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bengad

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6 reviews in total 
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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
The Best Battlestar episode this season!, 30 January 2007
10/10

Ronald D Moore, take the hint. Edward James Olmos is a fantastic director. Comedy fans, however, don't expect another 'Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down'. Instead, prepare for a episode nearly as dark as Blade Runner.

Many episodes this season have been going at a snail pace. The past two episodes (The season 3.5 premiere and now this) are the best two episodes this season since Exodus, pt 2. Like the excellent episodes of the first season, many surprises and plot lines are packed into these episodes. Hopefully this will be a continuing trend, as Galactica has been going down in a spiral of poorly made self contained episodes since season 2.5. A prime example in season three is the Passage, where fans are suddenly sprung with the idea that 'yeah, we're out of rations!'. No warnings in previous episodes, no discussion that maybe this was coming. Nada. Just sprung like that. I know serials are tough, and expensive, but seriously, that's what we watch Galactica for: the writing. And sadly its been more and more inconsistent since season 2.5.

Anyway, to the episode at hand. Excellent. Nice plot twists, questions of morality, awesome directing by Olmos, and actors finally given a chance to really play their roles. This is easily the most important episode in a long time for Baltar, in that it again puts him in a position of true insecurity as we saw in season one.

The cinematography is beautiful and absolutely stunning, with depth which we have not truly seen since early episodes and the mini series. The beautiful blue CIC of the mini series has become a cramped, incandescent dump this season, and finally (albeit briefly) we have a nice shot of it from above.

The episode also makes you question Baltar's sanity. Is it all a dream? Are Roslin and Adama really subjecting him to this torture? This is what we have expected from Galactica for some time and not been given. Oh, it's wonderful! Lastly, we get to see the long corridor with pictures of the dead. That room bore so much importance in the first season and mini series, and we have scarcely seen it in the past two years.

Galactica fans, if this has not convinced you to 'stay the course' and bear the bad episodes and proclaim Galactica's producers and writers completely over the deep end, then I don't know what will.

So say we all!

Sharpe's Sword (1995) (TV)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
One of the best..., 24 April 2006
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is, by and large, one of the best Sharpe films. Richard (Sean Bean) is between wives, so he's free to romp about looking for other women and get busy. Surprisingly enough, he doesn't. In fact, this is, to say the least, one of Sharpe's most noble hours. Of the remaining riflemen, Harris, is given a surprising and delightful role. Sharpe's life is threatened, and Harper and his wife show a lot of emotion and care for the Major. Sharpe's Sword is also one of the last movies that's solidly great in the Sharpe series (Regiment and Mission are good, Justice is okay, haven't seen Waterloo yet). You've got a larger, climatic finish, with (budget in mind) a big fight scene, a good Sharpe vs Frenchmen sword fight, and an awesome sword fight, where Simmerson gets owned by a supposed pacifist. What more could you ask for?

If you're trying to prioritize on which Sharpe DVDs you should purchase, or looking to borrow from a Library or friend, this is one of the best.

Sin City (2005)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Highly overrated, full of needless violence, 18 April 2006
6/10

Okay, so this is obviously an ultra-violent film. Not all that unexpected coming from Robert Rodriguez, but still, what this film lacks is substance and humor thrown in. After the pitiful 'Once Upon a Time In Mexico', I am sad to say this film is even worse. It does have some redeemable qualities, though very few. The comic book look that has been created specially for this film is very well done, though it leaves exactly the same impression that 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' did, in that, after the visuals, there isn't much left to see. The film is, even with the action, extremely boring towards the middle. This film could have easily been cut down to 90 minutes, and it should have been. What is more disturbing than the violence in this film is the supposed acceptance that surrounds it. Their is little justification behind it, almost no regret about carrying out this kind of violence. Severed limbs, incredible amount of blood and gore...the violence out weights the sex seen in this film. And American's complain when romantic comedies have explicit sex scenes? What is the world coming to? This violent culture has let Sin City get away with this, as well as encouraging more. Sin City is not trash, it's decent. But ranking it up close to masterpieces such as the Lord of the Rings, which has so much more emotion, the violence and killing is questioned, raises so many moral issues...this film clearly needs to be put in its place, next to Titanic. One of the most overrated films in years.

6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Great episode signaling things to come., 25 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Farscape is one of those few, great science fiction shows. You know, one of those few that come along every once in awhile: similar to Firefly in that regard, but this show's record indicates it was much more successful than Joss Weadon's stab at humans/exploring galaxy. Apart from being laden with great special effects, especially considering its time and the fact that it is a television show, PK Tech Girl gives a lot of insight into Rygel's past when a derelict ship is discovered in the uncharted territories. Oddly enough, it's peace-keeper. What comes in the next fifty minutes is a role from Australia's great actress Alyssa-Jane Cook, Crichton falls in love and feelings from otherwise stoic characters are revealed. If you're watching the DVDs in order, than you'll probably notice something strange on IMDb in terms of how the episodes are arranged, much differently than that of the DVDs. Not exactly who's right, but after the slightly weird but funny "Thank God It's Friday, Again" and "Back and Back and Back to the Future", PK Tech Girl is a somewhat welcome relief as more of the major plot is developed and the show takes on a more traditional narrative. And, for the science fiction geeks who can't pick up a girl, there's kissing. Can't forget that.

Halo 2 (2004) (VG)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Had great potential, but failed in many respects, 29 November 2005
6/10

Halo 2, by all means is an excellent game. The game runs smoothly, the shading techniques (especially in outer space) are beautiful.

I am a Halo fan. I dislike Doom 3. Halo is one of the best shooters made in the past decade. Nonetheless, that does not mean that people should go out of the way to say it has no faults. It does.

