CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Hard Evidence (2007, Point-and-Click Mystery Game, 360) – 4/10 review

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Hard Evidence (2007)

4/10

This should be a fascinating, informative, wonderfully polished game but a clunky interface (for example, you cannot select menu items using the left stick), genre limitations (you are sometimes expected to see something you need a flashlight to see before you are allowed to use a flashlight) and ugly presentation (no CSI theme, either) make playing this without a walkthrough a chore. Oddly, character’s eyes are surprisingly well animated (as nothing else is), the stories are pretty nifty with some agreeably salacious motives and twists and there is definite potential for this licence in this genre.

This CSI: Crime Scene Investigation game contains adult dialogue and themes, mild swear words and strong violence, extremely unpleasant scenes and sex scene.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987, Super-Hero Movie) – 4/10 review

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Christopher Reeve: Superman / Clark Kent
Gene Hackman: Lex Luthor
Movie Series Instigator: Alexander Salkind
Jackie Cooper: Perry White
Marc McClure: Jimmy Olsen
Jon Cryer: Lenny
Sam Wanamaker: David Warfield
Mark Pillow: Nuclear Man
Mariel Hemingway: Lacy Warfield
Margot Kidder: Lois Lane
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Writer (Story): Lawrence Konner
Writer (Story): Mark Rosenthal
Writer (Screenplay): Lawrence Konner
Writer (Screenplay): Mark Rosenthal
Producer: Menahem Golan
Producer: Yoram Globus
Susannah York:

Superman IV: Quest for Peace, The (1987)

Superman volunteers to remove all the nuclear armaments in the world and guarantee world peace. Lex Luthor spots an opportunity to use Superman’s preferred disposal site, the Sun, to create a Nuclear Man.

4/10

If Richard Lester took the series to the point of death and placed it in a coffin, the incredibly untalented Sidney J. Furie (a man who has never made a good film and, yes, I have seen The Ipcress File) hammered the final nail in, placed the coffin six feet under and buried it. On the moon. In slow-motion. While Christopher Reeve as Superman and Clark Kent remains definitive, this movie is rescued by the unfettered awesomely immodest genius of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor. Whenever he’s on-screen spouting about his staggering amazingness, the film is fun. There is also a kernel of an interesting idea here as Superman exercises his godship and wades into human affairs but what ended up on screen doesn’t make an apeth of sense. Elsewhere, this is so rubbish that you rather feel sorry for it.

This movie contains fantasy violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

The A-Team 1.01,02 Mexican Slayride (1983, TV) – 4/10 review

George Peppard: John "Hannibal" Smith
Melinda Culea: Amy Amanda Allen
Tim Dunigan: Templeton "Face" Peck
Dwight Schultz: "Howling Mad" Murdock
Mr. T: Bosco "B.A." Baracus
Executive Producer: Stephen J. Cannell
Co-Executive Producer: Frank Lupo
Writer (Series’ Creator): Frank Lupo
Writer (Series’ Creator): Stephen J. Cannell
Writer: Frank Lupo
Writer: Stephen J. Cannell
Director: Rod Holcomb
William Lucking: Colonel Lynch
Philip Sterling: Grant Eldridge
Sergio Calderon: Valdez
Ron Palillo:
Melody Anderson: Avon – Airplane Salesgirl
William Windom: Al Massey
Stunt Coordinator: Craig R. Baxley
Second Unit Director: Craig R. Baxley

A-Team, The 1.01,02 Mexican Slayride (1983)

Reporter Al Massey gets himself kidnapped in Mexico but friend and fellow reporter Amy Allen can’t get anyone to help or take her seriously when he doesn’t report in. She hears about a team of mercenaries called the A-Team and sets out to find if they really exist and if she can hire them.

4/10

It’s rather difficult to see what made the A-Team such a successful show from this pilot. It doesn’t have an interesting or even convincing story and the script is regularly so awful, it is as if the makers presume audiences don’t watch their show with the sound on. George Peppard doesn’t even play himself all the way through enlisting a back-of-wig double even for some dialogue scenes. The two things that do stand out about this pilot episode are a number of terrific vehicle stunts and, unforgettably, Mr T. He delivers the gruff exterior / sweet interior character with considerable charm and charisma and would be rewarded by becoming an international icon.

