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All reviews - Movies (8) - Books (1) - Music (1) - Games (4)

V for Verbose?

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 15 September 2008 02:42 (A review of V for Vendetta)

I shall begin by saying that I was never particularly interested in 'V', not in the graphic novel, not in the movie, and mostly not in the Wachowski brothers. Their cataclysmic sequels to The Matrix had put me off of their work for what I felt was life. A friend leant me the film and when I finally sat down to watch it, I did so with trepidation and at a push, nothing enticed me into the storyline and nothing appealed to me about a kook in a Guido Fawkes mask. Maybe it was my very very low expectations that gave me a surprise.

The initial scripting is well paced, well written, and well directed. The dialogue rattles along without so much as a pause for breath and runs rich with dry humour and tongue in cheek pomp that imbues the characters with a sense of false regality. The rhythm and the dexterity of the script is done justice by a fantastic voice over from Hugo Weaving and the beginning of the Movie holds a subtle appeal you cannot tear yourself away from.

Saturated with reds & blacks, choreographed fight scenes, and Natalie Portman's breaking accent; The whole film exudes a sense of surrealism and in my own opinion allows the viewer to become detached from the proceedings, this is a shame because for the most part the film could be seen to be as touching as it is tragic.

One of my favourite pieces of casting is the inclusion of Stephen 'Legendary' Fry who is fantastic, as expected, and who somehow manages to reconnect the viewer with the emotion hidden within the story. The scene I am referring to is where he makes it clear to Portman that he is in the closet because of the government; a scene that is clearly drawing from his own life experience which only Fry could carry off without an agenda or motive.

After this scene, I feel the film loses it's way a little bit and the Wachowski's finally lose their long running battle with 'Sonorous Cuntus' and get ravelled up in their own ego's. That's not to say it ruins the film because enough ground work has been laid by Weaving, Fry and (strangely) Portman to convey a very good visual and aural display of a forgotten DC hero. After this the film finds it's feet again and continues to deliver some smatterings of genius scripting and a few action sequences to keep it ticking over.

The political message that inevitably accompanies a pretentious Wachowski Bro. production rears its ugly head again, but luckily it is not sharp enough to penetrate your enjoyment. Overall this makes for a decent film, not ground breaking, and not as revolutionary as the plot suggests, but definitely watchable. Now all we can hope is that Andy and Larry will be able to stop tossing each other off for long enough to start writing another classic like The original Matrix.


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Correction Point

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 12 September 2008 11:46 (A review of Deception Point)

It seems to me that for reasons beyond his control Dan Brown has been made a bit of a joke of in recent years. The Da Vinci code was a genuinely good book that got taken to pieces by documentary after documentary when it's purpose was only ever supposed to be a fiction book that made people think, instead, it got analysed and crucified in equal measures leading to a large number of potential readers being frozen out. Dan Brown is not a bad author, his writing is intelligent, original and poignant, his love for controversy goes way beyond religion and in 'Deception Point' he questions societies naivety and drills into the international fear of the corrupt and philandering politician. It is they who control the issues today that could truly be of importance in years to come.

Deception Point starts with a Scientific Discovery; a meteoric discovery, complete proof of scientist's theory of Panspermia. The find comes as a huge boost to NASA who in recent years have been exposed to be a cash sponge soaking up billions in US tax payers dollars only for their experiments and inventions to fail and falter. The pressure is on for NASA to find something or show some kind of return and this pressure comes in the form of Senator Sexton who is gunning for president and using NASA as a lynchpin in his argument against the pro-NASA President Herney. Not only is Sexton highlighting the constant and costly failures of the government funded space organisation, but secretly planning a complete overhaul of the Space program, allowing plc's to take the reigns as the pioneers in Space.

This initially sounds like a great way to progress our knowledge of the solar system and speed up the slowly but surely approach of NASA. However with Space up for sale the authorities would eventually lose control creating a Wild West II in space, gigantic neon billboards would appear above the ionosphere and companies would fight to diverge and control new planetary systems. A global disaster I am sure you would agree. The new discovery in the tundra's of the Arctic provides a perfect vindification for the existence of NASA…. But as you've probably guessed it there are more powerful forces at work here and without destroying the plot completely for all those who may want to read it, the corruption of the US Senate knows no bounds.

These are the building blocks of a story that can only be described as a fantastic interlacing of fact, fiction and fear. Brown touches upon some very real issues to summon you into the plot, you know that this is fiction but cannot help fear the reality of.... what if? The plot lines parallel reality and the constant references to real life weaponry and cutting edge technology gives the story an ora of authenticity that only Brown can create.