First and foremost is the story. It sucks (in comparison to the first game). With the exception of the obvious, major (and debated) flaw (Halo fans, you know what I speak of), the thing that bugged me was clarity. The story contains so many plot points (more so than the original) that it is very confusing the first time you play through. This could all have been fixed easily, had the game mimicked the original. It doesn't. Cortana is very pedestrian speech wise, bringing up lame jokes and her whole air of superiority and respect from the first game is nearly gone. The radio chatter is even worse, using a proximity thing that changes between two settings depending on your situation to your marines, up close and personal or the slightest bit away. Unlike the first game which had a realistic 'pfft' noise when someone stopped talking on the radio, the voices over the radio now are way overblown and obviously, the quality has been turned down in various ways in a sound editor. The result was my brother and I cringing in our seats as we played through co-op. It was awful. This is partially the reason why Cortana was so hard to understand. The next reason is that sound as a whole in Halo 2, unless you have wonderful speakers, is muted and no where near that of the originals clarity and grace. When I first played Halo (as I played Halo 2) I was always rushing through the game, eager to see what happened next. Halo fixed this problem by providing clear voiceovers. Halo 2, apart from having some very wooden and stiff acting coming from Cortana and the marines, provides subtitles in the lengthy cut scenes, but not during gameplay. Because much of the story unfolds during the heat of the action, my battle rifle out did Cortana's meager attempt to tell me what was going on. The first time I played through, I missed out on key elements of the story, resulting in extreme frustration. Now to gameplay. Its great. Really great, once you get over the rushed animations and horrible texture problems. This game is the worse I've ever seen when it comes to textures. Not because they are dull, but because they are out of control. It is very messy, when peoples noses come into view than disappear, or, the shading on someones helmet does the same thing. Almost every object has textures that shift, mostly due to proximity. Walk up to a ghost some time, taking in the whole scene carefully. Or the tanks sides or warthog's wheels. You'll see it. Now back up slowly. Now move forward again. This is by far the worse case of graphical glitches (or shifting textures) I've seen in any game (with the possible exception of Far Cry: Instincts). Worse, it trains your eye to see even the slightest texture glitch in the most solid of games, ruining the realism experience in other good titles. Gone are the wonderful gun reloading sequences, replaced by rushed reloading. Guns are not cocked (although the battle rifle has an automatic one), pistol hammers not pulled back if you empty the magazine then reload, the sniper rifle heavily depowered, and ammo is in incredibly short supply (resulting not in hard gameplay but merely frustration). And, a final note on the graphics. Apart from generally sucking in comparison to the E3 video of New Mombassa (which sadly is not featured in the game as a full level), the facial graphics are some of the worst seen in recent times. Pasted on ears, heads that more resemble polygons than reality, totally different than the smoothness of the E3 trailer (I mean, compare Sgt. Johnson then and now. Who looks better?) Remember the two twin pilots from In Amber Clad? Uh! I can't say more!

I know it sounds like I'm ranting on, totally degrading this game. That's true, I am, in many ways. However, when you go through loads of hype, are fooled by Microsoft and Bungie into thinking the story mode will be the greatest video game experience ever (featuring Earth and only Earth!), I really felt cheated. My brother spent fifty bucks on this game and we got...this. It's bad news.

Overall though, I have come to love Halo 2 for what it does have. Very good graphics, smooth gameplay, more diverse weapons (although in short supply), less backtracking through levels, more vehicles to control (but less than expected), excellent replay value, although not as many enjoyable levels as the first game. Fantastic multiplayer even without Xbox live. Great multiplayer maps. Good ending has promise for a better sequel.

Halo 2 leaves a lot of plot holes that I hope will be resolved in the final chapter. While its ending promises something better, I'm not purchasing an Xbox 360 anytime soon, and, when Halo 3 is released, I'll look for reviews that aren't done by hyped up individuals (remember Gamespot's debated review? It turned out to be all true.)

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A triumph for its time and for Star Wars, 10 October 2005
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers (only mentions one action of a character, nothing major, and names of a few of the characters in the game)

Dark Forces is truly an amazing game. More than ten years after it was released, my dad, my brother and I still play it occasionally. We still played it on a regular basis when it turned seven. Now, the disk totally scratched and dusty, its sits on my shelf, waiting for the day it is inserted into my old Mac again. Dark Forces is one of the last first person shooters that really tests you mentally. Unlike Doom, which obviously sets out to be scary, Dark Forces is subtler. In many parts of the game, I was truly terrified, even when I did use cheats. The hard enemies felt like they would leap out of the screen and kill me. Some of the puzzles were so hard that I only beat some levels once. You go up against some of the Star Wars universe's worst enemies, sometimes with merely a blaster, unlike the games that come afterwards, The Jedi knight series. The environments are lush and beautiful, barren and ugly, and fun to explore. The story line is taunt and cohesive, a good plot and the perfect anti-hero. As a first person shooter, it was unmatched for its time (some would argue this point). Diverse and cool weapons, from heavy rocket launchers to the horribly in-accurate storm trooper blasters, there was plenty of weapons to enjoy. And don't forget thermal detonators. While I never beat the last level of Dark Forces (it is truly a horrifying and extremely difficult experience), my father managed to beat it, barely scraping through it. There was no huge celebration for Kyle Katarn and my dad, just a pat on the back from Mon Mothma. That was enough though. No other stars wars game (except for KOTOR) has come close to Dark Force's legacy. KOTOR is a different game though, and, unlike Dark Forces, which I bit into early, I came too late to see KOTOR in its golden days. Each are top notch, and dominate the Star Wars gaming franchise, and, from what I can tell, will for a long time. If you're nostalgic for past games like Doom, when graphics were like the Stone Age, then pick up Dark Forces, rent it, just play it. It's not an experience you're likely to forget for a long time.