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All reviews - Movies (107) - TV Shows (28) - DVDs (14) - Books (35) - Music (49) - Games (24)

Dull thriller

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 25 August 2008 02:22 (A review of Match Point)

I've never been a huge fan of Woody Allen (I didn't even like Annie Hall, thought it was interminably dull.) This movie has some excitement in the last 30 minutes, when everything comes together/falls apart but the middle is rather dull. At nearly two hours long, it could have done with some editing to make it a snappier movie. The other problem is that Jonathan Rhys Myers is wooden faced for so much of it. It works in some scenes but doesn't work in most of them. I could not feel any of his passion for Scarlett Johannson's character, which made the whole premise of the movie (infidelity) a little difficult to believe. The climax, as I said earlier, is interesting and saves the movie from being a complete write-off.


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Guitar Hero: Aerosmith review

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 25 August 2008 12:29 (A review of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith)

This is more like a Guitar Hero add-on than a new game since nothing has changed from Guitar Hero III except the song list. It's always good to have a new set of songs to rock with but it's not worth the full price. Grab it used or at a discount bin and rock on some more!


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Perfect update to Wii Golf

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 25 August 2008 12:23 (A review of We Love Golf!)

This game has all the upsides of the intuitive Nintendo game and none of the downsides. The controls are *almost* exactly like the Golf game in Wii Sports. The game adds a level of sophistication and feedback to the controls that was not present in the Nintendo version. It also adds a full range of golf clubs. The rest is great as well - more players, more holes and gold courses to play, more game modes. Not to forget - online play. This game is a great experience and anyone who loves the Nintendo Golf game *must* pick this one up too.

Edit: The more I play, the more I love. I've played five courses so far and they are as varied to play as they are in appearance. Some of the courses look absolutely stunning and I find myself just looking around the hole before jumping in to play. The courses also get progressively more challenging which will only make me come back to improve my score. There are so many holes that I *just* missed making a birdie. This doesn't mean that the play mechanics are any harder, it's still as easy to play the game, you just need to get more accurate and have to think about strategy a little more. Capcom have done a really good job with this game. Well worth the money spent on it.

Another Edit: It turns out there are eight courses in all and winning them in normal mode unlocks the 'Pro' mode with the same courses, with the tee and flag positions being more challenging. I can't wait to go back and play some of the courses again to improve my scores. My two favourite courses are the Japanese Garden course and the Jungle course - both look spectacular. The rest of the courses also look very pretty and apart from a couple of courses, the rest could never be possible in real life and that just adds to the charm of this game.


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My Blueberry Nights review

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 24 August 2008 06:07 (A review of My Blueberry Nights)

Wong Kar Wai is one of my favourite film makers, Top 5, one of the best of all time. This is his first English language movie, the rest have been in Chinese and almost exclusively set in Hong Kong. So this movie is quite the change, it's not only in English, it's set in America, mostly in New York. It's a rare film maker who can translate his sensibilities into not only a different language but a completely different culture as well. WKW manages this transition almost perfectly, despite a couple of missteps.

The themes of the movie are familiar, not just to viewers of his previous movies. It's all about love, loss and yearning. Jude Law plays a cafe owner in New York, Jeremy, who encounters Norah Jones' character, Elizabeth, the night she breaks up with her boyfriend. Their romance doesn't exactly bloom, it's a slow burn, one with a complex flavour and after-taste. I'm using food metaphors here, the movie takes it's title from Blueberry pie after all. There's great chemistry between the leads. Norah Jones is competent for the most part and Jude Law is very good. He's the heart of the movie, despite most of it being centered around the character of Elizabeth.

Elizabeth takes off to explore a world different from her current one, without letting Jeremy know. She keeps in touch by sending him a stream of postcards. The two sub-plots are set in Memphis and Las Vegas/Nevada. The Memphis story is weak and Rachel Weisz is terribly miscast. I almost lost hope for the movie there. The Vegas/Nevada story is set around a gambler, played by Natalie Portman, who has a tortured relationship with her dying father. Natalie Portman is completely convincing, even if Norah Jones is on slightly shaky ground in some scenes. After we're done with Elizabeth's journey, the story returns back to New York for it's conclusion.

The trouble with this movie (apart from the clunker in Memphis) is that everything feels like it's been covered in a WKW movie before, most significantly in 'Chungking Express'. It's not one of his masterworks that I've become used to expecting from him. Still, it's a satisfying movie and nobody, and I mean nobody, can do romance better than WKW, even if it's a little re-cycled.


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Curse of the Golden Flower review

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 24 August 2008 05:17 (A review of Curse of the Golden Flower)

I'm always entertained by quasi-historical dramas that have an interesting plot coupled with good acting and direction. This fits the bill very nicely. I was very impressed by Chow Yun Fat's performance. His cold cruelty and brutality were a change from his other roles that I've seen over the years. Gong Li was brilliant too as the suffering queen. The acting was good to exceptional throughout.

