns and dynamite. In a moment of madness Sam closes all the exits to the museum, and takes his boss and other visitors to the museum (a group of school children) hostage. Things go from bad to worse for Sam when he accidentally shoots his fellow security guard. Max sees the hostile events from the gent?s toilet and immediately contacts his novice camerawoman who is located outside the museum. Keen to boost his career Max sees the hostage situation as an exclusive and decides to broadcast events live from within the museum. Max?s hiding place and broadcast is soon discovered by Sam, which infuriates the hostage taker even further. Sam starts to wish he hadn?t been so rash and realises that Max is willing to help defuse the situation. Max obviously acts sympathetically, but is actually only thinking about how he can further his own
            career. Max cunningly sets up an exclusive interview with Sam and also acts as his negotiator. As the siege escalates, it becomes clear that Sam is not going to be able escape unpunished. Outside the museum there is a huge media presence and crowd. At first Sam is perceived by to the public to be an innocent guy, who made a silly mistake, but as incidents unfold he quickly becomes unpopular. Mad City is an extremely clever film which deals with some original ideas. As mentioned at the beginning of this review Mad City was one of the first films to deal with characters acting rashly under extreme pressure. Well, in this movie Sam?s world seems destroyed when he loses his job. He realises that he can no longer support his family financially and makes a rash decision in the museum. Another area that Mad City deals with well is how the media can influence matters. Max is a clever TV reporter and knows exactly how to influence Sam?s decisions. He prolongs the siege because he knows it will make him more high profile and possibly bring about a job promotion. However it all backfires towards the end of the movie, which makes interesting viewing. I know of a few people who dislike this movie. They don?t know whether to take it seriously and this is mostly due to the silly scenes which are occasionally shown throughout the movie. Mad City is supposed to be a thought-provoking movie but sometimes it goes over the top a little. A prime example of this is when we are shown shots of the crowd outside the museum. I can understand that Sam would have some supporters, but the film shows people selling T-shirts (saying ?Sam Our Hero!?) and merchandise with Sam plastered all over it. This to me seems a little unrealistic as the police would have cordoned off the area and certainly would not have allowed the area to look like a fun fair! There are other moments like this in the movie which don?t really belong. The two main actors make this movie a success.
            John Travolta plays Sam, the simple and naïve hostage taker. This is quite a difficult role for Travolta to play because there are so many different sides to the character of Sam. He can sometimes be quite violent, but at the same time caring and gentle, as can be seen when he looks after some of he child hostages. Travolta does a good job and shows another side to his acting. Mad City was his first film after action movie ?Face Off?, so it shows that he can play a wide variety of roles. Shame he didn?t pass up the opportunity to star in ?Battlefield Earth?! Dustin Hoffman has the more straight forward job of playing Max. The character of Max is supposed to be selfish and dislikeable and Hoffman carries this off with supreme confidence. If it wasn?t for these two actors some of the unrealistic scenes would have been farcical. Mad City is an odd film because depending on the viewer?s mood, it could be taken the wrong way. Personally I think it is meant to be a serious thought-provoking movie but some of the areas it deals with are a little over the top. Overall though it is a well acted, intense thriller which should keep you entertained for a couple of hours.

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            • The Claim (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 15 Ratings
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              07.05.2002 03:33
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              ?The Claim? is set in 1867 in a small town in California?s Sierra Nevadas. The town is called Kingdom Come and is owned and run by Daniel Dillion, a wealthy business man. Dillion (Peter Mullan) has great plans for his town and one day hopes it will turn into a successful city. The folk of Kingdom Come respect the creator of the town. Life there is very peaceful and civilised. If someone steps out of line they are punished by Dillion and quickly forgiven. At the centre of Dillion?s plans for a bustling city is the introduction of a railroad. Realising this would bring better opportunities to his town, Dillion invites the chief surveyor of the Central Pacific Railroad for a visit. Dillion hopes that the surveyor will be impressed with the town, and conduct a survey of the surrounding area. Dalglish (Wes Bentley) the surveyor, arrives in the town and receives a warm welcome from the locals. Lucia (Milla Jovovich), the exotic local brothel owner makes sure that his visit is enjoyable as possible. Not easily swayed by the bribes and smiles, Dalglish sets about his task of assessing the town. Arriving in town in the same convoy as Dalglish is refugee Elena (Nastassja Kinski) and her daughter Hope (Sarah Polley). At first they look like everyday travellers, moving from town to town. As the film progresses we learn more about their characters, and realise that Elena has an ulterior motive for visiting Kingdom Come. Elena is actually very sick and arrives in Kingdom Come with the aim of making up with Hope?s father. When Elena first arrives we are not aware of her past, but it soon becomes evident that Hope doesn?t know who here father is. After about thirty minutes of the movie it become clear that Dillion is actually the father, and in fact he sold his wife and daughter twenty years earlier. He was offered a large amount of gold for his ?loved ones? and the lure of being rich turned out to be too great. Now desperate to make up for his sins, Dillion se