All the while the rhythm and pace of the text heaves you into the fear and suspense of the characters involved, creating a book that is unputdownable. The sleezy demeanor of the senators created by Brown radiates from every descriptive sentence and the character portrayal permeates through like an untamed river; you find yourself loving or despising the character within the first paragraph of description and understanding what their mental priorities are instantly! Senator Sexton is a big shot fat cat who cares only for him self, Corky is a playful, loyal and enthusuastic eccentric who is so excited by what he has found he almost wets himself, and Marge Tench is a hard nosed, highly intelligent bitch.

The climax is in no way disappointing and the book is not overly long, I crammed this book into my head within three days and have not regretted it once. Even if you don't like Dan Brown and were severely put off by the overwhelming publicity and controversy surrounding the Da Vinci code, I insist you pick this book up and give it a read through, what it lacks in pretentious appeal it more than makes up for in intellectual competence and shear suspense.


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Future, Past or Present?

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 11 September 2008 04:08 (A review of Futurama: Bender's Big Score)

Long was I a fan of the Futurama series, while I always knew it was never as good as it's big brother (The Simpsons) and would never be held in the same regard, I always loved to watch the refreshing characters and quality gags that still make me smirk to this day. I, like most, was saddened to see Fox cancel yet another great show and had long pined for a revival series.

However with the announcement of a full length feature, the professor's signature phrase "Good News Everyone" has never been so apt, it leaves the same ominous undertones that instantly made me groan; this was never the sort of cartoon that should be given a drawn out plot and my fear was that the writers would try and give the film a sense of purpose that was never really there to start with, unfortunately when I watched the film for the first time my fear was realised.

The first 10-15 minutes are spent bludgeoning the FOX network for the cancellation of the show and although funny at first transcends into what seems like petty bitterness that the show could do with out.

After the Fox bashing, the film gets under way in the same classic fashion as the series, with Hermes literally losing his head and the inept crew being drafted for some absurd mission on Naked Planet. Aaaah classic Futurama you think.... well no.. for some reason the film never regains the flow or rhythm of the series with more flatliners than a Lenny Henry gig. This constantly interrupts and intrudes on the inner comfort zone of the viewer watching. Each moment keeps you on edge waiting for the next lead balloon and leaves you cringing when it inevitably comes which is a new experience for me as a Futurama fan and one that I did not enjoy one bit.

The plot that I knew would inevitably be the downfall of the film blows just as hard as a French windmill employee, with the writers trying too hard to be too clever and too pretentious, both of these things are what Futurama is quintessentially NOT and are what continually hamper my viewing experience.

Although this harsh statement would seem to kill the film off there and then, there are some superb one liners and as always it's Bender and Farnsworth with their over relied upon comic gems saving the producer's backsides to make the film worth hanging around for. However, it should of been released as a series from the start and not as a film, I fear it is for this reason that Groening's love child will drift quickly into the past not to be thought of again.


Did I like it? Well yes sort of.... but it's more of a sympathy vote from an old fan.


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Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War review

Posted : 9 years, 3 months ago on 2 September 2008 11:34 (A review of Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War)

After seeing this in Asda for less than £10 I was instantly drawn to it due to my unassailable desire to watch every single war film ever made and my love of a cheap DVD. This bargain stuck out like a Commie in a Nazi rally.

After a few minutes of setting the scene with the customary happy home life of the brothers and the habitual flash forward which is almost a guarantee in any mediocre war film since Pearl Harbour, I did not have too greater hope for the usually generic and predictable plot these films almost always offer. However this is where the story started to unfold and as soon as the Brothers are drafted and forced into battle it is clear that this is no two a penny 'shoot em up' making a quick buck from the tragedy of war.

The battle scenes are as bloody and as brutal as some of the best films in the genre, and is as well shot as its more prestigious predecessors. Nothing seems to be done at long range, with most of the butchery done with a bayonet giving the film a ferocity and barbarism that the boys in Hollywood often fail to capture.

On top of the explosions and fervour of battle that is a must have in the modern war film, the human tale is well scripted and not overplayed. Lee Jin-Tae and Lee Jin-Seok are clearly changed by war and the climax of the film reflects this in an awe inspiring weaving of hardcore action and human emotion. The scripting is second to none and gives a genuine emotional attachment to the characters portrayed within what can only be described as a Hellish war and a fantastic story of courage and sacrifice.


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