This A-Team, The episode contains bad language and violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007, Game, 360) – 4/10 review

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

4/10

This is a real shame. For a good while, this game works well. It’s simple to play (though, typically for movie games, the controls feel more complicated than they are), looks quite nice and progress is tangible and smooth. As we reach the At World’s End portion of the game, though, the developers decide to drag out the game by making the combat sequences and duels go on for far too long. As both elements are extremely simple or uninvolving, the earlier, shorter bursts (defeating half-a-dozen dudes, for example) are okay while later battles drag on wearily. Oh, and, bizarrely, Jack can’t swim. In the end, the game is tiresome but it was nearly a very decent movie tie-in.

This game contains mild abusive language and extended, occasionally strong, sword violence, extended melee violence.

Classified 16+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 16 or over..
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

Alone in the Dark (2008, Game, 360) – 4/10 review

Director: David Nadal
Lead Game Designer: Hervé Sliwa

Alone in the Dark (2008)

A man comes to in an apartment building in New York City but has not idea who he is and why the building appears to be eating people and crumbling to pieces around him.

4/10

How come no-one at any point during development pointed out that the game (on 360) was virtually uncontrollable and wilfully ignores what the user does? It’s a gigantic shame as the game, with normal human controls, would be nearly very good. As it is, this is something of a glorious failure that fits in perfectly with Atari’s company policy of releasing broken games. Just to make sure there is absolutely no good will toward the legion of should-be-great moments, brilliant puzzling and super ideas, Eden Games inserted a soul-sucking sequence of horribly elongated gameplay (burning roots) which goes against the pace of the rest of the game. The finalé is largely cool, though, involving terrific simple-but-satisfying light puzzles, a satisfying baddie despatch but then, again, undermines itself with a where-do-I-go driving sequence and a world-ending decision to make without any information to base that decision upon. As it turns out, SPOILER out your decision is meaningless. Great.

This game contains frequent sexual swear words and strong melee violence, strong blade violence, strong gun violence, graphic fire violence, strong horror violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, single instance of extreme and extremely graphic gun violence in cut-scene and sensuality.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008, Movie) – 4/10 review

Producer: Mark Johnson
Director: Andrew Adamson
Writer (Original Book): C.S. Lewis
Georgie Henley: Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes: Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley: Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell: Susan Pevensie
Ben Barnes: Prince Caspian
Peter Dinklage: Trumpkin
Pierfrancesco Favino: General Glozelle
Sergio Castellitto: Miraz
Producer: Andrew Adamson
Producer: Philip Steuer
Writer (Screenplay): Andrew Adamson
Writer (Screenplay): Christopher Markus
Writer (Screenplay): Stephen McFeely
Tilda Swinton: The White Witch
Liam Neeson: Aslan
Eddie Izzard: Voice of Reepicheep

Chronicles of Narnia, The: Prince Caspian (2008)

The Pevensie children are called back to Narnia by a magic horn blown by Prince Caspian, on the run from his uncle who wants to rule the world for himself.

4/10

It never ceases to amaze me the number of filmmakers who insist on making their lead characters difficult to like. While the children were quite good in the first film, here they are difficult to stomach. Normally, having a bad guy that is more tolerable than your nominated heroes would be a movie’s most significant mistake but writer / director Andrew Adamson manages to make an even bigger mistake: this $200 million movie (where a mouse slits a guys throat) is bor-or-ring. It should also probably be pointed out that this is a film about children killing countless dudes. Now the final battle is pretty strong (nearly makes the movie worth sitting through) and makes an interesting comparison to an earlier castle raid which had been added by the filmmakers. The castle raid is shapeless, unimaginative, uninvolving and uninteresting and none of the characters play to their strengths. The final battle is imaginative, spectacular and features clear and interesting tactics and balance of power. In summary, read the book; it’s good, this isn’t.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Dollhouse 1.02 The Target (2009, TV) – 4/10 review