              ts about building a relationship with the pair. This is when things start to go wrong for Dillion, and his whole world turns upside down. ?The Claim? is a powerful epic which I quite enjoyed. The strange thing is that not much actually happens during the movie. We see several people arrive and leave the town, but until the last twenty minutes of the film not much actually happens. Before watching the movie I read the back cover. The description talks about how things gradually go wrong when Dillion meets his wife. This is not really true. One of my main complaints about this movie is the fact that things happen in a split second. The film ends too abruptly and certain key scenes arrive without any build up or mention. Enough about the bad points, let me mention some of the positives. The acting overall is very good. There are some strong performances from Wes Bentley (American Beauty) and Peter Mullan. Mullan in particular has a difficult role to play yet looks at home as the troubled owner of Kingdom Come. Someone who does disappoint however is Milla Jovovich. As mentioned above she plays the owner of the local brothel. Her accent is appalling and overall she is not very convincing. The last movie I saw her in was Joan of Arc. Her performance in that movie was diabolical and sadly her role here is not much better. One of the most impressive things about ?The Claim? is the scenery. Kingdom Come is situated between various mountains which are covered in snow. Also during the movie we are treated to various other shots which are beautifully brought to the screen. One thing I realised while watching the lovely scenery was that it is time for a holiday

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              • Tigerland (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                05.05.2002 01:23
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                Tigerland centres on the character of Private Roland Bozz, played by Colin Farrell. Bozz has reluctantly joined the army during the Vietnam War and is trying his best to get kicked out before he has to make the trip to Vietnam. Desperate to annoy his sergeants enough for them to get rid of him, he sets about trying to get a bad name. This behaviour also annoys his fellow soldiers who want Bozz kicked out of the army as well. Unfortunately for Bozz, his sergeants have taken a different approach to dealing with his unacceptable behaviour. They choose to ignore it and let his colleagues deal with it. Tigerland?s strength is its character development. During some of the confrontations between Bozz and fellow soldiers, we realise that Bozz is not as uncaring as first impressions suggest. He simply doesn?t agree with war and doesn?t see why he should fight. At first, members of his platoon don?t agree with his ideas and think he is a rebel. In fact some of them take great offence because he doesn?t show any pride in serving his country. Gradually he makes friends, in particular with Jim Paxton (Matthew Davis). Paxton and Bozz become good friends and some of Bozz?s ideas rub off on his easily influenced friend. Several incidents occur during the movie which means that Bozz ends up leading the platoon several days before the group?s visit to Tigerland. Tigerland is based in Louisiana and is the cruel training camp that all soldiers visit before going to Vietnam. The camp is designed to give a realistic view of what life in Vietnam is going to be like. At first, Bozz?s appointment as captain of the platoon is not received very well. Several members of the platoon refuse to work under him but gradually they grow to respect their leader. Obviously some members can never accept Bozz as their commander and this makes the movie even more compelling. As mentioned before, Tigerland contains very little action. We never see the soldiers in Vietnam and the
                only action scenes shown are some training exercises. For this reason any fans of action-packed war will be extremely disappointed and probably bored. What Tigerland does extremely well is to develop the characters in a way that means the audience cares about what happens to each character. At first Bozz seems like a very spoilt and ignorant person, but as the film progresses we learn that he is a lot more thoughtful than he first appeared. Tigerland has probably over ten main characters and during the movie we get to know about their backgrounds and their thoughts on fighting in the war. The treatment of the soldiers during training is wonderfully brought to the screen. I have seen several Vietnam films, but this one is probably one of the most accurate and gruelling portrayals of what soldiers had to go through before reaching Vietnam. With a movie that is so character driven, you need good performances from your main actors. That?s exactly what you get in Tigerland. Colin Farrall is superb as Bozz. His performance is assured and confident. His character needs to be annoying at first but then respected as the movie progresses. Farrall does this expertly and to be honest this is necessary for the film to succeed. So much of the film is built around his character that to have had anyone less convincing in the lead role would have spoilt the movie. Matthew Davis also gives a strong performance as do most of the main actors. At times Tigerland felt like a documentary. The picture quality is not great but that is intentional on the part of the director. Various different camera angles are used and the zooming in is sometimes quite amateurish!. This is all done on purpose though, to make the film look as rough as some of the surroundings the soldiers had to face. During some of the training sequences the camera manages to get right on top of the soldiers even though they are in bunkers. The film feels like it has been filmed with a heldheld camcorde
                r, and this actually improves the impact of certain scenes. One thing which I think could have improved the movie was the focus on Tigerland. Only about a quarter of the movie actually takes place there. This is a little disappointing, as the camp looked like a very gruelling period for the soldiers. It would have been interesting to see how Bozz inspired his platoon during difficult conditions. This is only a minor gripe though as the length of the movie is ideal. At just over ninety minutes the film never gives the audience the opportunity to get bored. I suppose you are wondering why the movie has an 18 certificate if there is no violence during it. The main reason for the adult rating is that there is an awful lot of swearing. Sometimes it is a little over the top but if it were to be removed from the movie some of the impact would probably be lost. The film also deals with a fairly adult theme and some of the punishment that the soldiers have to take is disturbing. I cannot recommend Tigerland enough. I normally like action packed movies but found Tigerland to be a fresh and riveting look at Vietnam. It a realistic and emotional journey through the lives of a bunch of soldiers prior to their assignment to Vietnam, which has not been tried before. Joel Schumacher gives us an insight into how people react in difficult times. The film may not be the most exciting war movie of recent times but it is certainly one of the most powerful and emotional.

