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All reviews - Movies (20) - TV Shows (1) - DVDs (21) - Books (1) - Games (2)

Prey review

Posted : 3 years, 8 months ago on 18 April 2014 09:31 (A review of Prey)

A very strict rail shooter that earns extra points for the imaginatively weird alien spaceship environments and the game's unique foundation steeped in Cherokee mysticism. Wallwalking and gravity-changing rooms add excitement, and dying to the spirit world to restore strength and spiritual energy gives respawning a whole new challenge. The handful of puzzles are good ones where you really have to think "what am I supposed to do here??" The story eventually sort of fizzles out and your character Tommy is a Grade-A asshole in a leather jacket, but overall I enjoyed the madness. Completed in about 11 hours.


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Hanna review

Posted : 3 years, 9 months ago on 18 March 2014 06:05 (A review of Hanna)

Hanna is decidedly not the spy thriller I was expecting, instead it is one very extended chase with story inspiration lifted directly from TV's early 2000's futuristic cult favorite Dark Angel. Mind you, it is a pulse-pounding chase - 16-year-old Hanna, a girl with enhanced abilities, must travel on her own from the arctic circle to Berlin to reunite with her father once government agents determined to apprehend them are alerted to their location. Why are they alerted? For absolutely no good reason, you simply won't believe your ears! Logic is not the strongest suit here as glaring contradictions surface about what Hanna can do and what she can't, what she understands and what she doesn't. For example, she marvels at the images and sounds emanating from a television set, but she has no trouble operating a computer.

Never mind, the thrill is in the chase and in that respect Hanna delivers with style to spare. It reminds me of the slick action from seminal European thrillers La Femme Nikita and Run Lola Run complete with creative camera angles and throbbing electronic score by the Chemical Brothers. Some terrific, carefully planned, memorable sequences: check out the lengthy single shot as Eric Bana exits a bus terminal through his encounter with agents in the underground, or Hanna eluding pursuers among cargo containers at the docks, or the break-in at Cate Blanchett's apartment. I was very impressed with Saoirse Ronan who plays Hanna, hope to see more of her in future. Can't say the same for the Great Cate's wandering southern accent, but it's fun to see her cast and convince as a villain every now & then.

Bottom line, I heartily recommend Hanna for sheer excitement. I would even be interested in a sequel since many historical points are left murky. If you feel the same and would enjoy a lengthier story with similar themes, then give the first season of Dark Angel a try on DVD, an intriguing, action-packed series which offers more fleshed-out characters and a deeper mythology.

Review addendum: Bumping my rating up from 3.5 to 4 because I found myself tuning in whenever I saw it was on IFC to relive my favorite scenes. Eventually I just bought the DVD so I can jump directly to the five expertly orchestrated sequences whenever I want. They are: the escape from underground bunker Camp G, the fight & chase among loading containers at the dock, the 3:08 long (got to time it on the DVD) aforementioned tracking shot of Bana, his assault on Blanchett's apartment, and the final chase/confrontation. I still wish we were given more insight into the backstory, but it works superbly as a stylish action thriller that knows when to allow for time to breathe. Lastly, the alternate DVD ending is simple yet very valuable in providing closure that was lacking in the theatrical cut.


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F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon review

Posted : 4 years, 1 month ago on 23 October 2013 06:07 (A review of F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon)

Some scary elements, mostly during the beginning & end, but not really the horror adventure I was expecting. Instead this is a straightforward shooter against repetitive though smart enemies, and bolstered by cool weapons (heavy repeater & flesh-melting plasma gun are faves) and terrific combat graphics, pyrotechnics, and lighting effects.

Had a marathon and completed in about 12 hours over 3 days.


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Tank Girl (Penguin graphic fiction) review

Posted : 5 years, 3 months ago on 11 September 2012 09:54 (A review of Tank Girl (Penguin graphic fiction))

For sheer mindless violence, plotless plots, and foul-mouthed fun, you can't beat the original incarnation of Tank Girl!


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Yes Minister review

Posted : 5 years, 7 months ago on 17 May 2012 01:40 (A review of Yes Minister)

The funniest "sophisticated" comedy series ever made, and incredibly just two people wrote all fifty of these amazingly intricate & hilariously witty scripts. The show follows Jim Hacker as he takes office in the British government as Cabinet Minister of Administrative Affairs, and the constant battles of will he faces with the wily departmental civil servant Humphrey Appleby. Caught in the middle is personal secretary to the minister Bernard Wooley, who wants to support the minister and his ideas for change, but also must answer to his superior Appleby and his dogma that the civil service keep the status quo. Press leaks, backstabbing, brown envelopes, and every ploy you read about in politics goes on behind the scenes as each side tries to get their way. The carefully constructed complex stories are all flawless, and we laugh at the machinations at work while at the same time realize there are many satirical truths on display about how real governments operate. The follow-up series Yes, Prime Minister where Hacker gets elected as England's top dog is in every way as brilliantly written & acted. If you have any interest in politics, or are a fan of skilled verbal comedy like Gilmore Girls & The Big Bang Theory and stayed awake during one civics/government class, then don't miss out.


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