Thursday, 4 March 2010

DVD Reviews

Chaw
Starring: Tae-woong Eom, Yoon Jae-Moon and Yu-mi Jeong
Director: Jeong-won Shin
Optimum Home Entertainment

Available Now - £15.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

In the quiet, peaceful, countryside town of Semeri, Korea, things run at a laid back, idyllic pace. But the subdued atmosphere, scenic views and community spirit are about to be torn apart and ripped to shreds. What was once a popular tourist resort is about to become a one-way ticket to hell on earth. Within the surrounding mountain area the severed limbs of a young girl have just been discovered. The local law enforcement immediately assumes it’s a case of homicide. But they’re wrong, very wrong. Soon the beloved small town of Sameri will be turned into a gruesome bloodbath, for deep within its cold, dark forests a monstrous, insatiable beast awaits… and it's getting hungry.

For good or ill, this movie could only get made in Asia. There is no way any other country could produce a two-hour slapstick gore parody horror movie about a giant wild boar. If you like movies that are comfortable in their own silliness without being full-blown parodies, then Chaw is going to be right up your street.

At a running time of just under two hours, Chaw could have floundered, but there are very few places where it feels like its stagnating. There’s so much going on that it feels plotted more like a novel than a movie – and in a way that works. Also, f you’re the kind of guy who giggles with glee at geeky movie references (I’m looking at you, guy who can spot all the references in Shaun of the Dead*), they you’ll totally love the hilarious Jaws and Aliens parodies here.

With such amazing direction, solid cast and a great fun ride of a movie, it’s a bit of a shame that they couldn’t have spent a little more time and money on the CGI of the monster, which is downright ropey. Fortunately, when the rest of this movie is so good, it isn’t a deal breaker...but it’s bad enough to break suspension of disbelief at times.

* Ah, yeah...that's me, isn't it?

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
Frequent and bloody pig eviscerations. Animal cruelty. Shootings. Scuffles. Explosions.
Sex/Nudity: Some kissing.
Swearing: Some strong language.
Summary: A good, fun, monster-movie, black comedy with some nice fun, geeky gags. If you can find a copy, pick it up. 8/10

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
Starring: David Suchet, Miriam Margoyles and Robin Bailey
Director: Francis Vose
Revelation Films

Available Now - £12.99 (DVD)
Review by Blake Harmer

I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of this animated film, considering it’s based on a classic Russian fairytale. However, if you have children of your own, or the heart of a child (that’s meant purely as a metaphor, I would be slightly horrified if you had a child’s heart in your fridge) then this story will capture your imagination and keep you thoroughly entertained.

The plot keeps to the feel of several fairytales and even seems to borrow elements from several others. When the Tsar of Russia offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who brings him a flying ship, Pyotr, a simple woodcutter stumbles across one whilst searching for his brothers, and together with some new found friends, journey’s to the kingdom to claim the princess’s hand. However the Tsar and his evil aid (a bit like a crap Jafar from Aladdin) tries to stop him by setting the group three impossible tasks to complete.

The story is thoroughly enjoyable and keeps everything simple, sure you can see the plot twists and every character is obviously there just to advance the storyline, but then again so is every other fairytale of this type. The animation is very good considering the age of the film as well.

The only downside to this film is that some of the characters do look a bit scary, the hunter and his big eye to help hit anything with his bow is a prime example of this (and I still see him coming at me in my sleep) but he’s perfectly friendly in the film so maybe it is just me. The only other problem is that I felt that the plot is stretched a little bit too thin and the film would have benefited from being a tad shorter.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
None, this is a simple children’s story, and whilst the Tsar’s aid does try to kill them, he never succeeds.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: No, although I sweared when I was scared by the face of the hunter and his big eye.
Summary: An enjoyable fairytale story that will entertain children while making sweet easy viewing for grown ups. Well worth watching for fans of children’s animation and fairytales alike. 8/10

Merlin - Series Two: Volume Two
Starring: Colin Morgan, Anthony Head and John Hurt
Director: Metin Huseyin and Alice Troughton
2 Entertain

Available Now - £19.99 (DVD)
Review by Charlotte Barnes

The final seven episodes from the second series of the BBC drama set in the mythical city of Camelot, which tells the tale of the extraordinary relationship between the young King Arthur and Merlin, the wise sorcerer who guides him to power and beyond. The mythical city of Camelot, in a time before history began, is a fantastical realm of legendary beasts and mysterious peoples. In this dangerous world, magic has been banned by the ruthless tyrant, Uther Pendragon. As King Uther renews his deadly crusade against magic, Merlin finds it harder than ever to keep his unique abilities a secret while battling ruthless sorcerers, terrifying monsters and deadly warriors.