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                • Driven (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 25 Ratings
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                  20.04.2002 04:46
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                  This is a review of the car racing DVD by Sly Stallone. Movie Driven revisits the world of motor car racing twelve years after Tom Cruise?s Days of Thunder graced our screens. A lot has happened in twelve years and the technology has advanced enough to make Driven a promising project. As would be expected Sylvester Stallone plays the main character Joe Tanto a car racing driver who is persuaded to come out of retirement by long term friend Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds). Henry is manager of an racing car team and sees Tanto as the perfect coach for rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue). Bly is a promising young driver who has a real chance of winning the championship. However recent results have raised concerns about Bly?s mental state to win the championship. Stallone?s character is thought to be the ideal person to guide the youngster to the championship. Only World Champion Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger) stands in Bly?s way of becoming this season?s champion. Things are complicated further by Bly?s infatuation with Brandenburg?s former girlfriend played by Estella Warren. Driven received a huge amount of criticism when released and some of it is justified. The acting is very wooden at times which you might come to expect from Sylvester Stallone, but to be honest he is not the only culprit! As I was writing this review I noticed that Estella Warren had won the worst supporting actress at the 22nd Annual Razzie Awards, which are given to the industry's worst on the eve of the Oscars. Her performance is certainly representative of the acting in general in Driven. One of the most disappointing performances has to go to Bert Reynolds for his role as the team manager. I have never seen a man wear so much makeup and his whole performance was just embarrassing. I thought that he had reached an all time low by starring in StripTease but his performance in Driven at least matches that! What also disappointed me about Driven was the dodgy C
                  G used throughout the movie. Some of the race scenes were pretty impressive but others looked fake. Two scenes particularly stick in my mind. There is one scene where Tanto and Bly race through the streets after stealing two race cars. This scene is unbelievable enough but the special effects just make it a farcical five minutes. The other scene, which made me cringe was the final race. I don?t want to give too much away, but there is a crash and you see a wheel spin up in the air and travel towards the spectators. This sequence looked more like a cartoon and was extremely disappointing. So far you are probably thinking that Driven is going to get a bad score from me. Even though the above points spoil the film I still found it reasonably enjoyable. Renny Halin has created a fast packed documentary style movie, which certainly passes the time. I say documentary because that is how the movie felt to me. Each race is introduced in a documentary way with commentators and real life footage being shown. Some of the race scenes are pretty exciting and cleverly filmed. I have done a bit of research and apparently some of the race scenes are actually taken from real life footage. Driven could have been a complete mess but Harlin?s input saved it from being a turkey. I am a fan of Harlin?s other movies like Die Hard and Deep Blue Sea so I was expecting a reasonably high paced movie. Whilst not recommending Driven as a nights entertainment I, could think of far worse films to watch. As to the earlier mention of whether Driven would kick start Stallone's career, well he is going to have to do a lot better then this to get the audiences paying to watch his movies. There is nothing in Driven to persuade me that Stallone is back to his best. If I was to write a school report about his performance in this movie it would probably contain the words ?must do better!? Video Driven is given a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation which brin
