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

Masterplan review

Posted : 15 years, 2 months ago on 4 May 2009 12:18 (A review of Masterplan)

The 90s were a great time for Oasis, and for their fans too. They made great albums, sold millions of them and released a string of singles with B-sides that were hardly throwaways. This collection of aforementioned B-sides really demonstrates that when they were good, they were truly outstanding. As a collection of songs from their creative peak in the 90s, this album is better than some of their weaker studio albums from the next decade, which just makes my point. Kicking off with 'Acquiesce' (B-side of 'Some Might Say), a song that features both Liam and Noel on vocals, the album is in high gear right away. The title track 'The Masterplan' (B-side of the iconic 'Wonderwall') is another highlight. It is so good that it can be included among their best songs, which just boggles my mind.


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Early Summer review

Posted : 15 years, 2 months ago on 3 May 2009 09:45 (A review of Early Summer)

A snapshot in the lives of a family going through rapid changes after several years of a peaceful existence. The story is focused on, but not confined to the youngest daughter. She is pressured by the family to finally get married to a man proposed by her boss but has ideas of her own, something almost unheard of in a traditional Japanese family of the time. The real charm of the film is that it paints a peaceful but realistic portrait of family life with it's subtle pulls and pressures without resorting to melodrama. The ending is almost bitter-sweet, as all change in life always is.


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Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - Director's Cut review

Posted : 15 years, 3 months ago on 26 April 2009 09:54 (A review of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - Director's Cut)

This is an updated port of the PC game from 1994 with some additional material added for this release. It says something about the state of this genre of games on the Wii that a fifteen year old game is currently the best of the lot. There's is still much to like here. The story is good, even if it feels dated. The animation is pretty, it feels like you're playing a cartoon on television. The puzzles are mostly interesting, even if some of them feel like they've been shoehorned in for no reason at all.

There's also much to dislike here. The game really shows it's age. The creators of the game quite obviously did not keep around any high quality source material for the game elements. You can easily detect compression artefacts for the sound and the videos, which really betrays the age of the game. The control scheme is frustrating to use at several points in the game, especially if you have to use the Wii remote to rotate anything. The hint system is a great addition, if only it worked better. It would give me hints about things I'd already done and forced me to go through all the hints to get to ones I actually found useful.

The bottom line is that for fans of this genre, this is as good as it gets on the Wii right now. So rent it, take a weekend to finish it and return it. This isn't a game that has any replay value once you're done with the story.


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Trailer Park review

Posted : 15 years, 3 months ago on 13 April 2009 01:01 (A review of Trailer Park)

Beth orton made a stunning debut in 1997 with this fusion of folk rock and electronica. She, along with David gray, straddles the line between acoustic folk rock and 90s electronica very successfully. This album and David Gray's 'White Ladder' are the two albums that I love most in the folk-electronica genre. The fusion is best symbolised on this album by the opening track 'She Cries Your name' and also 'Someone's Daughter' near the very end that combine acosutic instruments with electronic beats. The rest of the songs usually lean one way or the other but such is the strength of her music that neither style of song feels out of place here.


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100 Days review

Posted : 15 years, 3 months ago on 12 April 2009 03:42 (A review of 100 Days)

I've seen plentiful cheesy Bollywood thrillers and including this one. I decided to revisit it just to see how it stacks up nearly 18 years on. It's cheesy all right, and has a certain 80s Hollywood B-movie feel. What surprised me is that I still enjoyed it in a mindless sort of way and even enjoyed the cheesiness of it all. There are also genuinely gripping moments in the middle of it all. At nearly three hours however, it's too much of the good thing. Good editing could have cut about 45 mins of the crap which would have resulted in a much more tight and enjoyable thriller.

As a side note, I'm surprised Netflix has a DVD that doesn't have any English subtitles. Either they have a significant native Hindi speaking customer base or they just goofed up on this one.


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Quite a disappointment

Posted : 15 years, 3 months ago on 4 April 2009 07:51 (A review of The Color of Magic)

The production quality is stunning, the Discworld has been recreated in lavish detail. There's great actors in every possible significant role. In other words, no expense seems to have been spared to make this the best possible adaptation of Terry Pratchett's work. And it's mostly wasted, it was just plain boring, all the great ingredients just don't come together at all. I've only seen the first part and I have no desire to watch the second part and that's a great disappointment. Better direction and scriptwriting to go with all the other things would have been appreciated.


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Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade review

Posted : 15 years, 4 months ago on 29 March 2009 12:12 (A review of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade)

Outstanding movie about a counter-terrorist police officer who is traumatised by the death of a female suicide bomber who dies in front of his eyes. He gets involved with the sister of the bomber, but romance with someone from the other side of the fence is always fraught with danger, especially with intrigue and betrayal added to it. The story winds it's way to a surprising, even shocking denouement which is either sad or cynically realistic depending on how you feel about it.


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Miyazaki the Second

Posted : 15 years, 4 months ago on 28 March 2009 10:58 (A review of Tales from Earthsea)

Tales from Earthsea comes with considerable pedigree. Not only is this the directorial debut of Goro Miyazaki, the son of iconic director Hayao Miyazaki, and produced by Studio Ghibli, the animation studio he founded, it is also based on the Earthsea cycle of books by iconic sci-fi writer Ursula LeGuin. Goro co-wrote the script for the movie and is responsible for the visual style of the movie as well. While he seems to have mastered the art of making his movie look stunning (the action sequences are a testament to that), he still has a ways to go before he can be considered a top notch director and script-writer. The end result is a movie that looks great, is enjoyable for the most part and satisfying to watch but falls short of feeling like an epic, and an epic is what this movie deserves to be.

The good parts of the movie feel like they're taken straight out of Miyazaki(Hayao)'s playbook - sweeping vistas, great action, classic battle between good and evil and imperfect protagonists. The movie looks absolutely stunning especially during the action sequences and this is where Goro excels. One of the areas he really falls short is the development of the story and his characters. We get no introduction to this fantasy world that the story is set in, just that the world is "out of balance". The characters are also poorly sketched out and we get little sense of their motivations and emotions, other than the usual good/evil characterisations. The pacing of the script is also uneven and the middle section is plodding. In the end, even as Goro borrows liberally from his father's bag of tricks, he fails to bring that little spark of magic that transforms an action-adventure into an EPIC action-adventure. Still, this is his first movie and he shows potential for a first-time director and I look forward to watching his second.

As a final note, I want to mention the excellent background score that really adds to the atmosphere of the movie and enhanced my enjoyment of it more than the script and direction really deserved.


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Priceless review

Posted : 15 years, 4 months ago on 25 March 2009 08:41 (A review of Priceless)

A bizarre romantic comedy/drama that only the French could make with a straight face. Audrey Tatou is a mistress to rich men who falls in love with a bartender after mistaking him for a rich man. But before she falls for him we go through a truly bizarre series of events where she impoverishes the man forcing him to become a gigolo for a rich older woman. Sounds strange? Yeah it does. Like I said, only the French.


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Water Lilies review

Posted : 15 years, 4 months ago on 23 March 2009 07:13 (A review of Water Lilies)

A study of female adolescent angst centered around three girls who meet at the local swimming pool. The movie follows them through the summer as they experience love and heartbreak for the first time. It looks gorgeous and the camera work is especially stunning. The acting and direction is also good but the script suffers from a certain aimlessness which prevents it's from becoming more than the sum of it's considerable technical achievements.


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