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epsilon3

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40 reviews in total 
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Naqoyqatsi (2002)
11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Inferior rehash, 3 April 2005
7/10

What a let down. Koyaanisqatsi was brilliant, Powaqatsi was quite good, Naqoyqatsi is the same thing all over again, without the beauty and profundity.

It's not that I don't sympathise with the meaning behind the film, but bombarding me with images of dollar signs and corporate logos is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The majority of those who view this movie do not need to be chaperoned around these issues.

The film feels structureless and jumps back and forth from one point to the next and then back again. I suppose you could argue that this reflects the chaotic nature of the films subject matter, but to me, that's just making excuses for a poorly conceived narrative.

The computer graphics don't work well at all. They often feel like an excuse to show of a few fancy special effects and already look dated (Max Headroom came to mind on several oc...oc...oc...occasions.). They just don't have the beauty of a 'real' image.

To add insult to injury, the film has been stretched out from a 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 so all of the people appear distorted. This is because the stock footage used was 4:3 and they couldn't be bothered editing it to fit into a widescreen presentation. They just stretched the lot, and when you watch the DVD it is very noticeable. It's claimed that this was a deliberate move and not a decision based on technical difficulties, but I'm not sure.

Overall - I'd say watch koyaanisqatsi again - it's the only film out of the three worth repeated viewings.

64 out of 84 people found the following review useful:
Hypnotic Suspense, 28 March 2005
7/10

Stir of Echoes is a very good horror thriller in the traditional sense. It's the story of a guy who gets hypnotised and develops precognitive psychic abilities which he can't control.

Kevin Bacon is excellent and shows he can be a leading man, while the rest of the cast performs well. Sets, special effects and cinematography are all very good - nothing flashy but solid.

It has shocks and suspense, especially in the first half, and although it could be accused of being a little clichéd, it never strays too far into the 'seen it all before' category.

The second half of the film turns into a more traditional thriller but still holds up well, unlike similarly themed movies such as 'What Lies Beneath.' This is because it is pleasingly short, lasting around 90 minutes (the correct length for a film of this type). There are some plot strands that aren't explained, but this can be forgiven because of the film's running time.

Although not mind blowing, it has a decent payoff at the end and left me satisfied that I'd just watched a good movie. Not a great one, but a good one. Pick this one up cheap on DVD.

112 out of 122 people found the following review useful:
Breathtaking, 25 March 2005
10/10

Make no mistake -- you need to get into the right mood to properly enjoy this film. Try watching it with your cynical or populist friends and they'll pour scorn upon it. Don't try to convince others to 'get it' as they won't.

The best thing to do is to turn off all of the lights, pump up the sound and absorb yourself in the spectacle that unfolds on the screen. If you do this, you'll experience one of the most breathtaking, moving and exciting pieces of art ever. There are few films that reach these heights -- 2001: A Space Odyssey is the only one that instantly comes to mind.

Don't analyse it until it's finished. Talking through it will ruin it. I've found that the film works best on an emotional level so switch your brain off and just watch and listen. By the time it's finished, you'll feel like you've been on an exhausting and exhilarating journey that you'll want to take again not long afterwards.

Cube Zero (2004) (V)
25 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
An unintentional comedy, 25 March 2005
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a real let down because I was hoping for so much. The storyline was meant to extend the mythos of the Cube but only really added more mundane questions whilst answering those that would have been better left a mystery.

We are shown how the cube works and even given its purpose, which is a shame, as the best thing about the movies was wondering what the cube is and what it's for. The removal of the paranoid absurdity of the whole situation leaves one feeling slightly deflated. I liked it better when the cube was explained as a cash guzzling project that had spun out of control and had no overall purpose apart from to justify its own existence. In essence the cube was a gravy train without a driver -- it had a kind of perverse logic to it that you can see in many misguided projects today.

It's difficult to care for any of the characters either. None of them are allowed to develop as there are two separate plot lines that only come together at the end. Each plot line tries to establish itself but neither has the time. This leads to the film feeling stretched and cut short.

The 'lab rats' that are in the cube are a bunch of cardboard cut outs who we hardly get to know before the inevitable happens. The guys working outside of the cube are the same. It's a shame as all of the characters had potential, just not the time to realise it.