                  gs the world of racing to the screen with great clarity and colour. You may not like the film but Roadshow have certainly pulled out all the stops with this transfer. I would probably go as far as to say that this is reference quality. Contrast and sharpness are spot on and the black levels, which can be seen during the night street chase scene, are excellent. There is no sign of edge enhancement and the dreaded artifacts are nowhere to be seen! This transfer is probably one of the clearest I have seen so far. Examples of this can be seen in any of the race scenes where the crowd is brought to the screen with wonderful clarity. If you are after a disc to show off to your friends then this transfer is worth the retail price alone. Audio We are treated to two soundtracks with this disc. There is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a DTS track. one. There is very little difference between the tracks. Both tracks use the full range of speakers with the rears getting a particularly good workout during some of the races. During the races you actually feel like you are in the middle of them. The dialog at times seemed a little muffled and hard to hear. However this probably has something to do with the fact that the surrounding noise is so loud. Overall these tracks do a good job. If I was going to recommend one of them I would go for the DTS track as it sounds a little livelier, but there is very little difference to be truthful. Extras First up on the disc are Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by Sylvester Stallone. There are ten deleted scenes altogether on this disc. They run in a seamless branch and have a combined running time of just over thirty-eight minutes. The picture quality varies considerably between the scenes. Some of the earlier scene are very poor quality. Each scene has ?property of Warner brothers? displayed at the top of the picture. This disc probably has one of the most elaborate sets of deleted scenes that I&#
                  39;ve seen, but to be honest if I wasn?t reviewing this disc I would have stopped watching after about the second one. All of the scenes develop the character personalities and there is no actual new action. The first and the last deleted scenes are pretty laughable really as they try to dwell on the sentimental aspect of the characters and they fail dismally. It just goes to show that action directors shouldn?t really try to build character relationships in movies. The scenes become very boring after a while and only a few of them are worthwhile. It is easy to see why they were deleted! One thing I did notice was that some of the scenes that were deleted were actually in the Region 1 version I watched a few months ago. All of the deleted scenes can be watched with their original sound or with an optional commentary with Sylvester Stallone. With this disc you also get a feature-length audio commentary by director Renny Harlin. Renny talks about various aspects in this commentary. He mentions that he is a fan of the sport and that coming from Finland it is expected that you would like motor sports. What is clear from this commentary is that Harlin is very interested in all aspects of the film and is very enthusiastic. He explains why and how various shots were done. I am not a great fan of commentaries but I found this one to be interesting and it added a little more depth to the movie. Two documentaries are included with the Driven DVD. The first one is a behind-the-scenes documentary entitled "The Making-Of Driven". It has a running time of just over fifteen minutes. The documentary starts off by giving some facts about the movie. For example there were 270,000 spectators used as extras in the film. The first two minutes of this documentary is fast paced with rock music playing in the background with lots of clips being shown. During the fifteen minutes we are shown various interviews with the stars including Sly, Renny
                  Harlin, Gina Gerson and Burt Reynolds. The cast explain their characters whilst also expressing their enjoyment from filming the movie. What interested me the most during the documentary was Harlin?s chat about film the movie during live races. Some of the footage was filmed in the pits a few minutes before live races were taking place. The other documentary that we are treated to is called ?Conquering Speed Through Live Action and Visual Effects". This has a shorter running time of just over nine and a half minutes. This documentary is not as interesting as the making of documentary. It basically shows some of the main scenes in the movie and how they were created. This is a documentary for the more technically minded. Also included as an extra is the theatrical trailer. This trailer is actually one of the best that I have seen for a long time. It makes the film out to be much more exciting then it actually is. It is only about a minute long but managed to set a frantic pace and doesn?t give too much of the story away. Certainly worth a quick look. The disc also includes cast and crew biographies, which have now become standard on most discs. Overall I have watched Driven a few times now and it is the sort of film I would struggle to recommend but still found myself enjoying. It is well paced and has some exciting scenes but there are too many weaknesses, which restrict the film from being a classic. The acting is poor, there is little character development and some of the race scenes just don?t look real enough. The same cannot be said for the disc itself. It has an excellent transfer, a full of life soundtrack and some quality extras. If you are a fan of car racing films then give this a try. However if you are not interested in cars then you wont find much to keep you entertained.

