Saturday, 7 November 2009

DVD Reviews

Blood: The Last Vampire
Chris Nahon
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Available Now - £15.99 (DVD) and £29.99 (Blu-ray)
Review by Blake Harmer

It was going to be very hard for Blood: The Last Vampire to convince me it was a good film. Firstly, as far as live action movie versions of animes go, there has only really been the Deathnote films that have been any good, and even then I prefer the anime. Also as vampire films go, most people have gone for the crappy and gay vampires as seen in Twilight and Interview with the Vampire over the cool vampires from Dracula and Salem’s Lot. However, Blood: The Last Vampire does get one thing right: the vampires aren’t gay, although sadly they do come from the Buffy School of Vampires.

Just like in the anime version, Demon Bloodsuckers are walking all over the Earth disguised in human forms and it is up to half-human–half-vampire hybrid Saya to twat them all with a very sharp katana and try and take down the oldest, most vilest of the demons: Onigen.

There are quite a lot of flaws with this film, the largest problems being that Saya and Onigen’s use of English when it comes to acting is pretty terrible. If the film was filmed entirely in Japanese, I believe this flaw would’ve been remedied. Also, the special effects in the film a laughably bad, even some lower budget TV series have better CGI than this. Finally, some of the combat scenes seem to cut away on the point of impact making it confusing as to what actually happens sometimes. However it is only in certain scenes so this may have only been done to reduce the BBFC age certificate.

So how come the surprisingly high review score despite all of its flaws? Well, the best thing about the film is that it remains faithful to the original story and captures the cast brilliantly, gone are Fist of the North Star’s general awfulness and slightly shonky version of Mad Max, gone is Gunhed, or “Why Giant Fighting Robot Animes Shouldn’t Be Made Into Live Action Movies On A Budget of 50p” as it should have been called. I found myself enjoying this movie for what it was; there are some enjoyable fight scenes in it and lots of gory deaths and if you can see past some of the shonky effects and acting and get immersed in the story, the film isn’t actually as bad as it looks.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
Lots of gore and swordplay, just a shame that the CGI is terrible and their decision to use CGI blood was a highly dubious one. It was amazing that an anime that is praised as being one of the first animes to use CGI was remade into a film with some of the worst CGI.
Swearing: Some swearing, moderate to heavy.
Sex/Nudity: None
Summary: A vampire slaying action movie which is filled with flaws and has been outdone by other Hollywood movies like Underworld, which makes the end result feeling like a cheap TV movie. Whilst this isn’t better than the original, fans of the anime, however, will appreciate that it is faithful, and there is a good story to get involved in if you can put up with its shortcomings. 6/10

Jimmy Carr: Telling Jokes
4DVD
Available Now - £19.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

Jimmy Carr marks 10 successful years in comedy with the release of his most controversial DVD to date, Telling Jokes. Featuring over 90 minutes of material that's too offensive for television, the new DVD sees Jimmy Carr at his best; unleashing his delightfully crafted one-liners upon the nation and putting down brave hecklers.

Slick, sick and definitely not for the easily offended, Jimmy offers a masterclass in comedy as he takes his dry and sardonic wit to a whole new level. And it seems that no-one and nothing is safe from Jimmy's cutting remarks as he delves into a diverse range of subjects including religion, sex, bullying and somewhat ironically political correctness ...

Jimmy Carr has rather an unusual approach. He delivers one-liners and wry observations like an old-school working-man’s club comic, but rather than the pathetic fat-wife, drunk-Irishman, knob gags of Bernard Manning, Jim Davidson and Mike Reid, he goes for what really IS borderline offensive in this world – child abuse, rape and the Holocaust. And the thing is, he makes all of it very funny indeed. As Jimmy explains: "It's not for the faint hearted (the faint hearted should also avoid salt)."

Telling Jokes is probably not Jimmy Carr’s greatest release, however – and unfortunately for no particular reason. The level of overall quality doesn’t seem as high as his previous albums, but when the laughs come, the laughs are huge. Fans of Jimmy’s comedy will be very satisfied, but he won’t be winning himself any new fans with this one.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
None
Sex/Nudity: Several explicit spoken references.
Swearing: Frequent and strong.
Summary: A solid stand-up album from one of the most offensive comics working today. A must-see if you’re a fan of his work. 8/10

Sexy Killer (Sexykiller: Moriras Por Ella)
Miguel Marti
Momentum Pictures

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

You know when you find a totally awesome movie and just want to show it to everyone? That’s exactly how this movie made me feel. Even before I had finished watching it, I was mentally composing a list of all the people who would love it.

At an exclusive university campus dead bodies begin to appear all over the place. The police haven't a clue to who is responsible for this large-scale butchery. Nobody suspects young, innocent looking Barbara, whose sole obsession seems to be keeping up with latest fashion.

Behind this trivial fa├žade, however, is a deadly and ruthless serial killer. She is the perfect cross between Paris Hilton and Hannibal Lecter, the personality of a cannibalistic psychopath with a wardrobe to die for...because it always ends up soaked in the blood of her victims.

For years I’ve been lamenting the fact that no-one gets what exploitation horror is supposed to be all about. Then, Sexy Killer arrives, and it’s clever and smart, without ever losing sight of its exploitation roots or without disappearing up it’s own smirking post-modernism, Tarantino style. It knows exactly what sort of movie it is, and it doesn’t care.

Then, on top of all that - it’s a good movie, too? The acting, the direction, the special effects, the cinematography, the gore, the music...it’s all good? Fuck, yes.

I urge everyone to check this movie out. Don’t sneer at it, dismiss it, or think it’s beneath you. Give it a chance, and you’ll walk away as stunned as I was.