The worst thing of all is the character of Mr Jax who is a ridiculous parody of a Nazi commanding officer mixed with Mr Bean and Basil Fawlty. This character is impossible to take seriously but is also completely unfunny. I actually found myself grimacing when he was on screen and half expected him to come out with lines like 'vee have vays of making you talk!' Absolutely dire - it practically ruined the movie. At first I thought it was the British comedian Rik Mayall with a joke plastic eye stuck to his face. That would have been preferable.

To round things off, the ending was poor with a stupid terminator style villain and a 'was it all a dream' sequence. What a shame.

Overall - a big disappointment, especially if you're a fan of the brilliant first movie.

Rent this one or borrow it from a friend.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good but not great, 25 March 2005
7/10

Arlington Road is a very enjoyable movie. There's action, intrigue and an intelligent message. It asks something of the viewer as the plot seems full of holes, but on closer inspection, it's actually fairly sound.

At times the acting seems a little over the top. As one reviewer mentioned earlier, at times, characters are reminiscent of those in Rosemary's Baby in their sinister mannerisms. The main protagonist's deteriorating state of mind allows for this depiction -- as the world crumbles around him, things seem to get a little strange.

Overall, I'd recommend this movie to those who like intelligent thrillers. There are better out there (Collateral, The Game, Identity, The Negotiator, Training Day etc) but this one is certainly worth a watch.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Mildly enjoyable, 22 March 2005
5/10

I enjoyed The Mummy and it's sequel, The Mummy Returns, so I was quite hopeful when I popped this movie into my DVD player and dimmed the lights.

The plot line was everything I expected it to be including a muscle bound hero, damsels in distress, camels, sand storms and a funny little Arab man sidekick who is a rogue with a heart of gold.

Just think the Mummy mixed with Stargate and a hint of Indiana Jones. On paper, I was expecting a great night in, but it didn't quite work out that way.

The sets and special effects are all reasonable (but not great) and the acting is passable for a movie of this type. The plot line is the usual fare - good vs evil with sword fights galore.

The problem lies in the script and the ineffective characterisation. There was just no reason to feel for the characters and not once did I care what happened to anyone in the movie. Despite repeated attempts to create high drama, it all felt a bit pedestrian and lifeless.

Still, I can recommend this movie if you particularly like the genre and fancy something light, but don't expect to be exhilarated, just mildly entertained.

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Not as good as everyone says..., 30 December 2004

I like Little Britain. It's reasonably funny with clever gags and sharply observed situations. Despite this, I can't help but agree with some of the reviewers here when they say that it is VERY repetitive and quite derivative. The fast show did characters better and The League of Gentlemen did sick (but funny) jokes better.

There's a slight vacuum in British 'alternative' comedy at the moment. It's been brilliant over the last decade with shows like the aforementioned LOG, the Fast Show, Big Train, Spaced, Reeves and Mortimer, Smack the Pony, Phoenix Nights, The Office etc.

All of these shows have finished. Lucas and Walliams, talented though they may be, should be thankful for this or they might not have so many awards on their shelves.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Thrash Metal Horror, 17 August 2004

I really like Urban Gothic in a number of ways.

It's wildly uneven and you never know what you're going to get. Half the episodes are boring, predictable or just plain funny (see the episode called 'pineapple chunks' and you'll understand.) The other half are brilliant, unusual and original.

It's violent and doesn't pretend it has a moral reason to be that way. The fact is that gut wrenching violence can sometimes shock and horrify. We're not talking 'video nasty' proportions here, but you'll wince at some of the scenes. Because of this capacity for violence and its cheapness, you're always on the edge, wondering if something horrible is about to happen. This is no sanitised hollywood production and it's all the better for it. It feels grubby - the title sequence really demonstrates what the show is about.

This is really cheap on DVD - I managed to get series one for about 9 quid.

I'm off to order series 2!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Post Apocalyptic Classic, 15 November 2003
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I felt compelled to add my opinion to the comments here as this movie is being unjustly slaughtered.

It's not a zombie flick - if you're expecting 'Dawn of the Dead' you may be in for a let down. The people who are infected with Rage have a disease and don't eat human flesh. Sure, they run around in packs and attack the uninfected, but the film isn't about claustrophobia and cannibalism.