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                  • Kool and the Gang (DVD) / DVD / 1 Reading / 27 Ratings
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                    15.03.2002 03:36
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                    I recently had the pleasure of seeing a Kool and the Gang DVD so I thought that I would write a review about it. This may not be the best topic to write it under but there didnt seem a better one. Before I start this review I want to point out that I am not a fan of Kool and the Gang, and before watching the DVD I couldn?t tell you what songs they sang. My overall knowledge of Kool and the Gang before the review was that they were a mature band, which played Jazz music. I really enjoy music/concert DVDs so I thought I would review this DVD and broaden my music knowledge in the same breath! Well I have done my research for this review and found out the following information about Kool and the Gang. When I said above that I thought they were an old band I didn?t realise exactly how old. The band?s career stretches over 30 years and their first record was released in 1969. What surprised me whilst watching the concert is that the band still looks reasonably young. It just goes to show how early they must have started out as they can still move around the stage with a spring in their step! Probably their greatest success was Jungle Boogie, which was a worldwide smash hit single. Partygoer?s will also recognised the song Celebrations as well. Their songs have featured in many movies including Rocky and Saturday Night Fever. Onto the concert, which was filmed at the House of Blues in Chicago. What amazed me from the very first minute of this concert was the enthusiasm of the crowd and more importantly the band. From the moment the band appeared on stage, right through to the end, the crowd did not stop boogying! The House of Blues is not a very big venue and that is not such a bad thing as it created a party-like atmosphere. After watching the DVD I was surprised to find that I knew quite a lot of their songs. Remember such classics as Celebration, Jungle Boogie, Let The Music Take Your Mind and Get Down on it? Well yes they are songs by the ba
                    nd. The thing that strikes me about the band?s music is that it is so lively. I cannot remember a single slow song in the whole concert and the pauses between the songs are short so the crowd never get a chance to sit down and pause for breath. At just over 122 minutes long the concert is excellent value for money. I have been to many concerts before and there is nothing more annoying than having a band appear on stage that don't seem bothered about entertaining their fans. Well, with Kool and the Gang you get a band who appreciate their fans and realise that they wouldn?t be where they are now if it wasn?t for them. 30 years on and the band still seem to enjoy playing live and certainly know how to entertain their devoted fans. I am sure fans of the band will love this DVD. The DVD is presented in a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. Considering that the House Of Blues is a very smoky/dark venue the picture quality deals with the dark colours very well. Some DVD transfers cannot cope with high levels of black but I am pleased to inform you that this DVD copes with everything that is thrown at it. Colours are vibrant and this can be seen best during the Jungle Boogie song. The lead singer is wearing a bright yellow jacket and believe me it is blinding! Considering that most people would buy this DVD release for the audio, I am pleased to report that the picture is impressive as well. Down to the main part of the DVD? The sound. Fans are treated to three versions on this disc. Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. Here in the UK we are badly let down by the lack of DTS soundtracks so it was a nice change to see one included with this disc. Saying that, I noticed very little difference between the Dolby Digital track and the DTS version. There was maybe a little more noise from the rear speakers and there seemed to be more impact from some songs. Apart from that both tracks were very impressive. All instruments come over well and the singe
                    rs voice is well balanced between the various instruments that are on show. Its sad to say (well not really!) but I could not really find a fault with the sound on show. Extras are a strange topic to review with this disc, as there are not really any! The only addition to the actual concert is an 11-minute documentary. The documentary is called ?Keeping the Funk Alive? and is basically an interview with all 5 members of the band. The five members are introduced and then the interview commences. The band talk about various topics but start off with an insight into how they met. This includes their memories of the early days. The first thing I noticed with this documentary is that the band actually looks older when they are being interviewed. During the concert, they were jumping around all over the place...so they looked much younger! The interview also contains various clips from the concert as well. This is actually a very good documentary for fans of the band. As I mentioned before, I am not really a fan but found some of the topics like recording the first album (done in one week!) and making songs commercial sounding, very interesting. One of the highlights of the documentary is when the band talks about how they didn?t think the song ?Celebrations? would actually be a success. It was only after they heard it for a few times that they actually grew to like it. Thirty years on, and the band still seem close. At the end of the documentary they mentioned that they play music because they love it and never really expected to become successful. This point certainly shows in the concert, as they really seemed to be grateful for their fans and success. For fans of Kool and the Gang you won?t be disappointed with this release. Imagine one and a half hours of your favourite band displayed and played in the best quality possible. As mentioned the picture quality is better than expected and the audio side is impressive. The DVD may contain only a docum
                    entary but that shouldn?t put you off as it is line with any other music DVD that has been released so far. Music DVDs are renowned for featuring only the main attraction on the disc. If you are not a fan of the band then you could do a lot worse then watching this DVD

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                    • Shallow Hal (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 34 Ratings
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                      13.02.2002 19:10
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                      Shallow Hal is the sort of film which you see the trailer for and think nah I think i will advoid that one! unfortunately for me when your married you have to go and see what your wife wants to see aswell. So off I went to the cinema not expecting much from this film. Well I was pleasantly surprised. Before I start the review I want to say dont expect many more funnier scenes then the ones shown in the trailer. As is with most films these days, the funnier moments are shown in the trailers. That doesnt actually spoil the film though as it is more then a romantic comedy. The story is pretty simple really. It follows the story of Hal (Jack Black) who when he was younger he saw the death of his father who with his last word told his son to do the best in life and not settle for an average woman. Hal taking his dads words seriously grows up into a Shallow guy who only really looks at the outside of a woman and is not interested in their opinions or personality. One day Hal gets stuck in a lift with a Famous American doctor who puts Hal under a hypnotic spell. The spell changes Hal's opinion of Women and now instead of looking at a womans beauty he now looks past it. Instead of seeing huge/ugly women they appear think and beautiful. This leads Hal to meeting Rosie played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Hal falls instantly in love with Rosie but his friends cannot understand why. Rosie also cannot understand all the attention she is getting. The acting in Shallow Hal is first class. I am not a great fan of Jack Black but he does a good job. I find him a little annoying but that is how his character is supposed to be. Paltrow is also very good as the overweight Rossie. She looks stunning as her self and also does a good job when she plays the overweight Rossie. A good all round performance. This is essentially a Farrelly brothers movie and there are certain scenes when that is obvious. However they have taken a more serious route with
                      this film and it works surprisingly well. As I mentioned there is not a great amount of comedy in the movie but it is still enjoyable. Overall I wasnt expecting much from this movie but left the cinema feeling entertained. A recommended viewing from me.