Oh, yeah. It also has zombies in it.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
Frequent, bloody and sadistic.
Sex/Nudity: Frequent, but often with a comedic take on it.
Swearing: Frequent.
Summary: Smart, funny and at the same time a true exploitation move. The most fun movie I’ve seen this year. 10/10


With a veterans eye for the harsh and gritty details of war, David Drake depicts a futuristic analog of tank combat in his Hammer’s Slammers fiction. The Slammers are neither cartoon heroes nor propaganda villains; rather they are competent professionals engaged in a deadly business. The inevitable conflicts between policy, necessity, and human nature make Drake’s Slammers fiction instantly identifiable and utterly compelling.

This is the first of a three volume set presenting for the first time the entire genre-defining Slammers series in a uniform trade paperback set, with introductions by major Sci-Fi figues, and new afterwords by David Drake.

Thanks to our friends at Baen Books, we've got a a copy of David Drake’s The Complete Hammer’s Slammers Volume One to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to hsgiveaway@rocketmail.com with your name and postal address before midday on Saturday 14th November (UK time). The first name drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy of this awesome book!

The Fairly Odd Parents: The Big Superhero Wish
Fremantle Home Entertainment
Available Now - £5.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

Clever, funny, and bizarre, the popular animated television series The Fairly Odd Parents is one of the rare cartoons that appeals to both children and adults alike. The series centers around the adventures of Timmy Turner, a lonely 10-year-old who is given his own fairy godparents--the dimwitted Cosmo and the no-nonsense Wanda, who disguise themselves as goldfish--to navigate the trials and tribulations of childhood.

The trouble is that Cosmo and Wanda's magic comes with a set of rules that inevitably result in complications, with often wacky results. Populating Timmy's world are his clueless parents Mr. and Mrs. Turner, evil babysitter Vicky, sadistic teacher Mr. Crocker, and his favourite superhero Crimson Chin (Jay Leno)--providing a surreal spin on standard coming-of-age comedy.

Okay, first things first. Adam West is in the first episode of this compilation. Playing himself. As an actor cast in a major Hollywood superhero movie. If that hasn’t sent you either running on to the next review, or clicking over to your Internet Retailer of Choice to buy it straight away, I’ll continue.

The Fairly Odd Parents is greatly entertaining to both adults and children. That gets said a lot – after all, we do now live in the Golden Age of Pixar, and Grown Ups Reading Harry Potter – but here it’s actually true. There were moments in the collection where I was literally in hysterics. And it’s not because of the sneaky little adult jokes that are snuck in a la Shrek. It’s because the show is funny in and of itself, no questions asked.

If you’re already a fan of the show, this is a top notch compilation. And if you’re not, then at this bargain price you owe it to yourself to pick up a collection this awesome.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
Some cartoon violence – nothing worse than Tom and Jerry. And frequently less so, come to think of it. Those guys were psychos.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: None.
Summary: A great compilation of a great show. And this one has Adam West in. 8/10

Jethro: Too Late To Grow Up
Universal Pictures
Available Now - £19.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

Performing live at Poole's Lighthouse Theatre, Jethro's brand new show is packed with observations on life and sketches. Jethro takes a look at life, as only he can, and shares the benefits of going out with a homeless girl to his experiences at a deaf and dumb dance. Discover the true meaning of ram raiding in Wales and find out what Denzil Penberthy's been up to - from meeting a sniffer dog to having an out-of-this-world sexual experience.

Jethro’s a strange one. He seems different somehow from the pub-joke type comedians that you’re supposed to hate, and yet at the same time, never quite charming enough to break that mold. If there’s one word to describe this set, it’s hack. Most of the gags you’ve heard before from mates in the pub...and in one memorable instance, you heard it before in the movie Predator.

The thing is though, the gags do make you laugh, even if they’re of the type where you hate yourself for laughing at it because it’s so hack you could easily have heard it back in junior school.

The production of the DVD seems rather odd, too. Every fifteen minutes or so the footage cuts away from Jethro’s live show, and to footage of him either sitting in a bar delivering gags directly to the camera, or in a beer-garden riffing with another comedian (well, I say “riffing” - I mean they take turns telling jokes). There seems no reason for these interruptions except “we could, so we did”. All it really achieves is to interrupt the flow of the show.

Which only has a running time of about sixty minutes anyway.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
None
Sex/Nudity: Several bawdy jokes.
Swearing: A fair amount, but probably not as much as you’re expecting, all things considered.
Summary: Jethro’s formula hasn’t changed, and if you like him, this is more of the same. However, be warned about the short running time, and the strange choices made during production. 5/10

5 comments:

  1. Has nobody other than me noticed that 'Blood: The Last Vampire' is just 'Blade' but with Wesley Snipes replaced by a Japanese schoolgirl? Nobody? Never mind then...

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  2. "'Blood: The Last Vampire' is just 'Blade' but with Wesley Snipes replaced by a Japanese schoolgirl?"
    And your point is, caller? :P

    Meanwhile, I really like the look of Sexy Killer. Or to be more precise: you made it look irresistable Brad. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. My point was: 'what a crock of shit'. I apologise for being too subtle.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You just needed to sign off with that conclusion: "Blade with a Japanese schoolgirl" sounds quite promising on the face of it! ;)

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  5. I call dibs for 'Sexy Killer'.. sounds like my kinda 'beer fuelled film night' movie rental..

    also check out Dark Divorce.. low budget. poor production.. and a woman who can take repeated hammerblows to the face and not suffer any damage..

    also the overuse of dummies/manequinns makes this a mystery science theatre based laugh fest.. unlike the film Manequinn.. which isnt and will never be..

    ReplyDelete