Saturday 1 May 2010

DVD Reviews

The Card Player
Director: Dario Argento
Starring: Stefania Rocca, Liam Cunningham, Silvio Muccino
Available now, RRP £15.99 (DVD)
Arrow Video
Review by Rob Wade

A serial killer, at large in Rome, plays a deadly game with the city’s police. For every woman he kidnaps, the investigating officers are given the chance to win them back by entering a game of online poker, though losing results in the ultimate price being paid. Will the police uncover the killer’s identity before he deals his next victim?

The Card Player is a departure of sorts for Dario Argento, mostly known for his excessively violent horror. Venturing into the crime thriller, Argento’s objective in this case it seems is to encapsulate this violence for which he is known into a CSI-style affair.

The characters are a mixture of ridiculous and predictable, I suppose that makes them ridiculablous? There’s a pair of main characters; the female police officer who through getting involved becomes the object of the killer’s interest, the Irish agent from the British embassy who gets drunk, swears a lot and…get this…sings “Danny Boy” while pissed. Why the hell didn’t they just call him Sheamus O’Malley and have done with it? Incidentally, does it sound like they’re from the big book of crime movie clichés? Mainly because they are, I’d wager.

Sufficed to say that the movie is quite the cliché in many other ways, for instance for a long time you’re led to believe in one minor character’s guilt above all others, even though logic dictates that there’s no way it’ll be that character who turns out to be guilty. Oh, and I have NEVER in my life seen such unrealistic character deaths since that scene in Role Models where they LARP.

When it does get to the ending, you find yourself actually a little impressed. The premise behind the end set-piece is actually quite well thought-out. That is, until the reason is given that invalidates the whole film. I almost ripped my own larynx out.

The characters around them aren’t much better; I can’t help but feel that if some of the characters speak English to the extent that they leave a second or so gap between the words in a sentence, it’s probably a safe bet that you should be thinking about dubbing them or setting the film in Italian and making do.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating :
Violence : Quite a bit, mostly off-screen.
Sex/Nudity : Wet nudes with massive gashes. Across their throat.
Swearing : A few uses, mostly “shit” and “son of a bitch”, but occasionally the word “fuck” makes it in.
Summary: While it’s not a bad showing from Argento, usually a horror writer, the film is quite on the clichéd side, and suffers as a result of a lack of originality and a clear sense of direction. When revelations come in the storyline, they’re usually contrived or just poorly written. A shame really, as the premise, though a little uninspired, actually makes for a reasonable ending scene, even if the reasoning for the whole film is crap. 5/10

WWE: Royal Rumble 2010
Starring: John Cena, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker
Clear Vision Ltd

Available From Monday 3rd May - £17.99 (DVD) and £19.99 (Blu-ray)
Review by Omer Ibrahim

WWE’s Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View is the official start of the Road to Wrestlemania. Traditionally, the winner of the Rumble will challenge the World Champion and headline Wrestlemania, though in recent years this tradition has slipped. Nonetheless, the Rumble remains one of WWE’s most important events, and usually provides top-notch entertainment.

Ring veteran Christian is on curtain-jerking duty as he defends his ECW Championship against the very bland Ezekiel Jackson. I was very surprised to watch “Captain Charisma” effortlessly pull a great match out of the big man, playing to both men’s strengths and making both wrestlers look fantastic. There’s promise here for Jackson, and proof that Christian deserves a main-event spot. Soon.

(Also worth noticing is that at the exact second Christian hits a flying uppercut, commentator Matt Striker exclaims “Flying Shiiiyuuuken!”)

There’s a bizarre skit in which Cryme Tyme try to convince The Great Khali to surrender his Rumble spot. I’m not sure how, but soon enough Khali and Teddy Long are singing “Pants on the Ground” and “Who Let the Dogs Out?”. I laughed. A lot.

An “impromptu” match next, as The Miz is forced to put his US Championship on the line in a nothing match with MVP. The crowd react loudly to MVP’s “Ballin'” elbow drop, but nothing else.

Apparently Randy Orton challenged Sheamus for the WWE Championship. I was so bored by this match that all I remember is that my girlfriend’s cat started to climb the curtains.

The Women’s Championship is on the line as Mickie James challenges Michelle McCool. McCool has been taunting James of late, as, according to the WWE, she has gained weight. I need to point out here that Mickie looks fantastic, and not thin and fake, like the rest of the divas. That WWE sees a woman with the shape of a real woman as fat is alarming, and the “Piggy James” skits that they have been airing, as well as comments made by the commentators, are distasteful and childish. The match is less wrestling, and more cake-based rape, made hilarious by the heel’s reactions to the creamy goodness.

The Undertaker and Rey Mysterio clash for The Deadman’s World Heavyweight Title in a short affair. These two talented workers don’t use the limit to go full-tilt from start to finish, but seem to coast along without trying.

The Royal Rumble Match is as fun as they normally are. CM Punk steals the show with his mid-match speeches, which are revolutionary. All the big-hitters are among the 30 Rumble entrants, and it shows in the quality of the match. Multiple storylines are furthered with superstars such as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and the surprise return of Edge.

Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson
The Royal Rumble Match

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Suplexes, piledrivers, backflips, the usual.
Sex/Nudity: Some girls get cake on them.
Swearing: None
Summary: Not on par with the quality that Royal Rumbles normally bring to the table, but still worth a watch. 7/10

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