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                      • Rat Race (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 27 Ratings
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                        11.02.2002 18:29
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                        • "Too many silly moments"

                        Rat Race is the new crazy comedy by director Jerry Zucker. It has an all star cast including the likes of John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson and Cuba Gooding Jnr. For that reason you would expect a classic comedy but I am afraid to say that sadly you will be disappointed. Read on to find out why. The Story for this movie is pretty simple. Firstly we are introduced to various different characters : A embarrassed American Football referee (Cuba Gooding Jr): This character is the laughing stock of america as he made a mistake whilst refereeing a game which cost people a lot of money. For this reason there are a lot of people who are not happy with him.A mother who is trying to make up with her daughter (Whoopi Goldberg).A crazy foreign person (Rowan Atkinson). A family who are on holiday in Vegas. The father of this family is a gambling man and cannot resisit the offer he gets to gamble. These characters all get brought together by casino owner Donald Sinclair (John Cleese) who sets up a little game ( a race to a nearby town) for them which the winner of gets 2 million pounds. What the contests don't realise is that Mr Sinclair is organising the race so that he can get people to bid on the winner. I was expecting great things from Rat Race but was sadly let down. It is marketed as all out comedy and to be honest it does have its funny moments but they are too rare. Lots of the jokes are simply not funny or too stupid to laugh at. The characters are bizarre and you end up not really caring who wins the race. Saying all that I did quite enjoy the ending but that wasnt enough to save the film. Rat Race is more of a rental movie rather then a purchase or cinema viewing. The cast looks good on paper but are totally wasted. What has potential to be a king rat turned into more of a dirty rat!

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                        • Coupling / TV Programme / 1 Reading / 42 Ratings
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                          08.02.2002 03:33
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                          Coupling is billed a young persons comedy programme. All cast members are between 20 and 30 and have a regular meeting point (a bar). Does this seem familiar to anyone? Well you would be right in guessing that this sounds identical to the long running American comedy programme Friends. Coupling is set in London and follows the relationships of 6 friends. Well I say friends but in the first series the characters do not know each other. However gradually as the series progresses they are brought together. To even up matters there are three male (Steve, Patrick and Jeff) characters and three women (Jane, Susan and Sally). The men talk about things like porn videos and lesbians whilst the girls talk about the size of their men?s private parts! I would describe coupling as more of a programme for adults rather than the younger audience which Friends targets. The reason for this is down to the nature of many of the jokes and the storylines. Coupling tackles the sexual side of people?s relationships. A lot of the jokes are very rude but funny nevertheless. Here is a brief description of each of the episodes in the first series: Episode 1: Flushed. The first episode introduces us to all the characters. It particularly focuses on Steve who is trying to dump his girlfriend Jane. He finds it incredibly hard because each time he bucks up the strength to dump her she suggests having sex. What makes Steve even more determined to dump Jane is that he fancies Jeff?s work colleague Susan. During one of his attempts to dump Jane, Steve finds himself in an embarrassing situation in a ladies toilet. The episode ends with all 6 characters having a meal in a restaurant. Episode one is a good start to the series. Episode 2: Size Matters. Episode 2 follows on quickly from the first episode. Steve and Susan are now about to have their second date for which Susan has agreed to cook dinner. The lads start talking about what Susan is after from the
                          date. Meaning men they obviously get it hopelessly wrong! Episode 3: Sex, Death and Nudity. Episode 3 revolves around Jane?s Auntie?s funeral. Jane hasn?t told any of her family that she has broken up with Steve. Jane invites Steve to the funeral and tells him that he must pretend they are still a couple. Obviously this annoys Susan who decides that she is going to the funeral as well. In the end the 6 main characters all end up going to Jane?s Auntie?s funeral. During the episode we get introduced to the giggle loop, which is an idea the lads thought up. The lads also get themselves into a spot of bother when they suddenly get aroused! This is one of the rudest episodes so far and shows why the DVD has a 15 certificate. A must see moment in this episode is when the guys play Reservoir Dogs Episode 4: Inferno This episode focuses mainly on the growing relationship between Steve and Susan. Steve arrives home from work to find Susan cleaning his flat. This seems odd in itself but what worries Steve more is the fact that Susan has been using his video recorder. Confused? Well Steve have certain private videos, which he would prefer that Susan didn?t see. Susan suggests a dinner party at Steve?s with the intent of embarrassing him. The episode ends in a classic moment when Steve stands up and gives a speech on why porn videos are good for you. A very funny moment and probably one of the highlights of the series. Episode 5: The Girl With Two Breasts This episode deals with Jeff and his infatuation with a girl he meets in the bar. It is very funny seeing Jeff, who is a Welsh guy, trying to chat up an Israeli girl who doesn?t speak a word of English and is about to return to her home land. Jeff attempts to ask her out anyway. Episode 6: The Cupboard of Patrick?s Love This is the last episode in the series and is probably my favourite. We get introduced to Patrick?s secret cupboard. In the cupboard P