Eliza Dushku: Echo
Harry J. Lennix: Boyd Langton
Fran Kranz: Topher Brink
Tahmoh Penikett: Paul Ballard
Enver Gjokaj: Lukov
Dichen Lachman: Sierra
Olivia Williams: Adelle DeWitt
Writer (Series’ Creator): Joss Whedon
Amy Acker: Dr. Claire Saunders
Reed Diamond: Laurence Dominic
Matt Keeslar: Richard Connell
Miracle Laurie: Mellie
Rich McDonald: Park Ranger in Truck
Mark Sheppard: Tanaka
Tim Conlon: Shaw
Producer: Eliza Dushku
Consulting Producer: Steven S. DeKnight
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Writer: Steven S. DeKnight
Director: Steven S. DeKnight

Dollhouse 1.02 Target, The (2009)

Boyd Langton is brought in to be Echo’s handler and bodyguard after a previous doll goes on a murderous rampage. Fortunately, nobody misses any of the dead people so the Dollhouse can continue without effect. Echo is imprinted to be the perfect girlfriend for outdoor type Richard Connell.

4/10

Despite the well-misdirected emergence of the SPOILER The Most Dangerous Game / Hard Target plot, this is a woefully unconvincing episode. The problems starts with Eliza Dushku’s slightly inadequate acting; she cannot project the empty innocence of her shell and can’t quite make her imprinted personality completely believable (and she’s not a good enough actress for that to be intentional). The problem for just about all the rest of the principle cast is that their characters are such dull or unpleasant archetypes: the maverick FBI agent whom everyone makes fun of, a girl-next-door in love, a hard-bitten bodyguard trying to remain unattached, a quirky trendy boffin, a hard-as-nails career boss woman, an uppity second-in-command. Creator Joss Whedon clearly likes Alias but this imitation is not flattering, just embarrassing.

This Dollhouse episode contains mild swear words and gory and very unpleasant scenes, graphic gun violence, graphic arrow violence and nudity, sexuality.

Links

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008, Movie) – 4/10 review

Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Alfred Gough
Writer: Miles Millar
Brendan Fraser: Rick O’Connell
Jet Li: Emperor
Maria Bello: Evelyn O’Connell
John Hannah: Jonathan Carnahan
Luke Ford: Alex O’Connell
Anthony Wong: General Yang
Isabella Leong: Lin
Liam Cunningham: Maguire
David Calder: Roger Wilson
Russell Wong: Ming Guo
Michelle Yeoh: Zi Yuan

Mummy, The: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

4/10

One wonders how filmmakers take such so much money and spectacle and still produce an entirely forgettable action movie. You wonder if the writers, producers or director ever stopped and said "You know, we could do better with all these resources" or whether they just said "Rick-ochet O’Connell. Get it? How amazing is that?" and left the screenplay there. Now I really liked the yeti’s and the undead armies and, as usual, the visual effects for them and all the Emperor monsters (and all the film) are terrific. So why doesn’t it matter? Why doesn’t it add up to thrills or entertainment? The most obvious is the charmless characterisation of all our supposed heroes, especially the ‘looks like his dad’s brother’ Luke Ford as irritating newcomer Alex O’Connell and ‘looks like her husband’s mum’ Maria Bello as a wandering occasional Rachel Weisz impersonator.

This movie contains mild swear words and extended extreme fantasy violence, gun violence, blade violence, extremely unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Dollhouse 1.01 Ghost (2009, TV) – 4/10 review

Eliza Dushku: Echo
Harry J. Lennix: Boyd Langton
Fran Kranz: Topher Brink
Tahmoh Penikett: Paul Ballard
Enver Gjokaj: Lukov
Dichen Lachman: Sierra
Olivia Williams: Adelle DeWitt
Writer (Series’ Creator): Joss Whedon
Amy Acker: Dr. Claire Saunders
Reed Diamond: Laurence Dominic
Kurt Caceres: Gabriel Crestejo
Producer: Eliza Dushku
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

Dollhouse 1.01 Ghost (2009)

Unknowing human vessel Echo can be implanted with any human personality her operators choose and use her as a kidnapping negotiator when a client’s daughter is taken.

4/10

Coming across as an excuse to get Eliza Dushku into a different outfit each week, this uninteresting and woefully unconvincing series opener doesn’t grab the attention, stir the intellect, excite or, critically, make you want to watch next week. The featured geek (Fran Kranz) and FBI maverick (Tahmoh Penikett) are charmless and the boss woman (Olivia Williams) is horrifically written. The idea behind the episode feels quite strong but it’s nearly buried by off-the-shelf writing and lacklustre direction. It is, at best, shall we say, professionally, competently bland.