It's clearly homage to Day of the Triffids (and to a certain extent The Omega Man.) There's nothing wrong with that.

One of the reasons why 28 days later is being attacked here is because of people's erroneous expectations. People watch a movie trailer and think they can tell what the film is going to be like. We should learn that this isn't the case and often trailers just show the most action packed or exciting bits - I thought this was widely known!

To those who were disappointed when they went to see the film because they expected an out and out thriller, maybe they should have done just a little bit of research first. This is why we have the IMDB right?

To an earlier reviewer who made a snide remark towards British films, perhaps it'd be worth considering how many films are made in Britain compared to the US, and what proportion of those are high quality. Britain doesn't have much of a film industry compared to Hollywood, but I could name lots of good movies from both countries (and lots of Turkeys.)

******************** ***SPOILERS BELOW*** ********************

Those who point out holes in the plot are being a little harsh. When they drive into the tunnel, it's obvious that Frank (the driver) is suffering from a mental breakdown. Cut the guy some slack! He's just spent the last few days getting over the death of his wife (and everybody else) whilst protecting his daughter from bloodthirsty lunatics with a baseball bat and a riot shield. The guy's feeling a little crazy. Jim points out that it's a stupid idea to go underground but he's ignored.

In response to another point about the way the soldiers wanted to get 'laid,' this is explained by Major West as an attempt to give the men some hope of a future life that may contain some normality (a family and children perhaps.) Clearly, this isn't what happens and the soldiers have turned into callous thugs, but there is logic here. If you were the leader of a group of isolated men in a post-apocalyptic situation, would you not state that it is important to find women and attempt to build families and save the human race from extinction? In situations of extreme stress (like wars) noble men can commit terrible acts and good intentions can be warped by desperation.

If you look a little deeper into this movie, it becomes apparent that it's not about zombies at all, but rather about the perilous state of the human condition. We think we are civilised and 'good' but what happens to us when the excrement hits the fan? Does the 'goodness' evaporate away leaving only savagery?

This movie seems to be saying that we turn a blind eye to the terrible things that are going on around the world because they're not happening to us. Status quo is maintained for those that live in wealthy nations, but as soon as our the rug is pulled from under us, we turn into the same people that we see brutally killing eachother on the six o'clock news. When our security is taken away, we cease to see people as individuals...they become casualty reports. Women become incubators or objects that are easy to brutalize (Bosnia anyone?)

Our morals and civility are eaten away as self-preservation kicks in big time. As Jim finds out towards the end of the film, you don't need to be infected to get the rage...it's already within all of us and is waiting to come out.

If this is the case, should we accept our innate violence and go with it when it's needed, or should fight against it and struggle to contain our selfish desires?

All of the characters in the film (apart from the young girl) go through this moral crisis. Selena learns that survival isn't everything when it's at the expense of one's self respect, and Jim learns that violence is sometimes necessary and in some situations may be unavoidable.

For those of you that have seen Straw Dogs, a similar ethical difficulty faced by the main character. Does one use violence to prevent violence?

The question isn't really answered in either film. I was sickened by Jim's descent into barbarism, but wondered what I would do in his situation. Probably the same thing.....a scary thought.

Lots of other questions were raised in this movie and it left me thinking for quite a while. It also left me excited and repelled by the fact that it is very violent. In response to the earlier comment, which recommended skipping the first scenes if you're watching it with children, take my advice - don't watch any of this film with kids. It contains extreme violence throughout and deals with adult themes that are definitely not for the young.

To sum up, I implore you to not be put off by the negative comments about this movie that are expressed here. If you like intelligent films - this is one to try. Just don't watch it with your auntie Mable - she probably won't like it.

Dreamscape (1984)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
lightweight fun!, 19 August 2003
7/10

I agree with most of the posters here. This is lightweight entertainment but it's great fun, especially if you like your SF. Performances are reasonable - there's some action, a love interest and some nice effects. There's also some pretty bad effects - I'm talking about the snake man which was like a rubbish version of Ray Harryhausen (of whom I'm a fan, but this just sucked.)

A special mention goes to the music which will not be on your list of top sound tracks.

Don't expect anything much - just sit back and enjoy this slice of 80's pulp SF.


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