                          atrick stores secretly recorded tapes of him making love with all his girlfriends. Susan has her own special tape, which Patrick keeps. This obviously makes Steve jealous and he embarks on finding out what Susan does in the tapes. This episode is probably the funniest in the series and is also probably the rudest in the series. My favourite line in this episode is by Jeff when he says 'I love the word naked, it's brilliant isn't it, 'naked'. When I was a kid I used to write the word naked on a bit of paper hundreds of times and rub my face in it'. As you can see the first series covers some interesting topics. I cannot wait to see the second one. With new series being shown on TV all the time it is nice to actually watch one which is funny and clever. Give Coupling a go as you wont be disappointed.

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                          • Dr. Dolittle 2 (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 35 Ratings
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                            04.12.2001 18:22
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                            Sequels are well known for not living up to the standards set in the original so when I heard that Dr Dolittle 2 was being released I had my reservations. Especially as Eddie Murphy's recent batch of movies has been pretty poor. Dr Dolittle follows on from the original. For anyone who has not seen the first movie Eddie Murphy plays Dr Dolittle who is not your ordinary doctor. He has the power to talk to animals. This means that he is very popular in the animal kingdom and gets lots of visits from animals desperate for the doctors help. Dr Dolittle 2 starts with the Dr being over worked with animals asking for his help. He is not spending enough time with his family and especially his teenage daughter. The doctor vows to stop working so hard and spend more time at home. Well that is the plan until he has a run in with the local beaver. The beaver explains that the local forests are going to be knocked down and that they need the doctors help. The Doctor decides to help the animals and goes about saving the forest. The only way the doctor feels he can help is by releasing some endangered bears into the forest and stating that they need to live there. So the story revolves around the doctor attempting to get two bears to mate! Dr Dolittle 2 starts off very funny and I thought that it was going to live up to the standards of the first movie. However disappointingly the film looses it funny appeal and gets a little silly. I suppose the talking animals are a bit of a novelty at the beginning but arte not interesting enough to carry the whole film. Eddie Murphy is back to his best in this movie. After a few dodgy films he seems at home with the doctor role. In Nutty Professor his character is sometimes a little overwelming but in Dr Dolittle 2 he is much more bearable. Dr Dolittle is a reasonably entertaining movie. It is not a classic but I wasnt expecting it to be. It is a good nights entertainment and will keep the kids
                            happy. It is not the sort of film which you will watch over and over but for a one off movie it will do its job.

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                            • Evolution (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 34 Ratings
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                              03.12.2001 19:15
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                              • "Not funny enough"

                              Evolution is the new film by Ivan Reitman?s (Ghostbusters). Billed as a sci fi comedy in the same mould as ghostbusters I thought I would give the film a viewing last night. Evolution received mixed reviews at the cinema so I decided to give it a miss on the big screen. The storyline to Evolution is pretty simple really. Dr Harry Block (Orlando Jones)stumbles across a meteorite and finds more than he bargained for. The object from the sky is infact a living organism which evolves at lighting speed. Helped by Dr Ira Kane (David Duchovny) the pair try and find out information about the organism and do some private tests. In the mean time the government find out about the incident and take over the site of the organism and ban the pair from carrying on their test. Allison Reed (Julianne Moore) is one of the government scientists who at first seems to dislike Kane and Block but as time goes by she realises that they seem to know what they are talking about. Also starring in the film is Sean William Scott who plays Wayne Green as wannabe fireman. Green is the first person to spot the meteorite and gets involved later in the movie. The film turns into a Ghostbusters type movie when the organisms escape and run riot in the nearby town. I was expecting so much more from this film. I was hoping for plenty of laughs and some good special effects. The special effects are pretty decent but apart from a few moments there are very few. Infact most of the laughs were shown in the trailer. The storyline is pretty basic and the ending has to been seen to be believed. The character development is also pretty lame. I found some of the characters pretty boring and Duchovny's character was too close to the one he plays in X Files. The film deals with quite a complex topic but the characters didnt convince me that they knew what they were talking about. I wish I could report something good about this movie but sadly I cannot. I was expecting so
                              mething better from Reitman but ended up being disappointed. The film had potential to do well but turned out to be a huge let down.