This Dollhouse episode contains adult dialogue and gun violence.

Links

Entrapment (1999, Movie) – 4/10 review

Director: Jon Amiel
Writer (Screenplay): Ron Bass
Writer (Screenplay): William Broyles, Jr.
Writer (Story): Ron Bass
Writer (Story): Michael Hertzberg
Sean Connery: Mac
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Gin
Ving Rhames: Thibadeaux
Will Patton: Cruz
Maury Chaykin: Conrad Greene

Entrapment (1999)

In a world where trust is paramount, insurance investigator Gin Baker goes undercover to try to entrap master thief Robert "Mac" MacDougal but the wily old-timer proves to be more than she expects.

4/10

Completely run-of-the-mill and impressively unconvincing heist movie that appears to have little reason to be made other than to allow Connery to work with the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones. Okay, that’s good enough reason for Connery to get the film made, but probably not quite a good enough reason to watch. In fact, it’s distinctly uncomfortable at times as the filmmakers insisted on the two forming a romantic relationship (age difference: 39 years). Director Jon Amiel is an average talent at best but manages to avoid his biggest normal problem, erratic pacing. The movie flies by and, while only slightly thrilling and moderately entertaining, is never boring and never spends too long doing one particular thing.

This movie contains two sexual swear words, mild swear words and maury chaykin in a loin cloth.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007, Game) – 4/10 review

Producer: Paul Weaver
Director: Paul Weaver

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

The Fantastic Four attempt to get to the bottom of the arrival of a silver super-being on a, well, surfboard and track his unique signature around the earth but are unaware that his presence is only the harbinger of real doom.

4/10

You can see what they were trying to do but it’s not quite fun. The developers have, applaudably, taken the teamwork theme of the Fantastic Four and applied it liberally to the game. This means that your most powerful attacks are produced by cooperating team members, different skills are required to progress in different areas and the whole thing is, by definition, a full four-player cooperative experience. However, impactless combat, woolly targeting and an assortment of little annoyances make the experience less enjoyable than it should be. It still generates button-mashing excitement and respect for the cooperative gameplay paradigm but, as I said before, it’s not quite fun.

This game contains extreme fantasy violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Far Cry Instincts: Predator (2006, Game) – 4/10

Senior Producer: Bertrand Hélias
Associate Producer: Antoine Guignard
Creative Director: Jean-François Dugas
Lead Programmer: Patrice Zink
Artistic Director: Jonathan Jacques-Belletête
Lead Graphic Design: Jonathan Jacques-Belletête
Game Designer: Philippe Baude
Lead Level Design: Philippe Baude

Far Cry Far Cry: Instincts: Predator (2006)

Jack Carver is a little less than pleased when his recently acquired boat is turned into a recently acquired wreck by some very well equipped pirates of some kind. After escaping with his life, he is almost immediately contacted by a man called Doyle who gives him instructions of how to get off the island alive. Alive, certainly, but not necessarily human…

4/10

Boy, this isn’t much fun. Part of the problem comes from a bad-tempered, foul-mouthed unskippable cinematic to open the (Instincts) game and set the tone but the main reason for the lack of fun is enemies who can see you through anything from a hundred yards away. Then shoot you in the eye. And that’s on Rookie, the easiest setting. It’s a bit of a shame because this is a package that has real breadth as it includes two single-player campaigns (the Evolution campaign is significantly better though shorter than the initial Instincts campaign), a generously apportioned multiplayer component and even a fully-featured map editor. But it’s just not much fun.

This Far Cry game contains sexual swear words and extended gun violence, knife violence, tree violence, extremely gory and extreme melee violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007, Game) – 4/10 review

Cast / crew
Director: Rod Chong
Model: Krystal Forscutt
Model: Sayoko Ohashi

Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)

Take your street racing machines around a host of international racing tracks partaking in drift challenges, drag runs, wheelie competitions, normal races, top speed runs and speed challenge races. Keep earning victories for the chance to take down the showdown kings, masters of each discipline (drag, drift, grip and speed) and, ultimately, the Showdown King himself, Ryo Watanabe.