Apart from that, the convoluted plot is fairly typical of most Chinese historical dramas and I usually like those, this was no exception. The production quality and costumes were truly exceptional. I loved the chrysanthemum covered palace ground, they looked very stunning. There's much to like about this movie.


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90s Alternative Rock at it's best

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 13 August 2008 05:54 (A review of Superunknown)

From the moment Soundgarden kick off the opening song, "Let Me Drown", they are on a hot streak till the eighth (and possibly best) song, "Spoonman". The rest of the album sort of falls away, but you don't get eight good songs in whole careers, let alone one album. The album is powered by the vocals and song writing prowess of Chris Cornell and the brilliant guitar work of Kim Thayil. The rest of the band is no slouch either.


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Engrossing historical thriller

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 7 August 2008 06:19 (A review of Labyrinth)

An engrossing thriller that consists of two tales - one set in modern day France and one in medieval France. The two female protagonists seem to share a spiritual connection of some kind.. The story is basically another one about the search for the mythical holy grail of Christianity and as just that is not an extraordinary one. The real worth of this book lies in it's development of the two female characters and it's tight interweaving with the history of the region it is set in (southern France, primarily Carcassonne.)

The main historical events are the religious persecution of the Cathar sect that flourished in southern France by the Roman Catholic Church that called for a crusade to wipe out what it considered as heresy. This eventually led to the destruction of the distinct culture that prevailed in southern France till that time. Kate Mosse clearly loves the region and it's history, and it shows. Her enthusiasm for the region is contagious. Her plotting for the medieval story is excellent and well researched. However, she only does a mediocre job with the modern storyline but it's not a fatal flaw. The quest for the Grail also feels secondary to the adventure in the plot, which feels like a good thing once you're done. I love books that respect the history they are trying to write about and this one succeeds admirably and that for me is the biggest selling point, the other being the two strong female characters.


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Intimate little gem

Posted : 14 years, 1 month ago on 5 August 2008 03:22 (A review of Once)

Watching the 'guy' and the 'girl' fall in love on screen was like taking a peek into the lives of two everyday people you meet on the street. They could be the couple walking by holding hands or the two people smiling just for each other, oblivious to the rest of the world. The movie was so wonderfully intimate, so natural were the performances that you can forget that they were acting.

I've already mentioned the incredibly natural performances. Now I must mention the excellent music as well as the performance of it. The music is so incredibly expressive and I was completely taken in. The movie is described by some people as a 'contemporary musical'. 'Contemporary musical' or not, this movie is a treat reminiscent of 'Before Sunrise' and 'Before Sunset'. It has the same raw and natural quality which was especially prevalent in the latter movie and very little in common with the average artificial and bland musical. Unarguably, an intimate little gem.


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Sarah McLachlan's High Point

Posted : 14 years, 2 months ago on 23 July 2008 08:43 (A review of Mirrorball: The Complete Concert (2 CD's))

This concert captures Sarah McLachlan at her best, after the massive success of 'Surfacing'. She was at a commercial high point though creatively she might have arguably passed her peak. The material is almost exclusively from her three best albums, the aforementioned 'Surfacing' along with 'Solace' and 'Fumbling Towards Ecstasy'. The sheer number of songs ensures that almost all her best songs find a place here. The only obvious exclusion is 'Drawn to the Rhythm' from 'Solace', which is one of my favourite Sarah McLachlan songs.

Sarah is always a great live performer, based on the handful of live recordings I have heard (I wish she would tour again, I'm dying to see her live). She sounds great here and is well backed by an excellent band. Some of the songs really shine in a full band setting. One that comes to mind is 'I Will Not Forget You' from 'Solace'. It has a sparse arrangement on the album and the full band arrangement really brings out a new dimension to the song.

This really is the full concert and contains all the banter in-between the songs. Sarah has a understated but charming personality, much like the character of her music. I enjoyed listening to the whole concert, the songs and everything between the songs too. Any fan of Sarah's would definitely enjoy it too.

This album (not the single CD release) should be in the library of every Sarah McLachlan fan. It showcases Sarah in the best light and her fans will enjoy it without hesitation.


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Solace review

Posted : 14 years, 2 months ago on 23 July 2008 04:06 (A review of Solace)

This album is the first in a trilogy of great albums Sarah McLachlan's produced in 90s. It starts with a 1-2-3-4 knockout combo with 'Drawn to the Rhythm', 'Into the Fire', 'The Path of Thorns (Terms)' and 'I Will Not Forget You'. The rest isn't so bad either.

Sarah McLachlan's second album has both her beautiful voice and versatile songwriting on display. To back it up, the music is fresh and varied. From the folk influenced opening track to the beautifully constructed ballad 'I Will Not Forget You', the album is full of great arrangements. All of these elements would be on full display in her next album ('Fumbling Towards Ecstasy') as well. That may be her best album so far, but this album is very close. The only thing that is falls behind on is consistency as it has one or two weak moments.


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