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                              • More +
                                23.11.2001 18:59
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                                They say good things come in small packages and thats exactly what you get with the Game Boy Advance (GBA). This is the new handheld games machine by giants Nintendo. It follows on from the Game Boy and the colour Game Boy. The GBA is the worlds first 32bit handheld console and has some excellent games already in its collection. The main reason for buying the Game Boy Advance was that my favourite game was released on it. I am a massive fan of Mario Kart and the GBA version of it is superb. As well as Mario kart the GBA also has such classics as Bomberman Tournament, Streetfighter, Rayman and Mario Advance. Well I suppose you are wondering what all the big fuss is about. Well imagine a console with the power of between a Snes and a Playstation. Well that is what you get with the GBA. The resolution may only be 240x160 but due to the screen size the graphics look superb. The screen is a little wider than the original Game Boy but the overall size is about the same. I would say that that the width is a lot bigger but the height is less than the original. The good thing about the GBA is that it can easily fit in a pocket. It is very well designed as well. The layout is superb and it is very easy to hold and access all the buttons during hectic sequences in games. The sound quality is also surprisingly good. I wasn't really expecting much from the GBA but I was pleasantly surprised. There are connectors on the GBA so that you can plug in headphones so the sound is even better then! The GBA in the UK comes in four colours. White, Red (which actually looks pink!), purple and see through blue. I have the see through blue one and it looks very nice. In Japan and the USA there are a few more colours which have been release. They include orange and black. They will probably make their way onto the market here in the next couple of months. There are lots of accessories for the GBA already even though it has only been out for a little wh
                                ile. So far I own a carrier case for it as well as a light. The light is an essential purchase as the my main criticism of the console is the lack of back light. During the day it is not noticable but during the evening the GBA is virtually unplayable with out good lighting. Lights can be purchased from about £4 but for a decent one which will cover all the screen you are likely to pay around double that amount. The reason for Nintendo not having any lighting is due to the battery power that one would take. However after running my light for about a week now the batteries that I have been using still seem ok. Be warned you do need a light. Other accessories available for the GBA include a radio, screen protector, tv Link (only in Japan), rechargeable batteries and 4 player link cables. Thats right it is possible to play GBA games with four players. Mario Kart comes into its own on 4 player mode. Each player needs their own cartridge but on some games one cartridge is needed. Also worth noting is the backwards compatibilty of the GBA. For owners of the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Colour they can now play the games on the GBA. If you are after a reasonable cheap console that you can carry around with you then I would completely recommend the Game Boy Advance. The graphics are superb and more and more games are being released by the day. At only £79.99 (WH Smiths) there is really no reason why you shouldn't go and pick one up now. With classic games like Tekken, Mario World and Grand Theft Auto on their way there has never been a better time to buy a handheld console.

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                                • Maybe Baby (DVD) / DVD / 1 Reading / 37 Ratings
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                                  14.11.2001 20:46
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                                  Maybe baby is a British comedy based on Ben Elton?s best selling novel Inconceivable. It follows a couple's desperate attempts to have a baby. The film is based around Sam (Hugh Laurie) and Lucy (Joely Richardson) Bell who are a couple who have busy lives in the city but are planning to start a family. Lucy is desperate to have a baby and calls Sam home from work at every opportunity to try for one. The couple take every opportunity no matter where they are! Both characters have busy jobs. Lucy works for a publicity agency and Sam works for the BBC and is responsible for finding you up and coming programmes. Sam finds that his job security is at risk when he turns down the script of a up and coming writer. Sam has to find a good script quickly and decides to write about his own life story. Meanwhile Lucy is going through all sorts of torture in the attempt of getting a baby. The couple goes for tests to see if they are both firing on all cylinders! They even try other methods but to no success. Lucy keeps a diary of all the events and her personal thoughts. Sam being a naughty boy uses her diary in his attempts to get a good script for the BBC. Maybe maybe stars a British cast. Hugh Lawrie and Joely Richardson are superb. Lawrie's character has a dry sense of humour and is played expertly. Richardson comes over well as the desperate wannabe mother. Other stars that can be seen in the film are Rowan Atkinson, Dawn French and James Purefoy. The film is very funny. I was not expecting much from the film as it was my wife's idea to watch it. However I was pleasantly surprised. There are enough funny moments to keep most audiences happy. IF you are interested in the perils of having a baby then watch Maybe Baby. If you are also after a light hearted, clever movie that will keep you entertained for the evening then give Maybe Baby a chance.

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