4/10

While calling it Need for Speed: PooStreet might be a bit mean for this comprehensive racing game, ProStreet messes up the fundamentals of delivering accurate consistent handling and a fun experience. Despite a unique and very pleasing track design aesthetic with giant canopies, giant video screens, giant inflatables and normal-sized dancing girls, the game has, oddly, no atmosphere. At all. And it only looks nice until you try to play it and then the visuals spurt all over the place and seriously affect your control of the car. Throw in clever but inexplicably annoying announcers and completely confusing progression and game interface (you can upgrade parts, visuals and tune and buy cars but you might never realise) and you might be offended when ProStreet gets its addictive hooks into you.

Classified 3+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 3 or over.

Links

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All the King’s Men (2006, Movie) – 4/10 review

Sean Penn: Willie Stark
Jude Law: Jack Burden
Kate Winslet: Anne Stanton
James Gandolfini: Tiny Duffy
Mark Ruffalo: Adam Stanton
Patricia Clarkson: Sadie Burke
Kathy Baker: Mrs. Burden
Jackie Earle Haley: Sugar Boy
Anthony Hopkins: Judge Irwin
Producer: Steven Zaillian
Writer (Original Book): Robert Penn Warren
Writer (Screenplay): Steven Zaillian
Director: Steven Zaillian

All the King’s Men (2006)

Governor Willie Stark finds himself facing impeachment proceedings but his methods of ensuring a favourable outcome by identifying opponents weaknesses give those in his circle choices which they should find harder than they do.

4/10

Unconvincing political drama scuppered by an uninteresting and unlikable not-quite-charismatic Lousiana Governor Willie Stark played with much acting by Sean Penn. Scenes between Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins and Jude Law and Kate Winslet are much more interesting and it’s probably these that were enough to make me stick with the movie. The moral choices their characters make are worthy of thought but adapter / director Steven Zaillian and composer James Horner are so busy making sure the film is important and meaningful that they buried anything important and meaningful under layers of chest-puffing and self-aggrandisement. The thick accents are occasionally impenetrable for non-Louisiana residents but that’s not the film’s fault.

This movie contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and extreme gun violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and sensuality.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

24 7.00 Redemption (2008, TV) – 4/10 review

Kiefer Sutherland: Jack Bauer
Cherry Jones: Senator Allison Taylor
Bob Gunton: Ethan Kanin
Colm Feore: Henry Taylor
Powers Boothe: President Noah Daniels
Robert Carlyle: Carl Benton
Peter MacNicol: Tom Lennox
Gil Bellows: Frank Trammell
Hakeem Kae-Kazim: Colonel Ike Dubaku
Siyabulela Ramba:
Jon Voight: Jonas Hodges
Executive Producer: Kiefer Sutherland
Executive Producer: Jon Cassar
Executive Producer: Howard Gordon
Writer (Series’ Creator): Joel Surnow
Writer (Series’ Creator): Robert Cochran
Writer: Howard Gordon
Director: Jon Cassar

24 7.00 24: Redemption (2008)

Jack’s been dodging a subpoena that will take him back to America to answer for his illegal actions and has wound up in Sangala, Africa, with an old special forces buddy, Carl Benton, who is operating a school. When the country falls prey to an impending military coup, Jack and Carl have to ensure their charges get to a US evacuation five kilometers away but Jack also needs to avoid getting arrested.

4/10

Opening with a "kill the cockroach" refrain but confusingly not talking about Peter MacNicol this special two-hour filler between 24 seasons six and seven is the very definition of filler: continuously, offensively dull. Jack Bauer continues to borrow the windpipe of a much older man (either that or he smokes a thousand cigarettes a day) and insist on getting himself tortured. That said, commendably, this features significantly toned-down violence for 24 with much of it taking place off-screen or portrayed very briefly. The only moment of lingering violence is Bauer’s contracturally-obliged torture scene and that gives it a greater impact and is, again, remarkably restrained for this show. 24: Redemption also features Jon Voight on sneering Anaconda form and it would make season seven immeasurably better it he again gets swallowed by a giant snake. Twice.

