Saturday 24 July 2010

DVD Reviews

Doctor Who: The Dominators
Starring: Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Patrick Troughton
Director: Morris Barry

Available Now - £19.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

The Dominators, self-acclaimed masters of the ten galaxies, and their robot servants, the Quarks, arrive on the planet Dulkis with evil intentions as the Doctor and his friends touch down for a peaceful holiday. Life is about to change dramatically for the pacifist Dulcians who, with no weapons on their planet, soon become enslaved to the Dominators.

The Dulcian Councillors, refuse to retaliate, however Cully, the rebellious son of their leader Senex, has already joined forces with the time travellers. The fight is on! The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe join a handful of determined Dulcians bent on outwitting the Quarks and struggling to escape the violent brutality of the Dominators.

But the whole planet is doomed to become a mass of radioactive material - fuel for the enemy's invasion fleet whose war mission will even spread to Earth unless the Doctor can devise an infallible plan...

I like Troughton. He’s tough but friendly, as the Doctor should be. Unfortunately, when the very first paragraph of the liner notes points out that this story is a little bit of a mess, and really not that good, you know that you’re in for a bumpy ride. And it’s true.

By the time the third episode has rolled around, there’s so much heavy dialogue going on that it’s hard to stay awake. There are developments, but after a while you don’t really know who’s were doing what, and you don’t really care all that much either. As Doctor Who stories go, this is pretty poor and one for completists only. And the liner notes agree with me.

The picture has been cleaned up a little for this DVD issue, but it’s a token gesture. There’s no real work gone into it, and it shows.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
The usual amount of Doctor Who style scuffling, lasering and so forth...
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: None.
Summary: A disappointing story arc that never really takes off. Of all the Doctor Who stories out there, it’s unclear why anyone would want to blow the dust off of this mess. 4/10

Boogie Nights
Starring: Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Warner Home Video

Available Now - £6.99 (DVD) & £17.99 (Blu-ray)
Review by Brad Harmer

It's Los Angeles, 1977, and adult film director Jack Horner meets Eddie Adams, a well-endowed dishwasher in a nightclub. Jack recruits Eddie to be his newest star and Eddie, hungry for fame, quickly agrees, changing his name to Dirk Diggler. Soon Dirk is the hottest star in the porn industry, alongside Rollergirl, a high school dropout who never removes her roller skates, and Amber Waves, the veteran star who pines for the son she's not allowed to visit. On the fringes, Little Bill fumes while his wife cheats on him in public, and Buck Swope tries to escape the stigma of being a porn actor.

The good times roll, but before long Dirk falls victim to the pressures of stardom and a drug habit that ruins his career while Jack struggles with porn's conversion from film to cheaper videotapes.

I honestly didn’t much care for Boogie Nights when I first saw it back in ’98 or ’99. Whilst I didn’t think it was bad, it just left me cold – and I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. Viewing it now for a second time, I really enjoyed it. The humour is beautifully understated, and the acting is simply superb across the board; especially from Burt Reynolds whose turn as ambitious movie director Jack Horner is amazing. Boogie Nights is a fun, engaging movie, and well worth checking out.

This Blu-ray edition isn’t perfect, however. Whilst the image is sharp and the sound clear, there is still some motion jerk, which is especially noticeable in long panning scenes...and there are a lot of them in this movie. The extras however are excellent, and this is a pretty good package, all things considered.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Several fights, beat-downs, shootings and blood. One epic shoot-out between The Punisher and Doctor Octopus.
Sex/Nudity: Near constant.
Swearing: 171 uses of the word “fuck” (or a variation thereof). That’s just over one minute.
Summary: A great movie, full of interesting characters, laughs, drama and Burt Reynolds being awesome. Don’t bother upgrading to the Blu-ray from your DVD, but it's worth picking up if you haven’t already. 9/10

Assault of Darkness
Starring: Jason Barry, Vinnie Jones, Nora-Jane Noone
Director: Brendon Foley
In 2 Film

Available Now - £5.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

The awakening of a two-thousand year-old mummified murder victim strikes terror in the hearts of a group of strangers who unknowingly share a dark secret. Somewhere in the swamps of Ireland, a construction crew has unearthed a petrified corpse. But this isn't your typical archaeological discovery; it's about to come back to life, and it's not friendly. Now, deep in the wilderness, a tough-as-nails hunter does battle with the undead "bog body" as it embarks on a supernatural mission of vengeance.

I even hate the title of this. Is it a simile? Can darkness assault something? Is something assaulting the darkness? How? With a torch?

The direction is so lazy that I’m not even convinced a director was involved, as the jobbing actors dribble out their dialogue lazily, leaving it feeling like a stodgy comic book. The low budget is painfully obvious, with characters often forced to describe things just out of shot because the special effects department didn’t really know how to do them. Or people are killed off screen because it’s easier.

The plot accelerates forward diagonally Рnever sure whether it wants to be a spoof or straight horror movie, and ends up staggeringly blindly and humourlessly into every clich̩ in the book. Avoid.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Some scuffling, bludgeoning, shooting and blood.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: Normal for the genre.
Summary: A messy, inconclusive zombie botch job that raises more questions that it answers. The few laughs on offer don’t raise it up high enough to be worth bothering with. 2/10


Kaiji Ito (Tatsuya Fujiwara - Death Note/Battle Royale)moves to Japan after graduating from high school. Unable to find a job and frustrated with society at large, Kaiji spends his days gambling, vandalising cars, and drinking. Two years later and his life is no better. A debt collector named Endo arrives to collect payment.

She them offers two choices to Kaiji: spend ten years paying off his loan or board a gambling boat for one night to repay his debt and possibly make a whole lot more. Meanwhile, the unscrupulous Endo is actually conning Kaiji, believing he won't come back from his voyage. Kaiji is then up for the night of his life...

Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler is out on DVD from Monday, priced £15.99.

Thanks to our friends at 4Digital Media, we've got two copies of Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Saturday 31st July (UK time). The first two names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!

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