The series just keeps getting better and better, the episodes just keep getting more and more innovative every time I sit down to watch one. The quality of the acting just keeps improving, it has moved away from that hammy typically English soap acting and moved in to some seriously gritty passionate balls-grabbing work. In conjunction with the fantastic acting the script writing has improved leaps and bounds and is even better than the first half of the series. The final episode packs such a punch that it left me salivating for the third series. I have to say that I really can’t believe that this is a BBC production, who would believe that they would be able to produce a decent fantasy film that would happily translate to the American market!

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
Plenty of sword wielding glory and blood to boot.
Sex/Nudity: Mild, could do with more of Prince Arthur without a top on...
Swearing: None.
Summary: Great finish to the season, it just keeps getting better and better (on a personal note, is it me or is Prince Arthur getting better looking with every episode?). 8/10

Sons of Anarchy: Season One
Starring: Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Available Now - £24.99 (DVD)
Review by Charlotte Barnes

The first season of Sons of Anarchy draws you into the grim and gritty world of a renegade motorcycle gang whom unofficially preside over a community in northern California. It’s a tale of family relationships and dark drama set against a backdrop of ambiguous morality and the motorcycle club ruled by the head strong Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and his wife Gemma (Peg Bundy), who controls and protect their town through bribery, corruption and violence. The gang, known as the Sons of Anarchy, makes its money providing firearms for drug cartels and running local protection rackets.

The series is seen from the perspective of Jackson “Jax” Teller who is the vice president of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club. Having almost lost his child due to his ex wife’s drugs problem, he begins to wonder whether there are better ways to earn a living. His mother Gemma and Step-Father Clay (President of the motorcycle gang) want to keep him on their version of the straight and narrow through gun runs and selling illegal good. However, with his new child in the picture, the introduction of his first childhood love Tara and finding his Father’s old manuscript titled The Life and Death of Sam Crow: How the Sons of Anarchy Lost Their Way he finds himself doubting the club’s direction.

I wanted to watch this series purely on the basis that Ron Perlman is in it, and he is just plain awesome. Sons of Anarchy did not disappoint; this is just a more badass version of The Sopranos with great storylines, gritty acting and serious gun wielding violence. Everything about it spells awesome. I genuinely don’t think that there is any kind of flaw with Sons of Anarchy the actors are fantastic, the writing is clever and insightful and the characters are well developed with a fantastic cast. Let’s hope that the next season can only improve upon the first, but with the addition of Henry Rollins to the cast, the show can do no wrong (all I hope for is for Rollins to strap some dynamite to an arrow and shoot it at a cannibal).

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
Lots of blood and guns, there is a particularly nasty moment involving someone’s back, a blow torch and a bottle of whiskey.
Sex/Nudity: Plenty of sex and infidelity.
Swearing: Appropriate for the genre.
Summary: Fantastic first season, well worth a watch and would recommend to anyone who enjoys The Sopranos, The Godfather or Goodfellas. 10/10

'I blame those new Brainy Crisps. Since he started eating them, he's been too clever by half'.

Can eating a bag of crisps really make you more clever? The company that makes the crisps says so, and they seem to be right. But the Doctor is worried. Who would want to make people more brainy? And why? With just his sonic screwdriver and a supermarket trolley full of crisps, the Doctor sets out to find the truth.

The answer is scary - the Krillitanes are back on Earth, and everyone is at risk! Last time they took over a school. This time they have hijacked the internet. Whatever they are up to, it's big and it's nasty. Only the Doctor can stop them - if he isn't already too late...A short, sharp shot of adventure, featuring the Doctor as played by David Tennant in the hit series from BBC Television.

Thanks to our friends at Ebury Press and BBC Books, we've got five copies of Doctor Who: Code of the Krillitanes to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to krillitanesgiveaway@rocketmail.com with your name and postal address before midday on Thursday 11th March (UK time). The first five names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!

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