This 24 episode contains gun violence, torture scene, gory and unpleasant scenes and sensuality.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

House M.D. 5.07 The Itch (2008, TV) – 4/10

Hugh Laurie: Dr. Gregory House
Lisa Edelstein: Dr. Lisa Cuddy
Omar Epps: Dr. Eric Foreman
Robert Sean Leonard: Dr. James Wilson
Jennifer Morrison: Dr. Allison Cameron
Jesse Spencer: Dr. Robert Chase
Writer (Series’ Creator): David Shore
Peter Jacobson: Dr. Chris Taub
Kal Penn: Dr. Lawrence Kutner
Olivia Wilde: Thirteen
Todd Louiso: Stewart Nozick
Jennifer Crystal Foley: Rachel Taub
Executive Producer: David Shore
Writer: Peter Blake
Director: Greg Yaitanes

House M.D. 5.07 Itch, The (2008)

Cameron involves herself in the case of an agoraphobe who refuses to leave his house to have critical surgery performed. House has the perfect solution: tell him they’ll do the surgery in his home and then, when he’s unconscious from anaesthetic, take him to hospital anyway.

4/10

While there’s fun to be had with Wilson, House and Cuddy, the medical storyline is badly handled and the dropping of Jennifer Morrison back into the plot is embarrassingly clumsy. I wonder if the patient-of-the-week’s name was a joke: Stewart Nozick. Hugh Laurie continues to be great value as the eponymous contrarian but, as most viewers but not producers recognise, there are too many cast members and the formula is painfully on constant display. Oh, and roofies refers to a date rape drug.

Links

A Study in Terror (1965, Movie) – 4/10 review

Producer (Presents credit): Michael Klinger
Producer (Presents credit): S. Tony Tenser
John Neville: Sherlock Holmes
Donald Houston: Doctor Watson
John Fraser: Lord Carfax
Cecil Parker: Prime Minister
Georgia Brown: Singer
Barry Jones: Dukes of Shires
Robert Morley: Mycroft Holmes
Terry Downes: Chunky
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Arthur Conan Doyle
Writer (Story): Donald Ford
Writer (Screenplay): Donald Ford
Writer (Story): Derek Ford
Writer (Screenplay): Derek Ford
Director: James Hill

Study in Terror, A (1965)

Sherlock Holmes involves himself in the case of Jack the Ripper and the trail of hacked-up Whitechapel prostitutes left behind when he is sent a medical case bearing a coat of arms and with one implement missing.

4/10

Despite the presence of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Terror is not really a murder-mystery but a typical British horror movie of the time, that is, there’s a tiny bit of blood and a few heaving bosoms (including an engaging and jaunty Barbara Windsor) sprinkled about a not-quite-interesting plot. To be fair, the in-between bits are not too bad here as John Neville’s appropriately sharp-featured Sherlock Holmes chases down Jack the Ripper in a foggy Whitechapel but it’s rather underwhelming as the great detective seems to investigate without effect and ends up simply standing around waiting for the murderer to strike again. Additionally, John Neville might have the funniest man run in movie history.

This movie contains offensive hand gestures, mild swear words and gory and unpleasant scenes, inferred strong blade violence, melee violence and sensuality.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Smallville 8.03 Toxic (2008, TV) – 4/10

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Samuel Witwer: Davis Bloome
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Ron Selmour:
Writer: Caroline Dries
Director: Mairzee Almas

Smallville 8.03 Toxic (2008)

Oliver Queen, realising he’s been poisoned and has twelve hours to live, decides to waft into a trendy bar and quaff some champagne before collapsing in an incoherent heap in front of dozens of gleeful photographers. You know, instead of going to hospital. Luckily, Clark was there and he and Chloe set about trying to save him but the secret to Queen’s life lies in his past.

4/10

While this is another weak episode, it’s not quite as offensively or brain-cell-killingly bad as the previous couple of episodes and features a couple of strong scenes while raising intrigue levels regarding Chloe’s new super brain powers and new characters Tess Mercer and random paramedic Davis Bloome. The strong scenes come, most unusually, courtesy of Erica Durance who has always worked well with her Oliver Queen relationship (if nothing else). Nice to report that Tom Welling occasionally looks much more interested this week.

This Smallville episode contains strong gun violence, melee violence.

Links

The Forbidden Kingdom (2008, Movie) – 4/10

Forbidden Kingdom, The (2008)

An teen American oik falls out of time to become the fulfiller of a 500-year-old prophecy and trustee of a magic staff that must be returned to the immortal Monkey King in order to restore peace to the land.

4/10

Clearly having decided that making one movie each with Jackie Chan and Jet Li and a random American MEGASTAR was proving a bit expensive, we now get this sloppy martial arts fantasy where Chan and Li have to put up with yet another American GIGASTAR in order to get an English-language movie made. Viewers do get a decent, but entirely forgettable, Chan / Li fight sequence which is the highlight of the movie but the remainder, including a ridiculous story in which Michael Angarano (aka Shia LeBeouf-lite) can become a martial arts master in a few days (but can’t learn to act), is lazy on every level. Additionally, it has none of the charm, energy or spark that the legendary pair’s Chinese output has. And I don’t know why it’s called The Forbbiden Kingdom as nobody is forbidden to do anything or go anywhere at any time.

This movie contains mild bad language and glamourised alcohol consumption and strong martials arts and blade violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult..

Links

Smallville 7.15 Veritas (2007, TV) – 4/10

Smallville 7.15 Veritas (2007)

Brainiac turns up at the Kent farm and offers Kara a way to restore Krypton and all who perished. Presuming it to be a trick she refuses but realises that both she and Clark are going to need all their powers, including flight, to defeat him. Meanwhile, Lois and Jimmy investigate the murder of Patricia Swann.

4/10

My hope that the Jor-El emissary gig for Lionel might fade away were misplaced. While we certainly care less than ever before, Lionel’s protestations of a terrible forthcoming event are worth a comedy raised eyebrow. The big emotional scene to close the episode is somewhat spoiled by Lana having being dumped in a corridor along with a random bench and a giant statue. Seeing as Smallville has had no idea what to do with Lana this season, her being catatonic would be a good move. That said, it would probably also be a good move for the Smallville producers to have the audience be catatonic. At least they won’t be able to switch off in despair. I can literally feel myself getting stupider the more I watch.

This Smallville episode contains extremely unpleasant scenes.

Smallville 7.14 Traveler (2007, TV) – 4/10

Smallville 7.14 Traveler (2007)

Clark is kidnapped by, guess who. Meanwhile, Lionel finds himself accused of murder by the daughter of Dr. Virgil Swann who wants to meet the Son of Krypton.

4/10

For the first time in a few episodes, Smallville doesn’t lose all the audiences’ goodwill before the title sequence and, while this is an entirely average episode at best, that marks a distinct improvement at the moment. I’m glad that Lionel is finally off Clark’s side. His Jor-El emissary possession was a most stupid story thread and, hopefully, everyone will just ignore it now.

This Smallville episode contains extreme violence, gory and extremely unpleasant scenes.

Hot Rod (2007, Movie) – 4/10

Hot Rod (2007)

Despite all his stunts ending in painful humiliation, Rod Kimble has only one thought when his step-father needs a $50,000 heart transplant. He’ll put on a huge stunt – jumping fifteen buses, one more than hero Evil Knievel – and raise the cash himself.

4/10

As a rule, I don’t understand what Americans find so irresistible about films made by the creative talents spawned by legendary television show Saturday Night Live. This is yet another comedy that feels much much longer than it is, contains exactly no jokes, and manages to be utterly simplistic. However, it’s not entirely lacking in charm (though a nearly great scene featuring You’re the Voice by John Farnham is horribly and needlessly ruined), there’s a number of Europe tracks (one of my favourite bands) and the stuntwork is impressively and convincingly painful-looking.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, a (supposedly hilarious) description of an extremely unpleasant death and graphic substance abuse (acid) and extremely unpleasant (though supposedly hilarious) scenes of a man on fire, being blown up, violently run down and drowning, extreme comedy violence and a painting of pseudo-beastiality, dog sexuality, sexually-themed dancing.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult..

Love Soup (2005, TV) – 4/10

Love Soup (2005)

4/10

A mildly interesting framework (following two separate characters destined, we presume, wrongly, to meet and fall in love) was scuppered in the first series by Tamsin Grieg’s lack of charisma and by each episode being too long at fifty minutes each. It was scuppered in the second series by Tamsin Grieg’s lack of charisma (she became the sole lead character), by each episode feeling like it was fifty minutes long (episode length was now thirty minutes) and by Sanjeev Baskar getting buggered on screen.

This series contains strong adult dialogue and innuendo and sex scenes, sexual fetishes and anal sex scene.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.